Italy and the Italian Gardens with Julia Laughlin

12 days
Discover iconic cities and seaside towns at the pulse of Italy’s vibrant arts and horticultural traditions. Venice brings romance to the forefront, with meandering, gondola-dotted canals. From the shores of Lake Como all the way to Florence, the presence of the world’s greatest landscape artists can still be felt. And in Rome, history is ever-present, from sculptural gardens to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The people, the artistry, the way of life—experience what Italy is all about.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 6 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Venice today.

Venice 2 nights

Day 2: Arrival in Venice

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Gather with your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Venice

  Included meals: Breakfast

Admire historic churches, winding canals, and picture-perfect piazzas on a guided tour of the city known as “The Queen of the Adriatic.”

• Step into the iconic St. Mark’s Square and view its soaring basilica

• Marvel at the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge, which spans the Grand Canal

• See a glassblowing demonstration to learn about the city’s most celebrated art

• Enter the stately Doge’s Palace, built in the Venetian Gothic style in 1340

Enjoy a free afternoon in Venice or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Venice Canal Cruise $65pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, join your fellow travelers for a tour through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits. A private two-person gondola ride is available for an additional cost.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise for Two $159pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, you’ll enjoy a private gondola cruise through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $169)

Lake Como Region 2 nights

Day 4: Lake Como via Giardino Giusti

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On your way to the Lake Como Region, stop in Verona to visit the breathtaking Giardino Giusti gardens.

• Stroll through the gardens, considered a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping

• Take free time to eat lunch and discover Verona on your own

• Join your Tour Director for a stroll to the famous balcony from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Time permitting)

Later, arrive in Como in time for an included dinner with your group.

Day 5: Como, Villa Carlotta & Bellagio

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Visit some of the most picturesque sites in the Lake Como Region on a guided tour.

• See the city of Como’s eclectic architecture, glittering lakefront, and stunning mountain scenery

• Visit Villa Carlotta, home to 14-acres of elaborate gardens, and enjoy free time to eat lunch and explore Como on your own

• Hop aboard a scenic cruise of Lake Como to soak in some of Italy’s most beautiful estates and gardens

• Float past charming lakeside towns to Bellagio, where you’ll admire the village’s classic beauty before heading to a local restaurant for a group dinner

Florence 2 nights

Day 6: Florence via Villa Garzoni & Villa Torrigiani

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, head to the area near the medieval town of Lucca for a guided tour of two historic villas.

• Visit the stunning gardens of Villa Garzoni, built on the site of an ancient castle

• Stop at the gardens of nearby Villa Torrigiani, which dates back to the 16th century

Later, arrive in Florence and settle in over a group dinner.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Florence

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set off on a guided tour of Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance.

• Visit the legendary Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo

• Pass Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture

• See the medieval Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, center of Florentine life

• Step inside the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial site of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo

This afternoon, wander through the picturesque Boboli Gardens, home to an impressive collection of 16th- through 18th-century sculptures. Then, visit Villa Capponi, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Florence.

Rome 2 nights

Day 8: Rome via Villa Lante

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out for Rome, stopping en route at Villa Lante. Explore the villa’s legendary gardens, fountains, and grottoes before heading to the nearby city of Viterbo for lunch. Arrive in Rome this evening and relax at a group dinner.

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Rome

  Included meals: Breakfast

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans on a guided tour of “The Eternal City,” starting in Vatican City.

• Visit the Vatican Museums and step inside the Sistine Chapel and gaze up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece

• Pay a visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith

• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, and stop at the ruins of the Forum

• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus, and the Temple of Venus and Roma

• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own

Sorrento 2 nights

Day 10: Sorrento via Pompeii

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Sorrento, stop at Pompeii for a guided walking tour of the city’s ruins.

• Discover how Roman citizens lived before Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79

• View the excavated Roman ruins of theaters, villas, temples, and baths

Tonight, settle in to seaside Sorrento and enjoy free time to explore on your own.

Day 11: Capri

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend the day exploring the picturesque Isle of Capri.

• Board a mini-cruise around the island or visit Anacapri (Weather dependent)

• Enjoy free time for lunch, shopping, and exploring

This evening, celebrate your trip with your group at a farewell dinner in Sorrento.

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport in Naples for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Venice, Italy
  • Como, Italy
  • Florence, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Sorrento, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.

  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.

  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.

  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including cobblestone streets, with few hills or stairs.

  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.

  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as stepping between boats and uneven docks.

  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Venice and depart from Naples. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.

  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.

  • Water taxi rides in Venice are included in the price of your tour.

  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.

  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.

  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.

  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.

  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.

  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.

  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy.

  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.

  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.

  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • Venice and Northern Italy are known for flavorful meats and pastries.

  • Tuscany is world-famous for its wine, oil, sauces, and pasta. Menus favor subtle, lighter pastas and desserts made with nuts, fruit, and honey. Try a dish featuring the region’s Chianina beef, perhaps the most prized breed of cattle in all of Italy. For wine, popular Tuscan reds include Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which are primarily made from the Sangiovese grape. Well-known white wines are also made around the San Gimignano region.

  • Roman food is typically freshly prepared and varies depending on the season. Must-try bites include cacio e pepe (a simple dish of pasta, cheese and pepper) and supplí (a fried rice ball similar to Sicily's arancini).

  • For more authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants set away from the main piazzas. A typical Italian meal includes wines and the occasional beer, followed by a few sips of after-dinner drinks like grappa or limoncello.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Italy operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C, F, or L plugs with two or three small, round pins.

  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.

  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.

  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though charges may apply.

  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.

  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.

Currency

  • You will use the euro in Italy.

  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.

  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.

  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.

  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.

  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.

  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.

  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.

  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.

  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.

  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

Museums in Florence

  • If you are interested in visiting any of Florence's many museums during your free time, we recommend that you make reservations in advance. See uffizi.org for the Uffizi Gallery or accademia.org for the Accademia Gallery. Please note that the museums are closed on Mondays.

International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates and prices.

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