- Duration: 9 full days + 9 Nights
- Type of tour: point to point
- Tour Starts in Florence
- Tour Ends in Rome
Accommodations with Continental Breakfast:
- Days 1 & 2: 3* to 5* Hotel in Florence city centre
- Day 3: 3* to 5* Country House in Val d’Orcia area
- Day 4: 3* to 5* Hotel in Tivoli area
- Days 5 to 7: 3* to 5* Hotel on the Amalfi Coast
- Days 8 & 9: 3* to 5* Hotel in Rome city centre
- Day 3: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your Country House in Val d’Orcia area
- Day 4: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your Hotel in Tivoli area
- Day 5: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your Hotel on the Amalfi Coast
- Day 8: Transfer by private car OR minivan to your Hotel in Rome city centre – Stopover at Montecassino Abbey
Private Guided Visits / Tours / Activities:
- Day 1: 3-hour private walking tour of Florence city centre with an Authorised Tourist Guide
- Day 2: 2-hour private visit of Galleria degli Uffizi OR Galleria dell’Accademia with an Authorised Tourist Guide - Cooking class with dinner in Chianti area
- Day 3: Full day round trip by private car OR minivan to Siena, Bagno Vignoni and Montalcino with an Authorised Tour Leader – Visit of a Brunello di Montalcino wine cellar with tasting
- Day 4: Full day private walking tour of Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este in Tivoli with an Authorised Tourist Guide
- Day 5: 2-hour private walking tour of Pompei Archeological Area with an Authorised Tourist Guide
- Day 6: Full day round trip by private car OR minivan of the Amalfi Coast - Stopover in Amalfi, Positano and Ravello
- Day 8: Half-day private walking tour of Classical and Baroque Rome, including Colosseum and Imperial Forums Archeological Area with an Authorised Tourist Guide
- Day 9: 3-hour private tour of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with an Authorised Tourist Guide
Admission Tickets to:
- Galleria degli Uffizi OR Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence
- Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este in Tivoli
- Pompei Archeological Area
- Colosseum and Imperial Forums Archeological Area in Rome
- Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome
Meals at selected home-style local restaurants (wine not included):
- 1 3-course dinner in Florence
- 1 3-course dinner in Rome
- 1 lunch in Cetara on the Amalfi Coast
Full assistance 24 hours/day by our Back Office
All taxes (tips not mandatory)
Day 1 - Florence
Welcome to Florence, the land of Giotto and Dante!
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”.
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: Santa Maria del Fiore with Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower
Day 2 – Chianti
Our itinerary includes 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. Alternatively, you may visit Galleria dell’Accademia. hosting Michelangelo's David, the most famous sculpture in the world!
In the afternoon you will explore the Chianti area.
Only a few regions can offer such a beautiful and rich panorama as Chianti: green hills sketched by miles and miles of vineyards and olive groves, ancient walled villages, panoramic curvy roads. Chianti Classico spreads from Florence to Siena and includes the municipalities of Greve, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. Most of the route consists of the grid of roads connecting the larger towns to villages and castles, like the one leading to Radda, former headquarters of the Chianti Military League, and then to Castello di Brolio where Bettino Ricasoli devised the “recipe” for Chianti wine.
In a beautiful Country House, you will attend a cooking class, learning how to cook “the Tuscan way”: Tuscan cuisine is very strong and spicy, with a strong reference to its territory and the recipes dating back to the Middle Ages. Dinner will be served in this relaxing location, where you will eat what you have cooked in the afternoon and taste the excellent wine of the estate!
Day 3 – Siena and Val d'Orcia
Today you will see 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, Piazza del Campo on the day of the Palio
In the afternoon you will drive to 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 in 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.
You will 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!
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. Here you will visit a Brunello winery, tasting what is probably the best Italian red in a celebrated wine cellar. A mix of taste and sight which will surely leave you an unforgettable memory!
Bagno Vignoni in Val d’Orcia
Day 4 - 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!
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 ».
Villa d’Este in Tivoli
Day 5 - Pompei
On your way to Amalfi, today you will stop in Pompeii, the Roman city escavated from the ashes of the Vesuvius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997!
In 62 A.D. Pompei was partially destroyed by an earthquake, and as its reconstruction was still ongoing, on August 24, 79 A.D. the eruption of Vesuvius covered the city and its suburban villas with a thick layer of stones, ashes and lapilli (thick, glassy lava). Herculaneum, on the other hand, disappeared beneath a flood of volcanic mud.
