Renaissance, romance and ravishing cuisine, from Rome to Venice

The enduring phrase ‘la dolce vita’ – or the good life – truly captures the essence of Italy. Spend 14 days discovering the heart of all things Italian on a culturally rich adventure from the piazzas of Rome to the canals of Venice. Tour the Tuscan countryside on a leisurely cycle along Lucca’s Serchio River, peer into Pisa and marvel at its Leaning Tower, take to the trails of the Cinque Terre for some stunning coastal views, and walk the Portofino Peninsula to be one with its glamourous residents. With time spent wine tasting in rural villages, ferry catching along Lake Como and relaxing among the vibrant centres of Milan and Venice, you’ll soon understand why Italy remains in the hearts of all who visit.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Rome, Italy
Finish
Venice, Italy
Destination
Italy
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZMSV
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Take to the Tuscan countryside and cycle along the Serchio River in Lucca, working up an appetite for the region’s delicious local food and renowned wines.

  • Spend a free day exploring the beautiful villages, estates and gardens dotted around Lake Como, criss-crossing the lake by ferry, and consider exploring the grounds of Bellagio's grand Villa Melzi.

  • Head with your local leader to a quaint rural village in the heart of Piedmonte to sample world-class local wines from unique grapes grown only in this region – saluti!

  • Test yourself on the hilly trails of the Cinque Terre, stopping by the picturesque pastel colour villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza. If you get tired, just jump on the train for the rest of your day!

  • Italy’s iconic Rome, Florence and Venice are a haven of renaissance architecture and historic sights. With plenty of time to discover at your own pace, you have the power to decide what you’d like to see.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and all have toilets; however, they can often be quite busy.

  • Please note that we will store our bags at the railway station in Milan while exploring town. There is a limit of one bag per person for the lockers, so please make sure you pack accordingly. Please also note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the trains, and up and down stairs at train stations and at hotels, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the Essential Trip Information. You may want to consider taking a backpack rather than a wheelie bag, however this is up to your personal preference and what you feel more comfortable with.

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Many hotel rooms in Europe are not equipped with air-conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Hotel rooms in Europe can seem rather small by American or Australian standards and often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. Please also note that often hotels offer shared bathrooms rather than ensuite facilities.

