Trip Type : Small Group Tour
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Italy's Great Cities Tour with 2 Days in Tuscany

STORY Land & Sea Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
11 days
From: $ 5,579 $ 507 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Local Expert Italian Guides: Easy-to-understand, Friendly
  • Hosted by STORY Tour Captain throughout your journey
  • Experience Wine-Tasting story Exclusive Tuscan
  • Story's Handpicked Deluxe Heart-of-City Hotels
  • Story's Complimentary Laundry Service Mid-Tour to help you pack lighter
  • Magic Portage included beginning to end
  • Internet WiFi Access for Story Guests
  • Included Gondola with our own Italian Musician's Serenade

Short Description

Imagine the Great Cities of Venice, Florence & Rome, combined with the Enchanting Hill Towns in the Italian Countryside:                Your Italy Story Begins. Featuring Venice, Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, Cortona in Tuscany, Assisi in Perugia, Umbria —Perfectly Paced, Small Group, Slow Travel through Italy

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Venice
End City Rome

Trip Includes

  • Arriving in venice —  Consider our Special Venice Lagoon Water Taxi experience.
  • Our Stunning AnyTime Private Boat Arrival Experience into Venice San Marco: We feature STORY Land & Sea®'s Venice Meet & Greet, Shuttle from Airport (VCE) to Airport Boat Dock with Portage included from the Boat to hotel. Enjoy the amazing ride across the Lagoon of Venice and then enter the magical canals of San Marco. You will arrive our hotel's canal entrance shortly. $88 per person (Sale on! Regular rate is $178 per person), 2 Guest Minimum. Includes all gratuities.
  • Leave the worry to us —  We can arrange your transfer.
  • Departure Transfers in Rome: $69 per person, Rome Hotel to Airport, minimum two (2) guests.
  • STORY Cares: Emergency line support during your tour. In addition to your Tour Captain, we have our in-Italy staff ready to support.
  • No Hidden Fees: Tourist fees & taxes, tourist city taxes all included
  • Professional story tour captain®
  • The consummate host with you from the time the tour begins and until it ends. Our Tour Captains work hand-in-hand with our local Italian team of professionals.
  • Local italian expert guide.
  • >Our expert, local Italian guides in Venice, Florence and Rome speak English well, and possess a passion for sharing Italy with our guests. >Private, Expertly Guided Touring with an easy pace and perfect-balance.
  • Go Inside with STORY Admission and Entrance Fees per itinerary - No Long Lines.
  • Special access, skip-the-line admissions included in venice
  • Special access, skip-the-line admissions included in florence
  • Special experiences included in tuscany
  • Winery estate experience included
  • >Our delightful included lunch experience is at our wine estate in Tuscany featuring a tour of the facilities with an absolutely beautiful presentation of Italian wine paired perfectly with delectable Tuscan cuisine from the region.
  • >STORY Way® Welcome Dinner in Cortona
  • SPECIAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDED IN ORVIETO
  • SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN ROME
  • STORY Way® Dining: Welcome Dinner and Farewell Celebration and Feast - a total of 5 dinners with wine and gratuities included for Deluxe package.
  • STORY Way® DINING INCLUDED —  5 Great Dinners
  • 5 incredibly unique dinners at authentic Italian restaurants (not tourist traps) are included with our Deluxe Tour, 3 are not. Our Tour Captains will invite you to join them to dinner at authentic restaurants each and every night, though you may choose to explore on your own. Deluxe: 5 of 9 dinners included
  • Classic: 1 included, upgrade to 5 total for $390 per person.
  • DISCOVER STORY Land & Sea® IMMERSION SIGHTSEEING
  • World-class sightseeing 'Immersion:' STORY Land & Sea®'s approach to exploring the local scene while integrating lasting experiences that reflect culture and leave the traveler changed for good.
  • Story laundry service
  • Keep your luggage more manageable by taking advantage of STORY's included laundry service upon arrival into Cortona. Your clothes will be laundred and/or ironed for you and returned to you on the evening of Day 7.
  • Portage
  • One (1) piece of luggage up to 50 pounds is included. One (1) carry-on bag is included and must fit on your lap (no roller carry-ons). The carry-on may be stored inside the vehicle for the transfer from Florence through Tuscany to Rome but must fit on your lap. There is some space available in the shelf above your seat but extremely limited.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight

Today, you will depart the home airport on your Transatlantic flight bound for Venice, Italy.

