10-Day UNESCO World Heritage Italy Tour

View of the Roman Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine
A 10 day trip to Italy 
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Capture the splendor of the past and experience the importance of heritage during your custom-tailored UNESCO tour of Italy that immerses you in the majesty of culture from the historic canals of Venice to the excavated streets of Pompeii. With 51 designated cultural and natural landmarks, Italy will enchant you with a breathtaking heritage that is represented in its mouthwatering cuisine, prestigious, marble palaces, staggering ancient artistry, and alluring Renaissance masterworks. Your luxury tour will reveal a treasure-trove of history that is unlike anywhere else in the world, bringing the marvels of the past to the forefront.

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General Information

Photos
Thermal Baths | Terme di Tivoli Offerte in Italy
Milan City, Italy at dawn
Villa Pisani National Museum in Stra, Italy
A few parked gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy
Royal Palace of Caserta in Italy
A portion of the ruins in Pompeii, Italy
Doge's Palace at dusk in Venice, Italy
Aerial view of the Adige River in Verona, Italy
Stone carved Venetian lion decoration at University of Padua in Italy
View through shrubbery of a vineyard in the Lessinia Regional Natural Park in  Verona, Italy
View of the Amalfi Coast and the village of Positano, Italy
Marble statues in the Villa Adriana (Trivoli) in Rome, Italy
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Milan, Florence, Sorrento, Tuscany, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Padua, Verona, Tivoli, Caserta

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in the UNESOC Heritage City of Venice

The floating masterpieces of Venice glimmer in the sunlight with marbled palaces that rise out of the fabled canals. Stoic gondolas cruise along the narrow and hidden waterways while vaporetti speed between the wide, winding banks of the Grand Canal. Your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival at Marco Polo Airport and escort you into the heart of your city so you can settle into the comforts of your luxurious accommodation.

You can look out your window over the water and find locals who are dangling their clothes above the rippling canal below and witness small the bridges in the distance, which account for a few of the more than 400 in the city that connect Venice’s 118 small islands. You will meet your guide in the hotel lobby and set out on a fascinating introductory tour of the UNESCO heritage city with a private gondola tour that will lead you back in time and challenge your perception of the former powerful republic with preserved palaces and six churches that soar above the banks of the Grand Canal.

The narrow backstreets retain their priceless sheen in the evening with restaurants that light the walkways with candles and secluded churches that are decorated with the works of master artists. You can step off the gondola at Campo dei Frari to view the captivating works of Titian that adorn the Venetian architecture, including Assumption of the Virgin, which depicts the Apostles on the ground, Mary rising in the center of the piece, and the heavens above with vibrant colors and poetic dimensions that break the traditions of the time to show the masterful aesthetic of the High Renaissance.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Venice – Discover the Culture and History of Venice

The aromas of fried pastries that are akin to donuts that are dusted with powdered sugar and stuffed with citrus cream will fill the streets in the morning, drifting through the doors of the bakeries that are hidden around the narrow canals. After breakfast, your expert guide will greet you in the hotel lobby and will be eager to lead you alongside the canals and through the city that is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Rialto Market brims with the activity of vendors who call to passersby and share jokes with one another amid tables that showcase their fresh seafood. Neighborhood bars fill with locals who enjoy sipping espresso before heading to work. Your guide will lead you to the glistening façade of St. Mark’s Basilica where gilded mosaics adorn the porticos beneath soaring bulbous domes that stand 141 feet tall.

The fascinating mosaics date back to the 13th century and fill the vaulted doorways, reflecting stories from the Bible and featuring Creation, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, and the Tower of Babel. Your guide will offer insight into the history, heritage, and importance of the basilica in addition to the fascinating information on the captivating artwork that includes the more than 45,638 square feet of Byzantine mosaics. In the evening, you will continue your immersion into the heritage of Venice with a private cicchetti tour that will have you visiting celebrated bars, which serve the delicious small plates that are indelible to the culinary traditions of the city.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Milan – Visit Padua and Verona en route to Milan 

In the morning, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and guide you across the waters out of Venice to reach the nearby city of Padua. The city has a surprising vibrancy that derives from the student life of the second-oldest university in Italy. The aromas of thriving peonies and jasmine will brim from the Orto Botanico, which was the world’s first botanical garden with foundations that date back to the 16th century. Your private, botanical guide will provide a deeper understanding of the importance of the garden’s creation beyond the beauty of its preserved, original design.

