An Italian Wish-List - May 13 - 26, 2023 - $4289.00 per person
An Italian Wish-List
A casual journey through essential Italy – from Rome to Florence, and Tuscany to Venice
May 13 – 26, 2023 (12 nights)
Join Your Man in Europe on a fantastic journey to experience some of the most beloved destinations in Italy. This free-wheeling, leisurely dance through one of the world’s most beautiful and captivating countries takes our small group to four iconic places, and gives us time to savor each one. We’ll absorb the ambience of every carefully-chosen destination, and feel more like guests in private worlds than like tourists being herded from one stopping place to another. We’ll explore Rome from our boutique hotel and charming neighborhood, immerse ourselves in the incomparable beauty of Tuscany, delight in the extraordinary culture of Florence, and fall in love with one of the world’s most romantic cities: Venice. Even for those who have visited Italy before, this tour will be like nothing you’ve ever done.
"Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life."
May 13, Saturday – Flights depart USA to Rome (FCO) – Schedule flights to arrive by 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 14.
May 14, Sunday – Flights arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) by about 10:00 AM. We’ll have a private van to take us into the heart of Rome where we’ll drop our luggage at 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. Before settling in we’ll have a nice lunch together followed by a brief “neighborhood orientation” walk. Afterward we’ll get checked in and enjoy some free time to rest and relax after a long overnight flight, or set out to take in some of the wonders of “The Eternal City” on your own.
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. It 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?”
In the evening we’ll gather for our “Welcome to Italy” dinner together at one of the great restaurants right around the corner.
May 15, Monday - 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, a drive by the famed Colosseum, 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 the wonderful Capitoline Museum where we’ll enjoy a great lunch together in the rooftop restaurant there – with one of the best panoramic views in the city. Admission to the museum is included.
The museum is an incredible complex of palaces tracing the history of Rome through a huge, and stunning collection of art and artifacts. On display are numerous well-known statues, including the symbol of Rome - the she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus, "Lo Spinario", a bronze statue of a young boy taking a thorn out of his foot, and the “Dying Gaul”. Also featured is a collection of masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck, among many others. Everyone is invited to spend as much time in the Capitoline as desired.
The remainder of the day and evening will be free time. Explore on your own or pre-book one of the many available tours including the very nearby Roman Forum or the Colosseum. Guided tours can be short overviews or in-depth tours, depending on preferences. Advance tickets are recommended. Ask about the best free-time slots before booking independently. Dinner will be on your own.
May 16, Tuesday – Today holds for us a truly unique event. Beginning at 7:30 AM we’ll enjoy a VIP experience at the Vatican with a private morning tour that includes breakfast in the famed Pinecone Courtyard, or in the Vatican cafeteria (depending on weather conditions). We’ll see the top Vatican sights like Raphael’s Rooms, the Gallery of Maps, and the Gallery of Tapestries with an expert guide. Enjoy a very special intimate tour experience when we enter the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s celebrated ceiling painting of epic Biblical scenes, and “The Last Judgment” before the crowds descend. Then we’ll finish with skip-the-line access to St Peter’s Basilica through a private reserved entrance.
After our Vatican tour we’ll make our way to the Rome Metro to return to our hotel. On the way, we’ll stop in for a rollicking fun lunch together just outside the Vatican walls. The rest of the day will be free time. Explore on your own or pre-book an available tour that will cover your particular interests. Advance tickets are recommended and may be booked online well in advance of the trip. Ask about the best time slots and recommended tours before booking independently. Dinner will be on your own.
May 17, Wednesday – After a nice breakfast we’ll head for the train station to board our high-speed train to Florence. Our private driver will meet us at the station in Florence to transport us directly to one of the most picturesque hill villages in all of Tuscany, San Gimignano. This stunning little village is the very image of idyllic Tuscany, with its picturesque location right atop a commanding hill, and it’s absolutely breath-taking vistas of the surrounding countryside. Our enchanting hotel is in the old town center, and features incomparable vistas of the Tuscan landscape. This is quintessential Tuscany, surrounded by beautiful vineyards and rolling hills. Not only is San Gimignano an idyllic place to see, but it’s also a wonderful place just to be. Have plenty of storage on your phone or camera because virtually everywhere you look will be a “Kodak Moment”! The beauty of this dream-like place will be something you’ll never forget.
