Discovering the Culture & Charm of Genoa, Cinque Terre and Rome Tour

Landscape of Rome
A 10 day trip to Italy & Vatican City 
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Let Rome enrapture you with art and architecture as the emerald foothills of the Maritime Alps guide you to captivating vistas. From the hills of Tuscany to the gorges of Lazio, your custom tailored tour will immerse you in history and art, fishing villages and former powerful Republics. Trace the progression of Michelangelo’s career and wander cobblestone streets of medieval towns, and then linger in the shadows of soaring ancient towers and cruise the Mediterranean Sea in view of pastel-painted homes. Castles decorate the shoreline as vineyards carpet terraces as you follow the unbeaten path between Rome and Genoa. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Vatican City, Bagnoregio, Bracciano, Viterbo, Suvereto, Volterra, Pisa, Siena, Lerici, Tellaro, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso, Levanto, Santa Margherita, Recco, Rapallo, Genoa, Portofino 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Rome – Arrive into the Remarkable History and Culture of the Eternal City

Rome astonishes visitors from around the world with its legacy of imperial architecture and majestic artistic achievement. Monuments soar into the sky, and elegant palaces frame the peaceful piazzas. Your flight will land at Fiumicino Airport where your private transfer will greet you. Your accommodation is located near the verdant greenery of the Borghese gardens, referred to as Rome’s Central Park. Villas and palaces frame the neighborhood around cobblestone streets as the scent of blossoming flowers carries over from the hotel’s private garden. The villa was erected in the 19th century with rococo embellishments, from the lavish marble to the dangling chandeliers.

Settle into the comforts of your gorgeous hotel before you meet your guide for an introductory tour of the Eternal City. You will have a brief walk to the Spanish Steps, a beautiful marble stairway that connects the Piazza di Spagna to the Piazza Trinita dei Monti. The French ambassador funded the project in the 18th century as the boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the steps trickles into the quiet pool, often surrounded by playful children and relaxed locals. The figure represents a legend of the 16th century that told of a flood that had carried a fishing boat from the Tiber River to the base of the foothill beneath the upper piazza. The unique, elegant design utilizes tiers to ascend the natural slope of the Roman hill beneath the adorning towers of Trinita dei Monti Church.

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

Day 2: Rome – Discover the Iconic Sites of Ancient Rome and Enjoy a Gelato Tour

The morning sun filters into the interior of the Pantheon through the 30-foot hole built into the center of the crowning dome, the only source of natural light for the ancient structure as you take a quick morning stroll.  After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the lobby and escort you to the ancient heart of Rome, beneath the large shadow cast by the Colosseum. The four-story structure was erected in the 1st century AD and utilized as an arena and theater for more than 50,000 spectators of the Roman Empire. Across the cobbled square stands the Roman Forum, the center of the civic, religious, and political life of the Republic and Empire, which held the Senate and the daily market.

The first structures erected around the hillside were temples, followed by public buildings that offered a space for citizens to congregate. Layers of history reveal themselves in the open space accentuated with trees and remnants of temples. Three nearly 40-foot tall Corinthian columns mark the Temple of Castor and Pollux, erected in the 1st century AD. The temple was dedicated to the sons of myth who legend told watered their horses at a natural spring spouting from the Forum grounds, and locals refer to the remaining columns as the Three Sisters. In the afternoon, your will meet your guide once more for an introduction to the celebrated flavors of Rome, as crafted in gelaterias across the city. Go one step beyond your taste buds to help make a gelato of your favorite flavor, learning the technique of the quintessentially Italian dessert.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Rome – Explore the Encompassing Art and Architecture of Vatican City

The beauty of Rome shines in the morning beneath the spreading sunlight. The rosy marble features of the Palazzo Senatorio at Capitoline Hill crown the distinctive shape of the piazza, designed by Michelangelo the 16th century. The theme of the master artist leads you through the day as your guide will escort you through Vatican City. Michelangelo designed and shaped the impressive dome that adorns St. Peter’s Basilica, which takes 330 steps to reach the top of, as the dome reaches a height of 435 feet. The interior retains the aroma of frankincense and myrrh from mass as candles flicker from the many votive candles that decorate the room. Natural light washes over the nave and through the pillars to shine off of the marble floors. The master artist’s first of his four Pieta’s stands to the right of the main entrance ensconced in glass. Michelangelo crafted the piece at 24 years old, depicting a youthful Mary holding the body of Jesus.

