Italy

Italy’s rich cultural heritage is appreciated around the world through film, cuisine and fashion exports. But there's nothing like visiting the country itself to live the real Italian experience! Instead of trying to pack it all into one vacation – because there’s so much to see! – why not approach your Italy trip like an Italian and aim for quality over quantity? Give yourself time to linger over an excellent meal, enjoy an evening passeggiata to take in the scenery, visit museums or go to a concert, browse the street markets for the best local products, and appreciate the company of those you’re with.

 

Where to Go in Italy

Rome, though called the ‘Eternal City’, could answer to many other epithets: romantic, fashionable, opulent, pious, passionate, epicurean, aesthetic, artistic and timeless. Come to follow in the footsteps of gladiators and emperors, shop fashion houses and vintage finds, marvel at art from the masters, and live out your Roman fantasies in sun-soaked piazzas and charming trattorias.

The grandly ornate architecture and narrow canalways of the Venetian Lagoon are legendary, yet never fail to make the visitor stop in wonder. Come for water taxis and gondolas, priceless masterpieces, palaces along the Grand Canal, photography, cicchetti e vino, classical music, and romance.

The alluring city of Florence, the gateway to Tuscany, is synonymous with the Renaissance era. Come for statue-filled piazzas, world-class art museums, eye-catching architecture, culinary traditions, designer shopping, dazzling sunsets, and nearby Tuscan hills.

The Amalfi Coast, located in the region of Campania along with infamous Naples, is said to be the most breathtaking stretch of coastline the country possesses. Come to drive the spectacular coastal road between Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi, take a ferry to the islands of Capri and Ischia, hike the ‘Path of the Gods’, savor dishes rich with seafood and citrus, and step back in time at ancient Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum.

The hill towns of Tuscany and neighboring Umbria make an excellent area to taste adventure and freedom with a rental car. Come for wine, romance, evocative landscapes, photography, rustic cuisine, art cities like Siena and Pisa, small town charm with a medieval flair, pilgrimage stops along the Via Francigena, and even thermal baths.

The Ligurian Coast, or the Italian Riviera, offers stunning seascapes and is most known for its picture-perfect cliffside towns. Come to hike the trails between the Cinque Terre, watch the yachts in Portofino’s upscale marina, swim at sheltered pebble beaches and hidden coves, and visit other resort towns like Portovenere, Rapallo, Sestri Levante and Santa Margherita Ligure.

The north of Italy is home to the forward-thinking city of Milan and Italy’s stunning Lakes of Lombardy that sit at the base of the Alps to serve as a getaway for aristocrats and celebrities. Come to taste innovative cuisine, see modern Italian style and fashion, visit cultural centers including Brescia and Mantua, and take in the gorgeous natural backdrop of Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore with their superb surrounding gardens and villas.

As the traditional foodie capital of Italy, Emilia-Romagna is positioned at the geographic and gastronomic heart of the nation. Come for the restaurants and colonnaded streets of Bologna, the parmigiano reggiano and prosciutto of Parma, the aceto balsamico of Modena, the mosaics of Ravenna, and the sweeping views from the village of San Leo.

The southern mainland regions comprising the “toe” and the “heel” of Italy’s “boot” offer some worthwhile destinations that are increasing in popularity. In Basilicata, visit the revitalized city of Matera with its Sassi cave dwellings. In Puglia, come for excellent beaches and interesting architecture including Baroque Lecce, Moorish Martina France, white-washed Ostuni, and the picturesque town of Alberobello with its unusual trulli abodes.

Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region lies on the road less traveled for most visitors, but it offers a lot in terms of history, nature and wine. Come for the stately city of Torino, the imposing mountain peaks that provide hiking and winter sports, the truffle-infused cuisine, and the acclaimed regional vineyards.

On the autonomous island of Sicily, the footprint of history is left behind in remarkable ancient monuments built to honor gods and kings, and the rich mix of past civilizations comes to bear on the present especially in exciting architecture and cuisine. Come to visit Palermo, the Cathedral of Monreale, the Aeolian islands, Taormina’s ancient theatre, the Godfather villages, Sampieri Beach, Noto Valley’s Baroque towns, the Valley of the Temples, historical Ortigia and Mount Etna.

See more on our Sicily page

 

Typical First-Time Itinerary for Italy

Travelers visiting Italy for the first time usually request the three main art and culture powerhouses of Venice, Florence and Rome, interconnected conveniently by train. A mid-paced itinerary can fit in the highlights of these cities in around 8 days. Additionally, many clients like to add 3 or 4 nights in the Amalfi Coast if they have more time. We can also help you arrange a trip based on your special interests, such as food and wine, art and architecture, or tracing your Italian ancestry.

What is Included?

In general, our custom travel itineraries include everything needed to ensure a smooth trip. This can always be modified according to your needs and where you are in your stage of planning:

  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast daily
  • Airport transfers
  • Transfers between destinations (whether by car, van, boat, train, ferry, etc.)
  • Private or group sightseeing as requested (including entrance fees)
  • Personalized support, with contact before, during and after your trip

We are also happy to provide when requested:

  • Flights between North America and Europe
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa assistance

Our programs do not include:

  • Optional gratuities to guides, drivers, yacht crew etc.
  • Laundry and personal items
  • Bottled beverages or alcohol, and meals where not listed
  • Hotel city tax