Day 1 - Arrival in Rome
For anyone flying to Rome today, we will arrange a private transfer from Rome Fiumicino Airport to your hotel in central Rome. In the evening we meet for a welcome dinner in a typical Roman trattoria not far from the hotel.
Day 2 – Garden of Ninfa and Castel Gandolfo
Today we drive south of Rome to Castel Gandolfo to visit the papal summer palace and tour the gardens of Villa Barberini with an official guide. You have time for lunch at Castel Gandolfo before heading to the Jardín de Ninfa, perhaps the most romantic garden in the world. The prosperous city of Ninfa was abandoned in the 14th century, leaving a medieval Pompeii until Prince Gelasio Caetani and his English mother began cultivating a garden around, on and in the ruins of the old city in the 20th century.
Day 3 - Tivoli - The Gardens of a Pope and Emperor
This morning we head north to visit two of perhaps Italy's most famous gardens, conveniently located close together in Tivoli. Our first stop is Villa Adriana, the ruins of Emperor Hadrian's villa, built from 117 AD. The ruins were rediscovered in the 15th century and served as a source of inspiration for the great architects and designers of the Renaissance. Cardinal Ippolito d'Este oversaw extensive excavations in the 16th century when he was governor of Tivoli.
In the afternoon we drive to his palace, the Villa d'Este. The Villa d'Este is one of the most impressive High Renaissance gardens and we will spend a pleasant afternoon strolling through the gardens.
Day 4 – The Vatican Gardens
We begin this morning with a tour of the Vatican Gardens, the Pope's vast private gardens. Our guided tour of the gardens also includes admission to the Sistine Chapel.
You have the afternoon at leisure to explore the Eternal City, do some shopping, make postcards or just relax. Our hotel is close to some of Rome's top attractions, including the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Corso shopping district and Trevi Fountain.
Day 5 – Villa Lante and then to Florence
Today you will leave your base in Rome and move to Florence. Along the way, stop at Villa Lante, built by the architect Jacopo da Vignola in the 16th century. The gardens feature a cascade of water and fountains, a formal parterre and a series of ascending terraces. You will have a lunch break and then continue to our next base in Florence. We will be there in time for you to settle in and relax before the excitement of the next few days begins.
Tag 6 – Florence Gardens
Today you will visit one of the most famous gardens in Italy, the Boboli Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace. These extensive gardens were laid out by the Medici and are believed to be perhaps the oldest example of the Italian garden.
In the afternoon, visit a less famous but perhaps more beautiful garden: the Giardino di Bardini. It is situated on a hill above Florence and offers a spectacular view of the city and the famous Duomo.
Day 7 – A walled garden in Florence
This morning you will visit the Torrigiani Private Gardens, one of the largest private gardens of any European city. Once you enter these vast gardens, it's easy to forget you're in the middle of a crowded city and lose yourself in their peaceful beauty.
The afternoon is completely free for you to rest a bit, stroll through the historical center or explore some of the museums in Florence.
Day 8 - Renaissance and other splendor outside of Florence
On our last day in Florence, we spent the morning visiting one of the Villa Castello's Medici Gardens. The villa was built by Cosimo I de Medici in the 16th century when he was elected Grand Duke of Tuscany. Many experts say it is perhaps the closest thing to a true Renaissance garden that exists today. In the afternoon we visit Villa Gamberaia in the hills above Florence. This garden was loved by a long line of English and American expatriates and indeed Cecil Pinset spent time here studying its design.
Day 9 – Traditional balsamic vinegar and transfer to Verona
Today we're back on the road, heading north to the charming little town of Verona. Our route takes us to Modena, famous as the center of Italy's balsamic vinegar industry. We visit a traditional producer of balsamic vinegar and learn why this strictly controlled product is as expensive per liter as the best champagne.
We arrive in Verona in time for the afternoon passeggiata, a leisurely stroll through the streets and squares of this most romantic city with the rest of its noble population.
Tag 10 – Verona and Giardino Giusti
We start the morning with a walking tour with a local guide who will give you a great introduction to Verona and the Giardino Giusti. This garden is one of Verona's relatively unknown treasures. It dates from 1404, although the current design, which features Roman ruins, fountains, mythological statues and a giant cypress tree loved by the poet Goethe, was created in 1570 by Agostino Giusti, a Knight of the Republic of Venice. From the viewpoint we will enjoy the spectacular view of Verona and explore the enchanting palace.
