Dreams of Italy August 30 – September 14, 2019 14 Nights $ 4889
Join Your Man in Europe for the tour that encompasses many of the most iconic places in Italy, as well as many stunning but lesser-known destinations. We might call this fantastic tour “Trains, Boats, and Automobiles” because we will enjoy so many modes of travel. From the gorgeous, but less touristy Lago Maggiore to the canals of Venice to the cliff-side villages of the Amalfi Coast we’ll ride in a variety of boats. Our land journeys include exploration of incomparable Tuscany with its dream-like vistas, and Florence and Rome with their unequalled art and history. Close your eyes and picture the Italy of your dreams. Then sign on to this tour and make those dreams come true.
Day 1 – Friday, Aug 30 – Fly to Milan, Italy (overnight flight)
Day 2 – Saturday, Aug 31 – Arrival in Milan by 10 AM. We’ll be transferred by private vans directly from the Milan airport to Stresa on beautiful Lago Maggiore, hugging right up against the Swiss border. On our arrival in Stresa we’ll board a private boat to reach our boutique hotel on Isola Pescatori, one of the three unique islands out in the lake. After settling in we’ll have a light lunch together on the island before depart for our next adventure. We’ll travel to another lakeside town, Arona, for a tour of a world-class cheese producer and a custom prepared dinner made from their cheeses and other locally produced ingredients. Come hungry for this unique dining experience. After dinner we’ll return to our island haven for a good night’s rest.
Day 3 – Sunday, Sept 1 – After breakfast we’ll make our way down to the dock for a self-guided boat tour of the enchanting islands in the lake. The three picturesque islands, the Borromeo Islands which seem to float on the calm water, are very different in character, and each has its own charms. Our hotel is situated on Isola Superiore dei Pescatori (Fishermen's island). The other two main islands are Isola Madre (Mother island) with its rich and lush vegetation, beautiful peacocks, pheasants and other birds, and Isola Bella (Beautiful island) with Borromeo Palace, the incredible baroque mansion and Italian-style-garden with its ten terraces overlooking the lake. Everyone will be provided a boat ticket which will allow exploration at your own pace.
After a fun day of exploration we’ll have a fantastic dinner together at our gorgeous hotel restaurant.
Day 4 – Monday, Sept 2 – After a lovely breakfast at our hotel we will board our train for Pisa, and then directly into the city center where we will see the amazing Leaning Tower of Pisa, certainly one of the most iconic images of Italy. As time allows we may be able to set a time for those who wish to make the climb to the top of the Leaning Tower. And you will be interested in visiting the other magnificent attractions surrounding the plaza.
We’ll enjoy lunch on your own today in Pisa, and afterward we’ll meet our private minibus driver and continue on to our “home-away-from-home”, San Gimignano in the heart of Tuscany. This is quintessential Tuscan landscape, surrounded by beautiful vineyards and rolling hills. After everyone is settled in our hotel with its stunning vistas we’ll have time to explore the quaint village and maybe have a glass or two of the delicious local wine. In the evening we’ve included a fabulous dinner of northern Italian cuisine and wine at the hotel before turning in for the night.
Day 5 – Tuesday, Sept 3 – After our “breakfast with a view” we’ll get an early start on our private minibus adventure to Florence. There is simply no other place on earth like Firenze, the “Cradle of the Renaissance”! We’ll meet with our professional guide to explore some of the oldest streets in the city and visit perhaps the most famous statue in the world: The David, at the Academia, and more. We’ll get to see the most intriguing sights in fabulous Florence – all with one of Italy’s very best guides.
We’ll have lunch together at what is arguably the “best pizza restaurant in Florence” to keep our strength up. After lunch we’ll make our way to the Bargello Museum with its incredible art collection. In the early evening there will be time to enjoy a nice dinner on your own in Florence before returning to San Gimignano.
Day 6 – Wednesday, Sept 4 – We’ll take our time enjoying breakfast at the hotel (with some of the most spectacular views you’ve ever seen - that is, except for out your own room’s window), before taking a very short ride to a nearby villa, where we will all dive into a real Tuscan Cooking Lesson! A delightful local family will teach us how to prepare and properly taste the fabulous local cuisine. And afterward we will sit down to savor the meal we have prepared, along with a few glasses of Tuscan wine.
After our luncheon, woozy but still on our feet, we’ll spend some time in San Gimignano itself. It is probably the most picturesque hill village in all of Tuscany. This stunning little village is the very image of idyllic Tuscany, with its picturesque location right atop a commanding hill. And don’t pass up the shop voted “The Best Gelato in Italy” for dessert located right across from our hotel. If you can hold it enjoy a dinner on your own in San Gimignano tonight – or round up some wine and snacks to enjoy on the terrace at the hotel.
