Italy Tours, Shore Excursions and Vacation Packages throughout Italy

Experience Italy’s Heart and Soul with our tailored Vacation Packages, customized Cruise Shore Excursions and signature Walking Tours. Not ordinary holidays…not typical excursions - tours designed for couples, family & friends with personal attention from Your Own Italy.

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Overview of the bright blue sea from the Amalfi Coast

The Glory of Rome, the Gems of Amalfi

Rome and the Amalfi Coast

Rome - Amalfi Coast If you don't believe Italy runs the gamut of human endeavor, try this week-long adventure! It begins with the glory, pomp, and majesty of Rome, ancient, baroque, and modern; takes you through incredible Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius; and concludes on the Amalfi Coast with the tiny urban gems of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello and a romantic boat tour...

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Evening view of Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio Tower in Florence

The Eternal, the Spirit and the Art of Italy

Rome, Amalfi Coast and Florence

Rome - Amalfi Coast - Florence With English-speaking guides throughout your trip, you’ll start right in the middle, in Rome, where you’ll explore history, art, religion, and more, with private visits to the Vatican Museums and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Then you'll head south into "il Mezzogiorno," where you’ll visit Pompeii, lunch on Mt. Vesuvius, settle into...

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Distance view of Florence from terrace of Forte di Belvedere

Italy's Heart, Soul and Riviera

Rome, Florence and the Cinque Terre

Rome - Florence - Cinque Terre Your family or small group will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, accompanied by English-speaking guides at every step, beginning with your arrival in historic Rome, where you will see the Roman Forum and Coliseum, the great art and sacred sites of the Vatican – and much more of what makes Rome "The Eternal City." Heading north to...

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Overlooking Pepoli Castle near Trapani Italy

The Soul of Sicily

Palermo, Trapani, Agrigento, Syracuse, and Taormina

Palermo - Trapani - Agrigento - Syracuse - Taormina This tour of Sicily last almost two weeks and hits all the high spots. From Palermo, Sicily's largest city, to the fishing village of Cefalu’ … from the archeological treasures of Segesta to the beautiful city of Trapani … from salt pans to olive oil … and that’s just the first few days! There's also the Valley of...

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View of black sand beach with Positano rising in the background

The History, the Shore and the Romance of Italy

Rome, Amalfi Coast and Venice

Rome - Amalfi Coast - Venice If you are looking for maximum diversity in your Italian vacation, this 11-day trip is the one you want. With the history, religion, art and architecture of Rome, the blue waters of the Amalfi Coast and Capri, and the romance and shopping opportunities of Venice and its nearby islands, you will experience the best Italy has to offer,...

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The three Faraglioni rocks of Capri jutting out from the sea

Amalfi Coast Adventure

Experience authentic Italy, unchanged, unaltered

Positano - Amalfi - Ravello Discover the gems of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Set sail on a romantic tour of Capri on your private boat with a bottle of prosecco. Scout the ancient city of Pompeii and view the entire region from the pinnacle of Mt. Vesuvius. Wind through the heights and depths of the Amalfi Coast. This is your Amalfi Coast vacation package of a...

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Sunset view of the majestic palaces & villas along the Grand Canal

The Eternal City and the City of Romance

Rome and Venice

Rome - Venice This vacation is your chance to make acquaintance with two of the world’s most memorable cities. You will discover ancient Rome, Christian Rome, and artistic Rome at the Forum and Coliseum and with private visits to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and much more of what makes this city the Eternal City. From the land and from the water you will...

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View of the rooftops of Florence with its distinctive Cathedral dome

The Three Cities of Art

Rome, Florence and Venice

Rome - Florence - Venice 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...

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Distant view of Florence Italy through the trees

Italy's Heart and Soul

Rome and Florence

Rome - Florence Here is the perfect tale of two cities: Italy's "art" and "soul." Rome, once the capital of the western world, remains the secular capital of Italy and the seat of the Catholic Church, and as such should be on the bucket list of anyone who wants to understand western civilization. When Florence began flexing her muscles in the fifteen century, she...

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Ariel view of city of Syracuse Sicily

Sicily and the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento, Syracuse and Taormina

Sicily - Amalfi Coast This 10-night trip takes you to where the sun always shines! With three nights in Sorrento, three in Syracuse, and three in Taormina, you will visit Pompeii, lunch on Mt. Vesuvius, travel along the Amalfi Coast, cruise to Capri, and take a cable car up Mt. Etna. As a grand finale, you will experience Taormina, Sicily's most gracious city, from...

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View of the terrace at Villa Rufolo, a jewel on the Amalfi Coast

The Culture and Antiquity of Southern Italy

Rome, Vieste, Gargano, Alberobello, Matera, Amalfi Coast, Capri and Naples

Rome - Vieste - Gargano Coastline - Alberobello - Matera - Amalfi Coast - Capri - Naples The south of Italy, "il Mezzogiorno," has long been under-visited by American tourists. Thirteen days and twelve nights in Rome and the area south will provide a fascinating glimpse into a different side of Italy, with its own pristine grottoes and beaches, winding roads,...

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Rooftop view of Florence, with Cathedral dome in the background

The Complete Italian Experience

Venice - Cinque Terre - Florence - Tuscany - Amalfi Coast - Rome

Venice - Cinque Terre - Florence - Tuscany - Amalfi Coast - Rome 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...

