The best way to soak in the beauty of Italy is to let the splendid antiquity and wondrous landscape surround you. Listen to trivia about ancient Rome as you jog along the banks of the Tiber River. Follow the footpaths that overlook the Mediterranean Sea as you hike the towns of Cinque Terre. Relish the refreshing aroma of olive groves as you cycle the Appian Way and then relax in the resplendent walkways of the Borghese Villa gardens. Your custom tailored tour will blend the pleasures of Italian...
Rome – Arrive and Explore the Vibrant, Bustling Streets of Rome
Rome contains an ambiance of historical importance that fades to the hidden regenerative gardens of lavish villas. Ancient monuments abound and sensational aromas, from espresso to fresh blossoming flowers, drift through the streets. Your flight will land at Fiumicino Airport where your private transfer will await your arrival. Once in the city, settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel with a view of the impressive dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. You will have a chance to freshen up before your guide will meet you in the lavish lobby and escort you to the neighborhood of Trastevere at the Villa Farnesina. The estate once belonged to a Renaissance banker eager to impress the elites of the city.
The villa overlooks the banks of the Tiber River and includes frescoes painted by the celebrated Renaissance master Raphael. The Sale di Galatea is named for the fresco Raphael painted to depict the nymph Galatea as she flees from the infamous Cyclops. The figure of the nymph shows her beauty covered in a light blue dress and connects her image to the legend of reference. Your guide will lead you from the open halls of the villa to the top of the Spanish Steps in front of Santa Trinita dei Monti for the panoramic view that sweeps over the Vatican. You will be swept up into the feelings of Rome, and remain active as you embrace the endless beauty of the Eternal City.
Rome – Embark on a Half or Full Day Tour of Rome’s Ancient Monuments
The flower stalls on the corners of Rome’s historical center are open to the public throughout the night. The colorful petals of roses and hydrangeas glow against the rosy stone of the antique buildings. Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the early hours of the Roman day eager to lead you on an energetic run along the ancient sites of Rome to blend activity with historical exploration.
The tour will begin at the entrance of Castle Sant’Angelo. Emperor Hadrian funded the structure in the 2nd-century AD as a personal mausoleum. Successive popes in the Middle Ages turned the castle into a fortress and connected the interior to the Vatican by way of secret passages. Your guide will lead you on an easy-paced run alongside the Tiber River and to the Ara Pacis, an altar dedicated to the Roman goddess of Peace. The altar was erected in the 1st-century BC in honor of Augustus’s return to the capital. Your guide will offer facts and trivia of Rome along the run before leading you back to the hotel. After your meal, venture next to Colosseum to begin your private walking tour of the ancient structure, followed by the grounds of the center of the vast empire at the Roman Forum.
For your half-day, semi-private tour option, you will join the expert guides at Together in Rome for your Colosseum and Ancient Rome Tour to grasp an in-depth perspective of Rome. You will begin at the Oppian Hill where you can capture a spectacular view of Rome. Notice the ancient landscapes of the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum as they draw the attention to people from all over the globe. As you walk towards the famous Roman Colosseum, immerse yourself in the footsteps of the Romans from thousands of years ago. Along your tour of the breathtaking monument, your guide will take you back in time and explain to you the rich history and significance this great structure has given the world. As you approach the Arch of Constantine you will hear the tales of Rome’s victorious defeats that embodied the egos of the Emperors. Continue your tour by exploring the Sacred Way where you will eventually make your way towards the Roman Forum. Here you will learn about the famous Julius Caesar and how he influenced Rome to evolve from a Republic into an Empire. With much time to spare in your day, relax and reminisce on the spectacular history the fine city of Rome holds.
Rome – Relish the Wonder of the Vatican Museums and Galleria Borghese
In the morning, the locals venture to the gardens of the Villa Borghese to jog along the walking paths surrounded by the lush greenery and vibrant flowers. Ducks swim in the small artificial lake adorned with a neoclassical replica of the Temple of Aesculapius. After breakfast, your guide will lead you from the hotel to the elegant ambiance of St. Peter’s Square where a columned promenade frames the oval shaped piazza. An Egyptian obelisk stands at the heart of the piazza with the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.
The dome rises to nearly 450 feet tall and was designed by Michelangelo, who drew his inspiration from the ancient ceiling of the Pantheon. The interior carries the aromas of frankincense and myrrh. Michelangelo’s first Pieta, which was sculpted from a single piece of marble, stands behind a protective glass wall surrounded by the lavish walls of the elegant cathedral. The white surface glints as the sunlight spills through the windows. The sculpture depicts a young Mary holding the body of Jesus in her lap.
The youthful, but stoic, depiction of Mary has stirred controversy throughout the centuries of the pieta’s exhibition in the church. Venture to the top of the cupola for a splendid view of the pink rooftops of Rome, along with a closer look at the beautiful metopes that support the structure. After you discover the splendor of the Vatican Museums from the apartment of Borgia to the Sistine Chapel, you will make your way to the Vila Borghese. Stroll along the interior which includes sculptures by Bernini and paintings by Caravaggio, before you bike along the trails of the vast gardens.