Day 7 – Thursday, Sept 5 – After an early breakfast we’ll travel by van back to Florence. Once more we’ll meet with our fantastic guide to tour the magnificent Uffizi Museum. Afterward we’ll be boarding our train to Venice. Our group members are in for one of the most awesome travel experiences in all the world! Along the way we’ll all enjoy a gourmet “train picnic” featuring local cuisine. After arriving at the bustling Venice rail station at canal-side, we’ll board our “boat taxi” to travel along the Grand Canal, and on to our wonderful hotel right on the Bridge of Sighs Canal in the ancient city’s center.
"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." --Truman Capote
In the evening we’ll to go out for a very special evening you will never forget! We’ll start with dinner together at a lovely restaurant popular with the locals. Afterward, later in the evening we’ll cap off our incredible adventure with a very special activity you’re sure to love.
Day 8 – Friday, Sept 6 – After breakfast we’ll set out to explore this incomparable city. We’ll visit the most important sites in the morning, including the Doges Palace and St Mark's Basilica, the most famous of the many churches of Venice and one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. We will have a pass for public transportation on the famous vaporetti, boat busses plus admission to the main museums and attractions around Piazza San Marco (near our hotel) and more! Dinner this evening will be on your own.
Day 9 – Saturday, Sept 7 - After a wonderful breakfast we’ll go a bit off the beaten path to visit the nearby island of Murano to explore the famous glass works and the Museum of Glass there. We’ll continue on to another island: Burano, where we’ll have a close-up look at the fabulous world-famous lace works, and eat lunch together along the way. This tour will cover less populated areas at an easy-going pace, and give us a nice view of “the other side of Venice”. After our boat delivers us back to Venice proper, we’ll have free time to rest and relax, or shop and explore the back lanes off the tourist track. Guests may opt out of this side tour to explore Venice a bit more on their own.
This will be the last evening in Venice, so we’ll meet back together to enjoy a very special dinner together.
Day 10 – Sunday, Sept 8 – Right after breakfast together we’ll board our train to Naples, via Rome. In Naples we’ll have time for a quick lunch on your own before meeting our driver to make the journey on to fabulous Positano by private van. We’ll be dropped off at our boutique hotel located in the best location possible. From our rooms and the magnificent dining terrace we’ll be treated to unparalleled vistas sweeping across the colorful coastal town nestled in the valley and out over the stunning blue water of the Mediterranean.
After we get checked in everyone will have some free time to explore this unique place – it’s winding hilly streets and alleyways, enticing shops, cozy tavernas, and breathtaking views. In the evening we’ll meet back at our fantastic hotel for a memorable dinner on the terrace.
Day 11 – Monday, Sept 9– After breakfast in one of the loveliest places in the world, we’ll head out for another adventure. This time we’ll board our boat for a short voyage to The Isle of Capri, another of the loveliest places. This unique rocky island juts out of the sea like a gigantic iceberg, but, not icy, is actually like a tropical paradise of blooming flowers and trees. A fragrance of perfume floats in the air.
On arrival we’ll check in to see if we can make the trip to the fabled Blue Grotto. If sea conditions permit, this uniquely Italian experience is not to be missed. In a swirl of happy chaos boats take visitors to the secret entrance to a sea-side cave which, due to an amazing natural phenomenon, is bathed in brilliant blue light. Whether we are lucky enough to see the grotto or not, Capri has many more charms to offer. To see the town, perched on the mountaintop, we’ll ride the funicular railway up the towering cliffs. Lunch and dinner will be on your own today.
Day 12 – Tuesday, Sept 10 – After yet another wonderful breakfast together we’ll take a different sea voyage – this time to an often overlooked treasure, Paestum. This remarkable place is located just south of the famed Amalfi Coast (where we are staying). The major attractions here are the impressive Greek temples set in a gorgeous archeological park. These massive structures were built 500 years before Christ, and remain as the best preserved Greek temples anywhere – including Greece! We’ll have lunch together overlooking the monuments.
After lunch we’ll visit the very fine museum featuring a huge array of artifacts found right in the local area. This is one of the very best archeological museums in the world. After our visit we’ll head back to board our boat back to our Amalfi Coast haven. Take time to enjoy a delightful evening with dinner on your own at one of the cozy restaurants in the town.
Day 13 – Wednesday, Sept 11 – After breakfast on our splendid terrace our driver will pick us up for the drive back to Naples. On the way we’ll have time for a stop at Pompeii and a guided tour of this intriguing ancient city. In Naples we’ll board our train to Rome. Plan to grab a lunch in route, pick up food to have on the train, or purchase your lunch in the dining car on the train.
We’ll arrive in Rome, The Eternal City, in the afternoon and check into our boutique hotel near the foot of the famous Spanish Steps. The charming olde-world hotel is ideally located for taking in this gloriously monumental city. Once called Caput Mundi (capital of the world), Rome is an epic, bubbling-over metropolis filled with echoes of lost empires. One visit and you’ll be sure to fall in love with the city that rewards visitors with a feast for the senses at every turn.
Rome is a city that bombards you with images- where you can feel cool just strolling through the streets, catching the sunlight on your face outside a café, or lingering over a long lunch. It’s a place that often encourages you to take things easy. So if you don’t feel like going on a monument tour or to a museum, you may say “what’s the need when it’s all outside on the streets?”