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Summer view of Lake Como with mountains in the background

The Lakes and Villages of Northern Italy

Milan, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Verona and Venice

Milan - Lake Maggiore - Lake Como - Verona - Venice A trip to Northern Italy is a trip to one of Italy’s most beautiful and romantic regions. Milan, Italy's second-largest city, is a world capital of art and design. Whether experimenting with better ways to lay paint on walls, as with The Last Supper (an experiment that, admittedly, was not entirely successful) or...

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View of statue of Caesar Augustus with Roman Forum in the background

Design Your Own Italy Vacation

Make Italy Your Own

This is private travel, perfected. Your Own Italy is proud to offer unique, tailored vacations throughout Italy for couples, families, and friends. We seek to create unforgettable vacations customized to make your trip unique. Our clients are travelers who want to be guided during their time in Italy but do not want to be part of a group. Our experience of over 30...

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Rome's Colosseum illuminated against the evening sky, Italy tours

Roman Rhapsody

The Eternal City

Rome Experience the glory of ancient Rome, the treasures of the Baroque, and everything in between! You will enjoy private tours of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, saunter in the footsteps of gladiators, visit hill towns of the Roman countryside, mingle with locals in Rome’s famous piazzas, and dine “as the Romans do” at restaurants that are guaranteed to...

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Landscape view of famed Tuscan countryside

Tuscan Treasures

Rome, Florence and Tuscany

Tuscany A dash of Rome followed by private tours of Florence and its museums, including the Uffizi's unparalleled collection and Michelangelo's David at the Accademia. Wine tasting and cooking classes in the true Tuscan tradition in Chianti. All customized with private car, tour guide and custom options, of course! Welcome to Tuscany.

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Italy Tours 2020

Private Italy Walking Tours
Statue of Intertwined bodies at the Galleria dell 'Accademia in Florence

Sculpture Tour

The tour begins at the Accademia Gallery with Michelangelo’s David (a copy of which is in its original position in the Piazza della Signoria), his St. Matthew, and his Prisoners (or Slaves). The Museum dell’ Opera contains sculptures from the nearby Cathedral, among which is Michelangelo’s Florence Pieta’ (or Deposition), with a bearded figure assumed to be a self-portrait. The Museum also boasts the original panels of Ghiberti’s Baptistry doors, as well as Donatello's rare wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene the Penitent, from 1453. The Bargello, a former barracks and prison, holds other...

Bottles of wine in a basket from the Chianti Region of Italy

San Gimignano and the Chianti Region

This delightful, relaxing tour begins when your driver-guide picks you up at your hotel in Florence and takes the picturesque 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 framing vine-covered rolling hills and ever-present cypresses, along with 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...

Detail of table with cheese, fruits and wine in Italy

Private Food and Wine Tour

Discover some “osterie” in the historical center of Venice, a city famous not only for its beautiful buildings, picturesque canals, and narrow streets, but for its fantastic regional cuisine and local wine! On this delightful 2.5 hour tour, you will taste your way through three different "enotecas" (wine bars) where local Venetians go to drink and mingle. At each stop, you will sample regional wines and prosecco served alongside small appetizer plates, or "cicchetti," made of local specialties such as marinated seafood and polenta.

Looking up at mosaics of the octagonal interior of Basilica San Vitale

Ravenna

Before reaching Ravenna, your guide will show you Chioggia, an old fishing city with the canals and bridges of Venice but without its palaces and crowds. Moving back in time, you will tour Pomposa Abbey, an important Benedictine spiritual center near Ferrara begun in the late 800s in a simple Romanesque style; its lack of ornamentation and minimal later additions make it an excellent example of the transition from classical to medieval architecture. Finally, in the Neonian baptistery and St. Apollinare Nuovo Church in Ravenna you will confront the splendor of the Byzantine Empire of the fifth...

View of trees along the Appian Way in Rome

Catacombs and San Clemente

The Catacombs, a maze of quarries and tunnels, are ancient underground cemeteries that also provided refuge to Christian communities during the Roman persecution. They offer surprising insights into the emergence of Christianity from Rome’s pagan origins, with frescoes that include the earliest depictions of the Virgin Mary and the Three Wise Men. The medieval basilica of San Clemente, a Catholic church dedicated to Pope Clement I, is built atop a Romanesque church, which was built atop numerous ancient edifices, including a temple to the god Mithras. On this tour, the past becomes tangible...

Statues of Perseus and Lion at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence

The Medici Family Tour

No name has been as intimately associated with Florence for as long a time as Medici. The family began in the wool trade and rose in status through the ranks of banking, politics, and, finally, royalty. Its glory began in the first half of the fifteenth century under the leadership of Cosimo de' Medici. Despite being expelled from the city twice, the family returned each time more determined than before to leave legacies of their absolute power in the form of the visual image. While they loved art for its own sake, they also loved it because it impressed, persuaded, and intimidated...

Colorful buildings alongside a canal on the island of Burano in Venice

The Islands of Venice

Board our cruiser Bora to escape the crowds and explore the most famous Venetian islands: Murano, renowned for its glassblowing; tiny and picturesque Burano, famous for its multi-colored buildings and handmade lace; and Torcello, established in the 5th century and the site of the first human settlement in the lagoon. The major monuments in Torcello are the cozy little Byzantine church of Santa Fosca, with its beautiful portico, and the larger Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, with its famous mosaics that inspired Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy." The canal banks around these small islands...

