14 Days: Northern to Southern Italy
An immersive, perspective-shifting itinerary that challenges and inspires the sophisticated traveller on a deeply personal level, creating emotion through the powerful medium of storytelling.
Experience Italy as never before, as you explore the magnificent Dolomite Mountains – the Italian Alps, culturally vibrant Verona, and the hidden historical territory of Montefeltro. You will discover the picturesque Maremma in Tuscany – the “green heart of Italy,” and will touch the sensuality of Basilicata as you travel from northern to southern Italy on our 14-day Le Grand Tour d’ Italie – the longest of our Otium in Italy itineraries.
You’ll travel back in time to an Italian heyday – the 18th and 19th century rite of passage “The Grand Tour.” This series of unique and unforgettable experiences will take you off the beaten track in Italy, to a world where time is on your side and culture is on your doorstep, all drawn together by common threads of pure authenticity, complete exclusivity, and genuine hospitality.
“When I indulge in self-reflection, as I like to do occasionally, I discover in myself a feeling which gives me great joy. Let me put it like this. In this place, whoever looks seriously about him and has eyes to see is bound to become a stronger character… At least, I can say that I have never been so sensitive to the things of this world as I am here. The blessed consequences will, I believe, affect my whole future life.”
~ (Goethe, Italian Journey, 1816-17)
- Experience the fairy tale mountain landscape of the Dolomites – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with astounding panoramas around every corner
- Explore Verona, the “Italy door” in the North which anticipates the beauty, the history, the characteristics, and the appearances of Italy
- Escape to a private luxury retreat nestled in an ancient village in Montefeltro, where nature, culture, history, and pleasure are at center of your experience
- Luxuriate in a stay at a renovated 12th century castle in beautiful Maremma in Tuscany
- Discover the millennial history from the Magna Graecia of the Basilicata region at a luxurious palace
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 ~ Arrival – San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, Dolomites
Private transfer from Venice or Munich to the San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomite Mountains (3 hours).
The San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is a romantic chalet with incomparable style, charm, and panorama. It all begins with a simple little road. It is this enchanting forest lane that transports guests into a rare and stylish world of San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge. Within the heavy walls of this former hunting lodge, you have the feeling of being afloat in a warm and sumptuous world. Luxury and elegance make up this charming lodge that is unique within the Dolomites. Giorgia and Stefano have recreated the atmosphere of a cozy dwelling immersed in nature among the Alpine peaks where everything is sensuous and adrift.
The hosts have given elegance and harmony to this mountain residence, with serene and uncanny luxury and ecological style, where you can find refuge and cradle yourself within the sweetest pleasures. Here you can find unaltered tradition and noble craftsmanship that is wisely kept and taken care of by the hosts. Being at San Lorenzo is being at one with Mother Nature, in the regal company of her Alpine peaks.
Days 2 & 3 ~ San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the proposed experiences at the San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, (experiences may vary by season):
- Wood-chopping with Stefano in the lodge’s woodlands
- Gathering mushrooms or hiking with Stefano in the lodge’s woodlands
- Visit the stall at the Maso Oberramwald, where the lodge’s cows and goats are kept
Day 4 ~ Verona
In the morning, take a private transfer to Verona (2.5 hours).
Enjoy a two hour guided visit of this wonderful city, and let yourself be seduced by the charm of this UNESCO World Heritage Site! For Italians, Verona is considered the “Italy door,” because it is the first city that people coming from the north see. It anticipates the beauty, the characteristics, and the appearances of Italy. Verona is full of artistic, historical, and cultural histories. In the collective imagination, Verona is the background of the tragic love story between Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s tragedy made the fortune of this city, thanks to a sort of “romantic tourism” that attracts hundreds of tourists.
The Roman amphitheater (better known as the Arena) is, along with Romeo and Juliet, the primary symbol of this city. It was built by the Romans in about a.d. 30 and, like all the amphitheaters, housed gladiator spectacles. Today the Arena is the stupendous background of concerts, opera, and other musical manifestations. Between June and September, the Opera Festival draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. This World Heritage Site has such brilliant acoustics that 14,000 people flock to the opera every night and there’s not a microphone in sight. (On request: entrance to the Arena for one opera, depending on program availability).
Optional Experiences: Lake Garda (additional fee)
- Drive in a classic convertible car around Lake Garda. You’ll enjoy rediscovering the authentic sensation of driving that only a vintage car can give you.
- Experience a relaxing and awe-inspiring boat ride on Lake Garda. The boat tour lasts about an hour and a half.
At the end of the afternoon, transfer from Lake Garda back to Verona (30 minutes). Dinner on your own in Verona.
B,L… Hotel Palazzo Victoria, Verona (5-Star)
Day 5 ~ Petrella Guidi Lodge, Montefeltro
After a morning guided walking tour of Verona, transfer south to Montefeltro (3 hours).
En route, enjoy a short visit and lunch at Sarsina, an ancient city founded by the Umbrian people between the 600-300 b.c. in a strategic geographic position between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas. Tito Maccio Plauto, the most important of the Latin playwrights, was born here.
Arrive at Petrella Guidi Lodge & Historical Hideaway, a small luxury private retreat located in the heart of the small medieval village of the same name. “Rediscovered” and renewed, Petrella Guidi is set in the Montefeltro historical territory between the Romagna, the Marches, and Tuscany. This is truly a paradise for lovers of nature, culture, history, and the great outdoors. You can discover strongholds and castles, plus monasteries and churches, dotted around Montefeltro.
