Luxury limousine guided travel and vacations
Tour Italy with your own private
A La Carte Italy Tours offers exclusively private
driver-guide tours. All our tours are custom-made
to suit your needs, tastes and dates, and are
run on an exclusive basis. We never mix
passengers who do not know each other.
Best of Italy
The Best of Italy Tour is a suggested itinerary with departure in Milan and arrival in Rome, and that has a duration of 17 days.
This Italy tour provides a good picture of Italy, with escorted excursions in Rome, Venice and Florence. The Coliseum, Vatican and the Leaning Tower in Pisa are all included. A private canal tour is also included in Venice. Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Lazio, Veneto, Lombardy are some of the regions visited. On this itinerary, you will have the chance to visit both very popular (not to be missed) sites, and some other sites that are inaccessible to large group tours or independent travelers.
This privately guided and chauffeured tour in Italy can be redesigned to suit your specific interests, needs or timeframe and plan your tour according to your preferred itinerary. Unless you wish otherwise, your guide will take you to:
Milan - Padua - Chianti Hills - Lake Garda - Bergamo - Venice - Bologna - Florence - Verona - Siena - Lucca - San Gimignano - Pisa - Todi - Perugia - Assisi - Lake Trasimeno - Rome
Our local guide will introduce you to the mystery of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi
Suggested itinerary with departure from Milan and arrival in Rome
Your very own A La Carte Italy Tours chauffeur picks you up from Milan international airport (either Linate or Malpensa). Travel to Milan center. Visit Milan
Cathedral; the Duomo
is built in the gothic style and is the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world. Window-shop in the Vittorio Emanuele II
Gallery and see the exterior of La Scala
Opera-House opened in 1778. Overnight in Milan.
Experience a private guided tour of the second largest church in Italy; the Milan cathedral. View its Gothic style façade with neoclassical detailing, walk on the roof and view its largest 350 foot tall spire.
Drive from Milano to Verona
Pinacoteca di Brera
(collections of Italian paintings), Sforzesco
Castle (interesting fortress), Church Santa Maria delle Grazie
with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci
. Then, your A La Carte™ Italy Tour minivan takes you on a short drive to Bergamo, a city with eight hundred years of musical tradition. Visit Bergamo: Piazza Vecchia
is the beginning of our short walk in the ancient Upper Town. Then on to Verona
; see the Piazza dei Signori
and Juliet's House, the gothic palace of the Capulets. The Bra square next to the arenas, the setting for the famous Summer Festival shows in Verona. 2 nights in Verona area.
Your Best of Italy
tour will lead you today to a private guided walk on the Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo.
Panoramic tour of the largest lake in Italy. See the town of Sirmione, on a small peninsula at the bottom of Lake Garda
. Not far away, the Punta di San Vigilio
is certainly one of the most romantic sites on the lake, with its olive and cypress trees. With the assistance of your A La Carte Italy Tours guide, enjoy the magnificent panorama of the lake, with the mountains to the north. Town of Malcesine
, with its 14th century castle. From there, our guide will lead you to Monte Baldo, reached by cable car. This area is also called the garden of Europe
, because of the significant heritage flora. Picturesque township of Limone sul Garda. Stop at Gardone Riviera, a small tourist resort with a peaceful lakeside promenade. In the evening, your guide will organize local wine tasting. 2nd night in Verona area.
Enjoy the Punta di San Vigilio on Lake Garda, and its romantic cypress and olive trees. Then, travel on to the township of Monte Baldo and experience the heritage flora of the 'Garden of Europe'.
Today, we leave Verona. A walking tour in Padua
leads to the Scrovegni
chapel (frescoes by Giotto). Padova
is the city of St Anthony. It is delightful, with arcaded streets, historic squares and bridges over the Bacchiglione river. Later, as we have traveled to Venice, we start with a short city walk, custom made for A La Carte Italy Tours, to get acquainted with the city known as the most serene
. St Mark's Basilica has five domes, a balustrade decorated by a group of bronze horses, impressive portals. The Doges Palace and its arcades and the famous Bridge of Sighs. It is said that the bridge gained its name from the prisoners that were taken through it to their cells, and sighed at their last view of beautiful Venice.
2 nights in Venice.
In Padova, view Giotto's frescoes at the Scrovegni chapel. Then, let your driver take you to Venice and explore the Italo-Byzantine architecture of the Basilica of Saint Mark; one of the most famous churches in Italy.
