Plan a 2018 Italian odyssey

From the world’s greatest works of art to a gastronomic scene for the ages, Italy inspires, tantalises and intrigues. It’s the birthplace of the Renaissance, a global style icon and is home to more UNESCO sites than any other country on the planet.

And that’s just the beginning…

With so much to do, see, taste and experience, planning an Italian odyssey that ticks all the boxes can be quite the task. Cue House of Travel. Cherry picked by an inhouse team of experts, this New Zealand based company scours the industry for the crème de la crème (or should we say crema della crema) of Italian tours. They’ve done all the hard work for you, which means all you have to do is pack your bags and bring your appetite.

Discover Italy’s most iconic destinations
With its epic architecture and brash attitude, Rome barely needs an introduction. Once the epicentre of the Roman Empire, the iconic European city groans under the weight of its cultural significance. It’s brimming with big ticket sights, from the mighty Colosseum to the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica. Of course, getting off the beaten track is all part of the fun. With a versed Travel Director on hand, you’ll get the inside scoop on where to wine, dine and play in the Eternal City.

Slow down the pace in Montecatini
While some tours whisk you around trying to tick off as much as possible, Trafalgar’s beautifully curated Rome and Tuscan Highlights itinerary ensures that there’s plenty of time to savour your experience. We love the laid-back format that sees the group based in the spa town of Montecatini for six nights. From here you’ll day trip to a string of destinations, including Florence, Sienna and the sun-drenched Cinque Terre. This gives you the luxury to pick out your favourite cafes, unpack your suitcase and experience Montecatini like a local. Plus, with its marble slabbed spas and mineral rich waters, there’s no better place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Customise your experience
Every traveller is unique, and Insight Vacations honours this with a smorgasbord of optional experiences in every destination. So, while one guest may love the idea of a ‘Hidden Venice’ guided walk that showcases some of the city’s lesser known quarters, another may jump at the chance to enjoy a ‘Burano Excursion and Meal’ experience that swaps the hustle of St Mark’s Square for a private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Or, perhaps you’d prefer to simply get lost in the City of Masks on your own terms. The beauty of Insight’s Italian Intermezzo tour is that you get the choice.

Exclusive invitations
While anyone can flick through a Lonely Planet guide book, the real value of companies like Insight and Trafalgar lies in their ability to dazzle guests with utterly unique experiences. For example, both trips include exclusive invitations to a private dinner held inside the Vatican Museum. Let’s face it, no matter how many locals you chat to you’d never be able to score this invitation independently.

Tours that embrace “la dolce vita”
From perfectly al dente pasta to impossibly creamy gelato, Italy’s food scene is legendary. And if anything captures the spirit of “la dolce vita” it’s good food. Both Insight and Trafalgar shine the spotlight on regional flavours which means that instead of run of the mill tourist restaurants you’ll get a chance to devour authentic cuisine at handpicked restaurants. Throw in wine pairing tips, private tasting sessions and lessons on how to cook spaghetti like only mamma can and you’ve got a recipe for success.

The allure of coach travel
From river cruising to railway tickets, there are so many ways to explore Italy. So why choose coach travel? Well, in addition to showcasing stunning scenery coach travel is all about business class comfort. With air conditioning, extended leg room and an on-board restroom, luxury 40 seat coaches cover distance in style. Plus, there’s an amazing sense of camaraderie which means by the end of your trip you’ll have forged lifelong friendships with total strangers. And after all, isn’t this what travel is all about?

Dreaming of Italy? For a limited time House of Travel is offering return flights to Europe from $999pp with Singapore Airlines. All you need to do is book a 2018 Insight Vacations premium escorted journey or Trafalgar guided holiday.

For more information click here or call 0800713715 and chat to a friendly House Of Travel consultant about choosing your dream trip.