Evening view of the Roman Forum

Imperial and Medieval Rome

Find out how a great empire falls and then reemerges in a different form on this tour of the "dark ages": the period between the demise of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. The church of San Clemente is a twelfth century church built on the remains of a fifth century church built on the remains of a Mithraic temple and other Roman structures (perhaps the Roman mint that is reputed to have been located in this area). The layers of buildings are amazingly intact and contain wonderful art and artifacts, including a a stone altar to Mithra, vivid apse mosaics, and one...

Looking up at mosaic tiles in the apse of Basilica San Clemente in Rome

Roman Houses and San Clemente

The medieval Basilica of San Clemente, a Catholic church dedicated to Pope Clement I, is built atop a Romanesque church, which was built atop numerous ancient edifices, including a temple to the god Mithras. On this tour, the past becomes tangible as you walk backwards in time while descending underground layer by historical layer! The ancient Roman houses on the Celian Hill, which have recently been restored and re-opened to the public, offer a glimpse into what life was like 2,000 years ago in one Rome’s wealthier neighborhoods. They contain archeological finds as well as wall frescoes and...

Official Capulet balcony on building in Verona, called 'Juliet balcony'

Vicenza and Verona

Vicenza and Verona are small cities, but between them is archeological, architectural, and artistic evidence of just about every significant period in Italy's history. In Vicenza, the first stop on this tour, the emphasis is on the elegant and extremely influential work of sixteenth century architect Andrea Palladio, whose rediscovery of the building styles of the ancient Greeks and Roman changed the appearance of Europe forever and greatly affected construction design in the New World, as well. The city's beautiful historical center and environs boast numerous Palladio buildings, including...

Detail of multiple figures at the fountain in Piazza Navona, Rome

In the Footsteps of Bernini

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) helped change the face of the Eternal City. His monumental projects, perfectly-shaped marble statues, and fountains full of fantasy and intricate detail created and defined the Italian Baroque, a period that Rome embodies to this day. He lived most of his life in Rome, and his art is scattered throughout the city: in the fountains he designed in Piazza Navona, Piazza Spagna, and Piazza Barberini; on its buildings, including the facades of Palazzo Chigi and Palazzo Barberini; in its churches; and in the sovereign nation inside Rome that is Vatican City, where...

Colorful marble facade and dome of the Cathedral in Florence, Italy

Renaissance City Tour

Join us in Florence's main squares and through its lesser-traveled side streets on a journey through its illustrious past. Making our way through the Piazza della Signoria and its beautiful outdoor sculptures, we will discuss the rise of the Medici, originally modest wool merchants, and learn how the prominence of trade gave rise to tremendous wealth and the development of a flourishing middle class. We will continue to the Piazza della Repubblica with its Column of Abundance which marked the point where the Roman roads, the "cardus" and "decumanus maximi," met. This became in medieval times...

Exterior view of Galleria Borghese in Rome

Galleria Borghese

Commissions and acquisitions of masterpieces by Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Bernini made the Borghese family the premier collectors of their day, and their former suburban palace turned private museum is now one of the most important, and certainly one of the most elegant, museums in Rome. Handed over to the Italian state in 1902, the present-day museum covers two floors, with sculpture on the ground floor and paintings on the upper. We will spend equal time in each and will also examine the villa's architecture, grounds, and gardens. Over the course of your two-hour visit (which,...

Exterior view of the Pisa Cathedral with the Leaning Tower to its right

Pisa and Lucca

Your first stop on this private tour of medieval Tuscany will be 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...

Clip of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck dancing in Roman Holiday

Rome Movie Tour

To Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Charlton Heston, Julia Roberts, and many others, Rome was a backdrop. The fantastic Trevi Fountain was immortalized by Federico Fellini in "La Dolce Vita," while the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) played a cameo in "Roman Holiday." Woody Allen shot portions of "To Rome with Love" at the Spanish Steps and Piazza Venezia, and Julia Roberts was seen in Piazza Navona in "Eat Pray Love." The Circus Maximus was the setting of the unforgettable chariot race in "Ben-Hur," and the Pantheon is just one of the spectacular locations used in "Angels and Demons," based...

Closeup view of fountain at Piazza Navona in Rome

Dolce Vita City Tour

It will be just you and your personal guide traveling back in time to ancient Rome. You will uncover the secrets locked in Bernini's work, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and ensure your return to the Eternal City. Or simply enjoy Rome's charming streets in a leisurely Italian fashion. By the end of the tour, you will realize that your local guide has not only shown you around Rome, but has taught you how to get around Rome. You will know how to travel Rome like a native, where to shop, eat– and enjoy the Dolce Vita with Your Own Italy.

Palladian style villa along the Brenta Canal in Venice, Italy

Town of Asolo and the Venetian Villas

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to explore a region that for most of its history was an independent republic and didn't become part of Italy until the second half of the nineteenth century. The Republic of Venice began life at the close of the Roman Empire as an outpost of refugees fleeing barbarian invaders; by the early Renaissance, thanks to some strategic looting and a location at the head of the Adriatic Sea, it had become an independent "republic" and one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. This tour begins with the beautiful villas built along the Brenta Canal...

