12-Day Italy Small Group Tour Itinerary Map
Italy Small Group Tour Highlights:
- Small group size 22 travelers
- Venice walking tour of St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Walking tour includes “off-the-beaten” path Venice sights.
- Tour the islands in Venice’s lagoon:
- Murano, where the famous Venetian glass-blowing artists practice their craft;
- Burano famous for its lace-making artisans; and
- Torcello the first inhabited island and for your soul.
- Excursion to the beautiful walled city Lucca located on the Tuscan coast.
- Excursion to Tuscan farm where you’ll sample local culinrary specialties.
- In Florence tour the Accademia Museum, where Michelangelo’s David is located.
- Shop “like a native” in a local Tuscan market. After you’ll learn to prepare an authentic Tuscan meal with lessons from the chef of a restaurant in the countryside.
- Excursion to Siena to tour this magnificent Renaissance city where the annual Palio horse race is held.
- Explore Rome’s piazzas and learn about their Baroque and Renaissance styles.
- Visit the Vatican Museum including the Hall of Maps, Raphael’s Room, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
- Experience the monumental grandeur of this ancient city built on seven hills: the legendary Roman Forum & the mighty Colosseum.
- Visit the Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome, and the preserved Apartment of Princess Isabelle.
Italy Small Group Tour Package Includes:
- Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
- Italy tour with air includes flights: New York-Venice, Rome-New York
- Other departure cities available. Click on a date of departure and submit the form for Italy tour with air itinerary and price from your preferred departure city.
- Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
- 9 nights in first class accommodations
- 3 nights Venice
- 3 nights Florence
- 4 nights Rome
- Italian city hotel taxes
- Hotel porterage
- All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
- 16 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
- Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Bottled water, coffee, and tea with all meals
- Wine is included with lunch and dinners
- Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
- Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
- Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
Italy Small Group Tour Accommodations
Hotel Bonvecchiati, Venice 3 Nights – ★★★★
This first class hotel is located in the heart of Venice, just a short walk from Saint Mark’s Square.
Villa Olmi Firenze, Florence 3 Nights – ★★★★
This first class hotel is located about a twenty minute drive from the historic center of Florence.
Ambasciatori Palace, Rome 4 Nights – ★★★★+
This superior first class hotel is well located on the exclusive Via Veneto close the National Gallery of Ancient Art, the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
Kolbe Hotel Rome, Rome 4 Nights – ★★★★+
This superior first class hotel is located in the heart of historic Rome adjacent to the Forum.
Note: Rome hotel is one of the two listed above based on departure date. Submit form for exact hotel.
Submit form or call 800-227-1577 to book your Italy small group tour.
Italy Small Group Tour 2017 Itinerary
DAY 1, Sunday – Depart for Italy
Depart for Italy
DAY 2, Monday – Arrive in Venice
Benvenuti! Welcome to Italy! Arrive in magical Venice and transfer to your hotel. When you book the small group Italy tour with air the Venice airport to hotel transfer is included. After you check-in you have the balance of the day at leisure. Stroll around this beautiful city that was once the richest in the world. Get lost among its hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. This evening there is a welcome reception and dinner where you’ll meet your tour director and like-minded travelers.
