Italy Tours & Vacations
Best Italy Tours
Zicasso Italy tours offer the quintessential Italian vacation through exclusive access to the best experiences. Learn renowned culinary techniques in a genuine Italian kitchen, visit historical wineries on private tasting tours, and discover hidden traditions throughout the country. The seductiveness of Italy is brought to life with a handcrafted experience from Zicasso.
How to Book an Italy Tour
Italy is rich in architectural, artistic, and culinary masterpieces and possesses more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country on the planet. Gorgeous lakes, dramatic mountains, and a stunning coastline also add to Italy’s indelible charm.
Planning the right combination of destinations for your perfect trip can be complex and even overwhelming, but Zicasso is here to help.
There are three ways to plan and book a trip:
1. Get a customized tour planned and booked by a travel professional. Travel independently on your own schedule.
2. Book a group tour. Join an escorted group tour with a fixed departure date.
3. Plan and book a trip yourself.
Zicasso offers the best solution for a customized tour by matching you with top travel specialists who plan and book the trip for you. Our travel agency division, Marageti, specializes in helping you book an escorted group tour. There is no extra cost to you for either service.
A customized tour is one that is planned by a travel specialist according to your specific interests, preferences, and schedule. Whether you desire a family-friendly adventure or a romantic getaway, each of the accommodations, activities, and destinations is tailored to your preferences.
The knowledge and experience of your travel specialist makes a big difference. Zicasso has spent thousands of hours vetting the best travel partners. We act as a referral service, matching you with specialists that best meet your goals and priorities.
Escorted Group Tours
A group tour offers the advantage of convenience at a great value. The schedule is fixed, the itinerary is pre-planned, and a dedicated tour director travels with the group throughout the trip. A group tour can be 30 - 50% less expensive than an equivalent customized tour.
Out of the many hundreds of group tours, how do you select the right one for you? Our travel agency division, Marageti, has sales agents who specialize in helping travelers weigh the pros and cons of each group tour. We give you personalized recommendations to find the best tour for you.
Goals and Priorities
What are your goals and priorities for the trip? These should drive your decision for either a customized tour or a fixed departure group tour. We are here to help you make the right decisions to make your dream trip a reality.
Must-See Destinations in Italy
Alongside our Italy travel specialists, we have identified the most important highlights of Italy. Depending on how much time you have, we have recommendations on where you should go. With a custom Zicasso tour, we can organize your days however you would like, but the below provides a framework from which to launch your plans:
7 to 9 Day Trips
If you have a week or so to travel in Italy, we recommend that you visit the cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Organizing your days as recommended below will give you time to see the essential highlights:
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-5: Florence/Tuscany
Days 6-7: Venice
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-6: Florence/Tuscany
Days 7-8: Venice
Days 1-4: Rome
Days 5-7: Florence/Tuscany
Days 8-9: Venice
If you have more time (10-16 Days), We Recommend:
If you can spend closer to two weeks in Italy, we suggest you divide your time between Tuscany, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and the Lakes Region. All Zicasso tours are customized to your preferences, but here is how we recommend spending your time:
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-6: Amalfi Coast or Sorrento
Days 7-8: Florence/Tuscany
Days 9-10: Venice
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-7: Amalfi Coast or Sorrento
Days 7-10: Florence/Tuscany
Days 11-12: Venice
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-7: Amalfi Coast or Sorrento
Days 7-10: Florence/Tuscany
Days 11-12: Cinque Terre
Days 13-14: Venice
Days 1-4: Rome
Days 5-8: Amalfi Coast or Sorrento
Days 9-11: Florence/Tuscany
Days 12-13: Cinque Terre
Days 14-15: Venice
Days 1-3: Rome
Days 4-6: Amalfi Coast or Sorrento
Days 7-9: Florence/Tuscany
Days 10-11: Cinque Terre
Days 12-14: Lake District (Como, Maggiore, or Garda)
Days 15-16: Venice
How many days is enough to see Italy?
