Savor the enchanting Italian Riviera during a week in beautiful Sestri Levante, and set out on day trips to discover northern Italy’s highlights, from Lucca and the Cinque Terre to the World Heritage-listed Piedmont wine region.

Starting at: $4,790 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Piedmont vineyards
 Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca
 Colorful houses along the main street in Manarola
 Portofino
 Sestri Levante, Liguria, your home for the week
 The village of Manarola, Cinque Terre
 Old castle on the sea in Rapallo
 The village of Vernazza, along the Cinque Terre
 The cathedral at Lucca
 Sampling the recipe during a cooking class
 Enjoying a culinary class
 A lesson in making pasta
 Enjoying the wine and food of Italy

The Italian Riviera: A One-Week Stay on the Ligurian Coast

9 days from $4,790

Savor the enchanting Italian Riviera during a week in beautiful Sestri Levante, and set out on day trips to discover northern Italy’s highlights, from Lucca and the Cinque Terre to the World Heritage-listed Piedmont wine region.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one city and region—and one hotel. Full-day excursions outside the city with some longer, extensive walking tours of villages, museums, and outdoor historic sites. Some excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. gardens and outdoor sites, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Hotel centrally located for easy access to cafes, restaurants, and boutiques during time at leisure.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Itinerary

Days 1-2 — Depart the U.S. and arrive in Sestri Levante, Italy

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic to Genoa, Italy

Upon arrival at Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo International Airport, transfer to Sestri Levante and the Vis à Vis Hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, receive a Welcome Package containing general information about Sestri Levante, as well as a map of the town. This evening, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner, at the hotel. (R,D) 

Day 3 — Rapallo / Portofino / Santa Margherita

A full breakfast will be served at the hotel each morning during your stay. Travel the coastal road to Rapallo, a seaside resort adorned with swaying palm trees and hillside villas. Cruise to Portofino, playground of the rich and famous. Tucked in a cove surrounded by luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation, Portofino welcomes all with a captivating aura of romance and riches. Witness its charm while strolling along the colorful harbor. After leisure time in Portofino, sail upon sapphire waters to Santa Margherita and admire the village’s waterfront trove of fishing cottages, elegant luxury hotels and the gleaming yachts of visiting jet-setters. Take a break for lunch on your own before rejoining the group for a walking tour. Gather for a presentation by a local speaker on the art and artists who have been enchanted by this region for centuries. This evening enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D) 

Day 4 — Explore Sestri Levante / Culinary Demonstration

A jewel centered snugly in the curve of the Italian Riviera, Sestri Levante is the ideal base for your stay in Liguria. Home to some of the region’s most enticing beaches, Sestri has a distinct flair and Italian charm all its own. Stroll through the town with its converted castles and palazzos displaying styles from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance. The ornate trompe l’oeil stonework, adorning many a local façade, is a specialty of the region.  Then join a local chef for a culinary lesson where you’ll learn how to make pesto alla Genovese and focaccia. Later, gather for a presentation on current events shaping contemporary Italy and its place within the European Union. Then gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner and a chance to discuss more casually your impressions of the Liguarian Coast so far with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and fellow travelers. (B,L) 

Day 5 — Lucca / Carrara

The charismatic walled city of Lucca is home to numerous examples of brilliant Romanesque architecture, including the magnificent Duomo di San Martino. Step inside the church to view breathtaking carvings by Nicola Pisano. Two well-known carvings are Adoration of the Magi and Volto Santo di Lucca, or Holy Face of Lucca. Then follow the storied footsteps of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus and Puccini while exploring the Old Town. View the Basilica of San Frediano and the Church of San Michele. Then gather in a local restaurant for a feast of Italian specialties. This afternoon travel on to Carrara, home of the legendary marble quarries used for more than 2,000 years. Throughout the centuries, Carrara’s famous white marble has been sought after by discerning sculptors, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, who went to the quarries to choose the best marble available for his now priceless works. Tour the Fantiscritti Quarry, a privately-owned working quarry, and see local artisans in their studios. Return to Sestri Levante late in the day for an evening at leisure. (B,L)  

Day 6 — Italy’s Piedmont Region

Today travel north through a landscape of rolling hills to encounter one of Italy’s most renowned wine regions. Tucked between the towering Alps and the smaller Apennines, the Piedmont region boasts ideal temperature variations, producing many excellent wines including Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato Bianco. Arrive at the medieval Castle of Tagliolo, owned since 1498 by the Marquese Pinelli Gentile family. This captivating property is nestled in a breathtaking setting and features a centuries-old wine cellar. Tour the castle and taste popular wine varietals over a private luncheon. Return to the hotel late in the day. Later, enjoy lively discussion in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L)  

Day 7 — Cinque Terre

Travel to the World Heritage Cinque Terre villages for a visit to this beautiful region on the Ligurian coast. Enjoy a walk in Portovenere and Manarola before boarding a boat to travel on the sea to Vernazza. Enjoy a traditional seafood lunch in a local trattoria Taverna del Capitano located in the piazza right at the port. Our local restaurant proudly displays the sign “Cucina Tipica”, granted to those local businesses which guarantee their dedication to traditional methods and the high quality of their products. Return to Sestri Levante for an evening at leisure. (B,L) 

Day 8 — Sestri Levant

This morning enjoy a presentation by you Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterwards enjoy time independently to take in the shops and galleries of Sestri Levante. Early this evening gather for a welcome reception and festive farewell dinner at your hotel. (B, D)  

Day 9 — Depart Sestri Levante for the U.S.

After breakfast depart the hotel and transfer to Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo International Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)   

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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