Remember the feeling when you were a child and you were set free in the toy store? This tour is the toy store of Italy. We create an intimate gathering of 8-14 people and take them on an exploration of the “Real” Italy you will never forget.
Our entire company was founded upon this single tour program and we have taken this singular experience to a level, which has entertained, astonished and embraced travelers like you since 1995.
Traveling in a small group to Italy in complete comfort, staying in small boutique inns, exploring the streets only the locals know and savoring some of the creamy, rich tomato, olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese tastes from some of the best organic ingredients available.
Welcome to Italy! Your tour host will be waiting for you upon your arrival to the Milan (MXP) Airport. Your driver will carefully load your baggage and your luxury coach will take you on the 45 min scenic ride through the Boromeo Mountain Range to the town of Baveno on Lake Maggiore. Check in and relax.
“It does not get any better than this. Our premiere tour with every aspect hand chosen. The best of the best in food, accommodations, guides, wine, transportation and more! It’s like traveling with a friend”
Your luxury accommodations with lake view will pamper you after your long flight. This evening enjoy a welcome reception with cocktails where you will meet your fellow travelers, Q&A with your host and learn about the wonderful things you will see in the next 12 days. Afterward we will take a short 2 mile coach ride along the lakeside to the neighboring town of Stresa for a private wine, oil and local specialty tasting.
You will taste some amazing wines, sample some food of the area and just relax and enjoy our welcome to you. After the wine tasting you will enjoy a walk in the quaint town of Stresa before we go to dinner. Our dinner will be at one of the best places on the lake, owned by two brothers who not only cook great food but are entertaining as well; a great local experience.
After dinner retire to your hotel or explore the pubs and people watching in the town square. You are here!
Today you will explore the island of Isola Bella in the heart of Lake Maggiore. You will wake to the sights of the calm waters of Lake Maggiore and enjoy the grand breakfast buffet served in an amazing dining area with floor to ceiling windows, crystal chandeliers and fine china.
After breakfast board your luxury coach for a short ride to the docks of the lake. Board the local people ferry for the ride to Isola Bella Island; one of the Borromean Islands of Lago Maggiore. The island is situated in the Borromean Gulf 400 meters from the lakeside town of Stresa.
Isola Bella is 320 meters long by 400 meters wide and is entirely occupied by the Palazzo Borromeo and its Italianate garden. You will be given entrance tickets to the Villa for a walk through the amazing villa with your tour host. Admire the antiques, frescos, grotto, rare paintings and master works of art.
After you exit the villa you will enter the gardens which span more space than the residence itself. Adorned with rare plants, flowers, statues and amazing white peacocks! Lots of casual walking time to take it all in, snap photos and enjoy the island.
Afterward you are free for the remainder of the day. With recommendations from your tour host; you can continue onto the other islands of the lake, go back to the lakeside towns for lunch or hop the local train to Milan for the day; the choice is yours!
Wake to the warm Italian sun and enjoy your breakfast at leisure. In the mid-morning we will carefully load your luggage and leave our Lake Maggiore home for Venice.
Travel through the Italian countryside for a stop in Verona; known for Romeo & Juliet’s Balcony, the only shopping street in Italy in white marble and the famous roman coliseum that now houses world class opera, concerts and theatre.
We will stop in Verona for several hours so you have time for lunch on your own, photos and shopping. Your tour host will show you around and then set you free to explore this special city. In the early afternoon we will continue on to the city of bridges; Venice.
Upon arrival we must send your baggage by boat to the hotel. We will board local boats which will take us to the closest dock to our hotel where our bags will be arriving shortly. Check in, take a refreshing shower, nap or walk around.
Tonight you will be taken to a local restaurant where you will sample some of the dishes of Venice along with the famous local wine. A stroll after dinner for those who want to stretch their legs after a good meal. Welcome to Venice!
Now that you have your feet on the ground in Venice, it’s time to get acquainted with the most unique city in the world; and no way better to do that then with a local showing you around.
After you enjoy your pastries and espresso, we will go to meet our local guide for a private and informative tour of historic Venice. Our guides live in Venice and are certified by the Italian Government for their expert knowledge of the history, culture, daily life of a Venetian. You will be amazed how they will show you around without getting lost; tell amazing stories of history, war and love an
and show you some of the best local places to shop and eat; only a local would know.
When you are finished with the tour you will have a good understanding of the layout of the city because you are free for the remainder of the day. You can see one of the famous museums such as Peggy Guggenheim, take the trip out to see Murano (Glass) or Burano (Lace) islands, or take a romantic Gondola ride. The day and choice is yours!
Enjoy a morning walk while Venice wakes up or enjoy sleeping in as late as possible; it’s up to you because you are on vacation! Today our luggage will be taken by boat to the meeting point for the coach and we will make our way by boat and foot to the waiting coach for the scenic journey to the Adriatic Coastline and the town of Rimini.
Not found on any other tour program; Rimini is to us the real Italian Riviera because it sports flat, clean beaches as far as the eye can see. This section of Italy is considered the cleanest and most pristine patch of beach in all of Italy; complete with parasols, family beach activities and an ancient city center. During the drive you will pass though the countryside admiring the fields of crops, vineyards and rolling hills.
Upon arrival you will check into a hotel that has won the best on the beach many years in a row. Your ocean view room will have an amazing balcony to sit and admire the sea.
Free time after arrival to relax and explore before a very special treat this evening; a 12-14 course dinner over three hours! That’s right we will travel from our hotel this evening to a close friend’s restaurant in the countryside outside Rimini.
There we will experience what only locals know in three hours of eating, tasting, drinking, enjoying and conversing with friends.
