The Ultimate Italy Vacation: Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome & Amalfi Coast
13 Days / 12 Nights
Day one: Arrival in Venice, Italian Foodie Experience; Rialto Market & Cicchetti
Welcome to Venice! You’ll be amused walking through the characteristic canals and the gorgeous narrow streets, where you can witness the daily lagoon lifestyle of the local inhabitants, with their unique charm and hospitality.
Your experienced guide will lead you to discover the gastronomic history of the city: enjoying the little succulent cicchetti, paired with the only and original “Spritz”, which was first invented in the Veneto Region. The culinary tour will be enriched with a huge variety of seafood and meaty specialties which will leave you with an unforgettable savory memory of Venice, while you’ll smell the magic atmosphere and flavors that surround the city. Quality drinks will be served at some stops!
Day two: Discover the Magic of Venice's Islands: Murano & Burano, Explore St. Mark's Basilica and The Doge's Palace
Embark on an enthralling private Venice boat trip, your guide will share the rich history and culture of these iconic Venetian islands. When you reach Burano, a vibrant fishing village awaits. Renowned for its delicate lace-making industry. It’s a local tradition that dates back to the 16th century. The colorful island exudes charm with its colorful houses, quaint streets, and picturesque canals. The village’s distinct, vibrant hues were once used by local fishermen to identify their homes through the mist of the lagoon.
Later, you’ll journey towards the world-famous island of Murano, synonymous with a traditional glassblowing production that has brought it global recognition. You’ll explore a glass gallery renowned for its exquisite creations and skilled artisans.
Experience two of the highlights of the «City of Water», St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. In St. Mark’s Square you can admire the amazing view of St. Mark’s Basilica. As you stare at the magnificent golden façade you will begin to understand the number of treasures this church holds. For centuries, Venetians called it “Basilica d’Oro” or the golden basilica.
After exploring the heart of religious Venice, you will continue the adventure and explore the home of the city’s political power. The Doge’s Palace stands next to the Basilica and was the home of 120 Doges (Dukes) who ruled Venice. Walk through the imposing halls that housed the city’s independent governments, luxurious apartments where the Doge lived his daily life, grand rooms, and more. In the palace’s prison, you’ll learn about another side of Venice, one that is unpolished and sometimes even cruel.
Day three: Venice to Florence, Private Guided Visit of Florence Including David and Duomo
Once in Florence, you will go for a private tour. This guided walking visit makes for a great intro to this stunning city and includes direct access to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s Sculpture of the David.
The visit begins at Piazza della Signoria, where your local guide will meet you and begin your walk through Medieval streets where the likes of Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and some of Italy’s most renowned artists once called home. You will now make your way over to Palazzo Vecchio where you will see a replica of Michelangelo’s David. This will certainly give you a taste of what’s to come a bit later on during the visit.
After passing over the renowned medieval Ponte Vecchio, from which you can admire the view of the River Arn you will head to Piazza della Repubblica, which now acts as a modern-day meeting place, but once stood as an ancient Roman Forum.
You will continue your stroll until you reach Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), also known by the locals as Il Duomo, with all its detailed decorative faces in white, green, and red marble. Your final is at the breathtaking masterpiece – Michelangelo’s David. You will be escorted directly into the Galleria dell’Accademia where the guide will tell you the stories of Michelangelo and his time in Florence, and how the Statue of David came to be.
Day four: Traditional Local Artisan Experience, Free Afternoon in Florence, Gelato Making Class
This private Florence Artisan Tour starts at the famous Ponte Vecchio, a historic home to the city’s jewelers. Crossing the bridge, you’ll arrive in Oltrarno. This quieter part of Florence is known for its craftsmanship and laboratories, now fighting to survive as mass tourism makes it hard for traditional arts to compete with cheap souvenirs.
The first stop on the tour is a famous paper workshop where they create beautifully marbled paper patterns. The art started with Florentine bookbinders in the 17th century. Your tour will continue with a visit to a family of Florence artisans. Oltrarno has been home to leather workers since the 14th century and although most producers have now moved out of the city, a few workshops have survived. You’ll visit a family-owned leather workshop where the mother designs and crafts purses by hand, the son produces luxury pet supplies, and the daughter makes unique,beaded jewelry and learns about their craft.
On the final stop on this tour, you’ll meet the artists of a mosaic laboratory. You’ll meet the craftspeople who carry on this tradition and watch them take rough pieces of stone and turn them into stunning works of art.
Then, you can opt to have a free afternoon to explore the city on your own, or join our Florence Gelato Making Class. In this one-hour experience, you will visit an authentic family-run Gelato Academy and learn all the ins and outs of gelato making from a pro. Discover the differences between gelato and ice cream. Make your very own flavor from scratch and then enjoy eating it all up!
