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What are the best adventure and cultural holidays in Italy

Italy, Oh Italy - land of la Vita Bella! Where style and flair live next to Michelangelo and Bellini. Where ancient Roman ruins stand next to Renaissance churches. Where picturesque hilltop towns look over verdant vineyards. Where good food and wine are a way of life. From the canals of Venice to the museums and churches of Rome, from the sheer mountains of the Dolomites to the stunning Amalfi Coast, from the villages and volcanoes of the deep south to the villas of Lake Garda - here are the best adventure and cultural tours, trips and holidays in Italy. including the vacation I booked for myself.

Cultural Discovery Tours

For first-time visitors, Iconic Italy is probably your best bet. From the villages of the Cinque Terre to Tuscany's medieval splendour, this is an adventure for those looking to indulge in all of Italy’s delights: Venice, Lake Como, Rome, Florence, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Another great introduction to Italy, but focusing as much on experiences as on famous sights is Italy Experience. And if you have a month to spare and want to see all of what makes Italy special, consider Venice to Sicily.

The variety and richness of Sicily's heritage is unparalleled - nowhere else have the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish and Italians left such an indelible historical legacy. On our Sicily Grand Tour we sample the island's best UNESCO heritage sites, impressive archaeological treasures, quaint villages and its diverse landscape.

Walking holidays

In the far north of the country, the small village of Villabassa is the perfect base for this Dolomites walking holiday, sandwiched as it is between the spectacular, jagged limestone peaks. An inspirational guided walk joining two of the most important Tuscan cities, Florence, the city of Leonardo, Giotto, Dante and Brunelleschi, and Siena, native land of the "Palio", is our Classic Tuscany Guided Walk. Between the two lies the Chianti wine region, an area of rolling vine covered hills, medieval villages and olive groves visited on this Walking trip in Tuscany staying in lovely comfortable hotels. The Cinque Terre or 'five lands' is a stunning coastal area running along the Ligurian coast in Italy. It consists of very steep rugged hillsides, which plunge dramatically into the sea. Quite unexpectedly, and against all odds, five vibrant fishing villages cling to the bottom of these hillsides just above the sea.

Probably one of our best-selling trips ever is Walking the Amalfi Coast. Mountains jut steeply out of the Mediterranean and picturesque towns nestled in the coves below as you walk the ancient hillsides studded with lemon groves and framed by deep gorges. If you want to upgrade your hotels and stay down by the water, this Amalfi Coast trip is for you.

Cycling trips

Bike and barge in the Veneto is a unique concept where you cycle during the day and sleep on a converted boat at night. Beginning in Venice, cycle through seaside towns, taste wine and cheese while in the evening you experience the camaraderie of your fellow cyclists, whilst moored at picturesque locations. Encounter the picturesque hills and olive groves of Tuscany on this cycling adventure from Florence to Pisa. In the south, Cilento National Park is largely undisturbed by the 21st Century and as you cycle through Cilento to Amalfi, through quaint fishing villages, you realise that the traditional way of life is still very evident. Further south, while Cycling in Sicily, explore the south-eastern part of the island, pedalling through the Baroque gems of Ragusa, Modica, Noto and up to Syracuse, the ancient Greek capital.

Luxury trips

On our Essence of Italy, discover the Eternal City of Rome, the Renaissance glories of Florence and Tuscany, and the dazzling Cinque Terre, indulging in unforgettable food and wine and experiencing Italian culture up close. Learn valuable tips and techniques from a National Geographic photographer as you document iconic Italian sights, from the canals of Venice to Rome’s Vatican Museumson our Italy Photography Expedition. Recapture the glamour and elegance of rail travel’s golden age as you ride the British Pullman and the Belmond Venice Simplon Orient-Express from London to Venice, connecting in Paris along the way. Hike to hilltop towns perched above Chianti’s vineyard-laced valleys, discover San Gimignano’s soaring towers and Siena’s Gothic architecture, and explore the coastal villages of the Cinque Terre on a series of spectacular walks and hikes. Discover the glories of Southern Italy on a panoramic journey that includes Sicily's ancient ruins and exotic landscapes, the remote towns of Calabria and Puglia, and the breathtaking Isle of Capri on the sparkling Amalfi Coast.

Foodie trips</