Northern Italy Escape Tour
Northern Italy Escape Tour
Based on double occupancy
Cinque Terre, Portofino, Florence, Tuscan Wine Tour, Siena, San Gimignano, Lake Garda, Verona, & Milan
Small Group Tour
8 passengers = $4700 pp
12 passengers = $3945 pp
16 passengers = $3699 pp
This is a private, customized small-group tour
Hotels are in ideal central locations
All entrances listed in the itinerary are included. We do NOT promote on tour extra-cost optionals.
Transportation for activities listed in the itinerary is included
Tips for Local Guides and Drivers are included
3 Dinners - Entree, water, drink, dessert
1 Vineyard Lunch - Salad, pasta, wine tasting with antipasti, dessert
1 Vineyard Winetasting
9 Nights in 3-4 Star Hotels
9 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners, & 1 Lunch
Arrival in Milan (MXP)
Meet your Tour Director, Lorna Holland, at the baggage claim area
Enjoy a relaxing cappuccino at the airport before boarding private transportation
Travel to Cinque Terre
Approximate travel time: 3.5 hours
Check-in and unwind at the accommodation
Embark on a scenic hike along the "Lovers Lane." For more details on difficulty, distance, and other information, Contact Lorna. We can customize the plan based on your group's activity levels, including options for an easier route.
Savor a delightful dinner to unwind after a day of hiking.
Experience the breathtaking landscape of Cinque Terre from the sea! Spend the day on a private charter boat with our Skipper, who can take us to the charming port of Portofino. Enjoy a unique lunch at a restaurant on an exclusive beach accessible only by boat. If the weather permits, we can arrange for a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea!
Dinner is at your leisure tonight.
Note: We can adjust the schedule to include dinner on Day 2 or incorporate the seaside lunch on Day 3; just let us know your preference.
Depart by train for Florence. Check into the hotel and drop off your bags.
Explore the Central Market, where you can indulge in fresh farm-to-table foods at individual kiosks on the upper level and shop for spices, pasta, rice, and other delightful souvenirs downstairs. Outside, you'll find an array of leather goods for sale.
In the afternoon, visit the renowned statue of David by Michelangelo. Afterward, join us for an aperitivo or gelato at a friend's bar, and perhaps even enjoy some unconventional surprises!
Dinner is on your own tonight, with two excellent restaurant options – one offering creative pasta dishes and the other serving traditional Florentine-Tuscan fare.
Embark on a scenic journey through the Tuscan countryside using private transportation to explore the hills and charming villages. Begin in Siena, where our Local Guide will provide insights into the city's history, the famous Palio, and the stunning Duomo, considered one of Italy's most beautiful.
Next, savor lunch at an agriturismo, a working farm with animals and a flourishing vineyard. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine while gazing at the picturesque San Gimignano. The meal includes a wine tasting directly from the vineyard, featuring Chianti and Vin Santo. Wines are available for purchase.
After admiring San Gimignano from a distance, we'll journey into the ancient city known for its watchtowers. You can shop for ceramics and spices or climb up to the piazza and reward yourself with world champion prize-winning gelato. We'll return to Florence in the early evening, leaving dinner to your discretion.
Visit the Uffizi Galleries to marvel at centuries of Tuscan art. In the afternoon, explore Florence at your own pace – shop for leather, visit galleries or churches, climb the steps of the Duomo, browse for gold on the Ponte Vecchio, or relax with a glass of Chianti in a charming piazza.
We'll reunite in the early evening for an (included) dinner at a restaurant renowned for its Bistecca Fiorentina, a traditional T-Bone steak that will surpass your expectations. The meal is served family-style with steak, potatoes, and vegetables, and offers menu items for vegetarians and non-red-meat eaters. After dinner, feel free to join the locals for a passeggiata.
This morning, we'll pack up and transfer to Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake.
Take a picturesque boat ride around Lago di Garda. Explore Limone di Garda, known for its lemon-based products, or admire the Sirmione Peninsula from the water, surrounded by stunning cliffs that contribute to the lake's microclimate.
Enjoy dinner either near the hotel or at the hotel itself.
Our Private Driver will meet us at the hotel for a day trip around the region. We'll start in Verona, where our Private Local Guide will lead us on a walking tour of the historic city. Highlights include the Arena stadium of Verona and the opportunity to leave a love letter at Juliet's house. After some leisure time for shopping, our Driver will escort us to a local agriturismo for lunch.
In the afternoon, we'll visit a famous villa designed by Palladio, learning about its history and the brilliant architect himself. Before returning to the hotel, our driver will take us for a wine tasting in the surrounding Valpolicella region, where you'll discover the red and white wines produced here.
