- Enjoy a sparkling Prosecco wine tasting in the hills of Treviso
- Go truffle hunting in Umbria
- Hike on Monte Fumaiolo to see the River Tiber
- Enjoy a typical aperitivo in Treviso
- Feel the romantic atmosphere of Romeo and Juliet in Verona
|Day 1||Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Treviso||Treviso|
|Day 2||Treviso Food & Wine Tour||Treviso|
|Day 3||Excursion to Venice from Treviso||Treviso|
|Day 4||Wine Tour of Prosecco Region and Asolo||Treviso|
|Day 5||Transfer from Treviso to Verona via Padua||Verona|
|Day 6||Walking Tour of Verona Highlights & Food Tasting||Verona|
|Day 7||Tour of Lake Garda and Valpolicella Wine Tasting||Verona|
|Day 8||Hiking on 'Strada delle 52 Gallerie'||Verona|
|Day 9||Transfer from Verona to Urbino via Modena & Ferrari Museum in Maranello||Urbino|
|Day 10||Hike on Monte Fumaiolo||Urbino|
|Day 11||Excursion to San Marino||Urbino|
|Day 12||Transfer from Urbino to Perugia & Truffle Hunt||Perugia|
|Day 13||Bike Tour on Lake Trasimeno||Perugia|
|Day 14||Tour of Assisi and Wine Tasting in Montefalco||Perugia|
|Day 15||Excursion to Civita di Bagnoregio and Orvieto||Perugia|
|Day 16||Depart Italy|
Day 1: Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Treviso
On arrival at Venice VCE airport, meet your private English-speaking assistant in the lobby of the hotel and join your driver for a private transfer to Treviso (about 40 min drive).
Located to the northeast of Venice, Treviso is a medium-sized city with similar charms of Venetian waterways and architecture, but more tranquility than you can find in Venice itself. There are no huge crowds of tourists here. Check in to your hotel and head out to discover Treviso and its local life.
Due to damage during World War II, Treviso's center had to be rebuilt and is now restored to its full glory. Treviso is a walled city, with medieval gates, cobblestone streets, and unique red brick and stone buildings. It is surrounded by two rivers, Sile and Cagnan, which can be seen side-by-side at Riviera Garibaldi (the Sile River has much calmer waters). Tiny canals run between houses, and the city's ample waterways help keep the gardens green and parks looking their best.
Depending on your arrival time, take some time to walk around the city and enjoy the following activities:
- Explore the city's well-preserved defensive walls and its canals. Wander across ornate iron bridges along the Buranelli Canal toward the point where it joins the Sile River.
- Walk along the Via XX Settembre and into the main square and heart of Treviso, Piazza dei Signori. There are many nice cafés with outdoor terraces where you can stop to enjoy a coffee while admiring the historic architecture of Palazzo dei Trecento (the town hall). Tip: lookout for the famous local bar and deli, Hostaria dai Naneti, in an alleyway just off this square.
- Go shopping along Via Calmaggiore, Treviso's main shopping street. The brand Benneton originates here and has a flagship store alongside designer boutiques and luxury vintage shops.
- Visit exhibitions at the Civic Museums of Treviso. The most impressive is the 14th-century Santa Caterina church, beautifully restored and housing art and archeological collections.
- The Gallerie delle Prigioni and Casa dei Carraresi are two privately-owned galleries, of which the first is free to enter. In both, you can admire extensive collections of avant-garde and international pieces.
In the evening, good Veneto cuisine is easy to find in Treviso. Local osterias and trattorias serve hearty and delicious pasta and meat dishes. The streets off the Buranelli canal are where your senses will guide you. Walk along Vicolo Trevisi and you're sure to discover a bustling place for dinner.
Day 2: Treviso Food & Wine Tour
You'll have the morning to explore on your own. Later in the afternoon, reach the selected meeting point and meet your private English-speaking food expert to start your 2-hour walking tour among some of the best-known osteria (local bars).
