Best First Time Italy Tour
Italy's Great Cities Tour

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  • The Perfectly Paced First-Time Tour of Italy
    10 Days (11 Days Air): Begin in Venice, Florence,
    Tuscan Countryside, and Rome
    Authentic Small Group up to 16 Guests
  •  
  • Journey from 10 to 14 Days: Add Bellagio on
    Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast

Perfect Blend of Sights, Experiences and Leisure.


Deluxe fr.
$6,575
Classic fr. $5,575

Experience our life-changing small group tour through Italy.
Roof-top Experiences. Balanced Sightseeing: Mornings with our Guides, Afternoons at leisure or add options. Amazing Journey Tour Captains invite you each night to dinner.
Handpicked Hotels. No Big Buses. No Long Lines. No Up-sell while on tour.

 
 

Choose the right Italy's Great Cities Tour for you — 

The Original 10 Day, or expand your Journey with our 12 and 14-Day itineraries:

 

10 Day Tour — JUMP TO ITINERARY | CHAT WITH US

Meet Italy's Great Cities Tour with 2 Beautiful Days in the Tuscan Countryside

This is the Italy Tour you've been searching for — 

Journey's Small Group Tour through Italy's Great Cities Features Venice, Florence, 2 days in the Tuscan Countryside and Rome.
THIS IS WHY WE SUGGEST JOURNEY FOR YOUR ITALIAN VACATION:
  • English-Speaking Tour Captain and Expert Local Italian Guides
  • Hand-Picked Select Deluxe and Classic Hotels
  • SMALL GROUP BENEFITS: Small group of like-minded travelers.
  • No Up-Selling on tour, No Big Buses or Groups
  • UNIQUE IN THE INDUSTRY DINING: Unlimited Premium Beverages; 15 Meals: 9 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners / Apericena, Wine Tasting + Lunch
  • PRIVILEGED ACCESS: Skip-the-Long-Line Admissions with special access
  • LAUNDRY SERVICE: Journey's Complimentary Mid-Tour Laundry Service
  • Fast Train in style Venice to Florence. Comfy micro-coach to Rome
  • No Hidden Costs: Fees, taxes and gratuities excluding the Tour Captain
What's the Difference between Deluxe and Classic?


Journey's selection of Deluxe and Classic hotels are not just centrally located, but in the Historic Centers and sections of towns you want to be in.

Our Deluxe package includes a full, hot daily breakfast, 5 of the 9 dinners and 4+ to 5 Star hotel properties featuring large, air-conditioned guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Our Classic package includes continental breakfast, Venice Welcome Dinner (guests may upgrade to the total 5 dinners included for $390 per person), and 3 to 4 Star hotels with ensuite bathrooms.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about this Journey
Answers to questions we've been asked about this trip and our approach to travel.


Enjoy a walk-through of Italy's Great Cities Tour


2022-2023 10-Day Tour
Dates & Pricing
2022 Tour Dates
Request a Reservation

Prices are per person in US Dollars and based on 2 guests in a room. Solo Supplement in Deluxe $1997. Classic Solo: $1379. Choose from Deluxe or Classic Packages. Optional pre-tour 2 Days/Nights Lake Como ($1388pp) and post-tour 2 Days/Nights Amalfi Coast ($1388pp) extensions available on these departures.

Trip Dates Deluxe Classic Price/Person in USD
Italy in September
In addition to harvest in Tuscany, Umbria and elsewhere, September is one of the best times to enjoy this amazing land. Highs in the 70s-80s, great weather patterns, beautiful light.
Sep 13–22 $6,975 $5,975 CALL OR CHAT FOR AVAILABILITY
Sep 20–29 $6,975 $5,975 CALL OR CHAT FOR AVAILABILITY
Sep 24–Oct 3
$6,975 $5,975 CALL OR CHAT FOR AVAILABILITY
Italy in October
Though the hot summer temps are gone, October can still see some warm days. Highs in the 60s to low 70s.
Oct 8–17 $6,975 $5,975 CALL OR CHAT FOR AVAILABILITY
Oct 18–27 $6,975 $5,975 NOW
BOOKING
Oct 25–Nov 3 $6,975 $5,975 NOW
BOOKING
Italy in November & December
Fall and winter time temps, with low crowd volume, make the holiday months a great time to visit Italy.
Nov 1–10 $6,475 $5,575 NOW
BOOKING
Nov 19–28 $6,475 $5,575 NOW
BOOKING
Nov 29–Dec 8 $6,475 $5,575 NOW
BOOKING
Dec 17–26
Christmas in Italy

Holiday Time
$7,575 $6,375 REQUEST
BOOKING
Dec 23–Jan 2
Christmas in Italy
Holiday Time
$7,675 $6,475 REQUEST
BOOKING
2023 Tour Dates
Request a Reservation

Prices are per person in US Dollars and based on 2 guests in a room. Solo Supplement in Deluxe $1997. Classic Solo: $1379. Choose from Deluxe or Classic Packages. Optional pre-tour 2 Days/Nights Lake Como ($1388pp) and post-tour 2 Days/Nights Amalfi Coast ($1388pp) extensions available on these departures.