Two weeks is an ideal length for a trip to Italy. This will allow you enough time to spend at least two days in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, and then your choice of Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast. A 14-day trip offers options for both guided exploration and time on your own to discover the culture, food, and wine at a casual, enjoyable pace.
Essential Experiences for the Best Italy Vacation
During your Italy tour, you can visit more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. You can also enjoy some of the world’s finest art, delicious cuisine, and stunning architecture.
The following list offers our recommendations on the range of quintessential experiences you must see on your trip to Italy:
Best Way to Experience Rome
Rome is an enchanting city with a unique history, heritage, and culture, providing an extraordinary list of monuments, museums, and restaurants. During your Italy tour, the following are essential experiences that you must indulge in when first visiting Rome:
What to See & Do
Three Must-Do Tours in Rome (3-4 days depending on pace):
- Imperial Rome
- Discover the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and other Roman ruins.
- Vatican City
- Experience the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, museums, and historical works of art.
- Classic Rome (Piazzas of Rome)
- Witness the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon.
Florence is a captivating city known as the Cradle of the Renaissance and offers an exquisite collection of museums, artwork, and access to Tuscany. We label the following experiences as essential when in Florence during your Italy vacation:
What to See & Do
Private Tours in Florence and Tuscany (2-3 Days depending on pace):
- Renaissance Florence
- Visit the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), Piazza Santa Croce, and Museo dell’Opera dell Duomo.
- Artistic Florence
- Discover the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, Bargello National Museum, and Casa Buonarroti.
- Tuscany Tours
- Enjoy an Olive Oil Tour and Tasting, Wine Tour (Chianti), and the towns of Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, and Lucca.
Venice is a romantic city famous for its canals and the bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Cathedral. The city also offers an exceptional view of the history, romance, and grandeur of the former Republic. We recommend the following experiences when visiting Venice:
What to See & Do
Must-Do Experiences in Venice (2 Days depending on pace):
- Venice City Tour
- Visit Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, the Jewish Ghetto, and the Grand Canal.
- Private gondola ride
- Enjoy a scenic ride through the canals with a gondolier.
- Venetian Lagoon Tour
- Visit Murano Island for glass artifacts & a glassblowing demonstration in addition to Burano Island for colorful houses, a lacemaking tradition, and charming canals.
Special Interests & Activities in Italy
Traveling with Zicasso provides you with exclusive access to many activities, excursions, and tours for a distinctive experience. The following information offers insight into our recommended experiences and can be tailored to focus on your unique interests:
Best Food & Wine Destinations
Italy is one of the world’s top culinary destinations. Indeed, great food is everywhere in Italy. When you travel with Zicasso, you’ll get personalized recommendations on where to eat. The following recommendations highlight some of the best Italian regions for food and wine:
Emilia-Romagna is known as Italy’s culinary heart with unique food and wine experiences. Focused on both refined and bold flavors, you will enjoy everything from homemade pastas stuffed with herbs to famous Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano cheese and customary ragù. All will be accompanied by traditional wines.
Florence & Tuscany
Florence and the region of Tuscany are incredible destinations for essential food and wine experiences due to the excellent history of regional gastronomy and for turning simple ingredients, classic dishes, and delicious wines into renowned traditions similar to preserved art.
Piemonte is a fundamental destination for food and wine in Italy. It specializes in producing fine Barolo, which is considered to be the best of the best Italian wines. This region houses the headquarters of the Slow Food movement and hosts the world’s most distinguished food exhibition, the Salone del Gusto.
Rome & Lazio
Rome and the region of Lazio are fantastic destinations for essential food and wine experiences due to the long heritage of winemaking around the hills and in the vicinity of famous cultural sites that date back more than two millennia.
Zicasso’s Exclusive Access to Italy’s Best Wine
Zicasso travel partners can arrange private visits to vineyards not open to the public for exclusive tastings and meetings with the vintners. You can also learn more about Italy’s more than 1,000 grape varietals from a sommelier.
