From North to South Italy Tour: Venice, Rome, Amalfi Coast

A 10 day trip to Italy & Vatican City 
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Indulge in the Italy of doges and emperors, maritime powerhouses and preserved ancient streets. Discover the glories of the Grand Canal and embrace the enchanting panoramas of the Amalfi Coast. Prepare a perfect pizza in Naples and wander along the unforgettable opulent grounds of the largest royal palace ever built. Discover local wine bars and craft a memorable souvenir out of clay. From the labyrinthine catacombs of early Christians to the private caves that hold aging prosciutto that dangles from the ceiling, your customizable tour immerses you in the majesty of Italy spanning the shores of Venice to the beaches of Amalfi. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Parma, Siena, Rome, Vatican City, Naples, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, Amalfi, Positano, Vietri sul Mare, Ravello, Cetara, Maiori, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Caserta Palace

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in Venice with A Fascinating Introductory Grand Canal Tour

Venice is a city of majestic palaces and beautiful crafts that accentuate the history that spans the lagoon. The port once acted as the heart of trade between Europe and Asia Minor, collecting treasures from far off lands and encouraging art in architecture, paintings, and glasswork. Your flight will arrive at Marco Polo International Airport, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. At the edge of the Grand Canal, you will find the city bustling with vibrant life as visitors from the train station cross into the city by way of the Scalzi Bridge, erected in the 1930s with an elegant stone design.

You will meet your private boat at a dock on the canal and set out on your first of many excursions to see the splendors of the city. At dusk, the lamps that line the shores will glow as the women open their window shutters and converse with their neighbors. Gondoliers guide their iconic boats across the water, which stretches two miles between the lagoon openings. The simple pleasures of an evening boat ride allow you to settle in for the wonders of Venice. Wood plinths are painted with red and white stripes that rise out of the water and support protruding docks.

The domes of Santa Maria della Salute, a 17th-century church erected in devotional gratitude at the end of the plague, stands with graceful pomp against the water that splashes at the cobblestone street. The Late Gothic architecture of Ca’ Foscari has four stories and shows the impressive wealth of the 15th-century Foscari family. You will pass beneath the arching frame of the famous Rialto Bridge as the structure was constructed in the 16th century to replace the wooden drawbridge that had collapsed. 6,000 wood plinths have supported the more than 400-foot long bridge during its creation, which gained prominence as the only bridge that spanned the Grand Canal until the 19th century.

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

Day 2: Venice – Discover Iconic Venice and the Bacari of Local Neighborhoods

Your luxurious accommodation is located inside a refurbished noble palace and offers a view of the skyline and waterways of Venice. In the morning, you can see the bobbing gondolas moored alongside the stone walkways of quiet streets. Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you over the Rialto Bridge and through the bustling Rialto Market. You can taste the authenticity of the fishmongers and the produce vendors that provide the city with many of their desired fresh ingredients. Marble plaques along the building walls contain the market regulations placed centuries ago, which still pertain to the stalls and vendors.

You will continue to Piazza San Marco to find the gilded façade of the eponymous Basilica shining against the white Gothic pillars of the Doge’s Palace. You can take your time to explore the square and the Basilica before you enter into the elite 14th-century construction that overlooks the Piazzetta. The exterior arcades and rosy upper-stories offer an almost delicate design as the power and wealth of the former Republic exudes from the architectural embellishments and collection of master artworks that adorn the galleries.

The Staircase of the Giants leads you to the State Apartments. It is easy to assume that the stairway was named for its grandiose dimensions paved with marble and accentuated with gilded borders, but the entrance was named for the magnificent 16th-century figures of Mars and Neptune that frame the first step. Your guide will take you through the secret chambers of the Sala delle Quattro Porte, which once held the Council of Ten, a state court in charge of Venice’s secret police. Wood paneling decorated with paintings and gilded edges add to the menacing ambiance. In the afternoon, you will wander through the labyrinthine streets of the city in search of the local wine bars serving small plates known as cicchetti.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Venice – Make Masks and Glassware with a Crafts Day around the Lagoon

The morning fills with the aroma of sweet and buttery pastries drifting from the pasticcerie as they open their doors for the day as marketers unload baskets of ripening fruit from boats along the canal. After breakfast, your guide will lead you to a small mask shop known for creating stunning, traditional Carnival costumes. En route you will stop at Squaro di San Trovaso, a boatyard known for housing gondola workshops. Visit with a master craftsman who took over the family business from his father, like his father before him. The boatyard opened in the 17th century and sticks to the traditions of gondola making and passes down the trade from parent to child. Venice has approximately 350 gondoliers working along the Grand Canal today.

