Italy, Vatican City
Rome, Vatican City, Pantheon, Frascati, Trastevere, Tuscany, Chianti, Florence, Verona, Venice, Murano, Burano, Torcello
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The grand trilogy of Italian cities brings 2,000 years of treasure and exquisite history with Rome, Florence, and Venice. Galleries, palaces, and piazzas are all yours alongside the architecture that ranges from the Colosseum to the Baroque. These cities are more than just world-famous icons, and you will dive beneath the surface on this handcrafted tour with local experiences showcasing the wealth and depth to flavors of each city. Imagine local food, winding backstreets, cobblestone walkways,...
Rome – Vatican Museums Exclusive After-Hours Access
There is a beauty to the Vatican Museums. Through the day they lose their sheen, the art sometimes disappearing amid the clamber of tour groups. Peace returns to the galleries as the tourists depart, and the sanctified allure returns. It is after-hours when you can truly appreciate this space. Raphael’s Rooms display elegance in the brushstrokes and the imagery. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is so exquisite, but also so delicate when seen from below. Great galleries of sculpture and early Christian art is so expressive when it has the space to breathe. And of course the chapels, each with its own story and subtleties.
Today you will land in Italy, meet your guide, and transfer to a hotel in the heart of historical Rome. From your boutique hotel, it will be just a few steps to some of the city’s major icons, such as the Pantheon and Spanish Steps. After some time to unwind, you can travel to another country, entering the Vatican City as the museums close for the day. Take a look inside the world’s largest church before an intimate exploration of the Vatican Museums, the guide taking you through all the major galleries and chapels. The rest of this evening is at your leisure, and the guide will suggest various places to dine.
Rome – The Roman Local Food Tour
Head off around Rome, hopping through the local neighborhoods as the city wakes for the day. Enjoy a cappuccino before midday, enjoyed on a terrace, deep within the mazy lanes of the city’s old, but lesser-visited center. Then it will be off to the market, smelling and tasting your way through local produce. Sample local delicacies and meet some of the stall owners, who have been selling cheeses and vegetables for decades. Rome is not particularly well known for its food, however, like many capital cities, it takes its influence from far and wide. So a Roman food tour is also an introduction to diverse Italian flavors, at the market than at two small bistros in the Trastevere neighborhood. This half-day private tour includes a lot of tasting and ends by mid-afternoon, leaving some time to walk the historic center on your own.
Rome – Remains of the Empire to Baroque Rome
The multiple layers of San Clemente sit atop a 4th-century basilica and Roman temple. You will stand inside the 12th-century church walls, listening to tales of what lies beneath the ground, history layered upon history. These vivid tales only grow louder at the Colosseum nearby, its vast archways and towering stone emblematic of an empire’s power. The birthplace of ancient Rome is next door, and you spend some time walking around the Forum, the guide helping you get a sense of how and why this civilization flourished.
Other ancient memoirs are nearby, and you wander Palatine ruins before a lunch spot that is above the city. Rome is also the city of Baroque, a unique style that forged the city’s renaissance during the 15th and 16th centuries. Architects and artists were great rivals, so that you can take a tour through Bernini and Borromini, particularly the city’s key palaces and statues. You will see how the two architects pushed each other to increasingly daring feats, culminating in the ostentatious and outrageous style that Roman baroque became. After a full day of exploring you relax into a final Roman evening, with Piazza Navona one potential place to watch the world go by over dinner.
Florence – Wonders of the Renaissance
Train travel is fast and convenient between Italy’s cities. From hotel to hotel, it takes just over two hours, Rome to Florence a journey that also exudes impressions of a rural nation. After a bit of time to refresh in your hotel, you can disembark into Florence city center and dive straight into the history, a local guide taking you on a tour of the Renaissance wonders. Gaze up and discover Brunelleschi’s cathedral dome, its magnificence illuminated further by soft shafts of intruding light. Admire Ghiberti’s Baptistery doors and find another dozen creations that would change the art world. Florence is delightful to behold, and you have a full day amid the Renaissance, before retiring to a hotel that’s within earshot of the cathedral bells.