Trip Dates Deluxe Classic Price/Person in USD
Mar 21-30
$6,975 $5,975 SOLD OUT - Wait List Available
Italy in the Spring
This is one of the best times to be in Italy: No crowds, moderate temps averaging in the 60s, and some showers to bring May flowers!
Apr 11-20
$6,975 $5,975 CALL OR CHAT FOR AVAILABILITY
Apr 15-24
$6,975 $5,975 8 SPOTS LEFT
Apr 25–May 4
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
May: Near Perfect
It's difficult to beat Italy in May. Early May can see some showers, but mid to late May is the time for moderate crowds, great temps in the 70s, sunshine and La Dolce Vita!
May 9–18
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
May 16–25
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
May 20–29
$6,975 $5,975 2 SPOTS LEFT
May 23–Jun 1
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
June: Graduate to More Perfection
The weather is near perfect in June, that's why the volume of travelers is high. It's a great time to celebrate our graduate as well!
Jun 6–15
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Jun 13-22
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Jun 20–29 $6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Jun 27–Jul 6
$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
July & August: It's Summer in Italy!
The reminds one of the fresh, hot days of summer from the states —  but it's still a great time to explore Italy.
Jul 4-13

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
Jul 11–20

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
Jul 18–27

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
July 25-Aug 3

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
Aug 8–17

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
Aug 15–24

$6,575 $5,575 NOW BOOKING
September: Great Harvest
September is still considered high season these days and for good reason: The harvest in Tuscany and other areas is in swing and the weather is so very special. Highs in the 70s in mid to late September.
Sep 5–14

$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Sep 12–21

$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Sep 23-Oct 2

$6,975 $5,975 6 SPOTS LEFT
Sep 26–Oct 5

$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Italy in October
Though the hot summer temps are gone, October can still see some warm days. Highs in the 60s to low 70s.
Oct 3–12
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Oct 10–19
$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Oct 17-26

$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Oct 24–Nov 2

$6,975 $5,975 NOW BOOKING
Italy in November & December
Fall and winter time temps, with low crowd volume, make the holiday months a great time to visit Italy.
Oct 31-Nov 9

$6,575 $5,575 REQUEST
Nov 7-16

$6,575 $5,575 REQUEST
Nov 14-23
$6,575 $5,575 REQUEST
Nov 21-30
$6,575 $5,575 REQUEST
Nov 28-Dec 7
$6,975 $5,575 REQUEST
Dec 12–21
Christmas Season
Holiday Time
$7,575 $6,375 REQUEST
Dec 19–28
Christmas in Italy
Holiday Time
$7,775 $6,575 REQUEST
Dec 23–Jan 1
Christmas & New Year's
Holiday Time

$7,775 $6,575 REQUEST
 

 

Ready to book your Journey? Have a question?

Map of the Great Cities Tour
Great Cities of Italy Tour  
 

 


ITINERARY AT A GLANCE:

Your Journey begins in Venice on Isola San Marco, with Florence and 2 spectacular days in the Tuscan countryside; then the Empire of Rome amazes with our spectacular finalé in Rome.

Jump to Day-by-Day Full Itinerary


DAY 1: To Venice: It's called La Serenissima for a reason.
DAY 2: Ah...Venice! Explore by walking and private boat; Skip the long lines.

Journey Deluxe Hotels in Venice: Saturnia & International | Bauer Venezia


DAY 3: To Florence: Birthplace of the Renaissance
DAY 4: Explore the legends: Michelangelo. Da Vinci. Brunelleschi. Skip the long lines.

Journey Deluxe Hotels in Florence: Grand Hotel Cavour | Bernini Palace


DAY 5: Into Tuscany: San Gimignano, Cortona
DAY 6: Under the Tuscan Sun

Journey Deluxe Hotels in Cortona: Villa Marsili | Monastero di Cortona Hotel & Spa


DAY 7: To Rome : A 1000 Roads Lead Always to Rome
DAY 8: Skip the long line access to the Colosseum and Roman Forum
DAY 9: Skip the long lines access to the Vatican Musuems, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica

Journey Deluxe Hotels in Rome: Corso 281 | Palazzo Navona | Iconic Pantheon


DAY 10: Make Your Journey Home

###


Questions about the Itinerary?