Itinerary

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Crowded with ancient ruins and religious monuments, Rome still pulses to the beat of modern life and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife. If you arrive early, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. Maybe save the unmissable sights for later and today do as the Romans do – sip an espresso at one of the tiny streetside cafes and sample the many flavours of gelato that colour the city. For those captivated by the 'Eternal City', throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome. Keep in mind that there will be an important welcome meeting, usually at around 6 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures - Tasting La Dolce Vita - EUR90
  • Venezia Palace - EUR5
  • Pantheon - EUR2
  • Christian Catacombs - EUR8
  • Castel Sant'Angelo - EUR10
  • Galleria Borghese - EUR15
  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR5
  • St Peter's Dome Climb & Elevator - EUR8
  • Vatican Museum - EUR16
  • Urban Adventures - Wine Tasting with Sommelier - EUR95
  • Urban Adventures - Pantheon One Hour Guided Tour - EUR35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask hotel reception where and when exactly it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Please note that our accommodation in Rome is centrally located only a short walk from Rome Termini railway station in a lively local neighbourhood. Rooms can be small; however, they all are clean and have ensuite facilities.
Enjoy some free time in Rome or, if you wish, your group leader will be available for an orientation walk, taking in some of the best-known sights of Rome like the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum. No visit would be complete without a trip to Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica. Entry to the Basilica is free and there's a small charge to climb the dome for a breath-taking panorama over parts of the city. If there's time, visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. In the afternoon you'll travel by train from Rome to Florence – Italy's outdoor museum (approximately 2 hours). Florence, the cultural heart of Tuscany, bursts with religious treasures and Renaissance masterpieces. It's been said that during the second millennium, a third of Europe's most important artists lived in Florence. The minds and talents of the Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all flourished here. After checking in to your hotel, the rest of your evening is free to explore the city of the Renaissance. Food is also a major part of the city's identity, so why explore some of the Tuscan delicacies on offer with your travel pals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Check the Vatican website for updated information on when you can visit. Tickets for the Vatican Museum can and should be booked online at biglietteriamusei.vatican.va. The Vatican Museum is closed on some days, including most Sundays. On the last Sunday of the month, it's open and free but expect huge crowds. Tickets for Galleria Borghese can also be booked online at galleriaborghese.it. The best day to visit will be your first day in Rome before the welcome meeting, or this morning before the departure to Florence. In order to allow enough time in the museum and to avoid the crowds, it is recommended to start the museum visit as doors open. Please note that pre-booked tickets are not required if you just want to visit St Peter's Basilica and its dome.
Today is a free day for you to explore all that Florence has to offer. It's impossible to see everything in this Renaissance wonderland, so take your time to work out a plan. The principal sights are easily discovered on foot – the Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Arno riverside, the many statues and monuments of the Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, 13th-century, the Baptistry and the Belltower, and the Santa Croce Church. Otherwise, take a visit to the Uffizi – one of the world's oldest art galleries and a work of art in itself. If you’re wanting to see Michelangelo's iconic statue of David, head to the Galleria dell'Accademia. In the evening, perhaps climb the steep stairs uphill to Piazzale Michelangelo a renowned sunset view across the rooftops of Florence. Afterwards, join the locals in taking a passeggiata – a leisurely socialising stroll – perhaps between Piazza Beccaria and Piazza della Repubblica. That is, if you aren’t enjoying a Tuscan meal instead.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures - Florence Foodies Walk - EUR67
  • Urban Adventures - Florence Markets & Delis - EUR58
  • Urban Adventures - Aperitivo Time! Florence Wine Tour - EUR77
  • Florence Baptistry, Museo Opera del Duomo, Giotto Bell Tower and Brunelleschi Dome - EUR15
  • Accademia - EUR16
  • Uffizi Gallery - EUR24
  • Bargello Museum - EUR12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The individual Florentine State Museums have slightly different opening times and closing days between them. Check firenzemusei.it for everything you need to know about all of them, including the option to purchase tickets. It is highly recommended that you pre-book your visit to the Uffizi, as this museum experiences enormous queues – upwards of five hours – all year round. With your free day, you can make your reservations for any time.
No doubt there'll be more to see in Florence this morning, then this afternoon, take a train to Lucca (approximately 2 hours). Lucca is one of Tuscany's real hidden gems, with centuries-old buildings, beautiful churches, charming piazzas and narrow streets within its ancient city ramparts. You’ll be captivated by this charming and medieval town. You’ll be staying in the city centre which allows easy access to all the sights, restaurants and bars – all an easy stroll from the hotel's front door. Make sure you join the traditional evening pastime of many locals and take a stroll along the top of the famous city walls that surround the perimeter of the old city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set off on a cycling tour following the scenic Serchio River through the Tuscan countryside (4 kilometres round the walls that are now a tree-lined avenue, and 14 kilometres by the river, approximately 3-4 hours). Your base in Lucca provides you with the perfect opportunity for a later outing to the nearby city of Pisa (approximately 30 minutes by local train). Here there'll be ample time for you to visit the world-famous Leaning Tower, as well as the nearby Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli and the Pisa Baptistry. The Leaning Tower was built in the 12th century, but its foundation was on shifting sand and clay, meaning that it now leans at an angle of four degrees, after restoration and stabilising work. Continue to wander the streets past high-end boutiques and speciality book and antiques stores, perhaps stopping to enjoy an aperitif. Afterwards, head back to Lucca. An ideal way to end the day is to head to a local bar for a refreshing Prosecco and a delicious focaccia with finocchiona salami and pecorino cheese, best enjoyed in the shadow of the Palazzo Pretorio.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lucca Bicycle Tour
  • Pisa Half Day Trip
Optional Activities
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa - EUR18
  • Pisa 5 Monuments Combo Ticket - EUR10
  • Cathedral of San Martino (including Ilaria del Carretto Tomb) - EUR3
  • Guinigi Tower Climb - EUR4
  • Lucca Bike Hire - EUR15
  • National Gallery Villa Guinigi - EUR4
  • Barga Day Trip by Bus - EUR9
  • Palazzo Pfanner House and Gardens - EUR6
  • Cathedral Museum - EUR4
  • Puccini concert - EUR20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The bike ride may take place today or the previous day, depending on the weather forecast. Your leader will advise closer to the date.

