Cliffs, Vistas & Canals: Beauty of Rome, Cinque Terre & Venice Tour

A 10 day trip to Italy 
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Italy echoes with the beauty of its past, from its glowing frescoes to its sensational coastal villages, from bridges lined with statues to palaces that maintain the decadence of noble families. Your custom tailored tour takes you along the river banks and shores of famous cities and quiet towns to an unforgettable immersive experience beyond the obvious thrills. Delight in the wine and fresh seafood while you overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Stand beneath the story of creation as depicted by Michelangelo, follow in the footsteps of St. Francis and search for remnants of Shakespeare’s Juliet during your all-encompassing tour of an inspiring country.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, Padua, Verona, Venice, Murano, La Spezia, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Rome – Arrive in the Eternal City and Italy’s Captivating Capital City

Rome’s history rises from the fountains, glints in the cathedral domes, and winds along the shores of the Tiber River. The Fountain of the Four Rivers that adorns the Piazza Navona and was erected in the 17th-century by request of Pope Innocent X with one of Bernini’s designs. The fountain depicts the famous rivers of the four explored continents up to that date, including the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata. Your flight lands at Rome Fiumicino Airport where your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim.

The city brims with people as they rush around the cobbled streets and Roman ruins. The past is tangible and offers a piece of Western Civilization’s beginnings. After settling into your luxurious hotel, your private guide will meet you at the hotel lobby eager to immerse you in the past. Your introductory tour of the city will lead you to the Roman Forum. The grand façade of the Colosseum rises above the broad walkways that separate the arena from the remaining grandeur of the ancient Roman center as columns still rise out of the hillside.

The Temple of Antoninus Pius was erected in the 2nd-century in honor of the deified empress Faustina; the temple was converted into a church in the 12th-century. At the end of your tour, indulge in your first Italian treat with a taste of gelato at a favorite gelateria which uses locally sourced ingredients and all natural taste for a bright, sweet desert, including the creamy pear and caramel flavor.

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

Day 2: Rome – Enjoy a Full Day Tour of Rome for a Unique View of Distinct History

In the morning, watch some locals from the Rowing Club set out on the water as the sunlight spreads across the city on the banks of the Tiber River near Vatican City. Rome has a tranquil ambiance in the early morning as the scent of freshly baked brioche sends a fantastic aroma through the streets. The Flower stands add a floral perfume to the air. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for an all-encompassing, full day tour of Rome.

The marble tiers of the Spanish Steps glint in the passing light as your guide leads you first to St. Peter’s Square to view the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the treasured Vatican Museum. The Vatican remains the world’s smallest independent state with an area little more than one-sixth of a square mile. Michelangelo designed the dome that crowns the Basilica, which reaches a height of nearly 400 feet above the square. Inside the Vatican Museum, the polished marble floors guide you through the cherished collection of some of Europe’s most inspiring and famous pieces of art that span millennia.

The end of the tour leads you into the Sistine Chapel. The aroma of candle smoke and wax has seeped into the paint, and the remarkable sight of Chapel decorated with images from base to ceiling takes your breath away. Michelangelo painted the chapel between 1508 and 1512, with the most famous image of the artist’s depiction of the creation story at the heart of the ceiling above, with God creating Adam and Eve, along with the sun and the moon.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Assisi – Explore the Umbrian Cities of Orvieto and Assisi on a Full Day Tour

In the morning, the stone of the circular edifice of Castel Sant’Angelo glows gold against the white statues that abound in Ponte Sant’Angelo. The interior contains 58 rooms, each decorated with dramatic murals and the compelling history of Rome that date back to Emperor Hadrian. After breakfast, you will leave the Eternal City behind to venture north into Umbria. The town of Orvieto stands perched atop a volcanic rock that overlooks the rolling, golden hills of the region. Grapevines and olive trees grow in the rows across the landscape with lush cypress trees that line the streets.

Cobbled streets lead to the medieval piazzas that are crowned by elaborate churches. Black basalt and yellow limestone create a striking glow on the façade of the Cathedral. Sculptures and bright mosaics lead your eye to the elaborate rose window filled with stained glass. The Italian Gothic architecture features graceful artwork and impressive spires, and the story of the Judgment and Resurrection fills the San Brizio Chapel. The frescoes are remarkable for the artist’s use of real people to tell the stories and evoke a positive human emotion in every action, which was unique to the art in the 15th-century.

