Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

facebook 32linkedin 32 youtube 32  image006.png

(Option: Customized Itineraries)
Venice-Florence-Tuscany-Umbria-Cortona-Amalfi Coast, Italy - 15 nights
Available year round


The Best of Italy trip is for those who either have been to Italy before but perhaps did not have time to experience all of the "must-sees" of this beautiful country or for those who are making this their first trip to bella Italia. Make your trip to Italy an experience of a lifetime! Take the guessing out of where to go and what to see. This tour has it all, taking you from Venice, Florence to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. See the Chianti region of Tuscany with its fabulous wineries, as well as the Umbrian countryside. You will understand why people talk about Siena and San Gimignano and Cortona. Taste the famous Brunello wines in Montalcino and have lunch at an Italian farmhouse.

 

 

Venice, Florence, Rome - Chianti, Cortona, Pienza and Montacino, Siena and San Gimignano - the Amalfi Coast and more! This 15 night tour takes you to the most important places in Italy as well as giving options to include tours that provide a more intimate feeling of the area you are visiting. If you were to do research on what you must see in Italy we think we have it covered with this two week tour, giving you the highlights of each region. The itinerary also gives you time to relax, or for those wanting to do it all, the optional excursions outlined below give you even more to see and do. This tour can also be customized to add more or take some elements out. This is your trip to Italy so tell us what you would like to see! 

 

 

 

ITINERARY

 

DAY ONE

  

VENICE

 

Travel by fast train to Venice (train leaves from Florence at 12am and arrives in Venice at 2.03pm. Meeting with our assistant in Venice and private transfer by water taxi to your 3 Star boutique hotel in the historic center. 

 

Optional Tours:

 

Private Grand Canal Tour: In the early evening meet your guide for private boat tour on Grand Canal  : there is no better way to admire Venice than from the water. Your private boat will move along the main waterways and you will enjoy all the striking palaces and their wonderful architecture. Moving along Gran Canal, settled comfortably in you private boat and sipping a glass of Prosecco, you will capture the uniqueness  of Venice.

 

Gondola Ride

 

Bacari Tour: In the late afternoon your guide will introduce you to the hidden Venice with a food and wine experience: “Bacari tour“, The Bacarii, the local down-to-earth version of wine bars, serve tapas like “cicheti”, traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals. They are called “Bacari” in honor of Bacchus, the God of Wine. You will drink wine and eat “cicheti“, cheese, seafood or cold cut appetizers freshly made during the day. Wandering from place to place you shall learn more about the lifestyle of Venetian people.

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY TWO

 

 VENICE

 

Time at leisure in the morning.

 

At 2pm meeting with your guide at the hotel for a half day guided walking tour including Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica to Venice masterpieces : Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge ...

 

Evening on your own.

 

 

 

DAY THREE

 

VENICE

  

Visit of the Laguna Islands ( Murano, Burano and Torcello ) on your own.

 

Optional Tour : Private excursion by motor launch  to the Laguna Islands ( Murano, Burano and Torcello ): from your hotel you will navigate leisurely across the Grand Canal, and hop off at Murano, one of the most famous islands of the Lagoon, center of the glass manufacturing industry for centuries. Then hop off at Torcello for the lunch at the famous Locanda Cipriani , the legend of the Italian cuisine. You will taste culinary delights based on reinterpretations of typical Venetian dishes which created the “Cipriani style” , the ingredients that have gone into the success of each and every one of Giuseppe Cipriani's restaurants. Still today, they make the Locanda Cipriani in Torcello a cut above the rest.

 

In the afternoon we will visit the Burano Island famous for its brightly-colored houses and hand-made embroidery.

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY FOUR

  

FLORENCE

 

9.30am: Meeting with our assistant at the hotel and private transfer by water taxi to Venice train station.

 

Travel by fast train mid morning to Florence. Arrival at Florence train station and private transfer to your 3 Star boutique hotel in the heart of the historic center, a few steps from the Duomo. .

 

DAY FIVE

  

FLORENCE

 

9.30am: Meeting with the guide at the hotel  for a half day private guided visit including of Florence masterpieces Piazza della Signoria, the Dome, Piazza Santa Croce, the Old Bridge and the Accademia Gallery

 

Time at leisure in the afternoon

 

Optional Tour: Gastronomic Tour of the most ancient food open air market in Florence : Sant’ Ambrogio market, the market of Florentine people, where you will see all the fresh vegetables as well as the typical cheeses, cold cuts, spices used in the Tuscan cuisine. Then you will enjoy a Historical Cafe Tour learning from your guide about the past “ Cafè culture “ in Florence. On 19th and 20th Centuries the Cafès, in Florence as well as in Rome, Naples, Turin, Palermo  and Venice, were an important place where intellectuals as well as political leaders used to encounter, discuss and  debate sipping  an espresso. Leading you through the heart of the historic centre of Florence your guide will stop also at the most ancient and famous gastronomic shops where you will taste some true Florentine gastronomic specialties.