DAY 3, Tuesday – Discover Venice
Your discovery of endlessly fascinating Venice begins with a guided walking tour of St. Mark’s Square. View the Basilica of San Marco, built over several centuries in a fusion of Byzantine, Roman and Venetian architecture, considered one of the most breathtaking monuments. Walk via the Bridge of Sighs built at the beginning of the 17th century to serve as a link between the prison and the interrogation rooms of the Doge’s Palace; its arched profile makes one of the most famous scenes of the city. Continue to the pink marble Doge’s Palace, official residence of the Venetian ruler, now a museum. In the afternoon, experience an Insider’s Venice Walking Tour that will take you “off the beaten path.” Start your walk at Santa Maria Formosa, an inspirational white church dating back to 1492, and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the “marble church” is a lasting example of early Venetian Renaissance. Arrive at Marco Polo’s house, where the world explorer lived, located close to the Rialto Bridge with its busy market area. Continue via Campo Sant’Angelo, in the San Marco district, to the Fenice Theater, cradle of many great operas. Evening is at leisure in this fairy-tale city. Discover the city’s fine restaurants, shops and galleries. Don’t miss the optional Gondola Ride, with music. It’s definitely one of the highlights of any Italian holiday! You will travel along the famous Grand Canal, and experience a piece of Venetian history gliding along the centuries-old canals, past lavish palaces and under famous arched bridges
Optional: Gondola Ride with Music (PM)
DAY 4, Wednesday – Murano, Burano & Torcello in the Venice Lagoon
The day begins with a boat ride to the island of Murano. Built on a series of small islands, connected by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, Murano has been known for centuries for the famous Murano glass. Visit one of the island’s glass blowing factories to view this intricate art. Then on to Burano, the most scenic of the islands with its picturesque canals lined with brightly colored houses. Walk along the main street of Via Galuppi, famous for its artisan lace makers and lined with pastry shops, cafes, and restaurants. Continue to the rural and quiet island of Torcello, the first settlement in the lagoon. Many artists have spent time here to escape from the lights and chaos of the cities, including Ernest Hemingway. Savor the quaint atmosphere before returning to the main island of Venice for the afternoon at leisure. Explore this magical city on your own. Walk the cobblestone streets, hidden alleyways, and endless Venetian bridges to discover this city’s unique atmosphere
DAY 5, Thursday – Lucca & Tuscan Farm Dinner
Magnificent panoramas are waiting for you today. Travel through the rolling Tuscany countryside to Lucca, a perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture, with its streets showing layers of history on every turn of the winding streets; the massive 17th century walls completely surround the city. Walk the narrow streets of the original Roman grid to the Church of San Michele and its beautiful piazza, which occupies the site of the ancient Roman Forum. After the tour drive to a local Tuscan farm for dinner. Wine tasting and a sampling of delectable local specialties will be a highlight of the meal. Continue to the lively Renaissance city of Florence, with its priceless art and architecture, for overnight
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Friday – Florence City Tour & The Accademia
Today, the lifetime dream of seeing Michelangelo’s David is realized. At the Accademia of Fine Arts, stand in awe of this glorious work of art. On to the magnificent Duomo, with its Brunelleschi designed dome, and view the renowned “Gates of Paradise” by Ghiberti. You’ll be enchanted as you walk through the open-air museum at Signoria Square, ending at the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the “Old Bridge.” Florence is indeed the center of the world’s finest art and architecture. The optional guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery* provides insight into the history of the structure and its collections. Originally the private collection of the Medici family, the Palazzo was opened to the public in 1765. The tour highlights include exceptional examples of Florentine painting with the intention of helping you to better understand the works of the masters, including Giotto, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Following the tour admire, the breathtaking views of the city from atop the Museum. Tour participation guarantees immediate entry to the Gallery, with no lengthy waits in 2-3 hour lines. The remainder of the day and evening is at leisure in Florence. Time to revisit some of the museums, shop for gold and quality leather, or just enjoy the fabulous ambiance
* Optional Uffizi Gallery Tour, US $56 – Available for purchase only in Italy from your Tour Manager
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 7, Saturday – Tuscan Cooking Class
Food! Glorious Italian Food! Begin this fabulous day at the local market. Here, you’ll shop like a native following your chef’s instructions to buy the fresh produce needed to prepare the most delicious Italian meal. Then take your bags of ingredients out to a farmhouse in the countryside. After a Welcome Drink, the chef begins the morning of cooking lessons. The basics include homemade pasta, rural soups, homemade sauces, and the recipe of the famous Panzanella. All of the Tuscan secrets will be revealed, and using fresh Tuscan olive oil makes a huge difference in taste. Afterwards, sit back, relax, sip a glass of great wine and enjoy lunch, your own creation! The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to independently explore this astonishing city, with captivating vistas at every turn