This morning, your private guide will organize a private water taxi for a canal tour. The water taxis are sleek polished wooden boats with open air and undercover seating. These crafts are built by a Venetian family, which also manufactures water ambulances, fire boats, police boats and other specific vessels. Although the canals of Venice
are beautiful and full of history, they are not only a tourist attraction: Venice is a city of 300,000 inhabitants, and they all rely on water-based transportation and services, since there are no cars on the island city. A fascinating tour, run at your own pace, with possible stops for photographs. Only A La Carte™ Italy Tour offers such a personalized tour. After the boat ride, it's time for a leisurely stroll. Admire the Rialto Bridge
. It is a stone bridge, with shops on both sides, built in 1591; in fact, a replica of a previous wooden bridge. Later along our walk, see the Santa Maria dei Frari
church, and the Palazzo Querini Stampalia
with a fantastic gallery. Experience a vaporetto
ride to Murano Island and see how a glass blowing factory operates. To conclude the day, a private gondola ride with music and songs is maybe an idea? 2nd night in Venice.
Take a luxury tour of the canals of Venice by private water taxi, and view the famous Rialto bridge. Visit the Gothic style Santa Maria dei Frari church, and the artworks at the Palazzo Querini Stampalia.
This is the end of our 2-night stay in Venice. We are back into our minivan. Relax and see the passing landscapes as we cross the Po river Plain. Stop in Bologna
, a city with a population of 400,000, the capital city of Emilia-Romagna
region of Italy. The cuisine of Bologna is world famous, and we will experience that during lunch. The local cuisines of Italy are part of all A La Carte Italy Tours itineraries. Bologna has Europe's oldest university, founded in the 11th century. The Piazza Santo Stefano
and Piazza Maggiore
(squares) are pleasant areas to observe locals' everyday life. On the Piazza Maggiore
, see the Basilica of San Petronio
with its famous sundial and Bolognini Chapel. On the Piazza del Nettuno
(Neptune Square), admire the Fountain of Neptune (1563). Then, the highway trip from Bologna to Florence is quite scenic, as the motorway borders a National Park (Parco Regionale Storico di Monte Sole
). 5 nights in Florence / Fiesole / Chianti area (depending on your preference, you will be accommodated in the city center, in a delightful nearby village, or in the Tuscan countryside in the Chianti wine producing area).
Your private tour of Bologna will allow you to experience the city's world famous cuisine. Your guide will also take you to view the gothic style Bolognini chapel and the sun-dial at the Basilica of San Petronio.
We dedicate the day to a tour of Florence
. As with all our other tours, this one is made exclusively for you, and is unique to A La Carte™ Italy Tour. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
is our departure point for the city walking tour. It is Florence's cathedral. Its building started in 1296. It is made of marble of various colors. Nearby, the 14th century Palazzo Vecchio
is a fortress-shaped town hall. It is located on the Piazza della Signoria
square. The Loggia della Signoria
is located on the same square. It features allegorical figures, a statuary and wide arches that were admired by Michelangelo. Next door, there is also a copy of Michelangelo's David. The original can be seen at the Accademia Gallery
. We'll also have a look at the Basilica di Santa Croce
(Basilica of the Holy Cross) with the with tomb of Michelangelo
. 2nd night in Florence / Fiesole / Chianti area.
In Florence, your personal guide will take you on a private tour of the city's luxurious marble cathedral, the nearby 14th Century Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia della Signoria; where you can view an open-air gallery of Renaissance style sculptures.
It is time to travel to the famous Tuscan hills and Chianti
wine birthplace. Your A La Carte Italy Tours chauffeur takes you on a private discovery of this heritage area. Greve is a town in the Chianti
area. It has an "out the beaten track" feel, although it is only 20 miles away from Florence. There is a Franciscan monastery, and a square that is actually... triangular in shape (not a very common occurrence on the Old Continent). Nearby, the tiny hilltop village of Montefioralle
dates back to 931 AD. It is famous for its wines. After a typical lunch during which your A La Carte Italy Tours guide will introduce you to the specificities of local produce, visit a wine cellar to learn more about the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
label, the Chianti Classico
, Chianti Superiore
and Chianti Classico Riserva
wines, the straw basket bottles, the Sangiovese
and Malvasia bianca
grapes. 3rd night in Florence / Fiesole / Chianti area.
Your personally guided tour of the Tuscan hills will allow you to experience luxurious enoteche
and sample famous wines. You will also travel to the historic town of Greve where you can visit a Franciscan monastery.
Traveling to Pisa and its Leaning Tower
, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your private A La Carte™ Italy Tour guide will point out the wonders of the Piazza del Duomo
(Cathedral Square), baptistery and cemetery. The Leaning Tower is in fact a bell tower next to the church. It began leaning early after the construction in 1173, because the foundations had been improperly prepared. Your A La Carte Italy Tours minivan takes you then to Lucca
, a city dating back to the Etruscan times. Lucca is famous for its walls that surround the historic part of the city. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cathedral, the Church of San Michele in Foro
, the Guinigi Tower. This tower was built for the Guinigi family in 14th century. It has gothic style windows. A distinct feature are the oak trees growing on the roof. It was a tradition to plant oak tres on rooftops, but few of these roofs (understandably!) survived so many centuries. 4th night in Florence / Fiesole / Chianti area.
