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 was actually giving birth to the Renaissance, which would sweep across Europe in a hundred years and turn it, and the world, upside down. You'll get all this plus a tour of the Chianti region, with wine tasting and lunch, private car, English-speaking tour guides, and custom options, of course ... because this is Your Own Italy.
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport and train stations
• English-speaking tour guides throughout
• Accommodation in your choice of apartment in historic center of Rome - 4 nights and Florence- 4 nights
• All Skip-the Line tickets included
• Introduction to Rome “Dolce Vita Tour” evening of arrival
• Private tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum
• Private tour of Renaissance and Baroque Rome
• Private tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
• Introduction to Florence private walking tour including the Cathedral and the Accademia Gallery
• Private tour of the Baptistery, Duomo Gallery and climb up the Bell Tower or Cathedral Dome
• Private tour of the Piazza della Signoria and Uffizi Gallery
• Spectacular sunset fiew of Florence and the Duomo with drinks on the panoramic terrace of the Forte Belvedere
• Selection of a day-long excursion or walking tour for your “Design Your Own Italy” day
• Private tour of the Chianti Region with lunch and wine tasting in a wine-producing villa
• Private tour of Siena with driver and guide
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 boutique hotel in Rome. After relaxing, you will be picked up by your private guide, who 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 monument from ancient Rome, 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 largest structures of the ancient world, Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and reenactments of sea battles. This massive stone amphitheater, which seated an estimated 60,000 spectators was built in only eight years. Your local 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 a foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of the Ancient Rome, and enjoy a wonderful view of the city and of the Imperial Forum.
DAY 3: Explore St. Peter’s Basilica and The Vatican Museums
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel 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 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 how this work came to painted and what messages Michelangelo hid in 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 Pieta, Bernini's unparalleled altar canopy, and the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II.
DAY 4: Transfer to Florence and Introductory City Walking Tour
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Rome and accompany you to the high-speed train to Florence. At the station in Florence you will be met by a greeter who will accompany you to your hotel or selected apartment for check-in. After relaxing, you will tour the historic center of Florence with your private guide and see the gothic cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore and the Accademia gallery, which houses Michelangelo's David.
DAY 5: Tour Florence’s Unique Sites
Your private 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 Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa, by Cellini (1554), and the Rape of the Sabine Women, by Giambologna. The day culminates with a private tour of the incomparable Uffizi Gallery and its masterpieces by Renaissance masters Giotto, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. If it all becomes overwhelming, not to worry: there's a glass of prosecco waiting for you on the terrace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria.
DAY 6: Design Your Own Italy Day
Contact us for customizing options on this “Design Your Own Italy” day OR just relax and enjoy shopping.
DAY 7: Day Excursion to San Gimignano and the Chianti Region
This relaxing tour begins when your driver/guide picks you up from your hotel in Florence and meanders 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 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 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 8: Visit Siena and Transfer to Rome
After a relaxing breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Siena, with its charming small streets and famous Piazza del Campo, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This hidden gem of Tuscany boasts the impressive 13th century Siena Cathedral, a splendid example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. After lunch at a selected restaurant, your driver will take you back to your hotel in the historic center.
DAY 9: Departure
Your driver will pick you up with plenty of time to make your flight. Rome salutes you with a warm and heart-felt "Arrivederci!" See you again! Now that you’ve travelled with Your Own Italy, you know you have friends here.
• 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 or backpacks on tours that include churches as storage accommodations are not always available.
• This tour is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities. However, please contact us directly and we will devise alternative routes suitable for you.
• Please wear comfortable footwear, as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking.
• Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation.
• Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy.
• The team at Your Own Italy is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal tastes and needs. Are you traveling with children? Are you disabled? We will provide all the assistance necessary to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May to 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 YOI'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 30 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 a voucher with a reservation number that will be used for payment by credit card on the online portal of Blue Pay, 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 also recommend checking with your credit card company, which may offer travel coverage.
- 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 often give us a bundled price for the services provided and so 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.