Tonight is one that members of the tour remember for years to come. After the amazing dinner we will board our coach for the sleepy ride back to the hotel. Anyone up for a walk on the beach at night, or a trip to an all-night disco?
Start the day with a walk on the beach as the sun rises or just relax during breakfast. Your hotel has a grand spread for your morning meal complete with health bar, juice bar, hot foods, meats, cheeses, cakes and of course the best Italian espresso you can imagine.
After you enjoy your breakfast we will board the coach for a ride to another country; San Marino. San Marino is the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, having been founded on 3 September 301 by stonecutter Marinus of Rab.
Today, San Marino is a country situated in the Apennine Mountains. It is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over 60 km² with an estimated population of almost 30,000. Its capital is City of San Marino.
One of the European microstates along with the Vatican, Monaco, and Andorra, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.
It is a gem for those who know about it because it is a castle in the sky high above sea level and when you are there you feel as if you have traveled back in time to an ancient time of knights in shining armor.
You will meet our private guide for a walking tour of the castle city. Learn what an honor it is to be a resident of San Marino and the rich history of one of the most unique micro countries in the world.
After the tour you will have lots of free time to take in one of the many historic museums, lunch on your own or shopping. In the afternoon we will return to Rimini for free time.
Today we have a mid-morning departure so that you have time to walk the beach, have breakfast in your room or just sleep in.
We will board your luggage very carefully and begin our journey today across Italy’s center toward the town made famous by Francis Mays’ novel Under the Tuscan Sun; Cortona.
We will pass through rolling green hills and through mountain tunnels and when we arrive to Cortona you will be free to explore this small hill top town for lunch on your own.
Cortona has many small shops and lots of quaint charm. After lunch and free time, we will travel through the countryside toward the castle hill town of San Gimignano which will be our base for the next three days.
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from several kilometers outside the town.
The town also is known for the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, grown in the area. The hotel for our stay is a historic medieval hotel that took many years to gain access to because it’s so small and one of only three in the town.
We will check in, explore the area during free time then in the evening you will be treated to a lovely dinner on a balcony overlooking the Tuscany hillside. Dine on dishes with saffron, wild boar and handmade pastas and of course the best local wines!
Florence; The City of Art
Relax and enjoy your simple breakfast on the terrace of the hotel. In the morning we will board our coach for a full day in the city of art; Florence.
Many wonder if only one day is enough time to see Florence; but rest assured our day is very efficient and you will see the majority of sites during your day visit.
If you have been to Florence; don’t worry, we can show you a side of the city never seen before! Once we arrive to Florence we will be met by our local guide for a walking tour of the city. You will be shown around the town as if you were a local; being told of the history and culture of the city that started the Renaissance.
After the tour there is time to visit one of the museums such as the Uffizi or Academia (Optional Tour) or visit the leather market, Ponte Vecchio (street of gold), or the Pitti Palace and it’s amazing gardens.
Join your tour host in the afternoon for an optional refreshing wine tasting (Optional Tour). We will return to San Gimignano in the late afternoon in time to freshen up and go out for dinner on your own in one of the towns many little restaurants.
Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.
The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously un-farmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill-forts.
Today Siena is a thriving university town that hosts the Palio horse race; a traditional medieval horse race is run around the Piazza del Campo in the city square each year.
This event is attended by large crowds, and is widely televised. Seventeen Contrade (which are city neighborhoods) vie for the trophy: a painted flag, or Palio bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During your visit to Siena you will enjoy a private guided tour from a local who lives in Siena and who will explain all the great history of its churches, museums and of course the Palio.
You will have plenty of free time to explore the city before returning to San Gimignano in the afternoon for free time the remainder of the day.
Another late departure so you can sleep in or take that last photo of San Gimignano before we depart.
On our way to Rome we will stop for lunch on your own and upon arrival to Rome we will check into our 4 star hotel located in the heart of the city with almost every major site within walking distance.
Check in and freshen up. In the evening we will go to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner of Roman dishes and wine.
After dinner your tour host will take you on a walking tour of Rome by night.
Another grand breakfast spread awaits you when you wake up. Enjoy your breakfast because today will be filled with walking in the footsteps of the Romans as you go on a private tour of the sites.
Your local guide lives in Rome and will introduce you to the history of the city. Your guided tour will lead you to the Trevi Fountain, a baroque jewel, and to the Pantheon (meaning “Temple of all the Gods”), a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome.
It is the best preserved of all Roman buildings, and perhaps the best preserved building of its age. At the end of the tour we will finally reach the gorgeous Piazza Navona built on the ruins of the Domitian’s Circus adorned by the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini realized in 1651.
After you are free for the remainder of the day and night to make Rome your own. If you choose, some optional sightseeing choices will be available.
Today is yours to make Rome what you will. You will have all day to explore on your own. An optional private tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters will be available (advanced reservations required) otherwise you are on your own until dinner time where we will meet for our grand farewell dinner.
Optional Vatican Visit Details: Each year all of our clients rave about this tour. NO Lines and advanced tickets with private guide. You will be taken through the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and highlights of the Vatican museum with your own private scholar guide. This is the only way to get into the Vatican without standing in hours long lines. You will learn and be able to ask questions of an expert of the Vatican. We recommend everyone take this tour!
Parting is such sweet sorrow. But you are filled with memories of a grand trip across Italy. Enjoy your breakfast and your private transfer from the hotel to the airport. If you would like to extend your trip to the South of Italy or other locations; our staff has the skill and knowledge to get you there in style. We thank you for choosing Italy 4 Real where it’s about the experience!
September 14-26 – Fall Colors