In the public gardens of the old fortress, enter into the 200-foot well and traverse the spiral staircases that wind around the vintage shaft. The sun’s glow penetrates deep beneath the earth’s surface, but the earthen walls keep the base cool. Villagers used donkeys to carry water up the well thanks to the double-helix stairwell that enables people and animals to move freely from the bottom to the top without incident. The bottom of the stairway contains columns that once belonged to an ancient Etruscan temple.

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

Day 4: Riomaggiore – Visit Pisa and Lucca en route to the Shores of Cinque Terre

The fertile plains and emerald hills the Tuscan countryside beckon to you in the morning. The sunlight washes over the golden valley beneath the rugged cliffs of Assisi. The monks at the Cathedral chant in the light as it creeps over the cobbled streets of the hilly town. After breakfast, make your way to Tuscany to explore the medieval and renaissance cities of Pisa and Lucca. The Serchio River travels near the edges of Lucca, home to the strong stone walls that reach a length of nearly two miles. The structure was constructed between the 16th and 17th-centuries to protect the town from neighboring states. The walls reach a height of nearly 40 feet, and with have a thickness of 100 feet at the wall’s base.

Today, verdant gardens grow at the wall, and locals walk, jog, and cycle around the pathways that encircle the town as the aroma of chestnuts emanates from the trees. Inside of town, stroll along the main square of Piazza Napoleone, bordered by the beautiful façade of Palazzo della Provincia. The 12th-church of San Giusto edges the northeast corner. The sandstone turns to gold in the afternoon as the marble shines over the stone plaza. The interior contains rich Baroque décor from a 17th-century remodeling, embodying the ambiance of the city, from its aged exterior to its vibrant interior. After exploring Lucca, your private transfer will escort you northwest to the Ligurian coastline and the towns that are intertwined in their fame as Cinque Terre.

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

Day 5: Riomaggiore – Discover the Charm and Beauty of the Coastal Towns

In the morning, wake up to the town of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre’s southernmost area. Buildings rise out of the two steep headlands on a narrow cleft and shine with pastel facades that overlook the lapping water below. Locals and visitors set out in the day’s warmth along the pebbly beach almost hidden by the boulders. Various walking trails and the train connects the towns together as the sea air drifts through the streets. The medieval architecture immerses you in the unique history of the coastal settlements as you enjoy the walk to Manarola in the cooler morning air.

Vineyards overtake the terraces above the trail as the scent of lemon emanates from lush trees. In certain gardens, wood planks wind around the basil plants that resemble trees more than bushes. From the meandering path, you can see the turquoise Mediterranean Sea as it stretches to the horizon. The easy walk along Via del Amore, or “Lover’s Way,” connects the two towns and features a sculpture of lovers as they kiss near the sea. The natural harbor of Manarola protects the cliff base from storms as the pastel homes rise along the cliff like the tiered gardens you saw on the trail.

You will meet your guide at a small restaurant that clings to the cliff-side. Freshly grilled fish is accented with a squeeze of lemon, and a hint of garlic emanates from the kitchen. Your guide will offer you a sip of a white wine produced from a vineyard along the hills of Cinque Terre. Enjoy your wine and sample the fresh fish for the true flavor of the region. First, learn the secrets of Ligurian cuisine, rich in fresh citrus, basil, garlic, and seafood. After your private cooking lesson, your guide leads you along the small squares and winding alleys that produce the delightful and refreshing wines you have tasted while in Cinque Terre.

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

Day 6: Verona - Relish Art, Architecture, and Flavors in Parma en route to Verona

Parma is a city known to food lovers and art lovers alike. The famous conductor Toscanini helped to shape the local opera house into one of the premier theaters in Italy. The cheese and cured meat are a delicacy enjoyed around the world. At breakfast, bask in the view of the Mediterranean once more before your meet your private transfer in La Spezia and continue north to the beautiful region of Emilia-Romagna. Teatro Farnese was originally constructed of wood in the 17th-century and claimed the title of the largest theater in the world with a capacity of up to 4,500 seats. Parts of the old Roman bridge emanate from the underpass of the Ponte di Mezzo, leading you to Parma Vecchio, the oldest district of the city.

Shops open their doors and fill the Parco Ducale with the aroma of cheese, cookies, and prosciutto. The 16th-century Palazzo Ducale lines the Parma riverbank. After you discover the beauty of the city, continue to a local prosciutto producer to learn the process behind the celebrated flavors of Prosciutto di Parma. The greater region of Emilia-Romagna is famous around the country for its pasta, sauces, and bread so you will gain a worthwhile introduction to the cuisine of the region as your guide offers you a slice of a newly opened Prosciutto di Parma for a taste of the savory and creamy delight produced from millennia of practice. 

