Duration: Nine Hours - 8:30am - 5:30pm
Type of Service: Full day Valpolicella & Amarone Wine Tour
During the day, we'll visit two celebrated wine estates to taste the Famous Valpolicella wines, like the Amarone, Valpolicella Classico, the rare Recioto and other wines.
In between wineries, we'll travel through the enchanting Valpolicella hills, stop for lunch (optional) at a local trattoria, where you can taste some of its local cuisines, and time permitting visit a lovely small village perched on top of a hill from where you can enjoy beautiful vistas over the surrounding scenery: the view on a clear day arrives as far as the Lake Garda.
The region boasts numerous types of indigenous grapes that have been naturally selected over the last 2,000 years. Like the famous wines of Bordeaux, the wines of the Valpolicella are made from a blend of these indigenous vines. Each vineyard has its preference in regards to the types and quantity of grapes used in the production of their wines.
On this tour, you'll enjoy two full wine tastings and vineyard tours of two selected vineyards in the Valpolicella wine region. At each vineyard, a local expert sommelier will conduct a tour of the vineyards' facilities so that you fully appreciate the unique methods of production utilized to make the very special wines of the Valpolicella. With this new knowledge at hand, you'll be able to truly appreciate the unique and diverse wines that you'll taste at each vineyard. Noting the subtle differences between the different wines produced, and the varied tastes they produce on your palette.
In between vineyards, we'll traverse the soft undulating hills that stretch like fingers from the high mountains above, to create the valleys where the Amarone and Valpolicella wines are produced. You'll be enchanted by the lovely country with hills covered in vines, olive and cherry trees punctuated by small rural and sleeping villages. Along the way, and time permitting, we'll pause at a lovely small village, from where, on clear days, you can enjoy views of Lake Garda and visit an Ancient pagan temple that dates back to Roman times.
You'll have an additional opportunity to taste the Valpolicella wines during the optional lunch at a selected local trattoria, that excels in both its regional cuisine and its choice of local wines.
After completing your wine tour of the Valpolicella, sit back and relax while we head back to Venice arriving at approximately 5:30pm (1730).
Things to Know:
Duration: 2.5 hours walking tour and (includes 30-minute gondola ride) - tour begins at 11:30 am
Type of Service: Walking Tour of Venice with Gondola Ride
Follow your expert, English-speaking guide through the quieter streets and piazzas of Venice. As you walk, your guide will captivate you with histories of Ca’ Dario, the cursed (and possibly haunted) house whose owners have continuously met untimely and often suspicious deaths. You’ll learn why music schools around the world are called ‘conservatories’ at Fondamenta degli Incurabili, the hospital where monks took orphans from the streets and trained them as nurses and world-famous musicians.
Along with local legends, you’ll hear tales of familiar characters. You’ll see Harry’s Bar across the canal, where Ernest Hemingway once kicked back after a long day of writing. You’ll see the home of Peggy Guggenheim, the heiress who lost her father to the Titanic but gained the means to build one of the world’s most interesting art collections. (Back in her day Peggy used to scandalize the locals by sunbathing naked on her roof and parading around town with a pack of tiny dogs on leashes.) Remember the play, Othello? You’ll see the house where Desdemona supposedly lived before her tale was transcribed by an Italian author and stolen by a man called William Shakespeare.
Your tour ends on the sweetest note with a gondola ride along the quieter back canals of Venice. Relax as a gondolier, in his ubiquitous striped shirt, rows along waterways built for these very vessels. With a maximum of five people per shared gondola, your tour will be intimate and, with no commentary on this section of the tour, quiet and romantic too.
Things to Know:
You’ll visit the fascinating district of Dorsoduro - explore the back canals of the city by water. Relax on our pre-booked and pre-arranged 30-minute gondola ride.
The cost for this small group tour with a 2-hour walking tour with a local tour guide and 30-minute gondola ride is $82.00 per person.
The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking following the procedures below. Please be sure to review the pricing upon booking.
Booking Procedures and details: Upon hitting the “book now” button, you can choose your date and time, and look over the cancellation policy (terms and conditions), and preview the precise pricing. Once you have entered your details, L&B Italian tours will request your credit card number. We will not charge your credit card until we have confirmed the details for your reservations, this usually happens within 24-48 hours for tours and up to 4 days for trip packages. Once the card is charged your reservation is confirmed. Along with the confirmation, you will get a complete recap of your booking that includes maps, meeting places, times and contact numbers.
Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily.