You will continue to onwards to a different tradition of Venice as you make a personal mask inspired by the past. Your instructor will welcome you to the foyer and introduce you to the variety of Venetian masks, each inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte. Learn about the significance and history of each style before setting to task. Paint and texturize your ceramic mask with the colors and decorations on offer under the guidance of your historical craft master. By the end of the instruction, you will have a personalized piece of the city. Your guide will then lead you to a private boat to ferry you to the north end of the lagoon on the island of Murano, famous for its elaborate glassblowing trade.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Rome – Visit the Farms and Eateries of Emilia-Romagna en route to Rome

Emilia-Romagna is the food capital of Italy, famous for its production of balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and prosciutto di Parma. At breakfast, you will have given in to the Italian tradition of enjoying a buttery brioche accompanied by an espresso. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escorts you across the Grand Canal and into the stunning countryside of Emilia-Romagna. Oak and chestnut trees grow beside graceful ferns as the hills lead to steep mountains. Truffles grow in the forest underbrush and wheels of aging cheese fill warehouse stacks set in vast plains.

You will stop first at Culatello Farm, known to Italians for preparing prosciutto with a more peppery flavor. Your guide will lead you to the fields and farmhouse before taking you into the caves. The cool, damp walls protect the meat from the heat as the traditional curing process remains the best way to age the meat slowly before it is wrapped in nets and hung from the ceiling to cure.

At the end of the tour, your guide will lead you into a tasting room where you can sample more as well as purchase the prosciutto. The slightly salty notes highlight the luscious and delicate character of the meat.  Continue to a cheese factory to learn the art of producing Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and then your private transfer will lead you to the Bologna train station for a first-class scenic ride to Rome where another private transfer will meet you on the station platform.

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

Day 5: Rome – Explore the Rome’s Ancient History and Vatican City’s Museums  

The morning light will shine over the Eternal City to turn a spotlight on the Baroque styling of the Trevi Fountain and the ancient allure of the Colosseum. The flower vendors in the Campo dei Fiori market offer bright and herbaceous aromas, accompanying the petals’ stupendous hues. Zucchini and artichokes form piles beside locally crafted cheeses. After breakfast and a wander around, your guide will lead you to the edge of ancient history in the heart of the Roman Empire at the Roman Forum. The district once stood as the center of the religious, political, and civic life of the both the empire and Republic. The entrance gate lead you along monuments that date back to the kings of Rome in the 6th century BC.

The main thoroughfare of Via Sacra leads you to the original seat of the Roman Senate. The structure was converted into a church in the Middle Ages but retains a charm as the former house of the people. The Lapis Niger in front of the Curia contains a large piece of black marble attached to the legend of Romulus, which says the marble covers the tomb of Rome’s founder. Broken pillars and remnants of temples rise along the hillside that borders Via Sacra. The neighboring Palatine Hill has thin pine trees that shade the ruins as the views along the Roman hillside showcase the prestige of Rome’s grand history, from the Colosseum to the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Rome – Uncover the Catacombs on a Bicycle Tour before a Cooking Lesson

In the morning, the sunlight will cast a golden sheen on the water and across the 3rd-century pillars of the Bridge of Sant’Angelo, which once connected the historical center of the city with the Castel Sant’Angelo. Your guide will take you from your hotel to the preserved regional park that includes a 10-mile stretch of the Appian Way, the ancient Roman road that connected the imperial capital to the Adriatic harbor at Brindisi. Mount your bike to explore the former road built to ease the transition of Roman legions across Italy.

Parts of the road were renovated with newer stones over the years, but the 10-mile stretch includes the large original stones that acted as mile markers along the way. Sheep graze on the verdant grass as forgotten castles grace the countryside. A small hill rises out of the grass and contains the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, a relative of one of the Roman Empire’s wealthiest men. The cylindrical tomb caps the crest of the hill as the structure was erected in the 1st century BC and continues to draw visitors from around the world.

The catacombs beneath the park were built for the modest Christians beneath the property of other Christians who owned land in the area. Tombs line a network of tunnels that meander for miles beneath the countryside. The damp and cool air of the catacombs reminds you of a secluded cave, and your guide will point out the preserved symbols painted onto the walls of certain tombs that offer remnants of early Christian art and allegory. A dove with an olive branch references divine peace and you will find an anchor painted onto the wall, which symbolized salvation. Upon your return to the city, you will meet your private instructor for a fabulous cooking class to learn about the traditional flavors of Rome.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Amalfi – Traverse the Noble Depths of Naples en route to the Amalfi Coast

Rome returns to vibrant life in the morning as vespas wind along the streets. Artists return to the Piazza Navona to capture the Baroque palaces and fountains in the right light. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you south to the city of Naples, the former capital of the homonymous kingdom. Before you reach the city, you will stop at the Palace of Caserta, a breathtaking 18th-century construction that spans more than two million, five hundred square feet in size with 1,200 rooms.

