Duration: 12 hours
Type Of Service: VIP Small-Group Cinque Terre Discovery & Vineyards Escapes Tour with Seafood Lunch
There is nothing better than the VIP Cinque Terre Discovery & Vineyards Escapes to explore a real Italian coastal paradise with the exclusivity of a small-group tour. This is the most complete experience and the only one-day tour to Cinque Terre that will allow you to discover the beauty of the villages while breathing the true relaxed essence of this paradise. A small-group adventure. The personalized attention of a knowledgeable guide. Exclusive escapes from the crowds that will reveal hidden, no touristy, gems. Relaxed savoring of two of the treasures of this region: its cuisine made of ancient traditional recipes and its local unique wines.
Departure from meeting point in the morning, transfer to the North West Riviera with a comfortable air-conditioned minivan.
During the day the guide will introduce guests to this spectacular corner of Italy, famous for its panorama, its wine, its food, beautiful sea and hiking opportunities.
Our comprehensive exploration will include the visit of some of the most beautiful villages and landscapes of Cinque Terre National Park (a world-heritage protected by UNESCO since 1997) which are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, the villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. You will enjoy the five-mile-long rocky coast lined by thousands of dry walls built on terraces cultivated with vineyards, and the small medieval fishing villages built on rock… add to this the incredible color of the sea and the sky, and you may understand what paradise the Cinque Terre really is. Enjoy the most astonishing views either from land and sea, as we stroll along the national park by boat, train, and walking/hiking on the fabulous trails on the cliff (including famous Via dell’Amore - see notes -) in a perfect mix for a memorable experience.
A delicious full lunch with wine tasting in a typical restaurant on the sea is included, thus you will be able to enjoy incredible fresh seafood cooked the Ligurian way, accompanied by some great white wines typical of this region.
An amazing boat ride (weather and sea conditions permitting) will be an additional memorable perspective on the Riviera, to take back home with you the most incredible pictures of this day.
This experience is a unique opportunity to explore Cinque Terre in a day, also enjoying a few enchanting escapes from the crowds of the villages. You will have the chance to admire the astonishing coastal panorama from a high vantage point, with a very light hike on an almost levelled trail through seaside vineyards. Natural amphitheaters of luxuriant vineyards will disclose to your eyes and senses, facing the sea and the open horizon, and you will learn about the unique peculiarities of grape harvesting (that often include incredible steep mono-rails through the vineyards) and wine production of this region.
Get the best out of a day out, join this small group adventure!
Things to Know:
There is nothing better than the VIP Cinque Terre Discovery & Vineyards Escapes to explore this Italian coastal paradise with the exclusivity of a small-group tour. A Cinque Terre day tour from Florence with a delicious seafood lunch and wine tastings.
Duration: 10.5 hours
Type Of Service: Daytrip from Milan - Full Day Two Countries: Lake Como Tours with Bellagio and Lugano Switzerland - small group tour
Leave The City for a Day -Trying to decide which beautiful sights of Northern Italy to see and how much time you need to see them? We’ll make it easy for you. Our new day trips from Milan take you to three of the most beautiful and most popular destinations - Lake Como and Bellagio in Italy and Lake Lugano in Switzerland – in just one day!
And Bask in Lake Como's Beauty - Our one-day tours from Milan leave from a central, easy-to-reach location in the city. Your air-conditioned private coach will head straight from Milan to Lake Como, just an hour but a world away. Along the way, your expert, English-speaking guide will make sure you don’t miss any interesting sights and will entertain you with stories about them. We take care of all the details of your trip – including roundtrip transportation from Milan and tickets for a boat tour of Lake Como – all you have to do is show up and relax!
Nestled in the mountains with beautiful scenery that changes with each season, picturesque Lake Como has been Italy’s leading vacation destination for hundreds of years. During our boat tour, you’ll see the beautiful lakeside villas once owned by La Scala’s opera singers and now by headlining celebrities such as George Clooney, Richard Branson and Matthew Bellamy of Muse. You might even recognize villas from the Star Wars and James Bond blockbuster films.
