This is it: your Grand Tour of Italy. Seventeen days/sixteen nights touring the major regions of our amazing country! Beginning in the northeast, you’ll take in exotic, romantic Venice, then head west to chic and sophisticated Milan, world capital of fashion and design and home of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Up towards the Swiss border is lovely Lake Como, worth the trip even if you're not rich and/or famous. Heading south to the Mediterranean Coast you will tour the Cinque Terre, where you’ll find colorful villages, pesto, panoramic views and more. Then it's on to Florence, by way of Pisa, for highlights of the Italian Renaissance, and from there into the south of Italy, including the exquisite Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Your trip winds up in Rome, where all roads lead and which you must see before dying. This is the trip of a lifetime… It is the complete Italian experience and it is all your own, because you're traveling with Your Own Italy.
- Private Mercedes transfers to and from airports and train stations
- Reserved business-class seats on high-speed trains
- Accommodation in selected hotel in historic centers of Venice – 3 nights, Milan – 2 nights, Cinque Terre – 2 nights, Florence – 3 nights, Sorrento – 3 nights, Rome – 3 nights
- English-speaking local tour guides throughout your vacation
- All skip-the-line tickets included
- Private Introduction to Venice Walking Tour with Gondola ride
- Private Tour of St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs
- Private Boat Tour with guide to the islands of Murano for a glass-making demonstration and Burano for visit to lace-making factory and lunch (not included)
- Private Walking Tour of Milan with visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
- Private Boat Tour on Lake Como with Visit to Bellagio and Villa Balbianello
- Visit to Seaside Town of Portofino with Lunch in selected restaurant (not included)
- Private Walking Tour of Monterosso, Manarola and Vernazza in Cinque Terre with Pesto-Making demonstration
- Private Tour of the Basilica Complex of Pisa and Walk up the Leaning Tower
- Private Introduction to Florence Walking Tour and the Accademia Gallery
- Private Tour of the Piazza della Signoria and Uffizi Gallery
- Lunch and Wine Tasting at Villa Machiavelli followed by a Visit to San Gimignano
- Private Tour of Pompeii with Lunch and Wine Tasting in Villa on Mt. Vesuvius
- Private Day Excursion to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Lunch on panoramic terrace in Ravello (not included)
- Private Day Excursion with guide to the Island of Capri. Private Boat Tour around the island
- Private Introduction to Rome “Dolce Vita” Walking Tour evening of arrival
- Private Tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum
- Private Tour of The Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel
DAY 1: Welcome to Venice and Tour of Hidden Venice with Gondola Ride
Your private greeter will pick you up at Venice’s Marco Polo airport and take you to your hotel in the historic center. That afternoon, your guide will pick you up and take you on a tour through the delightful labyrinth also known as “hidden Venice” to enjoy shops, cafés, and colorful gondolas. Your introduction to Venice culminates with a tranquil gondola glide through the city's canals. Are you a music lover? A tenor will join your gondola ride and sing opera as you sip wine!
DAY 2: Tour Venice’s Unique Sites
Your tour will begin between the famed columns of St. Mark's Square. You will admire the outside of St. Mark’s Basilica,
with its Byzantine mosaic renditions of scenes from the life of Christ and, in the lunettes of the lateral portals, scenes
showing the history of the relics of Saint Mark. Within the Basilica, which is unique in the world for its 4,000 square
meters of golden mosaics and marble floor inlays, your guide will introduce you to its many art treasures, including the
magnificent high altar, or Pala d’Oro. You'll proceed to the opulent Doge’s Palace, adjacent to the cathedral, which was
the seat from which the Duke wielded power over the great economic empire that was the Republic of Venice. You'll
visit the prison where enemies of the state, including Giacomo Casanova, were held (and in his case escaped) and
pass through the Bridge of Sighs, an enclosed bridge with small windows that allowed prisoners one final lachrymal
look at the lagoon of Venice before their confinement.