Tours in Lazio, Tuscany, and Puglia allow you to pick olives, visit a factory, witness the production, and sample the delicious flavors.
This activity in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna leads you into forests with specialized truffle-hunting dogs. The flavor and potency of truffles degrade every day, so this is your chance to sample the freshest truffles with a homemade meal made onsite.
Art & History
Italy is one of the world’s foremost destinations for paintings, architecture, mosaics, and sculptures, making art an essential experience during your Italy tour. Italy’s art accounts for some of Europe’s most iconic images.
Must-See Art Museums & Attractions:
- Vatican Museums, featuring the Sistine Chapel – Vatican City
- Uffizi Gallery, featuring The Birth of Venus by Botticelli – Florence
- Galleria dell’Accademia, featuring Michelangelo’s David – Florence
Zicasso’s Italy partners can get skip-the-line tickets for you. Depending on when you visit, your budget, and a number of other factors, they may also be able to arrange after-hours visits with specialized guides so that you can appreciate these treasures without the crowds.
Lesser-Known, Less-Crowded Art Museums & Attractions:
- Castel Buonarroti – Michelangelo’s home in Florence
- Capitoline Museum – the oldest museum in Rome and often overlooked
- Bargello Museum – former barracks and prison transformed into a museum in Florence
- Palazzo Doria Pamphilj – one of the best-known collections for Raphael works
Italy is a history lover’s paradise. Witnessing the history of the Italian peninsula is an inherent experience due to its ruins, palaces, museums, and architecture that span from the ancient Roman Empire to today’s modern nation. In particular, the entire cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice are living museums with some of the most significant historical developments in Western civilization. On a customized Zicasso trip, we can arrange private tours with specialized history guides, such as a former archaeologist with a PhD or a history professor. We can also organize history-focused small-group tours with a certified guide.
An active tour offers the splendor of the countryside or charms of villages and distinctive neighborhoods around the country at your preferred pace and from a unique perspective.
Recommendations for some of the best active tours in Italy:
- Bike Tours
- Sunset bike tour from Fiesole to Florence
- Cinque Terre
- Amalfi Coast
- Mt. Etna
Private Excursions & Special Access
Zicasso’s travel specialist partners have insider access to exclusive experiences that you cannot get any other way. These experiences, customized to your specific interests, can often be your most memorable, turning your trip into the experience of a lifetime. Here are some examples, but the possibilities are endless:
- Leverage Zicasso’s connections and visit the Vatican Museums after hours
- Visit a parmesan cheese maker in Parma and meet the family who’s been refining their art for centuries
- Meet an artisan cobbler in Florence known for designing, crafting, and perfecting leather shoes
- Test drive a Ferrari on a private racetrack; visit the museums and factories of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati
How much is a tour to Italy?
The starting price of a custom-tailored Italy trip is approximately $250 per person, per day. For an escorted group tour, the starting price can be half of that or $125 per person, per day.
The cost of an Italy vacation is dependent on several factors, such as the:
- Length of your trip
- Season (month) of travel
- Class of hotel
- Number of locations/cities you visit
- Number of guided day tours and activities (e.g., cooking class, wine tasting, etc.)
- How much you spend on meals, shopping, etc.
The cost of a tailor-made Italy tour typically starts at $2,500 per person for a 10-day trip, i.e., at $250 per person, per day during the low or mid-season.
- 3-star hotels (shared twin room)
- Some guided day tours and activities
- Transportation in Italy, such as airport transfers and trains from city to city
An escorted Italy group tour with scheduled departure dates delivers excellent value. With comparable inclusions, such as class of hotel, guided activities, and transportation, a group tour can be 30 - 50% less expensive than an equivalent tailor-made tour.
Everyone’s priorities, interests, and preferences are different. Submit a trip request on Zicasso, and we will personally match you with an expert Italy trip planner, who will help you customize your dream trip or help you to select the right Italy group tour while also taking your budget into consideration.
Updated: January 29, 2020
The best time to visit Italy is during the first half of May, the second half of August, or the last half of October.
