Inspiring art and mouthwatering cuisine offer a glimpse of the cultural majesty that you will experience during your custom-tailored, best of Italy tour that immerses you in the splendor of bustling Rome, Florence, and Venice. You marvel at these breathtaking cityscapes while also indulging in the majesty of the Tuscan countryside. You will wander beneath the gilded mosaics of St. Mark’s Cathedral, sample the bold and layered flavors of the celebrated Brunello di Montalcino wine, and gaze up at...
Rome – Arrive in Rome with a Stunning Introductory Tour
The city of Rome will take you on a journey into the past, celebrating the ever-changing landscape of the Eternal City that leads from the Roman ruins to Renaissance designs. Your private transfer will greet you at Fiumicino Airport upon your arrival in Rome and escort you into the heart of the beautiful city center where you can relax in the comforts of your luxurious accommodations. The streets of Rome bustle with locals and visitors that wander over the cobblestone streets and peer into the windows of boutique shops that showcase elaborate displays of clothing, shoes, and coasts.
The scent of espresso will fade beneath the aromas of melted pecorino cheese as it drifts out of the nearby restaurants where tables and chairs sit beneath shading umbrellas. Eager to introduce you to the stunning highlights of Rome, your guide will greet you in the hotel, taking you from the incredible features of the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon. As the oldest complete structure in Rome, the Pantheon soars above the city with a concrete dome that stands 142 feet tall.
The foundations of the structure date back to the 2nd century AD with a porch that consists of 16 massive, granite columns, which were topped with Corinthian capitals. When you enter the structure, your guide will provide cultural, historical, and architectural details that relate to the harmonious ambiance of the former Roman temple and Christian church. You will also have the opportunity to see the tombs that hold the remains of famous Romans such as the first king of united Italy: Vittorio Emanuele II.
Rome – Explore the Ancient History and Cuisine of Rome
The ancient wonders of Rome will reveal their secrets to you after breakfast when your guide meets you in your hotel lobby. You will venture to view the Colosseum where you will first find the icon of Rome, towering over the surrounding plaza at 187 feet tall. The amphitheater retains a sense of charisma in its ruined state, deriving from its sheer size, sensational history, and the fragments of the original reliefs that were painted to the stucco. Your guide will lead you inside the structure where you can easily imagine the roar of the crowds of up to 50,000 spectators. You can also look down into the hypogeum and view the two-story maze that was once hidden beneath the stage, covering the rooms in which exotic animals and the gladiator training grounds were kept.
Your tour of ancient Rome will continue as you stroll through the Roman Forum along walkways that were once populated with senators, merchants, and devout citizens. You will visit one of the many temples at the heart of the capital’s former center for religious and civic life. The scent of old, dry stone will originate from the preserved columns.
In the evening, you will meet a chef for a private introduction to the cuisine that is specific to Rome as you work to create a delicious multi-course meal. The kitchen will fill with the aromas of pecorino cheese, guanciale, and pepper as you learn to craft a selection of customary pastas such as cacio e pepe and pasta alla gricia. Your class will begin with a quick outline on making noodles that are used most often in Roman cuisine for a mouthwatering and satisfying meal.
Rome – Discover the Remarkable Artistry of the Vatican City
The remarkable architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica embodies the grandeur and prestige of the Vatican and will enchant you spiritually and aesthetically during your private tour. Your guide will escort you to the famous square where you will begin your exploration of the history and art that fills the galleries beneath and around the centerpiece of Vatican City. Here, you will witness the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, which was designed by Michelangelo and stands 448 feet tall. The interior contains hints of frankincense and myrrh, which are the spices that stir through the air amid the bronze throne and papal tombs around the apse. The renowned Pietà by Michelangelo stands to the right of the nave and depicts a young Mary who is cradling Jesus after the crucifixion. It was carved from a single, immaculate slab of marble.
The galleries inside the Vatican Museum possess an array of ancient wonders from around the Mediterranean, ranging from papal coaches to Etruscan artifacts and Egyptian hieroglyphs to Renaissance paintings. The embodiment of artistic grandeur and religious devotion at the Vatican stems from the final gallery in the museum: the Sistine Chapel. You will be enchanted by the luminous colors that spread across the ceiling with depictions of Genesis as seen through the eyes of Michelangelo. At the heart of the ceiling, you will find the renowned image, portraying the creation of Adam and Eve.
Tuscany – Visit Charming Assisi en route to Tuscany’s Rolling Hills
In the morning, the cafes that circle the dazzling fountains of Piazza Navona will open their doors, returning the scents of freshly baked pastries that are stuffed with orange cream and rich espresso into the air. Your private transfer will greet you in the hotel lobby and lead you outside of Rome where you will reach the charming city of Assisi. The stronghold of Rocca Maggiore crowns the cityscape along the upper ridges of the mountain, shimmering with subtle pink hues.
