Perfect Relaxing Tour to Venice and Florence: Wine, Beauty & Indulgence

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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A perfect Italian getaway combines the pleasures of wine, the beauty of history, and the decadence of art in architecture and museum galleries. Escape to Italy for a customized tour that perfectly balances the rich traditions of Venice and the lavish artistry of Florence. Let the crisp, bubbly texture of prosecco sweep you off of your feet as you bask in the emerald leaves of the Tuscan hills. Linger in the enchanting ambiance of Venice’s hidden canals on a private gondola. From the Doge’s Palace to the Medici chapels, you can relax in luxury and indulge in culture. 

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General Information

Photos
A gondolier in Venice.
The Siena Cathedral in Tuscany.
A view of Burano.
A farmhouse in Tuscany.
A gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice.
A landscape in Tuscany.
A vineyard in Tuscany.
A view of Venice.
A sculpture at Boboli Gardens in Tuscany.
Sunrise at Doge's Palace in Venice.
A glass-blowing demonstration in Murano.
The Grand Canal in Venice.
A view of Boboli Gardens and the Fountain of Neptune.
Uffizi Gallery at night.
St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace in Venice.
Pitigliano in Tuscany.
A vineyard in Tuscany.
A balcony in Tuscany.
Glass work for sale in Murano.
Fog over Tuscany.
Vineyards in Treviso.
A typical Venetian Canal.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Treviso, Padua, Florence, Fiesole, San Miniato, Barga, Lucca, Pisa 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in Venice with an Introductory Tour of the Grand Canal

Venice is a city of history and striking beauty, elegant with its canals as the city is made up of 117 islands that are connected by beautiful arching bridges that boats and gondolas pass below. Venice itself is reason enough to visit Italy as the city encompasses a rich past and an active contemporary lifestyle. Your flight will land at Marco Polo International Airport, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim to escort you to the edge of the Grand Canal. Step aboard your private boat and you will delight in the ineffable introduction to Venice’s waterways.

Past and present life is clearly visible along the shores and in the waters of the Grand Canal, which reaches two miles in length. Vaporettos and gondolas wind along the waters in view of Santa Maria della Salute, a 17th-century church built in thanks at the end of the plague. Two large domes and bell towers add to the luster of the exterior that stands on a platform supported by one million wooden piles. The sunlight glints off of the stone accented with marmorino, a type of brick covered in marble dust.  The Ca’ Grande features two types of columns that adorn the upper and lower floors of the façade to create an elegant and impressive structure that once belonged to a 16th-century noble family. You will quickly settle into the luxuries of Venice and relish its charms before you reach your gorgeous hotel inside what was once a decadent palace.

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

Day 2: Venice – Embrace the Vibrant City on a Tour of the Monuments and Culture

The Baroque and classical features of the Palazzo Grassi highlights the Republic’s inspirations that are taken from the past while accentuating the trends of the time. The structure had a unique floor plan for the Venetian Republic, which featured four wings that surround a rectangular courtyard. After an extensive refurbishment, the palace blends Neoclassical and modern architectural styles with an impressive effortlessness. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at the hotel and lead you across the famous 16th-century Rialto Bridge to immerse you in the vibrant daily life of the Rialto Market.

The sound of vendors calling to one another fills the square as the aroma of eggplant, lemons, and baby artichoke drifts from the mounds of produce presented inside the market. You will continue to Saint Mark’s Square to stand face-to-face with the shimmering façade of Saint Mark’s Basilica. To the right of the Basilica’s bulbous domes stands the intricate Palazzo Ducale, home to the Doge of Venice. The structure contains Istrian stone and Veronese marble to form an elegant design of rosy and white hues, and sections of the façade look almost like delicate latticework that lead into the impressive interior.

