Italy, Los Angeles, CA
$1,575 to $2,200
Trip Length: 10 nights/ 10 days
Dates: Thursday, June 15, 2017 to Saturday, June 24, 2017 (Plan on leaving the USA on the morning of June 14th and departing Rome on June 25th.)
Couple occupancy, single occupancy and shared rooms available. We have hotels with breakfast in Rome and Florence. Venice will be a treat, I rented 4 apartments on canals so we can live as the Venitians live. The apartments have a queen bedroom, a room with two twin beds and a sofa bed. I will be offering 2 single supplements and 7 double occupancy. They will be priced different as there are sofa beds for a few of the packages in Venice. Get your deposit in early to reserve the package of your choice
Activity Level – Moderate. You will be doing a lot of walking so be prepared to walk most of the day. Most of the hotels will not have elevators so you will be carrying your luggage up stairs, along cobble stone roads and onto trains.
Group Size: 16-18 happy and adventurous people (if there is demand and I can find a place in Venice, I will add another apartment)
Italy – The country is rich in history and some of the finest artwork on the planet. The food is wonderful and the wine delicious. If you have not been to Italy before, you are in for a treat.
June 14, 2017 – Depart the USA and plan for an early arrival in Rome the next day. I will recommend flights where we can all meet up while still in the states and fly over to Rome together. Our first day will be packed so get some sleep on the flight over to Italy.
June 15th. – Arrival day – Rome, Italy
We arrive in Rome early in the morning. Today we will have a walking tour of Rome. We will see the Colosseum and Roman Forum (but not on the inside, that comes later) Hadrian’s bridge and view the Castle Sant’Angelo from the bridge. We will enter the famous Pantheon and see the Theater of Pompey where Julius Caesar was murdered. The Torre Argentina is now a cat sanctuary and those that wish, can stop and visit the cats. One super creepy but awesome thing we get to see is the Capuchin Monks. We will go down into the crypt where the famous friar bones are for a visit. Our walk ends with a visit to The Spanish Steps and Fontana di Trevi. Our evening can be spent sipping wine at a local bistro or go on an evening photography walk to see the famous sites at night. If you have not seen the Colosseum at night you have not lived. Rome has a wonderful subway system so if we get tired we can always get a ride. Today is a full day but most of these places we will be just walking by and stopping for photographs.
Hadrian's Bridge - Castle Sant'Angelo
Best Western Milton
June 16th – Rome, Italy
Today we get up early, hop on the subway and take a very short visit to Santa Maria del Popoli. It is a very plain church but oh so special. Popoli is one of the few churches that has not had its famous paintings removed from their original spot and moved to the Vatican Museums. The highlight is two very famous Caravaggio paintings: The Conversion of Saint Paul and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter.
After our visit to Popoli, we have a short ride to Vatican City to visit the famous museums and The Sistine Chapel. You will be free to visit the museum in small groups at your own pace. After you have had your fill of the Vatican, head around the corner to St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s is home to Michelangelo’s very famous Pieta sculpture. During your visit make sure you visit the alter and see the tomb of St. Peter. Visit the crypt of St. Peter’s and make sure you head around to the side of the church and get in line to climb to the top of the dome. It is worth the effort. Budget your time wisely as tonight we have a private guided tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Our guide will lead us to the basement of the Colosseum and the arena floor. This is only available on a tour and it is amazing! Our guide will take us around the ancient Roman Forum and describe what it was like to live there when the city flourished.
St. Peter's Square from the Cupola
Inside St. Peters Basilica
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel at The Vatican
Best Western Milton
June 17th – Pompeii, Italy
Today we jump on an early train and head down to Naples, Italy to catch a local train to the ruins of Pompeii. We will split into groups, based on your interest for the day. We have a few options to choose. You may either spend the entire day at Pompeii or take half day then jump on the train to Sorrento. In Sorrento you can just wander the city or jump on a boat to the Island of Capri. If we are very lucky The Blue Grotto will be open. Not interested in that? See Pompeii and Herculaneum and go back to Naples for a visit to The Archeological Museum. I highly recommend the erotica exhibit. It seems the people of Pompeii were obsessed with the penis. We will meet later at the hotel bar to share our experiences and get ready for our next city…Florence
Ruins of Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background
Victim of Pompeii
Pompeii Erotica at Naples Archeological Museum
Sorrento, Italy - Option to visit
Island of Capri - Option to visit
Blue Grotto, Capri - Option to visit depending on weather.