Rome – Visit Historical Catacombs and the Lavish Villas of Tivoli
The Appian Way led 350 miles southeast to the port city of Brindisi on the Adriatic Coast and was designed to ease military movement through the countryside while also allowing merchants to crisscross the empire with goods from Greece. At breakfast, you will delight in the aroma of brewing espresso and freshly baked brioche. Your guide will meet you in the lobby after your meal to bring you to the beginning of the preserved 10-mile stretch of the ancient roadway now considered a regional park.
The verdant countryside fills with sheep that graze on the meadow, and the serene swaths of the forest will lead your eye to the crumbling castles. Cypress trees sporadically rise along the side of the road as the polygonal basalt rock were cut to pave the ancient road. Your guide will lead you to the entrance of the Catacombs of San Castillo, located at the edge of a tranquil field. You will hear the sheep bleating as a cool breeze rushes up from the entrance of the catacombs.
The 2nd-century AD subterranean tunnels travel more than 12 miles and contain the remains of seven popes. Historical frescoes highlight the mixture of pagan and early Christian symbolism and your guide will point out a preserved 3rd-century AD fresco of a shepherd. Although the image is slightly faded, the color remains vibrant in the dim light of the catacomb. After you resurface, you will return to the beginning of the Appian Way and transfer to Tivoli to discover the marvelous garden of Emperor Hadrian’s Villa, a 2nd-century AD structure designed by the emperor himself.
Levanto – Traverse the Streets of Pisa en route to the Lovely Ligurian Coast
Before you depart from Rome, you will make your way to the Piazza del Popolo to visit the Santa Maria del Popolo, a church with a lavish Renaissance façade and a soaring dome. The structure was erected in the 16th-century and even once housed the famous church reformer, Martin Luther, before he began the Protestant Reformation. The church’s three aisles contain frescos by Pinuricchio, which depict the Coronation of the Virgin. Raphael designed one of the small chapels for the Chigi family, the same family that patronized the artist’s work in the Farnesina Villa.
Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you north towards the seaside town of Levanto. Before you reach the tranquil streets of the Ligurian coast, you will stop in the historical city of Pisa. Pisa has both a celebrated university, which began in the mid-14th century, and the world-famous Leaning Tower to keep you well engaged. Your guide will introduce you first to the Piazza dei Miracoli for a view of the leaning tower and its staggering height of more than 185 feet. The layers of the structure resemble a cake, accentuated with thick columns that wrap around each tier.
The tower broke ground in the 1170s to commemorate Pisan naval victories. The heavy stone in the foundation was too much for the soft clay and fine sand of the square, which causes the structure to lean. While other visitors to Pisa see the tower and quickly depart, your guide will lead you on an all-encompassing tour of the historical city, which once rivaled Genoa in maritime might. The Sacred Field was erected in the 13th-century to hold the mythical shiploads of sacred soil brought back from the Holy Land during the Fourth Crusade. The arches and Gothic ornamentation open into the lavish courtyard with historic frescoes unearthed after World War II that exhibit the original red pigment sketches along the walls.
Levanto – Trek along the Famous Trails that Connect the Cinque Terre
The five towns of Cinque Terre are famous for their beauty along the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In the morning, you will wake up in the charming town of Levanto, separated from the most northern town of Cinque Terre, Monterosso, by rugged mountain outcropping. Lush mountains shape the landscape above town, which looks down onto the sandy beaches filled with colorful parasols. Surfers paddle out to thunderous waves and sunbathers bask in the light on flat, smooth boulders that rise out of the lapping water.
The scent of espresso drifts out of the local cafes along the promenade and blend with the briny aroma of the Mediterranean. You will step out after breakfast eager to step onto the celebrated trails that connect the towns along the coastline. You can enjoy the walkway that leads you from Levanto to Monterosso, with the exceptional views of the mountains and coast that surround the northerly town. The path encompasses five miles and fills with the fragrant aroma of olive groves and coastal brush. The breeze carries the refreshing aroma of the sea as it blends with the rocks. Once in Monterosso, you will understand why people connect so easily with the splendor of Cinque Terre.
Blue and white parasols shade the beachgoers along the soft pebbles of the stretch of shore. The narrow lanes of the medieval town meander around one another before they travel beneath the rocks and guide people to the contemporary neighborhood beyond the hill. The aroma of lemon trees overtakes the seaside scent as the San Cristoforo promontory removes the town from any accessible connections to the north. You will continue along the trail to the town of Vernazza, which brings a glorious view of the colorful buildings that are perched on the cliff that leads down to the natural harbor below.
Levanto – Cruise to the Monastery of San Fruttuoso and Enjoy the Coastline
In the morning, the sunlight will beam through the treetops that grow along the rolling peaks of the mountainous landscape. Surfers paddle out once again to enjoy the freedom of the waves that propel them back towards the shore. After breakfast, you will wander down to the marina to board a small boat headed to the secluded beach of the Monastery of San Fruttuoso. The ancient Benedictine structure was erected in the 10th-century and is only reachable by hiking trail or boat ride. The arched base once allowed boats to dock in the cellar underneath the edifice, but the water receded to leave the monastery standing on the pebbled beach beneath the looming defensive tower erected by the Genoese in the 16th-century.
