As the breeze blows off the Tyrrhenian Sea and the golden sun warms your skin, it’s hard to imagine a more desirable destination of banishment than Tuscany’s Elba Island. The location of exile for Napoleon I, feeling sorry for him is almost impossible when you consider the stunning nature of this Mediterranean paradise, with turquoise waters and lush mountain views.
This was the best holiday we have ever had and we hope to do it again in a couple of years time.
R & J Whittle, Gourmet Italy
Viva Italia! A land of epicurean enchantment, famed for fine wine, food and romance. What gastronomic delights will seduce us on our delicious journey of discovery?
This evening, we depart Australia for Rome, flying via Dubai with Emirates.
Arriving in Italy’s illustrious capital, we transfer by coach to the rolling hills and dusky olive groves that ripple across the Tuscan landscape. There’s a chance to see more of Rome later but for now, we check into the antique chic and polished charm of one of Tuscany’s most esteemed estates – the Borgo Scopeto Relais. In the heart of Chianti country and mere minutes from Siena’s soaring medieval architecture, this heritage residence sweeps us up in a relaxed and effortless embrace, ahead of our Welcome Dinner, this evening.
Our day begins with a tour of the Rocca di Montegrossi estate. We taste the cherry notes of the winery’s Chianti vintages and sample silky olives from its olive groves, leaving room for lunch at a nearby restaurant.
The medieval hilltop town of Siena beckons this afternoon, where a spectacular town square is the stage for the annual Palio bareback horserace, dating back to the 1600s. We slip back to the Borgo Scopeto Relais for dinner in the Tuscan twilight.
Heading north, pastel hued houses and sheer cliffs await in the idyllic Italian Riviera resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
En route, we fortify ourselves with a tour and tasting at Candialle winery, which flaunts high quality terroir wines from Sangiovese grapes. We stay on for a genuine Tuscan BBQ lunch before winding our way to the Grand Hotel Miramare, our home for the next two nights. After settling in, we dine within our ‘grand dame’ of a hotel, once a honeymoon spot for Laurence Oliver and Vivien Leigh.
Today’s Select options present you the opportunity to choose from dream locations often glimpsed on the silver screen.
On a tour of Monaco, our eyes can’t help but be drawn to the dazzling wealth on display – from mega yachts to the refined opulence of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco and the Monte-Carlo Casino.
Later, we drive to the mountainside town of Eze for lunch, before descending to Nice, where our luxury yacht Le Ponant is moored. Relaxing over our first dinner on board, we set sail towards Elba Island.
Arrive 10.00am – Sail Midnight
On Elba Island, the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte is never far away. We visit two of his beautifully preserved residences then rifle through the treasures of the Napoleonic Antiques Museum.
After lunch on board, we explore a local vineyard with our host for this evening, winemaker Enrico Coser. Tonight’s dinner is superbly complemented by the crisp, fragrant flavours of Enrico’s Friulian wines, found in Italy’s northeasternmost regions.
Arrive 9.00am – Sail 10.00pm
From the enchanting harbour of Porto Santo Stefano, we delve further into Tuscany. Local winemaker Antonio Camillo takes us on a tour of his vineyards, famous for organically grown Morellino di Scansano and Ciliegiolo.
Returning to the sparkling marina for lunch on board, our voyage breezes on to the town of Porto Ercole, where it is believed Renaissance artist Caravaggio was laid to rest.
Arrive 9.00am – Sail 11.30pm
Arriving in Civitavecchia’s harbour, two invigorating options are presented.
While we’re creating new memories of Rome, Le Ponant is relocating to Anzio, where we meet it to reboard before dinner.
Arrive 11.00am – Sail 6.00pm
Today, we find Naples is far more than the birthplace of pizza and Neapolitan ice cream and rich tomato sauce – it’s also home to a bounty of UNESCO listed theatres, palaces and castles including the Teatro di San Carlo, the Royal Palace and the Piazza del Plebiscito.
At dinner we’re joined by Georgio Imparato of Villa Matilde, a celebrated winery in the Campania region.
Arrive 9.00am – Sail 6.00pm
Disembarking in the picture perfect clifftop resort of Sorrento, the urge to live La Dolce Vita today is irresistible! Which sweet adventure will tempt you?
Savour dinner on Le Ponant tonight as we drift past the glittering Amalfi Coast.
Arrive 9.00am – Sail 6.00pm
Off the coast of Sicily lies Lipari, the largest volcanic island of the Aeolian archipelago. We dig deep into the region’s heritage today at the Museo Archeologico Luigi Bernabo Brea before lunch back on board. The afternoon is yours for the taking: read a novel on deck; take a dip in the cerulean waters or leaf further through Lipari’s ancient history.
