The Heart of Italy (12 Day Tour)
Tour DescriptionThis deluxe, small-group tour starts in Rome, then heads to Tuscany, land of stunning scenery and medieval towns, and finishes in grand style in Venice. In Rome, you’ll take a guided walking tour, visiting the Eternal City’s must-sees, from the Piazza Navona to the Pantheon. On a guided tour of the Vatican, you’ll behold masterpiece upon masterpiece, including the breathtaking Sistine Chapel with its magnificent frescoed ceiling. In Tuscany, the itinerary includes visits to the medieval towns of Montepulciano, an early settlement of the Etruscan civilization, Siena and Monteriggioni, as well as Florence, seat of the Renaissance. In Chianti, you’ll sample the region’s world-famous wines. Last but not least, Venice, the magical city built on a dense cluster of 100-plus islands, connected by canals, is yours to explore. At every stop, your group will sample regional cuisine in local restaurants and trattorias.
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ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Day 1: Rome
Day 2: Rome
Day 3: Rome
Day 4: Montepulciano & Montalcino
Day 5: Siena
Day 6: San Gimignano & Monteriggioni
Day 7: Florence
Day 8: Chianti
Day 9: Venice
Day 10: Venice
Day 11: Venice
Day 12: Venice
Day 1: Saturday – Rome – Arrival
Welcome to Italy! Arrive in Rome and transfer to your hotel. The afternoon is free to relax or explore the neighborhood or beyond. In the evening, you’ll meet your tour host and review the itinerary. The tour host will distribute materials about the destinations you’ll be visiting. Overnight in Rome.
Day 2: Sunday – Rome (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, you’ll head out for a guided walking tour of Rome, a city that exudes history, religion and art like few others. You’ll learn about Renaissance artists like Caravaggio and architects Bernini and Borromini as you visit the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain (made famous by Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita) and Piazza Navona. In the afternoon, your guide will help you follow your bliss and recommend outings to the Colosseum, where gladiators battled, or Campo Fiori, home of a great marketplace, or more off-the-beaten-track spots.
Dinner will be at one of Rome’s famous trattorias, far from the madding touristic crowd among the locals.
Overnight in Rome.
Day 3: Monday – Roma(Breakfast)
After breakfast, transfer to the Vatican for a guided visit of the Museum. The Vatican’s vast art collection includes masterpieces of classical art, both Greek and Roman, as well as paintings and statues by Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and so many more. Architectural wonders include the Sistine Chapel. Overnight in Rome.
Day 4: Tuesday – Montepulciano & Montalcino (Breakfast, Lunch)
After breakfast, meet your driver and depart for Montepulciano in Tuscany, once the home of the Etruscans, a culture of mysterious origins that predates the founding of Rome. The Etruscans had their own language and customs, some of these were assimilated by the Romans, though their language is not related to Greek or Latin.
Meet with a local guide in Montepulciano and tour two vineyards near Montepulciano that includes a wine-tasting in the cellar. Lunch in Montepulciano. Continue to Siena, traveling through Montalcino and the wonderful landscapes of Val d’Orcia, with its green-golden hills and distinctive cyprus trees.
Free time to stroll around Montalcino, a walled, hilltop town with narrow streets and panoramic views.
Arrive in Siena late afternoon and check in at your hotel. Overnight in Siena.
Day 5: Wednesday – Siena (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, meet your local guide in the hotel and depart for a walking tour of Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered by many to be Italy’s loveliest medieval city. At the heart of Siena is Campo’s square, where Il Palio, the famous horse race, takes place two times each summer. The afternoon is free to continue to explore Siena or visit one of the many beautiful small villages nearby. Dinner in a typical restaurant in Siena.
Overnight in Siena.
Day 6: Thursday – San Gimignano & Monteriggioni (Breakfast, Lunch)
In the morning transfer to Florence. En route, visit Monteriggioni and San Gimignano, two medieval Tuscan hill towns. San Gimignano, another World Heritage Site, has high towers that dominate its skyline and can be seen from miles away. Lunch will be served in a typical trattoria in San Gimignano.
Arrival in Florence and check in at hotel. Free time to explore the town.
Overnight in Florence
Day 7: Friday – Florence (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Florence with a local guide. Florence was the epicenter of the Renaissance, the movement that catapulted Italy and later Europe into one of the most exciting eras of artistic and literary achievement. Wealthy families, such as the Medicis. commissioned works from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli. You’ll visit Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, the Dome with Giotto’s bell tower, Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce. During a free afternoon, you can explore Florence on your or visit nearby Pisa or Lucca.
Overnight in Florence. Dinner will be served in a local Tuscan restaurant.
Day 8: Saturday – Chianti (Breakfast, Lunch)
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel and depart for a half day exploring Chianti, home of some of the best wine in the world and of course more intoxicating Tuscan scenery. The group will stop en route for a wine and cheese tasting. Lunch at a local farmhouse with a panoramic view. After lunch, return to Florence. The afternoon is free.
Day 9: Sunday Venice (Breakfast)
After breakfast in Florence, board a high-speed train to Venice. Transfer to the hotel. Meeting with your tour host, to learn about the splendor of Venice and the lagoon. The group will have dinner at a local restaurant with a view of the canal. Overnight in Venice.
Day 10: Monday – Venice (Breakfast)
After breakfast, you’re free to explore the city, whether by vaporetto, the waterbus, or gondola. In addition to hitting popular landmarks like the Piazza San Marco and St. Mark’s Basilica, there’s the Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace. Overnight in Venice.
Day 11: Tuesday – Venice (Breakfast)
After breakfast, another free day in Venice. The suggestions are endless. See the sights you didn’t get to the day before. Window shop. Have a drink at Harry’s Bar. Take a trip to the island of Murano or Lido might also be the thing to do. Overnight in Venice.
Day 12: Wednesday – Venice (Breakfast)
Transfer to the railroad station or the airport.
Bernini Bristol (5 Star)
Alternative Hotel: Artemide (4 Star) or Stendhal (5 Star)
Palazzo Ravizza (4 Star) Alternative Hotel: Athena (4 Star)
Brunelleschi (4 Star)
Alternative Hotel: Pierre (4 Star) or Santa Maria Novella (4 Star)
Torre dell’Orologio (4 Star)
Hotel may be substituted with similar category
The tour includes:
- Private transfer to and from airport
- Bus as per itinerary
- *Tour Escort/Host*
- 3 nights in 4 Star Hotel in Rome
- 2 nights in 4 Star Hotel in Siena
- 3 nights in 4 Start Hotel in Florence
- 3 nights in 4 Star Hotel in Venice
- 4 dinners & 3 lunches with wine, mineral water and coffee
- Walking tour of Wonderful Rome
- Visit of Vatican, entrance fee included
- Wine tour in Montepulciano
- Walking tour of Siena
- Visit of Monteriggioni and San Gimignano
- Walking tour of Florence
- Visit of Chianti with wine tasting
- Hotel and city tax
The tour does not include:
- Porterage at airport
- Luggage handling at hotel
- Beverages and meals not mentioned in the program
- Travel insurance
- Optional excursions
These tours are operated with a tour escort. We guarantee bookings with a minimum of two participants. With groups of six or under, the tour will include a tour host. Groups of seven or more include a tour guide, who travels with the group.
The tour host will escort the guest to the restaurants when dinner is included. The tour host is available 24 hours by phone.
The passengers are provided at their arrival with a Travel Pocket Guide with information, maps and an itinerary with details, tips and emergency toll free number.