- This trip includes two stops where you can experience the many facets of Italy; one in the heart of Rome the other far away in the countryside
- Your hotel in Rome is the gateway between ancient city and the trendy Trastevere
- Delicious bread, good wine and hilltop-perched villages make up the charm of Abruzzo
- Priority pass tickets, a tour of Rome with a local, cooking lessons and a massage are all part of the service
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YOUR JOURNEY AROUND ITALY
Once you've had your fill of the city, you'll head off to the little-known region of Abruzzo, with its lush countryside, for three days where you'll lose track of time. Located 4,101ft into the Gran Sasso Nature Park, the medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village, which was once an important rural centre that has since fallen into disrepair, now only has only about 50 permanent residents. You'll be staying in a 'dispersed hotel' - where rooms and suites are situated among private houses in the village; the idea being to live like the locals but with all the creature comforts of being in a hotel. This is the perfect place for those who are eager to explore the region's heritage and cuisine.
Your hotel in Rome: chic & urbanFirstly, it has a prime location; Via Giulia, which is lined with churches and palaces, connects the Tiber to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. It's the ideal bridge between the historic Piazza Navona and the trendy Trastevere district. Then there's its design: undoubtedly inspired by bringing these two worlds together, architect Lorenzo Bellini gave a strong personality to the palace, which was left unfinished by Bramante, in the 15th century. He chose to combine the old and the new, and connect the inside with the outside. Weather permitting, you can enjoy breakfast in the open air. There's also a rooftop terrace, which is ideal for watching the sun go down behind St. Peter's Basilica while you sip a cocktail. Indoors, there is a mix of styles with an overarching Scandinavian minimalist design. Despite this there is a very warm feeling to the hotel with wooden furniture, old library stones, cream hues and soft lighting. Each room has its own character; some are inspired by the great Renaissance, detailed with Caravaggio paintings and Bramante's works, while others have paintings of a great icon of 1960s Italy: the legendary Fiat 500.
Abruzzo: where a village is a hotel'Dispersed' and 'scattered' describes your hotel in Abruzzo; you'll stay among several houses of the medieval mountain village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. The rooms and suites have a distinctly local feel, but with all the creature comforts you'd expect in a hotel. The restaurant uses a lot of spelt, parsnip and lentils, which have been grown here since the Middle Ages. The large bedrooms have wooden chimneys, wool mattresses, antique linens and minimalist bathtubs, but there are no signs of light switches or heating. High-tech equipment is kept under the floor or behind the walls, in order to preserve the heritage of the rooms, ensuring that the view is not disturbed by power points or inappropriate details.
Flight to Rome
Upon arrival, you'll take a private transfer to the historic centre and spend two nights in an elegant, urban hotel. You can easily walk to some of the main sights of the capital, such as Piazza Navona, Campo De' Fiori, Trastevere district, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
The itinerary includes a tour with a local guide, in which you will take a walk through the city, to explore the capital and discover its hidden treasures. You can stop off in a literary cafe or a traditional gelateria, visit a flower market or the antique shops, or sip an Italian aperitif with the most beautiful view of Rome in front of you: it's up to you.
Option - Private tour of Trastevere district, one of Rome's most picturesque areas, which is very close to the hotel.
Things to do and see - Tour the fashion or design boutiques in Piazza di Spagna - sip a cocktail outside on the terrace - stroll Aventine Hill's residential district or the small streets of the Jewish quarter - line up for a pizza bianca (pizza without tomato sauce) at lunchtime.
The itinerary includes priority passes to the Vatican Museums, which house a huge collection of works of art gathered over the centuries by the Popes, and the Sistine Chapel, where you'll discover Michelangelo's masterpieces.
Option - Historic tour of Villa Medici, an icon of Rome.
From the capital to Abruzzo
Pick up your hire car from Rome train station and drive to the medieval fortified village of Santo Stefano di Sessiano, in the heart of the Abruzzo Mountains (about a two-hour drive). Spend three nights in the fortified village in a hotel whose rooms and suites are spread throughout the period buildings. We just love the 'raw' charm and decor of the rooms, the local food and how close it is to the Gran Sasso Nature Park.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Abruzzo
The itinerary includes a traditional cooking class of Abruzzo cuisine, where you will eat the dishes you have cooked - a one-hour couple's massage, in which you can share a moment of relaxation.
Things to see and do - Meet the village artisans and discover local products - tour the great Roman abbeys of the region - take a break to cosy up or read by the fire in your room (wood provided) - read a book in the library at tea time - eat dinner under the period arched-ceilings by candlelight - explore by car or on foot the pastures and villages of Gran Sasso - enjoy a local breakfast served by smiling grandmothers - go to a regularly-schedules classical music concert.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio - Rome - Return flight
Return to the capital, return your car to the airport and catch your flight home.
A la carte
Rome - The Historic Tour of Villa Medici
This is arguably one of the finest villas in Rome. The former secondary residence of the de Medici family was handed over to France at the beginning of the 19th century so that it could set up the French Academy in Rome, aimed at welcoming young French artists to live and work in the community. The tour covers the historical, artistic and architectural aspects of Villa Medici, and you'll visit the gardens, the Cardinal's apartment and the Pavilion of Ferdinand de Medici. Also included are the priority pass for the Vatican Museums, which house a huge collection of artwork gathered over the centuries by the Popes, and the Sistine Chapel, where you'll discover Michelangelo's masterpieces.
Rome - Private tour of Trastevere
This is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods of Rome. Nestled in a bend of the Tiber, Trastevere boasts historic medieval streets, magnificent squares and richly decorated churches, which make it the ancient yet modern symbol of 'romance'. Having been on the outskirts of the city for a long time, this former working-class district of artisans and shopkeepers is now a trendy place where street artists, poets, and party animals meet on an evening in trattorias and lively cafes.
Not to be missed - The squares: Piazza Trilussa, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Piazza S. Cosimato - Villa Farnesina and its magnificent frescoes - The Fountain of the Acqua Paola - Santa Maria Basilica in Trastevere.
Option - With a private guide
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