PRIVATE TOUR OF ITALY IN 10 DAYS Milan, 5 Terre, Florence and Rome 2019

Lombardy, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio: 5 regions where you will admire the extraordinary beauty of Italy, you will be seduced by its enchanting landscape, you will enjoy different habits and traditions as well as diverse yet most savory cuisine!!

SUMMARY

  • Duration: 10 full days + 10 Nights
  • Type of tour: Point to Point
  • Tour starts in Milan
  • Tour ends in Rome

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

Accommodations with Continental Breakfast:

  • Day 1: 3* to 5* Country House in Parma area
  • Days 2 & 3: 3* to 5* Hotel in Cinque Terre area
  • Days 4 to 6: 3* to 5* Hotel in Florence city centre
  • Day 7: 3* to 5* Hotel in Orvieto area
  • Day 8: 3* to 5* Hotel in Tivoli area
  • Days 9 & 10: 3* to 5* Hotel in Rome city centre

Transfers:

  • Day 1: Transfer by private car OR minivan from Milan to your accommodation in the Parma area
  • Day 2: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your accommodation in Cinque Terre
  • Day 4: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your accommodation in Florence city centre – Stopover in Pisa
  • Day 7: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your accommodation in Orvieto area – Stopover in Val d’Orcia: Pienza, Montalcino, Bagno Vignoni
  • Day 8: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your accommodation in Tivoli area – Stopover in Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Day 9: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your accommodation in Rome city centre

Private Guided Visits / Tours / Activities:

  • Day 1: 3-hour private walking tour of Milan city centre with an Authorised Tourist Guide
  • Day 2: Full day private tour of Parma area with an Authorised Tourist Guide, including visits of a Parmesan Cheese factory, a Parma Ham factory and a Cooking Class in a Villa near Parma
  • Day 5: 3-hour private walking tour of Florence city centre with an Authorised Tourist Guide
  • Day 6: Full day round trip by private car OR minivan to Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni with an Authorised Tour Leader – Visit of a Chianti wine cellar with tasting
  • Day 9: Full-day private tour of Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este with an Authorised Tourist Guide
  • Day 10: Half day tour by private car OR minivan with an Authorised Tourist Guide of Rome city centre, including Colosseum and Imperial Forums Archeological Area and Vatican City

Admission Tickets to:

  • Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este in Tivoli
  • Colosseum and Imperial Forums Archeological Area in Rome

Meals at selected home-style local restaurants (wine not included):

  • 1 3-course dinner in Florence
  • 1 3-course dinner in Rome

Full assistance 24 hours/day by our Back Office

All taxes (tips not mandatory)

Day 1 - MILAN

Welcome to Italy, welcome to Milan!

Milan is first of all the Fashion Capital of Italy! The showrooms of all Italian manufacturers are located in the city and here buyers from worldwide distribution find the one and only “Italian Style”! But Milan is not only fashion, it is also and above all art, beauty and culture! Piazza del Duomo is the geographical and historical centre of the city. It is surrounded by palaces with arcades; in the middle, you can see the Duomo, one of Europe’s biggest Gothic cathedrals, whose construction started in the 14th and ended in the 20th century. And on the Gran Guglia, the cathedral’s highest spire, the Madonnina, a symbol of Milan, stands. To the left of the cathedral lies the 19th century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered passageway in a Latin cross shape linking the grand Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Scala, featuring mosaics and a wrought iron and glass roof.

Milan

Piazza del Duomo in Milan

You may also visit “Castello Sforzesco”, the Sforza Castle, a summary in stone of the political, military and artistic history of Milan. Then stroll down the streets of the Quadrilatero D’oro, the heart of the fashion industry, admiring the shop windows of Prada, Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. And in late afternoon taste a gorgeous Cappuccino at Pasticceria Cova, as locals often do in via Montenapoleone, “Montenapo” for the Milanese!

In the evening you will move to your next destination, a particularly savoury one: Parma.

Day 2 – PARMA

Parma is an elegant city with a small historic center. In the city, we will see the Cathedral, a great example of Romanesque architecture, and the Baptistery, built of pink marble in an octagonal shape.

