Italy: Trip of a Lifetime
June 10th - 17th or Sept. 8th-15th, 2018
8 or 12 day journey through Italy's most iconic regions
Starting in Milan, explore the Ligurian coast including Cinque Terre, the incomparable Tuscan countryside, Florence's unending sites, the picturesque towns of Siena, Parma, and more!
starting at $3495 per person
- Accommodations in clean, comfortable and centrally-located 3- or 4-star hotels
- Daily breakfasts and multiple group dinners (3 total dinners on 8-day trip, 6 total dinners on 12-day trip)
- Transportation to/from Linate airport on arrival and departure
- Ground transport between each destination in comfortable, privately rented vehicles
- All train tickets throughout Cinque Terre Villages and bus journey in Florence
- Visit to our local community partner to learn about sustainable agriculture in Italy
- 3-hour guided walking tour around Florence
- All costs for entire Florence Duomo complex, Academia in Florence, and Siena Duomo in 8-day trip
- All costs for Bagno Vignoni hot springs, Parma Ham farm tour, Parma cheese farm tour, San Gimignano, and Parma city sights in 12-day trip
- Optional add-ons including ferry trip Portofino, tickets to the Uffizi gallery, and a guided walking tour in Siena
- 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: sunday june 10th - Linate airport --> Santa Margherita Ligure
We will set out from the Linate airport in the morning and into the Liguria region. Many participants choose to arrive to Milan the previous day in order to rest/recoup from long travels or any jet lag. If you'd like to arrive a day earlier, we can arrange transportation from Linate airport (included), your stay at a nearby hotel for you (extra), and we can pick you up at your hotel this morning instead of from Linate. If you choose to arrive to Malpensa airport instead of Linate, there are shuttles between the two airports that you can utilize (and we can help you arrange). Participants should be ready to depart Linate airport or a nearby hotel by 10a.
The Liguria region is world famous for its picturesque fisherman villages, mountain landscapes, and breathtaking coastline -- not to mention being the birthplace of pesto and focaccia bread. Our three-hour car ride will have us arriving around lunchtime in Santa Margherita Ligure -- a gorgeous old resort town favored by Italy's elite. Santa Margherita Ligure has everything a Riviera playground should have: plenty of palm trees, attractive hotels, cafés, quaint streets, and a marina packed full of yachts. Some of the older buildings here are still decorated with the trompe-l'oeil frescoes typical of this part of the Riviera. Your afternoon and evening can be spent visiting the small coastal town or relaxing on the beach to recuperate from your flight.
day 2: monday june 11th - Santa Margherita --> Sestri Levante
After breakfast at our hotel, you may choose between spending your day relaxing on our hotel's private beach or their rooftop pool, and/or wandering and shopping along the cobbled lanes of Santa Margherita. Alternatively, you may opt to board a short ferry to another nearby town -- Portofino. Together with Cinque Terre, Portofino is the most famous seaside town in Liguria with its idyllic, half-moon shaped seaside village that has colorful pastel houses lining the shore along with a charming harbor, shops, restaurants, and cafes. The crystalline green waters reveal a plethora of aquatic life, and a castle just so happens to sit atop the hill overlooking the village. Whatever you decide to do, you can't go wrong!
In the mid-afternoon, once satiated with lunch, we'll take off for the coastal town of Sestri Levante (30 min drive), yet another beautiful Ligurian destination. We'll focus our time visiting the charming peninsula of Baia del Silenzio -- the oldest part of Sestri Levante, bursting with colorful buildings, lined with a beautiful beach and boasting yet another castle. In the evening, we'll have a group dinner, feasting on local specialties (perfect for seafood lovers!) together.
day 3: tuesday june 12th - Cinque Terre
After an early breakfast we'll set our sights on Cinque Terre, part of UNESCO World Heritage. 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!
We'll spend the day exploring the three most scenic villages (Rio-maggiore, Corniglia, and Vernazza), beginning in Rio-maggiore. We will connect between each village via train, and for the hill-top village of Corniglia participants may opt to take a quick bus jounrey up and down the hill to avoid walking the stairs. After a leisurely lunch in Corniglia, we will head towards our third village for the day -- Vernazza, which boasts a lovely bay perfect for an afternoon dip in the sea.
day 4: wednesday june 13th - Lucca --> Florence
Breakfast in Sestri Levante, then 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!!
A two-hour drive through the countryside will have us arriving to Lucca in the late morning. Lucca is known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and cobblestoned streets. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th- and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling while taking in the incredible views. 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. In the late afternoon, we'll head out for Florence (1 hr 15 min) where we will 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 jaw-droppingly gorgeous city as a group.
day 5: thursday june 14th - 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. The Galleria dell'-Accademia displays Michelangelo’s breathtaking “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “The Annunciation.” And the list goes on and on...
In the morning of our first day in Florence 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: friday june 15th - Florence
Museum day! After breakfast at the hotel, 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 is yours to do with as you please in order to get the most out of your time in Florence.
day 7: saturday june 16th - 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.
On the way to Siena we will be stopping to visit a local farm that's part of our community partnering program. You can enjoy a wonderful glimpse into the heritage of Italian agriculture and the practices which produce some of the finest ingredients in the world, that we all love so much.
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.
day 8: sunday june 17th - Siena --> Valle D’orcia --> Pienza --> Bagno VIgnoni
At this point, the option will be provided to journey back to the Linate airport and end your trip after a thoroughly incredible Italian venture. For departures on this day, your flight should not leave earlier than 1pm from Linate (or 3pm from Malpensa).
But hopefully you'll be sticking with us! 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 will 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 will then visit the beautiful town of Pienza and in the mid afternoon we will head towards Bagno Vignoni, an ancient Roman hot springs town. Enjoy vineyards, farm house restaurants and a soak in the hot springs on this day!
day 9: monday june 18th - Bagno Vignoni -> 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. Dinner will be provided at the farm house and will be included in itinerary.
day 10: tuesday june 19th - Volterra --> Parma
After breakfast we will leave for Parma (a 3 hour drive) and arrive at lunch time. Parma is Giulia’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 and 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 11: wednesday june 20th - Parma
From Parma we will head out in to the countryside and spend the day driving to the places where Parma Ham and Parma cheese are from. We will tour a Parmesan cheese farm/factory, get a bit of history and enjoy a tasting. We will have lunch afterwards in one of the many local trattorias well-known for their local specialties. In the afternoon we will visit a Parma Ham farm/facility, with a tour and tastings included. Afterwards, we will then check in to another farmhouse hotel, close to the beautiful Torrechiara Castle. For our final group dinner together on this trip, we will be feasting at the castle itself!
day 12: thursday june 21st - 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.
8-day Abbreviated Trip: cost
$3495 per person, based on double occupancy
+$750 'My own room' option: your own room with private bath
12-day Full Trip cost
$5290 per person, based on double occupancy
+$1000 'My own room' for add-on: your own room with private bath
+$20 Roundtrip ferry to/from Portofino
+$35 Guided Walking Tour in Siena
+$25 Uffizi Gallery
Trip Does Not Include:
- International airfare
- 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 Ireland for the group.
Her love affair with Italy began in 2003, and she's spent many weeks there since traversing the cobblestoned streets, sampling the incredible cuisine and incredibly cultural and historical offerings.
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.
2019 Trip Payment Terms
$250 deposit due on booking refundable through 9/1/2018, less a $50 admin fee. 50% remainder due 6 months prior to trip start. Balance due 30 days prior to trip start
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.