Exploring Italian Wonders from Venice to Florence Tour

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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The beauty of nature and the opulence of Italian culture will guide you from the canals of Venice to the Renaissance palaces of Florence. Travel alongside the cobalt Adriatic Sea and wind down the Tuscan hillsides blanketed with vineyards. Stroll along narrow cobblestone streets of villages hidden in the mountains, and then discover medieval mosaics that decorate the ancient churches. Flamingoes and spoonbills graze in the waters of the Po Delta, and olive groves rustle in the breeze that sweep over the valleys. Your custom tailored active tour will immerse you in the unforgettable culture, the picturesque villages, and in the natural splendor that has inspired artists and architects alike. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Chioggia, Rovigo, San Martino di Venezze, Ferrara, Fratta Polesine, Ravenna, Comacchio, Ronta, Fiesole, Florence, Brisighella  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in Venice to Discover the City’s Iconic Palaces and Churches

Venice is a city rising above the gentle current of its historical lagoon. Marbled palaces accentuate the natural charm of the city and reflect off of the surface of the water along the quiet canals. Church spires provide an elegant skyline and create a beautiful view whether you look skyward or down to the water. Your private transfer will meet you at Marco Polo International Airport upon your arrival to Venice, and you will reach the shores of the Grand Canal to find the legendary splendor of Venice right in front of your eyes. Gondolas glide down the waterway between the rushing speedboats and vaporettos as you will step onto a private boat to bring you from the shoreline to the heart of the historical center.

Your hotel has a private dock, so you will step off of your boat and settle into the comfort of what was once a nobleman’s palace. The history comes to life as much in the grandeur of the architecture as in the opulence of the hotel lobby. After settling in, your guide will meet you to lead you on an introductory tour the city’s iconic landmarks beginning with St. Mark’s Square. Wander along the cobblestone streets to find the Rialto Market brimming with produce, fresh seafood, and a mixture of locals and visitors. The 16th-century marbled Rialto Bridge arches over the water as the first structure that connected the shores of the Grand Canal.

The aroma of fresh seafood grilled over an open flame drifts out of the restaurants as in St. Mark’s Square you will find a gorgeous piazza framed by arcades. The Doge’s Palace has a rosy hue from the red Verona marble on the upper stories, and the arcade includes Istrian white marble with delicate pillars that create a lattice effect. The arcades guide you to the adorning façade and bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica as frescos decorate the retreating archways. The foundations of the structure were laid in the 9th century, and now contain more than 45,630 square feet of golden frescoes that decorate the walls and ceilings of the interior.

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

Day 2: Rovigo – Follow the Natural Levies to Chioggia and San Martino di Venezze

The people of Venice rise early in the morning, and the aroma of fresh espresso makes for an invigorating ambiance along with the scent of the ocean that drifts upwards from the canals. Moored gondolas wade in the gentle wake of the water as the Rialto Market once again fills with people in search of the catch of the day, from octopus to anchovies. After breakfast, you will follow your guide to the beginning of the Lido trail. Lido is a natural sandbar that divides Venice from the Adriatic Sea and boasts Europe’s first beach resort.

The fresh air fills with the briny scent of the sea as the morning continues, and the marbled palaces fade to art nouveau hotels that overlook the water. The breeze brushes against your cheeks as you ride alongside the white sand beaches and along the levee walls that overlook the cobalt water. Traveling across Lido and the island of Pellestrina on route to the Chioggia provides beautiful views, and the town has small canals that fill with locals traveling by rowboat to remind you of a little Venice.

A Venetian lion sits atop a single marble column at the center of Piazzetta Vigo and looms above the encircling café tables. A white marble bridge flanked by stone lions connects the eastern edge of the piazza to the opposite banks of the Vena canal, and your guide will point out the Church of San Domenica, which stands on its own island and exhibits the final painting of Vittore Carpaccio. A bridge connects Chioggia to mainland Italy and leads you away from the charm of the Venetian lagoon and inland to the farmlands of San Martino di Venezze.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Ferrara – Discover Masterful Architecture at Fratta Polesine and Ferrara

In the morning the scent of cypress trees fills the air around your hotel near the town of Rovigo. Today you will travel more than 45 miles to the charming city of Ferrara, known for its Renaissance history and bicycle clad streets. Before leaving Rovigo, your guide will take you around the quiet town, which was first mentioned in an old manuscript written in the 9th century. The old castle ruins date back to the 10th century and consists of two towers that rise above the historical streets. You venture next into the countryside and follow the banks of the Adige River. The cool air refreshes you as the sweeping greenery rustles in the breeze. You will reach the town of Fratta Polesine to find the lavish 16th-century Villa Badoer.

The estate was built atop a former medieval castle that once guarded access to the canal. The structure rises above the grounds framed by elegant farming buildings while the canal separates the main square from the villa to offer a spectacular view of the temple-like façade adorned with an Ionic colonnade. Celebrated architect Palladio designed the villa with well-known flair, including an open hall similar to a Venetian palace. Frescoes depict allegorical figures that stand out against the opulent white walls. After exploring the villa, you will travel along the Po River to reach the enchanting city of Ferrara, at which the dramatic image of the 14th-century Castello Estense greets you.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Ravenna – Visit the Village of Comacchio and Tour the Art of Ravenna

In the morning, the elegance of Ferrara returns in the rosy and pearl colors that emanate from the marbled face of the Cathedral of Saint George. After breakfast, you will enjoy a quick ride to the medieval walls that continue to defend the city streets. The meandering cobblestone streets of Ferrara fade behind the horizon as you make your way to the village of Comacchio located along the Po Delta. The Canale Maggiore bisects the village like a main boulevard would, and you will stop at the Bridge of Saint Peter to view the tranquil, reflective waters of the canal and admire the neoclassical façade of the 18th century San Camillo Hospital.

