Italy, Vatican City
Naples, Rome, Vatican City, Castelli Romani, Tuscany, Chianti, Florence, Siena, Bologna, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Verona, Venice, Grand Canal, Amalfi Coast
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Discover for yourself the quintessence of Italy as you enjoy pizza in Naples, pasta in Bologna while taking in the cliffside colors and lively cities. Journey through the Venetian canals, the Tuscan vineyards, the Roman plazas, and the Florentine domes, and at no point will you have seen enough. In a country of beautiful regional contrasts, each destination will bring its own authenticity and intimate local appeal. From Amalfi to Venice, it is all so different, and that is the greatest highlight...
Amalfi Coast – Stop, Rest, Relax
Colors shimmer along the Amalfi Coast with reds and greens and yellows against the blue of the Mediterranean. Villages are tucked into cliffs with plazas and cafes perched high above the water. You must descend to reach them, down some steep steps, and into places where vehicles cannot reach. In these villages, it will be restful and relaxing, an intimate Italian home away from home where your guesthouse terrace catches the soft sea breeze. You will land in Naples today and transfer straight to the coast, a 90-minute journey that leads to three days of Amalfi tranquility. This is a great place to unwind, especially after your flight, ensuring you have the energy for the culture and wonder that comes during the next two weeks.
Amalfi Coast – Colors on the Cliffs and Another Relaxed Day
Nothing is planned for today as you settle into the Italian experience. While the Amalfi Coast has become very popular with tourists, it has maintained a local feel, as have most of the country’s destinations. You do not come here to see the sights, but you will feel the country nonetheless as you enjoy a morning cappuccino overlooking the sea at a quiet cafe on the plaza. Church bells ring through the day, and you can descend to the waterside and dip your toes in the blue. Villages are slung along the coast, some directly on the water, and others tucked into cliffs. You can set off on a coastal hike between some of them, or you can ascend from your base in Positano towards a monastery above it all. But most of all, today is another chance to kick back and settle into Italy.
Amalfi Coast – Discovering Sorrento and Capri
Visitors have been wowed by the Isle of Capri since the time of the Roman Republic. What was once a getaway for emperors is now a getaway for an afternoon indulgence. Sail across on the wind, stop at a couple of small caves, and even swim in the beautiful turquoise waters. Check out the island’s ruins and wander through its mystical charm with not a building out of place on one of Europe’s most beautiful spots. An afternoon here is complemented by an evening in Sorrento, a town of lemon smells, plunging cliffs and vintage, old-world architecture. Like Amalfi, it is a famous coastal resort, with the atmosphere being entirely Italian.
Rome – Contrasts of Historic Italy in One Day
It will be a celebration of contrast as you explore three majestic destinations. Begin with Pompeii, an archaeological site to showcase the wealth of Roman history with incredible scale and detail to the town for you to explore. Then move to Naples, a lively and misunderstood city on the coast with the faded charm of its exterior hiding rich artistic treasures and a famous search for pizza. The classic Italian dish originates here, and your guide will know where to seek out the locals’ choice. Spend a languid afternoon in Naples before taking the train to Rome, where you will disembark into a city of icons. On this first evening, you can walk the squares, pass the fountains, descend the Spanish Steps, and enjoy one of the world’s great people-watching cities.
Rome – From the Republic to Modern Rome
Columns rise like the flumes of history they are. The Colosseum stands majestic, far more impressive than the photos suggest. You can wander beneath the eyes of sphinx and goddesses, but Rome is more than just the past, so after the Forum and Colosseum you will be led on a journey through its subsequent eras. This was the second Renaissance city, Palazzo Venezia and other open-sided galleries a clear change from Romanesque times. Baroque evolved in Rome as well, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna just two of the dazzling city squares constructed in this style.
And then there is the neoclassical with Piazza delle Niaadi the best place to understand the style. And it would not be the complete Roman tour without a look at the incongruent Fascist style designed by Marcello Piacentini. With architecture as a lens, you can also spend the day exploring the neighborhoods of Rome, getting beneath the city’s skin, and enjoying plenty of stops for espresso and delicacies. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. By the end of today, you will appreciate how the city has evolved over two millennia.