We leave the afternoon free to stroll through the charming pedestrian streets of the city.
Tag 11 – Villa Pogeja
Today you will visit a garden created in the 18th century for Count Rizzardi in Negar on the outskirts of Verona. The garden is considered one of the last examples of the "Italian Garden" and features extensive flower beds, fountains and statues. It is best known for its "Green Theater" made up of cypress and box hedges.The garden is immersed in the vineyards of the Rizzardi family and offers an enchanting perspective.
Return to Verona in the afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 12 – Came from Franciacorta to Bellagio
The Franciacorta region is home to some of the best champagne wines in the world. We are fortunate to have a great relationship with one of the lower quality producers in the area who are also excellent cooks. Our journey north of Bellagio today will be marked by a pleasant rest at this beautiful small winery, a tour of its production facilities and an unforgettable lunch.
We arrived in Bellagio in the afternoon to treat ourselves to an aperitif on the hotel terrace overlooking the magnificent Lake Como.
Day 13 – Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
Today we head to neighboring Lake Maggiore where we visit the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands, Isola Bella. In the 16th century Carlos III. Borromeo chose this island to build his baroque palace and surrounding gardens. Its unique geography has resulted in a multi-tiered garden with spectacular and breathtaking views from different angles. Beware of noisy white peacocks who love to show off.
Day 14 - Villas and Gardens of Lake Como
We spent our last day crossing Lake Como to see some beautiful villa gardens. We visited two of the most famous, Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta. These two gardens are in part the result of the rivalry between Francesco Melzi d'Eril and his neighbor across the water, Giovanni Battista Sommariva, as they attempted to outdo each other in an open display of their gardening skills.
Day 15 – Departure
Today we will leave our base and head back to Milan Malpensa Airport, where we will arrive at 12:00, and then to Milano Centrale Train Station, where we will arrive at 13:00. If you need to catch a flight at a different time, speak to us to arrange a private transfer. We would be happy to organize an extension of your stay in the lake area for you or advise you on extending your vacation in Italy.
Helen and I would like to thank you for arranging our wonderful tour of the Italian Gardens. We think the tour should be renamed the Wine, Food & Garden Tour, we loved everything about it!
Your choice of guide for our tour... what can we say? Guisi was Absolutely lovely, our group of eight travelers realized on day one that we were in for quite a tour. Guisi was a nice, caring, helpful and fun person who tried her best to make us have a good time and to take care of us. We could go on like this, but she's a special woman.
We would recommend Italian Tours to anyone and anytime.
Our garden tour with Italian Tours was like visiting old friends. Beautifully organized at a pace for everyone to enjoy. Everything was “pre-tested” by our guide and leader Luca. From the hotels that were intimate and perfect, and the fabulous local "Casalinga" restaurants, to the absolutely amazing Garden Tours, some of which have been owned by the same family for centuries and you meet the fascinating people who actually own them. It was a very special experience... we booked again this year!