Arrive 11.00am – Sail 5.00pm
Today we discover the verdant volcanic island of Salina. At Salina’s Hauner winery, the late artist Carlo Hauner dedicated much of his life to revitalising the island’s famous dessert wine, Malvasia dolce, and creating a range of refreshing whites. Along with the estate’s piquant green capers, these are the perfect ‘degustazione’ before a seafood lunch Salina style at Il Delfino restaurant.
Tonight, as Le Ponant plies the waters around Stromboli island, we’re joined by Hauner winery’s Gianfranco Sabbatini, who will illuminate the region’s gastronomic delights.
Arrive 10.30am – Sail 6.00pm
This morning, we dock in Syracuse for a tour by coach. As the birthplace of Archimedes, thoughts of the Ancient Greek scientist streaking through the streets crying ‘Eureka’ may elicit a few wry smiles. There’s plenty to smile about here, as we wander past the city’s archaeological wonders, including the Ear of Dionysis and the Temple of Apollo.
After lunch on board, enjoy time to relax or perhaps go for a stroll through the streets of Ortigia (the city’s island heart).
Arrive 9.00am – Sail 2.00pm
In Agrigento, we’ll choose from two equally satisfying slices of Sicilian life.
A rare morning finds us enjoying life at sea in style. Le Ponant slices through the Mediterranean Sea with immaculate grace, charting our course for the island of Sardinia.
After lunch, Sardinia’s largest city, Cagliari, slides into view. Here we have seats reserved at Dal Corsaro restaurant for an evening of Italian haute cuisine paired with fine wines from Sardina’s acclaimed Santadi winery.
Wondrous culinary and cultural insights are on the menu in Sardinia today.
Arrive 9.30am – Sail 6.00pm
We peruse Porto Cervo before heading to the Gallura highlands, toasting the high life with fine wines and Sardinian cheese during a BBQ lunch at Jankara Estate. Here, proprietors Renato and Angela Spanu artfully blend the Vermentino grape.
Arrive 8.00am – Sail 5.00pm
The likes of Impressionist artist Matisse famously fell for Corsica and its elegant capital Ajaccio. The city also has strong ties to Napoleon Bonaparte, and our first stop today is his birthplace and ancestral home.
After a visit to Ajaccio’s markets and lunch on board, we head for Clos Ornasca winery. Here, winemaker Laetitia Tola bottles refreshing blends of native grapes Sciaccerellu, Niellucciu and the white Vermentinu.
We farewell Le Ponant in Nice. After a tour of the French Riviera’s shimmering capital, we raise a toast to happy days over lunch at a local restaurant, before transferring to the airport for our flight home via Dubai.
Landing in Australia, our heads filled with endless memories of our gourmet journey.
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.
Bearing all the hallmarks of a luxury yacht, Le Ponant seamlessly blends nautical tradition and supreme elegance. Thanks to its boutique size, it will dock in small ports and skirt along the coast in a way that larger ships simply can’t. What’s more, with just 32 staterooms and a guest to staff ratio of 2:1, an effortlessly personalised onboard experience is assured.
With multiple outdoor areas, including an inviting Sun Deck and a convenient Marina for water access, Le Ponant is the ideal ship for cruising warm waters – life on board is centred around the fresh air and sunshine. Other facilities include two lounge and bar areas and two restaurants.
Marie-Galante Deck Staterooms
Set on the Marie-Galante Deck, these entry-level staterooms can be configured with a double bed or twin beds. Each offers a stylish ensuite, a desk, a dressing table, a flat-screen satellite television, a minibar, a safe, personal climate control and included Wi Fi access. Size: from 10.8 to 13.5 square metres
You have come so far, so why settle for second best when you get there? Captain’s Choice carefully researches and selects the best hotels to ensure you’re staying at the most enviable locations in town. We partner with the finest hotels to deliver our gilt edged service, seeking out the region’s top rating five star – or best available – residences. All our accommodation has been assessed for quality – we believe that a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. Location and accessibility are also key factors – we endeavour to seek hotels that are in close proximity to the sites, that boast stunning views or offer a special something that makes them sparkle. It’s important to us that the hotels we select deliver the complete package and aren’t just trading on their reputation.
Borgo Scopeto Relais
Experience one of Tuscany’s most esteemed landmark estates – the Borgo Scopeto Relais, a grand and exclusive haven nestled amid vineyards and olive trees.
Grand Hotel Miramare
Wake to the dazzling waters of the Gulf of Tigullio right on your doorstep at the Grand Hotel Miramare, a beautiful Art Nouveau building in Santa Margherita Ligure
Both suite styles aboard Le Ponant are very similar. These upgrade suites are very limited and they will sell quickly.
Based on per person, twin share in Marie-Galante Deck Stateroom – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, flying with Emirates. Prices from other cities are available on request.
Supplements (add to base tour cost, per person twin share)
Antigua Deck Stateroom $5,100