Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Fiesole, Portofino
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Step out of your hotel and into a painting of Italy, set in picturesque Cinque Terre and artistic Florence. The Mediterranean breeze will blow against your cheeks as you cruise on a yacht past the coastline and images of the Renaissance will spring to life in the form of palaces and beautiful Cathedral domes. Craft homemade pasta with your hands and sample locally made wines beside a natural harbor with water lapping at the rocks. Your custom tailored tour will paint your perfect Italian experience...
Monterosso – Arrive in the Beautiful Coastal Province of Cinque Terre
The villages of Cinque Terre cling to the steep cliffs of the Ligurian coastline that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. The turquoise water splashes against the rocks and the pastel colored homes stand out against the layered rocks. Your flight will land at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. You will enjoy the ride along the scenic, winding road and past olive groves and lemon trees that open up to the seaside. The car will stop at the edge of Monterosso, the most northern of the Cinque Terre villages and the largest of the five villages.
A promenade lines the breadth of the pebbled beach as colorful umbrellas cast shade over the lounging beachgoers. The water splashes lazily at the shoreline as lush vines stretch across the terraced hillsides that border the town. The antiquity emanates from the pastel painted houses that line the cobblestone streets of Old Town as the aroma of freshly baked focaccia bread drifts from the bakeries and blends into the briny scent of the Mediterranean. A tunnel connects the maze-like lanes of the older district to the streets of the newer district, in which the homes stand out from the trees and ascend the hills. The Aurora Tower stand on a promontory at the edge of the beach guarding the coastline as it has since the 16th-century.
Monterosso – Traverse the Stunning Villages of Cinque Terre on the Trails
In the morning, the sunlight will glint against the early 20th-century statue built into the cliff at the northern end of the beach. The statue once depicted the great sea god Poseidon, complete with staff. Due to a history of rough seas, the Trident has fallen away, but the bulk of the statue remains set against the rock face and stands at a height of 46 feet. The art seamlessly blends into the landscape, and the landscape radiates like natural art.
After breakfast, you will step onto the scenic trail that connects the five towns alongside the coastline. Another trail connects the hamlet churches located at the top of the hills to offer a unique perspective of historical religious structures with views to the horizon. Mules carried supplies and merchandise between the secluded seaside villages and forged the traditional Blue Path. The trail ascends to a height of more than 650 feet above sea level and reaches a length of approximately seven miles from start to finish. You will pass Aurora Tower and wander beneath the trees of one of Italy’s most notable trails.
Olive branches dangle plump fruit alongside the lemon trees that bring a fragrant citrus aroma into the breeze. A selection of stairs winds upwards as the trees part for a spectacular view of Vernazza. The tower-houses overtake the horseshoe shaped cliffs and hover above the natural harbor. Locals and visitors alike sunbathe on the warm, smooth boulders that border the water as basil plants and vineyards grow on the terraced hills above town. Continue to the charming town of Corniglia, located atop a cliff at 328 feet above sea level. The town was settled during the Roman Empire and contains an incredible collection of stairs built into the rocky slopes.
Monterosso – Wander the Vines and Wines of Vernazza with a Guided Tour
Bakeries open their doors to the winding cobblestone lanes of Monterosso. The aroma of sweet baked brioche drifts out the doors and lingers in the air, blending with the aroma of brewing espresso. The thin black and white stripes of the Oratory of the Confraternita dei Neri highlight the 16th-century Baroque façade that shines in the spreading sunlight. In the morning, you will linger in the charms of Monterosso and enjoy the quiet ambiance of the beach as fishers return to shore and carry nets filled with anchovies and sea bass.
You will take the brief and scenic train ride to Vernazza to meet your private guide eager to lead you into the hills that overlook the enchanting town. The scent of the sea spreads across the terraced vineyards. The grapes are plump and juicy between your fingers as your guide invites you to interact with the foliage, and then purple and yellow wildflowers grow alongside the paths away from the vineyards. The olive orchards grow equally enviable produce in the refreshing breeze that sweeps upwards from the sea.
After exploring the gardens, orchards, and vineyards, your guide will lead you along the single main road of Vernazza to a winery at the edge of the natural harbor. The soaring dome of the more than 150-foot tall clock tower imitates the cliffs in both height and beauty. You will sit at an outdoor table to soak up the artistic majesty of the scenery. The water splashes against the harbor’s sea break, and you will enjoy a selection of pesto bruschetta, olives, and salamis to accompany your wine, the first glass of which shimmers a pale hay hue in the sunlight.
Monterosso – Travel along the Italian Riviera on a Private Yacht Tour
In the morning, the will sunlight spread across the Mediterranean as the water turns three shades of blue depending on the depth of the sea. Near the rugged shoreline, you can look down into the crystalline water and see the pebbles that line the seafloor. After breakfast, you will meet your skipper at the harbor and board a private yacht set for the villages of the Italian Riviera and the Gulf of Poets.