DAY 3: Explore Murano and Burano
Your guide will pick you up at your apartmtent and will accompany you to your private boat. You'll speed along the Venetian Lagoon to two islands famous for their handicrafts and architecture. Known for its glassware shops and factories, Murano boasts a long and still-thriving glass tradition dating back to 1291, when artisans moved their kilns from the old city center. Exploring the island on foot, you will visit a museum dedicated to the art of glass and watch a skill glassblowers at their craft; view the splendor of Murano’s palaces and Veneto-Byzantine style churches, some with mosaics and ornamental motifs designed in the 12th century; and, if weather permits, catch a glimpse of San Michele, Venice’s 19th-century cemetery, across the water. Your next stop will be Burano, a miniature Venice with picturesque fishermen’s houses. Since the 16th century Burano has been famous for its lace, once considered the most refined in Europe. Browse local lace shops, visit the museum dedicated to the craft of lace, and lunch in a restaurant on the canal with the colorful backdrop of the fuchsia pink, deep blue and vibrant yellow houses that characterize this lovely island town.
DAY 4: Arrival in Milan with Tour of Milan and visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the Last Supper
A greeter will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Venice's Train Station for a high-speed train to Milan. There, a private driver will pick you up and accompnay you to your hotel in the center of town. Later, your guide will pick you for an introductory walking tour of Italy’s most stylish city. This will be your opportunity to see da Vinci’s Last Supper, housed at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Following this you will spend some time in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a glass-vaulted shopping arcade from the nineteen century that, with its fashionable shops and cafes, remains an important meeting point for the Milanese. Next on your walk: the grand medieval Sforza castle and fortress, once the seat of Milan's ruling family and now home to several of the city’s museums and art collections. Your tour sinds up at the Duomo, one of the world’s largest, most striking Gothic cathedrals, boasting no fewer than 135 spires and 3,200 statues.
DAY 5: Private Boat Tour on Lake Como and Visit to Bellagio
You will take the local train to Como for a private Boat Tour on this famous lake. Your captain will be waiting for you at the port to explore Lake Como in more detail. One of the highlights of your tour will be a visit to Villa Balbianello, the stunning lakeside retreat where the James Bond film "Casino Royale" was filmed. After this you’ll head to Bellagio, a village on a promontory jutting out into the lake, often referred to as the "pearl of the lake" and known for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings, and Villa Serbelloni Park, an 18th-century terraced garden with lake views. Nearby are the Tower of the Arts, a venue for exhibitions and performances, and the romanesque church of San Giacomo. Close to rocky Loppia Beach, the Museum of Navigational Instruments displays sundials and compasses. You will return, by boat, to your port.
DAY 6: Arrival in Monterosso in Cinque Terre with Visit to Portofino
On your way by private car from Milan to Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages in the Cinque Terre, you’ll stop for lunch and a stroll in charming Portofino, a former fishing village on the Italian Riviera with a picturesque harbor, colorfully-painted homes, and historical association with famous and artistic visitors. From there you'll head to Monterosso, where you will settle into your hotel and rest up for the following day's walking tour.
DAY 7: Walking Tour of the Cinque Terre with Pesto-making Demonstration
TYour private guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a memorable walk of three of the five towns of the Cinque Terre. The villages of the Cinque Terre were built in ancient times by people seeking refuge from barbarian invaders. Lying between the mountains and the sea, the villages of the Cinque Terre have for centuries been isolated from the rest of Italy. This aura of isolation, and the area’s dramatic coastal scenery, have made the Cinque Terre ever more attractive to visitors. You’ll take the local train between Monterosso, Vernazza and Manarola, exploring each one's narrow alleys and pretty pastel squares overlooking the sea as well as make your own pesto the traditional way in breathtaking surroundings.
DAY 8: Arrival in Florence with Tour of Pisa
Your driver will pick you up at your accommodations in Monterosso, destination Florence. On the way, you’ll visit the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, also known as the Piazza dei Miracoli. The Duomo is a splendid eleventh century Romanesque cathedral built using fantastic spoils captured in expeditions against the Muslims in Sicily. The marble Baptistery is a majestic circular-plan Romanesque building started in 1153, and the Leaning Tower is one of the most beautiful and famous bell towers in the world. This tower was in trouble from the start; its architect, Nicola Pisano, managed to complete only three tiers before the structure started to lean. With your reserved ticket in hand, you’ll reach the top of the tower for a truly memorable experience. After lunch in the nearby town of Lucca, your driver will drop you off at your hotel in Florence.
