Culture, Food & Fun!


Rome - The Vatican & the Sistine Chapel; Borghese Gardens - family fun!; Climb a leaning tower!; Skyscraper skyline of San Gimignano; Walking the Cinque Terre; Water taxi ride on Venice canals


Dates & Prices

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Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 06 Mar 2016Fri 18 Mar 2016 $3840
Sun 03 Jul 2016Fri 15 Jul 2016 $3840

Optional Single Supplement: $790 (number of singles limited).

Tour Overview

Expressly designed for family holidaymakers, our Italy Family Tour provides the perfect means to share in once-in-a-lifetime experiences with loved ones while exploring one of Europe's most popular, romantic and stimulating destinations. And where else to begin an Italian adventure than in 'The Eternal City' of Rome? The Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and St Peter's Basilica; the initial couple of days of our tour are simply jam-packed with breathtaking and world-famous historic sites. We enjoy a walking tour of Siena, where we have the chance to admire the 12th century Duomo, and spend time exploring Pisa, whose Leaning Tower is grander than any postcard or picture can portray. Hiking in the Cinque Terre region offers magnificent panoramas of scenic countryside and rugged coastline fringed by turquoise seas. Florence and Venice serve as the piece de resistance of our 14-day adventure and what a way to finish! Majestic cathedrals, Michelangelo's Statue of David, Galileo's telescopes and art galleries brimming with famous artworks are sure to etch Florence deep in the memories of travellers and Venice never fails to live up to its reputation as one of the world's greatest cities.

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Italy

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Rome
Today we arrive in Rome and transfer to our hotel.

Few cities in the world are as beautiful as Rome, and few are as glamorous. The Eternal City's ancient monuments and spectacular galleries are looking more magnificent than ever after an extensive restoration program.

Overnight in Rome.

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2 Rome: Colosseum & Spanish Steps
This morning we visit the famous Colosseum, the biggest and best attraction in Rome, and its gory history is part of its charm. Kids will love the idea of gladiators slugging it out, spectacles of hungry lions ready to pounce, mock sea battles. If your kids have gotten into ancient Italian architecture, the Colosseum has it all--Doric, Ionian and Corinthian columns and plenty of room to run around.

In the afternoon we continue to the famous Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732. Its water was supplied by one of Rome's earliest aqueducts. Throwing a coin into the fountain is supposed to ensure your safe return to Rome!

We walk from the Spanish Steps to the Borghese Gardens. We start at the Piazza di Spagna, and head up the steps to the square in front of the Trinita dei Monti church. We'll be in good company with lots of Roman families. You can rent roller blades and bikes, or ride the bumper cars. The Cinema dei Piccoli is a charming little theater in the gardens that shows children's movies in the afternoon.

NOTE: As much of our Rome sightseeing can be accomplished on foot, and because we want to reduce our carbon output, we will not have a private bus today. Where necessary, we will make use of Rome's excellent and efficient metro system. When in Rome...

Overnight in Rome. Breafast and

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Rome: St Peter's Basilica
This morning we visit St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica--it's BIG! The size of this cathedral is impressive, and to get a good idea of just how big it is, we walk down the Piazza San Pietro to get the full effect of a grand entrance. Inside the basilica, we can climb up the dome (or take the elevator). Looking down on the city of Rome is just breathtaking. Michelangelo took over the St Peter's project in 1547 and was responsible for the design of the dome. The cavernous interior, which can hold up to 60,000 people, contains many treasures including Michelangelo's Pieta.

Those with the energy can climb waaaay up to the top for a stupendous view of Rome.

Overnight in Rome.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Rome - Siena: Walking Tour
Today we travel by train to Siena, queen of Tuscany's hill towns (we may have to change trains at one point).

On arrival we check in to our hotel, break for lunch, and then enjoy Siena on a walking tour. Indeed, the Siena city council was Europe's first to ban motor traffic from the city centre. Siena today seems frozen in time; the town has traditionally been Florence's rival as the centre of art and architecture in Tuscany. While Florence is known for its Renaissance art and buildings, Siena takes us straight back to the Middle Ages. Perhaps by preserving its original character more than any other city in Italy, Siena is a showcase of the Italian Gothic style. The walled city of Siena occupies three hill tops and contains a rich artistic heritage.

Included on our guided walking tour of Siena's charming medieval streets and squares is a visit to the Duomo. This huge cathedral, built in bands of black and white marble, dates from the 12th century. Built in the Romanesque and Italian Gothic styles, it has a dramatically painted façade -- partly designed by Giovanni Pisano -- and a soaring black and white bell tower. The inlaid marble floor depicts different Biblical scenes and the cathedral contains a glass-enclosed box with an arm. Tradition maintains that the arm is that of John the Baptist and was used to baptize Christ.