Rome – Intimate Trastevere and Exclusive Nighttime Vatican Museums Access
Small churches hide artistic treasures in the district of Trastevere. They can be reached in a horse and carriage, a timeless mode of travel to the most intimate place in Rome. You find cobbled streets and small cafes here, everything a clear change from the more eye-catching grandeur of yesterday. The afternoon is free before a visit to the Vatican after it has closed for the day. With after-hours access, you can explore the world’s greatest art collection without any of the crowds. Early Christian sculpture, Greek and Roman remains, Raphael’s Rooms, and other glorious odes to Italian artists. And then finish with Michelangelo, his Sistine Chapel ceiling all the more impressive when it is so silent and serene.
Chianti – Impressions of the Tuscany Countryside
To Tuscany you will go with a short drive into vineyards and villages. You will be staying amid the vines in your guesthouse located on a working wine farm. Enjoy a tasting with the cellar master and get to know Chianti wines. Young, subtle, and fresh on the palette, these are some of Italy’s most loved wines, all cultivated from the Sangiovese grape. These are wines best paired with food, so you can get to know Tuscan delicacies as well with cheeses, hams, and herbs that make everything so aromatic. The afternoon is relaxed as you take a tour of the farm and take in the Tuscan scenery, the countryside so different from the Roman cityscape.
Chianti – Wine Tasting and Indulgence Across Chianti
With a Chianti base, you can easily get to know more of Tuscany. Head off with your guide and today’s itinerary is flexible, based on what you want to see and how much you would like to wine taste. Visit local producers for some old-world wine tasting, or check out one of the larger, world-famous wineries. Explore the old city square in Siena or travel as far afield as Pisa. Take in small Tuscan villages, where the food is sublime and the atmosphere so laid-back you can easily fall asleep after lunch. And then return to the vineyard and watch how the landscape changes color, such depth to the landscape when the sun makes its wondrously slow descent.
Chianti – Getting to Know the Heart of Florence
With Chianti as your home base, you can also get to spend a full day in Florence. The Uffizi Gallery, stuffed full of the great Renaissance works is a great place to start, and you will be even more delighted as you find even greater wonder in Galleria dell’Accademia, including Michelangelo’s David. Take a break from galleries on Piazza della Signoria before a journey across the best of Renaissance architecture. Like Rome, you might use the grand buildings as a focal point to exploring neighborhoods, except this time you barely cover two centuries. It is well worth staying in Florence into the evening, as the domes turn a lovely color at dusk. But you can return to Chianti at your leisure, whenever you feel ready to do so.
Bologna – Food, Food, Food
Arrive in Bologna, and it will be easy to be won over by its easy-going style. Wander beneath the arched colonnades and savor the aromas of coffee and cacao. Alongside an enormous Gothic church, you can begin to understand Bologna’s lively history. But you are not necessarily here for the sights, as impressive as they may be. Instead, you will be here for the food. Bologna is Italy’s culinary capital, and in a country so famous for its food, that is quite a distinction. Just think about the origins of Bolognese, and you can imagine the pasta on offer.
This afternoon you can delve mouth-first into Bologna pasta, a local chef guiding you around Italy’s most revered food market. Sample local produce and learn to inspect through sight and smell, before taking your finds back to the kitchen. Many pasta varieties originate here, and you will learn how to craft a couple of stuffed kinds of pasta. It will be a great time spent in the kitchen, and there will be serious attention to detail, tortellini bolognese is created alongside a tagliatelle and perhaps a passatelli. You will dine on this pasta of course, before joining the chef in a post-dinner paseo, or walk, across the main piazzas.
Bologna – And Even More Food (Plus Glorious Medieval History)
From warm pasta dishes to the best cold cuts in the world, your tasting journey continues. Today you will explore wider Emilia-Romagna, the region Bologna is the capital of. Parma is where you go for cured ham, the pungent smell of a local producer as memorable as the tasting. Modena is your next stop for balsamic, an evergreen addition to every Italian dinner table. Move next to Parmesan cheese, found in Parmigiano, another quaint old village that has influenced the culinary world. These three treats are combined with all manner of medieval glories, the towns and villages as inspiring as the food. Back in Bologna, you will appreciate why the locals are so fussy about what they eat. With such glorious raw produce on their doorstep, nothing but perfection is expected.