Your 40-foot yacht has a luxurious space below as the cushioned seats above and on deck offer a view of the scenic coastline. The shores are filled with verdant chestnut, olive, and orange trees that grow above precipitous cliffs and radiant waters. Historical Italian poets Dante and Petrarch marveled at the natural beauty of the Gulf as English poets Byron and Shelley spoke of the natural enchantment cast by the cliffs and waters. Your boat will moor at Grotto Arpaia, also referred to as Byron’s Grotto where the Church of San Pietro stands above the precipice like a castle.
You will continue sailing to the village of Lerici. Steep slopes cluster around the harbor as the Castello San Giorgio crowns the hilltop beside the harbor to overlook the wading sailboats and bustling seafront. Cafes set their tables out along the promenade where the 15th-century Piazza Garibaldi boasts a Baroque church and the 13th-century Oratory of San Rocco. The aroma of delicate fresh pasta cooked with garlic emanates from a cellar restaurant hidden by the hills.
Monterosso – Relax in the Remarkable Scenery with a Day at Leisure
Today you take to the sea once more before mooring at the edge of Portofino National Park where the Abbey of San Fruttuoso rises out of a sliver of the beach at the base of a rocky ravine. The 16th-century Genoese tower peeks out of the lush trees on the hillside as a reminder of the former Republic’s prestige and the need to protect the coastline from pirates. A dome crowns the Romanesque tower of the Abbey, drawing your eye from the cellar arches at the base of the structure to the top of the slopes that are covered with Apennine forests and Mediterranean bushes. A mosaic of Saint Fruttuoso adorns the wall that guides the dock to the pebbled shoreline.
A trail leads from the sand to the top of the hills and offers a pristine view of the Bay of Tigullio and the Sestri Levante. In the distance, you can catch an outline of Corsica as the fragrant sea blends with the lively flora that is blossoming all around you. The trail continues into a forest of oak and holm trees and then opens to jagged promontories and olive groves. The trail curves downward to the town of Portofino where the colorful and vibrant lanes open to the boat-filled harbor. The pastel-painted homes imitate the colors of the fishing boats and yachts, and cafes serve espresso and café con latte on tables that peer out to the sea. On the outskirts of town, you will find the outline of the 16th-century castle, which offers the best point to look back down at Portofino for a perfect view.
Florence – Enjoy the Charm and History of Tuscan Towns en route to Florence
In the morning, you will linger in the beauty of Monterosso one last time as you sit on the terrace of your hotel and bask in the bright lines of sunlight that are cast along the water. Enjoy the aromas fresh bread, sea salt, and the rich minerals from the soil on the terraces all at once as the sun streams over you. After breakfast, you will meet your private transfer at the edge of Monterosso and venture into Tuscany. You will stop at the famous historical cities of Lucca and Pisa before continuing to the enchanting gates of Casale Marittimo. The medieval village overtakes the Poggio al Bruno hill that overlooks the coastal plains as the grasses shimmer with green and gold strands.
Vineyards, olive trees, and cereal grow hardily across the hills and meadows, but the old gates and walls have left traces that surround the fortified medieval towns. A pillar from the 6th century BC marks the cylinder tombs of Etruscan settlers who once settled the area before the Roman’s overtook the region. Take it all in before you continue to Florence where you will step into the hilltop church of San Miniato al Monte. In the evening, the monks perform Gregorian chants, and their prayers echo inside the medieval walls of the church. Outside of the church, you will enjoy a panorama of Florence as it glows in the evening light, a perfect first impression of a city known for its artistry.
Florence – Explore Opulent Artwork in Florence and Enjoy a Cooking Class
The morning light will wash over the golden brick and medieval tower homes that border the Piazza della Signoria. Statues and sculptures decorate the Loggia dei Lanzi, a Gothic arcade built in the 14th century. Two lions flank the entrance, one an original from classical Greece and the other a 16th-century reproduction. The bronze figure of Perseus holding the head of Medusa stands at the center of the loggia surrounded by marble figures. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and escort you along the cobblestone streets of the city to reach the piazzetta, a long, rectangular forum surrounded on three sides by the Uffizi Gallery.
Statues of famous Florentines adorn the niches that encircle the open space. Through the pillars at the far side of the piazzetta, you can see the banks of the Arno River. The Uffizi was erected under the patronage of the Medici family in the 16th century to house the magistrate’s office but today the gallery exhibits collections of Tuscany’s brilliant artists that span nearly a millennium. Marble paves the entrance staircase and the halls on the second floor as large windows allow natural light to pour into the galleries and glint off of the gilded window frames.
The 15th-century Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, as painted by Piero della Francesca, highlight the human attributes of the Renaissance as artists moved away from flattery and angelic features to concentrate on capturing the images as they appeared. Once you have explored it all, your private chef will meet you later in the day and escort you to a traditional Tuscan kitchen. You will have a chance to learn about the regional cuisine, ingredients, and distinct flavors known to Florence and the surrounding countryside.