Duration: Two Hours (7:30am - 9:30am)
Type of Service: Early Morning Walking Tour of Venice
Venice draws millions of tourists every year to experience the beauty of this city. On this early morning walking tour, you will visit some of the city's most popular and famous sites with no crowds. Your first stop is Piazza San Marcos known as St. Mark’s Square, that is filled with centuries of history and is the symbolic heart of Venice, framed by St. Mark’s Basilica, and Doge’s Palace. You will venture on to the Rialto district where you will stop for coffee and learn more about the local life of Venetians. You will see shop owners getting prepared for the day.
Your expert guide will lead you through the labyrinth streets as you continue on toward the Dorsoduro corners. Dorsoduro has some of the most picturesque canals, piazza’s, finest art museums, churches, quaint shops and home to Venice’s university. Throughout the tour, your guide will give you many useful tips about the best places to eat and shop. Explore this floating city before the crowds wake up and catch the early morning life of the locals. The tour will conclude back at the Rialto Market as you experience the colorful shops in the market. An essential tour for the understanding of Venice and a perfect introduction for first-time visitors!
Things to Know:
Duration: Two hours and Thirty minutes
Type of Service: Cicchetti and Wine - Venice's Appetizer and Wine Walking Tour
Taste your way through the back street's bars of Venice with this delicious appetizer and wine tour. Your guide will take you to 3 different enotecas to discover where local Venetians go to drink, eat and mingle. You will visit a nearby bar that occupies the former site of a charcoal store and then stroll over to the Cannaregio neighborhood and visit a 18th-century watering hole on the bustling street of Strada Nuova. The tour will then cross the Grand Canal on a traghetto passenger ferry and stop at the historic, open-air Rialto Market, where many Venetians shop for daily fresh produce and seafood. You will visit one more local bar in central Venice. Each tavern has its unique atmosphere and specialty appetizers (Cicchetti) dishes. Your tour will end at the iconic Rialto Bridge.
Things to Know:
Visit at least 3 - 4 of the city’s best cicchetti bars to experience Venetian tapas style dishes and explore the Rialto Market.
The cost for this private 2.5-hour tour includes local expert English speaking tour guide, food & beverage tasting fees.
The north is the Italy tourists are most familiar with. It's a land of fine wine--especially in Piemonte, Fruili and the Veneto regions. Residents exhibit a preference for Polenta over pasta and butter over olive oil. The land spills from Alpine foothills into lakes and fertile valleys. Summer temperatures make the north the idea place for a mid-year vacation; take in a performance in the Roman Arena of Verona, a cooking class in Venice, or learn how they make Prosecco, the world's most popular sparkling wine.
We partner with incredible wineries in every region in Italy. Enjoy excursions from Florence to the countryside, where our private chauffeurs will whisk you away through the rolling hills to a breathtaking winery with a panoramic view. There enjoy 5 premiums reds, the owner himself will walk you through their process while his wife will cook you homemade pasta. Or, enjoy a crisp bottle of prosecco in a castle a little north of Venice. If you prefer the south, perhaps a bottle of Grillo on the side of Mt. Etna? That’s just the tip of the ice burg, the options are limitless.
So you’ve decided you are GOING TO ITALY! How Exciting! Many people dream of visiting Italy and experiencing la bella vita, and while you certainly can’t avoid it anywhere in the country, there are some things to think about before you take off that will make your time that much more enjoyable.
First, Italy is a large, and very diverse country. Traveling across regions is almost like traveling across countries themselves. The Italian people are very attached to their City, Region, and Country, in that order, so be sure to talk to locals wherever you go to get to know the intricacies of the very different regions of Italy.
Planning your trip’s itinerary won’t be easy since there is SO much to see and do, but a little background on the country’s layout is helpful when decided what it is you want to get out of your time: are you looking for sports? history? art? food? beaches? mountains? fashion? design? Italy has it all, but some places have it better than others!
Italy can best be divided into three geographical areas: north, middle and south, although again across those areas culture, food and tradition varies greatly.
Northern Italy is made up of the Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto-Adige. It boasts such famous cities as Milan, Venice, Turin, Genoa and Bologna. The weather is cooler than the rest of the country due to the northern location and proximity to the Apennines and Alps. This area is traditionally the more wealthy part of Italy, and houses most of the country’s industry. Cities like Milan and Venice can be slightly more expensive than some cities in the central or southern parts of Italy. However, public transportation and tourism services are much more developed and functional than in other parts of the country!
The major airport for the northern region is Milan’s Linate International Airport. There are many other airports in the region however, including Bologna, Venice and Genoa, so do some price comparisons before booking your ticket. The climate in this region varies considerably, both depending on time of year and location. Venice gets extremely hot in the summer, while Turin and the Lake District (Cuomo) stay much cooler and tend to be flocked by Italians trying to beat the heat during the summer months. The Italian Alps begin their ski season as early as November in some places.
