Italian Masterpiece –
5 Star Luxury
Venice, Florence & Rome
- Welcome to Italian Masterpiece
- Day-by-Day Itinerary
- Our Luxury Hotels
- What's Included
- Dates & Pricing
Story's Luxury Small Group Journey: Italian Masterpiece
BEGIN IN VENICE – VENEZIA!
This Italy tour kicks off in Venice, historic seaport of the Veneto. This is the place where the world comes to celebrate all things Venetian.
FLORENCE - BIRTHPLACE OF THE RENAISSANCE
Experience Story's exclusive access to the treasures of Michelangelo, Davinci and the family Medici.
PISA - LEANING TOWER & DUOMO
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
TUSCANY - SUN & GRAPES
Enjoy our exclusive experience in Tuscany and time in the medieval town of Siena.
ROME - WHERE ALL ROADS LEAD
Our finalé is the heart of Rome with Vatican City after hours and the Roman Empire experience.
The perfect Italy tour for a returning Story traveler with discerning tastes, Italian Masterpiece is truly luxury redefined.
Create a personal Italy Itinerary: This tour itinerary is available as an independent vacation led by our expert local guides. Contact us at 1 + 877 865 6711 or online by completing this form.
Italian Masterpiece Day-By-Day
Daily Tour Itinerary
Transatlantic Flight to Venice (VCE), Italy
Day 1: Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight
Depart the United States on your Trans-Atlantic flight to Italy.
Please Note: "Day 1" is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel to depart your home airport.
Fly Business or First Class: We can arrange your air travel entirely through Story Land & Sea®'s Air Service department. We'll work with you to get the absolutely best schedule and lowest fare available based on your travel preferences. And your Business or First Class air includes our Luggage Forward service at no additional charge.
Remember, airfare is a completely separate arrangement from your land tour. It is your responsibility to arrive at the point of tour origination (Venice) on time, regardless of whether Story Land & Sea® has arranged your air.
At the end of the Italian Masterpiece you should set your flight to return from Rome (FCO). If you are extending to another city or region, then please inquire for the most convenient airport to catch your return flight.
We very much encourage trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
The Masterpiece Begins
Day 2: Welcome to Venice, Italy
Story Exclusive® Unique Perspective Experience
Included Dining: Authentic & Delectable: Venice Welcome Dinner
A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him. — Arthur Symons
We tend to agree with Mr. Symons about Venice: it's an amazing city with a powerful history and an enchanting state of being – welcome! Tonight begin one of Story's most sought after itineraries in the context of a special journey steeped in luxury and attention to detail.
THE STORY BEGINS WITH WALKING
Join your Tour Captain on your arrival day in Venice as you are introduced to the boutiques and shoppes located in and around Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square). This is where our luxury hotel is located. You will learn of the great history of Venice, and the notoriety of legends like Giacomo Casanova. Your Tour Captain will also point out the major landmarks and the lay of the land in relation to our hotel. We'll introduce you to the best ATM machines to get more Euro dollars, and learn of other helpful details for your stay in romantic Venice.
Story Exclusive®: Tonight, join our reception and welcome from the Tour Captain from one of our unique perspectives.
Your luxury small group tour to Italy is officially underway. After tonight's reception, enjoy a short walk to our Welcome Dinner.
Story Way® Dining: The Story approach to dining begins as you join your Tour Captain for the Welcome Dinner in Venice. Enjoy a special farm-to-table dinner tonight with cuisine from the Veneto along with our Chef to share his insight. Magnifico!
About The Story Way® of Dining: Slow Food: Locally grown, farm-to-table.
Our approach to dining is truly unique just like each of the regions of Italy. The Italian chefs and families are proud of their delicious dishes hail from each of the regions in which we travel. In the Veneto region you will enjoy a variety of dishes with pasta and of course, risotto. Seafood dishes represent the traditions of this historic sea port beautifully as well.
YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN VENICE
Luxury: Enjoy our 5-Star hotels including Il Bauer Palazzo, 2 Nights
HEART OF THE MATTER: There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and Story Land & Sea®'s Heart of City luxury hotels. No taxis or shuttles required when you're in the historical heart of the cities and villages.
Day 3: Venice
Enjoy our Expertly Guided tour of Venice this morning.
