September 14-22 (or Sept 26), 2019
Custom Dates Also Available
9 or 13 day journey through Italy's most iconic regions
A stunning exploration of Italy's iconic Ligurian and Tuscan regions. From seaside villages to breathtaking art, and picture-perfect countryside vistas to restaurant feasts fit for a king, our Italian adventure has everything you're looking for. Starting in Milan, we'll explore the Ligurian coast of Cinque Terre, the incomparable Tuscan countryside, Florence's unending sights, as well as the picturesque towns of Lucca, Siena, Parma and more!
starting at $2895 per person
8 or 12 nights in clean, comfortable and central 3- or 4-star hotels
Transfer to/from Linate airport on arrival and departure day
Private ground transport between Milan hotel and Monterosso hotel
All train tickets in Cinque Terre, from Monterosso to Lucca, & Lucca to Florence
Private rental vehicle from Florence onwards until the end of trip
3-hour guided walking tour around Florence
All costs for Florence Duomo complex, Academia in Florence, & Siena Duomo in 9-day trip
All costs for Bagno Vignoni hot springs, Parma Ham farm tour, Parma cheese farm tour, San Gimignano, and Parma city sights in 13-day trip
Optional add-ons including tickets to the Uffizi gallery, and a guided walking tour in Siena
Daily breakfasts at our accommodations
Multiple group dinners (4 dinners on 9-day trip, 6 dinners on 13-day trip)
Visit to our local community partner to learn about sustainable agriculture in Italy + donation to their organization
Dedicated Italian-native guide and 2nd Traverse guide for groups of 6+
Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure
Small group experience, max 10 people
day 1: Arrive to Milan
Arrive to Milan at any time. Transportation from Linate airport to hotel provided (if arriving to Malpensa factor in a 1-hour bus ride between airports). After your day of travel, rest and recoup in our centrally located Milan hotel. In the evening we will gather at our hotel and set out for an orientation walk around Milan city center, followed by free time to explore and dine at your leisure.
Day 2: MILAN > CINQUE TERRE
After enjoying breakfast at our hotel, we will set out into the beautiful Liguria region enjoying the scenery along the way. A 3-hour drive will have us arriving in the UNESCO World Heritage sight of Cinque Terre right around lunch time. Cinque Terre literally mean "five lands," and is composed of five fishermen villages dotted along the sea. A world-famous destination, these heavenly towns have drawn artists and lovers of beauty for decades, their uniqueness unparalleled across the globe. It is truly a must-see destination! After our lunch together, an orientation walk around the town will give you lots of ideas for explorations in your free time today. The rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing in this lovely seaside town, perhaps at the beach while recuperating from your travels. Alternatively, you may opt to explore the many trails that start from Monterosso and connect the neighboring Cinque Terre villages. We will meet again in the evening time for an aperitivo to celebrate your arrival. Recommendations for dinner will be provided at this point.
day 3: CINQUE TERRE
Following breakfast at our hotel in Monterosso, we will spend the day visiting 3 of the other villages in Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia. Each one of these charming fishermen villages has its own special flavor. From quaint little harbors, to breathtaking views to cliff top villages surrounded by vineyards, these villages are exquisitely unique and romantic. We will connect between each village via train, and for the hill-top village of Corniglia participants may opt to take a quick bus journey up and down the hill to avoid walking the stairs. We will leave you free time in each village to enjoy the scenery and do your own explorations, as well as time for lunch in Manarola. Around 4pm we will head back to Monterosso, but those interested in visiting the village of Vernazza may do so before returning to our hotel. We will gather again at dinner time for an included group meal of delicious seafood and other local specialties on our last night in Cinque Terre.
MEALS: B, D
day 4: Lucca & Florence
Breakfast in Monterosso, and then we'll set off for the quaint town of Lucca, our first destination in Tuscany! Tuscany is known worldwide for its art, picture-perfect rolling hills, breathtaking landscapes, unique architecture, and of course: all the delicious, delectable FOOD!!
We will arrive to Lucca in the late morning, a city known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and cobblestoned streets. Together, we'll explore the city center and its beautiful churches, with some free time for independent wanderings and shopping as well as options for lunch. We will also visit some of the most traditional artisan shops in the city, learning from the amazing local wood carvers and textiles makers.
In the late afternoon, we'll head out for Florence where we'll settle in to our hotel. In the evening after some downtime, we will gather up at the B&B and head for dinner together, enjoying our first evening in this gorgeous city as a group.