Decorative balustrades, a greenhouse, and pumps add to the grandeur of the already prestigious setting. You can still view students who are visiting the gardens and learning about the exotic plant species that were once brought from around the edges of the Venetian Republic’s vast empire. Your discovery of UNESCO Heritage sites will continue in the Capella degli Scrovegni, whose airtight entrance has preserved the 14th-century frescoes by Giotto. The magnificent works depict scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary, including a depiction of the Passion that has been crafted with dramatic force and captured in vivid colors and lifelike expressions.

You will continue to the great city of Verona, which is another historic city center that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site both for its preserved charm and connection to Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The foundations of the city date back to the 1st century and are revealed in the staggering Roman amphitheater that rises out of Piazza Bra with maintained stadium seating that hosts 22,000 spectators during the Verona Opera Festival each summer. The charms of the city will take you from antiquity to the medieval period and deep into the Renaissance, culminating with a visit to the enchanting home of Juliet Capulet, where you will find pilgrims from around the world who are visiting the courtyard and touching the bronze, decorative statue that is set beneath ivy-strung walls and iconic balcony.  

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Milan – Explore the Beauty and Elegance of Milan

The grandeur of Milan returns in the morning as the cosmopolitan city fills with the aromas of frothy cappuccino and freshly pressed espresso that emanates from the neighborhood bars and cafes, which lead to the impressive architecture of the central Duomo. The sunlight will wash over the dramatic Gothic features that will reveal 135 intricate pinnacles and approximately 2,245 marble statues. You will explore the city with a cultural and historical specialist, bringing the past monuments and contemporary heritage to life and beginning with a visit to the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church. The 15th-century façade has a rosy hue that stems from the pink, brick that is set beneath the rising prestige of the six-sided dome.

You will find the captivating work of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper inside the adjoining refectory. The famous piece features Jesus and the Apostles during their last meal before the crucifixion. You will continue to the opulent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which was the first shopping arcade in Milan, dates back to the 19th century and is complete with a gilded, glass dome that stands 157 feet above the mosaic floor. The aromas of fresh pasta and sautéing mushrooms with risotto fills the gallery and derives from the celebrated restaurants, which reveal the connection in the city between cuisine and shopping that is inherent in the culture of Milan.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Florence – Travel to Florence to Uncover the Historic City Center

In the morning, you will travel to Florence in first-class on a fast train that is bound for the historic city center of the Renaissance city. Upon arrival, your private transfer will greet you at Santa Maria Novella Station and escort you into the heart of the bustling streets where you can enjoy the luxuries of your accommodation in view of the soaring heights of the Duomo’s legendary brick dome that was designed by Brunelleschi. Your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and will be ready to introduce you to the remarkable city that once drew the likes of Donatello, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and da Vinci.

As you explore the city, you will find the aromas of espresso and leather that fill the neighborhood of San Lorenzo and stem from the cafes and vendors who showcase their quality bags, shoes, and jackets. Within the 13th-century basilica of Santa Croce, you will find the aromas of frankincense and myrrh that drift beneath the rafters and farming archways. Frescoes by Giotto decorate the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels while a relief that depicting the Annunciation by Donatello shimmers with gilded edges. Your guide will provide incredible context for the grandeur of the basilica and the surrounding architecture of the city, pointing out the tomb of Michelangelo that is decorated with three allegorical statues that represent painting, sculpture, and architecture in mourning.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Florence – Traverse the Grandeur of Medici Villas in Tuscany

In the morning, the bells of the cathedral will peel with an inspiring melody, reminding you of the sensational history, artistry, and heritage of Florence that is accompanied by the delightful aromas of fresh pastries and espresso. Your guide for the day will be a specialist in Medici history and Tuscan culture and will lead you to a selection of the 12 villas. At Poggio a Caiano, your guide will provide context for the importance of the villas, removing the family from the iconic medieval castles or vast farmsteads of the noble families at the time and creating a new style of living.

You will find the classic ideals of the Mannerist aesthetic, which is known for its refinement and richness over realism. The interior possesses artistic treasures such as a fresco by Lippi and wall paintings by Andrea del Sarto. The gardens host a spectacular collection of rare plants and terracotta statues, which embody the ideals of Italianate design with the aromas of grapes and citrus fruits that fill the air and add an extra layer of charm to the refined beauty of the villa.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Sorrento – Enjoy a Day at Tivoli and Caserta Palace en route to Naples

Your private transfer will escort you out of Florence in the morning to travel to the former Roman hilltop town of Tivoli, where families of means would retire for the summer to escape the heat of the capital city. The gorgeous landscape climbs up the Sabine Hills above the River Aniene. The medieval charm of town winds along the medieval castle and unique churches that lead to the magnificent UNESCO Heritage sites of Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este. You will follow your private guide through the stunning, preserved architecture that was designed by a Roman emperor and features an eclectic cultural aesthetic that once inspired Hadrian.

