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 Tuscany, you'll immerse yourself in the incomparable beauty of Florence, including the Uffizi Gallery and its "greatest hits of art" collection, followed by a tour of the Chianti region, including lunch at a wine-producing villa and a trip to Pisa to see the eponymous Tower. Continuing north, you will enjoy walking and boat tours of the magnificent Cinque Terre, Italy's little Riviera, before heading back to the eternal city.
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport and train stations
• English-speaking tour guide throughout
• All skip-the-line tickets included
• Business class seats on high-speed trains
• Accommodation in your choice of apartment in historic center of Rome - 4 nights, Florence - 3 nights and Cinque Terre - 3 nights
• Introductory to Rome “Dolce Vita” Tour on the evening of arrival in Rome
• Private tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum
• Private tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
• Introduction to Florence Walking Tour including the Cathedral, Accademia Gallery, Baptistery and Duomo
• Private tour of the Piazza della Signoria and Uffizi Gallery
• Tour of the Chianti region and wine-tasting with lunch in wine-producing villa
• Private transfer to Monterosso al Mare with stopover in Pisa for tour of Basilica and Leaning Tower
• Walking tour of the five villages of the Cinque Terre with pesto-making demonstration
• Private boat tour of Porto Venere along the coast of the Cinque Terre
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome!
Your driver will 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 for your “Dolce Vita” Tour, when 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: Dolce Vita Tour
Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans at the Coliseum, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, where Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. 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. The most ancient Latin text ever found, the Lapis Niger (“black stone”), can also be found here, in a foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of ancient Rome, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Imperial Forum and of modern Rome as well.
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. Your guide knows 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 guide will explain how this work came to be painted and the messages Michelangelo his within it. From here you will head to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world, where you can see Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà, 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. In Florence you will be met by a greeter who will accompany you to your hotel for check-in. After relaxing, you and your guide will undertake an afternoon tour of the historic center that will include the gothic cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore and the Accademia Gallery see Michelangelo's David.
Day 5: Day Excursion to San Gimignano and the Chianti Region
This delightful, relaxing tour begins when your driver-guide picks you up at your hotel and takes the 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. From here, it on 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 the Romanesque cathedral, and continues with a stroll along the ancient pilgrimage road, the Via Francigena. There will also be time to visit shops, browse for lovely Santa Fina pottery and other handmade products, and purchase saffron, a local culinary specialty.
DAY 6: Tour of Florence’s Unique Sites
You will have a private walking tour of the Piazza della Signoria and its many sculptures. The graceful Loggia dei Lanzi houses the famed sculptures of 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, with masterpieces by, among others, Giotto, Michelangelo, and Botticelli, after which you can relax with a glass of prosecco on the terrace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria.
DAY 7: Transfer to Monterosso with Visit to Pisa and Lucca
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Florence, destination Monterosso al Mare of the Cinque Terre. On the way, you’ll visit 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 lean. With your reserved ticket in hand, you’ll reach the top of the tower for a truly memorable experience. After lunch in nearby Lucca, your driver will drop you off at your hotel in Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre.
DAY 8: Tour of the Cinque Terre with Pesto Demonstration
The villages of the Cinque Terre were built in ancient times by people seeking refuge from barbarian invaders. Lying between the mountains and the sea, the villages of the Cinque Terre have for centuries been isolated from the rest of Italy. This aura of isolation, and the area’s dramatic coastal scenery, have made the Cinque Terre ever more attractive to visitors. You’ll take local trains between villages, explore each one's narrow alleys and pretty pastel squares overlooking the sea, and make your own lunchtime pesto the traditional way in breathtaking surroundings.
DAY 9: Boat Tour to Porto Venere
Experiencing the Cinque Terre from the water is a must! Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the port where your private boat and captain await you. On the way to Portovenere, you can admire the five villages clinginto to their cliffs, the terraces for farming grapes and olives, and the grottoes that dot the bottom of the cliffs as they meet the water. An hour or so into your journey, the town of Portovenere will come into view with its black-and-white striped cliffs atop which stands the famous Doria castle and St. Peter’s Church. Docking in Portovenere and entering the historical center through the city gate, you will see, on the right, the remains of the city wall, which run up to the castle. The main street is flanked by medieval houses that have been turned into small shops. At the end of this "carruggio" ia the Church of St. Peter’s, constructed in 1277 over the ruins of a temple dedicated to Venus, the goddess who gave the city its name (port of Venus). A second landmark, the Andrea Doria castle, took centuries to build and dominates the town, with several of its towers still in good condition. From the castle, you can enjoy a fantastic view over St. Peter’s church and the sea. After lunch at a recommended trattoria, you will re-board your boat and for the ride back to Monterosso.
DAY 10: Transfer to Rome and Walking Food and Wine Tour
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to the train station for the high-speed, first-class train back to Rome. You will be met at Rome’s train station and accompanied to your hotel in the historic center. That evening you’ll enjoy a food and wine walking tour in the trendy Trastevere, a neighborhood that's a bit of old-time Greenwich Village or Paris’s Left Bank, but Italian more than anything else. With cobblestone streets that come alive at night with the sound of young people hanging out, and the buzz of Roman families enjoying long Sunday dinner after church, Trastevere is a place you have to see, hear, smell, and taste. Your Own Italy’s guided 4-hour walking food tour will take you through this photogenic neighborhood by night. You’ll sample a sumptuous blend of Italian classics like pizza and pasta, real Roman street food, less-known meats and cheeses, and amazing wine in a secret cellar – its history will blow you away. Few activities in Rome deliver as many hidden surprises and enchanting moments as this. Be sure to take advantage of an unforgettable night in one of our favorite Rome neighborhoods.
DAY 11: Departure
Your driver will pick you up with plenty of time to make your flight. Rome salutes you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci!" See you again! Now that you’ve travelled with Your Own Italy, 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.
• The private boat tour to Portovenere is subject to weather conditions. In the case of inclement weather, your guide will accompany you on a larger ferry.
• 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.