HIGHLIGHTS OF ITALY
HIGHLIGHTS OF ITALY
In our “Highlights of Italy” tour, you will experience a 10-day adventure of the “must-see and do” experiences and sites of Italy‘s most famous cities: Venice, Florence, and finally, Rome. Additionally, enjoy a day excursion into the Tuscan countryside.
Italy is a destination that has something for everyone from history buffs to beach lovers. If you have been dreaming of the brightest azure sea, the rolling hills covered in vineyards, the snow capped mountains, the mirror-like lakes or the most magnificent art-filled cities in the world, then Italy delivers. It is a country that brings you from one opposite to another, from the spices of Calabria to the rich polenta and sausages of Friuli. It’s the long, magnificent coastline of enticing Puglia and winding roads of the Dolomites. Italy is a place that holds the hearts of repeat visitors who find it hard-pressed not to come back and continue exploring its twenty magical regions. On your Highlights of Italy vacation, you will get a “taste” of what this beautiful country has to offer. Thus, leaving you wanting more for the next trip!
VENICE – 2 NIGHTS
Your first stop on your “Highlights of Italy” tour, will be the island city of Venice. There is truly no place like it on earth. Rising from the waters of the lagoon, you will be entranced by all it has to offer. For example, explore the labyrinth alleyways, marvel at the extraordinary architecture, and experience a life lived on the water. Done right, Venice is probably the most unique and romantic destination on earth.
Upon arrival in Venice, we will arrange for a private water taxi to deliver you to your beautiful accommodations on the island. From the hotel, you’re a short walk from all the amazing sights and landmarks Venice has to offer. During your stay in Venice, we will arrange the following special experiences:
- A Welcome Orientation & Cicheti Aperitivo with a member of the Bella Vita team. This meeting will help you navigate your days in this unique city as well as enjoy one of its favorite past-times of sampling the local tasting dishes and local (delicious!) wines.
- A wonderful half-day Venice by Land and Water tour giving you a chance to discover the highlights of the city. Visits to Saint Mark’s Square, the Rialto bridge, and more. Then, you will have the opportunity to explore the city for an hour by private boat. Here you will enjoy its sleepy back canals as well as the Grand Canal, the city’s main thoroughfare.
- An extraordinary evening of spectacular food at a Michelin starred restaurant and a small hotel that encompass an entire island on the lagoon! This is a truly unique opportunity! A private RT water transfer included.
- A private tour to the outer islands of Murano and Burano. Enjoy a half-day on the lagoon away from the bustle of the main island. The internationally famous island of Murano has been the center of glassmaking for over 700 years. And still today, this artistry can still be seen and appreciated. Burano, once a full-time fishermen’s village, is an incredibly picturesque destination with its brightly painted houses. Time permitting, you will also visit the tiny island of Torcello.
FLORENCE – 3 NIGHTS
After checking out of your hotel, your private water taxi will be waiting to take you to the train station. From Venice, you will travel by first-class high-speed train to your next amazing stop touring Italy, the beautiful medieval city of Florence. Here you’ll stay at one of our preferred hotels or upscale inns for three nights. As always, it will be situated in the city center within a short walk of the city’s most famous sites.
Your visit to Florence will consist of the following:
- You’ll start your visit to Florence with our Leisurely Walking Excursion of the City with our private local expert guide. Florence’s rich past as the cultural center of the Italian Renaissance can still be seen today. Visits such famous sites as Il Duomo, Piazza dell Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, and more. Plus you will have the choice of a VIP, skip the line visit to either the Uffizi Gallery or Accademia (house of Michelangelo’s David).
- A private excursion into the Tuscan countryside. You will have the choice of visiting the Chianti wine region and the medieval town of San Gimignano. Otherwise, you can head to the rolling hills of the Val D’Orcia with its charming hilltop villages and pecorino cheese. In both cases, we can arrange for winery tours and tastings. Alternatively, you could do a half-day walking tour of beautiful Siena.
- A fabulous “gastronomic” tour at one of the city’s most famous and bustling markets followed by a hands-on and cooking lesson and meal. The Florence market is a place where the stalls are heaped with produce raised in the green belt around the city and brought in before dawn by the producers. The market offers everything from fruits and vegetables, fish, fresh meat, salt-cured meat, cheese, and much more in a true Italian farm-to-table experience. Your guide will take you through the market, explaining local products as you absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of this incredible foodie dream. Afterward, you will head to a wonderful kitchen for your hands-on rustic Tuscan cooking class with a professional chef. You will prepare a full 4-course menu, including appetizer, first and second course, and dessert. The menu will depend on seasons and availability of products. You will then “enjoy the fruits of your labor” with a delicious sit-down meal of your creations…buon appetito!
- Private transfers upon arrival in Florence and to return you to the train station at departure.
ROME – 3 NIGHTS
Rome is simply fascinating. With its mix of modern, chaotic city life shadowed by endless historic landmarks and artistic masterpieces, you will be amazed and possibly overwhelmed by all it has to offer, but. That is where Bella Vita does some of its best work. By creating a haven of activities designed to give you a wonderful taste of this amazing city without exhausting you!
You will be greeted at the Rome train station by your private driver. He/she will then accompany you to your gorgeous accommodations in the historical center. During your 3 days in Rome, you will enjoy the following experiences:
- Our Private “Before Hours” Morning Vatican Tour. This incredible opportunity offers a more personal Vatican experience, and the ability to avoid the noisy crowds. You will visit the Sistine Chapel at a more solitary, reflective hour. With our expert guide, you’ll discover masterpieces of the Renaissance as well as ancient statues from the Vatican collections. The tour will conclude in St Peter’s Basilica to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Your private guide will also give you access to the Basilica straight from the museums, avoiding the sometimes endless lines.
- Private Tour through Ancient Rome with VIP access to the Coliseum Underground (limited availability). Learn about its tragedies and love for entertainment. Also, discover some of its famous citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus, and Nero. Visit Capitoline Hill, the Roman Forum, finishing off with the spectacular Coliseum.
- Lose yourself within one of Europe’s most extraordinary museums and one of Rome’s greatest patrician collections, the Borghese Gallery. It is home to glorious works by Bernini, Caravaggio, and other highly-regarded artists in Italian history. We consider it is an astounding showcase of Italian art and antiquity. Your art historian will make the artists and statues come alive in this short but captivating tour.
- When it is time to bid “arrivederci” to your Highlights of Italy tour, we will arrange a private transfer to take you to the Rome Airport for your flight home.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Highlights of Italy tour. A few days on the Amalfi Coast and Naples? Or a visit to the island of Sicily, Alternatively, spending some extra days in the Tuscan or Umbrian countryside. The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.