The scent of olives will drift through the lanes and wind up and down the hillside, leading to the doors of the impressive Basilica di San Francesco near the base of the town. The structure was built over the tomb of the saint in the early 13th century and remains an important pilgrimage destination for Italy and the world. You can explore the two levels that consist of an older and newer church where you can find works by famous artists such as Giotto and Cimabue. You will continue to the charms of Tuscany at your preferred pace, basking in the iconic, rolling green hills and rows of cypress trees that shape the treasured landscape.
Tuscany – Enjoy the Flavors of Tuscany with a Wine and Food Tour
The sunlight will wash over the emerald hills of Tuscany in the morning, revealing the splendors of the countryside and enchanting ambiance of the medieval towns that crown the scattered hills. Your morning will begin in the town of Sorano, which is a capsule that was preserved by the Etruscan civilization and refined by Renaissance architecture. The open-air museum rises out of the surrounding trees as if it was carved from the natural stone of the protruding bluff with olive groves and wheat fields that add to the illustrious landscape. This is all set beneath the imposing, 14th-century Orsini fortress.
You will notice depictions of lions and a bear as they adorn the entrance arch, leading into the fortress and reflecting the emblems of nobility from the region. You will follow your guide through the quaint village for insight into culinary traditions that have been preserved in the way locals farm and use produce. You will sample the celebrated Prosciutto Toscano in Sorano to enjoy the delicate taste and delightful aroma that is developed from the local spice mixture.
You will continue to Montalcino, which is a medieval, hilltop town that is famous for its sensational wines, most notably the Brunello di Montalcino. The narrow, winding streets open to bustling piazzas and picturesque views of vineyards that spread across the valley. The unique buildings and preserved, city walls add to the charismatic charm as you begin your wine tasting tour in a local cellar. Your guide will provide great explanations of the winemaking process, the microclimates, and types of grapes that are used in order to understand the various reasons for celebrating the wines of the area. Your tour will culminate with a tasting a Brunello di Montalcino that has been aged in oak barrels. On your palate, you will find aromas of dried oregano, aged balsamic, fig, espresso, and hints of leather, sweet tobacco, and sour cherries.
Florence – Delight in the City of Siena and Beauty of Florence
The city of Siena stands within the classic hills of Tuscany and once battled for supremacy against the current capital of the region, even surpassing Florence in artistic and architectural grandeur. In the morning, your private transfer will escort you to the city for a half day’s tour of the cobbled lanes that are hidden within the preserved medieval walls that protect this city center. The aroma of sweet gelato will emanate from the various gelaterie that are scattered around the streets as it blends with the scent of fresh cappuccino.
You will have a remarkable tour of the city’s highlights that will take you from the Piazza del Campo to the incredible Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. The Gothic architecture alternates with stripes of dark and light marble with a large rose window that provides the interior with exceptional light. The nave contains 56 mosaic floor panels that were crafted between the 14th and 16th centuries. These depict regional folklore and biblical stories as they are set beneath stained glass, frescoes, and embellishments that glint with gold and silver.
Upon arriving in the marvelous city of Florence, you will settle into your luxurious accommodation at the heart of the city center before enjoying an introductory tour of the architecture that will focus on illuminating the splendor of the celebrated Duomo. The dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral remains the largest unreinforced, brick dome in the world, standing 376 feet tall. The interior possesses the aroma of a familiar spice as you walk down the long nave to stand underneath the octagonal balustrade that shines with 88 reliefs.
Florence – Traverse Renaissance Art, Culture, and History in Florence
The captivating aromas of freshly fried bomboloni will drift out of the pasticcerie in the morning. You will meet your guide in the hotel lobby before stepping into the city for a full day’s tour of the wonderful art for which the city is known. You will begin with the fascinating Uffizi Gallery. The grand museum was originally built as the magistrate’s office in the 16th century but now encompasses nearly 140,000 square feet and displays works of art from the 13th to the 18th centuries. You will follow your guide for an insightful introduction into the famous and overlooked works of Tuscany, which include finding the famous Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca. The works became unique in their humanistic representation of the couple.
You will continue your discovery of Florence’s artistic majesty at the Accademia Gallery, which is home to the spectacular statue of Michelangelo’s David. As you walk down the hall, which leads to the structure that is synonymous with Florence, you will also find a collection of unfinished sculptures by the master artist, which resemble men that are stuck halfway through their emergence from the marble slabs that encase them. The carvings were meant to decorate a papal tomb in Rome. Standing beneath the statue of David, it reveals its magnitude at 17 feet tall. Its detail with the muscles makes it look as if David could step into life from the platform at any moment.
Venice – Transfer to Venice for an In-Depth Tour of the Republic
You will travel by fast train from Florence to Venice in the morning, enjoying the luxuries of first-class before you meet with your private transfer at Venezia Santa Lucia Station. Travel across the Grand Canal and through the winding, narrow lanes of the atmospheric city that sprout out of the lagoon to reach your gorgeous accommodation. The commotion from the Rialto Market will calm as vendors pack up their remaining seafood and produce for the day while you venture out into the lavish architecture that reflects the prestige of the former Republic.