MEALS: B, D
day 5: Florence
Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is the incomparable home to prolific masterpieces from Renaissance art and architecture. The Duomo, one of the most iconic and awesome sights in a city teeming with beauty, is a cathedral with a terra cotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto and the place where we'll begin our Florence explorations. Together, we'll visit the imposing Duomo and its Cupola del Brunelleschi, the Baptistery, and Palazzo Vecchio -- the main building where the prestigious Medici family resided. Participants may also opt to walk up to the top of the Duomo and/or the tower for impressive views of the city.
In the afternoon, following lunch, an informative expert on the historical and artistically significant features of Florence's many cathedrals, rich history, and the prodigious works of art and architecture will provide a 3-hour walking tour around the most interesting and impressive central sights. After the walking tour, you will have free time to relax and enjoy dinner at any number of delicious restaurants in the center.
day 6: Florence
Museum day! In Florence, The Galleria dell'-Accademia displays Michelangelo’s breathtaking “David” sculpture, and The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “The Annunciation.” And today is your chance to see them all.
We'll begin our explorations by visiting the famous Galleria dell’ Accademia where the "David" of Michelangelo is displayed, as well as many of his other sculptures. After the Academia, we will take a short walk over to Florence's incredible central Market where there are options for a leisurely lunch or a quick lunch with a *bit* of shopping. At this point, we'll divide into two groups: those interested in visiting the Galleria of Uffizi -- the most prominent Renaissance art gallery in the world, and those interested in visiting Piazzale Michelangelo -- the only site offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Florence. For those taking in the view, it's a 30-minute city bus journey to the point, and on the way back you may take the bus or choose between several walking routes back to the center, such as exploring Giardino di Boboli. At any point during the day or evening you may return to the Central Market to get in more shopping for all your Italian needs! The evening will be yours to do with as you please in order to get the most out of your time in Florence.
day 7: Chianti Region
After another satiating breakfast at our B&B, we'll set off to visit our community partner farm. Il Cerro is located in the Chianti region and boasts 17 hectare of olive groves (some of which are 100-years old) as well as Chianti grapes. This small farm has received many awards from Slow Food for the quality of their olive oil and wine. We will meet our hosts, walk around the olive groves and sit under the shade of trees to enjoy a delicious tasting of their products.
We will then take a lovely drive through the Via del Chianti (the Chianti way), through charming villages and rolling hills, stop for a light lunch and finish the day at a lovely farmhouse hotel where we'll have dinner together. At our hotel, we can arrange cooking classes for those interested in learning a Tuscan recipe. Otherwise it's the perfect place to sit back, relax, swim in the pool perhaps, and enjoy the sunshine with a lovely glass of Chianti… just as the Italians do!
MEALS: B, D
day 8: Siena
The trip continues after breakfast as we set off to the wonderful Tuscan town of Siena, known worldwide for its annual Palio -- a horse racing event. Siena is also distinguished by its uniquely medieval brick buildings. The fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, is the site of the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, and Torre del Mangia, a slender 14th-century tower with sweeping views from its distinctive white crown. The city’s 17 historic “contrade” (districts) extend outward from the piazza.
Arriving in Siena, we'll explore the town together at first, visiting the stunning main cathedral and several key sights. You'll have several hours of free time as well, in which to choose from a plethora of activities like climbing the tower, exploring the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater, shopping til you drop or simply wandering through the picturesque lanes and cobbled streets. In the evening we'll gather together for a delicious group dinner at a wonderful restaurant featuring local specialties.
MEALS: B, D
day 9: Departure Day
At this point, the option will be provided to journey back to the Linate airport and end your trip after a thoroughly incredible Italian adventure. For departures on this day, your flight should not leave earlier than 1pm from Linate (or 3pm from Malpensa).
Extension Begins here
DAY 9: Valle D’orcia > Pienza > Bagno VIgnoni
Hopefully you'll be sticking with us, as the next few days are a culinary adventure through gorgeous countryside with enough stunning views and mouth-watering food to satiate anyone's desires. We;ll'leave Siena by way of Valle D’orcia -- a Unesco World Heritage Site, famous for its gentle hills, very picturesque towns and for being the home of Brunello di Montalcino wine, among many others. We'll then visit the beautiful town of Pienza and in the mid afternoon we'll head towards Bagno Vignoni, an ancient Roman hot springs town. Enjoy vineyards, farmhouse restaurants and a soak in the hot springs on this day!
day 10: San Gimignano > Volterra
Departing from Bagno Vignoni after breakfast, we will head towards Volterra. Along the way, picturesque farms and vineyards will provide enticing stops. We'll stop in San Gimignano (the village of many towers) for a few hours including lunchtime in order to explore and enjoy this scenic Tuscan village.