The striking Baroque features create the illusion of multidirectional space inside the largest royal residence in the world. The five stories include more than two-dozen state apartments and a large library, along with an extensive theater. Your guide will lead you through the elegant and lavish galleries built for the Bourbon kings. The Grand Staircase of Honor has wide marble steps set beneath an opulent frescoed dome as the windows allow natural light to pour over in the stucco décor. The gardens will provoke a singular gasp due to their size and intricate beauty.

Verdant trees and glowing flowers blossom along the cobblestone paths on the grounds inspired by the Palace of Versailles. A fountain set in the hill casts a cascade that opens up the trees and trickles down into the terraced statuary lined pools below. Mist rises from the pools to offer a refreshing dab of moisture in the Mediterranean sunlight. Once in Naples, you will stop at a private kitchen for an introduction to the celebrated tradition of pizza making in the city that claims to have invented the iconic Italian dish.

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

Day 8: Amalfi – Visit the Ancient Site of Pompeii and Craft Ceramics in Vietri  

The Amalfi Coast is a celebrated stretch of 25 miles that connects the Gulf of Naples with the Gulf of Salerno. Turquoise water splashes against the pebbled shores at the western edge of town in view of Piazza Duomo and the stunning 11th-century Cathedral. Cafes set out chairs and tables that border the square and the sea breeze blends a refreshing briny aroma with the sweet scents of the bakery. After breakfast, your guide will lead you around the Gulf of Naples beneath the lingering gaze of Mount Vesuvius, and to the entrance of Pompeii.

The ancient city was protected from the scourge of the elements through layers of pumice and ash cast by Mount Vesuvius’s 79 BC eruption. Lush lemon groves and olive trees grow alongside the entrance as the scent of citrus is prevalent near the gates. The walkway leads you to the Roman Forum and the 10-foot base of the remnants of the Temple of Jupiter as 48 Ionic columns surround the former Temple of Apollo. The city rushes with activity during the day to offer a modicum of correlation to the thriving streets of former life. The Large Theater once held upwards of 5,000 spectators for musical and theatrical performances. From the top row, you will have an unadulterated view of Mount Vesuvius in the background.

You guide will claps his hands as he stands on stage to allow you to hear the precise acoustics of the stone edifice. When back on the coastline, you will venture to the town of Vietri sul Mare. The Cathedral radiates blue, yellow, and green hues from the ceramic tiles that adorn the dome as the tiles decorate the antique homes as shops line the cobblestone walkways that lead from the water into the verdant hills. After wandering through the charms of Vietri, you will meet an artist happy to guide you through the process of making a ceramic work to add to your collection of unique ornaments from Italy.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Amalfi – Relish a Relaxing Day at Leisure to Indulge in the Amalfi Coast

The refreshing breeze will glide across the cobblestone streets of Amalfi and push through the historical arcade of the Cathedral located at the top of 63 steps. The bronze doors from Constantinople mark the once prosperous trade relations between the former Byzantine capital and the past maritime power of the medieval city. After breakfast, the day is yours to enjoy the splendor of the Amalfi Coast at your preferred pace. Venture to the ancient Greek temples of Paestum or lounge on the quiet beaches of Erchie set against the layers of the Mediterranean’s shades of blue. On the way to Conca dei Marini, you will stop at Furore, a village without a main square or town center.

Small cottages cling to the rock face and look out over the arching bridge that connects the precipices of a narrow fjord. Terraced vineyards and olive groves frame the snaking street before you reach a small beach huddled between the rocks. The formation of the rocks and the shallow water made Furore a small, but impregnable, stronghold. You will board a boat to reach the shores of Conca dei Marini and enter into a cave through a small opening as the interior glows with emerald light cast by sunlight that refracts off of the sea floor. Your voice will echo in the crisp air as the light dances across the stones due to the water’s movement.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Amalfi – Depart for Home

The whitewashed homes run alongside the narrow alleys of Amalfias the shop windows highlight the displays of limoncello, a local liqueur made from fresh lemon and pure alcohol. Cafes practically overtake the street with tables and chairs set out for patrons eager to watch passersby. Yachts and fishing boats moor side by side along the harbor and the charms of the small city spread from the water to the hidden stairways that lead into the mountains to connect to the ancient trail referred to as the “Path of the Gods.” Enjoy one last morning before your private transfer will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to escort you along the Amalfi Coast, around the Bay of Naples, and to Naples Capodichino Airport for your flight home. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.