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L&B Italian Tours - Search results for: Turin

Duration: 4 hours

Type of Service: Best of Venice walking tour including Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica

Our Best of Venice Walking Tour with Doge’s Palace and St. Mark's Basilica is perfect for visitors with only a limited time in Venice, who want to get a true taste of the city. In just a few hours we take you to the most famous sites of the city, seeing the Rialto Bridge and venturing inside St, Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. We’ll also visit some quieter spots among the winding streets and piazzas of Venice, where you can get a feel for what it is to live in this floating city. Your tour starts at one of Venice’s must-see sights, the Rialto Bridge. Then it’s through the winding streets and over the tiny bridges of Venice as we delve into the heart of the city. Accompanied by an expert, English-speaking guide, you’ll see Marco Polo’s house and hear about the Venetian son who went to sea one day and came back with stories of China. Learn about the history and culture of Venice, from its beginning as an uninhabitable marsh, to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

As you walk, you’ll encounter the lively piazzas of Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo and Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where Byzantine influences, Renaissance buildings, and modern structures tell the eclectic story of the city’s development.

Next, you will admire the Bridge of Sighs before coming to the heart of Venice – St. Mark’s Square, once pronounced the “finest drawing room in all of Europe” by Napoleon. With Skip the Line Access we’ll get straight inside St. Mark’s Basilica, saving precious vacation time that would otherwise have been wasted in line. Marvel at the diversity of Venetian culture, where eastern architecture and western design have blended to create a structure with an onion dome, before following your guide through the beautiful frescoes inside the basilica.

Special access means we’ll steal some extra time inside the basilica when we climb up to the first-floor terraces. Rarely included on guided tours, the terraces offer beautiful views over the piazza, photo opportunities and some down time to soak up everything you have learned on your walking tour.  One of the highlights of our tour comes at the end when we visit the Doge’s Palace. Once home to the Duke of Venice and the city’s courts, it is the center of Venetian history – and as one of the world’s oldest republics, that’s quite a history. We’ll explore all the best sights of the palace open to the public, from spectacular works produced on demand by artistic masters Tintoretto and Veronese, to the evidence of the genius checks and balances that made the republic so successful.

With your guide on hand to lead you through the most important rooms, to explain magnificent frescoes and to tell you the tales behind every nook and cranny, your visit to the Doge’s Palace will be the perfect way to wrap up your tour through the history and culture of Venice.

Things to know:

  • Private tour with expert English-speaking tour guide
  • Skip the line access to St. Mark's Basilica
  • Entrance ticket to the terraces of St. Mark's Basilica
  • Skip the line access and entrance ticket to Doge's Palace with 1 hour 45 minutes tour
  • Audio headsets available
  • Tour is offered March - November
  • Tour days are; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • Tour starts at 9:00 am
  • Meeting point:  more details given upon booking
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Entrance into St. Mark's Basilica requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women.

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  • Small Small group tours of Best of Venice Walking Tour with 24 people or less are also offered - please inquire within

Additional Info

  • Region Veneto
  • City Venice
  • Duration 4 Hours
  • Highlights

    Explore the history of Venice from inside the Doge’s Palace, the heart of one of the world’s oldest republics. Marvel at the golden mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica, then climb up to the famous terrace level for a rare bird’s eye view of St. Mark’s Square.

  • Pricing & Booking

    The cost for this 4-hour tour to include English-speaking local tour guide, skip the line admission fees for St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace is $698.00 for 2 people.

    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. 

  • Price 698.00 for 2 people
Published in Venice Half Day Tours

Duration: Three Hours

Type of Service: Discover Florence Walking Tour - private tour

Explore the most important sites in Florence with your very own privately guided walking tour. Your English-speaking guide will meet you inside your hotel lobby, and then you will embark on an adventure and learn what it’s like to live as a local in the Renaissance city. With your guide, they will bring you around to the most important sites including the following:

  • Piazza Signoria, with the gorgeous outdoor sculpture gallery – the Logia dei Lanzi
  • The Ponte Vecchio, the oldest and most gorgeous bridge in Florence, dotted with little artisanal gold jewelry shops
  • Via del Corso, the famous shopping street
  • The Duomo, the famous church of monumental proportions, featuring Brunelleschi’s famous dome
  • The Accademia, where you can see the David by Michelangelo, we will provide skip-the-line tickets
  • Church of Orsanmichele, with its gorgeous architecture and outdoor sculptures
  • Admire the Palazzo Vecchio on one side of the square, once the Medici family home, and the many sculptures that surround the piazza – including a replica of Michelangelo's 'David' where the original once stood
  • Piazza Santa Croce, an important piazza and church in Florence in which many famous Florentines are buried – including Michelangelo and Galileo

Things to know:

  • 3 hour central Florence walking tour, led by an expert local guide
  • Explore the San Lorenzo neighborhood and learn about the Medici family
  • See the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of San Lorenzo
  • Walk around the Duomo Complex
  • Stroll through Piazza della Signoria
  • Visit Florence Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’ Accademia) 
  • Skip the line tickets for Accademia Gallery - tickets must be bought 10 days in advance
  • Choose morning or afternoon tour time frame (3 hours)
  • Most Popular and Highly Rated tour
  • The Accademia Gallery is closed on Mondays, therefore the tour will visit an alternate museum 
  • Tour offered 7 days a week, based on availability / no tour dates available December 24 - January 2)
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
 

Additional Info

  • Region Tuscany
  • City Florence
  • Duration 3 Hours
  • Highlights

    Discover the rich culture, history and architectural gems of Florence on this most popular tour.Explore the rich history and top attractions of Florence on a 3-hour walking tour. Led by a local expert guide, hear about the rule of the influential Medici family during the Renaissance as you stroll through the neighborhood of San Lorenzo. Travel past the Medici Chapels, admire the iconic exterior of the Duomo and see the historic Ponte Vecchio bridge.

     

  • Note

    Perfect tour for first-time visitors to Florence!

  • Pricing & Booking

    $250.00 for one person/ each additional person is $40.00 not to exceed 8 guests for a 3-hour private guided tour with Skip the line tickets/registration fees for Accademia Gallery. Please inquiry at janetThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

    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. 

  • Price 250.00 for one person and $40 each additional person not to exceed 8 guests

Duration: Eight hours

Type of Service: San Gimignano, Siena, Chianti Wine Tour and Lunch

With your driver/guide, you and your small tour group of 4 -7 people, will leave from Florence city center 9:00 am.  From there you’ll drive through the gorgeous Chianti countryside. The first stop is at Siena – a beautiful Tuscan hill town with its famous Piazza del Campo ( Campo Square ), where the famous Palio, a horse race, is held twice a year - spend time in Siena touring the city and experiencing its medieval narrow streets. 

From Siena, you’ll then drive to a well-known winery in the Chianti area - spending two hours or so there. You’ll be able to find out a little about how the popular wines from this region are produced. And then, it’s time for lunch! You’ll enjoy a selection of Bruschetta, salamis, and cheeses accompanied by three superb Chianti wines plus VinSanto. 

After lunch, you will then travel to San Gimignano one of the most charming and picturesque Tuscan hill towns. It boasts medieval towers that were built for the richest families of that period. You can visit the cathedral, climb the ‘Torre Grossa’, take pictures of the stunning scenery which will be surrounding you and enjoy gelato in Cistern Square. 

After leaving San Gimignano, the tour returns to Florence via the Chianti area once again. We will stop at the medieval and charming villages of Castellina in Chianti and Monteriggioni, one of the most important and preserved walled castles in the area. Such was its importance – it was mentioned in Dante Alighieri in his most famous work - the Divine Comedy.

Things to know:

  • The first stop is at Siena – a beautiful Tuscan hill town with its famous Piazza del Campo, where the famous Palio, a horse race, is held twice a year - spend time in Siena touring the city and experiencing its medieval narrow streets. 2-hour tour with licensed guide in Siena
  • From Siena, we’ll then drive to a well-known winery in the Chianti area - lunch at a Chianti winery
  • 1 full wine tasting with light lunch in a selected winery in the Chianti area
  • After lunch, you will then travel to San Gimignano one of the most charming and picturesque Tuscan hill towns.  You will have free time to visit the cathedral, climb the ‘Torre Grossa’, take pictures of the stunning scenery shop or enjoy gelato in Cistern Square. 
  • After leaving San Gimignano, the tour returns to Florence via the Chianti area once again and you will stop at the medieval and charming villages of Castellina in Chianti
  • Air-conditioned Mercedes vehicle or similar make
  • Local expert English-Speaking Driver Guide
  • Tour operates with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 7
  • Tour operates on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
  • Tour begins at 9:00 am  (8-hour tour)
  • This tour is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or people with walking disabilities. However, please contact us directly and we will be able to take you on alternative routes suitable for you.
  • Meeting point location - Piazza Republica (more details are given upon booking)
  • Wear comfortable walking or tennis shoes