Parma is known for its delicious food products. First, you will visit a Parmigiano Reggiano factory, where you will see cheese masters at work: a very special way to get into the production culture of the area and to discover how a true gastronomic gem is made! (see our BLOG at https://www.vitoritalytours.com/blog/item/5-my-private-italy-parmigiano-reggiano-please-don%E2%80%99t-call-me-parmesan.html).

Later on, time for a visit to a Parma ham factory, where you will learn the secrets of the most delicious ham, Prosciutto di Parma. And finally, you may savour authentic Italian cuisine on a fun-filled cooking class led by a local “rezdora” (a femal cook in Parmesan language). Immerse yourself into the tradition of fresh Italian pasta and study the secrets of preparing pasta dough from the scratch, using just flour and eggs. You will make your own “Tortelli d'erbetta” (Parma most traditional pasta with a filling of ricotta cheese and chards) and delicious tagliatelle with tomato sauce – all local ingredients! Once your amazing meal is ready, you will enjoy what you prepared matched with a glass of local Lambrusco wine. A very tasty experience at the end of an unforgettable day!

Parma

Parma, Prosciutto di Parma

Day 3 – CINQUE TERRE

Welcome to Cinque Terre, the beautiful villages on the Ligurian Sea included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. You will be stunned by the sea views and the contrasts between the sea and the cliffside. From Monterosso, by train or on foot you may reach the other fishing villages: Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The vineyards, typical of this area, contribute to creating a unique landscape with dry-laid stone walls, winding paths, enchanting beaches between cliffs and clear waters!

The area is divided into 5 seaside and agricultural villages enriched with colours, simplicity and charm. The first true stop in the Cinque Terre is Monterosso, a well-known tourist destination embellished with elegant villas and a large beach. The old town centre, whose narrow alleys clamber up the hill, is home to the Gothic parish church of San Giovanni Battista and the 17th-century church of San Francesco, which is connected to the convent of the Capuchins.

Next is Vernazza and its charming marina, which is surrounded by the medieval little town and its characteristic little piazza, two Genoese lookout towers and the enchanting Gothic two-storey church dedicated to Santa Margherita d’Antiochia.

Just a short distance away is Corniglia, a village perched on the ridge of a promontory and connected to the beach by a stairway with 365 steps. This town - which is traditionally dedicated to vineyard cultivation - offers visitors a marvellous view.

The enormous black cliff overlooking the sea and home to Manarola - which is known for wine and oil production -  with its colourful houses seemingly coming out of the rock also makes a big impact. 

The last town in the Cinque Terre, and heart of the homonymous park, is Riomaggiore, a picturesque fishing village with tall, narrow, pastel-coloured houses and alternating light and darkness coming from the tight alleyways.

Do you like anchovies? They are a local speciality of Monterosso! Ever tried “Linguine al Pesto”, a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese? And what about Ligurian wines? Sciachetrà will seduce you!!

5 Terre

The village of Manarola in 5 Terre

Day 4 – PISA

On the way to Cinque Terre, you will not miss Pisa, the beautiful Tuscan town famous all over the world for its “Torre Pendente” (Leaning Tower).

Piazza dei Miracoli, set over an ample green field, hosts four whiter-than-white masterpieces of grandiose Medieval art: the renowned Leaning Tower (also the Bell Tower), the Camposanto (or graveyard), the  Baptristy and the Cathedral itself. These last two are so unique that their creation gave origin to a new style, "Pisan Romanesque". 

This area was chosen to construct the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta exactly for its centrality; founded in 1064, it was intended to celebrate the grandeur of Pisa during the Marine Republic’s epoch of power. "The temple of marble white as the snow" is how the structure is described on the gravestone of its architect, Buscheto di Giovanni Giudice. Consisting of five naves with its transept divided into three naves, it is surmounted by a splendid dome encircled by a loggia. The Duomo’s façade and exterior lateral sections feature elaborate decoration in marble (which can also be seen on its interior), mosaics, and bronze.  

In front of the Cathedral stands the Baptistry, also in a particular version of the Romanesque style. Initiated in 1152 by Diotisalvi, the Baptistry was finally completed in the 14th century; at that point, Gothic elements were also added. Of cylindrical form and circled by arcades of columns, this structure in white marble even boasts amazing acoustics. 