Those looking to experience Italy on a shoestring could spend two weeks here for around €1,320 ($1,420) excluding flights. However, if you're looking to avoid hostels & dine at the occasional restaurant or two, a €2,000 budget per person (excluding flights) is likely a more realistic figure.How many days in Italy is enough? ›
How much time should I spend in Italy? Although there is enough to do in Italy to fill a week, we recommend a stay of at least ten days for a complete Italy experience. However, if you've only got a couple of days in Italy, you will still be able to cover many of the main highlights of the country.How far in advance should I plan a trip to Italy? ›
Planning a trip to Italy should be done one year to six months in advance, but there are a few things that need to wait until just before you leave.What is the best month to visit Italy? ›
Italy's best travel months are May, June, September, and October. They're also the busiest and most expensive time to visit (with the north remaining just as busy throughout midsummer). Crowds aside, these months combine the convenience of peak season with pleasant weather.How much is a cup of coffee in Italy? ›
Although Italy is world famous for its wide variety of coffee, the average cup of coffee will only cost you about $1.33. In Italy, coffee is enjoyed throughout the entire day: morning, evening, and even after dinner.How much cash should you bring to Italy? ›
You hardly need any cash at all. You can use your credit or debit card wherever there is a PoS (point of sale) machine. Your card needs to be on the Mastercard or VISA international network to function. (Most businesses in Italy refuse Amex and Diners because they charge too much commission.)What is the cheapest time to fly to Italy? ›
“Aside from winter travel, shoulder season (March through May and September through November) is known for cheap Italy deals,” he shared. If you can hold out until the end of the spring shoulder season, you'll be rewarded with pleasant temperatures in the mid to high 70s across the country, according to WeatherSpark.Is 2 weeks in Italy too much? ›
For first-time visitors, 2 weeks in Italy is the perfect amount of time to hit the country's most famous and classic spots, see which ones you love, and (if you're anything like us) fall head-over-heels in love with the country to the point that you'll leave planning your next trip back.Which is better Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre? ›
If you want glamour, beaches, and easier travel between towns then the Amalfi Coast is perfect for you, whereas if you're looking to get more off the beaten track and explore some incredible coastline then Cinque Terre is your best choice.What is the least expensive month to go to Italy? ›
Top tips for finding cheap flights to Italy
High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly to Italy is February.
The best time to visit Italy is during spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November), when the temperatures are comfortable and there are fewer crowds. Wildflowers in early April and rising temperatures through to the end of June are a real draw.What is the most expensive time of year to visit Italy? ›
Summer (June – August) is peak season in Italy. Peak season, particularly the months of July and August (and even extending into the first two weeks of September), is generally considered a very busy and expensive time to visit Italy's cities and major tourist areas like the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre.What month is the rainy season in Italy? ›
November is usually the rainy season in Italy, although the sun in the south still shines quite often. In the spring, from March to mid-April, the weather can be sunny and mild, but also cold and wet: it is a rather unstable period.What month does everything close in Italy? ›
August is a unique month to visit Italy because it's when locals close shop and go on vacation. That translates to you, the tourist, in a few different ways.How much is average trip to Italy? ›
|Type of Traveler||Accommodations (For 4 Nights)||Flights (Average Cost)|
|Couple||$1,200 (Rome) $900 – $2,300 (Tuscany)||$700 to $1,200 round trip ticket|
|Family||Less than $600 (Rome) $630(Tuscany)||$700 to $1,200 round trip per ticket|
First off, tipping in Italy is neither mandatory nor expected, but if you do decide to do so, the gesture is a very clear indicator that you appreciated the service provided.What time do Italians drink coffee? ›
After midday Italians drink their coffee black and will happily continue drinking into the evening. Later in the day, they may well add a slug of grappa or other liquor to their espresso to create a caffè corretto, but they would never consider adding milk.What is the rule about coffee in Italy? ›
Thou shalt only drink cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal. Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach. An American friend of mine who has lived in Rome for many years continues, knowingly, to break this rule.Is it better to carry cash or card in Italy? ›
In Italy, cash is still preferred in most restaurants, cafes and other establishments, although credit and debit cards are becoming more widely used throughout Italy and are an increasingly convenient way to pay for things. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, although American Express is not.How much is $1 US in Italy? ›
|1 USD||1,806.32 ITL|
|5 USD||9,031.59 ITL|
|10 USD||18,063.2 ITL|
|25 USD||45,157.9 ITL|