After everyone is settled in our hotel, we’ll have time to have a brief orientation walk, explore the quaint village, and enjoy some free time to have a light lunch on your own - 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 in the hotel’s atmospheric dining room before turning in for the night (as night life in San Gimignano is pretty slow.)
May 18, Thursday - 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 the ones 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 some carefully selected Tuscan wines.
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. And don’t pass up the shop voted “The Best Gelato in Italy” for dessert located right across the piazza from our hotel. When you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a dinner on your own at just the right spot in San Gimignano tonight.
May 19, Friday - After a lovely buffet breakfast at the hotel our private van will pick us up to continue our exploration of Tuscany. We’ll set off on a morning drive to visit Volterra. This most remarkable town traces its history back 500 years before the Romans to the Etruscans, for whom “Tuscany” is named. The town, once one of the most important cities in Tuscany, boasts both Etruscan and Roman structures, including a massive amphitheater and historic Etruscan city gate. The beauty of this enchanting, and somewhat mysterious place will be something you’ll never forget. Experience an excellent self-guided walking tour and enjoy shopping in some of the town’s excellent alabaster shops and Pecorino cheese outlets.
After leaving Volterra we’ll make our way to a wonderful winery not far from San Gimignano for a late lunch and wine tasting. We’ll sample four local wines accompanied by a rich Tuscan platter with typical regional cold cuts, mixed bruschetta and a selection of Tuscan pecorino cheeses followed by a fresh pasta course. After our tasting luncheon we’ll return to our very special hotel in San Gimignano. There will be a bit of free time and dinner will be on your own this evening.
May 20, Saturday - After our last “breakfast with a view” we’ll get an early start on our private van adventure. Today’s destination will be Florence. There is simply no other place on earth like Firenze, the “Cradle of the Renaissance”! Locals declare that their city is so incredibly beautiful that many guests actually swoon and feel overwhelmed – suffering from “The Florence Disease”!
We will arrive before check-in time, so we’ll drop our luggage at our wonderfully located hotel very near Giotto’s magnificent bell tower and the Piazza del Duomo. We’ll then meet our great guide and have a fantastic pizza lunch before embarking on the best guided tour of the wonders of Florence, including Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, and the Duomo and Baptistry.
In the afternoon we will return to our hotel to check in and relax for a bit. Enjoy some free time until we assemble for a “Welcome to Florence” dinner together at a restaurant specializing in Florentine cuisine. After dinner enjoy some time on your own in this lively city before bedtime.
May 21, Sunday - After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will head for the incredible Bargello Museum, featuring some of the most important sculptures from the Golden Age of Florence. Afterward enjoy a “choose your own adventure” day. Our group’s art guide will be available to help plan a memorable day in the grandeur of Florence. For those who wish to visit the world-renowned Uffizi Art Museum, advance plans should be made to get “skip the line tickets”. There is so much to experience in this truly unique city, no one will find a shortage of wonderful things to do. You’ll have time to enjoy lunch and dinner on your own today. Return to our wonderfully convenient hotel at your leisure.
May 22, Monday – After breakfast at our hotel we continue our journey, this time by train, to Venice. Our group members are in for one of the most awesome travel experiences in all the world! After arriving at the bustling 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. We’ll drop our luggage at the hotel, and take a casual walk to a little café for lunch together. Afterward we’ll have a short walking tour to help everyone understand how to navigate in this amazing city.
"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." --Truman Capote
Venice offers a great City Pass. We will have a three-day pass for public transportation on the famous vaporetti boat busses, and admission to the main museums and attractions around Piazza San Marco (near our hotel) and more! After settling in take time for a memorable dinner on your own at one of the many charming restaurants nearby.