DAY 9: Introduction to Florence Walking City Tour and the Accademia Gallery
Your private tour guide will take you on an afternoon tour of the historic center that will include the gothic cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore and the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo's incomparable David.
DAY 10: Lunch and Wine Tasting at Villa Machiavelli and Visit to San Gimignano
This relaxing day begins with a drive on picturesque local roads through the Chianti region. Lying between Florence and Siena, and bordered on the east by the Chianti Mountains and the west by the Elsa River, this wine region boasts rolling hills covered with vineyards and cypresses, an unhurried pace of life and charming villages. You’ll visit the celebrated Machiavelli winery for a tour of the vineyard and a sampling of several different types of local wine, followed by a sumptuous lunch in the family’s villa. Following this, your driver will take you to the medieval gem of San Gimignano, “city of beautiful towers.” In its heyday, the town boasted 72 towers. Now 14 remain, and, rising above Tuscany’s Elsa Valley, they give the town the appearance of a medieval dream. Your walking tour begins at the Piazza della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo Collegiata, and Romanesque cathedral, and continues with a stroll along the ancient pilgrimage road, the Via Francigena. There will also be time to visit shops, browse the lovely Santa Fina pottery and other handmade products, and purchase some saffron, a local culinary specialty.
DAY 11: Arrival in Sorrento and Explore Ancient Pompeii
A private driver will take you to Florence's Train Station for a high-speed train to Naples. At the station in Naples you will be met by your driver - destination Pompeii for a private tour. With its intact streets and buildings, many two stories tall, Pompeii is a trip back through time and into the world of people who were not all that different from today's. Whether enjoying an affluent citizen's life in spacious, frescoed houses centered around airy courtyard, or struggling along as a working stiff, eating on the go at a “fast food” restaurant and bathing in public baths, Pompeii's inhabitants lived their lives in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, which will be your next stop for lunch at the wine-producing Cantina del Vesuvio. Afterwards, your guide will take you up to the crater for a 20-minute walk to the rim and its amazing views of the Bay of Naples. Afterwards, you will be driven you to your hotel in nearby Sorrento, where you will dine at a local restaurant, homemade limoncello hardly optional.
DAY 12: Let the Coast Awaken Your Spirit
Your experienced driver will handle the twists and turns of the winding roads of the Amalfi Peninsula while you sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views. In the tiny jewel of Positano, a small town that clings to a mountain rising from the sea, you will have the opportunity to take in the local style - white linen dresses, artisan sandals, jewelry - in charming courtyard markets, and the local refreshments - including true Italian lemon ice, or "granite al limone" made of fresh local lemons - at bars with terraces overlooking the sea. The colors are so bright and pure that you might have to pinch yourself to remember that this is real reality and not the virtual kind. From Positano you will be taken to Ravello, at the top of Mount Cerreto, where you will lunch at the most spectacular panoramic terrace you have ever seen, then stroll in the lovely gardens of Villa Ruffolo, home of the world-famous summer music festival. Wrap up the day in Amalfi, where you will visit the 11th century cathedral of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of the town.
DAY 13: Dive into the Waters off Capri
Your guide will pick you up at your apartment and accompany you to the port of Sorrento where you will board the ferry to Capri. There you private boat and captain will be waiting to accompany you on a dream like day in the waters of Capri. Be prepared to dive in the pristine blue waters of the world-famous grottos that encircle the base of the famed island. Your captain will navigate to nearly private coves where the colors of the water dance amongst the many hues of the deep blue that characterizes this enchanting island. No need to bring towels or drinks, your captain will have them on board. You will also have snorkeling equipment to use while swimming. Upon docking, dry off and meet your guide will accompany you in a private vehicle up the hairpin, narrow road to Anacapri. On the way, sneak a few peaks
at the white washed villas masked by an abundance of colored flowers. A stroll at the top of the mountain to visit the famed Capri sandal makers as well as a breathtaking view from the enchanting villa San Michele perched on the furthest edge overlooking the bay. You can also choose to go up the funicular to see the views fro the very top of the island. After lunch your guide will accompany you on a walking tour of the town of Capri and its port.