MasterCard and VISA are the most commonly accepted cards. You will get a better exchange rate by using your credit card, as opposed to exchanging US dollars in Italy. Keep in mind that if you pay cash, you're more likely to get a discount in an independently owned store, if you ask for it.What is the cheapest city to fly into Italy from the USA? ›
Milan. Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) is one of the cheapest airports to fly to in Italy. It's an amazing home base for those looking to explore the fashion-forward city of Milan and the surrounding region of Lombardy.Which airlines fly direct to Italy? ›
ITA Airways, KLM, Delta, Air France, Iberia, United, British Airways and American Airlines all fly non-stop to Italy.What's the cheapest way to see Italy? ›
Traveling Italy by train is more cheap and convenient than by car. In fact, traveling by car can be quite expensive for tourists.Is Lake Como Italy worth visiting? ›
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in northern Italy. The views are not only confined to the lake – the surroundings are just as stunning. The mountains, sunsets, villas, and small towns provide a perfect escape from Milan or any other big city. It is absolutely worth visiting!How far is Florence from Rome by high speed train? ›
It takes an average of 1h 36m to travel from Rome to Florence by train, over a distance of around 144 miles (232 km). There are normally 69 trains per day traveling from Rome to Florence and tickets for this journey start from $10.03 when you book in advance.Is Bologna worth a visit? ›
Yes, absolutely! If you're passionate about food and like authentic Italian culture and architecture, then Bologna is the place for you. There's so much to experience in Bologna and it's the perfect gateway to exploring the Emilia Romagna region. I say go, definitely go.What is the prettiest town in Cinque? ›
Vernazza: Located to the north of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza is probably the most beautiful and picturesque fishing village of Cinque Terre, where its colourful houses hang above the sea level on rugged cliffs. It has a charming natural port and an old castle, built to protect the area from pirates.What is the most picturesque village in Cinque Terre? ›
Manarola. With its multicoloured houses hidden high in the hills overlooking the sea, Manarola is one of the most charming villages of the Cinque Terre, and widely considered to be the most beautiful.Is it better to stay in Positano or Amalfi Coast? ›
Positano has a greater selection of shops and restaurants. They also have far better beaches. What is this? For art galleries and historic attractions, Amalfi has the lead here with the Duomo, the Carta (Paper) Museum, the Maritime Arsenal Museum, and more.
- Bologna, offers something for everyone | © Andrey Kirov/Unsplash.
- Noto is a dream filled with baroque architecture | © Sabrina Mazzeo/Unsplash.
- Merano is home to world-class skiing | © Alessio Zacaria/Unsplash.
- Matera is also known as “the cave city” | © Luca Micheli/Unsplash.
The cost of a trip to Italy for a week will vary depending on your travel style and preferences. A budget traveler can expect to spend around 800-1000 euros, while a mid-range traveler can expect to spend around 1500-2000 euros. Luxury travelers can expect to spend upwards of 3000 euros.Is it cheaper to fly into Naples or Rome? ›
The closest international airport to the Amalfi coast is in Naples (the Capodichino airport), but many people prefer to fly into Rome, as it's cheaper.What time should I go out for dinner in Italy? ›
Italian dinner or la cena, usually from 8:00 to 10:00pm, is another time that Italians enjoy sitting down together and socializing. Dinner can be much later than 10:00pm, especially if eating out or dining at a friend's house.What is time etiquette in Italy? ›
Punctuality is not tight in social situations. In Italy, 'on time' can mean 20, 30 or even 45 minutes late. Open doors for the elderly. Men often open doors for women.Is it rude to be late in Italy? ›
Most Italians do have a peculiar notion of punctuality and being 15, 20 or even 30 minutes late for a social situation is generally seen as perfectly acceptable – much to the dismay of people from countries where lateness is viewed as rude or inconsiderate.What is the best time to visit Amalfi Coast? ›
The two shoulder seasons on the Amalfi Coast are September to October and April to May. They also happen to be two of the best times to visit, since the days tend to be sunny and warm. With fewer crowds and minimal rain, both are ideal times to enjoy the scenery.What month is the hottest in Italy? ›
Italy has a mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. If you're a sunseeker the best time to visit Italy is between June and September. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 24 C and an average low of 17 C.What part of Italy has the best weather? ›
Imperia. Imperia occupies first place in the ranking thanks to its very few heat waves. Imperia Italy weather is characterised by pleasant year round temperatures.What is the most common natural disaster in Italy? ›
The main natural disasters Italy suffers are floods, earthquakes, and forest fires. Flooding can be quite common in Venice.
Even though air temperatures can be mild, December, January, and February are still the coldest months of the year fin Italy so plan for a bit of chill and damp.What time is the siesta in Italy? ›
The riposo - Italy's midday siesta
In Italy, it is called riposo. This traditional early afternoon shutdown varies from business to business, but usually lasts about 90 minutes to two hours. It may begin anywhere from noon and 1:30pm and run until anywhere from 2:30 to 4pm.
