12 Day The Heart of Italy

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$3799

Land Only

$4649*

Air & Land



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Featured Hotels

12 Day The Heart of Italy
Palace Bonvecchiati Venice
Bagni di Pisa Hotel San Giuliano Terme
Villa Olmi Firenze Florence
Relais Villa Monte Solare Panicale, Perugia
Hotel La Griffe Roma MGallery by Sofitel Rome

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Dates

*Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.


Additional Information:
Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.


Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.



Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Extend Your Stay

Flight Details


Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Venice, Rome-New York
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
    • 2 nights Venice
    • 2 nights San Giuliano Terme
    • 2 nights Florence
    • 1 night Tavernelle di Panicale
    • 3 nights Rome
  • Italian city hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 18 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Wine is included with lunch and dinner
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination and visit places that other tours miss.
  • Discover the island of Murano with its famous glassblowing factories
  • Experience an Insider's Venice Walking Tour that will take you "off the beaten path"
  • Walking tour of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, with its extraordinary treasures and architectural wonders
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Lucca with tasting of local specialties
  • Marvel at the cliffside villages of Cinque Terre, “five towns” that seem suspended over the Ligurian Sea
  • Learn to shop like a native at the local market, and then travel to the countryside with your chef to prepare an authentic, home-cooked Italian meal
  • Celebrate the beauty of Florence with a walking tour through the historical city center
  • Stop in Siena, a lovely medieval city, known for its famous Palio horse race
  • Tour a vineyard and wine cellar in Umbria and sample some of the local specialties
  • Visit the Vatican Museum and Michelangelo's incomparable Sistine Chapel
  • Explore the grand piazzas of the Eternal City of Rome, jewels of Baroque and Renaissance architecture
  • Experience the monumental grandeur of this ancient city built on seven hills: the legendary Roman Forum & the mighty Colosseum
  • Visit the Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome, and the preserved Apartment of Princess Isabelle

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.


