An Immersive Italian Tour to Florence, Cinque Terre & Sardinia

A 9 day trip to Italy 
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Indulge in ancient history and inspiring art, breathtaking landscape and embracing culture on your custom tailored Italy tour. Graceful statues decorate the marble halls of the Uffizi Gallery. The traditional cuisine of Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean, seamlessly blends Italian and Spanish influence. Dramatic mountains rise and fall against the bordering Mediterranean Sea. The splendors of Florence, Cinque Terre, and Sardinia take you beyond the preconceived images of Italy and into a unique world where Renaissance beauty, fascinating prehistoric tribes, and friendly Italian culture combine for a treasured discovery. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Florence, Cinque Terre, Vernazza, Monterosso, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Portovenere, Sardinia, Alghero, Cagliari, Bosa, Orisano 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Dramatic Florence

Florence is a city set on the banks of the Arno River. The Ponte Vecchio connects the two sides of the city. Medieval walls connote the borders of Florence’s historic streets. Brunelleschi’s dome adorns the cathedral and creates the iconic skyline. Your private transfer greets you at Florence Airport (Peretola) upon your arrival. The city brims with culture and a special connection to the Renaissance. Images of Michelangelo’s David decorate the public squares of Piazza Signoria and Piazzale Michelangelo.

The latter allows for an incredible panorama sweeping across the city. After you check-in to your hotel, the remainder of the day is at your leisure to absorb the unadulterated beauty of Florence. Medieval palazzos line cobblestone streets. Elegant church towers cast shadows over their marble steps. Beneath the white and green marble frame of the Duomo sits the ancient church of Santa Reparata. The structure is well hidden and highlights the time the Roman Empire protected Florence as its colony. The church was erected in the 6th century AD and maintains its ancient Roman walls. Consider learning more about your travel agents for Italy, and see how you can impeccably customize your itinerary to your particular interests and desires. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Wine and Masterpieces

In the morning, cafes open their doors to Florentines eager to sip their espresso on the way to work. Freshly baked brioche fills the display cases. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the forecourt of the Uffizi Gallery located on the northern banks of the Arno River. Florence is an art lover’s dream, filled with masterworks of medieval and Renaissance art, along with architectural marvels. The Uffizi was erected in the 16th century to house the magistrate offices under Cosimo I de’ Medici.

The internal courtyard has a Doric screen to articulate the beautiful space leading to a view of the water. Columns and statues alternate decorating the niches of the façade. Tapestries once draped across the interior halls. The pristine white color that decorates the walls today helps focus visitors’ eyes on the statues highlighted by the sunlight pouring through the windows. Your guide leads you through the galleries and eventually points you in the direction of the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.

The painting depicts the goddess of love stepping forth from her clamshell. After your tour of the museum, you venture to a local art studio to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon with wine and paint. Your class teaches you the art of frescoes, emulating the techniques of artists such as Botticelli and Masaccio. The studio is located on the opposite side of the Arno River, known as Oltrarno. Your instructor provides you with the paint and tiles before explaining the proper preparation of a mosaic. You create your drawing and begin to emulate the masters.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: The Local Flavor

The morning light washes over Giardino delle Rose, a 19th-century rose garden. The fragrant aroma of blossoming flowers drifts along the walkway leading to Piazzale Michelangelo. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you through the Tuscan countryside to Lamporecchio. The charming village radiates the natural beauty of the region. Lush trees grow over stone buildings rising up the hillside. The town dates back to the Middle Ages. You arrive at a large farm covering 45 acres, which belongs to two brothers specializing in locally produced cheese. Cows roam freely across the landscape and graze on olive trees and lush grass. Your guide leads you on a brief tour of the two-room facility.

Numerous large pots and sterilized tools fill the room adjacent to the cheese cellar. Immerse yourself in the local flavor by helping your guide create some cheese. The farm is known for its semi-hard cheeses, with one cheese in particular having a rind of chili flakes. Your guide has set up a table surrounded by olive trees. You watch him check the temperature of the water, whisking and adding cheese curds as necessary. You help shape the cheese, feeling the soft milky texture become firmer as you work in the cream. Your guide sets aside the fresh cheese and takes out the aged cheese for which the farm is known, allowing you to sample a variety, including a cheese topped with a black pepper crust.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Intriguing Coastline

The antique flea market of Piazza dei Ciompi comes to life in the morning, gradually filling with people eager to find vintage accessories, seasoned furniture, and antique bikes. On the weekend, the market encompasses more than 100 stalls. At breakfast, you savor the aroma of a freshly brewed espresso. Your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the Ligurian coast and the town of Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of Cinque Terre. A footpath, trains, and boats are the only accessible routes to the town protected by the stunning Tyrrhenian Sea and Rugged mountains. Historical documents first mention Cinque Terre in the 11th century.