DAY-BY-DAY FULL ITINERARY:

Our complete itinerary for your consideration.


Venice —  La Serenissima

Venetian Magic for 2 Days, 2 Nights — Ah! Venice!

 

DAY 1: WELCOME TO VENICE

One of Journey's most popular small group adventures begins upon arrival to Marco Polo Airport in Venice.

Journey's approach to touring Italy is unique: we combine local expert Italian Guides with our Journey Tour Captains serving as your host for the perfect balance of activity and leisure time so you can truly soak up all that is Italy. No sun-up to sun-down touring with us, but we do enjoy walking the cities and villages of Italy.

Discovery WalkThe Journey Discovery Walk

Meet your Tour Captain and fellow travelers in the lobby of your hotel for a get-to-know-Venice Discovery Walk — a hallmark of the Journey style of traveling when exploring new destinations —  we will take in the beautiful sights of Piazza San Marco, the "Campanile" or clock tower, the Grand Canal and more. Afterward, enjoy some time at leisure before meeting tonight for a special 'Welcome to Venice' evening from one of our exclusive perspectives.

Enjoy some time at leisure before meeting tonight for a special 'Welcome to Venice' evening from one of our exclusive perspectives to see Venice.

Journey Dinners IconWelcome to Venice Reception and Dinner

Tonight we make our way to our favorite restaurant in Venice where we toast the beginning of our journey together. Our gala dinner features cuisine from several regions throughout Italy including the Veneto, Lazio and Campania paired with delicious regional wines. Journey’s approach to dining is unique in the travel world. We visit local and family-owned restaurants where you choose your dinner from the restaurant menu. We include premium beverages (wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks). The Deluxe travel package features the indicated included dinners. The Classic travel package includes the Welcome Dinner in Venice. Classic package guests may upgrade to all the included dinners - see your proposal for details.

Journey Hotels IconAccommodation in Venice, 2 Nights with breakfast

Deluxe: Hotel Saturnia & International, Bauer Venezia or Similar
Classic: Hotel Bonvecchiati or Similar

DAY 2: EXPLORING VENICEVenice Canal

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Venice Secrets & Treasures

After the delicious included breakfast at your hotel, join the Tour Captain and our expert City Guide for a morning unwrapping Venice's Secrets & Treasures. You will enjoy a unique touring experience through this dramatic and historic port city. We learn of the city’s fascinating and colorful past from Casanova to Napoleon. Venice's unique character springs to life as we make our way through winding streets and over bridges.

Journey's professional local guide provides expert commentary as we enter the magnificent Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica. Then we go back in time with our visit to the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison (and yes, you will learn about the gentleman Casanova), and the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Special sightseeing today includes:

  • Doge's Palace: Skip-the-Line Entrance to the Doge's Palace (meaning Duke or Governor's Palace), the seat of the Republic of Venice's historic power.
  • Venice's Old Prison: The Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
  • Bridge of Sighs: The bridge made famous for its window and last view of blue sky and freedom as prisoners are marched to their sentence.
  • Basilica San Marco: Enjoy the beautiful mosaics and how they reflect and dance in the light. Your Tour Captain "paints the picture" of the history and opulence that is the Basilica San Marco prior to entering. Once inside, enjoy 'silence' as you observe its beauty encased in Byzantine architecture.
  • Piazza San Marco: and our "Secret Treasures of Venice:"
  • Walking Delights: Learn about the Clock Tower (Campanile), Caffé Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion
  • Enjoy admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.

Gondola IconSpecial Adventure: Venetian Gondola Experience

This evening just before sunset, enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with our professional musicians to make the ambiance perfect. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.

Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner after the Gondola ride, and they can also help you with dining reservations if you choose to explore lovely Venice on your own. 

Florence

Birthplace of the Renaissance – 2 Days, 2 Nights

 

DAY 3: WELCOME TO FLORENCEFlorence Panorama

This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then join your Journey Tour Captain as we transfer by boat to the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station for the included Fast-train passage to Florence. Your bags are portaged separately so you can enjoy the ride.

We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station where we deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.

After checking in to our hotel and taking time to freshen up and have lunch on our own, we begin our chapter in Florence.

Orientation Walk IconDiscovery Walk: Florence

On the Discovery Walk we will orient you to the very heart of historic Florence. In addition to seeing many of the major sites including Giotto's Campanile (Bell Tower) and the Baptistery, the Florence Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, we will enjoy entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari.

After our Discovery Walk, enjoy the balance of the afternoon at leisure until our welcome dinner tonight.

Journey Dinners IconWelcome to Florence Dinner: Tuscany's Regional Specialties

Your Journey Tour Captain hosts an amazing welcome dinner in Florence with authentic Tuscan cuisine served by Fiorentini who love what they do. Florence welcomes us with a variety of regional culinary tastes, premium beverages, and ample portions of fine local wines from Toscana and Chianti.