DAY 1, Sunday - Depart for Italy
Depart for Italy

DAY 2, Monday - Arrive in Venice
Benvenuti! Welcome to Italy! Arrive in magical Venice and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure in the city built over a hundred small islands and connected by 400 bridges. Venice is truly an artistic masterpiece. Tonight, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm (exact time will be advised on tour arrival day) with your Tour Manager to discuss the upcoming journey that awaits you in Italy, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Tuesday - Discover Venice
Your discovery of the endlessly fascinating Venice begins with a boat ride on the Grand Canal. View the Rialto Bridge with its busy market area, pass sumptuous palaces and hidden gardens before flowing into the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Murano. The island has been known for centuries for its famous Murano glass. Visit one of the glass blowing factories to witness this intricate art firsthand. Afterward, experience an insider's Venice walking tour that will take you "off the beaten path." Walk the small alleys to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest open spaces in the city, then onto Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the "marble church," a lasting example of early Venetian Renaissance. End your visit at St. Mark's Square, where you will view the beautiful Basilica of San Marco, the pink marble Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, with its famed arched profile that makes one of the most famous scenes of this Romantic city. Don't miss the optional Gondola Ride, definitely a different perspective of this unique city built on water
Optional: Gondola Ride (PM)
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Wednesday - Lucca & San Giuliano Terme
Magnificent panoramas await you today. Travel through the rolling Tuscany countryside to Lucca, a perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture, with its winding streets showing layers of history on every turn; the massive 17th-century walls completely surround the city. Start with a tasting of local products in a historical shop before walking the narrow streets of the original Roman grid to the Church of San Michele and its beautiful piazza, which occupies the site of the ancient Roman Forum. After the tour, spend time on your own to discover this charming town. Continue to San Giuliano Terme for dinner and overnight
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Thursday - Cinque Terre
Today explore the spectacular Cinque Terre*, one of the most beautiful areas of the Liguria region. Here, five small villages, nestled in the cliffs overlooking the sea and the surrounding hillsides, are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the scenic coastline while exploring the villages and the beautiful vistas. This active walking tour covers a fair amount of ground and includes uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Trains and/or boats will be the means of transportation between the towns. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and spend the balance of your day at leisure
* Exact tour itinerary & operation of the tour is subject to weather conditions and will be advised locally
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Friday - Tuscan Cooking Class
Food! Glorious Italian Food! Begin this fabulous day at the local market. Here, you'll shop like a native, following your chef's instructions to buy the fresh produce needed to prepare the most delicious Italian meal. Then, take your ingredients out to a farmhouse in the countryside. After a welcome drink, the chef begins the morning of cooking lessons. The basics include homemade pasta, local soups, homemade sauces, and the recipe for the famous Panzanella. All of the Tuscan secrets will be revealed, and using fresh Tuscan olive oil makes a huge difference in taste. Afterward, sit back, relax, sip a glass of great wine and enjoy your own creation! Continue to your hotel in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps head to the lively center of Florence and immerse yourself in its priceless Renaissance art and architecture
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Saturday - Florence City Tour
Today, take a guided walking tour through the heart of Florence. View the magnificent Duomo, with its Brunelleschi-designed dome, the renowned "Gates of Paradise" of the Baptistery by Ghiberti and Giotto's Bell Tower. You'll be enchanted as you walk through the open-air art museum of Signoria Square, with its Palazzo Vecchio, first residence of the Medici family and today the seat of the city government. Continue to the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the "Old Bridge". Florence is indeed the center of the world's finest art and architecture. During the optional tour of the Accademia Gallery* your guide will reveal the secrets of Michelangelo's world-famous masterpieces, such as the original version of David, I Prigioni, and San Matteo. Tour participation guarantees immediate entry to the Gallery, with no lengthy wait times. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Florence to visit museums, shop for gold and quality leather, or just enjoy the fabulous ambiance
*Optional Accademia Gallery Tour PM, US $49 - Available for purchase only in Italy from your Tour Manager and subject to availability.
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday - Siena & Tavernelle di Panicale
Delight in the scenery as you drive through the Chianti area to Siena, a step back to medieval Tuscany. The heart of the city, Il Campo, was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is also the location of the centuries-old Palio horse race that takes place twice every Summer, during which the participants ride bareback around the spectator-packed square. Take a walking orientation tour of the town before spending time on your own. Later depart for Tavernelle di Panicale in the Umbria region. Tonight, dinner is at your hotel
Overnight: Tavernelle di Panicale
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Monday - Medieval Assisi, Umbria Winery
This morning, travel to the small medieval town of Assisi perched high on a hill in the Umbria region with its winding medieval streets and sacred shrines. Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi - patron saint of Italy. The main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica of San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of St. Francis and Giotto's astonishing frescoes; one of the artistic highlights of medieval Europe. Afterward, visit a winery in Umbria. Linger in the vineyards and visit the cellars before sipping the most famous Sagrantino wines while tasting the homemade local dishes. Travel through the green landscapes of Umbria, dotted with small villages before approaching the Eternal City of Rome
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Tuesday - Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Piazzas of Rome
Today, visit the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour! Your local guide will lead you into the museums, where you will explore part of one of the most important art collections in the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving at the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Stroll through St. Peter's Square, passing Bernini's famous colonnade to view St. Peter's Basilica*, built on the burial site of Saint Peter. Then, a change of pace as you stroll through the characteristic "piazzas and vias" of Rome with your tour guide. Admire the baroque Piazza Navona, built on the site of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian, where great chariot races were once held. Leisure time for lunch on your own before reaching the monumental Pantheon, home of the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and one of the most imitated of all ancient works. Continue to savor the grandeur of the iconic Trevi Fountain, and of course, toss in some coins! Then, on to the majestic Spanish Steps on the Piazza di Spagna, the longest and widest decorative steps in Europe. Spend the balance of your day at leisure, perhaps grab a cappuccino or gelato and indulge in the national pastime of people-watching
*Due to Religious events, the opening times of St. Peter Basilica are subject to change without notice. In these events, clients will visit the Vatican Library instead of the Basilica
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11, Wednesday - Ancient Rome & Palazzo Colonna
This morning visit the mighty Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that once seated over 50,000 spectators. Here deadly contests between gladiators and sometimes wild animals were attended frequently by the rich, the poor, and the Emperor himself. Continue on to the legendary Roman Forum, the central area of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate his tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. This afternoon, visit Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome. Its construction began in the 14th century by the Colonna family, who still reside there after eight centuries. The Galleria Colonna is a true jewel of the Roman Baroque style the construction of which required the expertise of Antonio del Grande, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Paolo Schor, and Carlo Fontana. During the visit, you will admire the works of Bronzino, Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Guido Reni, along with many others. Visit the Apartment of Princess Isabelle, located on the ground floor of the palace which was built upon the foundations of the ancient Temple of Serapis. Here, the Colonna Princess preserves the apartment formally used by Princess Isabelle exactly as it was when she was still alive. To conclude the evening, enjoy a dinner together to bid farewell to your Tour Manager and newfound friends
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Thursday - Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Book Now!
Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Gondola Ride