Most bars and caffè are open 7 am–8 or 9 pm. Almost all restaurants close one day a week (in most cases Sunday or Monday) and for at least two weeks in August.Do Italians take siestas? ›
In Italy siesta is known as riposo. Shops are closed midday for three hours or so, that way Italians get to go home, rest, and be with family. Riposo to Italians means enjoying a home cooked meal and spending time with family.How long is an ideal trip to Italy? ›
Although there is enough to do in Italy to fill a week, we recommend a stay of at least ten days for a complete Italy experience. However, if you've only got a couple of days in Italy, you will still be able to cover many of the main highlights of the country.How much spending money do you need per day in Italy? ›
On average you can expect a trip to Italy to cost €70-295 per person per day (around $74 to $310 USD).How much spending money do you need a day in Italy? ›
A mid-range traveler might spend around 150-250 euros per day, or 450-750 euros total, for a 2-night, 3-day trip to Italy. This would include comfortable accommodation, local transportation, meals at mid-range restaurants, and some paid sightseeing activities.How much cash do you need for a week in Italy? ›
How much money will you need for your trip to Italy? You should plan to spend around €167 ($184) per day on your vacation in Italy, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €45 ($50) on meals for one day and €26 ($29) on local transportation.How much money do you need for 10 days in Italy? ›
It's always a good idea to have some extra cash on hand for emergencies or unexpected expenses. For a 10-day trip, you can expect to spend around €50-€200 on miscellaneous expenses. In total, for a 10-day trip to Italy, you can expect to spend around €700-€2700, depending on your travel style, preferences, and budget.Do you tip in Italy? ›
First off, tipping in Italy is neither mandatory nor expected, but if you do decide to do so, the gesture is a very clear indicator that you appreciated the service provided.
Backpackers should expect to spend between $40 – $70 USD/day in Eastern Europe, $70 – $100/day in Western Europe, and $150 – $200/day in the Nordic countries.How much is a good meal in Italy? ›
Dinner in Italy is an event; Italians love to linger over each of the many courses and chat late into the night. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant, for one person, is usually around $18 to $20, whereas a meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant, with drinks, will typically cost around $70 to $80.Is Lake Garda expensive to eat out? ›
While meal prices in Lake Garda can vary, the average cost of food in Lake Garda is €42 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Lake Garda should cost around €17 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.How much does lunch cost in Italy? ›
Lunch in Italy is also usually a simple and inexpensive affair, even if you go out to a restaurant. For a mid-range restaurant meal, you shouldn't expect to pay more than $15 or $20. And if you're eating at a deli or sandwich shop, the cost of your lunch isn't likely to exceed $10.Is Italy more expensive than the US? ›
Living in Italy is significantly less expensive than living in the U.S. The simplest reason is that housing and health insurance costs are much lower. But it doesn't stop there.Should you carry cash in Italy? ›
First, understand that Italy is a very cash-oriented society, so make sure you never end up with zero cash in your wallet. To buy small things, like coffee, you'll need cash. You'll also need cash at all outdoor markets, for most taxis, and at many restaurants.Should I exchange money before I travel to Italy? ›
It is best to exchange your cash at a bank in your home country before arriving to avoid the fees at exchange offices. The fastest and easiest way to exchange your money is to take money directly out of an ATM (Bancomat in Italian).Is it better to pay cash in Italy? ›
Paying with cash in Italy
Italy is a cash-based society compared to other major economies in Europe: Cash is king. Use your card in almost as many places as you would in the US and other countries.
You can find great deals as low as €9 that include water and coffee. Other great lunch options are the classic trattorias and osterias, offering pasta dishes ranging from €9–14, and second courses from €12–20. For a sit-down lunch at a traditional Roman restaurant, budget around €15–20 per person.How much is the average trip to Italy? ›
|Type of Traveler||Accommodations (For 4 Nights)||Flights (Average Cost)|
|Couple||$1,200 (Rome) $900 – $2,300 (Tuscany)||$700 to $1,200 round trip ticket|
|Family||Less than $600 (Rome) $630(Tuscany)||$700 to $1,200 round trip per ticket|
Since the prices in Venice are relatively high, 100-Euro bills are usually accepted. With 200 euro notes or even 500 euro notes one has problems in many shops. Venice pickpockets etc. The problem with traveling with cash is the risk of theft.