Day 2: Arrival in Venice

Accommodation: Deluxe: Our 4-and 5-Star Deluxe hotels include properties like Hotel Saturnia & International, Hotel Bauer Palazzo or Similar, 2 Nights

The Port city of Venice, Venezia in Italian, is located in the regon of Veneto.

Included Orientation Walkabout

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light

Late this afternoon, you will meet your Tour Captain for an Orientation Walkabout on your arrival day in Venice along the high-end shops and boutiques where our hotels are located into Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square).

You will learn about some of the history and notoriety of St. Mark's. Your Orientation Walk will also point out the major landmarks and the lay of the land in relation to our hotel. We'll introduce you to the best ATM machines for Euro and currency exchange rates, and other helpful information for your stay in romantic Venice.

Day 3: Exploring Venezia

Magic Included: Gondola through the canals of Venice with our own Italian Musicians.

Start your morning sightseeing in style as your Tour Captain and our local Guide escorts you throughout San Marco in Venice. We tour by walking with our professional local guide through Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square), the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison, and the famous Bridge of Sighs. Your guide will describe the setting for an included visit to Basilica San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica).

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample

Romantic Venice

The romance of Venice is apparent every step of the way, from the fine Venetian glass in the traditional style to the classic gondola ride. Enjoy our boat ride on our authentic Venetian-style motorboat through the canals and the Grand Canal of Venice.

The Magic of Wandering Through Venice: Discover your "lost adventure" in this romantic city!

The afternoon on San Marco is at leisure, as it should be! Ideas for your 'own STORY of Venice' this afternoon – might we suggest you take in a boat trip over to the island of Murano to see expert glassmakers craft their art, then take in a visit to their very impressive showroom, and then return to the Venice San Marco at your leisure. Or perhaps you simply enjoy exploring San Marco and discovering more of its secrets — your Tour Captain will help you with ideas for this afternoon as you discover the magic of the canals and myriad sidewalks and delightfully get "lost" in the city of Venice.

Venetian Gondola Ride With Private Musician Serenade

Before the optional dinner tonight, you will enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with professional musicians. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.

Included Excursions

Sightseeing Immersion Tour with our local Expert Guide. Enjoy admission & sightseeing to:

  • Special Access: Skip-the-Line Entrance to the Doge's Palace (meaning Duke or Governor's Palace), the seat of the Republic of Venice's historic power.
  • Basilica San Marco ~ Enjoy the beautiful mosaics and how they reflects and dance in the light. Your Tour Captain "paints the picture" of the history and opulence that is the Basilica San Marco prior to entering. Once inside, enjoy 'silence' as you observe its beauty encased in Byzantine architecture.
  • The Bridge of Sighs: The bridge made famous for its window and last view of blue sky and freedom as prisoners are marched to their sentence. Watch your head!
  • The Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
  • Tour of Piazza San Marco and our "Secret Treasures of Venice:" Learn about the Clock Tower, Campanile Tower, Caffé Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion.
  • Enjoy included admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Moderate

Day 4: On To Firenze

Accomodation: Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Brunelleschi, 2 Nights

Classic: Hotels include Hotel Rosso 23, 2 Nights

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light

We embark on the Eurostar Fast Train from Venice to Florence, city of the Renaissance.

City: Firenze

Province: Provincia di Firenze

Region: Toscana

Wake to venice: Ciao Venezia!

This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then meet your Tour Captain for our included boat transfer as we make our way to the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station for our included, First-Class Tickets on the Eurostar Fast Train to Florence. We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station.

Welcome To Florence

We deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.

Orientation Walkabout: Join your Tour Captain for a Welcome Orientation Walk on your arrival day in Florence along cobblestone streets in the very heart of Florence as you become familiar with the location around our hotel. Enjoy entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari.