The Romanesque façade draws attention to the small stone dome that contrasts with the verdant bushes along the mountain ride. A small stone courtyard inside the monastery allows natural light to fill the cloister. Ropes dangle along slats in the cellar as pink carnations blossom along the side of the structure. Spend time to bask in the history of the monastery and wander along the pebbled beach that overlooks the turquoise water. Dip your toes into the splashing sea to feel the cool temperature of the Mediterranean. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy Cinque Terre and the Ligurian Coast as you desire. Take the trail that leads from the monastery to Portovenere to indulge in the lavish lifestyle of the opulent yachts and graceful lanes of the city on the Gulf.
Levanto – Transfer to Genoa for your Flight Home
The medieval churches of Levanto peal their bells in the morning light to signal the time of day. Fishing boats return from their time on the open sea in search of marlin and prawn. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the city of Genoa, the capital of the former Genoese Empire that rule the Mediterranean waters of maritime might. The city is also the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Piazza de Ferrari embodies the bustling heart of the city and is adorned with a splashing fountain and bordered by grand palaces and imposing 19th-century Neo-Baroque structures. Two spectacular towers preserved from the 12th-century represent the former city walls and stand near the restored stone house of the explorer’s home. Soon your private transfer will escort you to the Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport for your flight home, but you will have time to walk around the city and enjoy the magnificent mixture of history, refinement, and art.
- Explore the ten preserved miles of the ancient road known as the Appian Way during a guided bike ride that leads to a cluster of historical catacombs
- Enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the lavish gardens of the Borghese Villa, which is often referred to as Rome’s Central Park
- Stroll beneath the opulent frescoes and remarkable architecture of the Villa Farnesina, which leads to a panorama of Rome at Santa Trinita dei Monti
- Wander along the trails that crisscross the Ligurian Coast between the enchanting towns of the Cinque Terre
- Delight in a short cruise along the Mediterranean to visit the secluded grounds of the Monastery of San Fruttuoso
- Embark on a half-day walking tour of the city of Pisa to discover the monuments behind the Leaning Tower
- Traverse the majestic gardens of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s former villa in the town of Tivoli
- Relish a morning run alongside captivating ancient monuments of Rome, including the Ara Pacis
- Partake in Roman tradition with a warm footbath to help sooth your feet at the end of an active day exploring
An active lifestyle can take you from the great outdoors to the majesty of monuments that have inspired Western Civilization. You may also go from a manmade lake in a once private garden of a noble family to the steps of a papal fortress on the edge of the Tiber River. Your 8-day active tour of Rome and Cinque Terre combines the best of Italian history and culture with the joys of keeping an active lifestyle to connect the rapture of exploration with the euphoria of a runner’s high.
The journey will begin with your arrival at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim and escort you into the historical city center at your luxurious hotel. After check-in, your guide will meet you in the lobby and escort you on a remarkable walking tour of the city and lead you through the lavish estate of Villa Farnesina to the vibrant square that overlooks the Spanish Steps. Next day, wake up early for a guided running tour of the historical neighborhoods of Rome, beginning and ending at the Castle Sant’Angelo. Your tour of the ancient life of the empire will continue with a private guided exploration of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. In the evening, you can partake in the ancient Roman spa ritual of soothing your tired feet in a warm footbath.
The grandeur of Vatican City will present itself early on the next day. Traverse the grounds of the gardens, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the stunning museum galleries before you delight in a leisurely bike ride along the paths of the Borghese gardens. Next day, enjoy a cycling tour along the ten miles of the preserved Appian Way. Follow your guide into the catacombs of St. Callixtus to view early Christian burial rituals and frescoes, and then follow your active discovery of the old Roman road with an exploration of the opulent villas in Tivoli. Travel next to the Ligurian town of Levanto by way of the famous city of Pisa for a guided walking tour of the city to take in the Leaning Tower and the treasures of the medieval maritime power often overlooked by visitors.
Next, traverse the variety of trails that lead from Levanto to the five towns of Cinque Terre with a stop to admire the architecture, culture, history, and the views that are secluded due to the natural landscape. Continue with a short cruise along the Mediterranean to the hidden monastery of San Fruttuoso, and the remainder of the day is yours to bask in the charms of the seaside. Take the trail to Portofino, or rest your legs as your relax on the beach of Monterosso. Conclude as you travel to Genoa with enough time to visit the highlights of the city before you check-in to your flight at the Cristoforo Colombo Airport.
$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.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.86 stars based on 102 reviews.
Reviewed By Bill B.
Reviewed By Jason D.
Reviewed By Josie P.
Reviewed By Jonathan A.
Reviewed By Bryan P.
Reviewed By Thomas C.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era