Florence – The Backstreets of Florence
While the Florentine heart is the Renaissance, the backstreets reveal a changing city, one that is kept alive into different eras. You will find Roman remains and discuss the city’s early origins. There is medieval flair, majestic structures from a time of conflict and quarrel, and the 19th century brought its own kind of Renaissance. After a stop in Palazzo Davanzati, you can cross the river and continue a private tour of Florence’s backstreets, ending up in a small local kitchen. Enjoy a cooking class or cooking demonstration, and then dine on a terrace that offers superb views out across the city’s domes. Like yesterday, the evening is free and there are countless places to dine.
Florence – A Day Exploring More of Tuscany
Vineyards fill the valleys, and tiny towns stand above them all, each of them like a living ode to a distant era. Like Siena, where golden stone incases a square made famous by the paleo races. Look to Pisa, where the leaning tower is surrounded by selfie-taking tour groups, but the rest of the city is so much more beautiful. A private guide customizes the journey for you today, giving you a chance to see more of Tuscany. From your base of Florence, you can travel off in all directions, with time to visit two to three old cities plus one or two vineyards.
Chianti is the place to go wine tasting and have lunch, with elegant vistas extending everywhere and an indulgence to everything that hits the palate. But there are other wine regions as well, dependent on which side of Tuscany you would prefer to explore. It is the same with the cities, as each reflects a specific era you get to feel the 12th or 14th or 16th centuries. Siena was one of the early ones, and you learn about its rivalry with Florence, one that continued until the Renaissance took Florence into a new global stratosphere.
Florence – The Breathtaking Art Galleries of Florence
Today is devoted to two of the world’s greatest art galleries. The very best of Italian painting is found in the Uffizi, where works by Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and all the other famous names can be found. It is often the size of the canvases that often delights the most, some paintings stretching far across the gallery walls. Uffizi is a gallery for everyone, a best-of style of museum to impress even those who do not like art. The Accademia Gallery is more for purists, illustrating artistic development and how styles evolved over time. While it is most famous as being home to Michelangelo’s David, you will witness how the artist’s rough-hewn Prisoners was an important stepping stone to his grandest creation.
Venice – From Shakespeare to the Canals
Continuing on the train, you will disembark in Verona, a tiny city that houses 2,000 years of history as well as the Shakespearean lines – Romeo and Juliet is based in “fair Verona” and you visit the balcony from which the star-crossed lovers made amorous ties. That balcony can be underwhelming, but the rest of Verona is not. Meet a guide at the railway platform and securely store your luggage at the station. Then head straight to the towering amphitheater, a good place to sit and hear Verona’s history. Walking around the best of the old city takes two hours and culminates in lunch on the main piazza, an idyllic spot for watching the world go by.
It is less than an hour onwards to Venice, and you can disembark straight onto the canals, in comparison to those who fly to Venice and must land on the mainland. From the station, it will be straight onto your boat, traversing the Grand Canal, paddling under bridges then entering your hotel through a private canal-side entrance. Once checked in the rest of the day is at your leisure, and this is a great city for making your own first impressions. You will not need a guide or a map, just take a walk and get lost, as this is the best way to get a feel for Venice in all its guises, from the glamorous central square to smaller islands where local life can still be found.
Venice – Canals and Cobbles Historical Venice Walking Tour
Canals and cobbles are the themes as you go on a private historical walking tour. Your guide will provide a Venetian’s-eye view as you travel the back streets, admiring the everyday life before ending in St Mark’s Square and the mosaic-stuffed basilica. As sea levels rise, it will be hard to know how long this ancient city will stand, with the guide showing you various places that are already suffering from environmental challenges. Venice is beautiful, and it is important to explore both the canals and the cobbles, so you get a sense of past glory – like Doge’s Palace – and how the city is under threat. End the day with beauty, a church concert linking the artistic past with a spiritual present.