Looking up at St. Peter's dome from the Vatican Courtyard

Vatican Tour

The art of the Vatican is among the most recognizable in the world, with masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo. While leading you through the museums, your guide will convey the tantalizing background of these Renaissance masterpieces. In the stunning Raphael Rooms you will see the famous "School of Athens" fresco that depicts influential thinkers of ancient Greece. In the Sistine Chapel, below the largest and most renowned fresco in the world, your tour guide will explain the intriguing history of how this work came to be and the hidden messages Michelangelo painted into it...

Bird's eye view of St. Peter's Square in Rome

Basilicas of Rome

You will visit all four of the great patriarchal basilicas of Rome. The Basilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest and most important, has been set aside for use by the Pope as his own parish. The lovely Basilica of St. Mary Major is the largest of the 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and has an exciting history, including a miraculous snowfall on August 4. The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle and contains a fascinating series of portraits of every Pope up to the present. Finally, you will be taken to St. Peter’s Basilica and...

Partial view of arched facade of Colosseum at dusk

The Colosseum and Roman Forum

At the Colosseum, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. A massive stone amphitheater which 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...

Evening view of tower and buildings at Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy

Siena and San Gimignano

The cities of medieval Italy, of which Siena is an excellent example, come as a surprise to those accustomed to images of the Middles Ages that focus on somber Gothic cathedrals and nasty, plague-ridden, thatched-roofed hamlets. Like so much of Italy, the Middle Ages that comes down to us in art and architecture here seems colorful, gregarious, and even somewhat insouciant. That, at least, is the impression left by Siena, where you will arrive by private car from Florence for an unforgettable tour. Its cathedral, completed in 1263, is among the most exquisite in Tuscany, flaunting a bold,...

Facade of Tempio Maggiore, Jewish Synagogue in Rome

Jewish Rome

Ancient Rome, like contemporary New York City, was a sprawling area of diverse people trying to live and do business together. They were Greek, North African, Sicilian . . . and Jewish, many of whom went to Rome to work but ended up settling among their compatriots, building homes, raising families, and becoming vital parts of the Roman community for centuries. Your tour of Jewish Rome begins on the Janiculum Hill, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the entire city, and where you’ll see the lovely waters of the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, one of the most remarkable fountains of 17th...

Face of clock of San Giacometto Church at the Rialto Bridge in Venice

Venice Mini-Tour

This introduction to Venice begins with a walk around St. Mark’s Square, also known as the "marble salon" for its many cafés and meeting places, where you can 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...

View of Punta della Dogana's art center jutting out into the water in Venice

The Punta della Dogana Museum, Grassi Palace and Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The city of Venice houses world-class art from the medieval period through the late 18th century. However, hidden within its labyrinth of alleys and canals there is also a rich contemporary art scene. With the first Biennale of 1895 the city opened itself to new trends of the Secession and later European avant-garde movements, attracting artists, collectors, and gallery owners form around the world. The permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of the Peggy Guggenheim collection, Punta della Dogana, and Palazzo Grassi are must-see stops for anyone interest in the latest trends in new...

Display of fruits at an open-air market in Rome

Morning Food Tour

Italians think, talk, argue, and dream food! In this culinary tour of food shops and markets, your guide will describe the seasonal products on sale, explain their uses and preparation, and tell stories about the neighborhoods you visit. After this "taste of Rome," you will understand what locals look for when choosing food, wine, and restaurants, and will gain a basic understanding of Italy’s food culture that will equip you to make the most of your eating experiences throughout the rest of your trip.

View from the water of Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy

The Ca’ Rezzonico Museum, Accademia Gallery, and Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The collections in these museums is among Venice's greatest and range from Byzantine and Gothic paintings through Renaissance masters to the art of the 21st century. The marble facade of the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum faces the Grand Canal. Today this opulent Baroque palazzo houses a museum and historic palace dedicated to 18th century Venice. Highlights include paintings by famous 18th century Venetian painters such as Pietro Longhi, Canaletto, and Francesco Guardi; a collection of Murano glass; and furnishings from an antique Venetian pharmacy, complete with majolica ceramic jars filled with 18th...

Plate of stuffed calamari in Frascati, Italy

Frascati Hill Town Cooking Experience

Frascati, one of the Castelli Romani, or Roman hill towns, lies near the ancient town of Tusculum, which probably predated Rome itself. Its natural beauty, ancient ruins, and imposing baroque villas have smitten many a visitor, including Goethe, George Sand, and John Singer Sargent. A leafy spot dotted with lakes and hills, offering fresh, clean air and vineyards that produce wine that was Italy's first to receive the DOC appellation, it is nevertheless just a short ride from the capital. The American term "bedroom community" does not do it justice, but the fact is that for the past two...

Coffee cup & cornetto in the Vatican Museum Courtyard in Rome

Vatican Art and Breakfast

Breakfast will be served outdoors in the Vatican's famous Pinecone Courtyard, when the Vatican Museums are still closed to the public. Following your meal, you will tour galleries of sculptures, paintings and tapestries before entering the Sistine Chapel to contemplate its masterpieces at your own pace, far from the noise of crowds. Among the great works to admire in St. Peter’s Basilica are Bernini’s baldachino and Michelangelo’s Pietà, as well as the monumentality of the Basilica itself viewed from the stunning St. Peter’s Square.