Northern Italy has many attractions and offers activities for everyone. Those who enjoy sport and the outdoors may want to visit the lakes for water sports, or go hiking in the Italian Dolomites. Everyone should see Venice at least for a day while they still can! Milan is great for anyone interested in design or fashion, and also has a wide selection of galleries and museums for those interested in both Renaissance and contemporary art. One can also visit the Italian Riviera for some great beaches.
The cuisine of this region is also quite variable, but generally tends to be no the heavier side of some of the traditional Italian specialties we normally think of. This is where Italians eat risotto with saffron, polenta, LOTS of parmigiano reggiano (from the Emilia Romagna province – an area that all foodies must visit), heavy meat dishes and stews, etc. Closer north near the Austrian border we see a lot of Austrian or Slovenian influence in the cuisine, as well as the wines. Prosecco is from the Veneto, and Gewürztraminer is from Trentino Alto-Adige. Think lots of nice white wines, and a LOT of grappa!
Central Italy is made up of the regions Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria. Geographically it also contains Abruzzo and Molise, but they are traditional grouped with Southern Italy due to cultural similiarities. This is where the rolling hills of Unbria and Tuscany call to mind Napa Valley. This is wine country. Central Italy is home to cities like Florence, Siena, Perugia, and of course Roma. Still quite wealthy, but more varied wealth across regions, central Italy is also extremely easy to explore via bus or train, so you can visit some little hill towns in the Val D’Orcia, or take a train and ride up and down the coast. This section of Italy is full of tiny medieval towns, and if you do your research ahead of time, you could get to participate in one of their on-going traditional medieval festivals!
Rome and Florence both have international airports, as does Pisa. Flying into Bologna is also an easy way to get to Florence as they are connected via both fast and regional trains. The weather in the region is quite temperate, with clearly distinct seasons similar to the weather on the mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. The winters are cold, and although snow is uncommon it is not unheard of. The summers get quite hot, going up to one hundred degrees, and the air tends to be humid, especially inland.
Florence and Rome are the dominating destinations in Central Italy, and rightfully so. Rome as the capital and Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance are not to be missed if possible. I would argue each city really deserves its own trip to truly get the most out of what they have to offer. Rome is a massive metropolitan center, filled with tourists all year round. The Vatican is a major destination, its museums housing some of the most beautiful and famous Renaissance artwork, as well as the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The City of Rome of course has many ancient Roman ruins that would excite anyone remotely interested in human history: the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Catacombs, just to name a few. Florence on the other hand is the must-visit for anyone interested in Renaissance art or history, and is also a good base to explore some of the smaller towns in the region that will have you thinking of Under the Tuscan Sun. The Chianti region is full of tiny gems to visit and have an amazing meal at, as is the area between Siena and Rome. You’ll have to get to know the regional bus lines though!
Again, each region has its own traditional cuisine, but Central Italy has some of the healthiest, heartiest, what traditionally would have been peasant food but has now been elevated to an incredible level of International renown. Bistecca alla Fiorentina can only be truly enjoyed in Tuscany, just as Rome is the place to eat Saltimbocca or Osso Buco. Siena is famous for its sweets, traditionally eaten at Christmastime, and the Umbrian town of Norcia, in the Appennine foothills is where the best black truffles can be found, as well as some of the best pork products like prosciutto and salame. The hills are home to wild boar, which is cooked into many traditional stews or sauces. This is also wine country, so look out for Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I could write a whole article about Tuscan cuisine, and I probably will, so check our blog frequently!
Southern Italy is where many Italian Americans origins are. It is the poorest part of the country, and encompasses the “foot” part of the boot of Italy, as well as the island of Sicily and some other Islands off the coast of Naples. It is made up of the regions of Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily. Due to traditional poverty and well-known corruption, transportation to many less-frequented yet extremely beautiful areas is difficult without a car of your own. The trains are regional and buses connecting cities are infrequent. We’ll talk more about renting cars in Italy later, but this may be the area to do so if you are up for the challenge!
The nearest major international airport is Rome, but there are two smaller airports on the east coast: Bari and Brindisi, both in Apulia. Naples has an international airport, and the island of Sicily may be reached via Palermo in the north or Catania in the south. The climate in the South is Mediterranean, so again variable across seasons but markedly warmer than the north or center of the country. The area is frequently overlooked as a tourist destination, so it is a nice respite from the throngs of Florence or Venice if you have the chance to visit. The beaches are spectacular, overlooking truly crystalline water. On clear days you can even see Africa from certain points along the coast.
