East of the Republic of Venice Tour: Italy & Slovenia

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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Culture and grandeur stand at the heart of the Venetian lagoon and spreads east into the charming landscape of Slovenia. Your custom tailored tour immerses you in beauty, elegance, and hidden wonders inside Venice and steps beyond the Italian border to uncover a mixture of marble palaces and marbled mountains, gilded artwork and emerald forests. Follow narrow passageways into the hidden chambers of the Venetian aristocracy and wander through limestone tunnels revealing gigantic empty caverns inside Postojna Cave. Discover the decadent lifestyles of nobility and glide down secluded canals to find captivating heritage and mesmerizing tradition.  

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Murano, Burano, Sant’Erasmo, Ljubljana, Postojna Caves, Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, River Soca Valley 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Along the Grand Canal

Venice is a city of grand design set against the backdrop of the Grand Canal. Lavish palaces conjure images of opulent feasts filled with produce and seafood unlike anywhere else in the world, highlighted by the inventive flavors of Venetian cuisine. Palaces provide artistic interpretations of history through embellished facades overlooking the wide and narrow waterways. The city continues to defy convention as it has for more than five centuries, embodied in the perseverant traditions, connection to artwork, and culture of enjoying daily life.

Your private transfer meets you at Marco Polo Airport upon your arrival and escorts you to the edges of the Grand Canal. You board a private boat to begin your exploration of the Grand Canal. The waterway has a reverse “S” shape and stretches nearly two miles long. The towering figure of the campanile, the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square, rises above the marble palaces bordering the water’s edge. Vaporettos speed down canal casting a wake behind them. Wooden plinths rise out of the water supporting structures, docks, and walkways.

For the moment, the lavish buildings fade behind the lively culture of the city. Neighboring women lean out their open windows and talk to each other. Dockworkers hammer new plinths into the soft sand of the lagoon floor. An old woman with silver hair, dressed black, strolls down the cobblestone lane carrying groceries. The grandeur of the canal returns in the image of Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, offering a stunning example of High Renaissance architecture in encouraged during the Republic of Venice. The stately façade was designed to impress passersby and visitors, using Ionic columns to decorate the first floor and Corinthian columns on the second story. 

What’s Included: tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Venice – Soul of the City and Republic

In the morning, you delight in the lavish dining room of your hotel as it overlooks the canal and the hotel’s private dock. The former palace maintains a connection to its past as the home of an aristocratic family through the illustrious décor of antique furniture, stucco walls, and polished marble floors. The scent of cappuccino fills the dining room, accented with a hint of citrus from freshly squeezed orange juice. After breakfast, your guide meets you in the lobby and escorts you along the labyrinthine cobblestone lanes to St. Mark’s Square. En route, you pass the Rialto Market, a tradition dating back to the 11th century.

Farmers and fishers showcase their freshest produce and the catches of the day on stalls set beneath the towering facades of historic buildings. Marble plaques indicate the rules of the marketplace as established by the city nearly a millennium ago. Once in St. Mark’s Square, the golden-hued face and bulbous domes of the basilica crown the edge of the large cobblestone square beside the delicate façade of the Doge’s Palace. The square was established between the 9th and 12th centuries, accentuated by the 13th-century gilded frescoes adorning the receding archways of the basilica façade. Before entering the Doge’s Palace, your guide leads you around the thin marble columns on the first story to find the Bridge of Sighs.

The bridge connected the courts between the palace and the New Prison. The curved profile arches over the Rio di Palazzo. The name derives from the legend of the lattice windows out of which prisoners would see their beloved city one last time before reaching their cells, sighing with longing. The elegant, white Istrian stone shimmers in the sunlight. Once inside the palace, your guide leads you through the opulent halls, grand galleries, and hidden courts in which the secret tribunals met to discuss the fate of their fair city. Next, you discover the hidden gems of the local tapas and wine bars known as bacari, which are beloved by locals.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Venice – Lands on the Lagoon

The main city of Venice is actually a collection of more than 115 islands connected through a series of elegant bridges. The Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous of the city’s bridges due to its gorgeous 16th-century marble colonnade, colorful brickwork, and the fact that it was the only bridge to cross the Grand Canal for until the mid 19th century. In the morning, the aroma of espresso drifts out of the cafes strewn along the cobblestone streets of the maze-like city. You board a boat at the hotel dock for a private tour of the islands peppering the Venetian lagoon, beginning with Murano, an island famous for its artistry. A single canal winds through the heart of the island leading to the main square of Campo Santa Margarita.

Glassblowing workshops open their doors to visitors eager to witness the creation of the stunning, glowing artwork. The Doge decreed the kilns and their workers move from Venice in the 13th century for fear of fires. You can feel the heat from the kilns from a yard away. The artisan uses a long metal pole to hold the hot glass before angling the material with a thick rag to craft the desired shape. On the island of Sant’Erasmo, you discover the oasis on which the farmers of Venice tend to their crops. The aromas of ripe eggplants and artichokes emanate from the soil. Verdant grass sweeps across the banks of the canal and lagoon, offering more greenery than you have seen during your days in Venice.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Venice – Treasures of the Republic

The artistry of Venice reaches beyond the palaces and into the galleries of the museums, along with the church naves. Pasticceria, bakeries and cake shops, set out small tables along the narrow streets of the city and offer strong espresso or tea to accompany the sweet breakfast, including choux pastry filled with chocolate cream. Your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and leads you through the city streets once more, traversing the local neighborhoods of the city to view the artistry of continued culture before reaching the museum in Ca’ Rezzonico. The 17th-century palace overlooks the Grand Canal and contains intriguing insight into the home of the aristocracy at the height of the Republic.