Overnight in Siena.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Siena & San Gimignano
This morning we drive to San Gimignano, called the Manhattan of Tuscany. The medieval town preserves 13 of its noble brick towers, which give it a skyscraper skyline. Today its fortresslike severity is softened by the subtlety of its quiet, harmonious squares, and many of its places and churches are enhanced by Renaissance frescoes. San Gimignano is also famous for the "world's best gelatto."

Our drive this afternoon back to Siena takes us through the wine producing region of Chianti.

This afternoon is yours to explore on your own.

Overnight in Siena.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Siena - Volterra - Pisa - Monterosso
Today we depart Siena by private bus and drive through beautiful and quintessential Tuscan rolling countryside to Volterra. Situated like many Etruscan cities on a high plateau, Volterra offers uninterrupted views over the surrounding hills. In many places the town's ancient Etruscan walls still stand. The exact origins of the Etruscans and when they arrived in Italy, are unknown. Volterra has more recently become famous for its role in the Twilight series of books and films.

We stop in Pisa where we will spend most of our time concentrating on the town's principal monuments -- the Duomo and the Baptistery, and, of course, the most famous structure in Pisa, the gravity-defying "Leaning Tower" where Galileo carried out his experiments into the speeds of falling objects. We will take ample time to view and photograph the tower; advance reservations allow us to avoid long lines for entry into the tower itself.

We continue to Monterosso,* the first of the famous "Cinque Terre," five villages famous for the beautiful walks overlooking the deep blue sea. We have the balance of the day free to enjoy the village and spend time on the beautiful beach, located next to a huge statue carved into the cliffs.

* NOTE: On some departures, especially July (high season), we may spend these two nights in nearby Lerici instead of Monterosso. Hotels in the Cinque Terre are often booked far in advance in summer, or they require a minimum one-week stay. If we stay in Lerici, our access to the Cinque Terre (15 minutes away by train), is still very pleasant and convenient.

Overnight in Monterosso (or Lerici).

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Cinque Terre Hike
Today we have an easy-paced walk between the rugged coastal villages of the Cinque Terre ('Five Lands'). It is a short jaunt to neighbouring Vernazza, where we can pause for some exploration before picking up the trail again for some fantastic views looking back at Vernazza. The next stretch to Corniglia is the longest (about 1.5 hours), with an undulating trail and lots of vistas. Corniglia is often our lunch spot and maybe the farthest we want to walk. Our pass includes a train ticket that can take us to Manarola, from where we can enjoy the short but famous Via D'Amore -- Lover's Walk -- to Riomaggiore.

Our day offers some flexibility whereby travellers not so keen on walking can opt out on certan sections, explore on their own, and meet up with the group later using their all-day train tickets.

Overnight in Monterosso (or Lerici).

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Monterosso - Florence
This morning we depart by train for Florence. After checking in to our hotel, we head to the the biggest "must see": the Duomo. After touring the interior, we can climb up to the top of the dome of the Duomo for a panoramic view of this bella citta.* The cupola is an architectural tour de force. In the 15th century nobody had put such a big dome onto a cathedral, and skeptics hought it would fall down. Hundreds of years later, the dome of the Duomo is one of the cherished landmarks in Florence.

* Optional cost 8 Euros. We may set aside time elsewhere in our program if there is a long queue for entry today.

Overnight in Florence.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore
Today we tackle the inside of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. Look for the fresco by Michelino, that has Dante in his stocking feet, showing off an open book, the Divine Comedy. Behind Dante on the left is a wedding cake topped by Adam and Eve and other poor people in purgatory, and on the right, a surrealistic scene of the Duomo itself.

If the kids still need to run off a little energy, climb up to the top of the Giotto Campanile (bell tower) next door. Bring your binoculars to look at the incredible mosaics in the ceiling of the Baptistry. The scenes of Hell show the devil with horns and snakes coming out of his ears, purple demons and green newts. We also visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo's statue, David.

During our time in Florence we will also visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum which hosts reproductions of the largest and most intriguing machines taken from Leonardo da Vinci's designs. They were built through careful study of Leonardo's drawings and work to a perfection that has never before been achieved. This is a hands-on museum where visitors can actually play with the models and see up close how they work.

