Insider’s Italy Tour

An insider’s perspective on Italy’s iconic destinations: Rome, Florence, Bologna and Venice.

Take a journey through the ages, submerging yourself in the stories and secrets of Italy. Walk through hidden Rome, escape the crowds on food tours, explore artistic masterpieces and taste your way through all the local specialities. Over 11 days you’ll see the sights. But more than that, you’ll experience the atmosphere and charm of these legendary destinations.


     

    Three nights in Rome are followed by four nights in Florence, before you journey through the best of Bologna and Venice. This is one of our most popular travel routes, full of intrigue and excitement.

    All our tours are individually customized to your interests. This day to day program was designed for previous guests of Italy Charme. While we loved guiding this private tour, it is purely an example of what can be possible and we will tailor your day to day program to your interests.

    1st DAY – Arrival in Rome
    Transfer from the airport to the hotel
    Check-in
    Orientation tour with an English speaking guide following a charming itinerary, witnessing the ancient origins and the cultural and historical stratifications of Rome
    Overnight in Rome

    2nd DAY – ROME
    After breakfast, you can choose between:

    1) WALKING TOUR WITH THE GUIDE
    Walk through the ages, starting from the gorgeous Piazza Navona, built on the ruins of the Domitian’s Circus adorned by the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini realized in 1651. Then reach the Pantheon (“Temple of all the Gods”), which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome. It is the best preserved Roman building of its age. Proceed with the Trevi Fountain, a baroque jewel, and at the end of the tour visit of the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna.

    Time for shopping.

    *** FREE LUNCH ***

    After lunch you can enjoy the splendour of the classic Roman Empire heading to Piazza Venezia, with the Memorial to King Vittorio Emanuele II and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; visit the square of the Capitol, the result of Michelangelo’s architectonic and magic genius, where now Rome Town Hall is set and enjoy the unique sight of the Forum and of the Palatine Hill. Let’s then walk along the ancient pavement, which crosses the evocative ruins of the Roman Forum up to the massive structure of the Flavian Amphitheatre, best know as Colosseum and the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

    Dinner in a local trattoria

     

    2) FOOD TOUR AROUND STREETS IN ROME

    Rome is a living museum of art and history, home to the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. It’s also internationally famous for its mouth-watering cuisine. Let us take you to the places that locals cherish for an off-the-beaten-path foodie experience of daily life in the eternal city that you won’t soon forget.. Testaccio is the original foodie neighborhood of Rome and where cucina romana was born. It is no coincidence that it’s known to Romans as the “heart of Rome”. Our guided 4-hour Food Tour lets you experience where people live, eat and shop in Rome. Featuring nine authentic food stops with 10-12 delicious tastings, you get to escape the crowds and taste the best of what the city has to offer. Along the way, your guide will entertain and educate you with stories and insights into Rome’s culture and history, while exploring the city’s most fascinating offbeat landmarks.

    Overnight in Rome

     

    3rd DAY – VATICAN MUSEUMS + CHRISTIAN ROME

    Breakfast at the hotel

    Meet the English speaking guide for a full day excursion. Transfer to Vatican City and visit Vatican Museums, one of the largest museum complexes in the world. Located in the grand and magnificent Vatican Palaces, the Museums host some of the most popular artworks, paintings and sculptures in the world by the most famous artists including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Bernini, Botticelli, Raffaello, Caravaggio, Giotto… We will then stop to admire the Sistine Chapel, seat of the Conclave, with the famous frescoes of Michelangelo. Continue the visit of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of four major basilicas of Rome, with its dominant feature of the Roman skyline. Saint Peter’s is also traditionally the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter and was built by artists of Renaissance such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini. Let’s proceed to majestic and monumental St. Peter’s Square, the masterpiece of Baroque art.

    *** FREE LUNCH ***

    Shopping at the Castel Romano OUTLET

    Overnight in Rome

     

    4th DAY – ROME/FLORENCE – CHIANTI VALLEY
    Breakfast and check-out

    Tranfer to Florence and stop to the CHIANTI VALLEY.
    Visit the picturesque Cortona, made famous by the Oscar-winning film La Vita è Bella and Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun.

    Tasting of local specialties at Lake Trasimeno and Wine tasting in one of the oldest cellars in Montepulciano.

    *** FREE LUNCH ***

    Arrival in Florence and free time

    Overnight in Florence

     

    5th DAY – FLORENCE

    After breakfast meet the English speaking guide for a walking tour in Florence and visit the city’s eternal masterpieces. Proceed into the city’s religious center with some of Florence’s most impressive works of art: the Baptistery, Giotto’s bell tower, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – the Duomo – with its famous dome by Brunelleschi. This square recalls the ancient past with its unique charm. Head to the picturesque Signoria Square and admire statues by Cellini, Giambologna and Ammannati before proceeding to the famous ponte Vecchio. Go on visiting Santa Croce Church, containing the tombs of illustrious Florentine citizens such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli, as well as fascinating works by Giotto and Donatello.