Ionic columns adorn the façade, flanked by slender towers. The elegance of the village is a delightful surprise, and the quiet streets offer you a chance to reflect upon the splendor of the landscape outside of town and the artistry of the architecture inside it. The Merchant’s Arcade was erected in the 17th century and frames Piazza Maggiore. You can relax in the main square with an espresso as the village returns to live along the shores of the canal. Your guide will once again lead you past the charm of Comacchio and through the Po Delta.

The tall, spindly grass is a perfect place for avifauna to nest and graze. Upward of 10,000 Greater Flamingos perch in the shallows of the water. Heron and egret dip their beaks into the marshy shores in search of food. You spot spoonbills soaring over the riverbanks. You reach the magnificent city of Ravenna, a city bursting with medieval mosaics and the spirit of Dante Alighieri; it is hard for any city to match the majesty you witnessed along the Po Delta.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Faenza – Explore a Local Farm before Enjoying a Ceramics Class in Faenza

The Byzantine splendor of Ravenna emanates from the intricate church mosaics and lavish tombs. Before embarking on the trail, you will visit the Basilica of San Vitale. The 6th-century church has a gorgeous exterior and an interior draped in lavish frescoes and mosaics that fill the walls, floors, and domes. Beneath the church stands the crypt, now sunken, glowing above the mosaic floors with natural light that highlights the coins and goldfish floating in the water. The hills of the Emilia-Romagna region lead you to the town of Faenza, known for its Renaissance streets and historical ceramics industry. A dramatic staircase leads to the 15th-century arcades that surround the Piazza del Popolo.

Your guide will lead you to the International Ceramics Museum, which exhibits the local art of pottery and ceramics from ancient and medieval history. The galleries also showcase modern examples from artists such as Chagall and Matisse. Your guide will lead you to the glass stand that shows the Adoration of the Child Jesus, a 16th-century piece told in elaborate color. You will then meet your private instructor eager to teach you the methods of Italian pottery beginning with a brief history of the techniques that date back to the majolica design and watch as your instructor easily shapes the wet clay into a bowl. You will dig your hands into the soft clay too, ready to shape a traditional vase or cup.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Ronta – Traverse the Apennines to Find Villages and an Olive Oil Tasting

The morning will rise and bring with it the subtle aroma of vineyards and cedar trees. You will set out across the Apennine Mountains, the range that separates the region of Emilia-Romagna from Tuscany. The untouched scenery glows like a gem around you as the winding streets lead up the chalky mountain to the soft hues of the antique houses set beneath a looming fortress. Medieval towers continue to watch over the city near the historical center and look out to the three rocky pinnacles that surround town. The town remains famous for its thermal baths fed by the underground springs and the nearby river.

Porticos from the 12th-century line the historical streets of Via degli Asini and turn the walkways into museum-like galleries of raised, covered passages. Your guide will lead you into the countryside and along the olive groves where you will soon meet a local vintner and olive oil producer happy to lead you through the estate. The semi-sweet aroma of the trees fills the air, and the mountains create an elaborate backdrop to the orchards. After viewing the press and cellar, your guide will pour you a sample of the olive oils produced at the villa. The creamy texture will accentuate the simple, pure olive flavor known as Extra Virgin.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Florence – Delight in Fiesole and the Renaissance Atmosphere of Florence

In the morning the hills of Tuscany roll into the horizon accented with cypress trees and villa gardens, Renaissance towns, and lush vineyards. After breakfast, you will set out on the final leg of your trail and pass citrus orchards and olive groves to reach Fiesole. The town was erected over an old Etruscan city and offers your first view of Florence’s vibrant spired skyline. Roman baths and an amphitheater continue to grace the streets near some large stones, remains of the ancient Etruscan walls dating back to the 8th century BC.

Da Vinci first experimented with the theory of flight while on the hillside that overlooks Florence at the height of nearly 1,000 feet above sea level. After enjoying the view for yourself, you will continue the five miles into Florence and settle into the bustling culture of the streets, lined with exuberant architecture. The scent of espresso and gelato lingers in the air, and your guide will lead you on a walking tour to the green, yellow, and pink marbled façade of the famed Cathedral.

Brunelleschi designed the brick dome, which reaches a height of more than 375 feet above the piazza. The interior carries hints of frankincense, a herbaceous aroma similar to the cypress trees that you passed in the hills. The interior contains Gothic arches and stone pillars that soar into the air as stained glass windows bring natural light into the nave, along with riotous color. A magnificent 16th-century fresco decorates the dome, and swirls around the interior to depict angles flying and local Florentines looking down on the choir. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Florence – Depart for Home

After breakfast, you can stroll along the streets as the cafés open and set out their tables and chairs on the streets to let visitors watch the passersby. Lavish bakeries showcase elegant cakes and decadent chocolate creations and the aroma of the confections spill onto the streets in the early hours of the day. You will begin your day as you skip the line at the Uffizi Gallery and follow your guide through the marbled halls of what was once the office of the magistrate in the 16th century under the patronage of Cosimo I de Medici. The palatial décor adds an extra layer of opulence to the artwork on display. Your guide will point you to the unforgettable work of Botticelli, whose painting, The Birth of Venus, lights up an entire gallery.   A perfect ending to your Italian journey, your private transfer will be ready to meet you back at the hotel for your private transfer back to the airport.

What’s Included: transfer, tour, breakfast

Price

Price 

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.