The ruins of the ancient Roman cities offer an unparalleled window into the quotidian life of classical antiquity. Here you can understand how the Romans of the 1st century AD lived: from the brothels and lavatories to the posh dining rooms and the bathing establishments which included modern spas, health clubs and gym. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the town in 79 AD and more than 3,000 people were covered by the debris from the volcano.
Due to its healthy climate and pleasant scenery, Pompeii was a holiday resort for rich Romans. It is now famous for its civic buildings lining the streets that are still intact today. Some of these include the Surgeon’s House, as well as those of the Faun and the Chaste Lovers, which are exceptional examples of the epoch’s architecture. Another remarkable construction is the House of Mysteries, which derives its name from the murals depicting the initiation rites (i.e., the mysteries) of the Dionysian cult. A peculiar characteristic of Pompeii is the florid graffiti covering the walls in just about every building; this is because when the volcanic eruption happened, Pompeii was set to carry out elections in the days ahead – hence the writings and ideograms, which feature both political and sexual content.
Pompei: Casa del Fauno
Day 6 - Amalfi Coast
Welcome to the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi has a typically Mediterranean architecture, made up of lanes and characteristic white houses piled one upon the other. In the Middle Ages, it was of Italy's four powerful maritime republics (with Venice, Pisa, and Genoa). All sea trade in the Mediterranean was once governed by the 12th century “Tavole Amalfitane”, one of the world's oldest maritime codes. A must-see in Amalfi is the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, fronted by an intricately patterned façade, redone in the 19th century. Founded in the 9th century, the cathedral's subsequent alterations have spared its principal glory, the main portal's 11th century Byzantine bronze doors. Next to the church lies the Chiostro del Paradiso (1268), or Cloister of Paradise, whose serious Romanesque tone is enlivened by the Arab elements in its sinuous columns. To escape the bustle of Amalfi let’s take the popular walk along the “Valle dei Mulini”, a steep-sided valley dotted with ruined watermills – “i mulini” - once used to make paper, an industry for which Amalfi was, and still is, famous.
Positano sits in a splendid panoramic position on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. Its enchanting town centre of delightful pastel-coloured houses surrounds the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta; its streets are lined with quaint, colourful shops and its numerous beaches are world famous.
Ravello is situated in a more elevated position than the other pearls of the Amalfi Coast, boasting exceptional views of the coast and its marvellous villas and gardens which, according to French novelist André Gide, are “closer to the sky than the sea”. Here you may visit Villa Rufolo, built in the 13th century, which hosted popes and kings, as well as Richard Wagner, who composed part of his opera Parsifal here in 1880. Views from its idyllic gardens are magnificent!
A trip to Cetara is an absolute must. The village is renowned for a particular gourmet speciality, “colatura di acciughe” (anchovy sauce), which has been produced according to an ancient procedure for generations. “Spaghetti with colatura di alici” is the typical recipe of the place, a dish which you will remember forever.
At dinner, don’t miss Spaghetti with clams in olive oil and garlic sauce, or Seafood Risotto, with a glass of excellent Greco di Tufo white wine.
Day 7 – Capri
An island that offers a landscape of wild beauty sculpted by wind, sea and the hand of man, this is Capri. With a precipitous, jagged coast, and encircled by the famous “Faraglioni” (sea stacks), enormous and uniquely-shaped boulders, and by numerous caves that tell of evocative plays of light. The most famous of these caves is the “Grotta Azzurra” (Blue Grotto), closely connected to the history of tourism in Capri.
Its discovery by the ancient Romans is hinted at by countless archaeological finds - e.g. Villa Jovis, whose construction was commissioned by Emperor Tiberius.
The island continues to be both a legend and a favourite destination for travellers, intellectuals and the international jet-set - "performing" at any given time in the legendary “Piazzetta”, the real-time theatre of the island's 'Dolce Vita'. Beyond the cultural attractions and sea and nature in all their charm, Capri also offers good shopping: tasteful boutiques and artisans' studios selling “Made in Italy” items and typical products alternate along the characteristic sidestreets and alleyways. Moreover, the exuberantly-flavoured local food is tied to the island's maritime and peasant traditions.
The “Faraglioni” in Capri
Day 8 – Rome
On our way to Rome, you will pass by Montecassino, where you will admire the Benedectine Abbey which was built 4 times after destruction over the centuries, the last in 1944 during a fierce battle.
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.
Day 9 – Vatican City
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.
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.
Città del Vaticano: Basilica di S. Pietro
Your Roman experience may include also a Cappuccino and Caffè Espresso class, where you learn how to compare different coffee styles and you will have the chance to make your own professional cappuccino.
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.