    ***FREE LUNCH ***

    Overnight in Florence

     

    6th DAY – GOURMET FLORENCE

    After breakfast meet your English speaking guide to discover the art of cooking, eating and drinking. Visit the bustling Mercato Centrale and discover the secrets of Tuscan cuisine – how to prepare crostini, ribollita and pappa al pomodoro, tripe stew, lampredotto, the use of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and how to savor the taste of Chianti wines produced in the famous Tuscan hills. Here you can buy the best seasonal food and wine from across the region.

    Try the most traditional recipes in the local restaurants for a quick lunch or a memorable dinner.

    Free time

    Overnight in Florence

     

    7th DAY – MEET THE REAL ARTISANS IN FLORENCE

    After breakfast meet your English speaking guide and have a relaxing walk along the narrow streets of the Oltrarno district, the less crowded and more authentic side of Florence. Enjoy the little artisan workshops where you will watch them working silver, gold or leather.

    The Renaissance in Florence marks the height of the development of the artisan as an artist; the artisan effectively became an artist, the man who created new techniques and new styles.

    After lunch transfer to Bologna

    Meet the English speaking guide for a walking tour of Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna. Not yet contaminated by mass tourism, the city is the ideal choice for cultural interludes as well as leisure activities and relaxation. Bologna has a number of nicknames: la dotta (the learned) for its ancient university, la rossa (the red) for the warm colour of its roofs and houses, and la grassa (the fat) for the wonderful food. Let’s visit some of the most important buildings in the city, including Palazzo Accursio, Palazzo del Protesta, the Sala Borsa, Palazzo re Enzo and the famous Fountain of Neptune which dates back to the 16th century. Additionally, you’ll view the Medieval Market and Loggia Dei Mercanti, the Anatomy Theater (closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday), Basilica of San Petronio, the Archiginnasio, the medieval Two Towers and the Complex of Santo Stefano.

    Overnight in Bologna

     

    8th DAY – PARMESAN and BALSAMIC VINEGARD

    After early breakfast meet the English speaking guide and leave quite early in the morning by private coach to visit a cheese dairy to discover all steps of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano. Continue with the visit of a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar private production located in an amazing 1911 villa where we can taste 12, 25, 30, 50 years old vinegars. Then move in a XVIth Century monastery, now a wonderful agriturismo in the middle of nowhere, where you can taste local award-winning wines. We finish with an unforgettable lunch.

    Free time for shopping

    Overnight in Bologna

     

    9th DAY – BOLOGNA

    After breakfast you can choose between:

    1) GOURMET WALK

    A guided cultural tour of the town that focuses on food aspects. During the tour you stop in some ancient food shops and taste local products, while we will tell you all their legends, stories and jokes. Walking around the medieval market in order to taste mortadella, ciccioli, salsiccia passita, chocolate, etc.

    2) PASTA-MAKING

    A demonstration from the traditional pasta-makers, the “sfogline” of Bologna. With skill and patience, these ladies with their magic touch will teach to the curious visitors the secrets of making and rolling out the pasta like tortellini, tagliatelle and lasagne.

    Transfer to Venice

    Arrival at Tronchetto and transfer by private boat to the hotel

    Check-in and overnight

    10th DAY – “Spritz  Venice”: Art, Food and aperitif

    After breakfast enjoy an orientation tour throughout the most significant Venetian landmarks: St Mark’s square, St Mark’s Basilica (with skip-the-line entry) or Rialto bridge. This is the most classic walking tour, passing in front of the famous Doge’s Palace and its beautiful architecture without going into the palace itself. Proceed with the visit of Saint Mark’s Basilica to admire the unique gilded Byzantine mosaics and extraordinary marble walls and floor. Before leaving Saint Mark’s Square, you’ll see the two towers, the Clock Tower with the life sized statues of the “Mori” on the roof and the Campanile, the tallest structure in the whole of Venice; the Marciana Library and the Procuratie, all of which are important remnants of the old Republic of Venice. Head to the celebrated Rialto market bridge and the nearby historical Rialto market place, following hidden alleys and pass through typical Venetian “campos” (squares) in the Rialto area admiring Venice architecture and lifestyle.

    ***FREE LUNCH ***

    In the afternoon let’s enjoy a Venice Bacaro Tour. A gourmet walking tour along the hidden paths of Venice to learn about the history of Venice, the artisans, the shops and with particular attention focused to experience the traditional Venetian food and drinks. Bacaro in Venice is a sort of wine bar and with your guide enjoy a gourmet tour to discover the best hidden Bacari. Each Bacaro serves different food specialties called cicchetti, a sort of finger food snacks, high quality food served in little portion to be accompaigned by local wines or a local spritz aperitif.

    Overnight in Venice

    11th DAY – DEPARTURE

    Breakfast and Check-out

    Free time for shopping.

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    Italy

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