Additional Info

  • Region Tuscany
  • City FlorenceSan GimignanoSiena
  • Duration 8 hours
  • Highlights

    Enjoy a small group food and wine tour of the Chianti wine area featuring a 2-hour tour of Siena, lunch and wine tasting at a Chianti winery, and the visit of the famous hill town of San Gimignano.

  • Note

    We will provide a private chauffer to drive you throughout the day.

  • Pricing & Booking

    Starting at $245.00 per person.  Inquire within about special rates to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  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.

    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. 

  • Price $245.00 Per Person

Duration: Three hours 30-minutes

Type of Service: Private Walking Tour with Private Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride with Appetizers and Wine Tasting

 Private guided walking tour (1.5-hours), Food and Wine Tasting (1-hour) and Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride/Tour (1-hour)

A private and intimate tour helping you discover Florence, as you visit many famous landmarks. Your tour will begin from your hotel, where you’ll meet your guide for a 90-minute walking tour. You will travel through Piazza della Signoria, a popular hub of activity that hosts the Palazzo Vecchio, an open-air sculpture display, shops, and cafes. Continue to the site of the Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the iconic Duomo, featuring Brunelleschi's Dome. Afterward, pause for a tasting of a regional delicacy at a local and charming enoteca to sample wines and appetizers from the Tuscany region.  After your wine tasting experience, you will embark on a one-hour horse-drawn carriage ride. On board, you will admire monuments and learn amazing details of the city. Your last stop will be at Piazzale Michelangelo for some great photos of Florence's skyline and admire the amazing views. To end your excursion on a  high note, you will be dropped off at a popular gelato shop or at your hotel on the way back.  This is a  perfect way to enjoy and discover Florence.    

Things to know:   

  • Enjoy a 90-minute stroll through the birthplace of Renaissance and become immersed in the art, history, and architecture of Florence
  • 1-hour small-group wine and food tasting experience in Florence
  • Sample Tuscan wines and locally produced snacks in a traditional, family-run enoteca
  • Savor four wines paired with nibbles such as Tuscan cheeses, cold cuts, and olive oil
  • Learn about the wines and foods from your expert, award-winning sommelier
  • Experience the splendor of Florence from a horse-drawn carriage
  • Learn some fun, modern facts, of this great city from your local expert English-speaking tour guide
  • A variety of afternoon and evening departure times are available daily based on availability
  • Minimum of 2 and Maximum of 5 for this private tour
  • Highly recommend booking this tour within 30 days notice of your arrival to Florence
  • Discover the charm of Florence's Oltrarno District and see Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio and Arno River
  • Enjoy a photo stop at Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Perfect introduction for first‐time visitors
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and don't forget your camera

 

 

Additional Info

  • Region Tuscany
  • City Florence
  • Duration 3.5 Hours
  • Highlights

    Discover the history of the Renaissance city on a 90-minute walking tour with food and wine tastings at a charming enoteca and a 60 minute Horse Drawn Carriage Ride in the Oltrarno District in Florence. A perfect introduction to Florence.

     

  • Pricing & Booking

    Rates Starting at $398.00 for a private tour for 2 people to include privately guided tour, English-Speaking tour guide, horse-drawn carriage ride, food and wine tasting fees. Please inquire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for special discount rates for group 3 - 5 people.

    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. 

  • Price 199.00 Per Person

Duration: 8 Day/ 7 night

Type of package: Private trip package

Piedmont, has it all: gorgeous golf courses, deep red wine and some of the most delicious foods in all of Italy. This trip highlights the most gorgeous golf greens, while still making time to enjoy the best culinary and scenic aspects of the region. Come with us, relax on the greens. Enjoy sipping world-class Barbaresco, overlooking the rolling hills of the wineries. After learning how to cook traditional Italian cuisine, heighten your taste-buds by feasting at a Michelin starred restaurant. Allow yourself to be dazzled by the gorgeous city of Turin, the life-blood of the contemporary art movement in Italy. This is truly the height of relaxation.

