Italy is a country that touches the heart, soul, and stomach through the delectable cuisine, unparalleled history, and majestic natural beauty that stretches from the Maritime Alps to the banks of the Tiber River. Relish the refreshing breeze of the Mediterranean Sea on a private yacht in view of Cinque Terre, and then sip wine while painting a reproduction of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. Indulge in the aroma of fresh-made pesto and bask in the bright images of the Sistine Chapel. Touch...
Riomaggiore – Arrive in Pisa and Transfer to the Village of Riomaggiore
The towns of Cinque Terre have captured the imaginations of visitors from around the world with the preserved medieval character of the narrow cobblestone streets, the pastel homes, and the dramatic positioning against the rugged coastline that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Your flight will land at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. You will board a local train in La Spezia for the brief journey through the connecting tunnel to reach the Riomaggiore, the most southern town of Cinque Terre as intricate tower-homes edge the tapering harbor and imitate the encompassing cliffs.
Terraces stretch along the hillside garnished with vines, olive and orange trees, and thriving private gardens. The aroma of herbaceous basil blends with the refreshing and briny scent of the Mediterranean Sea. Fishing boats wade in the calm water below, and you can hear the waves crashing against the seabreak at the edge of the harbor. Fishing boats line the walkway before the decline slips into the sea, but a narrow path leads to where you can watch the colors of sunset imitate the bright hues of the houses of Riomaggiore. The waves splash along the rocks as the lights of the city glow against the darkening sky, and you will have found the perfect place to enjoy Italy.
Riomaggiore – Delight in the Italian Riviera Coast with a Private Yacht Tour
In the morning, the bakeries in Riomaggiore fill with the aromas of sweet brioche and rosemary focaccia. The cafes set out their tables and chairs along the walkways that lead down to the harbor as locals drink espresso at the café bar before heading to work. In the morning light, you can enjoy a rich espresso and dip your toes into the Mediterranean along the pebbled beach. Your guide will meet you after breakfast and escort you to the harbor to board an opulent private yacht that is waiting for you in the crystalline waters. The boat reaches a length of nearly 40 feet long and takes you out for an entire day along the Cinque Terre coast.
The elegant layout brings you comfort as you view the passing landscape as you travel the waters north to the town of Monterosso. Verdant oak and chestnut trees overtake the maritime mountains as sporadic lemon groves ascend the ridges and vineyard terraces layer the slopes. Precipitous promontories drop into the sea separating the towns of Cinque Terre from one another. Fresh figs dangle from the wild trees above the shoreline and your boat will stop at a hidden cove that glows with crystalline turquoise water. You can jump in and let the Mediterranean envelop you before passing beneath the brick of Dawn Tower as it stands at the junction of Old and New Monterosso.
Riomaggiore – Follow the Famous Trails of Cinque Terre at your Pace
The morning light barely rises over the mountain tops before the relaxed town of Riomaggiore comes to life. The tables and chairs decorate to the main street once more and fishers return from the sea with nets brimming with octopus, prawns, and branzino. After breakfast, the day is yours to discover the meandering trails that connect the towns of Cinque Terre at your leisure. The walkways course along the promontories and rise over the mountain tops, which allow those utilizing the paths to enjoy impressive views, secluded churches, and intimate moments away from the busy lanes of town. You will start on the path to La Madonna di Montenero. The uphill trail will take you from Riomaggiore to the monastery at the top of the mountain.
Stairs ascend the natural slope alongside the vineyards that are decorated with the plump Vermentino grapes. Luscious black olives dangle from the orchard canopy as pine and chestnut trees grow above the olive groves and provide an aromatic air to the path. The monastery stands at a vantage point of more than 1,000 feet above sea level, and the view sweeps across the rugged mountainous coastline speckled with colorful stone villages and enchanting castle ruins. The 16th-century building includes an atrium decorated with gilded frescoes as grottos etched into the hill behind the monastery have housed local shrines since ancient times.
Riomaggiore – Explore the Landscape and Enjoy a Wine Experience
Today you will walk among the vines of Cinque Terre to experience cultivation as a lifestyle along the terraced grounds of the steep cliffs. After breakfast, you will board the scenic train to Vernazza as the rail passes through tunnels that traverse the mountains and opens to the bright sunlight and sparkling water before reaching another tunnel. The brief ride will arrive at the station in Vernazza where your guide will meet you on the platform where an assortment of cactuses grows alongside the terrace walls with vibrant prickly pears.
The ruins of Doria Castle stand on the outcropping above the cityscape with a circular tower that watches over land and sea. The main road travels from the station down to the natural harbor and visitors and locals alike lounge on the flat boulders that frame the port. The dome along the 14th-century Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church dominates the skyline beside the rugged shore, and your guide will lead you to the terraces and through the olive groves to visit with a local farmer that grows vines, figs, olives, and lemons.
The aroma of citrus is palpable as it blends with the seaside fragrance. Basil grows as tall as hedges set against purple and yellow wildflowers. Back in town, your guide will lead you into a winery that offers an assortment of local and regional wines and liqueurs. You will sit at an outdoor table on the main street and soak up the history of the town beneath the lingering gaze of the Santa Marta chapel. A selection of pesto, olive cream, and cheeses arrive at the table alongside your first of three local wines.
