This nine-day tour of Northern Italy starts in the capital, Rome, where we’ll fast-track past the crowds to the Colosseum, tuck into authentic food at a local lunch spot and seek out the best of the city’s baroque architecture. From here we’ll take a high-speed train north – for art and history in Florence, and a taste of the Tuscan countryside between Siena and San Gimignano. We’ll jump back on the high-speed line to Bologna and Emilia-Romagna for two days stuffed with gourmet foodie experiences, before zipping into Milan – for designer shops, jaw-dropping architecture and a day-long train excursion to Lake Como.
This quirky boutique hotel just outside the Vatican City isn’t short on character. Bright and bold colours, patterns and textures come together to psychedelic effect, like the Amalfi Coast seen through a kaleidoscope. The rooftop bar is a highlight, with views over terracotta roofs and ancient umbrella pines.
On the south bank of the River Arno, just 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre, this stylish hotel has all the interior design flair you’d expect in Florence. A ceiling-to-floor mosaic meets you in the lobby, alongside a sculptural device charging station, while rooms twinkle with star-like LEDs.
This is a sleek, grown-up base right next to Bologna’s train station. Rooms are fresh and contemporary, with floor-to-ceiling windows and glossy terrazzo tiles. The restaurant and breakfast room is equally stylish, with red, glass-topped tables and 60s-style chairs.
For heart-of-the-action location, you won’t do much better than the Ambasciatori. It’s so close to the Milan cathedral, you can see the architectural detail of its spires from the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Rooms are classic and un-flashy, and breakfast is generous.