Veneto and Tuscany for Active Families: Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, Siena & Florence - 14 Days
- Paddle your own gondola through the canals of Venice
- Cruise around the park-filled shores of Lake Garda
- Soar over the Chianti Valley in a hot air balloon
- Craft your own gelato flavor in a Florence workshop
|Day 1||Arrive in Venice & Gondola Paddling for Families||Venice|
|Day 2||Venetian Mask Painting, Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica Secret Passages Tour||Venice|
|Day 3||Bike Tour on Lido Island & Visit to Murano & Burano Islands||Venice|
|Day 4||Venice to Verona & Verona Guided Bike Tour||Verona|
|Day 5||Dolomites Day Trip||Verona|
|Day 6||Verona to Lake Garda, West Lake Garda & Sirmione Boat Tour||Lake Garda|
|Day 7||Free Day on Lake Garda||Lake Garda|
|Day 8||Sigurtà Park Bike Ride & Picnic||Lake Garda|
|Day 9||Lake Garda to Siena||Siena|
|Day 10||Ballooning Over Chianti||Siena|
|Day 11||Drive Through Tuscany||Siena|
|Day 12||Siena to Florence||Florence|
|Day 13||Parks of Florence & Gelato-Making Class||Florence|
|Day 14||Depart Florence|
Day 1: Arrive in Venice & Gondola Paddling for Families
You'll start by following your guide through Cannaregio, a quiet and charming section of Venice not too far from the Jewish Ghetto. As you make your way to the canal, you’ll walk away from the city’s main tourist attractions and learn more about the daily life of Venetians. Pass through the Jewish Quarter, once a shelter for Jews during international turmoil, and stop in a typical bacaro to get a true taste of Venice. Enjoy a couple of cicchetti (tapas) and a glass of wine or non-alcoholic drink.
The perspective you get of Venice changes when on the water, which helps you go beyond the typical tourist activities. Gondoliers are patient and encouraging—nobody has fallen in yet!The opportunity to explore Venice as the sun sets and soft evening light reflects on the city's canals should not be missed. We recommend a walking route that begins in the heart of the historic city center at Piazza San Marco. During your walk through the city, there are many points of interest that are worth a stop, one of the main highlights being the Rialto Bridge.
Day 2: Venetian Mask Painting, Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica Secret Passages Tour
You’ll meet your tour guide near the Doge’s Palace, skip the lines, and head straight inside through a secret door. As you step into the hidden world of political Venice, you’ll navigate the isolated prison cells, torture chambers, secret government archives, and top-echelon offices. Even back in its heyday, most Venetians didn’t know this space existed, so it’s hard to overstate just how privileged this secret passages tour is. With antique cabinets and creaky floors, these rooms will truly make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
As you leave the secret passages behind, you’ll enter the general access areas of the palace and explore the waiting rooms, council halls, and ballrooms. This part of the palace contrasts with the dark and mysterious portions, revealing a haughty grandeur. Within these walls, you’ll view some of Venice’s finest works of art and discover the public face of the prestigious Republic of Venice. Stroll through lavish apartments and admire dramatic paintings by Veronese and Tintoretto.
This tour ends with a visit to Venice's other great site, St. Mark's Basilica. Once again, skip the long lines and enjoy a complete look inside the Basilica. Admire various eastern and western architectural elements, stunning gold mosaics, and the famous altarpiece, the Pala D'oro. No other landmark pays homage to the city's past as much as St. Mark's Basilica does, a structure that benefited greatly from the pillaging of Venetians abroad.
Day 3: Bike Tour on Lido Island & Visit to Murano & Burano Islands
Continue along the Adriatic Sea through the San Nicolò Natural Reserve, a protected zone with scenic open spaces. Pedal along the old pier between the sea and the harbor until you reach the lighthouse. Here is the perfect spot to enjoy views of the Lido coastline and some distinctive architecture, such as Grand Hotel des Bains and Hotel Excelsior.
Next, bike along the canals in the colorful fishing village of Malamocco, similar to a scaled-down version of Venice. With your guide leading the way, continue cycling through the nature reserve, passing the beautiful dunes where Byron loved to ride horses at sunrise. Take a break and relax as the locals do by heading to the quiet Alberoni Beach for a drink or a swim.
You’ll return along the Lagoon, enjoying views of the Poveglia, Lazzaretto Vecchio, and San Lazzaro degli Armeni islands. End your adventure at the Lido Market for a well-deserved spritz, the most popular aperitivo drink in Venice.
