If everyone weren't all talking Italian, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in three different countries when you visit Rome, Florence, and Venice. Rome is wide, broad, and majestic. Its baroque piazzas are the size of small ball fields and even in its historic center, which in some places dates back to the Middle Ages, the buildings are massive, as if to proclaim the might of an empire. Florence, on the other hand, was built with a lighter touch, a feminine grace, an early Renaissance sense of delicacy and good taste in which even the piazzas and cathedrals are human size, and contrasts dramatically with the exuberant baroque enthusiasm of Rome. And Venice? It is almost another world, rising like Atlantis out of the sea, with its eyes focused most definitely eastward, towards Asia and the Middle East. If this is your first trip to Italy, this is the trip for you. It's Your Own Italy.
- Private Mercedes transfers to and from airports and train stations
- Reserved business class seats on high-speed trains
- Accommodations in selected apartment in historic center of Rome - 3 nights, Florence - 3 nights and Venice - 3 nights
- English-speaking local tour guides throughout your vacation
- All skip-the-line tickets included
- Private Introduction to Rome “Dolce Vita” Tour evening of arrival
- Private Tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum
- Private Tour of The Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
- 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 visit to San Gimignano
- 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 glass-making demonstration and Burano for visit to lace-making factory and lunch (not included)
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome! Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver will be waiting for you at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport and will escort you by private car to your apartment in Rome. After you have a chance to relax, your private tour guide will accompany 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 almost like a native.
DAY 2: Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancient Romans
At the Coliseum, one of the ancient world's largest structures, 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 3: 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 4: Arrival in Florence, Walking City Tour and the Accademia Gallery
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Rome and accompany you to the high-speed train to Florence. You will be met at the train station in Florence by a greeter who will accompany you to your apartment for check in. After you relax, 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 5: Lunch and Wine Tasting at Villa Machiavelli and Visit to San Gimignano
This relaxing tour begins with a drive on picturesque local roads through the world-famous 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 delightful vistas of rolling hills, cypresses, and charming villages, along with an unhurried pace of life. 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 6: Tour of the Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery
Your private tour guide will take you on a walking tour of the Piazza della Signoria and its many sculptures. The graceful Loggia dei Lanzi houses the famous sculptures of Perseus Holding Medusa's Head, by Cellini (1554), and the Rape of the Sabine Women, by Giambologna. The tour continues with a private tour of the magnificent Uffizi Gallery, where every piece of art is a Renaissance masterpiece, followed by a glass of prosecco on the terrace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria.
DAY 7: Arrival in Venice and Walking Tour of Hidden Venice
Your driver will pick you up at your apartment and accompany you to the station for the high-speed “frecciarossa” train to Venice. There, your tour guide will meet and lead you to your private taxi-boat that will cruise you on the Grand Canal to your hotel in one of the most unique cities in the world. After relaxing, you will be escorted on a walking tour of the labyrinth also known as “hidden Venice” to get an initial look at the piazzas, shops and cafés. Your introduction to Venice will culminate an enchanting glide through the canals of Venice. Do you enjoy good music? A tenor will join you on your gondola ride and sing opera arias as you sip wine. This enchanting day ends with dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
DAY 8: Tour of 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 9: 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 10: Departure
Your guide will meet you at your apartment and accompany you by private boat to Venice’s airport for departure. We salute you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci!” See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with us, know that you have friends here in Your Own Italy.
- 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.