Journey Hotels IconAccommodation in Florence, 2 Nights with breakfast

Deluxe: Grand Hotel Cavour, Hotel Bernini Palace or Similar
Classic: Rosso 23 or Similar

DAY 4: EXPLORING FLORENCE

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Florence Secrets & Treasures

Journey's Florence Secrets & Treasures tour boasts a variety of fine sights to see including Santa Maria del Fiori, the Baptistery's Bronze "Gate of Florence Journeyers enjoying the afternoon sun.
Paradise," Giotto's Bell Tower, Signoria Square, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.

We will take our time walking through the Piazza della Repubblica, the famous Piazza Signoria with her old palace, Palazzo Vecchio, and make our way through the portico of the Uffizi complex before arriving at the Arno River and a visit to the "old bridge," or Ponte Vecchio. This was the only bridge in Florence to survive the World War II bombing raids.

Special Sightseeing Includes:

  • Galleria dell'Accademia: Skip-the-Line admission to experience Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery, the first art school of Europe.
  • Our tour includes Florence's historic city center which is a World Heritage site that comprises the Baptistery, Campanile, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo. The 14th-century dome was created by Brunelleschi.
  • See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery, so called by Michelangelo. Our Local Guide will comment on these impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile whose perspective we enjoy from ground level are all part of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiori complex.
  • Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.
  • Walking Delights: We explore Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.

Following our Secrets & Treasures adventure the balance of the day is at your leisure.

Interested in checking out the leather market? What about a climb of the Duomo? We can arrange visits, admissions and more for you in advance. Consider a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence and a minor Basilica of the Catholic Church. Many illustrious Italians are buried there including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Marconi, Machiavelli. Thus it is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories.

Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or you can explore Florence at leisure.

Under the Tuscan Sun

2 Days, 2 Nights

 

DAY 5: GOOD MORNING TUSCANYTuscan Hills

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Tuscan Glory

It's a great day to explore further into the Tuscan countryside. After breakfast this morning, we bid Arrivederci to Florence and travel in our comfortable micro-coach into the Tuscan countryside.

Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers. Dating back from the 11th century, the village rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in the village, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has many shops with local specialties and crafts and we will have free time to enjoy purchasing souvenirs.

Before departing San Gimignano, we'll toast our arrival into the countryside of Tuscany with a unique perspective and our first taste of Vernaccia, a white wine that hails from San Gimignano.

Exclusive IconJourney Exclusive: Winery Experience

Enjoy our in-depth experience at a winery estate in the heart of Tuscany - in stunning surroundings. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Vineyards in Tuscany

Our palate-pleasing appetizers and lunch include Pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll enjoy classic Chianti and Super Tuscan wines to complement the lunch. Buon Appetito!

Special Sightseeing today Includes:

  • San Gimignano: Sightseeing and free time in the Tuscan hill town known for its towers.
  • Exclusive Winery: Admission, Tour and Wine Tasting at our Estate located in the heart of Tuscany. Beautiful Property with stunning views, delicious varieties paired with sumptuous delicacies. You won't want to leave.
  • Tuscany's Wine Road: Winding through the Tuscan hills, the wine road offers remarkable beauty, characterized by vineyards, wine cellars, distant rolling landscapes, and villages up in the hills.

To Cortona –  Our home for the next two nights
In mid-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful hill town of Cortona for our next chapter in the very heart of Tuscany. Your Journey Tour Captain checks you in and there is ample time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby tonight for a short walk to our special Apericena experience.

Discovery Walk IconDiscovery Walk: Cortona

On the Discovery Walk of Cortona we make our way to its heart to learn about its fascinating Etruscan and Roman past and its modern connection to Hollywood. Situated on a commanding hill that overlooks Lake Trasimeno, Cortona is known for the infamous rout of the Romans by Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Its cyclopean walls, still preserved in great detail, are said to be 3000 years old. It was one of the twelve cities of Etruria.

We continue our walk as we explore Via Nazionale up to Piazza Garibaldi and finally into Piazza della Repubblica where you will Learn about the plains of Trasimeno and of the amazing battle of the same name: The Roman-Carthaginian Battle. Soak up the afternoon sunshine as we slow down and enjoy a typical Tuscan evening.

Journey Dinners IconJourney Exclusive: Special Apericena Experience

Tonight join your Tour Captain and fellow travelers for the new Italian meal, Apericena. Is it a snack? Is it dinner? No, it’s Apericena! It's the perfect complement for your palate after a day of excellent cuisine and wine. Apericena provides the perfect light meal finalé to our beautiful day in the Tuscan countryside and in the magical ambiance of this delightful hill town.