Riomaggiore – Enjoy a Day of Learning with a Photography Tour and Half-Day Cooking Class
Each morning you will wake up to find Riomaggiore even more picture perfect than it seemed the day before. Local culture and customs continue throughout the year, embodied in the café tables and chairs that line the walkway down to the seaside. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel eager to capture the splendor of Cinque Terre and the joys it brings during your photography tour. Take the train to Manarola while snapping photos of the platform, the mountains, and a even the smiling locals as you travel north to Levanto. In the town of Manarola, you are drawn to the mysteries of the 13th-century defensive castle as the stone shines gold against the bright blue sky and the turquoise water. The town of Manarola features medieval relics and a unique Italian dialect, and the terraced gardens frame the colorful town.
Your guide will lead you along the stone stairways that divide the tower-houses to capture photos of the historical architecture, and you will marvel at the beauty of Cinque Terre’s second smallest town. The water in the natural harbor forms pools between large boulders as the turquoise hues turn emerald against the rocks. The aroma of pesto sauce emanates from the cellar restaurants alongside the craggy precipice as you and you photographer guide will capture the drifting sunlight and shifting colors of town. In the afternoon, you will meet your private cooking instructor for a lesson in crafting homemade pesto and pasta in true Ligurian fashion.
Riomaggiore – Visit the Gulf of Poets to Find Secluded and Pristine Villages
After yesterday’s photography lesson, you can’t help but view Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre through the lens of a perfect photograph. The pristine natural beauty and colorful architecture will have shaped your already keen perception of the five coastal towns. After breakfast, you will meet your skipper at the harbor ready to take you along the Gulf of Poets to see the towns and fishing villages often overlooked by passersby. Sailboats glide towards the horizon as fishing boats return from their early morning search for sea bass and anchovies. Water droplets spritz upwards from the hull of the boat and splash against your cheeks as you dock at Tellaro, one of the hidden gems of the Gulf of Poets.
The beauty of the province attracted poets and artists for centuries, including Byron and Shelley, giving rise to the Gulf’s particular name. The picturesque harbor welcomes you to the edge of the village, bordered by brightly painted houses as narrow alleys lead to shaded squares and waves crash against the rocky peninsula. The church atop the hill was built over 6th-century foundations, and the defensive walls continue to encompass the edge of the town and protect the streets from invaders. You will continue to the stunning village of Lerici to enjoy the meandering streets and enchanting piazzas located beneath the dramatic 12th-century castle, which remains the symbol of the town.
Rome – Venture to Rome and Visit Villages and Towns along the Way
In the morning, the terraced hills shine emerald against the pastel homes of Riomaggiore as the gray rocks glow silver beneath the clear turquoise water. After breakfast, you will board a local train to La Spezia and meet your private transfer to Rome. En route to Rome, you will stop at a collection of towns for an immersive experience of the culture and history of the Tuscan and Lazio regions that takes you into Maremma, a coastal province in Tuscany. The town of Castiglione della Pescaia stands between the layers of blue Mediterranean water and the blossoming verdant forest filled with pine, oak, and cypress trees.
Farmers till the land outside of the historical walls as the red-tiled rooftops stand out against the beautiful colors of the sea and the forest. Grand oak trees and grapevines shade the walkways nearest the port as endless stretches of smooth golden sand leads into the calm Mediterranean. At the heart of the ancient town stands the tribunal house, one of the oldest buildings that adorn the streets. The palace grounds were built in the 15th century to accommodate guests from nobility from Florence, and the Medici family transformed the structure into a town hall in the 16th century.
Rome – Discover the Art and Ancient History of Rome on a Guided Tour
Rome is a bustling metropolis that buzzes around the historical heart of the Eternal City. The Baroque marble staircase of the Spanish Steps connects the Piazza de Espana to the base of the Trinita dei Monti. The Trevi Fountain emanates harmony and lavish detail against the back of Palazzo Poli. The quiet mornings of Riomaggiore have shifted into the vibrant urban lifestyle found along the wide cobblestone boulevards and grand palaces. The dome of the Pantheon has replaced the terraced mountain tops, and the 157-foot tall walls of the Colosseum have substituted the steep, rugged cliffs of the Mediterranean coastline.
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on an engaging tour of the ancient remains of a city that has evolved over the millennia. The cities earliest inhabitants settled above the Tiber River along Palatine Hill as remnants of palaces and temples stand atop foundations of even older stone structures. The hillside became a stronghold for the noble Frangipani family in the Middle Ages who fortified the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine. The rusty-red stone of the Domus Flavia shaped the palace in the 1st century AD, setting the tone for emperors to display splendor at all times.
A rectangular hall stretches nearly 100 feet to an adorning apse as pillars encircle the courtyard and lead to the spacious dining area. The Stadium of Domitian was erected between 81 and 96 AD with a running track that stretched to 525 feet long. After exploring the Hill and the Palatine Museum, which features frescoes, capitals, and marble sculptures, you will meet with a local artist to harness the inspiring images of historical Rome through a fun-filled guided art class accompanied by a glass of wine made locally.