Petrella Guidi is an oasis of inspiration for thinkers and dreamers, for its breathtaking views and great sense of serenity. There are no roads, only bricks and grass paths. A sort of “back to simplicity,” there are three suites placed in three independent houses, linked by small charming gardens and pergolas.
With experience and skill, Galya and Paolo Trento have restored the medieval houses, creating an intimate, idyllic atmosphere. Over 18 years this was their holiday retreat, opened in 2011 to welcome guests. Enjoy unpretentious luxury and natural comfort of Petrella Guidi Lodge!
Days 6 & 7 ~ Petrella Guidi
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the experiences proposed for your journey at Petrella Guidi Lodge (experiences may vary by season):
- Visit one of three nearby borghi, and discover past and present culture of these medieval villages
- Taste local gourmet heritage at Celli’s Bottega della Carne”
- Visit Antica Stamperia Carpegna
Day 8 ~ Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany
In the morning, take a private transfer to Castello di Vicarello, a 12th-century castle in the Tuscan coastal region of Maremma (3.5 hours).
En route, enjoy a short visit and lunch in Siena, in the heart of Tuscany. Surrounded by hills, this is undeniably one of the most beautiful medieval cities of Italy. The centerpiece of the city is the famous Piazza del Campo, a shell-shaped plaza where one of the most important events of Siena is held: the Palio. Dating back to the seventeenth century, this passionate horse race takes place every year in July and August.
Continue to Castello di Vicarello, where history lives on each path, in each stone, and every wall sings a song of the ancient past. A stay at the Castello is truly the experience of a lifetime, a destination for all seasons. You’ll spend your days here luxuriating on the property, or exploring beyond. The towns of Grosseto and Siena are nearby, offering the opportunity to explore the surrounding Tuscan landscape and culture.
The kitchen is always open to guests: central to the castle’s intimate house-party spirit, this stone clad realm of wonderful aromas and taste sensations is an irresistible draw. And this is where cooking classes with Aurora take place. Come and swap recipes while chopping parsley, take an impromptu course in homemade pasta, or simply watch the action over a glass of robust red wine, a product of Carlos’s vineyard.
Independently owned and operated by Aurora and Carlo Baccheschi Berti, Castello di Vicarello opened as a hotel in 2003, a new spa opened in 2008, and in 2012 the Castello celebrated its 900th anniversary!
Driving times: Petrella Guidi – Siena: 2.5 hours; Siena – Castello Vicarello: 1 hour.
B,L,D… Castello di Vicarello
Days 9 & 10 ~ Castello di Vicarello
During your stay at Castello di Vicarello, choose and enjoy one of the proposed experiences for your journey (experiences may vary by season):
- Wine tasting with Carlo and tour of the vineyards with explanation of the trellis system
- Cooking classes with Aurora
- Learn how to make Pecorino cheese, and discover the characteristics of good a Pecorino as you enjoy a cheese tasting
Day 11 ~ Palazzo Margherita, Basilicata
In the morning, a private transfer will take you to the Florence airport, and from here a short flight to Bari airport (BRI, flight not included). From the airport, a private transfer will take you to the town of Bernalda (1 hour 30 minutes).
You’ll enjoy a stop for lunch en route depending on flight transfers.
Palazzo Margherita is a luxury hotel in Southern Italy, situated in the small hilltop town of Bernalda, near the Ionian Sea in the Basilicata region. While the nearby region of Puglia has become popular for sightseeing, Bernalda is one of a few beautiful towns where the food and wine have remained authentic and untouched by mass tourism. The townspeople welcome visitors with a genuine hospitality that makes every guest feel like a local.
Palazzo Margherita is just twenty minutes from numerous pristine, white-sand beaches on the Ionian Sea and just 40 minutes from Bernalda is Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2019 European Capital of Culture in Italy. Here ancient cave dwellings and other rock-cut structures, known as Sassi, have been reclaimed as picturesque churches, homes, museums, and restaurants.
Compliment your stay in Bernalda, by experiencing our customized excursions for food and wine lovers. Visit ancient wine cellars and Masseria (historic, fortified farms) for a full immersion in the everyday life of local farmers. Or participate in intimate cooking and pizza classes, followed by preparation and tasting at the property.
Days 12 & 13 ~ Palazzo Margherita
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the experiences proposed for your journey at the Palazzo Margherita, (experiences may vary by season):
- Discovering the Crypt of the Original Sin and trekking in the Ravine of Matera
- Visit ancient cellars
- Visit the Fortified Masseria
Day 14 ~ Departure
Take a private transfer to Bari Airport (BRI), and from here fly to the Rome International Airport (FCO) and onward to your final destination (flights not included).
- In/out airport transfers
- All transfers as per itinerary
- 3 nights accommodation at San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
- 1 night accommodation at Hotel Palazzo Victoria in Verona (5-Star)
- 3 nights accommodation at Petrella Guidi Lodge
- 3 nights accommodation at Castello di Vicarello
- 3 nights accommodation at Palazzo Margherita
- 1 “Experience” at each property
- Guided walking tour of Verona
- Welcome aperitif at the properties
- Meals as noted in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Soft drinks at the properties
- Digestives after dinner at the properties
- Local tourist tax
- 22% Italian VAT tax