Start your morning sightseeing in style as your Tour Captain and our local Expert Guide unwraps Venice for you. We wind through the many alleys of Venice and arrive Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square). Here you will take in a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison where Casanova might have stayed a night or two, you will cross the famous Bridge of Sighs, and see your 'last bit of blue' before we continue with our discovery of Venice.
As the day dawned on 26 July 1755, as the third bell rang, Messer Grande entered and told me he had to put me up in the Piombi. — Casanova
Casanova in the Piombi (Jail)
Casanova left the Piombi on the night between 31 October and 1 November 1756. Digging up the wooden planks with a makeshift tool he climbed out of his cell onto the roof and then down into an attic. Crossing the whole palace he reached the golden staircase where he was seen by a guard who mistook him for a local politician who’d been locked in accidentally. He let him out. Legend says Casanova stopped for a coffee in San Marco Square before fleeing by sea on a gondola.
Story's Unique Approach to Modern Touring
Walking: We walk on our small group tours of Italy. We walk a lot, so get ready for exploring the cities of Italy by walking. Our pace is unhurried but you must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs, hills and cobblestones that is Italy.
A Day on Tour: Most of our expertly guided sightseeing experiences are set for the morning with the afternoon at leisure to explore the city. We are not a traditional tour where you are exhaustively touring from sun-up to sun-down.
The authentic Venice appears early and delights: from the fine Venetian glass hand-crafted in the traditional style to the classic gondola ride, you've made the right decision with this trip. Enjoy our boat ride on our authentic Venetian-style motorboat through the canals and the Grand Canal of Venice.
- Special Access: Exclusive Skip-the-Line entrance to the Doge's Palace
- Bridge of Sighs: The bridge made famous for its window and last view of blue sky and freedom as prisoners are marched to their sentence.
- Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
- Piazza San Marco Tour: Includes our "Secret Treasures of Venice" itinerary where you learn about the Clock Tower, Campanile Tower, Caffe Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion.
- Private Boat to Murano: Enjoy our included but optional trek across the lagoon to Murano and a glass-blowing gallery for demonstration. Yes, you may purchase glass but this is not required or the intent of our visit.
- Included entrances to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana are included in your package at no additional charge.
This afternoon enjoy time at leisure or perhaps a culinary experience or how about a walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto...many options are available before our Gondola experience this evening.
VENETIAN GONDOLA RIDE WITH PRIVATE MUSICIAN SERENADE
Before the optional dinner tonight, you will enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with professional musicians. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.
Day 4: Florence
We embark on the Eurostar Fast Train from Venice to Florence with our magic portage included.
Province: Provincia di Firenze
Included Dining: Florence Welcome Dinner
FLORENCE IN THE MASTERPIECE
This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then meet for our included boat transfer as we make our way to the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station for our included, First-Class Tickets on the Eurostar Fast Train to Florence. Zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence's Santa Maria Novella station.
We continue by vehicle just a short ride to our hotel and home for the next three evenings.
WELCOME TO FLORENCE
Upon arrival in Florence you will have time to freshen up and the enjoy a walking orientation with the Tour Captain with entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari. Learn about the heart of Florence, where you find yourself today.
Story Way® Dining: Farm-to-Table dining tonight at one of our favorite restaurants for an authentic Tuscan dinner. The Chef presents along with our good friend and proprietor for a special night of food and fun.
YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN FLORENCE
Luxury: Enjoy our 5-Star hotels including Bernini Palace, 2 Nights
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Day 5: This is Florence
Today join your Tour Captain and our local Expert Guide as we explore Florence. The city boasts a variety of fine sights to see, including Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistry's Bronze "Gate of Paradise," Giotto's Bell Tower, Signoria Square, the Synagogue, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.
We take our time walking through Florence and her lanes. It's a great morning of sightseeing with the afternoon for time at leisure.
- Special Access: Entrance and Skip-the-Line access for Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery.
- Galleria dell'Accademia: The first art school of Europe.
- Entry to Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore: The Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower
- Guided tour of the Florence Synagogue
- See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery: So called by Michelangelo, our guide will comment on the impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Giotto's Campanile.
Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light
This afternoon explore Florence on your own. Perhaps leather is on your shopping list? Or are you ready to try an optional culinary experience and see if Chef is a title in your future?