Detail of face on plaster decoration at Roman Villa

Moments of Splendor

This walk will take you to one of two illustrious Roman noble residences, depending on opening hours and time of day: the Villa Farnesina or the Palazzo Spada. The Villa Farnesina, designed by Peruzzi and frescoed by Raphael, is located in the Trastevere ("across the Tiber") neighborhood, an area of wonderful small restaurants, workshops, and side streets. The Palazzo Spada, near Rome's historical center, boasts Borromini’s famous trompe l’oeil perspective and the Spada art gallery, one of the few art collections of a noble family in which paintings are displayed in their original position on...

Night view of narrow Roman street

Rome by Night

Rome is an entirely different place at night: it glows in the warmth of amber streetlights and shimmers with the golden flames of candles on cafe tables. The stones of ruins and bricks of piazzas take on a surreal and breathtaking quality in the evening that can only be described as romantic. Our leisurely late stroll will include many of the most important sights in the city, and your tour guide will point out their history along the way.

Rows of amphitheater seats at Agrippa's Theatre, Ostia near Rome

Ostia Antica

The well-preserved ruins of ancient Ostia, including intact mosaics and an amphitheater that is still in use, offer much of what those of Pompeii offer, in a more accessible form to those based in Rome. Founded in the 4th century BC and abandoned around AD 900, Ostia, thanks to its location as a port close to the capital, was once an important Roman city, inhabited by over 100,000 people. Its main street, the Decumanus Maximus, with its ancient houses, taverns, baths, groceries, and apartments, many of which contain very well-preserved interior decorations, provides excellent insights into...

Plaster figures decorating walls at ruins of Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius from Rome

If you must see Pompeii - and you must - but had not intended on venturing further south than Rome, let Your Own Italy handle the logistics. You will be driven in a private car directly from your hotel to the world’s most well-preserved ancient town. Your guide will lead you through its wealthy dwellings, whose residents enjoyed vivid wall frescoes and airy courtyards, as well as the more plebeian residences, whose inhabitants ate on the go, groomed at public baths, and attended the 500-person amphitheater in the shadow of Vesuvius. Gain additional inspiration from an inspection of plaster...

Face of Medusa with open mouth by Caravaggio

In the Footsteps of Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio lived in Rome from 1592 to 1606, and his bold, naturalistic style soon became the rage of art collectors of the day. The strong contrast of light and dark, good and evil, both in his art and in his life, make him a compelling figure to modern art lovers as well. The tour begins at the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, where the stories of St. Matthew come to life in three splendid, dramatic works by Caravaggio. Also in the church are works of Caravaggio's Roman master, Cesare Allegri, known as the Cavalier d’Arpino, and a chapel with...

Michelangelo's La Pieta showing Mary holding Jesus' dead body

In the Footsteps of Michelangelo

Discover the Eternal City in the footsteps of Michelangelo the painter, the sculptor, and the architect. An expert guide will lead you through Rome to view the master's works in situ, and will explain the history and context of his art as well as anecdotes about his life. The tour begins at Porta Pia, a gate to Rome that was one of the genius's last works. The second destination, the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, is a masterful architectural reorganization of an ancient bathhouse into a church. A walk down some cobblestone streets leads to the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, known as...

Looking at Ponte degli Scalzi and Venetian buildings

Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto

Cannaregio is the northernmost "sestiere," or neighborhood, of Venice. A pleasant, relatively tranquil part of the city that is off the main tourist track, it nevertheless hosts imposing palaces, important churches, and enchanting canals and bridges. In it lived such famous Venetians as Tintoretto and Titian; it is a picturesque area and enjoys sweeping vistas of the northern lagoon; it played a vital role in the history and economy of the city of which it is part. But perhaps most important to English-speaking visitors, it was home to one of Shakespeare's most unforgettable creations,...

Fresh fruit and vegetables for sale at Florence's San Lorenzo Market

Food Markets and Tastings

Find out what it takes to make a real Florentine meal! The San Lorenzo market is comprised of two separate markets, but your tour will concentrate on the Central Market ("mercato centrale"), a two-level indoor food market with fresh local produce on the ground floor and restaurants and gourmet shops upstairs. On the other side of town, the slightly smaller market of Sant' Ambrogio retains more of a local flavor. With both outdoor and indoor stalls, it is a colorful place to get a taste of Florentine life any time of year. At both markets, you will enjoy tastings of olive oils, balsamic...

Looking up from the Courtyard of the Vatican Museum

Vatican Secret Rooms

After visiting the stunning Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Maps, and Raphael rooms, you will enter the magnificent helical Bramante Staircase, commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1512 and designed by Donato Bramante as an entrance to the Papal apartments that could also accommodate horses. The Niccolina Chapel, a private chapel of the Pope, is closed to most visitors and decorated with delicate frescoes by the early Renaissance master Fra Angelico. In the Sistine Chapel are the famous wall and ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo, among others, and in St. Peter’s Basilica you will see priceless...

Looking up at the Sistine Chapel in Rome

Vatican under the Stars

Stroll through the galleries of the Vatican museums after dark! On select Friday evenings you can enjoy ancient sculptures, iconic paintings, and centuries of history brought to life by your private guide, and in the former palaces of the Pope you'll have the opportunity to view sculptures from antiquity that inspired Michelangelo almost 2,000 years later.