Your guide will lead you on a magnificent tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, unveiling the beauty, secrets, and history of the Venice. Inside the Doge’s Palace, you will venture into the Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci, or The Council of Ten, which was a secret court that was in charge of the Republic’s secret police. Elegant wood paneling gives way to stunning depictions of Jupiter Hurling Thunderbolts against the Vices that were painted by the master artist Veronese.
Venice – Cruise the Venetian Lagoon for Insight into Famous Islands
In the morning, rows of gondolas will wade in the stoic water at Bacino Orseolo near the domes of St. Mark’s Basilica. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a classic tour of the Venetian Lagoon, visiting the famous islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. As you arrive on the island of Murano, you will notice the ambiance is similar to that of a smaller Venice. The island gained prominence in the 13th century when the Doge moved all of the glassblowing artisans away from Venice out of fear of fires.
The Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus decorates the central piazza while gilded Byzantine mosaics from the 7th century adorn the floor. You will meet with an artisan glassblower for a demonstration on how to craft marvelous pieces of art, ranging from small vases to grand fixtures. The heat from the kiln will fill the room as the artisan uses a combination of heat, air, and molding techniques to shape the molten glass to his will, highlighting a skill that was once coveted around the world for its uniquely Venetian style.
Venice – Depart for Home
When the morning returns to Venice, the shops will open their gates, revealing their elaborate and elegant window displays that capture the culture of the city on the lagoon. Customary masks from Carnival may glint in the light, and cafes will set up tables and chairs along the edge of the water to allow patrons to watch the gondolas drift by. The vendors in the Rialto Market will return, representing their fresh produce that has been brought from the farming island of St. Erasmo. After breakfast, your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby to escort you to Marco Polo Airport where you will board your flight home.
- Discover the majesty of artwork and history that is on display in St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum
- Explore the sensational evolution of art in Italy with a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery, showcasing centuries of ways that artists have shared beauty
- Wander the open halls and grand galleries of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, unveiling the hidden history of the Republic in the Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci
- Experience the engineering ingenuity, prestige, and power of the Roman Empire on a guided tour of the Colosseum
- Indulge in the passion and celebrated flavors of traditional Tuscan cuisine during a wine and food tour of Montalcino, which is home of Brunello di Montalcino
- Delight in a private glassblowing demonstration from an artisan craftsman who continues the proud traditions of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon
- Marvel at the extravagant detail of Michelangelo’s David when visiting the Accademia Gallery in Florence
- Revel in the deceptively simple and layered flavors of Roman cuisine during a private cooking lesson that will teach you how to prepare a delicious, multi-course meal
Your 10-day, best of Italy tour reveals the intersection of highlights and overlooked charms of Rome, Florence, and Venice, immersing you in urban sophistication and natural grandeur for a glimpse of history, artistry, and heritage. Your time will encapsulate luxury and discovery with fantastic private tours that lead you through impressive museums, preserved, medieval towns, and private kitchens that highlight special, regional cuisines. The highlights of Italy will become a gateway into enchanting traditions and unforgettable masterworks from Michelangelo to glassblowers on the Venetian island of Murano.
Your highlights of Italy tour will begin with your arrival in Rome, which is where you will stay for three nights. Your privately guided tours will introduce the marvels of the city, ranging from the ancient Pantheon to the Baroque Trevi Fountain and the classic Colosseum to the treasures that are on display in the Vatican Museum. You will enjoy the combination of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture as they are filled with a modern ambiance of a major cosmopolitan and capital city. Explore the Roman Forum, wander through St. Peter’s Basilica, and learn the craft of customary Roman cuisine.
You will transfer to Tuscany for two nights, which is where you will visit the enchanting hillside town of Assisi. Once here, you will spend time exploring the cobblestone streets that ascend to the entrance of Rocco Maggiore fortress in addition to visiting the two chapels of St. Francis of Assis Basilica. Enjoy an entire day traversing the Tuscan countryside with a private guide who will show you small towns and hilltop villages that have been preserved for centuries. You will sample traditional, local cuisine in Sorano and delight in a tasting of Brunello di Montalcino in the charming town of Montalcino.
Before arriving in Florence for two nights, you will have some time to visit the fascinating city of Siena, which is a town that once rivaled Florence in power and prestige. Once in Tuscany’s impressive capital city, you will spend the remainder of the day touring the Renaissance landscape at the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, and San Lorenzo. An entire day will be devoted to the arts of Florence with a tour of the Uffizi Gallery and the Academia Gallery. Your final two nights on your best of Italy tour occur in Venice, which is an enchanting city on the lagoon. Two private tours will take you through the waterways from delving into the secret histories and breathtaking artistry of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica to discovering a history of the arts in the tranquil ambiance of the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Consider reading some of our travelers’ Italy tour reviews for more ideas to perfect your dream Italy vacation.
$2,745 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.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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