We highly recommend the Uffizi Gallery if you want to dig deeper into the vast riches of Florence's art heritage. We can arrange admission tickets, transportation and private guides for you in advance.
Optional but recommended: Enjoy a unique perspective experience as your Tour Captain invites you to join them to Piazzale Michelangelo, high above Florence. You may walk with the Tour Captain or share a taxi. It's worth the trek to enjoy sunset over Florence.
Tonight for optional dinner your Tour Captain invite you to join them or explore on your own.
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Day 6: Pisa & Siena
Delightful Pisa and Siena in the heart of Tuscany await you on today's magical discovery.
Cities: Pisa and Siena
THE TOWER OF PISA
We're bound for Pisa to see its famous leaning tower. Enjoy our Expertly Guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the 11th century Duomo and Baptistery.
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
We leave the cities and drive deep into the heart of Tuscany's countryside and arrive Siena and our 5-Star hotel. Your Tour Captain checks you in and there is ample time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby tonight for a short walk to dinner.
WELCOME TO SIENA
Mid to late-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful city of Siena for our third night in the region of Tuscany.
- Discovering Pisa and her Tower, Duomo and Baptistery
- Tuscany's Wine Road: Winding through the Tuscan hills, the wine road offer views with remarkable beauty, characterized by vineyards, wine cellars, distant rolling landscapes, and villages up in the hills.
Walking Level: Light to Moderate, Leisurely Pace, Volume: Moderate
Story Way® Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a special welcome dinner in Siena tonight.
YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN SIENA
Luxury: Enjoy our 5-Star hotels including Grand Continental, 1 Night
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Siena | Orvieto | Rome
Day 7: Morning in Siena
This morning meet your Tour Captain and our local Expert Gudie for an enjoyable tour of Siena.
Story Exclusive®: Enjoy a walking tour as we begin in the impressive Piazza del Campo, in the heart of Siena. The piazza is in the shape of the letter "D," and is divided into cloves to mimic the mantle of the Virgin Mary to whom the city honors. The tall tower, or Torre del Mangia, caps the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's town hall.
TUSCAN WINERY ESTATE ORVIETO
After our beginning in Siena, we will make our way to our winery estate to enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with delectable morsels for lunch.
Our lunch features palate-pleasing appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll get your fill of classic Chianti and Super Tuscan varietals along with delicate cuisine hand-made by the family chef.
Then we're bound for Rome.
Welcome to Rome | Where All Roads Lead
WELCOME TO THE HEART OF ROMEUpon arrival Rome, we make our way to the very center of Old Rome and check in to our 5-Star hotel.
Freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain in the lobby for a short walk to our Roman Welcome Dinner.
Story Way® Dining: Join your Tour Captain tonight as your palate enjoys a variety of tastes from the region of Lazio.
YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN ROME
Luxury: The St. Regis Rome, 3 Nights
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Day 8: The Roman Empire
Meet your Tour Captain and our local Expert Guide as we unwrap Rome. Enjoy unique stops along the way to admire how Rome's past is intertwined with its present.
Ancient elements intertwine perfectly with present-day apartment buildings.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE
We're making our way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the town center of the Roman Empire, for our special access, in-depth touring experience, complete with admissions.
We venture back in time with our walk through the archaeological dig that is the Roman Forum.
- Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with Story Land & Sea® with no waiting in lines.
- Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.
- Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.
Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample
After our world-class touring experience of Imperial Rome, the balance of the day is at your leisure.
Throughout our stay in Rome, you will visit the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) and have opportunity to visit other sites like the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Campo di Fiore, and Piazza Navona, where mock nautical battles took place in the venue.
OPTIONAL: WHO'S UP FOR DINNER OUT IN ROME TONIGHT? Join your Tour Captain for dining out tonight in Roma at another unique restaurant or explore Rome on your own.
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Day 9: Vatican City
City: Città del Vaticano
Region: Sovereign City State
Starting with a great breakfast we begin another day exploring the majesty of Rome.
TO THE CITY STATE OF VATICAN CITY
Meet your Tour Captain and our local professional Private Guide in the lobby of our hotel, and board our quick transfer vehicle to Vatican City.