Please note that it’s not always possible to climb the tower of the Pisa Baptistry.
Travel by train to La Spezia (approximately 3 hours) – the gateway to the gorgeous Italian Riviera. A medieval port town whose name is derived from its historic importance in the spice trade, La Spezia is your base for exploring the nearby stunning stretch of coast known as the Cinque Terre. The name comes from the five tiny villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – whose position, wedged into a series of coves between cliffs makes it one of the highlights in the whole of Italy. After lunch, explore the city or perhaps head out by ferry or bus to the pretty seaside town of Portovenere, known for its colourful houses straddling the waterfront. Return to La Spezia and walk around the pedestrian zone on Via del Prione to the gardens along the harbour. Otherwise, opt to take another ferry to Lerici – another small village across the Bay of Poets dominated by its castle – for a waterside dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Portovenere Half Day Trip - EUR6
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, venture out to visit the enchanted Cinque Terre. The footpaths that run between the villages were once the only way to travel in the region, and take you through olive groves, vineyards and on to idyllic, breath-taking vistas. If you're feeling energetic, walking parts of the path (up to 12 kilometres, approximately 5 hours) will give you the best taste of the villages and countryside, though will require a good level of fitness. Some sections of path can be difficult, as there are challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. It's also possible to take the train between any of the villages or back to your base in La Spezia whenever you want. Stop off for lunch at one of the towns and relax in the vibrant atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cinque Terre Day Trip, including Cinque Terre Pass
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to recent landslides in the area, it is currently not possible to walk the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia. There are alternative inland routes, however these are of a higher physical rating and involve steep ups and downs. It is possible to take the train or a bus for these sections. Due to safety reasons some sections of any path can be closed at short notice. Please remember to bring comfortable footwear such as trainers or light hiking shoes.
Travel by train to Santa Margherita on the Peninsula of Portofino (approximately 1 hour). Store your luggage and set off on an energetic 5-7 kilometre walk, finishing in Portofino. Start by wandering down to the Santa Margherita waterfront, past small fishing boats in the marina, enjoying the views back to town. Continue along the road, passing beach clubs, private villas and hotels that command the skyline, where the hills of the Italian Riviera meet the Bay of Tigullio. Spot locals sunbaking in the coves, then cross through some undulating forested terrain. Descend down to the picturesque port of Portofino – the place where the rich and famous come to play. Continue up to the viewpoints surrounding the town, join the glamorous for coffee and people-watching along the harbour, or perhaps stop at a focacceria to try this typical Ligurian bread. Afterwards, enjoy the fabulous coastal scenery with a boat ride back to Santa Margherita (weather permitting). Continue by train to Asti (approximately 2.5 hours) in the Piedmont region, where mouth-watering culinary delights await. Be sure to try a dish flavoured with truffle and indulge in a tipple of Italian wine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Portofino Peninsula Walk and Boat Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, take a bus to the green hills of the nearby rural village of Castagnole Monferrato, where you’ll visit the home of a local winemaking family to sample their vintages. The Ruche grape variety is unique to this region of Italy – it's grown in just seven small villages in the province of Asti and produces a ruby-red, intense and aromatic wine. You may even like the option to enjoy a home-cooked lunch in the village, before returning by bus back to Asti. The town of Asti, located in the Piedmont region, was one of the most important towns in medieval times, sitting on trade routes between Turin, Milan, and Genoa. Today, it’s best known as the home of some of the finest and most sought after wines in Europe – excellent reds and the sparkling white ‘spumante’. It's also the best place to find ‘tartufo’, or truffles – a distinctive regional delicacy. You may be lucky enough to be here on a market day, when the Piazza del Palio hosts the region’s largest open-air market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Village Winery Visit & Wine Tasting
Optional Activities
  • Archaeological Museum - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by train to Milan (approximately 3 hours) – Italy's second largest city and the capital of Lombardy – for a few hours to explore. In this most fashionable of cities, this is the place for stylish shopping and cafes! Explore the city's historic centre, visit the Gothic Duomo and walk between its rooftop sculptures, admiring the views and the stunning Gothic terrace. You may like to visit Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece – The Last Supper – if there's time, so be sure to book tickets well in advance. Alternatively, head to the park of Castello Sforzesco; the perfect destination on a hot day. Later in the afternoon, continue by train and bus to Lake Como (approximately 2 hours) – an area of stunning beauty full of unique and evocative landscapes. Arrive in Como and head up to your base in the small town of Cadenabbia. This small town has a feeling of tranquility, and your accommodation sits right on the lake with incredible views.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Milan Duomo Roof Visit
  • Milan Half Day Trip
Optional Activities
  • Castello Sforzesco - Free
  • La Scala Museum - EUR7
  • Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' from - EUR29
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that your bags will be stored at the railway station in Milan while exploring the city. There is a limit of one bag per person for the lockers, so please make sure you pack accordingly.