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

Day 7: Padua – Full Day Tour to Experience the Wonders of Verona and Padua 

Verona stands nearly halfway between Milan and Venice and combines the beauty of the art, architecture, opera, and cuisine from the history of both cities. The Adige River winds curvaceously as many visitors know the city as the home of star-crossed lovers from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The streets have maintained a vibrant atmosphere since the city became a Roman center for trade in the 3rd-century. The Roman amphitheater was constructed in 290 AD and has survived the times with elegance. Four arches remain on the outer wall, and the stadium seating remains intact with 44 rows.

In the summer, the stadiums are full as people enjoy the Verona Opera Festival. Outside of the Piazza dei Signori is the Arche Scaligere, which contains the Gothic tombs of the della Scala family, who once ruled the city. The broad cobbled streets of the city eventually lead away from Piazza delle Erbe to the loving courtyard of the Casa di Giulietta. For centuries, literature fans have visited the city to pay homage to Juliet and the house of Capulet. People stuff letters filled with their hopes and dreams into the brick arcade that lead into the garden terrace. A balcony overlooks the courtyard where a bronze statue of Juliet stands.

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

Day 8: Venice – Transfer to Venice for an Introductory Exploration of the Canals

Today the Byzantine domes of St. Anthony’s Church in Padua fade behind the statues that line the banks of Prato della Valle. The Grand Canal comes into view as you board a private boat and immerse yourself in the marble palaces and the meandering waterways of the elegant city. Secret corners open up behind cobbled passageways as the bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica rise above the Renaissance and Baroque palaces. St. Mark’s Square is Venice’s largest, bordered by distinct architecture on three sides. Visitors and locals alike watch passersby while sipping espresso at a nearby café. Arcades contain boutique shops that lead to the swirling mosaics and stone filigree of the basilica.

Your guide will meet you at your boat and lead you on a remarkable tour of Venice’s highlights, many of which surround St. Mark’s Square. The basilica was once the Doge’s private chapel and features ornate Byzantine artwork brought from Constantinople. The elaborate gilded mosaics that drape across the archways of the exterior are just a foreshadow of the nearly 45,640 square feet of golden mosaics that decorate the interior. St. Mark’s Basilica embodies the opulence of Venice as the Byzantine work offers gems by Titian and Tintoretto, along with a golden altarpiece. The interior contains the sweet and herbaceous aromas of frankincense and myrrh, and when the sunlight peeks through the windows, the walls glow like a treasure open for all to see.

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

Day 9: Venice – Revel in the Atmosphere and History of Venice with a Lagoon Tour

When the sun rises over the city, the pearled marble façade of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco shines brightly over the canal. The 16th-century edifice was erected by a charitable society dedicated to the patron Saint Rocco. Tintoretto painted the central panel on the ceiling that depicted the Old Testament, situated like an action sequence as the angels dive down to help Elijah. After breakfast, the day is yours to discover the splendors of Venice beyond St. Mark’s Square. The narrow streets turn into a labyrinth, filled with the aroma of fresh brioche.

Step onto your private boat for a cruise along the calm as the quiet gondolas drift down the narrow paths as young lovers duck beneath the arching bridges. Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande overlooks the water, and was erected in the mid-16th century. The Ionic columns on the first floor lead to Corinthian columns on the second story, each designed with the specific intention of impressing visitors. The Venetian Gothic palace of Ca’d’Oro, or the House of Gold, contains marble filigree and a museum that offers insight into how Venetian nobles lived during the Middle Ages.

Mosaics imitate the grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica as a red marble well turns the courtyard into a masterwork of visual aesthetics. For the best view of Venice’s past, visit the Museo del Vetro, which highlights the city’s glass-making prowess. The famous exhibit takes a look at the technical process innovated on the island of Murano with eight rooms that offer a delicately curated collection that dates back to the 5th-century.

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

Day 10: Venice – Depart for Home

The Rialto Bridge marks the area on which the settlers first colonized the island. The bridge in its current formation was constructed in the late 16th-century after the collapse of the previous wooden structure. The stone arch supports the vibrant street and the line of shops that overlook the water. Boats and gondolas pass beneath the archway showing the midway point along the canal. In the morning, you stroll once more along the cobbled streets of the labyrinthine city before you meet your private transfer in the hotel lobby. Once you arrive at the Venice Marco Polo Airport, you can smoothly check-in for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 


Starting Price 

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.