Best Western Milton
June 18th – Florence, Italy
We depart Rome for Florence. When you arrive in Florence you have the option to visit Florence in small groups or take an hour train over to Pisa and climb the tower. Pisa is a lovely town and the park where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is very nice. Florence is a lovely city and I highly recommend a visit to The Duomo, climb the cupola and the tower. The cupola offers a fantastic view of the city and the tower offers a great view of the famous dome. Florence has wonderful leather wear for sale outside of the Palazzo Vecchio so plan on tossing a coin into the lucky pig statue and shopping. We will meet after dinner for an evening visit to Vecchio castle. The crowds are gone and it is magical.
River Arno, Florence
Leaning Tower of Pisa - Optional tour
June 19th – Florence, Italy
Today is an art lovers dream. We head to The Academia to see Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, David. The museum is rather small and takes a little over an hour. The unfinished slaves of Michelangelo are also housed with him. After you have made googlie eyes at David, we walk over to The Uffizi art gallery. It is a large gallery and jam-packed with amazing art. Take your time as we will be in small groups. Once you have had your fill you are free to wander the streets of Florence at your leisure. I recommend visiting The Old Bridge in the evening. You will have a list of places to visit or you may wish to just shop, drink wine, drink Italian espresso and eat gelato.
Michelangelo's David - oh la la
Uffizi Art Gallery
June 20th – Tuscany Wine Tour
You have a few options today, you can either go on the Vespa tour or take the bus tour. Both tours take you around Tuscany where we will taste wine, have an Italian lunch and visit the ancient medieval city of San Gimigano. We will have a free evening to visit the city, have a leisurely dinner or spend time with your new friends.
June 21th – Cinque Terre, Italy
Today we take a train over to the five cliffside cities of Cinque Terre. You will be free to explore these small cities at your leisure. Travelling from city to city is either by train or hiking path. The largest of the cities has a beach if you wish to just hang out at the beach for the day. After the day at Cinque Terre, we have another lovely evening in Florence.
June 22th – Venice, ah Venice.
I am saving the best for last, Venice. We will catch an early train to the city of my dreams. Venice is a magical city of canals and twisty paths. To me the appeal of getting lost wandering the streets of this magical city, is the most appealing attraction. It is impossible to visit Venice and not sigh every time you think of this place. Today you will have a terrible map and head out in groups to get lost and discover the wonder of this place. Venice holds a piece of my heart and I plan on looking in every nook and cranny to see where the city of my dreams has it hidden from me. I suspect I will have to come back a few times to find my heart. I hope this city casts its spell on you too. You may wish to visit the Islands of Burano or Murano today or tomorrow. The island of lace and island of glass are both worth the visit. I highly recommend we head to St. Mark’s Square to hear the orchestra’s play in the square and see the hand make lamps cast their subtle light on the square. The gondolas will be happy to take out on a romantic ride before they are tucked in for the night.
June 23th –Venice
Today we visit the Doge and the church of St. Marks. The Doge is next to the famous Bridge of Sighs and a ten minute walk from The Rialto Bridge. You are free to wander the city or visit the islands after our visit. Tonight a visit to the square late at night is a must. I spent my 50th birthday in Venice. My dream day was to have wine in the square while the orchestras played. It poured rain and only one man with a violin showed up to play for me that night. It was so beautiful I cried, you must experience this for yourself. St. Marks at night is something you should experience.
St. Mark's Square
June 24th – Rome.
We will take a mid-day train to Rome and split up into groups to see the sights you missed out on our first few days. You might want to see more of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill or Sant’ Angelo Castle before heading off to our airport hotel in the evening.
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, Rome
Leonardo Airport hotel
June 25th – Fly home
What’s included in the trip?
10 nights stay in the room package of your choice (Breakfast in Rome and Florence)
Entrance fee to The Vatican. St. Peter’s is free and the Dome is extra if you choose to climb it
Evening tour of The Roman Colosseum and Forum
Pompeii entrance tickets
The Academia, Uffizi, Vecchio Castle tickets in Florence
Ticket to The Duomo, Giotto tower, basillica and Church in Florence
Tickets to The Doge in Venice
Water bus ticket to the hotel/train in Venice
Train tickets to Rome, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Cinque Terra and Venice
* Pisa excursion - Includes tower tickets and train to and from Pisa $50 US
* Tuscany wine tour on vespa scooters. Includes lunch, visit to San Gimigano and wine tasting $ 165
Tuscany wine tour on bus. Includes lunch, visit to San Gimigano and wine tasting $ 125
Options to full day of Pompeii:
* Half day in Pompeii and train to Naples so see Archaeological Museum (price not included) Approx 10 euro
* Half day in Pompeii and train to Sorrento and optional boat to Capri (Price not included) Blue Grotto may be open depending on weather Approx 20 euro boat trip (one way) local train is under 5 Euro
What’s Not Included?