One of the experiences of any Italian holiday is a Venetian gondola ride. For centuries, the traditional flat bottom boat has been a major means of transportation in Venice though its primary role today is to take tourists on rides. Gondoliers may seem like "rough-and-ready" characters, however they are actually highly skilled operators constantly working on the perfect balance of this watercraft. The profession, handed down from generation to generation, is regulated by a guild which issues a limited number of licenses to highly trained gondoliers to navigate the narrow spaces of the Venetian Canals. Explore part of the Grand Canal as well as some other hidden minor waterways. The gondola holds a maximum of six passengers. Please note that this is not a private gondola ride. Your gondolier will indicate the seating arrangements to balance the boat and you may not be seated next to your travel companions. Though you may envision the gondolier singing to you, there will only be a musician aboard one of the boats in your fleet of several different gondolas.

Pick-up details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 30 minutes.

Day #3 01 Apr 2020 - 31 Mar 2021 $62.00
Gondola Ride Thumbnail

Galapagos, Ecuador, Andes & Amazon, April 2019
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Our trip was delightful! Loved every minute of it, Edwardo was a great host. He knew all of the places, and was very helpful and friendly. Loved that he kept us stocked in water ... The places we visited were awesome! We loved Galapagos and the Amazon and the trips inside those places. Also loved the Discovery tour. It was the right size and the hotels were great. We will definitely be taking more Gate 1 Discovery Tours ...

Mike and Cheryl C. Lewisville, TX
Cinque Terre, Parma, Bologna & Lakes, April 2018
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We had a WONDERFUL trip...We were very pleased with the chance to sample local cuisine and wine. We enjoyed the smaller villages and feeling more immersed in the Italian culture. The weather was perfect, seeing the Alps every day was a real treat. Riccardo's choices of where to eat, to sample wines of the region, or try a local food specialty, was very much appreciated. We will continue to explore Gate 1 small group experiences if it continues to follow this model.

Glen B. Eugene, OR
Discover Burma (Myanmar), January 2017
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One of the best trips ever!!!!! I am planning on returning with my granddaughter. I want to mention our tour manager Mojo who was always on top of everything. I have only praises regarding this magic adventure, thank you Gate 1!

Ana H. Coral Gables, FL
Italy, La Dolce Vita!, September 2016
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Enjoyed our trip, Georgio was an excellent tour director & organized our stay & tours well. He informed us of our schedules in a timely manner. The itinerary was great with diverse activities including tours of churches, palaces, winery & cooking session which we perfect. Liked the small group. All tour guides were passionate, knowledgable about their area & made it interesting. Walking tours gave us a good experience in towns.

Rekha G. Uppr Marlboro, MD