Operators offer new hilltop tours

NEW YORK -- Two U.S. tour operators hope to "peak" interest in Italian hilltop tours with the addition of various options to their lineups.

Visits to the Cinque Terre -- five cliffside fishing villages -- are a highlight of new three-night tours of the Liguria region and the Italian Riveria from Picasso Travel, based in Los Angeles.

Both packages include first class accommodations with breakfast, lunch, a full-day tour of the Cinque Terre towns and a half-day tour of the Riviera.

The independent Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre tour, with daily departures, costs $599 to $649 per person, double, land only. Peak prices apply June 16 through Sept. 15.

The escorted Cinque Terre and Cooking Lesson in Liguria tour also includes a morning spent learning local cuisine; the tour costs $1,259 per person, with a two-person minimum.

Picasso pays 10%. For details, call (800) 462-8875 or visit www.splendidaitalia.com on the Web.

Bothell, Wash.-based Europe Express is offering its land-only six-night Hilltowns of Tuscany walking tour of Florence, San Gimingnano and Siena, which includes accommodation, daily breakfast, detailed routes and maps, luggage transfers, and hotel taxes and service fees.

Self-guided tours depart daily through Oct. 31, priced at $899 per person, double; guided departures, on select dates, cost $1,549 per person, double.

Commission is 10%. Call (800) 927-3876 or visit www.europeexpress.com.

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