Rome – See the Lavish Vatican Museums and Enjoy a Historical Tram Ride
The vibrant and bustling streets of Rome give way to hidden piazzas and secret gardens. Locals make their way to the gardens of the Villa Borghese, often referred to as Rome’s Central Park, to jog or walk along the pathways and enjoy the fresh greenery in the form of oak and olive trees, along with blossoming hydrangeas and azaleas. After breakfast, you will meet your private guide once more and venture into the open space of Saint Peter’s Square. Columns encircle the oval piazza that leads to the grand entrance of the Basilica. Michelangelo crafted the dome to reach a height of nearly 450 feet, and an Egyptian obelisk rises out of the center of the piazza at the height of 84 feet. Inside the Vatican Museum, the marble floors and gilded windows flicker in the natural light.
Flemish tapestries drape over the walls of the Gallery of Tapestries. The 16th-century artwork tells allegorical tales through immaculately woven imagery. The end of the tour will bring you to the incredible gallery of the Sistine Chapel. The faint aroma of frankincense lingers near the walls as the bright colors of the frescoes painted by Michelangelo and celebrated artists of the 16th century overwhelms your senses. The ceiling exhibits the artist’s mastery over the humanization of Biblical figures. In the evening, you will board a vintage tram that winds through the heart of Rome for a unique musical and food-filled scenic tour of through the glowing city.
Rome – Depart for Home
In the morning, the locals visit a celebrated local coffee shop to sip their first espresso of the day. The aroma of the rich and dark coffee emanates from the bar, accentuated by the sweet pastries displayed on the counter. Nearby the thick pillars of the Pantheon highlight the proud tradition of preserved and perseverant ancient structures in Rome. Whether inside a small café or wandering through an ancient temple, the city has a captivating sense of detail. After breakfast and one last wander through the charming streets, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Rome Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
- Relish your professional-grade photos of Cinque Terre that you will frame as guided by a professional photographer as you traverse the five towns
- Indulge in the luxuries of the incredible scenery and lavish surroundings during a private yacht cruise along the Mediterranean Coast to visit the Italian Riviera
- Delight in the flavors of the regional liqueurs and wines with a tasting tour around vineyards, farms, and locally produced products in Vernazza
- Learn the delectable ingredients and style of making fresh pasta and herbaceous pesto sauce at the home of basil, Liguria
- Capture the inspiration and beauty of Rome’s ancient artworks with a painting class enjoyed while you sip wine
- Travel through Rome’s historical center in a vintage tram during a dinner paired with wine and music
- Wander through the remarkable artwork and historical halls of the Vatican Museums with a local guide eager to share the secrets of the Galleries
- Discover the medieval towns and hidden villages of Maremma, a coastal province in Tuscany
Transcend the limits of discovery in Cinque Terre and Rome to make the beauty of past and contemporary culture tangible. Your 10-day tour will give you an immersive experience along the Italian Riviera and in the heart of the Eternal City by providing hands-on excursions. Whether you have an adventurous spirit or are an active explorer, an artistic personality or an amateur historian, you will touch the wonders of the Colosseum and taste the splendor of Vernazza. Your captivating Italian vacation will begin with your arrival at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa. Your private transfer will escort you to the city of La Spezia to board a local train to Riomaggiore, and this short, but scenic, ride will bring you to the most southern city of Cinque Terre. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the sunset and wander the narrow streets of the town before settling in for the night.
The next morning, you will board a private yacht for a full day excursion along the Italian Riviera. Visit the towns of Cinque Terre and the villages north of Monterosso with stops at secluded coves and hidden beaches before you return to Riomaggiore. Choose the trails that you prefer to explore the next day, as each path connects the towns of Cinque Terre, whether alongside the coast or along the hilltops by way of the provincial churches. You will enjoy the scenery and the quiet trails of the Ligurian seaside.
The next day, you will venture to Vernazza for a guided tour of the terraced vineyards and gardens. Settle in a quiet wine bar near the harbor for a wine, liqueur, and food tasting of regional favorites. Next, your professional photographer will guide you along the Cinque Terre to instruct you on the best shots of the coastline, both taking photos and helping you to capture the best of the countryside as well. In the afternoon, you will meet a private chef keen to teach you the hints, tricks, and traditional recipes that create pasta and pesto sauce.
Move on as you board a boat that will bring you a chance to traverse the Gulf of Poets. Discover the towns and villages that overlook the water at your preferred pace before you return to Riomaggiore. Travel to Rome the following day by way of Pisa, Maremma, and Orvieto to delight in an exploration of the Tuscan and Lazio villages en route to the Eternal City. The next day, you will have a private guided tour of Ancient Rome bringing you to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. The images of the former empire help you to capture the beauty of Rome during a wine and painting class. Conclude as you roam the halls and galleries in Vatican City before you enjoy a unique vintage tram excursion through the historical center. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
$2,745 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.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 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.
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