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

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Total Trip:

10 Days
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Countries Visited:

Italy, Vatican City
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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

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
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

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Dinner

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the creative and exciting charms of Venice during a mask making class to produce a traditional and iconic image of the city
  • Wander through the hidden chambers and passageways of the Doge’s Palace for an in-depth view of Venice’s former prestige, wealth, and secrets
  • Take an excursion into the local neighborhoods of Venice’s historical city center to discover the cherished wine bars of the city known as bacari
  • Try your hand at shaping and forming ornaments during a private glassblowing instruction on the island of Murano
  • Attempt to craft a traditional ceramic piece under the guidance of master craftsmen in the southern town of Vietri sul Mare
  • Explore the ancient sites of Rome with a local eager to share the ever-evolving nature of the empire’s past and the city’s future
  • Indulge in an enchanting dinner along the Tiber River during a cruise in view of Roman historical monuments
  • Delight in the knowledge of traditional Neapolitan pizza during a class showing you the proper steps of preparation
  • Stroll along the unearthed streets and inside the excavated homes of the ancient city of Pompeii
  • Witness opulence, wealth, and prestige while touring the largest royal residence ever built at the Caserta Palace
  • Trek along a portion of the historical Appian Way to explore early Christian catacombs on the fringe of Rome
  • Taste the exceptional flavors of Parmesan cheese and Culatello prosciutto during a half-day tour of celebrated farms in the Emilia-Romagna region 
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Detailed Description

A fully immersive Italian tour takes you beyond the monuments to decorate the cities and places you at the heart of creativity to craft unforgettable images of your time spent experiencing the culture. Your 10-day tour will combine the beauty of tradition with the excitement of creation, allowing you to discover local life and iconic art simultaneously. Your journey will begin with your arrival at Marco Polo Airport in Venice, and your private transfer will escort you to the Grand Canal for your private tour along the famous two-mile stretch of water. The next day, you will wake up rested and eager to explore the famous city on the lagoon. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and lead you through the rich history of St. Mark’s Basilica and the secret rooms and halls of the Doge’s Palace.

In the afternoon, you will immerse yourself in the lesser-visited neighborhoods of Venice with a local guide to show you the hidden wine bars enjoyed by locals after a hard day’s work. You will set out the following day to visit the boatyard in which craftsmen continue to make gondolas. After meeting a local artist, you will continue to a traditional mask store to learn the history and art of crafting the Venetian image under the guidance of a master. Continue to the island of Murano to wander along the beautiful canal and witness a glassblowing demonstration before trying your hand at the ancient artwork under careful guidance.

The following day you will leave the charms of Venice behind to enter into the flavor of the region of Emilia-Romagna. Spend time at a prosciutto farm and cheese factory to learn about the process of making these treasured Italian staples, followed by a sampling of each. A first-class scenic train ride will take you from Bologna to Rome. In the evening, you will step aboard a river cruise on the Tiber to relish a four-course meal in view of the Eternal City that glows in the night. Experience the wonders of ancient Rome the next day with a guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. After lunch, you will venture to the Vatican to see the marvels of the arts and artifacts collected and supported by the Holy See for a millennium.

Mount your bicycle the next day for an active tour of the Appian Way and the Roman catacombs before you partake in a private cooking class with a chef happy to share the secrets of the regional cuisine. Continue the next day as your private transfer will escort you south to Naples with a stop first at the opulent Cetara Palace. Once in Naples, you will enjoy a fun and informative pizza making class to introduce you to the proper style and ingredients to produce Neapolitan pizza. Discover the depths of uncovered history with a tour of Pompeii the next morning.

Continue to the town of Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast for a lesson in ceramics as taught by a local artist equally versed in the craft and its history in the town. The following day is yours at your leisure to relax inside the celebrated beauty of the Amalfi Coast. Unwind with a walk in the cliff-side gardens of Ravello or venture to the island of Capri to trek the rocky trails. You could also traverse the Trail of the Gods that connects the towns of the Amalfi Coast. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the international airport in Naples for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$2745 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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