- Immerse yourself in Rome's gastronomy with a foodie tour
- Sip Tuscan wine and tour a vineyard in the Chianti Hills
- Discover Venice by gondola and sample cicchetti and Prosecco on a guided tour
|Arrive in Rome, Relaxed Evening Food Tour in Trastevere
|Self-Guided Visit to the Colosseum & Roman Forum, Pizza Making Masterclass
|Train to Florence, Self-Guided Visit to the Uffizi & Accademia Galleries
|Visit a Family-Run Tuscan Winery, Wine Tasting in the Chianti Hills
|Train to Venice, Self-Guided City Tour
|Gondola Ride, Cicchetti & Wine Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Rome, Relaxed Evening Food Tour in Trastevere
Benvenuti in Roma! Upon arrival at the airport, meet your private driver and transfer to your hotel in the historic center. Settle in and relax, then head out on a guided food tour to discover Rome's mouthwatering cuisine while strolling the capital's most picturesque neighborhoods. Your culinary journey starts in Campo de' Fiori, where you'll find an abundance of fresh produce and regional specialties to try at the daily market. Then, make your way to the nearby Jewish Quarter, famous for its carciofi all giudia (Roman-Jewish fried artichokes), and onward to Trastevere.
One of the city's most charming and Bohemian neighborhoods, Trastevere is a picturesque labyrinth of wisteria-adorned cobblestone backstreets with plenty of foodie spots to try typical Roman street food. Stop for morsels of supplì, pizza bianca filled with stracciatella, mortadella, and pistachios, and porchetta (roast pork, stuffed and rolled with herbs). You'll finish your tour in one of the quarter's romantic trattorias, where you'll feast on Roman classics such as bucatini all'amatriciana, agnello al forno (roast lamb), and baccalà (salt cod), washed down with fine local Lazio wine.
Day 2: Self-Guided Visit to the Colosseum & Roman Forum, Pizza Making Masterclass
Spend the morning exploring Rome at your own pace and follow in the footsteps of locals with the tradition of caffé and a cornetto semplice (croissant) at one of the local bars. First-time visitors shouldn't leave without seeing the Colosseum, the iconic amphitheater built by Flavian emperors in 80 CE that served as the epicenter of Ancient Rome's public entertainment. Discover the arena's highlights as you imagine the thundering roar of 80,000 spectators calling your name.
Continue your step back in time with a short walk to the nearby Roman Forum, a must for history buffs. Tour the amazing ruins of the vast archaeological site and see the fascinating ruins of the temples, squares, and religious sites that witnessed some of the Roman Empire's key political spectacles, including the downfall of Julius Caesar. Finish up at Palatine Hill, 131 feet (40 m) above the city, where you'll enjoy one of the best views of Rome, with the Forum on one side, Circus Maximus on the other, and the inimitable dome of St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican in the distance.
In the afternoon, it's time to earn your cucina Romana stripes with a pizza masterclass. Guided by an expert pizzaiolo (pizza maker), you'll be taught the art of authentic Italian pizza. Learn the best ingredients to use, how to master the perfect dough using traditional techniques, and choose from a variety of toppings to create your masterpiece. With your pizza freshly out of the wood-fired oven, you'll join your fellow chefs in savoring your creations as part of a three-course meal, with appetizers, gelato, and local wine, beer, or a soft drink.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Train to Florence, Self-Guided Visit to the Uffizi & Accademia Galleries
Florence, Tuscany's Renaissance jewel and the region's famous capital, is renowned for its impeccable art collections and elegant architecture. You'll experience all this and more as you board a high-speed train from Rome's Termini Station and travel first class to the city. Upon arrival, your driver will transfer you to your city-center hotel.
Once you've had a chance to settle in, spend the day touring Florence's top sights and discover the city's famous museums and galleries at your own pace. Start in the Piazza del Duomo, where the magnificent Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo) and its mighty terracotta dome attract visitors worldwide. Don't miss the nearby Uffizi Gallery, which houses works by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. After you've immersed yourself in the gallery's masterpieces, head to the café on the top floor for a bite to eat while you admire the panoramic views of Tuscany.
Refreshed and recharged, head to the Galleria dell'Accademia. Founded by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1784, the gallery is home to many famous works, none more so than Michelangelo's "David." Created between 1501 and 1504, the 14-foot-high (4 m) marble sculpture symbolized the Florentine republic's strength during a time of great political upheaval. As with the Uffizi, it's well worth booking online ahead of time to skip the line. End your day with dinner at a neighborhood trattoria and dine on traditional Tuscan fare accompanied by a glass of something special.
Day 4: Visit a Family-Run Tuscan Winery, Wine Tasting in the Chianti Hills
This morning, you'll meet your driver and guide for a tour of the rolling Chianti Hills, where you'll visit the vineyards and cellars behind the region's eponymous wine. Made from a minimum of 80% sangiovese grapes, Chianti Classico is made from vines within a distinct area that stretches between the cities of Florence and Siena. Learn about the centuries-old production process and then sit down to a tasting of various vintages accompanied by a typical Tuscan lunch of cured meats, cheeses, a primo (usually a pasta course), and a choice of dolce (dessert).
Return to Florence later in the afternoon and spend your last evening in the city soaking up local life with aperitivo at one of the historic cafés that line the beautiful Piazza della Republica. Afterward, go for an evening stroll across Il Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge with an array of jewelry shops and beautiful views along the River Arno. As the sun starts to dip, end your day with a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo. It's an uphill walk (or you can catch a cab or bus), but you'll be rewarded with splendid sunset views across Florence and the rolling Tuscan countryside.
Day 5: Train to Venice, Self-Guided City Tour
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then make your way to the train station for the final leg of your Italy adventure. Venice, located in the country's northeast Veneto region, has enchanted visitors for centuries with its atmospheric canals and ornate bridges that form the elegant palazzo-lined Venetian lagoon. In just under 2.5 hours, you'll arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia station. There's only one main mode of travel here other than foot and that's by vaporetto (water taxi). Hop on to one of the regular services and alight at one of the Grand Canal stops near your hotel.
Once you've settled in, waste no time heading out to explore. Follow the signs to Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square) and stop to admire the splendid Basilica San Marco before venturing inside. It's worth booking ahead of time in the busier months for a skip-the-line ticket that includes entry to the top of the basilica. Marvel at the mosaics that adorn the inside of the church, and if you're up for a bit of a climb, take the steps up to the top of the campanile (bell tower) and soak in the beautiful panoramic views across the lagoon.
Day 6: Gondola Ride, Cicchetti & Wine Tour
Spend a relaxed morning wandering the city's narrow calli (streets), stopping for a caffè and a mooch in one of the local piazzas, then experience Venice's evocative canals with the time-honored tradition of a gondola ride. The primary mode of Venetians for centuries, sit back and relax as you glide through the narrow and intricate networks of waterways to discover parts of the city only accessible by gondola.
Later, you'll embark on a guided cicchetti and wine tour of Venice's traditional bacari (wine bars), where locals flock after work to savor mouthwatering Venetian tapas alongside small glasses of wine or the excellent locally produced Prosecco. Savor some of the Veneto's best red and white wines, such as valpolicella ripasso, amarone di valpolicella, and the lesser-known refosco, while seeing authentic Venetian life unfold with the city's unique equivalent of aperitivo. Buon appetito!