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light

Day 5: Immerse yourself in all things Florence

"Today join your Tour Captain and our local guide on a specially guided tour of the city of Florence complete with our Special Access sightseeing immersion."

Florence boasts a variety of fine sights to see, including Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery's Bronze "Gate of Paradise," Giotto's Bell Tower, Signoria Square, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.

Guided Sightseeing Immersion Through Florence

We take our time walking through the Piazza della Repubblica, the famous Piazza Signoria with her old palace, Palazzo Vecchio, and make our way through the portico of the Uffizi complex before arriving at the Arno River and a visit to the "old bridge," Ponte Vecchio. This was the only bridge in Florence to survive the World War II bombing raids.

A great morning sightseeing immersion allows you to enjoy the afternoon for sightseeing on your own. Perhaps leather is on your shopping list? Or are you ready to try an optional culinary experience and see if Chef is a title in your future? We highly recommend the Uffizi Gallery if you want to dig deeper into the vast riches of Florence's art heritage. We can arrange admission tickets, transportation and private guides for you in advance.

Included Excursions

Sightseeing Immersion Tour with our local Expert Guide. Enjoy admission & sightseeing to:

  • Special Access: Skip-the-Line and see Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery.
  • Galleria dell'Accademia: The first art school of Europe.
  • Our tour includes the historic city center which is a World Heritage site that comprises the Baptistery, Campanile, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo. The 14th-century dome was created by Brunelleschi.
  • See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery, so called by Michelangelo. Our STORY Guide will comment on these impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile whose perspective we enjoy from ground level are all part of part of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiori complex.
  • Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.
  • Sightseeing walking tour of Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample

This afternoon explore Florence on your own.

Consider a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) or just explore at your leisure. This Basilica is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie)."

Optional but recommended: Enjoy a unique perspective experience as your Tour Captain invites you to join them to Piazzale Michelangelo, high above Florence. You may walk with the Tour Captain or share a taxi. It's worth the trek to enjoy sunset over Florence.

Day 6: Under the Tuscan Sun

Accomodation: Deluxe: Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili, 2 Nights —  Includes STORY Laundry Service.

Classic: Hotel Italia, Villa Marsili Classic, 2 Nights —  Includes STORY Laundry Service.

Exclusive: Winery Estate Experience

Delightful San Gimignano and a beautiful manor house castello in the heart of beautiful Tuscany await you on today's magical discovery. We're then bound for Cortona.

Cities: San Gimignano, Cortona (lodging) Region: Toscana

Under The Tuscan Sun: San Gimignano

This morning we leave the cities and delve deep into the heart of Tuscany. Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers dating back from the 11th century. San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in San Gimignano, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has several distractions for shopping - so dig in and enjoy!

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample

Unique Character: Uphill walking with stairs and cobblestoned streets.

Here's a toast to you!

We'll toast our arrival into the countryside of Tuscany with a unique perspective and our first taste of Vernaccia, a white wine that hails from San Gimignano.

Chianti Classico Region

STORY Exclusive®: Enjoy our in-depth experience at our winery estate in the heart of Tuscany. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!

Super Tuscan

Our lunch features palate-pleasing appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll get your fill of classic Chianti and Super Tuscan varietals along with delicate cuisine hand-made by the family chef.

Included Excursions

  • Sightseeing and free time in the Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano
  • STORY Exclusive®: Admission, Tour and Wine Tasting at our Estate located in the heart of Tuscany. Beautiful Property with stunning views, delicious varietals paired with sumptuous delicacies. You won't want to leave.
  • Tuscany's Wine Road: Winding through the Tuscan hills, the wine road offers remarkable beauty, characterized by vineyards, wine cellars, distant rolling landscapes, and villages up in the hills.

Walking Level: Light to Moderate, Leisurely Pace, Volume: Moderate

On to Cortona & Our Villa Hotel

Mid to late-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful hill town of Cortona for our third night in the heart of Tuscany. An absolutely beautiful town awaits us and an equally authentic welcome dinner is included.

