Venice, Bologna, Florence, Verona
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Italy is meant to be experienced as you savor the layered flavors of a perfected regional dish and bask in the charming glow of the marbled villas that overlook the quiet canals. Your custom tailored tour will take you on an engaging cultural excursion from Venice to Bologna and back again as you are immersed in the art and architecture of the past, along with the cuisine and daily life of contemporary towns and cities. Witness the frescoes that first humanized biblical figures, and then indulge...
Venice – Arrive in Venice and Delight in an Introductory Tour of the Canals
The Venetian Republic was the power of the Adriatic Sea and Veneto for centuries and shaped art, architecture, and cuisine. Your flight will arrive at Marco Polo International Airport where your private transfer will greet you at baggage claim. You will venture to the shores of the Grand Canal, famous for the endless network of narrow waterways that turn what many believe to be a single city into its actual figure of a series of islands connected by arching bridges. You will board a private vaporetto with a knowledgeable guide eager to introduce you to the splendor of the once great Republic.
The waterway creates a winding shape along an ancient riverbed that reaches a length of two and a half miles. Iconic gondoliers paddle past as you are along the wide-open space near Piazzale Roma. The canal takes you beneath the three bridges, the most famous of which is the Rialto Bridge. The stone structure was erected in the 16th-century and spans 72 feet across the water supported by approximately 6,000 timber piles on either side.
Historic palaces that date from the 12th to the 18th-century line the waterway, including the Palazzo Grassi, an 18th-century edifice with a formal palatial façade of white marble. The structure now contains exhibitions of contemporary and postmodern art and connects the classic appearance with everyday life. After you explore the canal, your vaporetto will moor at the private dock of your hotel and allow you to disembark directly into the lobby. The lavish décor harkens back to the last days of the Republic’s opulence, and once more welcomes you to the city and its cultural grandeur.
Venice – Enjoy a Half-Day Tour of St. Mark’s Square and Venice’s Splendor
In the morning, your first glimpse of Venice nearly takes your breath away. The sunlight will cast a gold shine over the marbled facades of the city’s historical palaces and shimmers along the placid lagoon in the absence of gondolas and vaporettos. Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel after breakfast ready to lead you through the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square, from the basilica to the Doge’s Palace. The daily life of the Republic revolved around this square, from the bustle of the morning market to the religious and civic activities of the city.
The rosy brick bell tower reaches a height of more than 320 feet, adorned with a pointed roof and a gilded statue of the Archangel Gabriel. The delicate image of the Doge’s Palace derives from the thin Istrian marble columns and pink Verona marble accented with arching windows. St. Mark’s Basilica will draw your focus as the original structure was erected in the 9th-century to house the remains of the patron saint with the remainder of the basilica dating back to the 11th-century.
500 columns of rare marble support the structure, and the bulbous domes embellish the remarkable gilded façade. After you view the marvelous frescoes in the indented porches, including a representation of the Tower of Babel, you will enter into the gilded basilica, which contains 45,639 square feet of majestic gold mosaics that overtake the domes, walls, and archways. The scent of frankincense and myrrh from the morning mass will add to the immersive qualities of the basilica’s unique golden hue that shine in the natural light that pours through the windows.
Bologna – Transfer to Medieval Bologna to Tour the Monuments and Food
The aroma of rich espresso drifts along the cobblestone streets of Venice and beckons to the locals that visit the local cafes for a refreshing brew before work. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you away from the shores of the Grand Canal and inland to the food-focused region of Emilia Romagna in the heart of its capital city of Bologna, known locally as the “Fat One.” The medieval life of the Bologna comes to life in the colonnaded streets and red-terracotta buildings accentuated with porticoes.
The celebrated university was established in the 11th-century and continues to draw students from around Italy, which brings a youthful atmosphere to the old streets. The city brims with activity in Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno, and the aroma of savory meat sauce drifts out of the local restaurants. The 16th-century fountain depicts Neptune as water splashes into the basin beneath the watchful mermaids. You will notice the Torre Garisenda as the 157-foot tall tower leans more than 42 feet.
20 remain of the of the original 100 towers built in the 12th-century to provide remarkable panoramas of Bologna, along with a visual history of city’s Medieval nobility. The Romanesque façade of the Abby of St. Stephen tells the cultural history of the city, from its Lombard connections to the city’s Roman roots. In the evening, you will enjoy the Bolognese love of dining as you take the time to indulge at a traditional trattoria draped in regional décor and filled with the indulgent aroma of thyme, eggplant, and roasted tomatoes.
