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 airports and train stations
- Reserved business class seats on high-speed trains
- Accommodations in selected apartments in historic centers of Rome - 4 nights, Florence - 3 nights. Boutique hotel in Cinque Terre - 3 nights
- English-speaking local tour guides throughout your vacation
- All skip-the-line tickets included
- Private Introduction to Rome “Dolce Vita” Walking Tour evening of arrival
- Private Tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum
- Private Tour of The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
- Private Introduction to Florence Walking Tour and the Accademia Gallery
- Private Tour of the Piazza della Signoria and Uffizi Gallery
- Lunch and Wine Tasting at Villa Machiavelli followed by a Visit to San Gimignano
- Private Transfer to Cinque Terre with stopover in Pisa for Private Tour of the Basilica Complex and Walk up the Leaning Tower
- Private Walking Tour of Monterosso, Manarola and Vernazza with Pesto-Making demonstration
- Private Boat Tour of the Cinque Terre Coastline with guide with visit to Riomaggiore, Volastra and Corniglia
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome! Dolce Vita Walking Tour
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: Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancient Romans
Your guide will pick you up at your accommodations and accompany you to the Coliseum, one of the ancient world's largest structures, where Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. A massive stone amphitheater that 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 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 the foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of ancient Rome, which offers a wonderful view of the city and the Forum.
DAY 3: Explore The Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
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: Arrival in Florence, Walking City Tour and the Accademia Gallery
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Rome and accompany you to the high-speed train to Florence. You will be met at the train station in Florence by a greeter who will accompany you to your apartment for check in. After you relax, your private tour guide will take you on an afternoon tour of the historic center that will include the gothic cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore and the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo's incomparable David.
Day 5: Lunch and Wine Tasting at Villa Machiavelli and Visit to San Gimignano
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 the Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery
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, Tour of Pisa and Visit to Lucca
Your driver will pick you up at your accommodations 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 the nearby town of 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: Walking Tour of the Cinque Terre with Pesto-making Demonstration
Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a memorable walk of three of the five towns of the Cinque Terre. 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 the local train between Monterosso, Vernazza and Manarola, exploring each one's narrow alleys and pretty pastel squares overlooking the sea as well as make your own pesto the traditional way in breathtaking surroundings.
DAY 9: Private Boat Tour of the Cinque Terre Coastline
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. You'll 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, Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre, will come into view. You'll dock and enter town, enjoying it's central piazza, shops and cafe's. After lunch, your guide will take you on the local train to Volastra, a town of 200 residents, where you will visit a Romanesque-style church. From there you'll enjoy a picturesque hike to Corniglia on the path that made the Cinque Terre famous. You'll have a well deserved gelato upon arrival before taking the local train back to Monterosso.
DAY 10: Return to Rome and a Private Walking Food and Wine Walking Tour
You'll take the high-speed, first-class train from Monterosso to Rome where you will be met by your private driver who will accompany you to your hotel in the historic center. That evening you’ll enjoy a food and wine walking tour with a sommelier 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 home. 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 on tours that include churches as storage is not always available
- Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking
- The team at Your Own Italy is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal needs. Are you traveling with children? We will provide the necessary assistance to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
- Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation
- Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May through 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 Your Own Italy'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 45 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 an invoice with a link to be used for payment by credit card on the online portal of PayPal, 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 offer travel insurance through out partner, Allianz.
- 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 give us bundled prices for the services provided and 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.