Your tour through Pisa will take you to famous UNESCO world heritage site; the Piazza del Duomo. Here you can see the medieval architecture of four famous landmarks of Italy: the baptistery, the cathedral, the cemetery, and the Campanile (leaning tower.)
Today we head into the Tuscan countryside to the very picturesque village of San Gimignano
. The cathedral was built in 1148 and has breathtaking frescoes in the Siena style. The village had 70 odd tower-houses (some as high as 150 feet) as symbols of the wealth and power of their ancestral owners. In the past, other towns of Italy also had their towers, but they have mostly been destroyed; San Gimignano has preserved 14 of its towers. The village in its current form dates back to the 10th century AD, although it has much older origins dating back to pre-historic times. Your A La Carte Italy Tours guide will take you on a walk that includes the Piazza della Cisterna
. It is the historic and commercial center of town. The Torre del Diavolo
and Torri Ardinghelli
towers, the octagonal cistern, and the torture museum are all within that square. Relax in a cafe, walk to catch more sights, or learn the infinite stories of the area. Study the local Vernaccia wine, searh for the best panoramic view from the Rocca citadel. 5th night in Florence / Fiesole / Chianti area.
In the village of San Gimignano, you will be personally guided through the enclosed, 13th century Piazza della Cisterna. Here you view the wall of nobility houses that surrounds the most famous medieval town of Italy.
and follow a scenic highway leading to Passignano sul Trasimeno. Lake Trasimeno
is the largest on the Italian peninsula (Lake Garda is larger, but not on the peninsular part of Italy). You have now entered Umbria, an inland area of Italy. Although olive groves and vineyards still abound here (as in Tuscany), the local foods and customs are quite different. Enjoy some peace by this serene lake, before your A La Carte™ Italy Tour limousine-minivan takes you to Perugia. With a population of 170,000, this is Umbria's capital city. The Perugini
(Perugia's inhabitants) are proud of their town, and we are going to admire the Piazza 4 Novembre
(Square of November 4th) comprising the Priors' Palace, the Great Fountain and the cathedral. The Great Fountain
was designed in 1278, and its sculpted panels are so valuable that the originals are on display in the Umbria national gallery, whereas the fountain only has copies of them. The Palazzo dei Priori
is an impressive 13th century building with a spectacular staircase and doorway. Still on the same square, the baroque and gothic cathedral displays a ring which, according to tradition, is the Virgin Mary's wedding ring. Overnight in Assisi area.
Travel to Lake Trasimeno; the fourth largest lake in Italy, and encounter cormorants, kites, and kingfishers. View traditional style agricultural practices, and be guided through the ruins of Etruscan tombs on the limestone headland.
We start the day with a walk in Assisi. Assisi is the town of St Francis
(1181-1226). St Francis had turned around the general perception of nature and wildlife, which were not highly regarded in his days. His love for animals is at the origin of legends that tell how he would preach to birds or tame wolves. He preached humility and poverty, and became such a legend after his death, that churches commemorating his life were paradoxically splendidly decorated - very much unlike what he would have liked! That splendor is the focal point of attraction in Assisi
. Travel by foot to the Basilica with its 13th century frescoes. Listen to your A La Carte Italy Tours guide explanations about the Rocca Maggiore medieval castle which dominates the town. Enter the Basilica di Santa Chiara
where Saint Clare of Assisi is buried. She had founded the Clare's Order of Poor Ladies and, like St Francis, was committed to poverty. Your A La Carte Italy Tours itinerary travels then to the town of Todi. The Piazza del Popolo
, with the oldest town hall in Italy, the Palazzo dei Priori
with its trapezoid tower, the Palazzo del Capitano
in Italian Gothic, are the focal points of your city walk. The Piazza del Popolo
is so beautiful and typical of Italy, that it is often used by movie productions as a background. After these visits, travel to Rome. 5 nights in Rome.
In Assisi, enjoy a personally guided tour through the town of St Francis. View the 13th century frescoes of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and the relics of St Clare at the Basilica di Santa Chiara.
On this first day in Rome, you have the opportunity to see the Piazza Venezia
. This is where you can see the monument to king Victor Emmanuel II. That monument is nicknamed Il Vittoriano
. Whilst many Romans consider it too grand, it does allow for an interesting view over the city. Then, let's have a walk around the iconic Trevi Fountain
. Throw a coin or two or three in that fountain, and maybe a good or bad event will change your future; your A La Carte™ Italy Tour guide will advise on what to do to avoid bad luck! The Coliseum
is usually the start of our discovery tour. Its alternative spelling is Colosseum
, and it was so called because of a colossal statue of Nero. The statue is no longer here, but the Colosseum
conserved its name. Follow your A La Carte Italy Tours guide in your amazing visit of the Coliseum. Then learn about the triumphal Arch of Constantine (built in 315 AD), and wander around the Roman Forum, between the Palatine and the Capitoline hills. This is the oldest part of Rome, with the Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Saturn, Rostra (the Roman Hyde Park) and many other monuments. See the enigmatic Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita
) in the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, with its remarkable bell tower. Further, the Capitoline Hill had been designed by Michelangelo (1475-1564). It has a Renaissance Palace housing the Capitoline Museums. Visit the museums, which feature Roman, Greek and Egyptian historic sculptures; or, if you prefer, keep walking to see more of Rome. Reach the Spanish Steps
(Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti
). 2nd night in Rome.