In the late Tuscan afternoon we will arrive our villa hotel in Cortona. Your Tour Captain checks you in and there is ample time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby tonight for a short walk to dinner.

Included STORY Way® Dining : Join your Tour Captain for a special welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona. It is truly a treasured find where the cuisine and wine delight in the magical ambiance of this delightful hill town.

Day 7: Good Morning Tuscany

Today, enjoy Tuscany at your leisure.

Perhaps it's a thorough exploration of delightful Cortona.

Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.

Perhaps an optional excursions is in order. (View on our website)

Day 8: Enjoying Orvieto

City: Orvieto

Province: Terni

Region: Umbria

After breakfast, we make our way southward on the way to one of the most striking and enjoyable hill towns in Italy, Orvieto.

Its medieval Old Town (upper town) is the crown jewel as it is characteristically outstanding featuring medieval spires on its cathedral along with a beautiful collage of stained glass, sculpture and mosaics dating from circa 1330.

Orvieto is located on a tufa outcropping about 300 feet above the Paglia valley. And though its cathedral boasts most of the attention with STORY you get to visit underground Orvieto with its network of 440 caves. We will go underground to explore this fascinating labyrinth that has been used for stables, refrigeration, wine barrels, water wells and cisterns and more.

Enjoy time at leisure to grab a bite to eat and explore the shoppes and sights.

We will re-board our vehicle mid-afternoon and continue on our journey to Rome: Where all roads lead!

Welcome to the Heart of Rome

City: Rome

Province: Roma

Region: Lazio

Upon arrival Rome, we make our way to the very center of Old Rome and check in to our hotel. The locations of our hotels in Rome are within seconds of the Pantheon.

You will have time to freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain in the lobby for a short walk to our Roman Welcome Dinner.

Included STORY Way® Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a welcome dinner in Roma. Your palate enjoys a different taste as we discover the cuisine of the Lazio region influenced from a long history of the Roman Empire.

Accomodation: Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights

Classic: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights

Day 9: Imperial Rome

Walking In The Steps Of The Emperor

After breakfast, we begin our walking tour of Rome with stops along the way to admire the unique intertwining of history and modernity in Rome.

See ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings, and discover how the modern Romans have intertwined their vast history into present-day experience. We're making our way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the town center of the Roman Empire, for our special access, in-depth touring experience, complete with admissions

We venture back in time with our walk through the archaeological dig that is the Roman Forum

We enjoy admission to the Colosseum with our Local Expert Guide. This landmark is one of the most impressive sights in all of Europe and the world.

Included Excurions:

  • Sightseeing Immersion of Imperial Rome with Local Expert Guide: ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:
  • Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with STORY Land & Sea® with no waiting in lines.
  • Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.
  • Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample Unique Character: Stairs, ramparts and uneven terrain.

Day 10: Vatican City

City: Città del Vaticano

Region: Sovereign City State"

Today we have in-depth touring of St. Peter's and the Square, with Bernini and Vatican City.

Starting with a great breakfast we begin another day exploring the majesty of Rome.

To The City State Of Vatican City

Meet your Tour Captain and our local professional Private Guide in the lobby of our hotel, and board our quick transfer vehicle to Vatican City.

Our tour of the Vatican today features Priority Early Morning Entry (ahead of regular Vatican visitors) as we Skip-the-Line with our special access tour. Enjoy a visit of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square as majestic Vatican City comes to life with our close up exploration. It's an opportunity to appreciate the vast array of art, while learning of some of the history of the Vatican, all in the context of our intimate, small group of travelers.

We finish our tour of the Vatican at St. Peter's Square where you see the multi-color uniformed Swiss Guard on display as they guard the Vatican. Enjoy the perspective that many only dream of from the very heart of Rome.

Our driver and vehicle are positioned nearby and await our call to return to our hotel for the balance of day at leisure.

We recommend a visit to the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Angels): The Mausoleum of Hadrian has served a variety of uses throughout history. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for he and his family.