The Camposanto closes the northern end of the piazza in which the complex lies. This monumental cemetery, begun in 1278, is bordered by a fence of marble and houses a cloister at its centre. The majority of the frescoes that once coloured its walls were, unfortunately, destroyed in a fire in 1944 during the battle for Pisa.

Ultimately, the real symbol of Pisa is the Campanile, that is the Leaning Tower, that completes the image of this city. Because of land sinkage beneath it, the Tower stands at a significant incline – this sinkage impeded its very construction to a great extent. It was started in 1173, taken up again in 1275, and not completed until the second half of the 1300s. In cylindrical form, its lower part is done in blind arcades that then mutate into six floors of loggias, repeating motifs from the Duomo. Inside, a spiral staircase of 294 steps leads to the heights of one of the most famous towers in the world, where the lovely belfry and a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape await.

Pisa

Pisa, Campo dei Miracoli

DAY 5 - FLORENCE

Welcome to Florence, the symbol of Italian Reinassance.

Despite its international fame and greatness, Florence is also a small city, whose history is interwoven with that of its passionate citizens for more than one thousand years

In Piazza Duomo you will be astonished by the Duomo, with the incredible Brunelleschi’s cupola, a masterpiece of art and architecture whose building techniques building are still covered with a veil of mystery. Beside it, Giotto’s Campanile (Belltower) and the Baptistery, one of the oldest buildings in the city, with its famous bronze doors made by Pisano and Ghiberti in the 14th and 15th centuries. In Piazza della Signoria you will walk in the middle of bronze and marble masterpieces by Giambologna and Cellini inside the marvellous Loggia dei Lanzi, and will admire the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, one of the symbols of Florence and still the seat of government of the city. You may also spare some time to relax, visiting a typical market for shopping, strolling through the pedestrian streets of the city and crossing the oldest bridge in Florence, “Ponte Vecchio” (Old Bridge), rich of jewellery shops.

At lunch, enjoy “Panino con Lampredotto” in a typical Florentine market! And remember, Florence is famous for its beef steak, the “Fiorentina”, so for dinner move to Oltrarno where Florentines like to dine away from the crowds. In case you are a vegetarian, don’t worry: Tuscan cuisine offers tasty alternatives like “Pappa al Pomodoro” or “Ribollita”.

Your itinery include the visit to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world for its extraordinary collections of paintings. Here you will admire works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and a lot more. Also, you should not miss Galleria dell’Accademia, hosting Michelangelo's David, the most famous sculpture in the world!

Florence is also the main Italian centre for the production of high-quality leather goods. The Florentine artisans are so famous that many fashion brands have opened their factories in the city or close to it, due to the high skill of the artisans involved and to the continuous inspiration that designers take from the town’s masterpieces. The area around Piazza Santa Croce is full of leather shops and workshops.

Thanks to the tradition of Tuscan tanneries, there is no better place to find shoes for all tastes than Florence: from the creations, designed and produced by hand by skilled craftsmen, to the large collections available in stores, renewed every season. Above all, for refinement and elegance, Ferragamo (also worth seeing the museum), Gucci and Prada. If you prefer a simpler style, across the river Arno there are many shops specialized in handmade shoes and sandals.

At dinner you will taste the typical Tuscan cuisine at a home-style local restaurant in Florence, enjoying simple yet unforgettable recipes of the Tuscan tradition (see our BLOG at https://www.vitoritalytours.com/blog/item/8-in-tuscany,-eat-like-a-tuscan.html).

Florence

Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore with Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower

Day 6 – SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO

You will start our daily tour with a visit of Siena, the city of the Palio, where you will walk on the famous Piazza del Campo, the concave square where horses run twice a year in a dangerous race that symbolizes the city’s freedom (see article in our BLOG at https://www.vitoritalytours.com/blog/item/4-my-private-italy-dreaming-twice-a-year-in-siena.html).