May 23, Tuesday – After a wonderful breakfast we’ll strike out to explore this incredible “floating 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.
In 828, Venetian merchants stole the body and relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt. It is said the Venetians hid the relics in a barrel under layers of pork to get them past Muslim guards. The adventure is depicted in the 13th-century mosaic above the door farthest left of the front entrance of the Basilica.
The relics were initially housed in a temporary chapel within the Doge's Palace, but a more substantial church was built to shelter the valuable relics in 829-32. This burned in a rebellion in 976, but was restored by Doge Domenico Contarini . The present basilica, which incorporates the earlier buildings, was completed around 1071. We’ll also visit the fascinating museum adjoining the basilica.
Take a break to have lunch on your own, and take the rest of the day to explore one of the most remarkable cities on earth. For gallery lovers visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in her former palatial home along the Grand Canal. It is an avant-garde shrine with works by over 200 modern artists. Wander the narrow alleyways along a network of interconnecting canals to get yourself lost – and find the best of Venice, away from the tourist crowds.
In the early evening we’ll meet back at our hotel to get ready to go out for a fabulous evening event you will never forget! We’ll start with dinner together at a lovely little restaurant popular with the locals. After dinner together we’ll cap off the day with our very special event.
May 24, Wednesday - After a wonderful breakfast we’ll go a bit off the beaten path to visit the nearby islands of Burano, where we’ll have a close-up look at the fabulous world-famous lace works, and Murano to explore the famous glass works there. We’ll eat lunch together on the island of Burano, but each guest will purchase food from the menu at a cute little outdoor cafe.
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 romantic Venice. Find just the right romantic restaurant to have dinner on your own, and savor the Venetian night.
May 25, Thursday - After breakfast we’ll travel by private boat to the train station where we’ll board our high-speed train to Rome. Onboard we’ll enjoy a “train picnic” featuring a variety of local favorites as we watch the gorgeous scenery from our deluxe seats.
After arriving in Rome we’ll transfer to a private van that will take us to a lovely hotel on the outskirts of Fiumicino Airport. Then in the evening we’ll gather at the hotel’s wonderful restaurant for our “Farewell to Italy” dinner together.
May 26, Friday – Breakfast will be available at the hotel, but is not included with the tour, as tour guests may all have different flight schedules. A convenient shuttle is available to travel directly to individual terminals for flights returning to the US.
Please Note: For those guests intending to stay in Rome longer, please coordinate with Your Man in Europe as early as possible for help in making arrangements.
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 journey 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. There are no exhausting bus rides or inconveniently-located hotels.
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.
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 Price for the May 13 - 26, 2023 Tour $ 4289.00 Per Person*
*All prices are based on Double Occupancy. Single supplement is an additional $865.
A $500 deposit holds your place on the tour, and is due by February 1, 2023. The balance may be paid in increments on your own schedule, but the final payment is due by April 1, 2023. Make checks payable to “Your Man in Europe”
2608 S University Drive - Fort Worth TX 76109 USA - Please inquire about other means of payment or visit our website "Tour Details" page for information about PayPal and credit card payments.
Tour Includes: Twelve (12) nights of overnight accommodation (based on double occupancy) in exceptional, very specially selected hotels, all twelve (12) breakfasts, eight (8) lunches, and five (5) dinners; all ground transportation (except May 26 airport shuttle); 1st class rail travel, admissions to all attractions described in the tour itinerary, knowledgeable guide services, and standard gratuities. Guests are encouraged to offer gratuities for outstanding service. There will be no additional charges for the tours and events specifically included by Your Man in Europe. There may be extra charges for optional tours not included in the detailed itinerary.
Not Included: Airfare to and returning from Rome, strongly recommended 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. The airport terminal shuttle on May 26 is not included, as flight arrangements may all differ. 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 travelling together