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If you only have one week in Italy, you will have time to see the “big three,” that is Venice, Florence, and Rome. Each is distinct and will provide a wonderful glimpse into the country. A word of warning though: once you’re there, you will not want to come back!
Day 1-3, Rome & Vatican City: Colesseum, Circus Maximus, Forum, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps, Trevy Fountain
Day 4-5, Florence: Shop along the ponte vechio, see incredible works of art at The Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze, visit beautiful cathedrals.
Day 6-7, Venice: Gondola Rides, Piazza San Marco, walk over picturesque bridges for spectacular photo ops, and explore shops full of intricate Venitian masks.
If it's your first visit to Italy, try to plan two weeks in which you can see the countryside as well as the major tourist spots.
Day 1-2, Rome & Vatican City: Colesseum, Circus Maximus, Forum, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps, Trevy Fountain
Day 3-5, Florence: Sienna, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany, Wine Tasting
Day 6, Milan: Pristine Milan is a great shopping city, also offering impressive history and the increcible cathedral at its center.
Day 7, Verona: Famous for it's star crossed lovers, fair Verona is a lovely stop, with a long artistic history.
Day 8-9, Venice: Gondola Rides, Piazza San Marco, walk over picturesque bridges for spectacular photo ops, and explore shops full of intricate Venitian masks.
Day 10, San Marino: Marvel at stunning medieval architecture and stroll through classic piazza's.
Day 12-14, Naples: Take a day trip to Positano and Pompeii. Enjoy classic Nepolitan pizza and ocean views.
If there's one thing Italy is known for, it's food! A culinary tour of the country will showcase their signature dishes, and the traditional way to make them. And a food tour would be nothing without a visit to some of the countries premier wineries where you'll get a taste of classic old world wines.
Day 1-2, Rome: Enjoy your introduction to Italy in Rome, enjoying classic Italian fare at hole in the wall restaurants. Eat dessert al fresco as you taste delicious gelato while lounging on the Spanish Steps.
Day 3-6, Bologna: Learn how to make a traditional Bolognese sauce, and visit where true Parmesan Reggiano is made.
Day 7-10, Tuscany: The rustic charm of Tuscany will be revealed as you walk in fresh gardens, drink delicious wines, learn to make homemade pasta, and picnic in vineyards.
A captivating epicenter for art, architecture, food, scenery, and history, Italy consistently ranks among the top five countries in the world for attracting visitors. From the shimmering lakes of the Alpine north, to the sun-kissed island of Sicily in the south, Italy offers an abundant supply of historical sights, sensory delights, rustic villages and countryside.
Drawn by the allure of some of the world’s most timeless art, architecture, and scenic beauty -- the Roman Colosseum, the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, the canals of Venice, the ruins of Pompeii, and the Tuscan countryside among them -- countless generations of travelers have made Italy one of the world’s most visited destinations. It’s the land of Puccini, parmesan, and pasta -- and so much more.
World-class art museums? Check.
Some of the world’s most beautiful cities? Check.
Food and scenery to die for? Check.
Passionate people? Check.
A vast variety of landscapes and activities? Check.
All this in a country that’s a bit smaller in size than Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana combined. Italy packs in enough culture, scenery and other attractions to fill a continent.
Rome, Florence, and Venice form a rough triangle spanning the upper middle of the country and provide an introduction to the “essential Italy.”
Rome, which legend dates to 753 BC, is a repository of classical ruins now wedged against a backdrop of modernity. Rome is especially magical at night, when its monuments and fountains are illuminated and the glories of ancient Rome -- the Colosseum and nearby Roman Forum being the headliners -- seem not so distant past.
It’s also imperative to take the walk across the Tiber River to what is actually another country, tiny Vatican City, seat of the Roman Catholic Church, where mammoth St. Peter’s Basilica and the opulent collections of the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, await.
Florence, perhaps the greatest art city of them all, straddles the Arno River in the province of Tuscany northwest of Rome. The heart of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th to 16th centuries, Florence nurtured geniuses such as Dante, Giotto, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Raphael.
The Uffizi Gallery contains the world’s top collection of Renaissance paintings, while the Accademia houses the most famous sculpture on earth, Michelangelo’s David. The Duomo, a cathedral whose immense dome is covered with white, green, and pink marble, serves as the city’s most striking landmark.
A tour operator can easily expand a visit to Florence with side trips to other Tuscan cities like Siena, a Medieval walled city; Pisa, best known for the Leaning Tower; and Lucca, where you can walk the old city walls. Genoa is farther up the coast but wewll worth seeing.
The Tuscan countryside is also home to a number of impossibly scenic villages that cling to steep hillsides, invariably topped by a church. Walking tours are a great way to experience the region. Don’t miss the walks through Cinque Terre, five towns perched on cliffs overlooking the sea and connected by trails.
Between Florence and Venice lie a number of potential stopovers: Bologna, Padua, and Verona among them. Venice itself lies on the Adriatic Sea northeast of Florence. Built on some 100 islands dotting a lagoon, the city clings precariously to existence despite the longtime ravages of flooding and pollution. Yet Venice’s grand palazzos and intricate mazes of canals and walkways somehow remain afloat amid almost surreal beauty.
Piazza San Marco, Italy’s most regal square, leads to the Byzantine splendor of the Basilica di San Marco and a passing parade of visitors from around the world.
Near Naples, the ruins of Pompeii and the lesser known Herculaneum were buried under ash and mud, respectively, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The result is a vast trove of archaeological treasure, including artifacts of Roman-era life preserved for centuries until re-discovered more than 1,500 years later.
The city of Naples, always colorful, beckons to the south, as do the islands of Ischia and Capri off the coast. Further south yet is the Amalfi coast, a stunning mountainous roadway passing villages overlooking the Mediterranean. And, across the Straits of Messina from the toe of Italy’s southern “boot,” the island of Sicily, has some of Italy’s most gorgeous scenery as well as its own culture, almost separate from that of northern Italy. Venture around the whole island for a wealth of vistas, vibrant cities and ancient ruins.
Northern Italy gets increasingly mountainous and is dotted with shimmering clear-blue lakes, with Lake Como -- north of the Italian fashion capital, Milan -- being the best known. While touring the far-northern Alpine areas, you might think you were in Switzerland or Austria. You can ski there or enjoy lakeside walks.
With so much to see and do in Italy, it can be daunting as to which regions to explore first. So let Stride help you find the right Italy guided tour for your needs and budget.
|Colosseum, Venice Canals, Pompeii, Santa Maria del Fiore, Amalfi Coast, Monarola (Cinque Terre) & Many More|
|Historic Sightseeing, Small-Ship Cruises, Cycling & Biking and Culinary & Wine Tasting|
|France, Germany, Spain & Switzerland