Riomaggiore continues to draw artists and photographers for its colorful buildings set against the sheer seaside cliff. The sea splashes against the natural inlet. Small fishing boats line the pathway leading to the edges of the sea. The narrow cleft between the headlands protects the town from the elements. A marble pulpit decorates the 14th-century church of San Giovanni. The walls of two round towers from the 15th-century castle stand northwest of the village looking out to the horizon. Spend the day traversing the walkway that hugs the cliff for an unparalleled view of the landscape, seascape, and private gardens of the residents of each town. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Mainland Coast to Island Shores

Colorful fishing boats wade in the tranquil waters of Porto Venere’s marina. The colorful homes lining the port were painted so fishermen could better view the shoreline when returning home from the sea. Restaurants set out their tables and chairs along the esplanade edging the water. Squid and conger eels glide through the water near Grotta Byron, named after the English poet Lord Byron. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to Pisa for your flight to Alghero, Sardinia. The island of Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and became part of the Italian Republic in the 19th century.

White sand beaches and emerald waters grace the Costa Smeralda. Prehistoric sites are staggered across the landscape. Roman streets and windswept ruins provide culture and historical context to the island. Alghero is a medieval city with an independent spirit. Celebrated restaurants and vibrant bars fill the historic center, bordered by honey-colored seawalls. Sandy beaches line the northern coast. Cafes fill the piazzas. A Gothic palazzo rises above the shaded cobbled lanes. Locals continue to speak a form of medieval Catalan, connecting the island’s present to its Spanish past. The sea walls were erected in the 16th century and run from Piazza Sulis to Porta a Mare. The tower Torre di Sulis marks the beginning of the walkway in the south. You can step on the strong stones and traverse the old town with unadulterated views of Capo Caccia in the distance.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: The Journey South

In the morning, fishers set out on their colorful boats in search of the perfect catch. The sunlight spreads across the sea walls and returns the golden honey hues of the stones. You can hear the sound of the sea lapping at the edges of the city. After breakfast, your guide leads you out of the city to the town of Bosa. The road provides unparalleled views of the coast. Turquoise water splashes against the cliffs. Rolling dunes lead to level beaches. You arrive in Bosa to find palm trees lining the esplanade.

The vivacious building facades reflect in the tranquil waters of the River Temo, the only navigable river on the island. Lush farms grow along the riverbanks. Inside the city, medieval streets lead to the old stone bridge. Pastel buildings glow beneath the powerful Malaspina Castle adorning the hilltop. The Tuscan Malaspina family erected the castle in the 12th century. Modest houses and noble homes combine to create the cityscape. Continue to Oristano to view a temple erected in the between 1,200 and 1,100 BC.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Infinite Variety

Cagliari rises above the sea with honey colored mansions, shimmering domes, and golden buildings, leading your eyes to the centerpiece of Il Castello. Cafes open up along tree-fringed boulevards. Elegant arcades provide views to the seafront. After breakfast, your guide leads you on an extraordinary tour of the city, taking in the Roman ruins, museums, churches, and galleries that accentuate the culture of historical and contemporary Cagliari. Multiple ancient cultures left their impression on the city of Nora, beginning with the Phoenicians. Carthaginians overtook the Phoenicians and Romans ousted the Carthaginians to establish a lasting trading post.

The historic Nora Stone was discovered in the settlement in the 18th century. The stone is an ancient Phoenician inscription written in the late 9th century BC, the oldest of its kind. The ruins act as an open-air museum at the foot of Capo di Pula promontory. Stone pillars rise out of the ground. Building outlines connote the city’s past design. The sea laps at the shores of the past. Mountains frame the horizon. The theater was erected in the 3rd century BC under Roman rule. Your guide points out the mosaic tiles paving a former hall. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the fascinating beauty in and around Cagliari.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Treasured Days on Sardinia

In the morning, you sip a comforting cappuccino and enjoy the view of the turquoise Mediterranean edging against Cagliari. The day is yours to immerse yourself in the wonders of Sardinia. Clear waters lap at the white sand beach of Su Giudeu. Dunes roll along the inner landscape as high as 65 feet. Juniper trees grow alongside tufts of grass. Spend time relaxing on the soft grains of sand while soaking up the sun. Il Costello is the iconic image of Cagliari. The edifice once housed the city’s aristocracy. Sturdy ramparts protect the inner sanctum of mansions, domes, and towers.

Pisan palaces and a historic university intertwine along the narrow high-walled alleyways paved with cobblestone. The neighborhood emanates a bohemian ambiance. Step even further back in time at Nuraghe Su Nuraxi, a prehistoric site located outside of Cagliari. Thousands of stone towers spread across Sardinia, with the best preserved and best-restored towers located in Nuraghe Su Nuraxi. Timber discovered in the central tower dates back to 1,500 BC. The outer walls were erected in the 12th century BC. The dry stones were stacked without using mortar. The walls are nearly six feet thick and contain a spiral stairway connecting three stories. The workmanship the prehistoric craftsmen achieved is fascinating.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 9: Diversity of Italy

In the morning, the sunlight spreads across the white sand of Porto Giunco, highlighting the pink flecks scattered across the beach and water. The sea erodes the granite, causing the rock to oxidize and spread around the beach. The clear turquoise water magnifies the serene seafloor. On Sundays, the morning market covers several streets and squares across the city. Vendors call out to customers eager to start a conversation. Antiques, artwork, and artisan goods fill the flea market at Piazza Trento. The fish market on Via dei Navigatori in the seaside district of St. Elia displays the fresh seafood caught earlier that morning. Locals traverse the lanes of the market in search of a perfect meal, ready to prepare a feast for that evening. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at your hotel and escorts you to Cagliari Elmas Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

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.