Afterwards, enjoy the balance of the evening at your leisure.

Journey Hotels IconAccommodation in Cortona, 2 Nights with breakfast

Deluxe: Villa Marsili, Monastero di Cortona Hotel & Spa or Similar
Classic: Hotel Italia or Similar

DAY 6: EXPLORING CORTONA AT LEISURECortona in Tuscany, Italy

Enjoy a full free day at your leisure in beautiful Cortona.

Many options are available from Cooking Classes to a day trip to Siena and more. Today, enjoy Tuscany at your leisure - perhaps it's a thorough exploration of delightful Cortona, a cooking class, horse-back riding, Vespa rental and much more.

Options for Today
Might we suggest:

Cooking Class in Cortona
—  Enjoy this lesson with a local Italian chef as you create 4 courses and then enjoy your creations. Water and wine included. Duration 3-5 hours. Excursion within Cortona: $197 per person.

•  Horseback Riding Adventure
—  Commences at 9:30/10:00am or 2:00/3:00pm. $99 per person for first 2 hours, $37 per hour for each additional hour. Front desk of hotel will arrange round-trip taxi for you at guest expense. Options available for beginner or experienced riders.

• Tour of Siena
—  Departs around 9:30am. $465 per person. The tour includes round-trip transfer from Cortona to Siena with a walking tour of Siena in the morning and some free time in the afternoon. Today's tour will walk you through the old Ghetto, the Tower District (Contrada della Torre), and through little alleys, and on to the Basilica dei Servi, from which point you can enjoy an amazing view of the old town. We will take in Orto dei Pecci; a pleasant and easily accessible garden, located just behind the main square: The serenity and tranquility of this green oasis, together with the view of the incredible Torre del Mangia will mesmerize you.

• Morning Tour of Siena with Cooking Class in Afternoon
— Departs around 9:30am. $599 per person. Enjoy the morning tour (see description above) and then a special cooking class in the afternoon. Our driver then whisks you to a nearby villa where you will enjoy a tour of the vines, immersion in all things Wine, Balsamic, and Olive Oil followed by a cooking lesson. And, yes, you then enjoy the fruits of your labor. Our chef is capable and entertaining as you enjoy learning more about Tuscan cooking. We then return to the hotel in Cortona for a free evening.

•  Cortona and the Franciscan Monastery Le Celle
—  $190 per person. A classic private walking tour of Cortona comprises the Garibaldi Square with its magnificent panoramic view over the Valdichiana, the Church of St. Dominic built for the Dominicans with its medieval architecture and paintings by Luca Signorelli e Lorenzo di Niccolò, via Nazionale, the Republic Square with the Town Hall, the Church of St. Francis with its collection of objects owned to St. Francis of Assisi, Piazza Signorelli with Palazzo Casali and the Duomo. Then the tour continues by car outside the city walls of Cortona to the Franciscan Monastery of Le Celle, immersed in a forest and a place of an extraordinary beauty, calm and Franciscan spirituality.

•  Cortona Ancient Walls, Fortresses, Convents and Churches
—  $190 per person. This is a walking tour on steep slopes in the oldest part of Cortona leading up to the very top of the hill. For this reason is suitable for guests who enjoy walking (hiking) on slopes. The prize at the end is a fantastic view of Cortona and the valley below and the beauty of this less frequented and untouched part of the town. Above the center, half-way up to the hill of Cortona, are the Church San Francesco and beyond a cypress-lined courtyard, is the 15th century Chiesa di San Niccolò. The 15th-century church has a small porch with slender columns and the interior houses paintings by Luca Signorelli: the two-sided panel-painting, Descent from the Cross and Madonna Enthroned, and a fresco, Madonna with Saints. Passing by the little church San Cristoforo and Porta Montanina we will stop on the top to visit the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, the town's patron saint. Finally walking down through the old part of town through the narrow alleyways of the quarter called Poggio San Marco you will admire also the beautiful 12 Via Crucis Stations with mosaics by the Futurist artist Gino Severin, a native of Cortona.

About Cortona
Cortona is a small but fascinating hill town in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany. It is situated on a commanding hill that overlooks Lake Trasimeno, known for the infamous rout of the Romans by Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Its cyclopean walls, still preserved in great detail, are said to be 3000 years old. It was one of the twelve cities of Etruria.

Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.

Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or choose to enjoy your last night in Cortona at your leisure.


Rome: Heart of the Empire

Where All Roads Lead — 3 Days, 3 Nights

 

DAY 7: 1000 ROADS LEAD ALWAYS TO ROMEPantheon in Rome, Italy

As we travel in our comfortable micro-coach to Rome, we find ourselves going back in time as we reach the center of ancient Rome.