But, maybe, the thing that you are going to remember better is the colour of frontages and roofs, the renowned colour “Sienna”, a pigment first produced during the Renaissance, that makes the city lovely and warm. And don’t forget to taste the Senese sweets: “cantucci” (biscuits with toasted almonds), “ricciarelli” (soft biscuits with icing sugar), “panforte” (cake with fruit nuts and spices) and “cavallucci” (biscuits with honey, walnut, candied fruits and spices. Travellers who love dessert will be delighted!

Siena

Siena, Piazza del Campo on the day of the Palio

In the afternoon, you will stroll with your head upwards along the streets of one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany, San Gimignano, also known as the "Medieval Manhattan", thanks to its very old and impressive 14 towers that dominate the town skyline. Originally the towers were 72, built by patrician families probably to demonstrate their wealth and power. Seven of San Gimignano's towers are around Piazza del Duomo, the tallest one is Torre Grossa, 54 meters high, dating back to 1298.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano, the Towers

From Siena you will move to Monteriggioni, the famous Senese fortress which guarded the boundary between the Senese Republic and the Florentine “Signoria”. A step back in the medieval times that will impress you. All around are Chianti vineyards and pasturelands, it’s amazing! The village can only evoke the Middle Ages with its 13th-century walls and 14 quadrilateral towers. Towers that Dante compared to the Giants of hell, in the time when this fortified site was an outpost of the Senese against the Florentines, passing several times from one to the other.

Monteriggioni

The fortified village of Monteriggioni

Day 7 – VAL D’ORCIA

On the way south, today you will explore Val d’Orcia, one of the most fascinating places in Italy, included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites. The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated into the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. 

Your first stop will be Pienza, “Pio’s town”: here the Pope Pius II decided to build the perfect palazzo for his papal court according to the project of an “Ideal City" drawn up by artists such as Piero della Francesca. From the loggia of the Palace you will enjoy a breath-taking panorama of the landscape all around! And for lunch don’t forget to try the typical Pecorino cheese of Pienza, a real delight to the palate!

Then, you will get to Montalcino, one of the prettiest hill towns in Tuscany. Around the village, rows of olive-trees and precious grape vines and the yellow fields create an enchanting landscape. And remember that the dry wine Brunello di Montalcino is probably the best Italian red!

You will finally stop in Bagno Vignoni, a tiny and charming village where the main square is a pool 49 meters long and 29 wide, from the bottom of which bubble up a number of hot springs whose therapeutic quality has been renowned since antiquity! All this creates such a pleasant sensation, it will be hard to leave!

Val d'Orcia

Bagno Vignoni in Val d’Orcia

DAY 8 – ORVIETO / CIVITÀ DI BAGNOREGIO

Today you will stop in Orvieto in Umbria, one of the most interesting hill towns in Italy, perched up on volcanic rock, its history dating back to the Etruscans.

Although just an hour from Rome, the architecture is different, with many of the buildings constructed out of tufo, a type of volcanic rock. Orvieto’s main attraction is its 14th-century Cathedral – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with a glistening façade of stained glass, mosaics and sculptures. Another attraction is St. Patrick’s Well, a 62-meter-deep (203 feet) feat of engineering characterized by two spiral staircases that wind around the well (yet never meet), with 248 steps down to the water. A pleasant guided tour along a very easy route makes it possible to get to know Orvieto’s underground world, created by its ancient inhabitants over about 2,500 years of uninterrupted digging. A tour on a discovery of a millenary, surprising and unexpected “Underground City”, which you will surely enjoy!

At lunch don’t’ miss “salumi di cinghiale o cervo” (boar or deer sausage) and pecorino cheese and taste the region's prized white truffle oil, together with the delicious white wine of the area, Orvieto Classico!

Orvieto

Orvieto, a town “on the rocks”

Civita di Bagnoregio, the spectacular “borgo” slowly sliding towards the valley, is also known as the “Dying City”. The town is noted for its striking position atop a plateau of friable volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley. It is in constant danger of destruction as the edges of the plateau collapse due to erosion, leaving the buildings to crumble as their underlying support falls away.

Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio, the “Dying City”

Day 9 – TIVOLI

Today you will discover one of Italy’s hidden gems! Here is Tivoli, a small town in Lazio, about 30 Km east of Rome. The first major sight is Hadrian’s Villa: Emperor Hadrian built it to escape the crowd and turmoil of the capital. Much of the enormous, luxurious ancient villa remains intact today, and you will be surprised by the clever application of Renaissance plumbing in the fountains and waterworks, perfectly integrated with the landscape. There are about 500 fountains here!

Tivoli

Villa d’Este in Tivoli

The other masterpiece in the area is Villa d’Este, the great Villa commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito of the Este family around 1560. Among the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance that most inspired landscape architects and painters, it is an ideal reinterpretation - in a sumptuous way - of the hanging Eden of Babylon. The prestigious residence is surrounded by terraces, stairways and avenues set on each other, decorated with water games so audacious as to reveal considerable engineering skills. The monument was elected the most beautiful park in Europe, as well as UNESCO Heritage with the motivation: "one of the first gardens of wonders, which from the beginning had a decisive influence on the development of European landscape painting ».

Day 10 – ROME

Here you are in Rome, a place where ancient history, excellent art and religious icons mix in a unique blend! Start from the 2,000-year-old Colosseum, the most famous amphitheatre in the world, and the Imperial Forums, the administrative and monumental centre of the Roman Empire. On the Palatine Hill, the grandiose ruins of the Palaces of Augusto, Tiberius and Domiziano still dominate the Circus Maximus valley, 50-meter-high structures giving a unique view of the city.

Walking from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia, on your right you may reach the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, hosting the famous Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses.

From Piazza Venezia, you will head inside “Baroque” Rome, starting with the Pantheon, dedicated to the worship of every god (Pan-every Theon-divinity), now the memorial chapel of great Italian people of the past. After that, don’t miss the Church of St. Louis of the French, famous for the cycle of paintings of the great Caravaggio at the end of the 16th century. Then Piazza Navona, a splendid oval area corresponding to the underground Domitianus’ Stadium, with the gorgeous Fountain of the Four Rivers by Lorenzo Bernini in the centre of the Piazza. And finally Fontana di Trevi, the biggest and most famous fountain of the city, a Rome icon known all over the world: here statues of travertine marble stand over the cliff and the wide basin, in an epic representation of the Kingdom of the Oceans.

On the other side of River Tevere, head for the Vatican hill, home of the tiny state of Vatican city. Here stands the immense St. Peter’s Basilica, dominating the extraordinary Piazza framed by the magnificent four column-deep colonnades designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Basilica itself is an extraordinary casket for some of the most beautiful works of art in the world, such as Michelangelo’s “La Pietà” and Bernini’s “Baldacchino”, along with works of the most important artists of the Renaissance, from Raphael to Canova.

Colosseum

The Colosseum

Inside the Vatican Museums, you will be astonished by the exquisite and unique Sistine Chapel, the sancta sanctorum of Roman Catholic Church, where cardinals of the Catholic Church gather to elect the new Pope! The Sistine Chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere (pontiff from 1471 to 1484) who had the old Cappella Magna restored between 1477 and 1480. The decoration of the walls was executed by a team of painters, Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, assisted by their respective shops. Julius II della Rovere (pontiff from 1503 to 1513), the nephew of Sixtus IV, decided to partly alter the decoration, entrusting the work in 1508 to Michelangelo Buonarroti, who painted the Ceiling and, on the upper part of the walls, the lunettes. The nine central panels show the Stories of Genesis, from the Creation to the Fall of man, to the Flood and the subsequent rebirth of mankind with the family of Noah. Again, towards the end of 1533 Clement VII de' Medici (pontiff from 1523 to 1534) gave Michelangelo the task of painting the Last Judgement on the altar wall.

On your final night you will enjoy a typical Roman dinner at a local home style restaurant, where you will taste the true Roman cuisine in a popular and cheerful atmosphere (see our BLOG at https://www.vitoritalytours.com/blog/item/7-when-you-are-in-rome,-eat-like-a-roman.html).

The tour is over, but the memories of a fantastic journey will accompany you for a lifetime!

Arrivederci for another tour with VITOR, Visit Italy on the Road.