Visiting Italy in the summer months has changed in the past decade because the second half of August has become a great time to visit due to smaller crowds and the waning summer heat.
Many websites recommend September to visit Italy, but this is outdated information. Italy travel specialists on Zicasso note that travelers in September find higher hotel prices and larger crowds versus the second half of August.
Visiting Italy in the first half of May or the latter half of October offers you better weather, fewer crowds, and the welcoming culture of shops, restaurants, and markets in full swing.
Why Italy is Great for Year-Round Travel
While the best time to visit Italy is around the first half of May, the second half of August, or the last half of October, there is never a bad time to visit Italy. Each season will give you something different to see or experience. Winter may be cold but you could ski in the Italian Alps. You could also enjoy smaller crowds on the streets of Rome in January and February. Summer may have hot months and larger crowds in June and July but you could relax on the charming beaches spanning Italy’s 4,723 miles of coastline. Spring from March to early May can have inconsistent showers and cloudy days but also offers fantastic opportunities to explore historic cities without the tourist crowds. Fall will bring chillier weather and rainfall but will lose the crowds to offer you a more intimate and authentic experience.
How far in advance should I plan a trip to Italy?
You should plan your trip to Italy up to eight months in advance if you wish to visit destinations such as the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. Due to the demand of visitors that travel to these gorgeous destinations and the limited number of hotels, you must reserve your space ahead of time, depending on the time of year you wish to travel. We recommend planning your Italy tour up to 12 months in advance for the most optimal travel experience.
The best way to see Italy in 10 days is by train. The high-speed train travels from Venice in the north to Bari in the southeast while also reaching popular cities like Florence, Rome, and Naples. The train system is very comfortable, fast, reliable, and accessible throughout the country. We recommend the first-class seats because they are much nicer than second-class and only slightly more expensive.
Domestic flights are possible and convenient when needing to travel long distances or off the mainland peninsula to islands like Sicily or Sardinia.
Renting a car is great in Tuscany or the Lakes Region but can hinder your Italy tour in other destinations due to the quality and size of the roads, traffic, and possible issues of property damage.
Zicasso always includes private transfers to and from the airport or between destinations for your best stress-free Italy tour, which circumvents possible taxi service charges or miscommunications.
What to Consider When Traveling Through Italy
Travel considerations during your Italy tour include safety, ease of logistics, and accessibility. The following information offers our recommendations on what to consider:
Is Italy Safe for Travel?
Italy is very safe. During your Italy tour, you will find the people and country welcoming and eager to share their culture. As anywhere, pickpocketing can be a concern, especially in larger tourist destinations like Rome, Florence, or Venice. Healthwise, there are no concerns regarding the general safety of eating and drinking throughout Italy.
You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.
Why We Don’t Recommend Short-Term Rental Apartments
The short-term rental market (such as those available through Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) is not a regulated business in Italy, meaning that, if you book such an apartment today for travel in six months, by the time you reach Italy, the rental may have shut down and may no longer be available. For this reason, it is much better to stay in a regulated hotel or in an apartment that is professionally owned and managed (especially if it’s personally inspected by a travel specialist).
Having a family-friendly guide can help maximize your time and enhance your experience for every member of your family.
Having a guide knowledgeable in touring with seniors will offer more accessible tours, activities, and transfers to maximize how much you can see and experience. If traveling by train, arrangements can be made for drivers to carry your luggage to and from the train carriage.
Having a travel specialist knowledgeable in planning romantic experiences throughout Italy will provide unique perspectives, advice, and opportunities to experience true intimacy during your couples Italy tour.
Travelers with Disabilities
Guests with mobility challenges can be well assisted by our Italy travel specialists. Access and alternative arrangements can be made with ease to ensure enjoyment of certain monuments, historical sites, accommodations, and restaurants.
Best Airports to Fly In & Out of Italy
The best airport to fly in and out of Italy when visiting Rome, Florence, Venice, and many other Italian destinations is Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Flying into Rome can often have the most opportunities based on your schedule and preferred travel timeframe; however, other airports can provide equal opportunities and possibilities depending on your route and schedule.