Day five: Excursion to Tuscany: Chianti Winery Visit & San Gimignano
This experience takes you into the Chianti hills, Italy’s finest wine region, and the birthplace of the famous Chianti red wine.
You will enjoy the comfort of your own private car and driver, taking you to two gorgeous (and very different) vineyards. Your first stop takes you to a renowned historic vineyard, where you will enjoy a tour of the grounds and taste some of the best Chianti wines of the region. The second stop will take you to a smaller traditional vineyard, where you will enjoy a light lunch coupled with beautiful wines produced on site, and gorgeous views of the nearby ancient town of San Gimignano.
After your Tuscan lunch visit at the second vineyard, you will enjoy a quick visit to the ancient town of San Gimignano as your final stop. Your driver will take you directly to San Gimignano where you will be left to explore the town at your leisure. After your day of exploring this charming hill-covered region, your private driver will take you back to Florence. Experience the Italian countryside and wine culture at its finest!
Day six: Florence to Rome, Exclusive Private Guided Visit of Rome Highlights
Today you make your way to Rome. Enjoy the Italian «passeggiata», a walk in the heart of Rome to see the highlights during this privately guided visit of the eternal city. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain & learn the legend behind this iconic fountain; See why Bernini was one of the most prominent architects of Rome; Enjoy an Italian gelato and find out what makes gelato different from ice cream.
You will start at the picture-perfect Spanish Steps and enter Rome’s maze of charming cobblestone streets. As you weave in and out of the labyrinth of narrow streets, you will suddenly find ourselves in front of the breathtaking Pantheon. This is the only completely intact pagan temple left in Rome. The tour will continue on to arguably the most famous fountain in the world, the Trevi Fountain. Marvel at its beauty and toss a coin in to assure that this is not your last visit to the Eternal City! Next, you will stop for gelato at our favorite authentic Roman gelateria. The tour will conclude with a visit to Piazza Navona, host to Bernini’s fabulous Four Rivers Fountain and Rome’s many talented sidewalk artists and musicians. Your guide will be happy to recommend a nice restaurant in the area for your dinner.
Day seven: Free Day in Rome, Pizza Making and Wine Tasting in Frascati
Today you have a free day to explore the city’s highlights and make the most of your time in the Eternal City. A heady mix of haunting ruins, awe-inspiring art and vibrant street life, Italy’s hot-blooded capital is one of the world’s most romantic and charismatic cities.
The town of Frascati, which has been famous for its wines since the era of ancient Rome, is an easy 25-minute train ride from central Rome. Your guide, who is a Frascati local, will first take you on a tour of the most beautiful, authentic, and quintessential sites in town. You’ll then visit a bakery where you’ll have the opportunity to make your own pizza in one of the last wood-burning pizza ovens in Frascati: see the chestnut branches used in the oven and smell the delicious smoky aroma that fills the piazza as you enjoy the fresh air, cool breeze, and beautiful view of Rome in the distance.
Just five ingredients are all you need to make pizza dough from scratch. Your master Pizzaiolo is passionate about his craft and will teach you how to make a pizza with a recipe you can remake back home for your friends. He will show you how to knead, stretch, and flatten the dough, and which toppings to use for authentic Frascati pizza. You will also learn how to put it into the wood-burning oven. When your pizza is ready, you will eat it paired with local seasonal vegetables, Roman pasta, and more!
While you sit in the bakery enjoying your pizza, you’ll learn about and sample three local wines from your guide who is an ONAV-licensed sommelier. All three are perfectly paired with your pizza and local specialties. After you enjoy your pizza and wine, you’ll take the train back to Rome.
Day eight: Excursion to Visit Roman Castles and Medieval Hilltop Villages
Visit some of the most beautiful hill towns near Rome following the road of the Castelli Romani, south of Rome. In picturesque Monte Porzio Catone, renowned as the city of wine, enjoy a wine tasting of the local wines, while in the lovely and magical town of Ariccia, filled with architectural gems, taste the mouth-watering Porchetta. In Castel Gandolfo, set in a beautiful setting you’ll admire the numerous villas built through the centuries by wealthy Roman families. In all the cities, you’ll enjoy free time to wander around these lovely hilltop villages.
Today you will discover the Castelli Romani (Roman Castles) – a group of small villages located just a one hour drive from the busy city. Monte Porzio Catone is the first village you’ll visit. It is nestled between hills covered by olive groves and vineyards. Growing on this unique volcanic territory the grapes have a very distinctive flavor that can’t be found in any other place on the planet. Stop at a local traditional winery for a full wine tasting with some typical homemade delicatessen snacks.