The ballroom contains lavish frescoes painted by Crosato and Visconti, representing the decadence of a bygone era. The furniture is as opulence as the frescoes, demonstrating the baroque design in both structure and artistry. More than 180 majolica ceramic jars filled with 18th-century remedies fills the antique pharmacy on the top floor. Near the end galleries, your guide points out a series of paintings crafted by Pietro Longhi in the 18th century, each depicting an everyday life in the Venetian Republic. The Perfume Seller has two masked figures dressed in graceful flowing gowns beside a woman offering samples of captivating aromas. The paintings encompass the diversity of life in Venice at the time, from tavern owners to patricians enjoying hot chocolate.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Ljubljana – Past the Edge of the Republic

The Republic of Venice spread far and wide across the valleys, hills, mountains and coastline around Northern Italy and the Istrian coast. The borders of the Republic ended eastward in the hills of Slovenia before reaching the contemporary capital, Ljubljana. After breakfast, you have a boat to the shores of the Grand Canal where you meet your private transfer to the stunning capital of Italy’s neighboring country to the east. The lagoon fades behind verdant oak and chestnut trees sweeping into the hills and mountains.

En route to the city, you stop at the famous Postojna Cave, which boasts the title of the second-longest cave network in the country, reaching a length of nearly 80,000 feet set more than 370 feet below the landscape. Ferns and limestone rocks overtake the mountainside. A scenic locomotive takes visitors deep into the cavern. The air turns remarkably cooler in the depths of the caverns. The Concert Hall is a gallery with incredible acoustics. Sound bounces off the subterranean walls with perfect pitch, allowing you to hear a whisper from across the room.

The spacious cavern could hold up to 10,000 people and has provided orchestras and musicians a performance hall. Stalagmites drip from the ceiling like was. A white-stone stalactite rises out of the ground resembling a statue. You leave behind the dramatic subterranean world of Postojna Cave and arrive in the historic center of Ljubljana. The Ljubljanica River winds through the center of town trickling against the cobblestone streets. The calm water reflects the colorful boats angled at the edge of the river and the unique design of the triple bridge. The public square of Presernov Trg stands as the link between the central neighborhood and Old Town, decorated with plinths adorned with motifs from poems of Slovenia’s greatest poet.

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

Day 6: Bohinj – Enchantment on the Lakes

In the morning, the aroma of hazelnut and vanilla coffee emanates from a local café. Small tables stand outside the elegant windows, offering patrons a place to watch passersby. At breakfast, you sip a traditional Slovenian coffee, a strong and sweet concoction readying you for the day. The river brushes against the verdant slopes of the banks set beneath the colorful tower houses rising about the streets. Bronze and stone dragons fly high above the city representative of the communities proud, brave past. The castle crowns the hill at a height of more than 1,200 feet above sea level.

After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the gorgeous shores of Lake Bled. The blue-green water sparkles beneath the expanse of mountains on the horizon and emerald trees encircling the shoreline. A nearly four-mile trail travels the breadth of the lake. You dip fingers into the water to feel the comfortable temperature of nearly 80 degrees in the summer months due to the heated thermal springs feeding the body. Boats travel from the small dock to the island at the heart of the lake, on which a 17th-century church stands.

The baroque architecture of the Church of Assumption was erected over 9th-century foundations. The scent of frankincense overtakes the aroma of pine. Fragments of 15th-century frescoes decorate the walls leading to the gilded altar. You can ring the bell in the steeple and make a wish, asking for a special favor amidst the graceful peel. It is hard to leave behind the natural splendor and enchanting atmosphere of Lake Bled until you discover the scenery and authenticity at Lake Bohinj.

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

Day 7: Venice – At the Heart of Europe

The natural wonder of Lake Bohinj embraces you. The crystal clear water shimmers with hues ranging from turquoise to emerald. Cows graze on the grassland beneath the shadows of the surrounding mountains, belonging to dairy farmers living near the villages on the northeast shores. Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia at nearly 9,400 feet above sea level, looms large over the lakeshores, flecked with orange, green, and limestone-gray colors. Locals venture out onto the reflective waters and cast their lines in search of fresh fish.

Visitors take out kayaks or traverse the trails meandering beneath the canopy. After breakfast, your private transfer meets to begin your journey back to Venice. Before reaching the Italian border, you stop in the Soca River Valley, carved by the aquamarine Soca River. The rolling mountain peaks tell endless stories of World War I battles set against the backdrop of the fairytale landscape. The river runs for 86 miles across western Slovenia and into northeastern Italy.

The alpine water is cold to the touch, as it begins with the snowmelt from the Julian Alps at more than 2,800 feet above sea level. The water shines like a jewel and spouts against boulders leading to thrilling rapids. Follow the trail along the Tolminka Gorge for an easy hike immersing you in the colors of the landscape. The water beads down the cliff at the end of the trial from a height of 820 feet above the waiting pool forming Slap Kozjak. The water has carved an underground cavern bathed in blue and green, offering an image similar to karsts.

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

Day 8: Venice – Exiting Floating City

In the morning, the familiar aroma of espresso returns to the streets of Venice. The verdant trees and mountains of Slovenia feel like a dream amidst the cobblestone streets and marble palaces rising out of the lagoon. The Rialto Market thrives in the morning light with patrons eager to get the best deal on the unique seafood on offer. The second-hand bookshop of Libreria Acqua Alta nestles into a waterfront structure nearly level with the canal. The bookbinding glows in the natural light pouring through the windows. Stacks of books fill old gondolas and wine barrels. Italian and international authors offer insight into the cultural connections of Venetians and visitors from around the world. A leafy garden connected to the bookstore provides a reminiscent glimpse of the breathtaking nature just east of Venice. When you are ready, your private transfer escorts you from the winding canals of Venice to Marco Polo Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer



Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Italy tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $450 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $350 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $300 per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within Italy, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.