Cruise only (Please call for flight options)
Setting sail from Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such an eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection houses an eclectic assortment of works from the likes of Picasso, Magritte and Jackson Pollock. There is also a lovely garden facing on to the Grand Canal, with a rather rude sculpture of a rider on horseback.
The picturesque old town of Bol, on the southern side of Brac island, is a real Dalmatian gem. Take a wander amongst rustic stone houses and colourful flowers, explore the Blaca hermitage and relax on the iconic Zlatni Rat beach, which extends into the Adriatic with almost geometric precision.
Little car-free Lopud is the most developed of the Elaphiti Islands, though it’s still pretty sleepy, home to around 200 people. Highlights include the pretty 15th-century Franciscan monastery and the golden sands of Šunj beach, where you can enjoy a delicious fish lunch.
Otranto sits at the end of the ‘heel’ of Italy, and has borne the brunt of many invasions and attacks over the years, most notably by the Turks in 1480. If you only have a day here we'd recommend visiting nearby Lecce, a true baroque masterpiece that has been described as the ‘Florence of the South’.
Taormina enjoys a truly spectacular setting on Sicily’s east coast, perched on a mountainside looking out towards the smouldering Mount Etna. The medieval streets are pleasant but often crowded in high season, so we’d recommend getting out and exploring the surrounding countryside.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago to the north of Sicily. The main port is Lipari Town, a charming little harbour of pastel-coloured houses, fishing boats and enticing restaurants, overlooked by the imposing 13th century citadel.
The picturesque little town of Amalfi was once a major Mediterranean naval power, but a devastating earthquake in 1343 cut the city down in its prime and destroyed most of its historic buildings. These days, of course, Amalfi is best known for the eponymous stretch of stunning coastline on which it sits.
Arriving in Rome (Civitavecchia)
One of the world's great cities, Rome continues to dazzle and delight visitors with a potent mix of architectural marvels, continent-defining history and buzzing nightlife. As the saying goes, the city wasn't built in a day, and if you want to make the most of Rome you'll need to spend at least a couple of nights here. The Colosseum, the Vatican and the Forum are among the big ticket items, with the crowds to match, though in truth you will find history around almost every corner.
Plan ahead to make the most of your time – Rome is an exhausting city to visit so you need to pace yourself. There are plenty of parks, gardens and squares to relax and enjoy time out.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, L'Austral and Le Lyrial are wonderful small ships that blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
What we love
These chic sisters are amongst the most stylish ships at sea, with muted natural tones, minimalist interiors and playful splashes of colour. The accommodation is flexible, with the option to combine staterooms and create expansive suites, while the restaurants deliver the sort of outstanding gastronomic experience that you would expect from a French flag cruise line.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.
Extend your stay in Rome
There are so many great hotels but we particularly love the Campo de’ Fiori, for its great location in the centre of everything.
Beat the queues
Get a private guide to help you jump the queues into the Vatican who can whizz you through the galleries to see the essentials and ensure your best view of the Sistine Chapel.