The famous food of Florence is gelato (ice cream). Florence lays claim to the invention of gelato by Bernardo Buontalenti, who made it for, who else, the Medicis. Stop at gelaterias often and sample the selection.

Overnight in Florence.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Florence - Venice
This morning we travel by train to Venice (2 hours).

From the 13th-15th centuries, Venice was one of the most luxurious cities in Europe, and a great trading empire with the Middle East -- Marco Polo was 17 years old when he left Venice to sail to Asia. Today Venice is still a city like no other.

Depending on train times, we will likely be able to accomplish an orientation stroll after settling in to our hotel.

Overnight in Venice.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Venice: St Mark's & Campo San Polo
This morning we embark on a walking programme. Before we enter St Mark's Basilica, you might want to climb up the Bell Tower (Campanile) in the Piazza. From the bell tower you'll get a bird's eye view of Venice, and the pigeons in the square down below.

Inside the murky shadows of the basilica, look for yards of exquisite mosaics adorned with gold and the Pala d'Oro altar panel, decorated with thousands of garnets, rubies, pearls and sapphires. We can climb up onto the porch of the church to see replicas of the four life-size bronze horses, brought from Constantinople in the 13th century. (The original horses are in the museum in the bascilica). These horses really got around--in 1797 the French carried off the horses, but returned them to Venice a few years later.

Break time takes us to Campo San Polo--this is the biggest square in Venice where kids will be in good company with all the other Italian kids who come to play.

Overnight in Venice.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Venice: Murano
This morning we take a boat to see Venetian glass-blowers at work on the island of Murano. We tour glass blowing workshops and watch these master glassblowers take a glowing lump and turn it into glassware. We stop into the Museo Vetrario (Glass-making Museum) to see wild and colourful glass creations over the centuries (don't miss the marriage cup with portraits of the bride and groom in glass).

This afternoon is yours to enjoy Venice.

Overnight in Venice.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Departure
Departure from Venice.


Meal plan: Breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel Augusta Lucilla Palace

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Rome
Country: Italy

Augusta Lucilla Palace Hotel is a newly refurbished 4 star Hotel situated in the historic centre of Rome, only 5
... walk from the central train station, Termini.
The hotel is newly refurbished, characterized by Roman architecture of the 19th Century. The interiors have been entirely renovated, embracing the benefits of modern technology with a touch of elegance and style.

Read More.

Hotel Minerva

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Siena
Country: Italy

The Hotel Minerva is situated in the historic center of Siena and commands a view over the whole town. There
... 59 bedrooms with private bath, phone, colour TV, safe deposit box, air conditioning, fridge-bar, laundry service, WI-FI.

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Hotel Europa

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Lerici
Country: Italy

Only 250 meters from the historic center of Lerici and conveniently accessible by a stairway that leads from the hotel
... the seafront and Piazza Garibaldi in only a few minutes, the Grand Hotel Europa is situated in the midst of a grove of olive trees on the hill of Maralunga, overlooking the splendid Bay of the Poets.

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Hotel Caravaggio

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Florence
Country: Italy

Hotel Caravaggio, is within a walking distance from the railway station and, most important, it is very close to the
... famous monuments and museums, which make Florence unique. Hotel Caravaggio has 37 rooms with private facilities, equipped with satellite TV, telephone, minibar, air-conditioning, hairdryer, safe, laundry service, and WI-FI.

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Hotel Belle Epoque

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Venice
Country: Italy

The Hotel Belle Epoque is located in the heart of Venice, a short walk from St Mark's Square (Piazza San
... Complementing the grand palaces and illustrious canals that make Venice famous, the Hotel Belle Epoque bathes guests in the radiance of classical Venetian design. Decor is in the style of the golden age of Venice.

Read More.

Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►


Family pricing: Age 12 and under at time of travel 30% off land price, based on sharing with 2 adults; sharing with 1 adult 15% off

Breakfast and dinner (mostly local restaurants) daily. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.


Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), air taxes (if applicable), and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

The region has a mild Mediterranean climate with long, hot and dry summers. Showers are rare in summer.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Suitability: Age 7 and up. Local transport in Rome by metro (subway). Elsewhere, transport by air-conditioned day train (2nd class), and private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have some full travel days, the journeys are not arduous as there are plenty of stops of interest and beautiful scenery along the way.


Well-located, mostly air- conditioned, mid-range hotels and inns (3-4 star) used throughout. Some hotels are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite bath, though some may have shower only. Porter service is sometimes available (see 'inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins. Triples are not available.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver/s, local step-on guides in several locales.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)