Incredible Italy Small Group Tour!
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
As you soak up the Italian scenery, the always delicious cuisine, amazing wines, the rich history and priceless art, you can see why Italy is considered one of the Top Destinations in Europe!
There was zero hassle and stress of having to plan each day, as our 2 Tour Guides had it ALL laid out for us in advance. We were able to relax, unwind, have fun and enjoy our guided tour through this majestic land.
We spent 9 days there and it didn’t seem quite enough to experience all the wonders that this country has to offer. La dolce vita (the sweet life) was surely had exploring the small towns and big cities of Italy. Our tour was a focus on simply amazing cuisine, local wines and authentic cultural experiences.
We began our amazing adventure in Milan, where we spent half a day seeing this bustling mecca with its impeccable fashion and financial powerhouses all over this great city. Milan is considered by many Italians as it’s most ‘continental’ city. We were all a bit enthralled with our first taste of Italy and mesmerized with the hustle of Italian culture with it's people, scenery, scooters, bikes and cars galore.
After a bit of a rest that evening (of course we had a wine and cheese welcome reception at a local park) and a huge breakfast buffet (which we enjoyed daily) we then headed on to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Many of us decided to climb all 294 of the ancient spiraling stair case (around the leaning historic building) to the top to admire the beautiful panoramic view of the area. That lovely afternoon we took a leisurely stroll through Lucca, a typical rustic Tuscan Village, surrounded by an old, medieval looking town wall. The smells of the local food were delectable.
We took a beautiful ride through La Spezia along the way to the beautiful, coastal town of Portovenere, whereby we caught a beautiful, relaxing boat ride along the coast and a few local islands, which helped us see the colorful villages up close and personal. We went by the seas to see Cinque Terre. We drove past and stopped at villages in the Classic Italian countryside of Tuscany.
If you were to imagine a quaint Italian village, it would be another Tuscan village, sensational Siena. What a beauty this town was to stroll leisurely through the souvenir and clothing shops, drink espresso outside a lovely sidewalk café, or stop for a local glass of the local wine.
One entire day was spent exploring the town of Florence. Known as the home of the Renaissance and birthplace of our modern world today, Florence has the best Renaissance art in Europe. In a single day, you can look Michelangelo's David in the eyes, fall under the sway of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, and walk the entire amazing Uffizi Gallery.
Gubbio (in the far Northeastern Part of the Italian Providence of Perugia) was a charming little area where we were able to stop for lunch and explore the quaint little village. I think this was one of my favorite little villages. The historical center of Gubbio is a great medieval town with its dark grey stone, very narrow streets, and incredible Gothic architecture.
Assisi was yet another amazing stop on our tour through Italy. We were able to go to the large church where St. Francis of Assisi was laid to rest. There was always time for a nice class of wine and cheese plate, along one of the many quaint restaurants on the streets of Assisi.
Our final days were visited in Rome within it’s ancient town center, where we spent a relaxing yet very full day in Rome’s historic town center. A few (on our tour) had walked until they could walk no more, so they jumped on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour throughout the enchanting city of Rome, visiting all the major attractions (by a rooftop bus). A few of the lucky travelers (including myself) were able to visit the amazing Trevi Fountain and marvel at the amazing Coliseum with an intimate walking tour of the inside. And who could forget the scenery unfolding behind us, as the majestic sun was beginning to set behind the Coliseum on our last full day in this incredible country.
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