On arrival into the city, we check in to our hotels which are located a short distance from the magnificent Pantheon. We have time to freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain for a Discovery Walk.

Orientation Walk IconDiscovery Walk: The Heart of Rome

You will meet the Journey Tour Captain for a walk through the very heart of Old Rome. We begin our exploration of Rome beginning with an elephant and continue to immerse ourselves in over 2000 years of history of the 'Empire. We enter the amazing Pantheon and learn of its interesting history and continue our walk to soak up Piazza Navona, once a site where mock naval battles were held. We continue with our Discovery Walk as we pass through Campo de Fiore (field of flowers) - do you know the name of the figure whose likeness is crafted in the statue in this amazing campo? We walk by Largo di Torre Argentina and learn of Julius Caesar's fate. We will also see a village of modern Roman felines.

Journey Dinners IconWelcome to Rome Dinner: The Cuisine of Lazio

Tonight join the Tour Captain to our Welcome Dinner featuring the regional specialties and wines of the Lazio region. Journey’s special approach to dining means that you choose what you like from the menu. Premium beverages - wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks are included.

Journey Hotels IconAccommodation in Rome, 3 Nights with breakfast

DeluxePalazzo Navona, Antico Albergo del Sole al Pantheon, or Similar
Classic: Hotel Navona, Albergo Abruzzi, or Similar

BACK TO TOP


DAY 8 EXPLORING THE VATICANVatican City, Rome, Italy

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Vatican City Privileged Access

This morning we will enter Vatican City with our Priority Early Morning Privileged Entry (1 hour ahead of regular Vatican visitors - when available*). Enjoy a visit to the Vatican museums to see the amazing tapestries, the Sistine Chapel and its iconic ceiling, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square as the majestic Vatican City comes to life.

After our experience is complete we will exit at St. Peter's Square where you see the multi-color uniformed Swiss Guard on display as they guard the Vatican and the expanse of the beautiful piazza.

Journey's transports are waiting nearby when we're ready to head back to our hotels.

Special Sightseeing Includes:

  • St. Peter's Basilica and Square: Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and tour groups that arrive later in the morning. Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included.
  • Sistine Chapel: Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.
  • Vatican Museums: Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.

 

  • *Post-pandemic the Vatican has modified its management of entry and presently there is no skip the line option available to anyone concerning the visit to St. Peter's Basilica. In the case of an exceptional line, the visit to St. Peter’s can be canceled in favor of the scheduled Vatican admission/tickets. The line is not under the control of Journey or our Guides. Also remember St. Peter’s basilica is an active church with celebrations and papal events that occur with short notice; Journey and our Guides cannot be held responsible for any cancellation or denial of entry.

Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or you can explore Rome at your leisure. We can assist you with reservations for dining or exploration on your own.


DAY 9 EXPLORING MODERN & IMPERIAL ROMERoman Forum, Italy

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Imperial Rome

After breakfast this morning, meet the Tour Captain and our City Guide for a walking tour of Rome. You will see ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings. Discover how modern Romans have combined their history into present-day experience. You will see ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings, and discover how the modern Romans have intertwined their vast history into present-day experience.

We make our way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the town center of the Roman Empire, for our special access, in-depth touring experience, with included admissions.

Special Sightseeing Includes:

  • Colosseo: Flavian's amphitheater known popularly as the Colosseum. Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance.
  • Foro Romano: Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphal Arches.
  • Capitoline Hill: We ascend this amazingly sculptured and architecturally inspirational locale.
  • Walking Delights: Views of Trajan's Market, Palatine Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia known as the Senate Building, the Vittorio Emanuele II National Monument, the Jewish Ghetto, and other historic landmarks. 

Journey Dinners IconFarewell to Rome Dinner: A Celebration of Italy's Great Cities

Tonight join the Journey Tour Captain and new friends to celebrate our journey together. We will toast one another and our adventures through Italy’s Great Cities and continue to our gala finalé dinner.

Our days have been filled with new sights, tastes and discoveries - tonight enjoy reflecting on the incredible journey we've had together. It has been a Journey of Adventure and Discovery, along with making new friends! As our journey of discovery ends, we reminisce about our exploration of magnificent Italy. Tomorrow we will say, 'Arrivederci Roma!' but tonight we sing and make melody in the very heart of Rome.

Arrivederci - until we meet again!  

Day 10: DEPARTURE DAY: Arrivederci Italy!

Breakfast is included this morning should you have time before your departure. Most of our guests seriously consider extending your vacation to the Amalfi Coast for the perfect ending —  it's 2 days and nights and includes Pompeii and treasures of the Amalfi Coast. See our optional extension below for proper temptation!