Transfer to Milan
Travel to Milan by train and check in at our hotel.
Explore the Church of San Maurizio, often referred to as the "Sistine Chapel of Milan" (open Thursday to Sunday), or visit the Milan Cathedral (Duomo) or the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum to witness DaVinci's "Last Supper" (subject to availability). Enjoy some free time for shopping and last-minute souvenirs.
Join us for our final (included) dinner of the trip.
Transfer to the airport, either by train or private transfer, depending on hotel location and flight times.
Wishing you a safe journey back to America! Buon viaggio!
Travel Tips for Italy:
While Italian is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas. Learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your experience and interactions with locals.
Italy uses the Euro (€). Make sure to carry some cash, as not all places accept credit cards, especially in smaller towns.
Italy has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including trains and buses. We will walk or use public transportation when exploring cities.
4. Dress Code:
Italians often dress stylishly, and many churches and historic sites have dress codes that require modest attire, covering shoulders and knees. Pack accordingly.
5. Dining Etiquette:
Italians typically eat dinner late, often after 8 PM. Lunch is the main meal of the day.
Tipping is not obligatory but is appreciated. Service charges may already be included in the bill.
Italy is generally safe for tourists. However, be cautious of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas, and keep your belongings secure.
7. Electrical Adapters:Italy uses Type C and Type F electrical outlets. Bring the appropriate adapters to charge your devices.
Travel Tips for Italy:
Is it necessary to tip in Italy?
Tipping is not mandatory, but it's customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip, especially at restaurants. Service charges may already be included, so check the bill.
Do I need a visa to visit Italy?
Travelers from many countries, including the United States and most European Union countries, do not need a visa for short tourist visits to Italy. Check the visa requirements based on your nationality and the purpose of your trip.
Can I drink tap water in Italy?
In most cities and towns, tap water is safe to drink. However, some people prefer bottled water for its taste.
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas. However, it's a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments and in rural areas.
Can I use my cell phone in Italy?
Most U.S. and international cell phones work in Italy. Check with your provider for international roaming options or consider purchasing a local SIM card for your trip.
Are there specific customs I should be aware of in Italy?
Italians value politeness and good manners. Greet people with "Buongiorno" (good morning) or "Buonasera" (good evening), and please and thank you go a long way in interactions.
Do I need to purchase travel insurance for my trip to Italy?
It's highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and unexpected events. It provides peace of mind in case of unforeseen circumstances.
What's the best way to handle money in Italy?
Using ATMs to withdraw Euros is a convenient way to get local currency at competitive exchange rates. Notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid card issues.
Is it customary to haggle or negotiate prices in Italy?
Bargaining is not a common practice in Italy, especially in retail stores. However, you can try negotiating prices in markets or when buying from street vendors.
Are there any specific cultural etiquette rules I should be aware of?
Italians value personal space and queue politely in lines. Cover your shoulders and knees when visiting churches and dress neatly in general. Keep your voice down in public places.
How do I deal with the siesta (afternoon rest) in Italy?
Some smaller shops and businesses may close for a few hours during the afternoon for siesta. Plan your activities around this schedule, and enjoy a leisurely lunch during this time.
Can I use my European plug adapters in Italy?
Yes, Italy uses Type C and Type F outlets, which are common in most European countries. European plug adapters should work perfectly.
What's the typical meal schedule in Italy?
Italians usually have a light breakfast, a large lunch (pranzo) between 12 PM and 2 PM, and a lighter dinner (cena) after 8 PM. Restaurants may be closed during the afternoon.
Is it safe to drink Italian coffee?
Italian coffee, including espresso and cappuccino, is safe to drink and a beloved part of the culture. Enjoy the local coffee, but be aware that cappuccinos are typically considered a morning drink.
What should I know about using public restrooms in Italy?
Public restrooms often require a small fee for access, so keep some change handy. Carry tissues or wipes, as not all restrooms provide toilet paper.
Can I drink tap water in all parts of Italy?
While tap water is generally safe to drink in most places, some regions may have harder water or a different taste. You can buy bottled water if you prefer.
Is it common to tip tour guides and hotel staff?
Tipping tour guides is appreciated but not mandatory. You can leave a small tip for good service at hotels, usually a few Euros for the staff who assist you.
Can I use my credit or debit card everywhere in Italy?
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in most places, but it's a good idea to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns and for small purchases.
Remember to plan your trip well in advance, make reservations for popular attractions, and immerse yourself in the rich culture, history, and cuisine of Italy. Buon viaggio! (Safe travels!)