The main entrance of Porta della Carta was crafted in the 15th century and remains a perfect example of Venetian Gothic style.  Allegorical figures, including the Lion of St. Mark, frame the portico. The extraordinary interior culminates in the Sala del Collegio, the room in which the cabinet would meet and where the Republic received important visitors. A remarkable 16th-century Veronese fresco depicts the Doge offering thanks after the victory over the Turks at Lepanto. The colorful frescoes decorate the ceilings to offer another layer of interesting texture to the room.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Venice – Explore the Lagoon and Enjoy a Quintessential Gondola Ride

Biblioteca Marciana stands against the bright blue water of the lagoon and shines with white arcades constructed in the 16th century. The library includes manuscripts and collections from convents, monasteries, private collections, and books suppressed by the Napoleonic regime in the 19th century. After breakfast, the beauty and splendor of the lagoon are yours to explore at your preferred pace, from the artwork exhibited in the lavish 15th-century Scuola di San Rocco, which features works by Tintoretto and Giuseppe Angeli, to visit the artifacts on display in the Museo Archeologico. Your guide will meet you at the hotel to lead you across the lagoon to the island of Murano, made famous for its production of illustrious glass.

The Doge ordered the kilns moved to the island in the 13th century for fear of fires overtaking the city. The work of the craftsmen rose to prominence in Venice and around the world, turning glassblowing into a coveted art in the Venetian Republic. The canal of Rio dei Vetrai bisects the island as colorful fishing boats moored alongside the cobblestone street that stands in front of vibrantly painted homes. You will start your exploration of the island at the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus.

The 12th-century edifice has spectacular Byzantine mosaics that decorate the floor and dome. Legend of the church states that instead of the bones of a saint, the Basilica holds the bones of a dragon slain by Saint Donatus. You will continue to a fornaci, a glassblowing factory that produces the treasured wares of the island. The room is warm from the heat that comes from the kiln as glass figurines decorate a side of the workshop to rest after being forged. After watching the craftsman create a new piece, you will have the chance to join in to shape and forge a new glasswork by your own hand under the guidance of the master glassblower.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Venice – Discover the Charms and Flavors of Veneto with a Wine Tasting

On mainland Italy and off the shores of Venice is the region of Veneto, which stretches from the coast upwards into the Dolomites. At breakfast, you can sip a frothy cappuccino and relish a sweet, buttery brioche before you move into the mainland to discover the delights of the Veneto countryside. After traversing Venice, the countryside will have an emerald lushness that will be so refreshing after the cobblestone streets and stone buildings of the city. The Veneto region produces upwards of 20 percent of Italy’s wines set alongside the small rivers, gorgeous villas, treasured lakeshores, and climbing foothills.

You will make your way to the town of Treviso, often referred to by locals as “Little Venice.” The historical town center contains a labyrinth of streets that are lined with elegant arcades. A town wall continues to encircle the town accompanied by the narrow waterways as grassy banks and rows of houses lead to weeping willows and quietly rotating waterwheels. Cafes set their tables and chairs out in Piazza dei Signori with their doors open to the scent of garlic and clams simmering in olive oil.

Vineyards overtake the countryside outside of town as the marshland around Venice turns to lush hills blanketed in rows of verdant vines. A distinctive winery is known as the “Inn Without Host,” is located up a narrow, unpaved footpath and there you will find a farmhouse kitchen in the heart of the field. A refrigerator filled with chilled prosecco will accompany plates of traditional regional cold meats and cheeses, and your guide will pair the cheese and meats with your sparkling wine to form the perfect combination as you view the beautiful land that surrounds you.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Florence – Visit Enchanting Padua en route to Renaissance Florence

In the morning, the calls of the Rialto Market return with the sunrise as the aroma of freshly baked brioche drifts out of the open bakery doors. After breakfast, you will meet your private transfer in the hotel lobby and cross the Grand Canal to return to mainland Italy on the way to Florence. The city of Padua will feel more like a welcoming town as the streets are a mixture of historical significance and youthful ambiance. Thanks to the University, which was founded in the 13th century, students are found studying beneath the shady trees and wandering alongside the reflective waters of the Bacchiglione River.

Business people wander along the cobblestone street of Corso del Popolo to the heart of the town at Piazza dei Signori. The market bustles beneath the arcades of the Renaissance Palazzo della Ragione, as the tower once belonging to an early medieval castle became an observatory in the 18th century, and houses exhibits of globes, telescopes, and astronomical instruments in connection to one of the university’s most notable teachers, Galileo Galilei. Before leaving Padua, you can tour Scrovegni Chapel, a 14th-century structure built under the patronage of the Scrovegni family. The interior features elaborate frescoes painted by master artist Giotto, and each piece depicts a tale from the Bible. However, Giotto humanized the heavenly figures, which gave rise to the Renaissance through a concentration of vivid hues and lifelike expression. 