Day 4: Venice to Verona & Verona Guided Bike Tour
Along the way, you’ll discover the old town and its most remarkable landmarks, passing through cobbled lanes and by the majestic city walls. Visit sites including Roman ruins, the famous Arena amphitheater, Castel San Pietro, the Capulet house, and the famous balcony where Romeo and Juliet's love story took place.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Dolomites Day Trip
Next, continue to Pordoi Pass, which sits above 7,000 feet (2,239 m) between the Sella and Marmolada peaks. To reach high into the mountains, you’ll take a panoramic funicular ride up to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Enjoy the incredible views over the Dolomites as you inch up into the alpine landscape. You’ll have some free time to walk around and admire the unique scenery before savoring lunch at a typical mountain refuge and returning to Verona.
Day 6: Verona to Lake Garda, West Lake Garda & Sirmione Boat Tour
Departing from the Sirmione Peninsula, you’ll head toward the impressive outcrop of Rocca di Manerba and pass the island of San Biagio. Next, cruise near the enchanting Isola del Garda, the private residence of the counts of Borghese-Cavazza. Lastly, make your way to the magnificent Costa Romantica.
The Costa Romantica is the lakeshore between Toscolano Maderno and the Gulf of Salò, on which dense nature surrounds the elegant architecture of villas and hotels. This area still bears traces of the Republic of Salò, declared during the Fascist period. The architecture is a perfect reflection of this style, with the occasional Liberty (Italian variant of Art Nouveau) touch to enhance its vintage charm.
As you make your way back to Sirmione, you’ll pass under the two bridges of the Scaligero Castle.
Day 7: Free Day on Lake Garda
Day 8: Sigurtà Park Bike Ride & Picnic
After sorting your equipment and getting acquainted with your bike, take your map and picnic and cycle through the beautiful Parco del Mincio. Starting from Peschiera del Garda, you’ll pass through the Morainic hills and arrive at a special spot for an unforgettable experience, the wonderful Sigurtà Garden Park. Enjoy your gourmet picnic while surrounded by an English field filled with rose-lined paths.
Before returning, visit Borghetto, a medieval village famous for its watermills and views. Enjoy glimpses between colorful houses and stretches of water.
Day 9: Lake Garda to Siena
Day 10: Ballooning Over Chianti
Your journey above the rolling hills, estates, and vineyards of Tuscany will last approximately one hour. The pilot will create a scenic pathway depending on the weather and wind condition. Because a hot-air balloon drifts with the winds, part of the magic is never knowing exactly what you’ll see and where you may land!
Once back on the ground, you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast featuring champagne, prosecco, and local Tuscan produce. Relax in solitude with a picnic at either the landing site or a nearby farm. Savor the fresh morning air as you nosh on local treats and watch the sky transition from pink to blue.
Although hot-air balloons fly all year round, the official "ballooning season" runs approximately from April to November with annual variations. Weather in Chianti can be tricky and unpredictable, especially in early spring; however, the summer months are typically ideal for ballooning. If you visit in the winter, flights can be truly stunning, with crisp air, crystal-clear views, and steady North Easterly winds.
Day 11: Drive Through TuscanyTuscany is vastly known for its vineyards, but it has so much more to offer. If you aren't into wine (or for those family members not yet of age), there are plenty of castles, small towns, and villages amidst the beautiful countryside. See why it's been the setting for so many films as you explore family-friendly spots in the Chianti Valley, Val D’Elsa around San Gimignano, and the Val D’Orcia around Pienza and Montepulciano.
The route is a combination of main roads and winding hilltop lanes and can take between a half and a full day to complete depending on how many stops you make.
Day 12: Siena to Florence
If you're looking for something more hands-on, visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which is as interactive as the man himself would want, or consider the celestial spheres at the Museo Galileo, where you can peer through ancient telescopes.
Day 13: Parks of Florence & Gelato-Making Class
Find the nature and art inside this historic city and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. The parks are places to find tranquility and spend quality time admiring the architecture and landscape designs inspired by Renaissance Florence.
In the afternoon, experience the delicious craft of gelato-making with a workshop in the heart of historic Florence. In the ambiance of an authentic family-run gelateria and gelato-making school known for its exceptional flavors, you’ll learn the ins and outs of producing that perfect scoop of creamy goodness with the help of a true professional.
Day 14: Depart Florence
Wave goodbye to Florence as you head to the airport for your flight home or onto your next adventure.