Venice – Two Contrasting Cities to Explore
Whizz to Verona on the train and meet your local guide. With bags stored at the station, you can take a walk through scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, pausing to picture the balcony where the star-crossed lovers famously met. Verona feels very much like fiction, everything from the Roman amphitheater to the quiet cafes expressing a city that revels in fictitious tales. You can get around the best of Verona in two hours, then follow a private tour with lunch on the main piazza. By evening, it will be onwards by train to Venice, the final stop on your Italian journey.
From the train, you travel on the canals, a gondola transfer to your hotel in the heart of the city. The rest of the day is left free with some time for you to pick up all your own Venetian impressions. Wander across famous bridges and go searching for gelato. Dine on a piazza as church spires rise high above. Walk between islands and admire how the townhouses still stand so proudly. Settle into the city’s evening atmosphere as a large proportion of visitors to Venice stay outside the old city, where the hotels are much cheaper. Your accommodations will be in the city center, and along with that will be the delight of a quiet city as dusk falls.
Venice – The Best of the Canals and Islands
Spend your day on the water as you sail out to Murano and Burano, outlying islands famous for glass production and their waterside charm. Here you can go into the workshops and take lunch on the water for a quiet way to bring your 14 days in Italy to a close. Take your time to explore central Venice with another journey down the Grand Canal before an intimate look at Doge’s Palace, where artistic grandeur meets with a peculiar history. You will have traveled from southwest to northeast, and the Italian rhythm will be firmly coursing through you. So head out late into the evening, enjoying the cafes and terraces, toasting to the highlights of Italy.
Venice – Departure
After a relaxed morning and one last Italian breakfast, you will depart from Venice airport to connect to your international departure.
- Feast on the food of Bologna with a two-day stay in Italy’s culinary hub
- Travel back in time during an afternoon in old Rome, including exclusive access to the Colosseum
- Lounge around the coast and start your vacation in the relaxed villages of Amalfi
- Indulge in the treasures of Tuscany with a three-night stay on a Chianti vineyard
- Travel down the Venetian canals in your private gondola
- Enjoy after-hours access to the Vatican Museums and appreciate the art without the crowds alongside you
- Embrace the energy of Naples and the beauty of Florence
- Discover medieval Italy with day trips to Verona and Siena, as well as visits to various small villages
- Uncover the history of Pompeii, search for the original pizza, and spend an afternoon on the Isle of Capri
Almost everywhere you go on this private tour, you will find yourself exclaiming that this is quintessential Italy. On the canals of Venice, overlooking vineyards in rural Tuscany, standing beneath Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Vatican or dining on pasta in medieval Bologna, Italy is a country of authenticity. This highlights tour will show you the regional differences that have made Italy what it is today. You will experience how Naples is incomparable to Verona, how Tuscany feels completely different from Rome, why Bologna is such a culinary hub, what the Renaissance means to Florence, and what became of Pompeii. Over the two weeks itinerary, you will discover that authenticity means many different things, depending on where you are in Italy.
Your two weeks will kick off in a relaxed fashion on the Amalfi Coast. Rest and be refreshed in a colorful cliffside village while gazing out over the Mediterranean. Spend an afternoon on the Isle of Capri and an evening in Sorrento, slowly extending your understanding of old Italy. Explore Naples and Pompeii next for two destinations that could not be further apart in terms of experience. These are visited en route to Rome, where you have several nights in the Eternal City. This length of time gives you time to go from gladiators to baroque art and design with a chance to explore the local side to Rome and have exclusive after-hours access to the Vatican Museums.
Move next to Chianti, a Tuscan region of vineyards and tranquility. Taste wines amid bucolic landscapes, visit medieval towns like Siena, spend a day in Florence, and feel energized by the old-world atmosphere. Bologna is Italy’s culinary hub and you will spend two days exploring the classics, from Parma to pasta to Parmigiano. Bologna is a lively medieval city as well and often surprises many visitors. Verona is an easy half-day stop on route to Venice, where the waterways and bridges provide your final Italian highlights. It may only be two weeks, but you will have covered Italy southwest to northeast, traversing both its traditions and its wonders. Looking for the best Italy travel experiences? Consider browsing our Italy travel reviews page.
$3,845 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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