GET ready to Rome, or anywhere else you fancy in Italy, now the five-day quarantine rule for UK visitors has been lifted.
After the holiday favourite dropped its isolation requirements at the end of last month, flight searches soared by 214 per cent, according to comparison site Skyscanner.
And with returns costing from as little as £11, there has never been a better time for an autumn break to the amber list destination.
From tennis in Tuscany to limoncello in Sorrento, Kara Godfrey rounds up the best escapes that promise relaxation and sunshine or activity and adventure.
Limoncello in Sorrento
LEARN how to make the classic Italian liqueur limoncello on a seven-night tour of Sorrento, where you’ll stay on an organic lemon farm as well as exploring Naples, Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast.
The tour – with a maximum of 12 – aims to give you a local’s view of the lesser-seen side of the area. Activities includes pizza-making demonstrations, boat rides and a cooking class.
GO: The seven-night tour from £1,119 on October 24 includes accommodation, daily breakfast, one lunch and five dinners. Return flights from Stansted to Naples from £26pp.
- See gadventures.com or call 0207 313 6953.
Tennis in Tuscany
AUTUMN really is the ideal time to work on your tennis serve – in the central Italian region of Tuscany with its hilly countryside.
The week-long trip includes 20 hours of professional coaching as well as tournaments and a daily Italian lunch. After a busy day on the court, relax at the 3H Villa Cheli Hotel, with its swimming pool surrounded by rolling hills.
GO: Seven nights’ B&B at Villa Cheli Hotel from £130 per night, with Tuscan Tennis Holidays programmes from £495pp on September 19. Return flights from Gatwick to Florence from £61.
- See tuscantennis.com.
Chill out in Puglia
RELAX with friends and family around your very own pool with a villa holiday in Puglia, southern Italy.
Villa Castro overlooks the Zinzulusa and Romanelli sea caves and sleeps eight. Enjoy stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from the terrace and cook up a storm on the barbecue.
There’s an outdoor dining area and a rose garden to enjoy. Just 3km from Castro Marina which has shops and boat rentals.
GO: Seven nights self-catering at Villa Castro is from £292pp, based on eight people sharing. Return flights from Stansted to Bari start at £20.
- More info at splvillas.com.
Rome on a shoestring
TREAT yourself to a Roman holiday in the capital.
Tick off all the main sights including Colosseum, Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain and save your holiday pounds for some fantastic meals by staying in a budget hotel.
The Hotel Oxford is just off the busy Via Veneto within walking distance of all the main sights. The family-run hotel has its own bar for a refresher after a long day exploring and is close to plenty of restaurants and cafes.
GO: Two nights room-only at the Hotel Oxford will cost you from £189pp with return flights from Heathrow on selected dates in October including 23kg luggage.
- Book by September 15 at britishairways.com/rome
Canal Bianco cruise
FOR an easy way to explore the best of Italy, a cruise is the way to go. And CroisiEurope’s MS Michelangelo is the perfect small ship river cruiser to get right to the heart of the country.
Departing Venice and sailing along the Canal Bianco, the six-night itinerary explores three Italian regions; Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto.
Highlights along the way include free cheese and meat tasting sessions in Parma and an optional visit to the Ferrari Museum in Modena, as well as the cities of Verona and Vicenza.
GO: Six-nights’ all-inclusive cruise on MS Michelangelo from £1,465pp incl. flights on October 14.
- See ponderstravel.co.uk or call 01954 232 802.
Biking in Sardinia
LET an e-bike tackle the Sardinian hills on a seven-night cycling holiday that helps you discover the island’s rural interior and stunning coastline.
Cycling for Softies’ self-guided tour includes stop-offs at the beaches and coastal villages along the way, as well as a complimentary wine tasting at a vineyard.
And don’t worry about dragging your luggage with you, as the tour includes suitcase transfers between the hotels.
GO: Seven night tour with Cycling for Softies from £1,645pp, including accommodation, four evening meals and e-bikes. Return flights from Stansted to Sardinia from £44.
- See cycling-for-softies.co.uk or call 020 7471 7760.
Ischia boat tours
ITALY’S islands have good weather well into September and October, with temperatures in the mid 20s.
The tiny volcanic island of Ischia, in the Gulf of Naples, has been Covid-free since May. Stay at the San Montano Resort and Spa and you can explore the island’s coastline on boat tours, enjoy fishing trips to catch your own dinner and even cooking classes using geothermal heat from the volcano.
Come nightfall, there are sunset harp performances and stargazing by telescope.
GO: Four nights’ B&B at San Montano Resort & Spa from £1,049pp, including flights from Heathrow on October 6.
- See kuoni.co.uk.
GONDOLA rides and shopping for the famous Venetian masks are not the only things to do on a break to the tourist hotspot.
The Hilton Molino Stucky, on the island of Giudecca, is one of the city’s best places to stay, having recently opened a number of new rooms and suites.
Guests can enjoy glass-blowing workshops on the island of Murano or cookie-baking classes with the hotel’s pastry chef. The hotel has one of the largest spas in Venice, plus the city’s highest rooftop bar, guaranteeing panoramic views.
GO: Four nights, room only, at the 5H Hilton Molino Stucky is from £398pp, based on two adults sharing, with return flights departing Heathrow on September 20.
- See britishairways.com.
Bond with Lake Como
FANS of 007 can have a Bond-inspired trip to Lake Como this autumn.
The seven-night trip with tour operator Jules Verne includes a visit to Villa del Balbianello, which features in the final scenes of Casino Royale, where the superspy recovers with Vespa.
Guests stay at the 4-star Grand Hotel Menaggio and can enjoy a cocktail from the bar (shaken not stirred, of course).
Inclusive excursions include a private boat trip and lake cruise, with further tours available to book.
GO: The seven-night tour is from £895pp including B&B, excursions and guides with return flights departing Heathrow on October 16 or 23.
- For more details, see vjv.com.
Hike and bike Cinque Terre
THE multi-coloured villages of Cinque Terre in the north west are about more than beautiful sea views.
Adventure activity fans can opt for Intrepid’s eight-day tour of hiking, biking and kayaking across the Italian coastline, visiting popular destinations such as Levanto and Portofino.
Reward yourself after a challenging trip by ending at Santa Margherita for a glass of its fine Pinot Grigio.
GO: An eight-night tour with Intrepid is from £1,335pp, including accommodation and breakfast, departing September 12. Flights are extra but return flights from London Stansted to Genoa start at £16.
- See intrepidtravel.com or call 0808 274 5111.
Camping at Lake Garda
THE largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda is jaw-droppingly beautiful but can be pricey if you’re staying in one of the many waterside hotels.
For a more affordable option, go self-catering at one of the popular holiday parks near the lake.
Bella Italia holiday park has its own private beach, as well as five pools, bars and restaurants. Stay in safari tents, mobile homes or air-conditioned bungalows.
GO: Seven nights’ self-catering in a two-bed air-conditioned bungalow at Bella Italia Holiday Park is from £363 in total, based on six sharing. Return flights from Stansted to Verona from £15pp.
- See alfresco-holidays.com or call 0161 332 8900.
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