 

DAY SIX

  

CHIANTI WINERIES

 

9.30 am: Private transfer by minivan and English speaking driver  to a relais in San Casciano Val di Pesa (Chianti area).

 

Travelling through the Chianti area you will visit the small villages of Panzano in Chianti, Radda and Castellina.

 

At 3.30pm  you will visit one of the famous wine cellar and the olive mill for a wine tasting and olive oil tasting.

 

Then onto your accommodation at your relais bed and breakfast.

 

DAY SEVEN

  

PIENZA AND MONTALCINO


10am: Pick up in the morning and travel by minivan and English speaking driver-guide to the Orcia Valley. Your first stop will be Pienza, a wonderful Renaissance jewel. Then  you will visit a Caseificio (cheese farm) in the countryside around Pienza ( h.1pm ) There you will have a light lunch including cold cuts and different kinds of  pecorino cheese.

 

In the afternoon drive to Montalcino for a visit at 3.00pm and wine tasting to a famous wine cellar.

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY EIGHT

  

SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO

 

9 am: Pick up in the morning for a full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano by private minivan and English speaking driver–guide .Your first stop will be Siena, then transfer to an “ agriturismo “ close to San Gimignano. The organic farm cultivates the special purple crocus flower that saffron comes from, as well as extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, and an abundance of Tuscan herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint, and sage. You will  enjoy there a genuine lunch at 1pm, including of course a  saffron dish, prepared by the farm's owner who makes homemade pastas and uses fresh vegetables and herbs from the farm's garden located just a few steps away.

 

Visit of San Gimignano in the afternoon, the town famous for its hundred towers. You will wander the narrow streets, learn about the art, history and local gourmet products with a special focus on the locally-produced zafferano or saffron, and white Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine. San Gimignano is famous also for the Vernaccia white wine, so in the afternoon you will have a guided visit and a wine tasting at a local historic vineyard.

 

Return to your relais in the countryside.

 

DAY NINE

 

CORTONA

 

9.30 am: Pick up in the morning and transfer to Cortona by minivan and English speaking driver. Accommodation at a 4 Star hotel.

 

Time at leisure in Cortona. Soon you will forget the chaos and the traffic jams and you will start living Cortona style, where people still walk the city and time has stopped. Cortona is one of the oldest hill towns and best-preserved Etruscan cities in Tuscany. It is perched on a hilltop and offers magnificent views of vineyards, olive groves and Lake Trasimeno. The town is also known as the birthplace of the Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli and preserves many of his masterpieces.

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY TEN

 

UMBRIA WINERIES AND ROME

 

9.30am : Pick up in the morning and travel by minivan and English speaking driver to Rome. Stop on the way for a visit and wine tasting at one of the most famous Montefalco wineries.

 

Afterwards, travel to Rome with accommodation at a 4 Star hotel close to the Spanish Steps.

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY ELEVEN

 

ROME - VATICAN MUSEUM AND SISTINE CHAPEL

 

9.30am:  Meeting with the best guide in Rome at the hotel for an half day private guided visit to St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel ( reservation included to skip the
line). You will start with the Vatican Museum , home of the most astonishing art collection in the world which ranges from Ancient to Egyptian, from Etruscan to Contemporary Art, and consists of 4 miles of corridors depicting some 2100 years of art. The highlights will be the Laocoon, the Apollo, Raphael’s Rooms and the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo's frescoes.                                

 

Then on to St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s work.

 

Time at leisure in the afternoon.

 

Dinner on your own.

 

DAY TWELVE

 

ROME

 

10am:  Meeting with a chef in front of the Synagogue, Lungotevere Cenci for a special half day tour in ancient Rome. The chef will lead you on a visit of the historic shops of Testaccio, Trastevere, Pantheon and Ghetto. You will visit the most ancient chocolate workshop in town, you will taste some of the famous Roman snacks such as “very crispy” pizza slices, fried vegetables, creamy cappuccino, and you will visit the most famous bakery in town with tastings of typical products.