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” said Saint Augustine, and "when you are in Treviso, do as the Trevigiani do!". Perhaps, one of Italians' favorite traditions is the aperitivo, a drink/light meal that takes place at the end of the workday as a kind of warm-up to dinner. Enjoy the relaxed ambiance of the crowd-free walled center of Treviso, the city of Prosecco wine, Porchetta trevigiana, and Tiramisù.
Day 3: Excursion to Venice from Treviso
In the morning, make your way to Treviso Centrale train station and catch the train to Venice Santa Lucia train station.
Experience Venice's highlights with a guided walking tour. Start at Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), the heart of the city's cultural and administrative district. Tour Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), a Venetian Gothic palace built as the primary residence for the Doge of Venice in 1340. The palace stands on Piazza San Marco, and its resplendent interior decor and priceless works of art make it a must-see for history and architecture buffs.
The palace is also connected to the next-door prison by the infamous Bridge of Sighs, which has joined the two buildings since the 16th century. The bridge features a small window onto Venice's harbor and earned its grisly name from the prisoners' sighing as they got one last glimpse of the city on their way to execution. While most visitors gather outside the bridge to look in, you'll get the best sense of history from inside the bridge, looking out from the same window as the doomed medieval prisoners.
Adjacent to the palace is the Basilica San Marco, originally the Doge's personal chapel. The building is one of the best surviving examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture and features a stunning collection of Byzantine art, gold mosaics, and exquisite marble floors. Your tour includes a visit inside, where you'll be able to see for yourself the incredible art and architecture that the basilica holds.
Away from Saint Mark's Square, you'll delve deeper into the heart of Venice and away from the crowds.
Day 4: Wine Tour of Prosecco Region and Asolo
After breakfast, meet your private driver and hit the road for your trip to the UNESCO-recognized Prosecco hills.
The Prosecco wine road — ‘La Via del Prosecco’ — runs between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene and is as enjoyable for its delightful scenery as it is for its delicious sparkling wines. What makes the whole area so particularly attractive is that you are in the gentle foothills of the Dolomite Mountains as they rise up from the Venetian plain, with pretty villages on the tops of many of the hills
Spend the afternoon touring a couple of wineries and enjoying wine tastings.
On the way, stop in Asolo, a pretty hilltop village from where you will admire breathtaking views from the Rocca. Capped by a medieval fortress, the hill town has lanes lined with fresco-colored houses and an 18th-century cathedral sheltering an altarpiece by Venetian Renaissance master Lorenzo Lotto.
Day 5: Transfer from Treviso to Verona via Padua
Meet your private driver and head to Verona. On the way, stop in Padua for a stroll on your own.
Padova, or as its more commonly known by its English exonym, Padua, is one of the oldest cities in northern Italy. It was founded as early as 1183 BCE and features many romantic and ancient sights in its historic center. Sadly, Padua's attributes often get overlooked by that more famous of northern Italian cities, Venice. However, with most tourists staying in Venice, you'll have more of Padua to yourself.
Padua has a long history of attracting great minds to the city. The University of Padua, the second oldest in Italy, is where Dante studied and Galileo served as a lecturer. The university still gives the city a vibrant atmosphere, with its ancient and medieval buildings treasured by locals. Padua is also known for the artistic masterpieces of Giotto and boasts Europe's first botanical garden, where you can marvel at trees planted in the 16th century.
Once in Padua, opt for one of the following options to make the most of your time in the city:
- Visit the Ghetto located in the heart of the historic center near Piazza Delle Erbe.
- See the 12th-century Palazzo della Ragione, and the Via San Martino and Solferino—the medieval city's main arteries. At the junction with Via Roma, stop to see the first of four large doors, above each of which is a marble plaque with a carved Lion of San Marco, the symbol of Venice.
- See the frescoes inside the Scrovegni Chapel, telling the life stories of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The frescoes took Giotto years to complete, between 1303 and 1305. The design was very innovative, using bright colors and masterful detail to convey emotion and human nature. As this spectacular chapel is very popular, you must pre-book your ticket online and pick a convenient time slot for your visit.