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

Day 6: Florence – Relish a Full Day Tour of Florence’s Art and Architecture

Florence is a city of power and prestige, with palaces built by the Medici family and museums that boast of works by master Tuscan painters at the heart of the Renaissance. The Ponte Vecchio arches over the Arno River and the Boboli Gardens blossom with elegant, radiant flowers. You could easily spend years wandering through the cultural history and storybook majesty of the city and barely scratch the surface. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and lead you along the cobblestone streets to the Uffizi Gallery for your introduction to the magnificent art of Tuscany created under the generous patronage of the Medici family.

The Uffizi itself was constructed in the 16th century as the magistrate’s office before housing the artistic collections of the city. After exploring the galleries, your guide will lead you along the Vasari Corridor, a hidden passageway that leads from the Gallery to the Pitti Palace, the former residence of the Medici family. Historical portraits line the walls of the corridor, interspersed amongst the windows that overlook the Arno River. The Pitti Palace was erected in the 15th century and designed by celebrated architect Filippo Brunelleschi, becoming the primary residence of the Medici’s in the mid 16th century. The polished marble floors fill the halls and galleries inside the intricate golden brickwork of the façade.

The first floor features a stunning collection of 16th to 18th-century paintings that were amassed by the Medici family, along with the Lorraine Dukes. The original display, as positioned by the families, has paintings squeezed on top of one another to create an overwhelming image of works, including paintings done by Raphael and Ruben. Botticelli’s Madonna with Child offers the room a different, colorful perspective. Towards the end of the day, your guide will lead you to the top of San Miniato, the hillside that overlooks the city on the Arno’s left bank. At 5.30pm, the monks in the 11th-century church pray with Gregorian chants as their calls echo against the frescoes and mosaics that decorate the grounds.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Florence – Traverse the Lush and Luxurious Tuscan Countryside

Secret bakeries around the historical city center fill the streets with the aroma of sweet buns and chocolate brioches, buttery cookies, and almond cakes. The scent lingers as cafes open their doors to the passing crowds of locals and visitors alike eager to see the Uffizi. After an early breakfast, your private guide will lead you outside the standing medieval city walls to discover the pristine hills of the Tuscan countryside as cypress trees sway in the breeze alongside the unpaved country roads.

Oak trees sprout beside olive groves and chestnut trees frame the vast networks of emerald vineyards. Medieval towns spring from the landscape like blossoming flowers with golden bricks and castle towers. Today you will have your pick of an elaborate collection of historical Tuscan towns, from Siena to Pisa, Montepulciano to Greve in Chianti. The town of Barga stands beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Apuan Alps, amidst the Tuscan highland. The red-tiled roofs stand out from the trees and grass that blanket the protruding foothills as you climb above sea level.

Settlements in the Middle Ages began around the 6th century AD of which the narrow streets remain. The meandering lanes and irregular buildings create a web of fascinating history as the restored castle rises along a rock spur protected by a city wall. Three gates open to the historical grounds, including the Porta Reale. The town rests below the castle with the lavish Cathedral that embodies the Romanesque architecture in the province. Limestone adds to the golden luster of the façade to protect the 12th-century red marble columns and pulpit in the nave.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Florence – Depart for Home

Vendors return to their stands at the San Lorenzo Market in the morning, and the outdoor space opens to a flourish of color that rises from the leather belts, handbags, wallets, and watches that exemplify the fame of Florence’s leather trade. The streets of the outdoor market lead to the steps of Mercato Centrale, which provides local vendors a place to sell their delicious goods inside a vaulted structure erected in the 19th century. Butchers, cheesemongers, fishmongers, and produce sections represent the connection local Florentines have to their food, along with their desire for quality products as seen in the popularity of the artisan olive oil stand. After one last wander around, your private transfer will meet you in your hotel lobby to escort you to Florence’s airport for your flight home. Soon you will leave Italy behind, but you will take with you the memories a perfectly balanced vacation.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$2,195
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.