DAY 14: Arrival in Rome and Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Sorrento and take you to the train station in Naples for the high-speed train to Rome, where a driver will be waiting for you to take you to to your hotel in the historic center. After relaxing, you will be picked up by your private guide who will take you on your “Dolce Vita” Tour. You’ll uncover the secrets locked in Bernini’s work, marvel at the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient Roman monument, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to the Eternal City and simply enjoy Rome’s charming streets in a leisurely Italian fashion. By the end of the tour, you will realize that your guide has not only shown you around Rome, but has taught you how to get around Rome making you feel almost like a native.
DAY 15: Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancient Romans
Your guide will pick you up at your accommodations and accompany you to the Coliseum, one of the ancient world's largest structures, where Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. A massive stone amphitheater that seated an estimated 60,000 spectators, it was built in only eight years. Your guide will tell you about its design and construction, political purposes, fighters (both willing and unwilling), and eventual demise as an arena. At the Imperial Roman Forum, you will hear about the myths and religions of ancient Rome as you wander through the ruins of meeting halls and temples, such as that of the Vestal Virgins, who maintained Vesta’s sacred fire and were considered to be almost goddesses. The most ancient Latin text ever found, the Lapis Niger (“black stone”), can also be found in the Forum, in the foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of ancient Rome, which offers a wonderful view of the city and the Forum.
DAY 16: Explore The Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
Your guide will pick you up at your accommodations for this signature Your Own Italy tour of The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. The art of The Vatican is among the most recognizable in the world. In leading you through the museums, your guide will convey the tantalizing background of these Renaissance masterpieces, the geniuses who created them, and the powers who commissioned them. In the stunning Raphael Rooms you will see the famous “School of Athens” fresco that depicts influential thinkers of ancient Greece mingling unknowingly with Raphael himself and some of his contemporaries. In the Sistine Chapel, below the largest and most renowned fresco in the world, your tour guide will explain the intriguing history of this work and the hidden messages Michelangelo painted into it. After the museum, you’ll visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world, where you can see Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà, Bernini’s acclaimed altar canopy, and the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II.
DAY 17: Departure
Your driver will pick you up in plenty of time to make your flight. Rome salutes you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci.” See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with Your Own Italy, you have friends here in Rome.
- There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered, shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags on tours that include churches as storage is not always available
- Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking
- The team at Your Own Italy is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal needs. Are you traveling with children? We will provide the necessary assistance to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
- Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation
- Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May through September). Arrangements can be made on shorter notice, but you run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels and guides. We want the best for our clients, and the more time we have, the more we can guarantee just that.
- What are Your Own Italy's payment terms?
- For our customized vacations, we require a 20% deposit upon approval of the itinerary we have presented to you. The balance is due 45 days prior to your arrival date.
- What happens after I've made a reservation through your website?
- Upon submitting your reservation through our website, you will be provided with an invoice with a link to be used for payment by credit card on the online portal of PayPal, our credit card processor.
- Should I purchase travel insurance?
- We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking, in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. We offer travel insurance through out partner, Allianz.
- What kind of information will we receive before our trip?
- Approximately one month prior to your departure date, you will receive a Your Own Italy travel packet consisting of a detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants, a “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy, and your specific destinations, plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions, and transportation.
- Can you give me a cost breakdown of my customized vacation and what is included?
- The vacations we create are bundled packages and therefore we do not provide a cost breakdown. Our local suppliers give us bundled prices for the services provided and we do the same for our clients. We arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local tour guides, restaurant reservations, and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive until the day of your departure.