06 December 2012
Take our Grand Tour to discover some of Italy's greatest destinations, from Venice in the north to Sicily down south, at your own pace and in your own style.
The Italians have a word for it: campanalismo. It describes their love of the local areas where they live and comes from the bell towers (campanile) whose chimes ring out over the terracotta rooftops, saying 'Venice', 'Florence' and 'Rome' more clearly than the names themselves. Anywhere beyond this evocative sound is another place.
So, not surprisingly, Italy has more jealously-guarded regional diversity than almost anywhere else in Europe. And how better to experience its celebrated culture, landscapes and gastronomy than to take to wheel of a Fiat or Ferrari and roam around at leisure.
This is the essence of our Grand Tour, which offers the chance to visit two or more of our company's hotels in Italy, staying at one fixed rate. All are positioned in exceptional locations that plunge you into Italy at its distinctive best.
There are always exciting new reasons to visit Florence and stay at Villa San Michele (pictured above), a former monastery on a hilltop overlooking the great city. Its Italian gardens are scattered with some of the most beautiful suites in town, especially the newly-created Limonaia, which has its own private terrace and plunge pool, where you can sit out with a Prosecco and gaze at the stars.
Also new on the Villa's School of Cookery menu are courses based on seasonal Tuscan produce. Whenever you visit there will be something fresh from the fields, from asparagus and artichokes in spring through to mushrooms and truffles in autumn.
A drive through the Chianti hills and past the fascinating quarries where Michelangelo found his marble brings you to the harbour of Portofino, where Hotel Splendido awaits. Its new Wellness Centre adds another layer of luxury to the laid-back atmosphere of this retreat high above the sea below.
From here you are spoilt for choice. Do you head up to Venice, and stay at Hotel Cipriani to soak up views across the lagoon to St Mark's Square? Or turn south to Hotel Caruso at Ravello, in the cliffs above the Amalfi Coast, that almost seems to float in the blue of sea and sky.
Or why not head to Taormina in Sicily? Our two hotels there offer two different takes on the Italian al fresco life. Grand Hotel Timeo is pure sophistication and glamour, with a terrace facing Mount Etna and the possibility of a volcanic display. Or opt for the beach at Villa Sant'Andrea, where a beautiful new pool beside the sands is the perfect place for guests of all ages to play.
Of course, you don't need to drive among all these destinations. You might prefer to travel by train or to fly: there are excellent rail and air connections between all six hotels. Just contact our Travel Team and they can arrange it all. Now, all you have to do is relax, explore and enjoy.