Trip at a glance:

(Day 1): Transfer from airport in Milan. Check in – relax at your luxury golf resort, enjoy dinner

(Day 2): Truffle Hunt, wine tasting and dinner

(Day 3): Golf at an 18 holes par 70 course along the gentle slopes of the surrounding hills, in an area of 75 hectares (185 acres) with an overall length of 5,320 m (3,29 miles). Dinner at Michelin starred restaurant

(Day 4): Market tour and cooking class in Asti, then guided tour of Asti

(Day 5): Wine tasting at a Barolo winery. Guided tour of Alba, dinner in Nieve.

(Day 6): Guided tour of Turin + dinner

(Day 7): Drive to Cherasco to play golf in another scenic 18 holes course, designed by Marco Croze, surrounded by water and green vegetation. After, guided tour of Pollenzo. Farewell dinner.

(Day 8): Transfer to the airport (Milan)

Things to know:

  • Private Trip
  • Minimum of 8
  • Maximum of 16
  • Meeting Place: Driver will pick up from Airport
  • Must be booked twenty days in advance
  • Transportation will be provided when visiting wineries and for 5 dinners. Airport transfers are included
  • A rental car is required for this trip

Included:

  • 7 Breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 brunch with wine tasting
  • 6 dinners (including one Michelin starred dinner)
  • 1 wine tasting at a Barolo producer
  • 1 cooking class
  • 2 full days of guided tours
  • Transportations on minibus or van as per program (including transfers for 5 dinners)
  • 2 hours of guided tours (days 4,6,7)
  • Food tasting in Alba
  • Chocolate drink in Turin
  • Truffle Hunting

Not included:

  • Golf cart, equipment and gear
  • Any meal or entrance fee expenses
  • Transportation outside of program

Additional Info

  • Region Piedmont
  • City TurinAsti
  • Duration 8 days, 7 nights
  • Highlights

    Enjoy the amazing wine Piedmont has to offer, explore its architectural masterpieces in Turin and Asti, play in a gorgeous golf course, experience a truffle hunt!

  • Note

    This tour does not include total transportation, this is ideal for people who are ok driving and renting a car. This tour is designed for a minimum of 8 people, however we are happy to organize on request for smaller parties.

  • Detailed Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrival Day

    -The day will begin by meeting your driver at Milan airport (MXP or LIN) inside the arrival hall, after baggage claim. Drive to Asti and check-in at your accommodation, a golf resort surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage countryside of the Monferrato hills. 

    -This afternoon relax and maybe take a first walk in the countryside. Tonight dinner is served at the resort's restaurant.

    Meals Included: Dinner

    asti

     

    Day 2: Truffle hunting and brunch with a wine producer
    - Drive to the heart of the Monferrato hills where seashells and tropical fossils left five millions of years ago are still visible on the ground. Meet the truffle hunter and engage in a traditional "hunt" for these delicious culinary masterpieces. The guide will help you to translate with the hunter understanding the strong connection between him and the truffle dogs he uses to hunt.
    - Today for lunch we meet a local family that for generations have been producing the typical red wine "Barbera Nizza." After touring the estate, the family will sit down at the table to partake in a traditional farmer's brunch made of local salami, cheese, frittata, homemade pasta and other local specialties. Sample home-cooking delights with four different wines and relax with the views of the UNESCO Monferrato hills.
    - Drive back to the resort and relax before dinner.
    - tonight we will drive few miles to get to a local trattoria and savour another traditional Piedmontese meal.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, brunch and dinner

    monferrato

     

    Day 3: Playing Golf and Michelin starred dinner
    - Today is yours to play golf or to relax or to hike in the countryside. Take advantage of the green and play golf in this beautiful course designed by the international designer Graham Cooke as a “British links course.” He has designed this 18 holes par course along the gentle slopes of the surrounding hills, in an area of 75 hectares (185 acres) with an overall length of 5,320 m (3.29 miles). Please note cart and equipment/gear are not included in the green fee and they are available for an extra charge
    - Lunch on your own
    - Meet in the lobby of your hotel with your driver who will take you to a Michelin starred restaurant for an unforgettable fine dining experience.
    - Drive back to your hotel

    Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

    golf

     

    Day 4: Cooking class in Asti
    - Drive to Asti and meet your English-speaking chef who will take you for a walk to the produce market to buy some of the ingredients for your cooking class.
    - After a short walk, you'll be wearing aprons and chef's hat in the cooking school located behind one of the main churches and piazza of Asti. Learn how to prepare three traditional recipes in this full hands-on cooking class.
    - Lunch is following to taste what you have made!
    - Meet the local guide at the cooking school and start a walking tour to explore the city center of Asti, founded by the Romans and turned into a powerful medieval town. You will step inside the largest Gothic Cathedral of Piemonte, built in 1326 and boasting precious paintings from the XVI century. The walking tour of Asti will include the medieval towers, the Jewish ghetto and the square where the oldest horse race of Italy (Palio) is run every year.
    - Enjoy some free time in Asti, maybe for some shopping or for some artisanal gelato!
    - Drive back to the hotel. Tonight dinner is on your own.

    Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

    asti2

     

    Day 5: Barolo and Alba
    - Transfer to the area of production of the famous Barolo wine. Visit a traditional Barolo producer that ages the Nebbiolo grapes in old oak barrels and tasting at least three wines. Later the guide will take you on a panoramic drive, over the Langhe hills with photo stops opportunities and a walk around the medieval fortress of Serralunga d'Alba. End with some free time in the town of Barolo for some souvenir shopping.
    - Lunch on your own in the town of La Morra, the highest within this area.
    - This afternoon discover Alba, homemade of the worldwide famous Nutella! Discover the old Cathedral, the Roman ruins and indulge in a tasting of truffle-based products such as spreads, olive oil, cheese
    - Another exclusive dinner is served tonight in the town of Neive, located in the area of production of the Barbaresco wine.
    - Drive back to your hotel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

    barolo

     

    Day 6: Torino

    - Drive to Turin and meet your local guide 

    - Start a two hours walking tour of Torino, first capital of Italy. As you explore the elegant and baroque squares and Palaces, get some orientation and ideas for your free afternoon. The guide will show you the outside of the Royal Palace, of the first Italian Parliament and the Cathedral boasting the Holy Shroud (not displayed at this time). Sit down in one of the historical coffee bar of the city to savor the famous local "bicerin," a delicious combination of espresso coffee and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. 

    - Free time and lunch on your own. Before leaving, the local guide will provide several suggestions on what to do in the afternoon: for example the second largest Egyptian Museum of the World, the panoramic glass elevator of the Cinema Museum, the Royal apartments and armory and of course shopping! 

    - Return to your hotel.

    - Tonight dinner is served in a restaurant near the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

    torino

     

    Day 7: Golf outside Bra and Pollenzo, the cradle of Slowfood

    - Drive to Cherasco to play golf in another scenic 18 holes course, designed by Marco Croze, surrounded by water and green vegetation. Cart and equipment/gear are not included in the green fee and they are available for an extra charge. If you don’t feel to play, the town of Cherasco is few minutes away boasting Baroque Architecture and artisanal chocolate workshops. Lunch on your own.
    - Later in the afternoon meet your local guide to explore the nearby town of Pollenzo, once a Roman city, then rebuilt by the King Carlo Alberto as a neo-gothic 1800s town and today home of the Slow Food University. Transfer to Bra, where Slow Food was founded in 1986, and after admiring the Baroque jewel of the church of S. Claire, sit to enjoy the farewell dinner.
    - Drive back to the hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

    golf2

     

    Day 8: Arrivederci

    -Transfer to Milan Airport

    Meals Included: Breakfast

     

  • Lat/Long 45.071346, 7.685046
  • Pricing & Booking

    $1964USD per person with a minimum of eights. Group discounts available for twelve of more. 

    GROUP SIZE DISCOUNT % $ DISCOUNT FINAL PRICE
    12 - 15 5.00 % $ 98.20 $ 1865.80
    16 - 19 14.00 % $ 274.96 $ 1689.04

    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 has an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

     

     
Published in Things To Do
Thursday, 12 November 2015 19:26

Regions in Italy

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: Alta Italia

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: Tuscany and Rome

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: Untouched

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!

Published in Tips & Tricks

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