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Does your Journey end in Rome?
We highly recommend the enchanted Amalfi Coast & Sorrento Peninsula 2 day/2 night extension. Amalfi Coast, Italy


Extension to the Amalfi Coast & Sorrento Peninsula

OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 10: NAPLES, POMPEII, THE SORRENTO PENINSULA & AMALFI COAST

Say Farewell to Rome as you join our extension to the amazing Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula. We make our way to Naples and the modern city of Pompei, where we find Pompeii (note the two i's) which is the ancient Roman city we will visit with our expert guide this morning.

Sightseeing IconToday's Adventure: Pompeii Ancient Site

On our tour of the World Heritage Site of Pompeii we discover the city that was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Our Local Expert Guide explains the fascinating history, tragic destruction and amazing preservation of artifacts under tons of volcanic ash.

Following our Pompeii experience, we continue to Sorrento,our home to explore the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

Journey Dinners IconWelcome to Sorrento Dinner

Your Journey Tour Captain hosts an amazing welcome dinner in Sorrento in one of our favorite restaurants in Italy. The owner, Mario, and Chef Lena along with their family and team welcome us to dinner tonight in their enchanting restaurant. You will enjoy an incomparable evening of Sorrentine cuisine and hospitality. As always with Journey, you select what you wish from the menu. The regional specialties are accompanied by included premium beverages - wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks.

Journey Hotels IconAccommodation in Sorrento, 2 Nights with Breakfast

Deluxe: Hotel Minerva Sorrento, Grand Hotel Capodimonte or Similar
Classic: Hotel Bristol or Similar

OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 11: EXPLORING THE AMALFI COAST AT LEISUREAmalfi Coast, Italy

You will have today completely at your leisure to explore Sorrento or consider one of our optional adventures.

Highly Recommended: Option for the Day: Private Boat Tour of Capri and Positano - $355 per person.
Enjoy our optional experience departing this morning and enjoy a boat trip to the Isle of Capri to enjoy free time on the Island and onward exploration of Positano and the Amalfi Coast Highway back to Sorrento.

Your Journey Tour Captain will give you great ideas on what to do while you're on the island. Occasionally, and weather permitting, we are able to provide an experience that includes (in addition to round-trip service to and from Capri) time on the boat around the island with stops at various Grottos for viewing and swimming if you desire. We only "stop" at the Blue Grotto, we do not go inside the Blue Grotto as this usually takes the majority of the day.

Then later, again weather and seas permitting, we continue to Positano and the Amalfi Coast. We will spend some time in Positano at leisure and then continue along the Amalfi Coast drive back to Sorrento.

Prosecco IconOur Special Journey Finalé

After returning to our hotel, enjoy some leisure time and then meet on the terrace for our special Apericena to celebrate our time together. It has been a Journey of Adventure and Discovery, along with making new friends! Until our next Journey — Arrivederci!


OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Day 12: DEPARTURE DAY: Arrivederci Italy!

Breakfast is included this morning should you have time before your departure. Departure transfers are not included but we can arrange them for you. You can fly from Naples International Airport to your gateway for your international flight.


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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Passport, Visa and Electronic Authorities

A valid Passport is required for citizens from the USA and Canada (other countries: please speak with your consulates). The Passport must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your return date. We may suggest keeping a photo of your Passport in your email as an unsent draft.

Airfare Purchased through Eddie at Bella Vista

Airfare is not included in the tour price. However, you can book through our recommended air provider: Bella Vista. Any changes to flights booked through Bella Vista must be administered by Bella Vista. Eddie is the name of our colleague at Bella Vista who provides outstanding service and pricing. Bella Vista is not organically affiliated or connected to Now Journey LLC.

Airport and Included Arrival Transfer Details

Upon clearing customs, you will be met by our Journey driver who will whisk you along to the water taxi or hotel, all included.

Luggage On Tour

One (1) 50 pound suitcase is included in your portage throughout the tour. You are also entitled to a carry-on bag, and a purse or satchel. Remember, your airline or the airline on tour if applicable may have more restrictive limits —  be advised you are responsible for any fees incurred on all flights.

Walking and Mobility on Tour

Be prepared to be standing and/or walking for up to 3 hours on various terrain including cobblestone streets, stairs and uneven surfaces. We walk a lot on our tours but we are unhurried and you may opt out of most sightseeing tours at just about any time (there are restrictions for example at the Vatican or on boat travel). The Journey Tour Captain is unable to assist with mobility assistance. Please carefully read the Trip Agreement to understand your obligations and responsibilities.

What's the difference between Deluxe and Classic?