* Roundtrip international airfare to Rome, Italy
* Train from Naples to Rome as we will be departing at different times. Approx 40-45 US
* Naples Archeological Museum
* Optional boat to Capri, entrance to the Blue Grotto or train to Sorrento. The cost is minimal, Approx 20 Euro each way
* Trains at Cinque Terre (between cities) or hiking fees, both minimal
* Breakfast in Venice and Lunch/dinner in all cities except for Wine tour, that is included
* Gondola rides, water busses and any charges to climb the campanile in Venice or to see the famous St Mark horse sculptures
* Personal Expenses
* Pay toilets and gelato
* Travel insurance (Highly recommended as there are no refunds unless trip is cancelled)
I have a few options due to the set up in the Venice Apartments:
A. Single supplement (no canal view in Venice) - $2,200 -
B. Single supplement (no canal view in Venice) - $2,200
C. Double Occupancy Room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675 SOLD!! - Cheryl
D. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675 SOLD!!- Ann
E. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675 SOLD Catherine
F. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675 Sold Catherine +1
G. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675
H. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1.675
I. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675
J. Double occupancy room (canal view in Venice) - $1,675
K. Fancy Pants double occupancy (private room in Venice, no canal view) $1,800
L. Fancy Pants double occupancy (private room in Venice, no canal view. Double occupancy all other hotels) - $1,800
M . The El Cheapo double occupancy. (sofa bed with canal view in Venice, double occupancy all other hotels) - $1,575 SOLD!!! Laura
N. The El Cheapo double occupancy. (sofa bed with canal view in Venice, double occupancy all other hotels) - $1,575 - SOLD!!! Joanne
O. The El Cheapo double occupancy. (sofa bed with canal view in Venice, double occupancy all other hotels) - $1,575
P. The El Cheapo double occupancy. (sofa bed with canal view in Venice, double occupancy all other hotels) - $1,575
If there is enough interest and availability, I will add another apartment in Venice.
This trip will be pretty loose, you will have an itinerary to follow and be matched up with others that wish to participate in those daily activities. We can all try and start out as a group but we will most likely break up and go at our own paces. Each evening I will want to have a visit to make sure we are all on the same page for the next day.
Read the full dossier and commit it to memory before the trip. It will have all sorts of tidbits of travel in Italy, how to deal with the gypsys, the money, what to wear to avoid the modestly police, maps and interesting information about each place we visit. You will have a full itinerary with train times and numbers.
What to expect
I am not a tour guide, I will not be walking around telling you about each and every ruin we see. We are a group of friends checking out Italy and drinking wine in Rome and in St. Mark’s square. If you want to be a drama queen or diva, this is not the tour for you. There are no turds in the soup on my trips. I will however, do everything I can to plan an amazing trip, research as much as I can to ensure things go smoothly and make sure your needs are met. Things will happen and go wrong, just expect it and be thrilled it if does not.
If you are the turd in the Italian soup or others have complained about your drama and bullshit in the past, you are not welcome on any trips. This is a fun group of people that want to enjoy themselves and not deal with anyone's petty drama. If roommates are not working out we can see about switching you to a more suitable situation. There is no talk of politics or religion, let's just have a grand old time. If you bring drugs on my trip or get arrested for being stupid, you are on your own. I will give you a number to the embassy and the rest of us are off on our adventure. Now if you are injured, I will ensure you are in safe hands and take care of you. Blood clots - don't get one, they suck and will ruin your trip.
Sadly, as I am not a company but an individual doing this as a hobby, no refunds can be given and the trip must be paid in full by February 1, 2017. I am pre-paying a good portion of the trip and need the funds to do so. Make sure your travel insurance covers your trip if you cancel, I WILL NOT GIVE REFUNDS.
I reserve the right to cancel the trip if it is not filled, refunds will be given if this happens. I reserve the right to refuse inclusion on the trip to any person for any reasons. I am not responsible for lost items, accidents or activities being cancelled due to weather or issues with trains and subways. I will be pre-purchasing our train tickets, if you miss the train it is up to you to purchase another ticket and catch up. Be at the station at least half hour before your train if you do not leave with the group. I have done my best to find interesting activities and places to visit. I have done my best to choose nice hotels that are moderately priced. Italy is notorious for not booking activities if they do not feel like it that day. If I cannot book any of the tours I will refund any monies paid.
Upon receipt of your deposit you will get the full dossier with a ton of information on everything we will see. You will get a very detailed itinerary and all the information you need. Please feel free to contact me with questions. This trip is cross posted on all my groups and I do expect it to fill An early deposit will ensure you get the room package of your choice.
Love to travel and kick back in between. Down to earth and balanced personality.