Your private tour of Rome will take you through the Roman forum; the oldest part of Rome where you will learn about the Temple of Saturn, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the Rostra. You will then visit the Roman Baroque style Spanish Steps; 130 steps which climb the slope between the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Trinita dei Monti.
This day is dedicated to more sightseeing in Rome although, as with all our tours, it is your privilege to request last minute changes to allow you to i.e. shop or relax. Our visit of Rome
continues as we see the Pantheon. This building was first erected as a Temple of all the gods, but later became a catholic church. It is famous for its Great Eye (oculus
), which supplies the light to the interior. On the Piazza Navona
, marvel at the baroque Fountain of Four Rivers (Fontana dei Fiumi
). The people of Rome had opposed its construction in 1651, and signed petitions demanding more bread, and less baroque fountains. With your A La Carte™ Italy Tour minivan, travel to the Catacomb of Saint Callixtus
), the official funeral area for the Roman Church. Then, explore The extensive ruins of the Baths of Caracalla (33 acres!) and imagine Romans enjoying their free time there in the 3rd century AD. Finally, enjoy the sights of the Largo di Torre Argentina
with its Roman temples and the ruins of the Pompey's Theater, built in 55 BC, the world's largest theater at that time. Your A La Carte Italy Tours air conditioned minivan takes you back to your accommodation. 3rd night in Rome.
Travel to the Catacomb of Saint Callixtus and experience 12 miles of tunnels where 16 early popes were buried. Your tour guide here will show you the early Christian art that has been scratched into the rock and depicts stories from the bible.
Let your A La Carte Italy Tours guide lead you across the Tiber river to the Vatican
, where Latin is still the language on official documents. After having a look at the Castel Sant'Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian) and its baroque statuary, walk into the St Peter's Square
. This is the heart of the Holy See state, designed by Bernini. Visit the monumental St Peter's basilica; spot the Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo. Privately escorted tour, just for you, in the Vatican Museums, where a major masterpiece is the Sistine Chapel (silenzio
!), with its ceilings by Michelangelo. Only A La Carte Italy Tours gives you the opportunity to discover the Vatican on such a VIP tour. 4th night in Rome.
Your private tour of the Vatican will take you through the trapezoid shaped, 17th Century St Peter's Square. Here you can view the statues of St Peter and St Paul, and the famous royal staircase, which links the square to the luxurious Vatican palaces.
To complement our visit of Rome, let's travel for the day to nearby Tivoli
about 20 miles away. It is an antique Roman town. Have a quiet stroll through the Villa d'Este
, with its mannerist art features and allegorical statues. Its gardens are glorious. The Hundred Fountains, the marble nymphs and other garden features will have no secrets to you thanks to the explanations of your personal A La Carte Italy Tours guide. By visiting the Villa d'Este's gardens, you will have the feeling that you already saw these features in other gardens; this is because they have been copied all over the world ever since the villa's creation in 1572. Later, view the Villa Adriana
. A totally different site, since Hadrian's Villa dates back from the 2nd century AD. Both sites are World Heritage. 5th night in Rome.
Your trip to the Largo di Torre Argentina will guide you through Roman temples, and the stone ruins of the theatre of Pompey. The theatre was built during the Roman Republican era and dedicated in early 55 BC, and was the world's largest theatre of its time.
On this last day of your Italy tour, you may want to have some free time for shopping. However, the guide of A La Carte™ Italy Tour is always ready to show you more Italian and Roman delights
. If sightseeing is your wish, we could suggest the Piazza Venezia
. The Palazzo Venezia
, located on that piazza
, was once the embassy of the Republic of Venice. This is a fine Renaissance
building. It contains art galleries with tapestries, pottery and sculptures from the early Christian era onwards. Famous occupiers of the building were Pope Pius IV (16th century) and Mussolini. Drop-off at Rome international airport Leonardo da Vinci. This is the end of your "Best of Italy Tour".
Experience the luxury of classical 2nd century buildings at Hadrian's Villa and be guided through Greek, Roman and Egyptian heritage including the Maritime Theatre, the hall of philosophers, and a re-creation of Hades underworld.
Best of Italy tour in 17 days - prices