Deluxe package includes a full, hot daily breakfast (table service or buffet), 5 of the 9 dinners and 4+ to 5 Star hotel properties featuring large, air-conditioned guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Classic package includes a daily breakfast, Venice Welcome Dinner (guests may upgrade to the total 5 dinners included for $390 per person), and 3 to 4 Star hotel properties featuring air-conditioned guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms.

See detailed description about Deluxe and Classic here

How active are Journey Tours?

Our pace for sightseeing is leisurely with ample opportunity to stop and even opt out should a guest desire to do so. We walk about 45 to 90 minutes per day on our sightseeing tours on average.

What amount of leisure time is there on a Journey Tour?

Yes, Journey features a Slow Travel concept on most of our trips with most sightseeing occurring in the mornings and the afternoons at leisure.

How many guests are on a Journey Tour?

Our tours feature an average 10 to 16 guests — unlike most tour companies which feature an average of 35 to 44 guests!

What is the average Journey guest like? What kind of people travel on a Journey tour?

Journey's trips are designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds, but the 'average' Journey guest is not average at all: they enjoy interesting excursions, learning about history and culture, and above all enjoy having fun while on tour. Experiencing foreign lands bring with it a host of amazing and sometimes challenging experiences, so a great attitude is essential for the Journey guest and the Modern Traveler!

Can guests receive special assistance while on tour for mobility or other needs?

We regret we cannot provide assistance for mobility related situations.

COVID 19 Requirements

Please check with the Center for Disease Control website (https://www.cdc.gov) around 60 days prior to departure for the latest entry requirements. Also, please visit the Italian government's site: https://app.euplf.eu/#/

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO ITALY - INQUIRE FOR OTHER DESTINATIONS
•  All Now Journey guests should visit the official Italian Tourism website that describes the latest COVID-19 updates by clicking here: http://www.italia.it/en/useful-info/covid-19-updates-information-for-tourists.html 

Hotel Guest Rooms: Air Conditioning, Electricity, Bathrooms and WiFi

Each of our guest rooms feature ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and select amenities in Deluxe category. Daily breakfast is included in each hotel category. Italy utilizes the 220 Volt system, so you will need a converter for those devices that do not already have one, as well as an adapter for the physical US 2 or 3 prong to the Italian dual prong system. WiFi is included with your Journey vacation wherever available.

Journey Style Dining

Journey’s approach to dining is unique in the travel world (just like the regions of Italy we travel through). We include Premium Beverages (wine, soda and cocktails) and you choose your dinner from the menu. The Italian chefs and families are proud of their delicious dishes which hail from each of the regions in which Journey travels. From Lombardia and beautiful Lake Como to the Veneto region with Venice all the way through to the Amalfi Coast and Campania, you will enjoy a variety of dishes featuring pasta, seafood combined plates, vegetable inspired contorni and of course Tuscan inspired dishes. While in Tuscany we will eat from the land with locally grown produce where the concept of nostrale, or home-grown, is so evident.

Medicine and Health on Tour

Please do not pack essential medicines in your luggage, rather take them with you in your carry-on (alert: liquid medicines may need additional approval by the airline). Should you have any food restrictions or allergies, please ensure you note this on the Traveler Profile.

Currency

The Euro is used within Italy. We recommend you bring with you around €250 per person. To obtain more cash while on tour, use your Debit Card with your PIN memorized (we may suggest keeping this information in your email as an unsent draft).

Tipping in Italy

At the finalé of your Journey, you are invited to provide a gratuity to your Journey Tour Captain. We recommend tipping $USD20 per person per day for your Journey Tour Captain. Customary gratuities are included on your Journey for included dinners, drivers and local guides.

No Up-Sell on Tour: Rest Easy

Unlike most tour operators, we do not up-sell to you while you're on tour. Your Journey Tour Captain will assist you with any request while on tour, but will not proactively sell to you —  this is not our culture or style of travel. We recommend you select your optional activities at least 90 days prior to your trip departure date.

Weather in Italy

Expect early spring showers possible in March and April with highs in the 60s to 70s. May and June, mostly clear patterns with highs in the 70s to 80s, July and August are the hot summer months, but still fun to explore with highs in the 80s to 90s. September is still considered high season with highs in the 70s, with October more of a shoulder season with high temps ranging from 70s to 80s in the first week to 10 days, and 60s to 70s in mid to late October.

Clothing Recommendations

March through April with October: Layer your clothing with warmer sunshine expected by 10am on most days. Have a rain jacket or umbrella just in case. May through June with September: Summer clothing is recommended with jeans, slacks, dresses, shorts, sneakers and caps/hats completely acceptable. July through August: It's hot, so dress accordingly with sunscreen on hand. Remember, entrance into the Vatican and certain other church buildings require shoulders to be covered and shorts down to the knees, generally.


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