Many visitors to Milan will want to take a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper. Tickets are limited, generally selling out extremely quickly – up to six months in advance. If you want to see the Last Supper, you must make arrangements in advance. Today between 1 pm and 3 pm is the most suitable time. The viewing is 15 minutes and, in order not to lose the reservation, visitors must arrive 15 minutes before the time allocated for the visit. For information and reservations visit vivaticket.it and search by its Italian name 'Cenacolo Vinciano'. Other websites will only sell a ticket in conjunction with an additional product such as a guidebook, tour or another museum entry.
This morning, board a ferry to travel across the blue waters of Lake Como to the pretty village of Bellagio. Here you can enjoy a walk through the countryside and discover the estate of the Villa Melzi. This grand white villa sits just back from the water and its surrounding estate is filled with rare and exotic plant life. The rest of the day is free to take the ferry between the various parts of this area of Lake Como, like Varenna, Cadenabbia, or the beautiful Villa Balbianello, which film fans may recognise from films franchises like James Bond and Star Wars. Villa Carlotta is another waterfront villa open to the public. It holds a range of artwork and is surrounded by acres of manicured Italian gardens. Just past Cadenabbia is Tremezzo, where you can find delicious food or an aperitif – sitting dockside, lakeside, or out on a veranda. Simply strolling and admiring the beautiful views whichever way you turn is an ideal way to spend the day. With some fine Italian food tonight, of course.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Como Ferry Pass
Optional Activities
  • Villa Balbianello - Lenno - EUR17
  • Villa Carlotta - Tremezzo - EUR10
  • Villa Melzi Gardens - Bellagio - EUR6
  • Vezio Castle - Varenna - EUR4
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the lakes district behind and head for another watery wonderland, taking the train to Venice (approximately 6 hours). This grand city of bridges, towers, piazzas, canals, churches and gondolas – practically unchanged for 600 years. Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. There are plenty of things to keep you busy when you arrive. Take a walk around the maze of streets behind Piazza San Marco and begin to understand the complex canal system of Venice. The Grand Canal is a great place to start, as you can stroll over the Rialto Bridge and browse the endless amounts of boutique shops that sell Venetian masks and handmade Murano glassware. For dinner, perhaps seek out Venice's distinctive culinary heritage, which goes back to ancient times and features rich risottos, saline baccala (salted cod) and creamy polenta.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Venice Traghetto Boat Ride
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Venture out and explore Venice today at your own pace. There are only two ways to get around this city – on foot or by boat. Take in the famous sights – the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, Doge's Palace, Piazza San Marco with its golden Basilica, and of course, the evocative Bridge of Sighs. You could take a vaporetto (water bus) over to the island of San Giorgio to climb the bell tower for the best view of Venice. No trip here would be complete without a journey down the Grand Canal in a Venetian gondola. See Venetian creativity and artisan wares in the glass in Dorsoduro or down the streets spreading out from the Campo Santo Stefano. Visit the Palazzo Ducale, overflowing with paintings by Italian masters, and contrast it with the modern Guggenheim. In the evening, maybe gather your travel crew together for a celebratory dinner of Venetian specialities, such as fresh lobster and squid ink spaghetti.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR5
  • Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR14
  • Accademia Gallery - EUR15
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR15
  • St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
  • Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR20
  • Gondola Ride - EUR80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! As there is so much to see in Venice, you may want to consider extending your stay. There’s a range of Urban Adventures to embark on in Venice, including Cicchetti & Wine Tour, which takes you around the lanes and canals in search of the best of Venetian culture and wine. See urbanadventures.com/destination/Venice-tours for more information. If you would like to spend more time in Venice, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures - Canal & Aperitivo Experience - EUR113
  • Urban Adventures - Sweet Taste of Venice - EUR52
  • Urban Adventures - Chicchetti of Venice - EUR80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you haven't had enough of Italy yet, why not consider combining this adventure with Intrepid’s Umbrian Discovery back to Rome, taking in the best of this beautiful Italian region, such as Gubbio and Assisi. Most departure dates are designed to create the perfect Classic Italy combination trip. Search trip code ZMSDC on the Intrepid website for more information.

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Train, Private vehicle, Bicycle, Boat, Public bus, Metro

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights)

Included activities

  • Lucca Bicycle Tour
  • Pisa Half Day Trip
  • Cinque Terre Day Trip, including Cinque Terre Pass
  • Portofino Peninsula Walk and Boat Ride
  • Village Winery Visit & Wine Tasting
  • Milan Duomo Roof Visit
  • Milan Half Day Trip
  • Lake Como Ferry Pass
  • Venice Traghetto Boat Ride

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Days 6-7 - La Spezia/Cinque Terre
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability, please speak to your booking agent.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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