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9D Croatia & Italy - Eternal cities

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights

The past comes to life in the eternal cities of Croatia and Italy, where the legacy of great civilisations can be seen at every corner. Discover the Ragusan heritage of Dubrovnik, the Roman origins of Split and the Ottoman roots of Mostar. Savour the Venetian flavour of tiny Trogir and behold the imperial glory of Rome. Marvel at the medieval magnificence of Pisa and Lucca, and admire the Renaissance elegance of Florence and Siena. Each and every one an eternal city whose names will live on forever.

DON’T MISS!

Omis: This former ‘pirates’ nest’ is the starting point for a cruise along the River Cetina, which is framed by rugged banks
Dubrovnik: Feast on a delicious homemade lunch in a traditional farmhouse in the Konavle valley
Siena: Drop by an enoteca and enjoy a Chianti wine tasting session in the very heart of the region where it is produced

For more information, please contact your tour designer, Vera Drobnić 
 

 

Route Highlights

  1. DUBROVNIK
  2. KONAVLE VALLEY
  3. MOSTAR
  4. SPLIT
  5. RIVER CETINA
  6. TROGIR
  7. ROME
  8. FLORENCE
  9. PISA
  10. LUCCA
  11. SIENA
  12. ROME
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Dubrovnik: The beautiful ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ has barely been touched by the sands of the time and is as resplendent as ever
Mostar: The mosques and bazaars of this historic city bring the mystique of the Orient to the heart of Europe
Split: Explore the vast palace built by Roman Emperor Diocletian for his retirement, which is still in use 1,700 years later
Trogir: Small is beautiful as you’ll discover in this islet that boasts palaces, churches, ancient walls and a castle
Rome: Stroll through the Forum and the Colosseum and be transported back to classical civilisation
Tuscany: Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Siena… names that evoke the sophistication of the greatest minds of the Renaissance

Itinerary

DAY 1 // DUBROVNIK

Arrival at Dubrovnik Airport for meet and greet by Gulliver Travel guide and transfer to your hotel. Welcome dinner in a local tavern. 

Overnight stay: 
Dubrovnik
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 2 // DUBROVNIK – KONAVLE VALLEY (30km – 1 hr)

Surrounded by ramparts and fortresses, the well-preserved Old Town of Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural masterpieces, earning it the accolade of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Franciscan Monastery, which features one of the oldest continuously functioning pharmacies in Europe, and the Rector’s Palace as well as many other sights that will make you feel you have travelled back through the ages. Enjoy free time for lunch in the Old Town before an afternoon visit to the lush Konavle valley, where traditionally minded inhabitants have preserved many old crafts and skills. Try to make silk thread out of a silkworm cocoon or spin the millstone as generations before you have. Dinner at one of the valley’s many rustic farms is an excellent conclusion to the day. 

Overnight stay: 
Dubrovnik
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 3 // DUBROVNIK – MOSTAR – SPLIT (300km – 4.5 hrs)

East meets West during a scenic inland drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is an exhilarating journey full of contrasts with rugged coastal areas gradually melting into the fertile greens of the Neretva valley and its plantations of citrus fruits and kiwis. Just after crossing the border, stop for a brief visit to the small village of Pocitelj, which nestles on a bank of the River Neretva. The minarets and ancient citadel offer an immediate reminder of the legacy of hundreds of years of Ottoman rule. Continue to Mostar itself, known as the 'melting pot of cultures', for a guided tour that includes visits to a well-preserved Turkish house and a mosque before enjoying free time for lunch in the Old Town. Here, too, the Ottoman legacy can be see everywhere. Tall and narrow minarets reach for the heavens while cobbled alleys of houses with ornate wooden balconies and bazaars humming with the rhythmic tapping of hammers against copper plates evoke bygone times. This truly is a place where the spirit of the Orient is palpable at every step. 

Overnight stay: 
Split
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 4 // SPLIT AND RIVER CETINA (125km – 2hrs)

As Croatia’s second city and as the economic and administrative centre of Dalmatia, Split is crammed with historical and cultural attractions but none more so than the massive palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. A native of Dalmatia, Diocletian began to build the palace in this bountiful bay in the late third century. After his abdication, he retired to this opulent retreat, which is a city within a city. A guided visit of the palace and Diocletian’s mausoleum, now converted into the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, will reveal the true scale of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a brief scenic drive south to Omis, a fishing village hemmed in by rugged mountains. Omis is where the emerald green River Cetina, which is framed by imposing karst banks, flows into the Adriatic and was historically a ‘pirates’ nest’. Enjoy free time for lunch before heading to the harbour for a boat ride. Dinner is in a traditional local restaurant, with return to the hotel by coach.