Included Excursions:

Sightseeing immersion of Vatican City with admission with our Local Expert Guide ~ Today Enjoy Special Access to:

  • Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning. SPECIAL ACCESS: Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included.
  • Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.
  • Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample Unique Character: Stairs and uneven terrain. Robust crowds in most venues.

STORY Exclusive®: Included Farewell to Rome Dining Experience in a very unique venue. One of our favorite nights of fun and celebration, as we toast one another to a wonderful journey together. The venue and activity we have designed for you tonight along with the music, will make for the perfect finale to your Italian vacation. It is a night of great cuisine and, of course, vino along with your new friends.

Day 11: Arrivederci Roma

Check Out or Extend Your Adventure through Italy

Catch flights for the USA from Rome.

Recommended: Extend to the Enchanted Amalfi Coast

Availability

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Price Per Day: $ 507 per day
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Start DateEnd DateDouble StandardDeluxe PricingDeparture GuaranteedAvailability  
Jun-24-2019Jul-03-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Jul-01-2019Jul-11-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Jul-08-2019Jul-18-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Jul-15-2019Jul-25-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Jul-29-2019Aug-08-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Aug-05-2019Aug-15-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Aug-12-2019Aug-22-2019$ 5,979$ 7,579YesLimited Reserve
Oct-21-2019Oct-31-2019$ 6,579$ 7,979YesLimited Reserve
Nov-04-2019Nov-14-2019$ 4,979$ 6,379YesLimited Reserve
Nov-11-2019Nov-21-2019$ 4,979$ 6,379YesLimited Reserve
Nov-18-2019Nov-28-2019$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
Nov-25-2019Dec-05-2019$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
Dec-02-2019Dec-12-2019$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
Dec-09-2019Dec-19-2019$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
Dec-16-2019Dec-26-2019$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
Dec-23-2019Jan-02-2020$ 3,779$ 4,979YesLimited Reserve
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17 STORY Land & Sea Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
5.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 17
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
5.0
Guide
5.0
Activities
4.9
Lodging
5.0
Transportation
5.0
Meals
5.0

Italy's Great Cities Tour with 2 Days in Tuscany

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We decided to trust Story to deliver one of our bucket list trips. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We decided to trust Story to deliver one of our bucket list trips. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT! The tour through Venice, Florence, Cortona, and Rome exceeded our expectations. Absolutely everything was FIRST CLASS. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. We gave it 5 stars only because there aren’t 6. The published itinerary was delivered in spades with special additions, sometimes twice a day. We never touched luggage, as it was moved for us from location to location. We never had to deal with tickets for transportation or museums. The local, private guides were super. The included dinners and wine were superb. This is a no driving, hassle free tour. We are planning to take another Story Small Group tour.

AND, as a special treat, the owner of the company was our tour captain. We tried several things that may be included in future itineraries. In the course of 9 days nothing flustered him. Everything was taken in stride, dealt with and resolved quickly. Nothing interfered with his fantastic service to his guests. We were not customers in any sense of the word. There was never a hint that Story was trying to watch the budget.

For those of you reading this and trying to decide, there are some things you need to consider. (When you have questions, call. You'll find that the Story help line is very knowledgeable and helpful.)

Small group - There were 15 people on our tour (16 is maximum). The tour caption had the time to get to know all of us. We saw lots of groups that appeared to be 40-50 people! You get to decide which is best for you. The smaller group = higher cost. We thought that it was easily worth it.

Walking - There is a lot of walking on this tour. There is always the option to use a taxi to get from place to place (extra cost). Some of the people on the tour with us had apps to count steps. Most showed more than 10,000 at noon time! MANY of those steps are on stairs and rough/cobble stone streets. Many of the stairs are inside attractions - not between them – so they can’t be avoided. By the end of our nine days, some tour group members were opting out of some planned activities. Opinion: If you can't complete a three mile walk, over uneven terrain, at a three mph pace (that's faster than most people walk), comfortably; get in shape. You’ll never do a constant three mile walk, on the tour – but it’ll feel like it.

Weather - We had fantastic weather! Temperature in the mid/low 70's and two sprinkles in nine days. Mostly sunshine. A great time to go.