The majestic Vatican City comes to life as we explore up close. Enjoy a visit of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square. It's an opportunity to appreciate the vast array of art, while learning of some of the history of the Vatican, all in the context of our intimate, small group of travelers.
We finish our tour of the Vatican at St. Peter's Square where you see the multi-color uniformed Swiss Guard on display as they guard the Vatican.
Our driver and vehicle are positioned nearby and await our call to return to our hotel for the balance of day at leisure.
We recommend a visit to the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Angels): The Mausoleum of Hadrian has served a variety of uses throughout history. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for he and his family.
- Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning. Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included.
- Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.
- Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.
Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample
Enjoy a special farewell dinner in the setting of Story's exclusive venue in Rome.
Story Exclusive®: One of our favorite nights of fun and celebration, as we toast one another to a wonderful journey together. The venue and activity we have designed for you tonight along with the music, will make for the perfect finale to your Italian vacation. It is a night of great cuisine and, of course, vino along with your new friends.
Our days have been filled with new sights, tastes and discoveries - tonight enjoy reflecting on the incredible journey we've had together.
Day 10: Arrivederci!
Catch flights for the USA from Rome. Until we meet again, may your days be full of discovery and your nights full of good friends. Or are you extending to the Enchanted Amalfi Coast? Inquire with reservations for details.
Breakfast included this morning, time permitting.
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Heart of City Hotels.
Story's Luxury Boutique hotels are exceptional.
There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and Story Land & Sea®'s Heart of City hotels. No taxis or shuttles required when you're in the historical heart of the cities and villages. Our Luxury hotels breakfast features a full, hot breakfast included daily with cappuccino, tea, juice and an assortment of meats, fresh, local vegetables, fresh-baked pastries and fruit.
Our luxury small group Italy tour hotels feature historical architecture with all the amenities to expect from 5-star luxury Italian hotels. The properties are located in the heart of the Italian cities, towns and villages. We proudly feature the following Italy tour hotels which have been personally inspected for quality and standard. On very rare occasion, we may substitute any Italian hotel for an Italy tour property of equal or greater quality and standard.
Remember, availability in tour hotels may be affected based on seasonal demand. Alternate hotel properties of equal quality will be used when the following hotels are not available.
Venice Hotels - 2 Nights
Florence Hotels - 2 Nights
Siena Hotels - 1 Night
Rome Hotels - 3 Nights
What's Included on your Small Group Tour?
Deliciously Slow, Luxurious Travel in Italy
We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures. And we will operate with as little at two (2) guests.
- ARRIVAL TRANSFER: Included with our Meet & Greet service. Welcome!
- DEPARTURE TRANSFER: Included with our Send Off service. Arrividerci!
- DISCOVERING ITALY'S CUISINE
Unique Story Way® Dining means Unlimited Premium Beverages and Cuisine during our included dining experiences.
- EXPERT LOCAL GUIDES
This tour features our expert, local Italian guides in Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome who speak English well, and possess a passion for sharing Italy with our guests.
- IMMERSION SIGHTSEEING
World-class sightseeing Immersion: Story Land & Sea®'s approach to exploring the local scene while integrating lasting experiences that reflect culture and leave the traveler changed for good.
- Airfare is not included but it can be quoted by clicking here.
- Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance is not included. We highly recommend Travelex-Insurance.com to protect your vacation.
Remember, you are responsible to arrive at the point of your small group Italy tour origination. If you are delayed for any reason, your vacation may be at risk even if Story Land & Sea® made your airfare arrangements. Airfare is a completely separate booking from your Italian land tour vacation. You can cancel your vacation with a 100% refund up to 90 days prior to departure. Within 90 days you will begin receiving penalties per the terms of the Tour Application should you have to cancel.
That's it! Everything else excluding airfare and personal item purchases is included.
Story Land & Sea®'s Unique Walking Tour Experience
We do walk a lot on our small group tours of Italy. It's unhurried and there are ample opportunities to sit and relax. You must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs of Italy. Please inquire with Story Land & Sea® Reservations for more details.
Book Early for Best Savings
2017 New Year of Savings Sale —
Book your trip by January 16, 2017, and save up to $300.00 off per couple on select departures.
Call 877 865 6711 to see if your preferred trip date qualifies.
Find your preferred date and get your Italy Story underway:
The Masterpiece Awaits: Inquire now and let's discover Italy in luxury.