- Visit the 13th-century Basilica di Sant'Antonio, which is also the burial site of the much-revered saint of the same name. Its many grand domes and mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles make this the crown jewel in a city with no shortage of jewels. Inside is the Anthonian Museum and more art by Giotto and Donatello.
- Take a leisurely stroll from the Basilica towards the Prato della Valle square and you'll come across Orto Botanico. Spend some time wandering the beautiful botanical gardens in peace. After your visit, walk along the canal at the ornate Prato della Valle square. Sit close by the fountain and enjoy people watching. This square is also a great place to shop at the flea market which sells clothes, antiques, flowers, and locally-produced foods and has been here since the late 18th century.
Day 6: Walking Tour of Verona Highlights & Food Tasting
After breakfast, meet your English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and start your 3-hour private guided tour of the city highlights. Your afternoon today is free to explore on your own.
You'll see for yourself why this city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and get to know firsthand the culture and history behind Verona. Apart from being the setting for the most famous Shakespearean love drama, Verona is rich in history and archaeological importance.
Your walking tour will start with one of Verona's most notable landmarks, the Arena in Bra Square. Still used today, this ancient Roman amphitheater is one of the best-preserved of its kind. From there, wander through the cobblestone streets and arrive at the central Piazza Bra, the largest square in the city and the perfect spot to delve into the importance of the ancient economic and political life in the quaint market Piazza delle Erbe.
Nearby, you'll visit the house of Verona's famed lovers and see Juliet's balcony at the Casa di Giulietta, said to have inspired Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. However, Verona isn't only known for its romance. Continue your tour and learn more about why Verona holds such an important place in Northern Italy's medieval history and visit the former political center Piazza dei Signori.
Crisscross your way through side streets and back alleys as your guide points out the best local cuisine and traditional food to add to your list of places to try. Make your way to the River Adige, where you'll be able to admire a beautiful view of the Ponte Pietra, The Roman Theatre, and the Archeological Museum.
After your tour, take the rest of the day to explore on your own. Spend some time exploring inside the Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum. Admire the impressive archaeological feats before heading over to Castle Vecchio. First, cross the Castelvecchio Bridge, constructed centuries ago in the 1350s. You'll travel back in time as you walk over its red brick and take in the incredible scenery of the Adige from this ideal vantage point. As you reach the other side, you can visit the Castelvecchio Museum. This small castle built for military purposes is a lovely example of the Gothic architecture of the time.
Day 7: Tour of Lake Garda and Valpolicella Wine Tasting
After a relaxed breakfast, head out for a full-day multisensory experience in the vineyards of the Valpolicella region, which is second only to Chianti and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in terms of red wine production. The name, which comes from a mix of ancient Latin and Greek, translates to "valley of many cellars."
In the morning, you will have a tour of Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake. Lake Garda, the most popular and the largest of the lakes in northern Italy, borders three regions: Trentino to the north, Lombardy to the south and west, and Veneto to the south and east. The low-lying countryside around the southern end becomes increasingly more striking as you go further north, until impressive rocky cliffs, sometimes swathed in pines, hug the shoreline of the northern tip. The numerous sporting facilities, country-style resorts, and splendid scenery of snow-capped mountains help make the lake a favorite summer playground. Hydrofoils, catamarans, and steamers, available for use on the lake, offer the opportunity to see villas and gardens that cannot be seen from the coastal road.
After lunch, head to the Valpolicella Wine area. The sprawling district in the Veneto region sits between the Alps foothills and surrounding valleys of the Lessini Mountains. Valpolicella's rich, alluvial soils cultivate some of the world's best-quality grapevines, which make up four styles of revered red wines: dry, classic Amarone, spicy cherry Valpolicella Ripasso, sweet Recioto, and lively, accessible Valpolicella.
With such a wide range of flavors, there's a Valpolicella wine for every palate. Pick up a bottle (or three) to bring home to share with friends before dinner, as a perfect meal accompaniment, or to sip quietly by the fireplace in the evening.
Day 8: Hiking on 'Strada Delle 52 Gallerie'
Early in the morning, meet your private driver and hit the road to reach Bocchetta Campiglia on Mt. Pasubio where your hiking starts.