Crowds - On the other hand, it wasn't such a great time to go. The crowds of tourists were overwhelming, everywhere except Cortona. I.E.: Our private, skip-the-line guided tour of the Vatican was especially BAD. We waited in line for about an hour and then once inside, we were literally shoulder to shoulder for the remaining two - three hours. It was nearly impossible to enjoy/understand what we were seeing. We spent more time trying to keep in sync with the group than looking at the art. The Sistine Chapel was NOT worth the time it took to get there. This was not something that Story could control. If the Vatican is important to you, go some other time of the year! If you are there during the busy season, opt out. There are thousands of fantastic things to see in Rome that won't be busy.

Security - We had a tour guide point out a small group of gypsy/pick-pockets as we exited the Vatican and steered us around them. That was the only "issue" in nine days - not a big deal. But, we were reminded to be "vigilant" many times - especially around crowds.

Navigation - Venice, Florence and Rome are VERY difficult to get around. There are many streets/alleys that run in apparently random directions. The maps available through hotels/tourist agents are not in adequate detail. Consider a hand-held GPS navigation system MANDITORY. Our phone did not have cell connectivity, so we down loaded the Google map. It worked once. Be very careful that you have a navigation device that works! Download a local map and test, test, test in airplane mode (?) before you go.

Driving – If you are going to Italy and renting a car, during the busy season, Venice allows no cars, problem solved. Driving in Florence and ESPECIALLY Rome is crazy. You've been forewarned.

Hotels - As it says, the hotels are in the center of the city/attractions. For example: the hotel in Rome was 200 feet from the Pantheon! This means that some of the buildings are more than 1,500 years old. You'll get used to seeing corners that you'd think should be 90 degrees, but aren't. Be prepared to spend time learning how things work and how to find your room - it'll be different from hotel to hotel and what you are used to! WiFi worked good in each hotel, except Rome. (See review of Grand Hotel de Minirva on TripAdvisor)
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I would absolutely recommend them.

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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We were on a tour of Portugal with Dan Dieckhaus in October 2015. It was a wonderful trip! Dan is a great tour captain and made sure our experience was everything we had hoped for. Portugal is a beautiful country, and I feel like we saw the best of it. We have taken several tours with Queenslander/Story--Land & Sea, and we have loved them all. I would absolutely recommend them. They do it right!
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It was perfect

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My mom and I went to Italy with a Queenslander tour two years ago. It was perfect. I wouldn't change one minute. We are going again this fall! Can't wait!

The trip very enjoyable and memorable

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I went on a trip to Italy led by Caron. It was absolutely fantastic! Our group was small and Caron made the trip very enjoyable and memorable. I never have enjoyed traveling with a tour group before, but going with Queen slander is a different experience than other tour groups I've experienced. Can't recommend Queenslander enough!
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Outmost of integrity and ALWAYS with the absolute determination

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I can see why guests would rate QueensLander Tours with 5 stars, as the guests are treated like royalty for the entire tour. As an employee (Tour Captain) with QueensLander, I can speak from an insider's point of view. This company is run with the utmost of integrity and ALWAYS with the absolute determination to provide exclusive experiences and first class treatment for our esteemed guests. The entire team, whether in office or in the field, work tirelessly to provide the vacation of a lifetime for the very wise traveler who chooses QueensLander Small Group Tours!!
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Very enjoyable trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
In April of 2013 my wife and I took the Philadelphia and Washington DC trip. Mark and Sherry know how to treat their travelers like royalty. It was a very enjoyable trip and the price was very attractive. I would not hesitate one bit going on another Queenslander trip
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Cancellation Policy:

All land services are 100% refundable up to 90 Days before the tour departure date unless otherwise stated.

Trip ID#:

ItaGreCit

Trip Excludes

  • Discovering Italy's Cuisine: Our winery experience includes a dramatic luncheon experience. Other lunches are not included. Our Tour Captains will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches everyday.
  • Airfare is not included but it can be quoted
  • Travel Protection is not included. STORY Land and Sea® recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.

Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 1 Lunche and 5 Dinners

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