In the afternoon we will then head to a picturesque farmhouse hotel ideally located in the breathtaking countryside just outside Volterra. Those wanting to visit the nearby town will be able to do so, and those wanting to relax and enjoy the quiet and scenery at the peaceful farmhouse hotel may do so. We'll gather gather together at our accommodation in the evening where a group dinner will be provided, full of local specialties.
MEALS: B, D
day 11: Parma
After breakfast we will leave for Parma (a 3-hour drive) and arrive at lunch time. Parma is our guide's hometown and is the European Union capital of food, (Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, pasta and many types of wine come from this province). After checking in at the hotel, Giulia can suggest many delicious places for lunch in the city center. In the afternoon we'll explore the town together including stops at the famous Teatro Regio (the second most beautiful opera theater only after La scala theater in Milan ), and Farnese Theater-- the only theater in the world made all out of wood. The rest of the evening including dinner, you will have free time. It will be a great time to explore the local market and stock up on local goods there and in the shops around town.
day 12: Parma
From Parma we will head out in to the countryside and spend the day exploring the places where Parmigiano (Parmesan) and Prosciutto (Parma ham) are from. We'll stop for a tasting of Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) and visit the aging room where hundreds of wheels of cheese are curing. We'll then travel to what locals call the Bassa -- the southern side of Parma province, a hub for food worldwide. On the way to Corte Pallavicina, a century-old courtyard, where we will have lunch and get introduced to Culatello ham, we will stop at the home place of composer Giuseppe Verdi.
We will end the day in the Northern part of the province, visiting the beautiful hills around the Torrechiara castle and trying the local wine (Lambrusco and Malvasia). We'll then return to our hotel in Parma for our final night and have dinner together in one of the most characteristic restaurants in town.
MEALS: B, D
day 13: Departure / back to Linate
From Parma, we'll return to the origin location of Milan, where drop-off at the Linate Airport will be provided. Anyone who chooses to fly out from Malpensa will take the shuttle that frequently departs from Linate to Malpensa (about a 1 hour journey). Flights should not depart on this day before 11am from Linate or 1pm from Malpensa.
$2895 per person, based on double occupancy in 3 star accommodations
+$550 Hotel Upgrade Package — stay in luxurious 4 star accommodations
+$595 'My own room' option: your own room with private bath
$4890 per person, based on double occupancy
+$895 'My own room' for add-on: your own room with private bath
Trip Does Not Include:
Additional meals and activities
Required travel insurance
Ready to book? Download our registration form and get started! Or contact us with questions!
Your Italian-Native guide:
Born and raised in Parma, Giulia attended University in Bologna where she graduated in 2003 as an English and Spanish interpreter. She speaks three languages fluently: Italian, English and Spanish. She's currently living in Nevada City, California -- loving the mountain lifestyle, making sculptures and working for a San Francisco-based company that crafts pure botanical extracts.
Traveling and adventure have always been an integral part of her life. Yet, despite her devotion for traveling, Giulia has always remained deeply connected to Italy and is very proud of being Italian. Traveling with Giulia throughout Italy, you will feel a much closer connection to the people and places because she can bridge any cultural or language gap for you. Don't be surprised when you learn new words, a good few expressions, and make plenty of new friends by the end of the trip!
Your traverse rep:
Throughout the planning/organizing stages leading up to the trip, relax and take comfort in knowing that your #1 job is simply to show up and enjoy yourself. Laura will be assisting you with all your arrangements, and helping you prepare and plan for your departure.
In addition, for groups of 6+ you will also enjoy the addition of her there with you to manage logistics and support in Italy for the group.
Her love affair with Italy began in 2003, traversing the cobblestoned streets while sampling the incredible cuisine as well as the stunning cultural and historical offerings. She absolutely loves helping others experience Italy's one-of-a-kind magic!
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to registration for complete terms.
A $250 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking.
Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 deposit on booking + payment schedule in registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.
Cancellations, less the trip deposit ($250), are refundable through March 10, 2018. Please refer to the full Payment Plan for details. We do allow for last minute transfers of the same gender for a $150 admin fee. Please notify us immediately in the case of a transfer.
Travel insurance is required for all trips with Traverse, and must cover injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation as well as trip cancellation and trip interruption. Most insurance companies require purchase to be made within 2-3 weeks of booking for full benefits (in particular, trip cancellation). Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided. We suggest using Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider, or you can choose from any carrier that meets our requirements.
Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.