Overnight stay: 
Split
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 5 // SPLIT – TROGIR – ROME (50km – 1 hr)

Head to the tiny island of Trogir and spend a morning exploring the streets of the historic city, which covers the entire islet. Despite its miniscule size – it is barely 600 metres long and 300 wide – Trogir packs an astonishing amount of heritage into its narrow cobbled streets and picture-postcard squares, which in parts are still hemmed in by ancient walls. Admire medieval castles, Baroque palaces, Venetian churches and the majestic Romanesque-Gothic St Lawrence’s Cathedral. A comprehensive recent restoration of the cathedral permits a new perspective on the intricacy of its designs, with the carvings in the main west portal resplendent in their newly revealed detail. It is one of a number of attractions in the main square, which also features the Cipiko Palace, the Loggia, the city hall, the town clock tower and St Barbara’s Church. Transfer to Split Airport for departure to Rome Fiumicino Airport (airfare not included). Arrival at Fiumicino and transfer to Rome. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 6 // ROME TOUR (5km – 6 hrs)

Travel through the ages of the Eternal City with sightseeing tours dedicated to Rome’s baroque and classical heritage. A local guide will accompany you on a pleasant stroll through the city centre, visiting the Trevi Fountain – where you can ‘ensure’ your return to Rome by throwing a coin into the water – and the Column of Marcus Aurelius. See also the palaces housing both the parliament and senate, the Patheon and Piazza Navona, where Bernini’s famous Four Rivers Fountain is located. Board a coach and head to Piazza Venezia to begin the tour of Ancient Rome. Admire the classically inspired Altar of the Fatherland, dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II and the unknown soldier, before continuing by foot to the Capitoline Hill, the most sacred of ancient Rome’s seven hills and now the site of the City Hall. Michelangelo designed the square’s current layout five centuries ago and his creation remains a perfect example of Renaissance harmony and sophistication. From here, you have fantastic views of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Stroll over to the Forum for an exhilarating experience walking among the ruins of the triumphal arches, the basilicas and the temples while learning all about the historical and political significance of the Forum. What may at first appear to be random relics will come to life during your walk through the heart of ancient Rome. The tour concludes with a visit to the imposing Colosseum, perhaps the most recognisable monument from the ancient world and the largest Roman amphitheatre ever built. Admire the Colosseum’s architecture and learn all about its gory history. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 7 // FLORENCE – PISA – LUCCA – FLORENCE (200km – 4 hrs)

Tour Tuscany in a day with visits to Pisa and Lucca, taking in the top architectural and cultural attractions in both these historic cities. In Pisa, discover the Piazza dei Miracoli, where you can contemplate the exterior of the Leaning Tower before entering the beautiful baptistery and the cathedral, which is an unrivalled masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Lunch in a Pisan restaurant before afternoon departure for Lucca to explore its medieval heritage. Stand in Piazza San Michele and admire the intricate beauty of the Romanesque Church of San Michele in Foro, wander further and see the Cathedral of San Martino, where the famous tomb of Ilaria del Carretto is located. Behold the beguiling Basilica of San Frediano, which features a large golden mosaic on its façade, and catch an external glimpse of the ‘tree-topped’ Guinigi Tower. 

Overnight stay: 
Florence
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 8 // FLORENCE – SIENA – ROME (350km – 5 hrs)

The day starts with a fascinating walking tour of Florence, which includes a guided visit to the cathedral, admiring the interior of Brunelleschi’s Duomo, Giotto’s belfry and the Baptistery with its bronze doors. (The baptistery and dome are both closed on Sunday afternoon. Headsets are cumpolsory for the guided cathedral visit.) Continue through the Piazzale degli Uffizi to enter Piazza della Signoria, a splendid ‘open-air sculpture museum’, overlooked by the famous Romanesque Palazzo Vecchio with its 94-metre-tall tower. Shortly afterwards, arrive at the picture-postcard Ponte Vecchio, the romantic ‘Jewellers’ Bridge’ over the River Arno that is one of the symbols of city. Visit sensational Siena, strolling through the narrow medieval streets, admiring splendid palaces and the magnificent cathedral, both the exterior and interior, including the awe-inspiring Piccolomini Library. Pause at the adjacent Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana for an external view before concluding the guided tour at the Piazza del Campo, where the world-famous Palio horse race is run. Arrival in Rome. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 9 // DEPARTURE

Transfer to Fiumicino Airport.

Included

Tour guide:

  • English-speaking guide throughout the programme

Accommodation:

  • In Croatia, staying in 3* or 4 * hotels on a half-board basis
  • In Italy, staying in 3* or 4 * hotels on double-room basis on half-board basis in Rome (three-course meals with drinks not included) and one night in Florence on bed-and-breakfast basis

Meals:

  • Welcome dinner in Dubrovnik, dinner in a village in the Konavle valley and farewell dinner in Split; lunch in a restaurant in Pisa (three-course meal with quarter-bottle of wine and 500ml of mineral water); and Dinner in a typical restaurant in Florence (three-course meal with quarter-bottle of wine and 500ml of mineral water)
  • Modern air-conditioned coach as per itinerary

Entrance fees and activities:

  • All entrance fees as indicated: Guided visits of Dubrovnik, Mostar, Trogir and Split; entrance fees to Franciscan monastery with the Pharmacy and Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik; silk presentation in the Konavle valley; Turkish house and mosque in Mostar; boat tour on the River Cetina; and Diocletian’s Palace and cathedral in Split; visits with official local guide mentioned in the Italian segment of the programme; headsets during the visits to Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Rome; entrance fees to the cathedral and baptistery in Pisa; the cathedral in Siena; and the Colosseum and Roman Forum

Not included

  • Split – Rome air fare
  • Meals other than specified in itinerary
  • Beverages
  • Porterage
  • Tips