After we arrive in Rome, and get checked into our hotel we’ll have some free time to explore our charming neighborhood or enjoy a few glasses of wine on our rooftop patio. In the evening we’ll have a very nice dinner together at one of the great restaurants right around the corner.
Day 14 – Thursday, Sept 12 - After breakfast at the hotel we’ll meet with a great guide to begin our custom golf-cart tour of more wonders of this great city. Our driver will whisk us into the most magnificent sights, including, of course, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, , and the Trevi Fountain to toss your coin in to insure your return to Rome. After the tour our guide will drop us off at our hotel. There will be time for everyone to grab a late lunch. Spend the rest of the day exploring – and savoring – the wonders of Rome. Enjoy dinner on your own. Take advantage of some delicious street food, or stop into our neighborhood shops to pick up picnic items and a nice bottle of wine to enjoy on our hotel’s rooftop patio.
Day 15 – Friday, Sept 13 – After a lovely breakfast at the hotel we’ll make our way to the iconic Colosseum. There we’ll have a tour of the inside of this historic landmark. After everyone has had a light lunch on your own we’ll make our way to The Vatican, “The World’s Smallest Country” to take in the breathtaking wonders of the incomparable Saint Peter’s Basilica. After our visit to the magnificent cathedral and St. Peter’s Square we’ll head the fabulous Vatican Museum. Our self-guided tour is the best possible way to experience the marvels of art and architecture in the cradle of the Catholic faith, concluding in the famed Sistine Chapel.
After a glorious day, we’ll return to our little neighborhood for a “Goodbye to Italy” dinner together, and then to our comfy hotel to end our Rome adventure.
Day 16 – Saturday, Sept 14 – Breakfast is included this morning if time permits. Guests will board return flights to USA today. Since flight schedules will vary transportation to the airport is not included, but your guide will help make the arrangements. Additional assistance is offered for those who would like to extend the stay in Rome – or points beyond.
What’s in store for us?
This tour is custom-planned for a small group of no more than 10 guests. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, you have never experienced Italy like this. We’re sure the magic will captivate you. You’ll be part of a magical adventure - complete with music, gourmet picnics, and surprises that will delight you at every turn.
This is not a “Big Bus Tour”. There will be no wake-up calls at 5 AM to herd onto the buses. Our travelers will have a friendly, extremely knowledgeable guide for the entire trip – not just a bus driver and hum-drum contracted tour guide. We do our best to set the mood, to weave a spell, and to make yours a total experience. Hotels and most restaurants on the entire tour have been selected for their very specific location or high level of “atmosphere”. The small group size allows us to personalize the experience in a way large groups simply cannot do. We make it easy, comfortable and stress-free. No guest has to worry about the details of where we are going next. You will feel as if you are not a tourist, but a guest of your Italian friends.
This is a complete tour; and the prices are not increased during the trip through unexpected charges for “extra” tours and arrangements you must handle on your own. If there will be any optional tours or activities not included in the cost everyone will be advised well before signing up for the tour. Most meals are included, and those that are not included are detailed in the itinerary.
Your Tour Guide: Larry Ivy is the Tour Coordinator and guide for Your Man in Europe, and a long-time veteran of European travel and unique private tour-leading. Larry wants just one thing: for you to have “the best time of your life”!
Complete Prices for the August 30 - September 14, 2019 Tour
$4889 Per Person
*All prices are based on Double Occupancy. Single supplement is an additional $1065.
A $500 deposit holds your place on the tour(s). Reservations and deposits for this fantastic opportunity should be made as early as possible, but not later than April 15, 2019. The final balance is due by July 1, 2019. Make checks payable to “Your Man in Europe”. Guests are invited to use our no-interest flexible payment plan.
Tour Includes: Fourteen (14) nights of overnight accommodation (based on double occupancy) in very specially selected hotels, all fourteen (14) breakfasts, six (6) lunches, and eight (8) dinners; all ground transportation (except September 14th airport transfers); and First Class rail travel (where available), admissions to all attractions described in the tour itinerary, knowledgeable guide services, and standard gratuities. There will be no additional charges for the tours and events specifically included by Your Man in Europe. There may be extra charges for tours not included in the detailed in the itinerary. These are optional activities.
Not Included: Airfare to, and returning from Italy, optional travel insurance, extra beverages (meals will include one beverage and will be budgeted accordingly); a la cart or premium menu selections beyond the established meal allowances; between meal snacks; gratuities for extra services such as baggage porters, or for superior service (normal gratuities are included in the trip cost); souvenirs; and privately arranged activities.
Also: All overnight accommodations, as well as railroad and minibus travel will be NO-SMOKING.
This tour is strictly limited to a maximum of 10 guests traveling together
Deposit and payment checks may be mailed to: Your Man in Europe 2608 S University Drive
Fort Worth TX 76109 USA
Or visit our website "Tour Details" page for information about PayPal and credit card payments.