During World War 1, the front line between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies ran directly through the Dolomites. After losing thousands of soldiers to enemy fire, exposure, and avalanches, the Italian army put forth an ambitious civil engineering plan to tunnel a series of walking paths into the mountainside. Known as the Strada Della Prima Armata or, more commonly, the Strada Delle Gallerie (road of tunnels), this marvel of engineering was constructed in a mere 10 months during one of the coldest and snowiest winters of the 20th century.
Spend the day exploring the subterranean tunnels and enjoying the sweeping views from the surroundings. You'll be walking in the dark on somewhat uneven ground, so make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and a headlamp or some other light. Some tunnels are several hundred feet long, while others are mere holes through big rocks.
The trail ends at the Rifugio Papa, where you can rest, relax, and enjoy a well-deserved meal.
Day 9: Transfer from Verona to Urbino via Modena & Ferrari Museum in Maranello
After breakfast, meet your private driver and head to Urbino. On the way, stop in Modena to visit a local 'acetaia' and discover the secrets of the typical balsamic vinegar and visit the famous Ferrari Museum in Maranello.
If Italy were a meal, Modena would be the main course. Here, on the flat plains of the slow-flowing Po, lies one of the nation's great gastronomic centers, the creative force behind real balsamic vinegar. You will visit a local 'acetaia' where you will be taught the secrets of this fantastic product. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) is produced from a grape must that is fermented and/or cooked and/or concentrated. The grapes come only from Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni vines. To the grape must are added wine vinegar, in the minimum amount of 10%, and an amount of at least 10-year-old aged vinegar.
Then, continue to Maranello where you will visit the famous Ferrari Museum. For any motor enthusiasts, this is a must. The museum is extremely well-curated and is so well done as to be interesting even to non-motoring enthusiasts. The fact that it gets about 200,000 visitors a year from all corners of the globe says it all. The whole history is very well displayed, including the first Ferrari car and going right through history to the current production models. You will even get to see a reproduction of Enzo Ferrari’s office in Modena with much of the original furniture.
Finally, head to Urbino. Often eclipsed by Tuscany, central Italy’s Le Marche region is blissfully underrated—but the university town of Urbino is a secret too good to keep. This is where Renaissance superstar Raphael was born and raised. No doubt he found inspiration in the travertine domes and towers of the walled historic center. Cultured, erudite, and easy on the eye, the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 10: Hike on Monte Fumaiolo
After breakfast, meet your private driver and hit the road to reach Mt. Fumaiolo.
The area offers many types of trails, so you can pick one that suits your difficulty level. Remember to bring hiking shoes, a water bottle, and a light snack.
The River Tiber rises from Mount Fumaiolo, on the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. It runs through the Valtiberina for its first miles, before entering the region of Umbria and flowing down towards Rome and the Tirreno Sea. This river was used by the Romans to send timber down to Rome, but it was also an essential resource for the Etruscan populations, who settled down numerous villages on its banks. Today, the Tiber is the main tributary river for Lake Montedoglio.
Day 11: Excursion to San Marino
After breakfast, meet your private driver and head north to San Marino for a half-day excursion in the fairytale mountain kingdom of San Marino.
The fifth-smallest and arguably most intriguing of the world’s independent countries, this ancient republic sits high in Italy’s Apennine Mountains. Arrange for a personal guide to share stories of the small country's dramatic history as you stroll around the cobbled center, visiting Piazza Della Libertà Square, the Basilica of Saint Marino, and other highlights. Don't miss the steep climb to the precarious mountaintop First Tower, as you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Apennine peaks and the Adriatic Sea.
Day 12: Transfer from Urbino to Perugia & Truffle Hunt
After breakfast, meet your driver and hit the road to Perugia. On the way, stop in the Pietralunga area for a truffle hunt experience.
Mention the words truffle and Italy immediately springs to mind and within Italy, Umbria is one of the most famous areas for producing this ‘hidden gold’. Between September and the third week of November, the truffle seems to take over the whole area, with festivals in their honor and that distinctive aroma seeming to pervade every restaurant. You'll spend the day on a private truffle hunting tour with a local expert and his dog, who know all the best spots for finding this elusive gem.