The villa encompasses more than 296 acres and combines the elements of classical cities to create an idealized design that feels like an open-air museum, dating back to the 2nd century AD. Mosaics, fountains, and baths continue to decorate the grounds and lead to the 225-foot-long Canopus Pool that was inspired by Egyptian design. Statues line the curved edge beneath the colonnade and connect to the Temple of Serapis. At the other edge of the pool stand statues that represent the caryatids from Athens and the Amazons.

Before reaching Sorrento, your private transfer will stop at Caserta Palace, where your historian guide, who specializes in the grandeur of the Baroque period in Italy, will greet you at the entrance. You will become immersed in the majesty of one of Europe’s largest palatial complexes that overtakes more than 2.5 million square feet and features 1,200 rooms. Your guide will provide the history, emphasizing the marvels of the 18th-century complex that lead into the gardens. A cascade trundles down the back of the garden and divides the woodlands and rushing water into the fountains at the center of the open space. You can hear the water trickling and splashing in the fountains as they capture your attention and inspire your whimsical side.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Sorrento – Wander through the Heritage of Pompeii and Herculaneum

The aroma of the sea drifts across the cobbled lanes of Sorrento in the morning, washing over the small public piazzas and past the colorful facades of majestic palaces. Your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby after breakfast and will be interested in introducing you to the majesty of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Upon reaching Pompeii, you will find the looming peak of Mount Vesuvius in the background of the Roman Forum, reminding visitors of its awesome power that once buried the city beneath in up to 20 feet of pumice and ash during the eruption of 79 AD. You will walk along the excavated avenues and boulevards of the ancient city where you will find uncovered vases and pots that still hold oils or wine. You will find an open room that resembles a kitchen, where you will learn that the building was once an ancient fast food restaurant that served ready-to-eat meals to passersby.

You will continue to the smaller but equally mesmerizing city of Herculaneum, which was covered beneath more than 52 feet of pumice, ash, and mud during the same eruption of Mount Vesuvius that protected the ancient structures. Your guide will immerse you in the uncovered history of the city, revealing the lives of civilians that are featured in the remains of sites like the Sede degli Augustali. The scent of dry earth overtakes the sea breeze as you venture into the square design that is attributed to the College of the Augustales, where you will walk through columns, arches, and across cocciopesto floors. Two magnificent frescoes depict Hercules as he enters Mount Olympus and Hercules as he wrestles Achelous.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Sorrento – Delight in Ancient Paestum and a Cultural Cooking Class

The splendor of Magna Grecia will become your focus in the morning as you discover the captivating Greek temples of Paestum that rise out of the plains of the Campania region. The scent of grass will combine with the subtle milky aroma of traditional, buffalo mozzarella cheese that is crafted in the area. You will follow your guide through the magnificent history of the archeological park that dates back to the 6th century BC. The Doric architecture of the Temple of Hera II reflects the most maintained design of the three standing temples with double rows of columns and additions that were made by the Romans and Christians throughout the millennia. In the museum, you will find the fascinating tomb of the Diver, which is a distinctive scene that was crafted in the 5th century BC and depicts a diver who ventures into the water but symbolizing the death and passage into the afterlife.

You will return to Sorrento in the afternoon and meet with a private chef who will be delighted to share the secrets of traditional Neapolitan pizza, which is considered “intangible heritage” by UNESCO as it represents a form of artistry that has been passed down by pizza-makers through the generations. The aroma of simmering tomato sauce will fill the kitchen, carrying notes of garlic and sweet tomatoes. You will follow the guidance of your chef to learn the art of crafting the dough with water, flour, salt, yeast, and beating the dough into a circle before covering the makings of the pizza with fresh, seasonal ingredients for the perfect flavor.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Sorrento – Depart for home

In the morning, you will find the enticing aromas of lemon and orange citrus as they drift through the streets of Sorrento, stemming from the orchards that line the seaside terraces along the edges of the city. After breakfast, you will have time to travel along the 25-mile stretch of shoreline that is known as the Amalfi Coast, visiting the famous three towns of Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi, which represent another one of Italy’s charming UNESCO World Heritage sites before you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in to your flight home. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,745
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.