While Sorrento, the Amalfi coast and the island of Capri are all beautiful places to visit, they are also the most famous tourist destinations in this area. If you are looking for beautiful vistas and country club style and treatment, these resort towns are a perfect place to pamper yourself or take a boat out. If you are more on the adventurous side, continue south and explore the towns of Calabria, famous for its spicy peppers and warm inhabitants. From Naples you can climb Mount Vesuvius and eat a traditional Neapolitan pizza. Matera, in the Basilicata region, is slated to be the European Capitol of Culture in 2019, and boasts what are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in Italy carved out of the rocks that make up its ancient city center. Those interested in architecture will enjoy the cities along the southern coast of Sicily, where due to volcanic and seismic damage, many buildings were rebuilt in a new Sicilian Baroque style.
Southern Italian cuisine is what most Americans think of as Italian cuisine: eggplant parmigiana, pizza, calzone, spaghetti, maccheroni, and the list goes on. The region is big on short, dry pasta, as opposed to the soft egg pastas of the northern, wealthier regions. Mozzarella is from this area, as is ricotta, made light and fresh. San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soil under mount Vesuvius, and are used ubiquitously. Many of the dishes served in the south have Italian-American counterparts due to generations of Italians emigrating to the US from these regions due to extreme poverty. This part of Italy also of course produces much of its own wine, but the wine tends to be drunk young and domestically, rather than bring preserved and shipped. So come here if you are okay with some chilled red table wine or a beer with your pizza!
This has just been an EXTREMELY brief overview of what you might expect as you plan your trip to Italy. Every part of the country has its own secrets, cuisines, and traditions, but if you can’t move there, these generalized descriptions should help you tailor where you want to start and end your visit to the big boot. Once you determine your itinerary, be sure to check seasonal weather charts so you can pack accordingly to where you will be visiting. Read on for more about the items that you will need to bring with you to get the most out of your Italian vacation!
My friend and I vacationed in Italy for a week and visited Venice, Florence, Rome, and Pompeii with the help of Hali at L&B Italian Tours.
Her planning and knowledge of the touristy and not so touristy attractions was exceptional. Hali recommended visiting the Grand Bazaar, which we found rather easily to navigate to with the rail system leaving directly from the airport.
Once we arrived in Italy, she suggested various restaurants and some main attractions. Additionally, she was great help on
finding the best deals for connecting trains between the cities, quality places to stay though Air BnB, and booked us tours that included “skip the line” passes so that we could avoid long lines at major attractions like the Vatican and the Coliseum.
We found her overall knowledge of the cities, transportation and room and board to really give us an incredible trip abroad without breaking the bank!
We loved your tours - Wonderful - meraviglioso / Fantastic - fantastico
My family and I had an amazing time while in Italy. We visited Venice, Florence, Rome - Thank you L&B Italian Tours!
Your tours, tour guides, and customer service were excellent. I will highly recommend you to all my family and friends.
We will be ready to go back in 2 years and I look forward to using your services again.
L&B Italian Tours is a family-owned tour company with plenty of adopted family members, all of whom have a passion for tours & travel. We offer 250+ tours in over 20 cities with expert guides who will help you fall in love with Italy’s history, culture and food.
We have offices in Katy and San Antonio Texas for your convenience.
WE ARE LOCAL
Our enthusiastic team is on the ground in Italy and dedicated to finding the most authentic experiences. We have the expertise to suggest the best locations, local suppliers and local guides. Our headquarters are in the US and we have a staff in Florence and Venice, Italy, so we can be close to our clients during their trip.
WE ARE EXPERTS
With 15 years + in the travel business our strong and diverse team developed a deep knowledge and an extensive network. We are specialists in art and archaeology, food and wine, transfers and accommodations.
WE ARE PERSONAL
We love what we do…Italy is our specialty!
We are a small company so we can treat each client as truly unique. We offer only experiences that we personally love doing.
Growing up, the heart and soul of my family, were my grandparents who emigrated from Caserta, Italy, and arrived at Ellis Island in 1907. They brought with them the traditions and customs their family had practiced for decades. Their stories, traditions, and recipes were shared each Sunday at our family dinners as we gathered around my grandparent’s dinner table. It was their deep passion for Italy; the food, the culture, and the importance of family that ultimately lead to the birth of L&B Italian Tours.
We have the opportunity to help our clients explore and experience Italy through our tours. I am very proud of our company and I know my grandparents would be very proud of us too. And as for family, L&B are the initials of my two nephews and we work side by side every day in turning our customer’s vision into a reality and creating memories for a lifetime.