For most travelers, the most convenient airport is Rome. The second most convenient is Venice.
NEW in 2020: Starting June 1, Alitalia, a SkyTeam Alliance partner with Delta, will be offering the first-ever nonstop flights between San Francisco (SFO) and Rome (FCO).
The top active airports in Italy are:
- Rome – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO)
- Venice – Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
- Milan – Malpensa International Airport (MXP)
- Pisa – Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA)
- Florence – Florence Peretola Airport (FLR)
- Naples – Naples International Airport (NAP)
Find the Best Flights
In general, there’s a slight logistical advantage to flying into the first city of your trip and returning from the last city. For example, if your trip travels from Rome to Florence to Venice, then you can fly into Rome and return from Venice.
However, it’s sometimes more advantageous to fly in and out of the same city, especially Rome because there is better pricing and availability. It’s fine to do so because it is easy to get around Italy with high-speed trains that allow you to quickly return to the city from which you arrived.
With the scale and number of airports in Italy, you can make your flights work around your particular Italy trip.
Domestic flights are accessible, frequent, and quick, making it very easy to travel long distances across Italy, such as from Venice to Sicily.
Flights Via Zicasso
Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24X7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.
Recommendations for the Return Traveler
When returning for another Italy tour, you can venture beyond the essential cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice to discover destinations considered more off-the-beaten-path but equally worthy of your consideration. The following list offers our recommendations for where you can visit during a return trip to Italy:
The island of Sicily has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as captivating cultural cities with food and wine representing the rich customs of the Mediterranean island. The incredible views of the city overlook volcanoes, preserved ruins from Greek and Roman civilizations, and approximately 15 islands, seven of which are volcanic.
This wonderful lake offers visitors the opportunity to actively uncover the beauty of the Lakes Region with hiking, wine tasting in the Valpolicella region, water sports, and the opportunity for a romantic getaway or a family-fun vacation.
This small town in the Lombardy region is surrounded by lakes and shines with beautiful Renaissance architecture with connections to 400 years of a single ruling family that date back to the 14th century. The town also features fantastic palaces and the graceful piazzas.
Ravenna possesses glistening Cathedrals known for their gilded Byzantine mosaics and preserved Roman heritage. Ravenna is also the resting place of Italy’s best-known poet, Dante Alighieri.
Puglia is a region that possesses a stunning array of cities, towns, beaches, and culture. Lecce glows with a Baroque architectural charm, Otranto glints on a hill with white architecture that overlooks the golden countryside, Alberobello boasts a unique, storybook architecture, and olive trees blanket the landscape before the coastline along the Adriatic Sea.
This mountain range offers visitors a wonderful array of outdoor adventures in the summer with an abundance of hiking trails. In winter, it offers an exceptional number of luxury ski resorts and destinations. In summer, the Dolomites definitely offer visitors who are returning to Italy something different to experience.
Related Italy Tours by Zicasso
Here is our list of other Italy Tours we offer:
Italy Family Vacations
Italy Food & Wine Tours
Italy Wine Tours
Italy Food Tours
Italy Tours for Seniors
Italy for First-Timers
7 Day Italy Itineraries
8 Day Italy Itineraries
9 Day Italy Itineraries
10 Day Italy Itineraries
12 Day Italy Itineraries
14 Day Italy Itineraries
3 Week Italy Itineraries
7 Day Amalfi Coast Itineraries
10 Day Northern Italy Itineraries
2 Week Southern Italy Itineraries
Specific Italy Destinations
Northern Italy Tours
Southern Italy Tours
Amalfi Coast Tours
Cinque Terre Tours
Rome to Amalfi Coast Tours
Sicily Wine Tours
Southern Italy & Sicily Tours
Rome & Venice Itineraries
Rome & Florence Itineraries
Rome, Florence, and Amalfi Coast Tours
Venice, Florence, Rome, and Amalfi Coast Tours
Lake Como Vacations