Two story fountain of Neptune at Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy

The Roman Countryside Tour

Your full-day guided trip to Tivoli, a historic town lying east of Rome in the breathtaking Monte Tiburtini hills, begins at the Villa d’Este, a former Benedictine convent considered to be one of the most enchanting villas of the late Renaissance period. Your guide will explain how the building was created as a lavish home for the son of Lucretia Borgia, that scandalous Italian duchess who created so much drama in 15th century Italy. The famous Fountain of Neptune is only one of the the villa’s 500 fountains; its other outdoor delights include stunning gardens, impressive waterfalls, and...

Colorful marble decorating Il Duomo Cathedral with a view of Florence

Florence in a Day from Rome

Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you directly to Rome's train station to board the high-speed "Freccia Rossa" to Florence, where your tour guide will be waiting for you. Among the sights you'll see before lunch are the Piazza della Signoria and its beautiful outdoor sculptures, symbols of the rise of municipal power, and the Piazza della Repubblica, originally the old Roman forum and later the site of the main markets and Jewish ghetto. The tour will continue to the Piazza del Duomo, the location of the cathedral complex, which includes the baptistery, Giotto's campanile,...

Round framed painting of the Holy Family in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi complex was built in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name “uffizi,” or offices. Cosimo planned to display a series of masterpieces from the Medici collection in one room, but over the years more sections of the palace were recruited to exhibit art, and the museum aspect of the complex took on a life of its own. Open to visitors by request from its early history, the Uffizi has been officially open to the general public since 1765 and is one of the greatest collections of Renaissance art in the world.

Piazza San Marco filled with visitors, flanked by arches of loggia

Venice Full City Tour

A visit to Venice should begin, as this one does, with a walk around St. Mark’s Square and a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica. Decorated on the outside with Byzantine mosaic renditions of scenes from the life of Christ and the history of the relics of Saint Mark, and on the inside with.4,000 square meters of golden mosaics and marble floor inlays, the Basilica is unique in the world, and your guide will introduce you to the many Byzantine art treasures that it contains. The terrace of the cathedral offers a panoramic view of the square, the lagoon, and the world-famous horse statues, looted from...

Carmen
President

Carmen Carbonell

Carmen Carbonell is founder and President of Your Own Italy. Carmen was born in the United States. Following college, she married an Italian and moved to Rome, where she raised 4 sons. She also developed a passionate love for Italy – its art, its architecture, its cities, its countryside, its culture and cuisines, and its people. Now, after nearly 30 years living in Italy, Carmen wants to share her love for Italy with American travelers who...

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Blog

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February 26, 2020

Happy Anniversary, Geniuses

Italy celebrates its geniuses in a big way, and with no paucity of artistic talents who have left their creative mark on the world, the nation’s calendar of anniversaries of births or deaths to commemorate is almost always a busy one. No sooner did than 2019’s abundance of exhibitions and other...

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What Our Clients Say

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Is there something higher than 5? Carmen was our trip planner. She was nothing short of amazing! I had my wedding in Italy and had several guests planning trips in and around Italy. Carmen was able to keep track of all my guests and their trips with ease at the same time she was coordinating our 2 week stent without a single glitch. We love packing our trips with activities and usually get in trouble booking things too close to each other or too much time between activities and become bored, not with Carmen everything was so evenly spaced out to make it from one place to the other without feeling either rushed or bored. I had 40 guests at our wedding and over half of them used Carmen foe their trip planning. Before and after our wedding, our guests raved about Carmen! We loved hearing how she was able to make the impossible possible or how she was able to track down lost cell phones on trains or lost passports left in hotel rooms, or fix things in a moments notice. I dont know how she did it. Simply phenomenal! I was so impressed with her response time, her professionalism and most of all for her incredible sense of organization. She is not just an amazing trip planner who made my and my husband's trip so special but also an amazing person to top it all. We loved talking to her and always felt like she had our backs everywhere we went. We felt like her family or best friends even though we had never met. Every hotel, train ride, every restaurant we went to was so over the top beautiful with the nicest service and people that knew Carmen personally. We felt like we were traveling with a best friend that knew everyone and was introducing us to Italy one place/person at a time. We loved taking her suggestions and developed a sense of trust with her knowing that if we just listened to what she said, we knew it would be great. We had the time of our lives and without her I could not have imagined trying to plan my entire trip so perfectly. International travel can be daunting especially for novice travelers. She made us feel like Italian pros. We had a 2 week long trip in Italy, and had the time of our lives. We would have not enjoyed our time near as much without her. If you are going to Italy, Carmen is just as essential to your trip as the euro. Even if you are an experienced traveler you should let her plan for you. You may see Italy a whole new way. Our memories could have been great but because of her they were incredible. Sounds cliche but the only way I can describe it is TRIP OF A LIFETIME! Will never go to Italy without her again. Carmen you are worth your weight in gold! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are forever indebted to you. We look forward to our next trip to Italy! June 28, 2017

Joe S.