Bologna – Relish a Full Day Historical and Artistic Tour of Nearby Florence
In the morning, you will find cafe tables set along the cobblestone streets at the center of the city. The scent of bittersweet cappuccino blends with the aroma of the freshly baked brioche that fills the windows of the bakeries. You will have an early breakfast before you meet your guide for a full day tour of Florence, a city at the heart of Tuscany and the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance. Palaces and churches decorate the skyline, and none are more impressive than the dome of the Cathedral.
Celebrated architect Brunelleschi designed the red brick to feature above the green, pink, and white marble structure. The dome reaches more than 375 feet tall and was completed in the 15th-century. The elegant architecture embodies the city’s past and present and highlights the stunning work of master architects, sculptors, painters, and writers. As you walk from Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, your guide will point out the small plaques found on the side of buildings that commemorate different passages from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, in which the poet references places around his treasured city.
A walk through Florence offers the same visual majesty as a walk through a museum as famous statues and images of graceful palaces highlight the pathways. After you visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s David, your guide will take you across the Arno River to the neighborhood known as Oltrarno. A series of hidden, narrow streets offer insight into the artisanal shops where craftsmen have continued their work passed down through the generations. You will enter a shop to meet a jewelry maker who has continued a family tradition that dates back two centuries and uses traditional methods to create modern, captivating designs.
Verona – Venture to the Gorgeous City of Verona to Explore the Culture
In the morning, the students at Bologna University return to the Piazza Maggiore to study, sip a cappuccino and share ideas. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort from the food-centric city to the charms of Verona, located on the banks of the River Adige. Cypress and chestnut trees add greenery to the rosy hues of the brick and stone buildings of the historical center where the Roman Arena has remained relatively unscathed since its construction nearly 2,000 years ago in 290 AD.
The structure edges Piazza Bra and contains 44 rows of stadium seating of which the city utilizes during the Verona Opera Festival. Inside the arena, you can step through the arches and will feel like a gladiator who once entered to the roars of the crowd. You can venture to the top of the stands for a view of the city and the surrounding hills. The defensive walls of the 14th-century Castelvecchio embody the power and wealth of the Scala family.
The main tower and ramparts watch over the Ponte Scaligero, a 14th-century bridge on which locals continue to enjoy an evening stroll. The castle contains the Civic Art Museum, which features sculptures and paintings by Bellini, Tintoretto, and Pisano, along with artists of the Veronese school between the 15th and 16th-centuries. In the evening, you can do as the locals do and partake in a passegiata, a stroll through the streets to view the active life of town before you sit in the elegant atmosphere of Piazza delle Erbe to enjoy a local wine.
Venice – Visit the Wonders of Padua before Returning to Grand Venice
In the morning, the vibrant colors of the preserved streets of Verona give away to the foothills of the Alps in the distance. The 1st-century AD triumphal arch frames the start of Corso Cavour. Bakers set out rich cakes in their display windows along the main square of Piazza delle Erbe, and you will struggle to walk by without going in. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escorts you back to Venice, with a stop en route in the remarkable town of Padua, which boasts Roman roots and interesting architecture that exhibits Byzantine and Renaissance history. Statues line the beautiful waterway of the Prato della Valle as villas overlook the banks of the Brenta Canal lead back to the Venetian lagoon.
The campus of the University of Padua was founded in the 13th-century as the first center for humanism study and led the Western World in medical sciences and physics. Celebrated scientists, including Galileo and Copernicus, taught and studied at the University respectively. The former developed the first astronomical telescopic lens during his tenure of lecturing in the Great Hall. You can visit the first oval anatomical theater where students learned about anatomy by watching live dissections as the hey-colored stone rises above the quiet waters of the Brenta River.
Before you return to Venice, you can take a moment to visit the Chapel of the Madonna dell’Arena. The 14th-century structure was erected under the patronage of the banker Enrico Scrovegni, and the artist Giotto was commissioned to decorate the interior. Historical artists such as Leonardo da Vinci attribute the rebirth of interest in art and sciences to the frescoes Giotto created inside the chapel. The works depicted the life and times of Jesus but humanize the featured characters in a way unseen in Christian art before the Renaissance.
Venice – Discover the Treasures of the Islands in the Venetian Lagoon
Glassblowing was once an elite art significant to the Venetian Republic, whose grasp on the craft and its artists date back to the late 13th-century. The familiar sounds of gondoliers dipping their paddles into the canal along with the scent of freshly brewed espresso fill the air. After breakfast, you will board a private vaporetto to reach the island of Murano, home to the fabled Venetian glassblowing community. Glassblowing was once an elite art significant to the Venetian Republic, whose grasp on the craft and its artists date back to the late 13th-century. The glassmakers of the island became leading citizens of the Republic around the 14th-century and artwork into a noble craft. But this is not the oldest industry, as the commercial port of Murano opened in the 7th-century and grew into a prosperous trading center in the 10th-century.
