Welcome to a laid-back, flexible itinerary featuring the food, wines and great photo opportunities of northern Italy. Both experienced and first-time international travelers are welcome on this adventure.
It is our desire to share the “real Italy” with our clients. We live, move about, and eat with the locals. We grocery shop. We use public transportation. As a nice small group (maximum 12), we can get into places that larger groups cannot. We hope our clients come away with a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the culture, history and people of the country they have visited, along with a heightened desire to continue traveling. We’ll dawdle in small villages, explore a few famous Italian landmarks, sample the cuisine, wines and culture while meeting locals.
Before the trip, we will provide as much information and as much help as you need to be comfortable. We will provide detailed packing lists along with recommendations that come from years of travel. We will have pre-trip meetings and personal discussions on insurance, currency, credit cards, safety, cell phone use, banking, etc. We STRONGLY recommend packing as light as possible: no more than one small carry on and one checked bag. The checked bag should be no more than 29 inches high including wheels and handle. Our accommodations include washing machines (no dryers), so you only need a few outfits. Remember that you need to be able to carry your luggage up and down stairs in train stations and on and off buses and trains. Most of the time our accommodations will have elevators, however. Although we mostly use public transportation, if we are taking an excursion out into the countryside, a chauffered, air-conditioned van will be provided.
• Roundtrip international airfare from SFO, coach. Other airports are available, but will add to the cost and the time involved in getting to the destination.
• All in-country taxes and trip-related fees
* All accommodations (based on double occupancy)
• Two meals per day—breakfast (which we bring to your room) and “Linner,” the huge late midday meal traditionally enjoyed by Italians
• All sightseeing and visits as noted on itinerary
• Pre-tour information
• Service charges and gratuities
• All on-tour transportation
• Expertise of a Certified Sommelier for food and wine pairing, an expert in Ancient Roman History guide, and local guides when needed
• In-room WiFi
What Is Not Included
• Travel to and from the domestic (usually San Francisco) airport
• Third meal, if desired
• Drinks other than with allotted meals
• Activities marked as “optional”
• Personal items and/or souvenirs
• Any activities and/or excursion outside of the planned itinerary
• Baggage fees
• Trip insurance (recommended)
• Fines or fees incurred outside of the trip parameters
• Upgrades in airline accommodations
• Phone plans and/or roaming charges incurred outside of the designated WiFi areas
• Any unexpected and/or unforeseen events before or during the trip—terrorist acts, cancelled planes, volcanic eruptions, strikes or riots, weather anomalies, etc.
Italy Through Your Senses
Dates: April 3 to April 21, 2018
Maximum Group Size: 10
Fly out of San Francisco in to Venice and return to San Francisco from Florence
Other airports are available, but they are at a higher cost and take more time. Also, we prefer to use International Airlines as they are much more customer friendly than Domestic ones. You will fly out on the 3rd and land late on the 4th. We would be there to scoop everyone up and take them to their “homes” for the duration of their stay in Venice.
Venice: This will be our base camp for the next few days
Walking tour to get the “lay of the land” and to take in sights like Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Plaza and Cathedral, The Grand Canal, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, etc. (I say “walking” but we will have Vaporetto (boat) tickets that we can hop on and off.)
Photography shoots could include the plaza early in the morning when it is not crowded, and you can scout out other locations as we show you around the town. The area at the end of the Grand Canal is very pretty.
Entrance to St. Mark’s Cathedral and museum to include the famous horses.
Afterward, we can cross the square and go to the top of the Bell Tower (Campanile) for a nice view.
Trip out to Burano, considered one of the most “colorful places on earth”. Cross the lagoon to the San Giorgio Maggiore Cathedral for one of the best views of Venice.
Optional – we can go to Murano and see Glass Blowing.
Today we will see the Doge’s Palace and the famous Bridge of Sighs. We are in town at just the right time to explore the Venice Biennale—a world art exhibit that covers numerous blocks. The exhibit is located in the Arsenale, which is itself the historic center for the original Venetian Republic Navy. There is a museum and some interesting naval equipment, not to mention a fine café for sitting and having coffee or wine while you relax away from the bustle of the touristy parts of the city.
April 9—Travel day to Trento
Trento: This will be our basecamp for the next few days.
Trento is a fusion of Italy and Austria, located in a scenic area that includes a plethora of things to do and see. I
Tour of Trento to include the Buonconsiglio Castle, the River Adige, the Piazza del Duomo and Neptune Fountain and the old town.
Travel East to the Segonzano municipality that features 15 small towns and vineyards along with the earth pyramides of Segonzano.
This photo does NOT do this area justice!
So much more to see and do in Trento. The Science Museum, the Diocesan Museum with its famous tapestries, manuscripts and paintings, and if we have time we can take a quick train ride to Rovereto and see the World War I and World War II museums. (It’s only a 14 minute ride)
Travel North to Bolzano and see Otzi the Iceman along with picturesque views of the Dolomites
Road Trip through the Rotaliano Plain and Val di Non, home of Teroldego wine vineyards, apples, and stupendous beauty.
April 15 – Travel Day to Florence
Florence: This will be our base camp for the next few days
Walking tour of Florence to see things like the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Signoria, The Duomo, The Baptistry, The Arno River, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, etc.
End the day at Piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset and get the best view of the city.
Day trip to Lucca. The train ride alone offers wonderful views of Tuscany. Once there, we can walk the walls of the city, and explore the old town. If you are feeling especially frisky, we can rent bicycles and really see the whole walled section. Lots to do and see here.
Optional – L’Accademia with “The David”
See inside the Duomo and climb to the top? See the Baptistry. See and climb to the top? of Giotto’s Bell Tower
Trip out to the countryside—Chianti Region or Siena
April 21—Fly Home
We’re teaming up with guides extraordinaire Mike and Sandy Schwing, who have been leading European tours for over 12 years, guiding more than 100 satisfied clients. Together these personable, kind folks bring a Master’s Degree in Ancient Roman History and Culture, a sommelier certification, and over 32 years of winemaking experience in Amador County to the mix. Because Sandy’s parents were born and raised in Italy and Switzerland, she is fluent in Italian, Swiss, German, French and Latin.
Betty has been leading trips since 1999 to such places as Alaska, Ecuador, Iceland and Tanzania. She is experienced in working with everyone from beginning to advanced photographers. For about 20 years, she was an adjunct photography instructor at Folsom Lake College. As time and inclinations permit, she can help you fine tune your photos for the best possible outcome.