Florence – Meet Local Artisans and Continue Discovering the Museums
The blue and white façade of Sante Croce Basilica radiates color and prestige in the morning light, glinting as it crowns the eponymous square. The regal statue of Dante Alighieri stands beside the staircase that looks down on passersby. After breakfast, you will set out with a private guide to explore the artisan shop of the Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the left bank of the Arno River. The medieval district features narrow cobblestone streets flanked by active fountains adorned with stone lion heads.
Through the windows, you can watch artists craft leather belts and handbags. Along Via San Agostino, you will discover a jeweler tinkering at unique etchings of silver, gold, tin, and copper to combine traditional methods with modern trends. Another store on Via Toscanella restores gilded and painted antiques, and the shop owners will invite you into their shops where the aromas of azaleas and nutmeg fill the air. You will spend some time engaged in the work of the craftsman as he refurbishes a gilded picture frame.
The owner’s restoration is featured in museums throughout Florence, including in the Uffizi Gallery. After an active discovery of the continued, yet hidden artworks of the city, your guide will lead you to the Galleria dell’Accademia. The artist school opened in the 18th century and features collections of musical instruments and sculptures. Your guide will take you on a tour of Michelangelo’s evolution as a sculptor, encompassing the finished and unfinished works of the artist’s process before you enter into the Galleria del David. The statue stands 17 feet tall and balances the ferocity of battle with the tranquility before the storm.
Florence – Depart for Home
The architectural icon of Florence’s Cathedral continues to enrapture visitors and locals. The red-tiled roof stands out against the marble and stone towers that rise above the city and the elegant dome crafted by Brunelleschi adorns the Cathedral at the height of 376 feet. The interior includes an immaculate fresco that depicts the Last Judgment, as painted by Frederico Zuccari in the 16th century. The artwork, architecture, and culture of Florence provide endless discoveries and hidden splendor. You can always stay in Florence longer to continue unraveling the thread of incredible artwork or discover the wonders of Tuscany with a deeper focus. When you are ready, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Florence International Airport for your flight home.
- Stroll along the walkways of terraced vineyards and orchards before sampling small dishes and the sensational local wines of Cinque Terre
- Enjoy a scenic hike along the historical paths that connect the five villages of Cinque Terre through the forests, orchards, and alongside the coastal cliffs
- Bask in the luxuries of a private yacht as you cruise down the Italian Riviera and the Gulf of Poets, stopping at the traditional fishing villages along the way
- Indulge in the unforgettable flavors of Tuscan cuisine during your private cooking class located in a countryside town overlooking Florence
- Listen to the Gregorian chants of monks in a secluded church on the outskirts of Florence
- Witness the technical skills and elaborate works of artisan craftspeople creating in the neighborhood of Oltrarno
- See the unforgettable wonders of the Renaissance in the celebrated museums of the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia
- Discover nature’s beauty along the Ligurian coast by traversing the various trails of Portofino National Park
From the elegant art galleries that exhibit the priceless works of Tuscan masters to the charming medieval streets that lead to pebbled beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, your 9-day tour will embody the splendor of Cinque Terre and Florence. You cultural immersion will include the scenery, the history, and engaging excursions that celebrate it all. Whether an amateur artist or avid hiker, active fisher or avid sunbather, the cliff-top villages will enchant you and the history of Florence will delight you. Your exploration will begin with your arrival at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa. Your private transfer will escort you to the town of Monterosso, the most northern town of Cinque Terre. A representative from your hotel will collect your bags and lead you to your luxurious room that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
The next day, you will step onto the trails that connect the five towns of Cinque Terre. The trails crisscross the coastline and mountaintops and take you past the olive groves, forests, and wildflowers in view of the seaside cliffs. Venture to Vernazza the next day to meet your guide at the train station. Stroll along the terraced vineyards and orchards to learn about the history of the agriculture in the province, and then continue to a small winery at the edge of Vernazza’s natural harbor to sample small dishes and the local wines crafted in the Cinque Terre hills. The following day, you will board a private yacht at the Monterosso harbor to sail the Mediterranean. Stop at hidden coves and grottoes en route to traditional villages that have stood the tests of time before returning to Monterosso in the evening.
The next day is at your leisure to enjoy the pleasures of Cinque Terre at your preferred pace. Bask in the sunlight on the beach of Monterosso or linger in a piazza that overlooks the water in Manarola. You could also visit the Portofino National Park to travel the trails of the protected area. The following day your private transfer will meet you at the edge of Monterosso and escort you into Tuscany. Visit the towns of Lucca and Pisa, along with the smaller villages hidden in the countryside before you reach Florence. Stop at the church of San Miniato on the edge of the city to hear the Gregorian chants and relish the panoramic view of Florence as the city glows in the twilight.
Continue the next day as you will have a half-day guided tour of Florence and the Uffizi Gallery. In the evening, you will meet with a private chef in Fiesole, a countryside town that overlooks the city, to fix an elaborate meal guided by your instructor. Move next to continue your exploration of Florence’s artistic history with a visit to the artisan workshops in the neighborhood of the Oltrarno, and then enjoy the galleries at the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s David. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Florence’s international airport for your flight home.
$2,470 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
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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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