The 19th-century brick bell tower of St. Stephen’s rises above the spindly glass statue that adorn the piazza. Step into the Basilica of St. Mary and St. Donatus to view the 12th-century Byzantine mosaics that decorate the floor and the dome, along with a display of what the church claims are the bones of the dragon that St. Donatus slew. The images in the artwork depict peacocks that are feeding out of an elegant vase. The glinting hues of the colorful stones imitate the shimmering shapes of the glass objects crafted on the island. Continue your exploration of Murano with a glassblowing demonstration for a visual tour of the fine art that has made the island a behemoth in the history of art.
Venice – Depart for Home
In the morning, the vibrant daily life of the Rialto Market returns to Venice. Vendors extend from the foot of the bridge to San Polo as the fish market brims with the daily catch as fishermen attempt to lure passersby with vibrant displays of prawns, clams and the best of the Adriatic Sea. The market has been a part of Venice’s morning tradition since the late 11th-century, and the flower stalls bring a lightness and perfumed aroma to the air. Venetian chefs often buy their produce, seafood, and decorative flowers from the vendors alongside the water. After you enjoy the morning and take your breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel dock and escort you to the shores of the canal where you will continue to Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home.
- Witness the delicate artwork of the glassblowers on the historical island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon
- Cruise the Grand Canal with an introductory tour of Venice, which takes you to the palaces, museums, and monuments that overlook the waterway
- Bask in the golden glow of St. Mark’s Basilica during a private tour of St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace
- Indulge in the essence of Italian cuisine in the foodie capital of the country referred to by locals as the “Fat One,” in medieval Bologna
- Visit an artisan jewelry maker in Florence who uses traditional techniques to craft masterful, contemporary designs
- Stroll through the historical grounds of a medieval castle that guard the borders of Verona, a city famous for its charm based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
- Wander through the enchanting cobbled street of Padua to experience the history of the University where Galileo once taught science
- Delight in the unique artistic experience of witnessing the masterworks of Giotto in the Chapel of the Madonna dell'Arena
Savor the culture of Italy on an in-depth tour of the north that takes you from Venice to Bologna and back again. Your 8-day excursion will combine luxury with culture and highlight the magnificence of the artisanal crafts passed down through generations, whether in the art of cooking, jewelry making, or glassblowing. The regions of Veneto and Emilia Romagna embody the splendor of Italy with Renaissance palaces that exhibit preserved works of master painters with medieval walls and gondolas that sweep beneath the soaring church spires. Your exciting adventure will begin with your arrival at Marco Polo Airport in Venice. Your private transfer will escort you to the edge of the Grand Canal for a tour of the waterway that traverses the city’s island design and offers you your first view of the city’s grandeur.
Wake the next day for your private half-day tour of the majestic ambiance of St. Mark’s Square that begins with the gilded frame of St. Mark’s Basilica and the lavish décor of the Doge’s Palace. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to wander the maze-like streets of the city. Travel next to Bologna by private transfer the next day to discover the blend of cultural heritage and cuisine. The medieval architecture and streets give way to a food-centric philosophy, and you will stroll through the historical lanes before you enjoy an unforgettable meal at the center of Italy’s vibrant food scene.
Move next to the Renaissance city of Florence for an excursion into living history. Wander amongst palaces, castles, and artwork as you visit the museums of your choice before you explore the artisan craft shops in the historical artistic district of the Oltrarno. Your private transfer will then leads you back into the Veneto region at Verona where you will explore the splendid city and enjoy the rich culture that dates back to the Roman Empire. Tour the castles, bridges, and ruins, along with the letter-lined archway of the home of Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet. In the evening, bask in the traditional passeggiata, your after dinner stroll, where you can connect with the locals and other travelers alike.
Venture next to Padua for an immersive look at the architecture and art of a city that once went against Venice for power in the region. You will see Giotto’s stunning work in the Chapel of the Madonna dell'Arena before you return to Venice for the night. The next day takes you to the celebrated islands around the Venetian lagoon, including the glassblowing island of Murano. Stroll along the quiet streets for an introduction to the glorious mosaics and the tradition of glassblowing. Conclude as your private transfer will escort you from your hotel to Marco Polo Airport for your flight home.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
- 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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