 

Time at leisure in the afternoon

 

Optional Tour: Classic Ancient Rome guided walking tour : You will walk through the monumental ruins and imposing buildings to understand the politics, religion and organization of ancient Rome. This tour covers the Colosseum ( reservation to skip the line ), the Imperial Forum, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

 

Dinner on your own.

 

DAY THIRTEEN

 

 ROME

 

Today is a day at leisure

 

DAY FOURTEEN

 

POMPEI - AMALFI COAST

 

8.45am: Pick up from the hotel and transfer to Rome train station. Travel by fast train to Naples ( train leaves at 10am and arrives in Naples at 11.10am  ). Meet with the driver at the train station where you will be driven to Pompei

 

12pm: Meeting with your guide and guided visit of Pompei and then transfer to Positano. Accommodation at a 3 star superior hotel. 

 

Evening on your own.

 

DAY FIFTEEN

 

AMALFI COAST VILLAGES

 

9.30am: Pick up from the hotel. Today we will enjoy anexcursion by private car and driver-guide to the enchanting Costiera villages : you will visit Amalfi, Ravello and your driver-guide will lead you to the small village of Scala to discover the true life of the Amalfi Coast. Scala is a secluded village located in the mountains just in front of Ravello. It's close to Amalfi, but in many ways time seems to have stopped here. Then you will  discover another side of the unexpected Amalfi Coast  :  the green heart of the Amalfi coast with centuries old vineyards.

 

At.1.30pm you will visit a wine farm where you will taste their award winning wines ( Falanghina, Aglianico ) along with the farmhouse cheese and salami and experience a true “ lunch with the farmers" and you will be immersed in the true farm atmosphere.                                                                                                                    

 

Transfer back to Positano. Evening on your own.

 

DAY SIXTEEN

 

 Departure for airport or train station after breakfast. Arrivederci!

 

*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season 

 

 

GROUP SIZE

 

A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 10 participants.

 

(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)

  

 

 

HOW TO ARRIVE

  

Closest Airport: Rome Fiumicino/Leonardo da Vinci airports.

 

*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.  

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

 

2017 Fees Per Person

 

Based on Two Persons

 

Double Occupancy/US$6225
Single Supplement/US$825

 

Based on Four Persons

 

Double Occupancy)/US$4425
Single Supplement/US$825

 

Deposit

After availability is confirmed, a 30% deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.

 

2017 Dates

 

Available year round.

 

Included

 

*Three (3) nights on B&B in Venice 3 star hotel
*Two (2) nights on B&B in Florence 3 star hotel
*Three (3) nights in the Tuscan countryside : B&B
*One (1) night in Cortona on B&B, 4 star hotel
*Four (4) nights in Rome, on B&B, 4 star hotel Siena
*Two (2) nights in Positano on B&B

 

*Half day guided visit in Florence ( Accademia Gallery tickets included )
*Half day guided visit in Rome ( tickets and booking for Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel included)
*Half day guided visit in Venice including Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica tickets

 

*Private transfers by water taxi in Venice as per program
*Private transfer from Florence train station to the hotel
*Private return transfers from Rome train station to the hotel
*Private transfer Naples train station to Positano
*Private excursions by minivan and English speaking driver-guide as per program
*Wine tasting in Chianti area
*Wine tasting in San Gimignano
*Visit to the organic farm in San Gimignano and lunch
*Visit to the pecorino cheese farm and light lunch
*Wine tasting Montefalco wineries
*Three hour guided walking tour to historic gastronomic shops in Rome
*Guided visit and wine tasting wine farm in Ravello

 

Airfare, train tickets, personal expenses and optional tour suggestions are not included - please inquire about cost of optional tours

 


For further inquiries or to register, click here.

Click here to return to top of page.

 


CANCELLATION POLICY

 

Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.

 

 

CLIENT REMARKS

 

Anne S., Sebastopol, California

"Lovely accommodations. Especially Positano. Outstanding. Loved the Hotel Art in Rome. For the most part the guides were excellent, fluent in English and very knowledgeable in their subject matter. The food and wine were wonderful, especially at the small farms and out-of-the-way vineyards."

 

Click here to return to top of page.

 
 

 CULINARY DELIGHTS OF ANDALUSIA

“This was the experience of a lifetime.  It was more than a culinary excursion, it was an unforgettable life experience from learning new cuisine to finding serenity in olive country.  I was introduced to a wonderful world of Spanish cuisine and the down-to-earth lifestyle that defines Andalusia.  I cannot wait to go back!” - Opal H., Northport, Alabama

Designed by NKS