Back on the road, drive along the famous Via Appia, ancient Rome’s gateway to the east, in order to reach Castel Gandolfo. This Apostolic Palace is still in use today, specifically by the Popes who have their summer residence here to enjoy the cooler climate. The next town is a short drive away. Ariccia was once the main residence of the powerful Chigi family, but today it is famous for roasted pork, known in Italian as porchetta. In the center wander the charming streets and check out Bernini’s Baroque Square, Palazzo Savelli-Chigi, and the Santa Maria Assunta church.
Day nine: Rome to the Amalfi Coast - Pompeii en Route
In the morning, you’ll leave Rome and head south to the Amalfi Coast. Take the train to Naples before heading by private transfer to your final destination of the Amalfi Coast, but before you arrive, you’ll make an incredible stop. Visit the ruins of Pompeii, a bustling seaside city that was buried underneath 13-20 ft (4 to 6 m) of ash and volcanic debris after the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The ash, which killed many of the city’s residents, acted as an archaeological time capsule by preserving many of the city’s original buildings and features completely intact.
The city was lost for 1,500 years following Mount Vesuvius’ eruption before its accidental rediscovery in 1599. Items of all kinds from jars to furniture were frozen in time, and even those unfortunate citizens of the empire, unable to flee the oncoming ash, were perfectly preserved. A stroll through Pompeii’s ancient streets will show off preserved villas, shops, public buildings, and plazas, giving you an insider’s look into life 2,000 years ago.
After the excursion to Vesuvius, you’ll continue on to the Amalfi Coast, where you’ll check in to your hotel and settle in for the evening.
Day ten: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi Coast Sunset Cruise
Today is a free day to explore the area and enjoy the slower pace of life on the coast. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in Minori or see the illuminated sea cave Grotta dello Smeraldo. Learn about the local ceramics manufacturing process in Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods.
In the afternoon, experience the Amalfi Coast on a cruise. Sailing at sunset, you will depart from Positano or Sorrento, following the coastline, stopping at picturesque islands, and enjoying aperitifs while taking in the view. Along the coast, you will be able to see some local gems: Queen Giovannas Bath surrounded by the ruins of the oldest Roman villa of Sorrento, Marina di Puolo, Marina della Lobra, Mitigliano Bay, and Punta Campanella.
Day eleven: Amalfi Coast by Vespa
Just south of the Gulf of Naples lies the Sorrentine Peninsula, featuring the 24 miles (40 km) of Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast. This entire region is one of the most storied and beautiful parts of the country, boasting a long history dating back to ancient Rome. There’s no better way to explore this singularly gorgeous stretch of coastline than on two wheels—particularly those attached to a Vespa. This tour will give you an unforgettable experience of looking at Italy from the seat of a Vespa driven by an experienced driver.
Ride along the most spectacular serpentine road into Positano. You’ll spend an hour in the stunning coastal city of Positano. Then it takes 30 minutes on the Vespa to arrive at another gorgeous city, Amalfi. Enjoy a longer stop of 1,5 hours, enough time to explore this village. The pebbly beaches and cliff top views made this region a prime destination for Europe’s literati and aristocracy from the 17th century onward. You’ll zip along with your experienced driver to the charming fishing villages whose homes are resplendent with bright colors.
The tour finishes with a ride along the stunning coastline, famous for its terraced lemon groves and vineyards, and returns to the starting point after a lunch break. Not to worry if you’ve never been on a Vespa, your expert guide and driver will take care of zipping along the coastline so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Day twelve: Day Excursion to Capri Island and Anacapri
Spend the day enjoying the sunshine and clear blue waters of Capri Island. Known locally as the «Pearl of the Mediterranean,» the ancient Greeks called it the «Isle of Sirens.» Capri sits on the south side of the Gulf of Naples and has been a popular vacation destination for millennia. The ancient Romans, in fact, built summer villas here for the Empire’s VIPs.
In the morning, you’ll head out to catch a hydrofoil to Capri. Visit the Marina Grande and Marina Piccola harbors, walk along the Belvedere of Tragara (a villa-lined promenade with panoramic views), and explore the ruins of ancient Roman villas.
Then head up the hill to Anacapri to see the Piazzetta and Augustus’ Garden, and enjoy the best views of the Faraglioni Rocks.
Should you choose, you can later return to the water and explore the Grotta Azzurra, the famous «Blue Grotto,» which is located inside a hollowed sea cave. Afterward, we recommend spending the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sunshine on the beach, before taking the ferry back in the evening.
Day thirteen: Amalfi Coast to Naples, Departure
Your trip finishes here! At the designated time, a driver picks you up at your hotel for transfer to the airport. Today you catch your flight home full of memories of Italy and wishing your stay had been longer.
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