When your family or small group arrives in Italy, you will experience the glory of ancient Rome, The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and more of what creates the Rhapsody of Rome. You will move on to Florence where you’ll explore the riches of the city’s most famous churches and museums, including the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery. Your Tuscany experience includes a day trip to the Machiavelli Winery and the medieval town of San Gimignano. Finally, to Venice, for a private walking tour and gondola ride, plus private boat tour to the famous islands of Murano and Burano. Your Complete Italian Experience – accompanied at every step with private English-speaking guides.
Highlights and What’s Included
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport and train stations.
• Business Class seats on High-Speed trains.
• All Skip-the Line tickets included.
• English-speaking tour guide throughout.
• Accommodation in your choice of hotel or apartment in historic center of Rome - 3 nights, Florence - 3 nights and Venice - 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, the Baptistry and the Duomo.
• Private tour of the Piazza della Signoria and famed Uffizi Gallery.
• Tour of the Chianti Region and wine tasting with lunch in wine producing villa.
• Introduction to Venice walking tour with gondola ride.
• Private tour of San Marco, the Marciana Library, the Clock Tower and Doge’s Palace.
• Private Boat Tour of the islands of Murano and Burano with glass-making demonstration.
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome! Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver, waiting for you at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, will escort you by private car to your boutique hotel in Rome. After relaxing you will be picked up by your private tour 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 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 making you feel 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 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 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, with masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo. 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 unknowingly 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 be and the hidden messages Michelangelo painted into it. After the museum, you’ll visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world, where you can visit the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II. You will also see Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà and Bernini’s acclaimed baldachino, or altarpiece.
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 take the high-speed train to Florence. You will be met by a greeter at the train station who will accompany you to your hotel for check in. After relaxing 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 Museum to see the famed 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 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 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 6: Day Excursion to San Gimignano and the Chianti Region
Your private tour guide will take you on a walking tour of the Piazza della Signoria and its many sculptures including the David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia) by Michelangelo which was placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio as a symbol of the Republic’s defiance of the tyrannical Medici family. The graceful Loggia dei Lanzi houses the famed sculptures of Perseo holding Medusa’s head, by Cellini (1554) and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines. The day culminates with a private tour of the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. Enjoy the masterpieces of the Renaissance masters Giotto, Michelangelo and Botticelli followed by a glass of prosecco on the terrace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria.
DAY 7: Transfer to Venice and Tour of Hidden Venice
Your driver will pick you up and accompany you to the Santa Maria Novella train station to take the high-speed “freccia rossa” train to Venice. Upon arrival your tour guide will meet and lead you to your private taxi-boat. You will never forget the splendid entrance on the Grand Canal into one of the most unique cities in the world. After relaxing in your hotel room you will be taken on a walking tour of the labyrinth also known as “hidden Venice” to enjoy the piazzas, or campi in Venetian, shops and cafés. Your introduction to Venice will culminate an enchanting glide through the canals of Venice. Are you a lyricist? A tenor will join your gondola ride and sing opera as you sip on a glass of wine. This enchanting day ends with dinner at a selected restaurant of your choice.
DAY 8: Tour of Venice’s Unique Sites
Your private tour guide will introduce you to the main attractions of one of the most unique cities in the world. You will have a first-hand presentation of the Piazza San Marco (famous for its yearly flooding in the winter); You will visit St. Mark’s Basilica,
with the richness of its marbles and mosaics. The Doge’s palace, fourteenth century building from where the ancient Venetian republic exerted the control over the city. Passing through the famous Bridge of Sighs reach the prison cells. Your tour will culminate with a climb to the top of its bell tower for the magnificent views of the city.
DAY 9: Explore Murano and Burano
You will be picked up at the dock of your hotel by a private boat and speed along the Venetian Lagoon to two islands famous for their handicrafts and architecture: Murano and Burano.
Known for its glassware shops and factories, Murano boasts a long and still-thriving tradition dating back to 1291, when glass artisans moved their kilns from the old city center. Explore the island on foot and stop at a glass factory to watch a skilled glassblower create works of art. View the magnificent splendor of Murano’s palaces and Veneto-Byzantine style churches, some with mosaics and ornamental motifs designed in the 12th century, and catch a glimpse of San Michele – Venice’s 19th-century cemetery – across the water. Before re-boarding the boat, you’ll have time to visit a museum showcasing the world-famous Murano glass.
Afterward, journey to the island of Burano and admire the picturesque fishermen’s houses painted in bright pastel colors. In this miniature Venice, you’ll find the famous lace – abundant since the 16th century and once considered the most refined in Europe. Browse local shops and find lace on display at a museum dedicated to the craft of lace. You will enjoy lunch in a restaurant on the canal with the colorful backdrop of the fuchsia pink, deep blue and vibrant yellow houses that characterize this lovely island town.
DAY 10: Departure
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you by private boat to Venice’s airport for departure. We salute you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci”! See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with us, know that you have friends here in Your Own Italy.
• 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 people with walking disabilities. However, please contact us directly and we will be able to take you on alternative routes suitable for you.
• Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking.
• At times St Mark’s basilica is closed due to high water or religious ceremonies. During high water the tour will take place, but it might happen we have to partly adapt the tour to the weather conditions. On those occasions when St Mark’s Basilica is open with high water, skip the line tickets will not be accepted as all visitors have only 1 door open to get in the church. Guaranteed skip-the-line entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica are available only from April to October. St. Mark’s Basilica does not offer a fast entry service to anyone in other periods, considered off peak season.
• 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.