San Francisco, CA

Can’t say enough about Your Own Italy! On short notice, they created an outstanding personalized tour of Rome, Florence and Venice with custom-made stop overs in Tuscany, Assisi, and Padua. As a return traveler to Italy, Your Own Italy tailored our trip with great tour guides to take us on specialized tours focused on our preferences. Your Own Italy planned and executed a tremendous vacation experience for our family of eight with beautiful apartments and taking care of every minute detail from the moment we arrived.

From a personalized tour of St. Peter’s (where we saw the Pope speak) and the catacombs in Rome, to an enjoyable tour of Tuscany wine country and seeing the finest art in Florence, to riding on the romantic gondolas in Venice and seeing the islands of Murano and Burano, we did it all in one week! This impossible task was only made possible by the detailed planning and expertise of the Your Own Italy team with excellent chauffeurs and tour guides who created a wonderful experience where everyone had a great time.

The fantastic lunch and dinner plans including dinner with Carmen provided the perfect touch all for a reasonable price compared to other package tour offerings. They get our highest recommendation to make your dream vacation come true!

Josè and Soledad D.

West Chester, PA

Please visit www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-d14950205 for additional reviews of You Own Italy.

Trip Advisor

Carmen was invaluable in helping plan our honeymoon to Italy across Florence, the Tuscan countryside, and Rome. The Uffizi tour in Florence and Vatican evening museum tour in Rome were amazing experiences. The friendly and knowledgeable guides she selected helped us get the most out of our visit in navigating and learning about such rich and dense environments. Most importantly, Carmen's help and feedback was based on our specific needs and goals which in our case varied depending on place and time, a huge advantage over other "one-size-fits-all" sources. She helped us find a perfect balance and variety from day-to-day while still maximizing our sight-seeing goals, and even helped with advice on different neighborhoods/towns and booking accommodations. Overall, I highly recommend reaching out to Carmen and taking advantage of her services for personalized assistance to help maximize whatever kind of trip you are planning. July 17, 2017

Jeffrey L.

San Francisco, CA

I've traveled to Italy before but this time was very special with the help of Carmen and YourOwnItaly. I'm a devoted gardener and I asked Carmen to arrange tours of three sites in Italy: Hadrian's Villa, Villa d'Este and the Vatican Gardens. All three were absolutely perfect but the tour of the Vatican Gardens was extra special because we were apart from the bus tour and on a very personalized walk-around the Vatican's backyard. A memory never to be forgotten. Thank you, Carmen!! Oct 3, 2017

Alex B.

Washington, DC

Absolutely amazing people and will do anything to see you satisfied. We heard of your Own Italy through a friend and decided to try it out. We gave her a list of things we wanted to do and she scheduled them and planned them all out for us. We started our planning looking on Tripadvisor for places to stay and then Carmen sent us a few places and highly recommended them for their location and it couldn't have been better, everything was at most a 10 min walk away from the things we wanted to do. All of the staff is truly amazing and nice as well. My suitcase was delayed and they tried their hardest to call them and even find a place where it can be delivered since we were not at out apartment the whole day. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. I couldn't have been happier with what we were provided!!! The whole staff was diligent in making our experience as best as possible. We have already recommended them to two of our friends who are planning to go next year! Jan 14, 2017

Cody F.

Algonquin, IL

Our vacation to Italy was a total family event and the help we received from Carmen made it absolutely fabulous. My wife, her sisters, husband arrived in Rome and we were met and taken to our apartment (not a hotel - this was a family trip). Same for Venice and Florence (all were great and held the 7 of us easily). Over the next two days our daughters came for a total of 7 adults to guide. Travel between cities was via train which Carmen and her team had arranged and worked great. Each morning we were met by our guide and we visited the museums and other sites, learning about each, the history and the key things to see. The guides were great and having the tickets already purchased, to avoid lines gave us more time to see and do things. Afternoons generally were free for us to wander around - which we did. Some nights we ate in the apartment and others we went to restaurants (Florentine Steak is fabulous). One night we did a pairing (wine with food) and Carmen joined us (Rome) which was a pleasure and a super evening. Our daughters said that was one of the best parts of the trip. After our daughters left us in Florence to return to the US to go back to work, the rest of us went to Tuscany for a week in a villa. Carmen worked with us to help arrange a driver to help us get to and from the villa. At each turn we knew we had "Your Own Italy" ready to help us if needed and the service she provided was just outstanding. For someone looking to plan a family trip and is looking for help to make it easy, enjoyable and a lot of fun, I highly recommend they contract Carmen and bring her onto their team. It really makes a positive difference. Our highest recommendations for the services provided and the great trip our entire family had. Oct. 2, 2017

Regan R.

Washington, DC

My sister and I had an awesome time in Italy and it was all thanks to Carmen. We told her what we wanted to do, and how much we wanted to spend and she planned everything so perfectly it bordered on the fantastic. We asked to stay in apartments in both Rome and Florence, rather than hotels and in each case the apartment was located near sites and shops and restaurants making it simplicity itself to find what we needed. We were even treated to a symphony concert at dusk on the square where our apartment was located in Florence. Our tour guides were amazing, bringing the history of the art and architecture to life and answering our questions whether we asked about an architect or for a recommendation for a restaurant that was off the tourist track. We really appreciated how Carmen planned the tours; with plenty of free time to explore and shop on our own. The day trip to the Cinque Terre had to be one of the trip's highlights with our guide ensuring that we covered as much or as little of the four towns we visited as we wanted - with plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures. Another highlight was the cooking class. Laura first took us to the market and showed us what to look for when purchasing produce. Then back to her kitchen with hands on lessons that resulted in surprisingly delicious food (surprising because we'd made it). Carmen's exceptional talents made this a vacation of a lifetime and we will definitely use her services when it comes time for us to visit southern Italy. Sep 17, 2017

LaDawn W.