Once in the beautiful city of Bellagio you will have free time explore on your own. Shop from local artisans, enjoy local food in nostalgic restaurants or step in for a quick drink in an ages-old bar, it is entirely up you. Take as many photos as you please in this picturesque town before we board our motor coach once again and continue our journey across the Italian border to Lugano.
We now take a scenic drive through the Alps and across the Swiss border to Lake Lugano. It’s easy to see why this city is one of Switzerland’s most popular vacation destinations. Lugano boasts a beautiful, large lake surrounded by huge and often snow-capped mountains.*
You can spend your afternoon in Lugano as you like with suggestions and directions from your guide. Culture aficionados should visit the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli home to Switzerland’s most important Renaissance painting - the beautiful ‘Passion and Crucifixion’ by Bernardino Luini, whose paintings have been compared to those of Leonardo da Vinci. You be the judge!
Lugano Like A Local - Feel like shopping? In Lugano’s downtown shopping district you’ll find plenty of choices - from luxury goods to, of course, delicious Swiss chocolate. We’ll give you lots of time to explore Lugano before you board the coach and return to Milan in time for dinner.
Combining visits to two countries and three of the area’s most beautiful locations in just one day, our day trips from Milan offer the perfect getaway from the hectic city life of Milan. We’ve taken care of the details, so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery…and so much more.
Things to Know:
The day tour starts when you meet your English-speaking guide in central Milan. From there, a private air-conditioned coach will take you to the Lake Como cruise. Your guide will stay with you all the way to Bellagio and then you are free to explore on your own before heading on to the charming alpine town of Lugano. On this relaxing trip, you’ll soon discover why this magical region is known as a “celebrity playground”. All in one day!
Duration: 4 - 5 hours
Type Of Service: Florence to Cinque Terre Private Car Transfer Tour with a one-hour stop-over in Pisa
Our car service transfers provide our clients the opportunity to make the most of their time while in Italy enjoying tours of other popular tourist destinations as they travel from one Italian city to another. On our Florence to Cinque Terre car transfer, enjoy a one-hour stop-over in Pisa and spend time at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and the extraordinary Piazza dei Miracoli, as part of your private car transfer from Florence. Your driver will drop you off at Piazza dei Miracoli and await for your return at the car parking lot.
We can arrange for skip the line tickets for those guests who want to climb the two-hundred eighty-eight steps of the Leaning Tower while in Pisa. The Leaning Tower tickets are 28 euros per person.
Things to Know
Private Florence to Cinque Terre Car Transfer includes a stop in Pisa and a chance to climb the Leaning Tower.
Duration: (8:00am - 6:00pm)
Type Of Service: Unique day tours of Cinque Terre from Florence to Manarola, Vernazza, and Corniglia
Departing from: Center City of Florence
A small group tour with no more than 8 passengers. You will be greeted by your English-Speaking driver/tour guide at a designated location in the center city of Florence. After driving through Tuscany into the Liguria region, your first stop will be the Cinque Terre village of Manarola. Enjoy panoramic views and take spectacular pictures of the land and coast. Manarola is one of the oldest villages of Cinque Terre. You will explore the narrow alleys and pretty pastel squares that epitomize the area, and perhaps sample some renowned local wine at a cozy wine bar and tavern, as you are exploring.
After you visit Manarola, you will meet your tour escort at a prearranged time for your shared boat ride to Vernazza. While on the boat, admiring the dramatic coastline from the water, framed against the hills will arrive at your second stop at the village of Vernazza, arguably the most beautiful of the five villages with a large open harbor, castle, and church. You will enjoy some free time to walk around and have a relaxing lunch(lunch cost is clients responsibility) at one of the open-air restaurants that line the waterfront, or pick up some snacks/picnic lunch and enjoy a picnic lunch down by the water or stroll through the back streets for impressive views along the coast.
After your visit to Vernazza, you will meet your tour escort who will drive you to Corniglia, where you will enjoy panoramic views and take some of the most spectacular pictures.
Things to Know:
A unique tour from Florence visiting three Cinque Terre villages; Manarola, Vernazza and Corniglia.
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!