May 26/29 – June 9, 2018 (12/15 days)
Honouring the 75th Anniversary of the landings on Sicily's beaches with a tour tracing Canada’s military history through Italy.
Departure from Canada for Italy.
After arrival we transfer to our hotel, check-in and have dinner.
We start today in the heart of Rome at Piazza Venezia, at its most famous war monument, dedicated to the former king Vittorio Emanuele. We will also see the iconic sites of the Eternal City as we visit St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and enjoy a panoramic tour to see the Colosseum, Forum Romanum, Piazza Navona and other famous monuments. There is time for lunch in town. Later in the afternoon we transfer to the airport for the flight to Sicily and settle into our hotel along the stunning coast.
Today we visit the Canadian landing beaches of July 10, 1943 at Costa dell’ Ambra near Pachino in southeastern Sicily. We stop for lunch and then head to the picturesque coastal town of Taormina, with its celebrated Greek amphitheatre. Then we return to the hotel in time for dinner.
We follow the inland route of the Canadians to Leonforte and Agira where we will be visiting the Agira Canadian War Cemetery. We return to the hotel where travelers can enjoy the beach atmosphere of the seaside resort town.
This morning we visit the exceptional D-Day landing museum in Catania. Then we fly back to Rome later in the afternoon, drive to Cassino and join our fellow travelers for the main Italian Campaign tour.
This morning we visit the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in Italy. We will stop at the Kingsmill plaque and monument which commemorates the breaking of the Gustav Line by Canadian tanks in May, 1944. Next, we'll explore the Mignano Gap and Italian cemetery. After lunch, we will visit the historic Abbey of Monte Cassino overlooking the Liri Valley, which was captured by Allies in a Polish-led initiative May 17-18, 1944, and we will also visit the Polish Cemetery nearby.
This morning we tour the Adolf Hitler Line with a stop at the Canadian memorial in Pontecorvo. After lunch we visit the Melfa River Crossing where Major Jack Mahony of the Royal Westminster Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross, then tour some of the battlefields such as Torrice Crossroads, Pofi and Frosinone, which were liberated on the advance to Rome.
This morning we leave for Campobasso, making a stop to pay homage to the “Maple Leaf City.” In the afternoon we proceed to the Adriatic Coast.
Following a visit to Ortona’s Peace Museum our local guide will conduct a walking tour of the street-fighting areas. We'll visit the beautiful Church of San Tomaso, which houses the bones of St. Thomas the Apostle, and the Church of Santa Maria di Constantinopoli where the Seaforths famously contrived to hold Christmas dinner in 1943. We'll see Sterlin Castle and make stops at Moro River War Cemetery and Casa Berardi before returning to our hotel for the evening.
After breakfast we take off north to visit Gradara Cemetery before we continue on up to the mountain Republic of San Marino, the world’s oldest Republic! We have time for lunch there and then in the afternoon we travel to the nearby Adriatic Coast and check in at Rimini.
Today we visit the battlefields of the Gothic Line, broken by the Canadians August – September, 1944. The tour begins with a visit to Montecchio Cemetery and Hill 204 with a stop at Tavullia before travelling to Coriano Ridge Commonwealth Cemetery, and through San Martino as we learn about the Battle of San Fortunato Ridge. We return to the hotel with time to visit the beautiful beaches of Rimini or to do some shopping.
This morning we travel to Villanova where the Canadians fought bloody battles to cross the Lamone River and Naviglio Canal in November – December, 1944. We will meet with the locals as we visit sites in the Bagnacavallo area, and make stops at the Cessena and Ravenna Cemeteries along the way.
After breakfast we depart for Venice where we take a water taxi into the city centre and enjoy the fascinating area around Piazza San Marco and the Basilica. Afterwards we check into the hotel and enjoy our farewell dinner.
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight home, where we arrive the same day.