Your tour of the Vatican City continues inside the treasured museums of the independent principality. Sculptures, paintings, and artifacts from around the former Roman and Holy Roman empires decorate the galleries, along with lavish depictions of biblical history patronized by popes for nearly 1,500 years. The end of your tour takes you into the Sistine Chapel. Pope Sixtus IV financed the paintings in the 15th century, hiring Michelangelo to fill the chapel with revelatory images. The sidewalls hold frescoes that depict biblical history told through Umbrian and Tuscan landscape, and on the ceiling, you will find the iconic image of the chapel as God reaches out to create Adam and Eve.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Bagnoregio – Traverse the Remarkable Towns of Western Lazio

Rome comes to life in the morning with the aroma of sweet flowers that emanate from the vendors at Campo dei Fiori. Produce stalls shine with colorful produce ranging from bright green artichokes to lilac eggplant. Old women dressed in black exit from the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, a church consecrated in the 4th century AD by Emperor Constantine. The façade showcases 15 statues, each reaching a height of 23 feet. After breakfast and a quick stroll, you will leave the lavish adornments of Rome behind, exchanging the preservation of the opulent Renaissance for the quiet towns and villages of the countryside. Your private transfer will escort you into the lush prairies and quiet hills that lead to Bracciano.

Bracciano stands on a hilltop that overlooks the crystalline water of Lake Bracciano. You will notice the sailboats as they drift across the lake elegantly gliding past canoes. The marvelous figure of Orsini-Odescalchi Castle rises above the trees as the stronghold was erected in the 15th century and maintains a fairytale design to its exterior. The grounds contain friezes adorned with a wealth of frescoes as tapestries drape the apartment walls, offering a look at the life of the nobles during the castle’s heyday. The most famous frieze of the 15th century depicts the labors of Hercules visible through the stresses of history. In Viterbo, you will step back to medieval times in a town erected over ancient Etruscan roots.

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

Day 5: Pisa – Visit the Charming Villages and Towns of Tuscany

In the morning, you will be drawn to the stunning view of the canyon as it encircles the medieval city of Bagnoregio. The layers of sediment along the gorge walls shine red and cream and contrast with the verdant brush of the Lazio countryside. After breakfast, you will cross the border into the region of Tuscany, famous for its emerald hills, cypress trees, and endless vineyards. Your first stop in the town of Siena, known for its remarkable historical city center bordered by 13th-century city walls. Wander through the city at your preferred pace to witness the grandeur of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta as the Gothic architecture features black and white marble, with an interior of glowing red brick.

The familiar aroma of frankincense fills the gallery and sweeps over the remarkable mosaic floors that depict both biblical and regional history over a series of 56 panels. Before you reach Pisa, you will visit two more typical Tuscan towns, including Volterra. The town is known for its alabaster trade, ancient walls, and remarkable towers that soar over the cobbled streets. The Etruscan gate offers entrance to the city beside the dramatic walls of a 15th-century fortress erected by Lorenzo the Magnificent. Strolling through town brings the indulgent aromas of fresh rolled pasta and brewing espresso that emanate from the cellar restaurants hidden in the old stone structures.

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

Day 6: Riomaggiore – Traverse the Gulf of Poets en route to Cinque Terre

The outline of the Leaning Tower of Pisa adds an extra layer of grace to the structure beyond the marble pillars and delicate reliefs carved into the different tiers. Pisa has revealed its splendor in the Piazza dei Miracoli and beyond, highlighting its former wealth as a contender for maritime might until defeated by the Republic of Genoa. After breakfast, you will leave the unforgettable Tuscan city behind for the shores of Liguria at the Gulf of Poets. A collection of sailboat masts rise above the harbor and sway in the gentle wake of the Mediterranean Sea. The green trees at the edge of the coastline encircle the elevated base of San Terenzo Castle.

The greenery contrasts with the strength of the stone, along with the rose and yellow hues of the antique homes that ascend the hillside along the seaside promenade. Cafes set out tables and umbrellas along the cobblestone walkways as children play soccer in hidden piazzas, kicking the ball against the antique homes. The castle remains a defining feature among the panoramic views of the town, and the natural and historical beauty of the region has drawn the likes of Mary Shelley and D.H. Lawrence. Enjoy a scenic walk to the neighboring fishing village of Tellaro before continuing to the most southerly town of the celebrated Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore. Indulge in a pristine view of the shoreline at a restaurant that offers a culturally-centric tasting menu paired with wines produced around the coastal towns.