After lunch, continue to Perugia. Brimming with historic sights dating back to the Etruscans, this university town attracts students from around the world and plays host to world-class galleries and an international jazz festival.
Arrive at the upper town via a series of escalators, traveling up through the remains of the 16th-century fortress of Rocca Paolina. Spend your first afternoon in the city getting your bearings, with a self-guided ramble around the atmospheric plazas, or under the knowledgable direction of a local tour guide. Visit the Galleria Nazionale dell Umbria (National Gallery of Umbria) to browse a prestigious collection of Renaissance and medieval art, or discover idyllic hidden gardens of the ancient church of Sant’Angelo.
Day 13: Bike Tour on Lake Trasimeno
After breakfast, meet your private driver and head to Lake Trasimeno for a half-day excursion.
For a change of pace, rent a bike and explore Lago Trasimeno, Italy’s fourth-largest lake. Castiglione del Lago is a handsome medieval town, perched high above the water, with lots of typical shops, a small fortress, and a hands-on museum documenting the history of the lake. From here (or the lively shore town of Passignano), you can take ferries to some of the tranquil lake islands. Isola Maggiore is known for its lace handicrafts and St. Francis connections, while Isola Polvese is an environmental education center and nature reserve.
Day 14: Tour of Assisi and Wine Tasting in Montefalco
After breakfast, meet your private driver and start your day trip to Assisi and Montefalco wine area. In Assisi, meet your private English-speaking guide for a 2-hour tour of the historical center. After lunch, rejoin your driver and head to the Montefalco wine area where you will visit a local winery and taste some typical wines.
Renowned as a pilgrimage destination in Italy as the birthplace of Saint Francis, Assisi contains a wonder of medieval streetscapes to explore. You'll also visit the incredible Basilicas of Saint Chiara and Saint Francis and see the artworks they hold, and tour the maze of cobblestone streets with your expert guide.
From here, continue then to Montefalco to visit a local winery. Wine lovers should make for this enticing hill town, set amidst wine trellises and olive groves. Wander the enchanting streets and sample the delicious local vino, Sagrantino di Montefalco made with 100% local Sagrantino grapes. After learning about the grape cultivation process and the cultural tradition of winemaking that has been passed down through the generations in Italy, it's time to taste. You'll tour the wine cellar and learn how best to pair these local wines with regional products before sampling the wines in this picture-perfect setting.
Day 15: Excursion to Civita di Bagnoregio and Orvieto
After breakfast, meet your private driver to enjoy a day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio and Orvieto.
Orvieto, a wonderfully preserved medieval town stuck high on a volcanic hill some 1,033 ft above the plain, is home to perhaps the most magnificent cathedral in all Italy. The façade of the Duomo is a mesmerizing blend of mosaics, pointed arches, and intricate Gothic stone carving. Inside, the Cappella di San Brizio contains one of the Renaissance’s greatest fresco cycles (primarily concerning the Apocalypse and the Last Judgment); Fra’ Angelico started the job in 1447, Pinturicchio worked on them briefly, and Luca Signorelli finished the project 1499 to 1502. One of the city’s newer attractions is the Orvieto Vie museum, which chronicles the history of the region.
Catch a bird's-eye view of the city from the medieval Torre del Moro, or explore the vast network honeycombing the tufo subsoil on a tour of the Grotte della Rupe (Etruscan Orvieto Underground). Don’t forget to sample the local wine, a pale straw-colored white known simply as Orvieto Classico.
The small town of Bagnoregio is home to one of the most dramatic apparitions, the Civita di Bagnoregio, aka il paese che muore (the dying town). This medieval village, accessible by footbridge only, sits atop a huge stack of slowly crumbling tufa rock in the deep-cut Valle dei Calanchi.
Day 16: Depart Italy
Your journey in Italy will end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport to catch your flight home at Rome FCO airport. Arrivederci!
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