Rome - Catania - Cassino - Liri Valley - Ortona - Rimini - Venice
May 15–28, 2023 (14 days)
✔ Follow in the footsteps of our Canadian soldiers, who fought in the 1943-45 Italian Campaign, a key chapter in the liberation of Europe.
✔ Honour the contributions of the D-Day Dodgers in Sicily and mainland Italy in the fight against tyranny with Military Historian Karen Storwick; explore the key battle areas of Pachino, Leonforte and Agira in Sicily, and Monte Cassino, the Moro River, the Liri Valley, Ortona, Coriano Ridge and more on the mainland.
✔ Visit the memorials and war cemeteries of Agira, Cassino – the largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in Italy – Pontecorvo, the Moro River, Gradara, Montecchio and Coriano Ridge.
✔ Explore the beautiful cities of Rome, Rimini and Venice.
Day 1 / Mon, May 15: DEPART CANADA
Depart for Italy.
Day 2 / Tue, May 16: ARRIVE ROME
After arrival in Rome, transfer to your hotel. Free time to relax before dinner. (D)
Day 3 / Wed, May 17: ROME – CATANIA
This morning embark on a panoramic tour of the Eternal City and see the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Piazza Navona, before visiting St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. After a drink with friends, transfer to the airport for your flight to the port city of Catania, Sicily. (B,D)
Day 4 / Thu, May 18: CATANIA/ACIREALE
This morning, discover the exceptional D-Day Landing Museum in Catania, and enjoy a short visit to the town. Continue to the Canadian landing beaches of July 10, 1943 at Costa dell’Ambra near Pachino in south-eastern Sicily. Return to the hotel in time for dinner. (B,D)
Day 5 / Fri, May 19: CATANIA/ACIREALE
Today, follow the inland route of the Canadians to the hill towns of Leonforte and Agira*, in Sicily's dramatic hinterland. Visit the Agira Canadian War Cemetery as well as the town. A visit to the area of Grammichele and the place the Seaforth Highlanders called the Happy Valley is also possible. (B,D)
Day 6 / Sat, May 20: CATANIA – ROME – CASSINO
After a morning flight from Catania to Rome, transfer to Cassino. Drive up to the historic Abbey of Monte Cassino overlooking the Liri Valley, which was captured by the Allies in a Polish-led initiative on May 17-18, 1944. (B,D)
Day 7 / Sun, May 21: CASSINO
Full day at the Hitler Line for a battlefield analysis with a stop at the Canadian memorial in Pontecorvo. Finish the afternoon at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in Italy. (B,L,D)
Day 8 / Mon, May 22: CASSINO – ORTONA
Depart for Ortona, on the Adriatic, stopping for lunch at a village outside of Ortona in the former Canadian HQ. Afternoon battle analysis of the Moro River, the Gully and Casa Berardi. Arrive at the hotel in time to enjoy a stroll along the beach or relax at the hotel before dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 9 / Tue, May 23: ORTONA
Today's program includes an official event with the Mayor, a church service and a visit to Ortona’s Peace Museum. Your local guide will conduct a walking tour of the street-fighting areas, as well as the beautiful Church of San Tomaso, which houses the bones of St. Thomas the Apostle. See the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli where the Seaforths famously held a Christmas dinner in 1943. In the evening, enjoy a dinner function with local dignitaries. (B,D)
Day 10 / Wed, May 24: ORTONA – RIMINI
This morning, visit the Moro River Cemetery before driving northward along the Adriatic Coast with a stop at Gradara Cemetery. Late afternoon arrival in Rimini. (B,D)
Day 11 / Thu, May 25: RIMINI
Today explore the battlefields of the Gothic Line, broken by the Canadians in August/September, 1944. Visit Montecchio Cemetery and Pozzo Alto before travelling to Coriano Ridge Commonwealth Cemetery and San Fortunato Ridge. Evening at leisure to visit the beautiful beaches of Rimini or enjoy Some shopping in the historic centre. (B)
Day 12 / Fri, May 26: RIMINI
This morning explore the area in Cesena where Smokey Smith won his Victoria Cross and conduct a battlefield analysis at the Savio River. After lunch in the town of Bagnacavallo, explore the battles of the rivers.
Evening at leisure to enjoy dinner on own. (B,L)
Day 13 / Sat, May 27: RIMINI – VENICE
Take a water taxi into the heart of Venice, La Serenissima. Enjoy a tour of the fascinating historic centre around Piazza San Marco and the stunning basilica; for its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known as the Chiesa d'Oro (Church of Gold).
After checking into your hotel, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day 14 / Sun, May 28: DEPART VENICE – ARRIVE CANADA
Transfer to the airport for your flight(s) home. Those wishing to extend their stay in Italy can take a train to Florence or Rome. (B)