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

Day 7: Riomaggiore – Bask in the Gorgeous Scenery of Cinque Terre with a Cruise

The sunlight replaces the candlelight along the streets of Riomaggiore. Waves splash against the boulders that frame the edge of town and around the buildings that overlook the small cove and marina. Fishing boats line the ramp that leads down into the water as the aroma of fresh brioche blends with the sea breeze. The town resembles a painting as the rich colors of the building facades stretch beneath the undulating vineyards that roll along the terraced mountains. The castle was erected in the 13th century to protect the coastline from pirates, and the proud walls continue to watch over the city and seaside, reachable by a walkway that offers tremendous views to the horizon.

You will meet your guide at the marina and board a boat set for the northern town of Monterosso, with a stop at each of the distinct villages and secluded coves along the way. The village immediately north of Riomaggiore is Manarola. A small, but enticing village, Manarola stands at the base of terraced gardens and vineyards that climb the Maritime Alps. A natural harbor reaches out from the sheer cliff with chalky boulders that shine in the sunlight. Visit the Church of San Lorenzo, a 14th-century structure with a stunning rose window adorning the façade. The square base of the bell tower harkens back to the structure’s original intent, built for as an ancient defensive structure.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Genoa – Venture to Genoa by way of the Villages on the Italian Riviera

In the morning, you will wake to another majestic view of Riomaggiore and the Ligurian coastline. Trails meander upwards along the hillside that connects the isolated town to the villages of Cinque Terre and the hidden towns south of mountain ridges. After breakfast, you will board the local train traveling north into the tunnels for a scenic ride to Levanto, the town directly north of Cinque Terre. The tunnels open to bright beams of light that spread across the cream-colored rocks and emerald vineyard leaves. At Levanto, you will meet your private transfer and traverse the old road that connects the villages of the Italian Riviera along the coast.

The scenery opens alongside narrow winding roads to offer pristine views of the Maritime Alps and the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea. You can spot the fishing boats gliding along the water as they return to the village of Framura, a name designated to mark the collection of five hamlets situated between the mountains and sea. You will soon reach the town of Portofino, a coiffed village that rests along the shoreline of a peninsula. Gorgeous yachts fill the harbor, visible from the promenade that showcases designer and boutique shops. Pastel-painted homes imitate the brightness of the crystalline waters and offer a view of the rocks of the seafloor.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 9: Genoa – Enjoy a Full Day Tour of the Opulent Past of the Genoese Republic

Compared with the villages and towns along the Italian Riviera, Genoa is a bustling metropolis decorated with the achievements of its former grandeur as a maritime powerhouse along the Mediterranean Sea. The refurbished harbor is filled with sailboats, fishing boats, and ships as they set out to the sea. The harbor consists of more than 13 miles of coastline, one of the Mediterranean’s largest ports. The old port, however, continues to draw visitors with the largest aquarium in Italy. The structure was erected in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage; the explorer was born and resided in Genoa for most of his life.

Your guide will meet you at your hotel eager to take you through the historical streets of Genoa, beginning at Via Garibaldi. Baroque palaces line the walkways adorned with the crests of the noble families that once patronized the structures. The 16th and 17th-century wealth of the city become clear in the embellishments along the palaces’ grand facades, from the delicate balconies to the large frescoes.

In Piazza Matteotti, you will find the immaculate Cathedral of San Lorenzo, an original Romanesque structure refurbished in the 12th century and adorned with a dome in the mid 16th century. The chapel of St. John the Baptist was erected to house the ashes of the saint in the 15th century, situated along the left aisle of the gallery.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Genoa – Depart for Home

In the morning, a nearby café opens to the public with the aroma of chocolate and fresh brioche filling the dining room. Antique espresso machines accentuate the bar and the staff welcome patrons with warm, delighted smiles. As the morning goes on, the scent of focaccia overtakes the buttery croissants beneath a ceiling draped in frescoes from the 17th century. The café embodies the elegant atmosphere of Genoa, combining a rich historical past with contemporary use. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Cristoforo Colombo Airport. Along the way, you will pass the 12th-century walls known as Porta Soprana, which touch the antique home of Christopher Columbus.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$2,745
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.