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 8, Sunday – Siena, Rome
Delight in the scenery as you drive through the Chianti area of Tuscany, renowned for its magical landscapes, to Siena, a step back to medieval Tuscany. The heart of the city, Il Campo, was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its celebrated centuries-old Palio horse race, takes place twice every summer, with participants riding bareback around the spectator-packed square, along with non-stop 24 hour celebrations. The city sits over three hills accented by the huge square where the Roman Forum once stood and dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower. Stroll leisurely on your own before departing for Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 9, Monday – Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Piazzas of Rome
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour! Today visit the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Your local guide will lead you into the museums, where you will visit part of one of the most important art collections of the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving at the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Stroll through St. Peter’s Square, passing Bernini’s famous colonnade to view St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the burial site of Saint Peter.* Then, a change of pace as you stroll through the characteristic “piazzas and vias” of Rome, with your tour guide. Admire the baroque Piazza Navona, built on the site of the 1st century Stadium of Domitian, where great chariot races were once held. Today, the piazza is packed with vendors, street performers and lined with cafes. Leisure time for lunch on your own, before reaching the monumental Pantheon, the best preserved of any Roman building, you’ll see the largest brick dome in the history of architecture, the most copied and imitated of all ancient works. Continue to savor the grandeur of the iconic Trevi Fountain, and of course, toss in some coins! Then onto the majestic Spanish Steps on the Piazza di Spagna, the longest and widest decorative steps in Europe. Enjoy the balance of your day at leisure, perhaps grab a cappuccino, or gelato and indulge in the national pastime of people-watching
DAY 10, Tuesday – Ostia Antica
This morning, head out to Ostia Antica, an incredible area of ancient ruins in the meadows between the Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visit this once lively town founded in the 4th century BC as a military colony that served to guard the mouth of the river against invasions, that later became the harbor city of ancient Rome and a flourishing commercial center. Stroll along the Decumanus Maximus, the central thoroughfare and take time to explore the side streets, where you will find intact shops, impressive black and white floor mosaics and few frescoes. View the well-preserved Roman Theater, public baths, the square of the Corporations, Fire Department, the House of Diana and the Thermopolium, an ancient Roman fast food place with a marble counter. Return to Rome afterward, and enjoy the balance of your day at leisure
DAY 11, Wednesday – Ancient Rome & Palazzo Colonna
Step back into history this morning to the mighty Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that once seated over 50,000 spectators. Deadly combat of gladiators and wild animals were attended frequently by the rich, the poor and by the Emperor himself. Continue on to the legendary Roman Forum, the central area of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate his tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. This afternoon enjoy a visit to Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome. Its construction began in the fourteenth century by the Colonna family, who, after eight centuries, still reside there. The Galleria Colonna, is a true jewel of Roman Baroque, whose original project by Antonio del Grande was integrated by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Paolo Schor and Carlo Fontana. From the very beginning the Gallery was conceived as a large boardroom, which was to celebrate the victory of the Christian fleet commanded by Marcantonio Colonna over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. During the visit you will admire the works of Bronzino, Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Guido Reni, along with many others. Visit the Apartment of Princess Isabelle, located on the ground floor of the palace which was built upon the foundations of the ancient Temple of Serapis. Here the Colonna Princess preserves the apartment formally used by Princess Isabelle exactly as it was when she was still alive. One of the few traces of the Roman sanctuary is a crocodile in porphyry, which welcomes visitors at the beginning of the sequence of rooms where famous artists left their mark, such as Pinturicchio, Pomarancio and Cavalier Tempesta. To conclude the evening, enjoy a dinner in the heart of the city to bid farewell to your Tour Manager and new-found friends
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 12, Thursday – Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. When you book the small group Italy tour with air the transfer is included.
*Due to Religious events, the opening times of St. Peter Basilica are subject to change without notice. In these events, clients will visit the Vatican Library instead of the Basilica.