Mather, CA

Please visit www.facebook.com/yourownitaly for additional testimonials.

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We had an amazing experience on our recent trip to Italy booked entirely through Your Own Italy! Carmen was so easy to work with and anticipated our needs and wishes. Our accommodations, located in the perfect location in each city, exceeded our expectations. Loved our guide in Florence, loved our villa in Chianti, loved it all!! Can't wait to go back - and wouldn't do it without Your Own Italy. A true partner.

Janet P.

Basking Ridge, NJ

My husband and I were planning our trip to Italy, and left it up to Carmen to give us the experience of a lifetime! She did not disappoint and our trip was simply amazing!! My biggest fear was the stress in getting from place to place given the language barrier, and Carmen made it simple and easy and it could not have gone smoother!! We traveled from city to city with ease and eliminated all of the worry I had, so I could relax and enjoy my travels! Carmen set up our private tours with knowledgeable and interesting guides that gave us a far greater and in depth look at the things that interested us, and we got the most out of everything we wanted to see and do!! We plan on going back soon and see other regions in Italy, and Carmen will be my first contact person!! We highly recommend ‘Our Own Italy’! Nov 5, 2017

Tony F.

Elliot City, MD

My 20 year old daughter and her boyfriend travelled to Rome, Venice and Florence in January 2018 with Carmen’s help. She advised and booked all of their apartments, trains, and tours! Her team and her went above and beyond when their international airline (that the couple had booked themselves) lost some of their luggage. They helped track it down and made sure it was delivered to them on their travels! As a parent of young adults travelling overseas for the first time on their own, I can’t express how relieved I felt knowing that Carmen and her company were there and so helpful and attentive to every detail! Thank you! Jan 25, 2017

Joanne S.

Algonquin, IL

My husband and I had the most amazing trip to Italy and it was all because of Carmen's expertise and planning! Carmen took special note of our budget / traveling desires and coordinated every little detail of our trip so we could enjoy ourselves without worrying about where to go or how to get there. All of the private drivers, tour guides, cooking classes, boat trips and train rides were coordinated and in collaboration with one-another so that one segment to the next was seamless. If there was ever a question, we would text her and she would have an answer within minutes. Most of the time it was Carmen sending a note to us ahead of time to let us know of any delays / changes (such as rain in Capri!). For example, we were planning to go to Capri but due to rough seas Carmen sent us a note the night before and arranged a cooking class at the most beautiful family-owned farmhouse in Sorrento. It ended up being a key highlight to our trip! Simply amazing! It was the trip of a lifetime and we cannot wait to work with Carmen and Your Own Italy again! Oct 5, 2017

Annie O.

Haverton, PA

Just returned from an incredible family trip to Italy with wife, children aged 22 and 19. Each of us had different expectations, different wishes of things to see and do. Carmen put it all together without a single glitch. From checking out flats, sorting out hotels, dinner reservations, tours, etc. Constant communication throughout the trip to ensure satisfaction, flexibility and adaptability along the way. Could not possibly be happier. Stress free travel. Can't wait to return! Highly, highly recommended!' June 6, 2017

Denis Z.

Chicago, IL.

Without a doubt, this is the best way to explore Italy. My wife and I travelled to different regions during our 15 day stay in Italy and every step of the way, Carmen was always checking up on us to see how we were doing and always told us if we needed anything to let her know. We had some snags in our trip involving the airline (which was completely the airlines fault), and Carmen was right there to help us. She went above and beyond the call of customer care. I've travelled before through various travel agencies and never received this type of exceptional service. Her tour guides were professional and knowledgeable. They took their time through our guided tours, answered any questions we had and recommended local restaurants that served authentic cuisine. This is service you will never receive from those big group travel tours. So if you planning a trip to Italy, definitely give Carmen a call and let her make it your own. Aug 15, 2017

Matthew S.

Frederick, MD

giorno magnifico in firenze! Grazie to Lisa! for the walking tour. She was very knowledgeable of the history of Florence . Grazie to Marco! He was able to get us to all the highlights and he was very much able to teach us to appreciate the art we were viewing. His perspective of all that we seen taught me to appreciate the gift of each piece. The whole experience makes me want to return so I can enjoy more of what Florence has to offer.��two thumbs up! Oct 5, 2017

Donna P

Ripon, CA

So we met Carmen at the Santa Clara Travel Show in 2017. We went ahead and booked a few tours with her. AMAZING!!! The guides that she booked for us were so knowledgeable and fun. She planned everything down to the last detail. She even met us at our hotel in Rome to walk us to where we were to meet our private bus driver. I have been to Italy 7 times and was so impressed that she she could still bring tears to my eyes with another amazing experience!! On behalf of the Taylor and Lee Family we will book and future trips with Carmen. She makes you realize why you love Italy �. It truly is the people that make the trip!! �Carmen!! June 24, 2017

Kathi T.

Santa Clara, CA