Venice – Accademia’s Treasures and Cruising the Islands
Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto! Oh, how the Accademia celebrates old treasures, a great chest of Venetian art starring those names that were somewhat forgotten when the Renaissance arrived. Spend two hours with your local art guide, learning how these Italian painters set the scene for everything that was to follow. Cruise next into Venice’s lagoon on a private boat, visiting an outlying island for lunch before getting to know the ancient artisanal glassblowing style. Tonight is your last in Italy, and the best way to spend it is getting lost in the tangled maze of alleys and shops, discovering all the little moments and places that make Italian cities special. End your tour with an elegant gondola ride, the city facade shimmering against the water.
Venice – Departure
After your memorable journey through the trilogy of Italian cities, you will depart Italy with one last vaporetto ride across the lagoon.
- Explore some of the world’s finest art galleries with specialist guides, including the Uffizi in Florence and Accademia in Venice
- Get to know the local side of Rome on an intimate neighborhood food tour
- Uncover the wonders of the Renaissance as you discover Brunelleschi and Ghiberti in Florence’s city center
- Drift through Venetian canals on a gondola and discover city backstreets with your local guide
- Enjoy exclusive after-hours access to the Vatican Museums, where Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is just one of the highlight
- Spend half a day in Verona, deciphering fact from Shakespearean fiction
- Take a private customized tour of Tuscany, including Chianti vineyards and the great Siena piazza
- Journey through Roman architecture, from the Colosseum and ancient Forum remains to pioneering baroque styles
- Sleep in the heart of each city, just footsteps away from some of the world’s greatest monuments and historical attractions
- Explore the backstreets as well as the famous sights, notably on a walk through Florence
Explore Italy’s iconic city trilogy, and you will travel through 2,500 years of history and treasures. Rome, Florence, and Venice are cities that have shaped the world, and you can feel their influence everywhere you go, from the grand piazzas and palazzos to backstreets from the 15th century. Their wonders are well celebrated, and you need to experience them to really understand them, including Florence’s Renaissance, Rome’s empire remains and its Baroque, plus Venetian Gothic and the original city of canals. This handcrafted tour is more than just the famous sights, as it is also an intimate and authentic journey into the very best of three superb cities, with hand-picked local guides and some highly exclusive experiences.
Touch down in Rome, and your experience begins at the Vatican Museums, but only after everybody else has left for the day. After-hours access allows you to appreciate the subtle beauty of the galleries and chapels, and also provides a great introduction to what Rome is all about. Dive into Roman neighborhoods on day two, a food walking tour showing you places that mostly escape tourist crowds. By tasting, you will experience history and style, while also taking it easy on the first full day of your tour. Day three is all about the Roman legends, a private historical tour connecting the Colosseum and Roman Forum to the Baroque style that was pioneered here.
Take a direct high-speed train to Florence, the quickest and most convenient way to travel between the cities. Then jump straight into the city’s historical core, where the wonders of the Renaissance can be found at almost every turn. This celebrated architecture is complemented by a tour of the backstreets of Florence on day five and offers an intimate look into Florentine life on both sides of the river. It culminates in a cooking class as you taste the differences between Roman and Tuscan flavors. Continue the tasting with a private Tuscany tour on day six, with Siena and Chianti just two of the destinations. Then dive into Florence’s art world on day seven, a specialist guide showing you the best of the Uffizi and Accademia galleries.
With a train to Venice, you can make a stop in Verona, a city that feels as much Shakespearean fiction as it does Roman legacy. Once in Venice, it will be all about the canals and cobbles, your local guide introducing you to the islands that make up the heart of a legendary republic. You will spend most of days eight and nine getting to know this quiet, pedestrianized city, with gondola rides integral to the experience. On day nine there are the treasures of the Accademia gallery to enjoy, plus the outlying islands where artisanal styles are unchanged for almost a millennia.
In all three cities, you will have accommodation within the historical city center, just footsteps away from some of the premier attractions. These central areas get very busy during the day; however, they quiet down from evenings onwards, as many visitors must leave to stay elsewhere. It is evening time when the locals visit the city centers, taking their own stroll around the piazzas and pedestrian lanes. You can join them, discovering another way these cities tick, from an espresso on a cafe terrace to architectural facades illuminated after dusk. Looking for the top Italy tour ideas? Consider browsing our Rome, Florence and Venice travel reviews page.
$3,020 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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