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Story Land & Sea®

Italy's Great Cities: Venice, Florence, Cortona, Assisi, Rome

Venice to Rome Small Group Italy Tour: The Trip You've Been Searching For is Right Here.

Leave the Herd Behind and discover Story's Italy's Great Cities Tour featuring a perfect balance of sightseeing and leisure time. No Rushing and No Big Buses on this True Small Group Italian tour with up to and no more than 16 travelers. We begin in Venice, soak in Florence, enjoy 2 wonderful days in the Tuscan & Umbrian countryside along with Cortona and Assisi, and then enjoy our grand finalé in Rome.

Story Land & Sea®'s Innovative approach to Italy features:

  • Skip-the-Line Access
  • No Annoying Up-Sell
  • Unique Dinners, No Set Menu
  • Premium Beverages Included
  • Hotels in the Heart of Cities
  • Customary Gratuities Included
  • Expert Italian Tour Guides

It was amazing to just go to front of lines and everything was so orderly and quick and we didn't have to wait for anything!
~ Kathy

QueensLander is now Story Land & Sea®.
Read what our guests are saying about our small group tours to Italy on TripAdvisor®

Save time on your vacation and have our Italy experts plan your First Trip to Italy.

FIRST TIME TO ITALY?

Compare our Small Group Tours with mainstream tour operators and see the difference a True Small-Group® Tour from Story Land & Sea® will make...
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So, enjoy and Andiamo! Let's Go to Italy!

Discover all of our small group tours to Italy including these ITALY VACATION PACKAGES:

ITALY'S ENCHANTED NORTH TOUR 
9 Day Tour from Bologna to Bellagio on Lake Como
Small Group, Leisurely Pace
Start in La Grassa (the 'fat one' referring to the positive side of food!) in Bologna, take in the Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, along with Stresa and Lake Maggiore and then finalé on Lake Como in Bellagio.

TUSCANY & CINQUE TERRE TOUR
10 Day Tour with Florence, Siena, Lucca and the Cinque Terre
New for 2017 with a Story Exclusive stay at our Italian villa. Features Tuscan hill-towns, beautiful wineries and great dining experiences.

WONDERS OF THE AMALFI COAST TOUR
10 Day Tour featuring the very best of the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Peninsula with Pompeii.
The quintessential Amalfi Coast small group tour including Capri, Positano and Paestum.

A WEEK IN ITALY TOUR
7 Day Tour featuring Rome, Florence and Venice.
One week in Italy can change you forever: experience Story's Italian journey and walk where Emperors ruled, where Michelangelo created, and where the alleys and canals of Venice invite you to explore.

ITALY: ROME, FLORENCE & VENICE FAMILY VACATION
8 Day Tour featuring Rome, Florence and Venice Family Vacation - Perfetto!
Italy's 3 famous ciites with a special experience in Tuscany. One week in Italy changes you and your family forever: experience a journey that shows you where Emperors plotted and planned and Gladiators fought, where Gondoliere have served for centuries, where a 14' statue amazes, and where authentic pizza is created just for your enjoyment.

ITALIAN MASTERPIECE: VENICE, FLORENCE & ROME
10 Day Tour in Luxury including Venice, Florence and Rome
The perfect Italy tour for a returning Story traveler with discerning tastes, Italian Masterpiece is truly luxury redefined.

BEST OF SICILY TOUR
11 Day Tour of Sicily from Palermo to Taormina
If you've never been to Sicily, then you're in for a real treat. If you have previously visited, then you already know you want to go back and see more. Sitting at the tip of the boot of Italy, Sicily is a place like no other on Earth. The mild Mediterranean climate and the nostalgia are things that must be experienced in person...words cannot describe.

RETURN TO THE GREAT CITIES OF ITALY TOUR
12 Day Tour with fresh experiences in the Great Cities
Great for First Time to Italy or Returning travelers to Italy: Unique Experiences Throughout. Everything about this trip idea was perfect: Waves of confirmation swept over the tour-planners as they gleefully anticipated each step of the way: a familiar path with exciting and fresh experiences.

ITALY'S GREAT CITIES - SEASON'S DISCOVERY TOUR
9 Day Tour in the Off-Season through Italy's Great Cities
Leave the Herd Behind in November, December, January and February and discover great savings, less tourists and Italy all to yourself! Story's Italy's Great Cities Tour - Season's Discovery awaits you.

BASILICATA & PUGLIA TOUR
11 Day Tour of Italian treasures with Matera and Alberobello
The perfect balance of inclusions and free time in Puglia & Basilicata

 


First-Time Italy traveler's perfect itinerary:
Italy's Great Cities with 2 days in Tuscany

Arthur Frommer: "the perfect way to see Italy!"
Begin with Venice's timeless St. Mark's Square, ride the Gondola through the canals, stand at the foot of Michelangelo's David in Florence, and 'finalé' with Rome's Ancient Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Vatican City and Sistine Chapel. But there's so much more and it's all included with Story's unique approach to Italy.

  • Venice Italy Discovering the cuisine of Venice in magical settings.
  • Venice Italy The Grand Canal is your backdrop in Venice.
  • Florence Italy Beautiful Florence and the Duomo.
  • Tuscany Italy Beautiful people in your Small Group Tour.
  • Rome Italy The grandeur of Rome's Pantheon.
  • Tuscany Landscape Discover yourself Under the Tuscan Sun.


ITINERARY: BOUND FOR ITALY
Italy's Great Cities TourRomeItaly TourItalyItaly Travel
Italy's Small Group Tour
Day 1: Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight

Today, you will depart your home airport on your Trans-Atlantic flight bound for Venice, Italy. Your flight is not included.

Note: Day 1 is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel. Your small group tour commences on itinerary Day 2 upon arrival into Venice.

"We had no desire to go on a traditional 'group tour' but decided to take the chance. And we haven't stopped raving about our experience yet. For those questioning if a tour is right for you, I'd say no. But a Story Land & Sea Tour, I'd say 'yes, overwhelmingly.' It's just not what you expect!"
 



VENICE
Italy TravelVeniceEscorted Italy ToursVenice ToursTravel to Italy
Piazza San Marco on the Small Group Tour

Day 2: Welcome to Venice!

The port city of Venice, Venezia in Italian, is located in the region of Veneto.

"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." —  Truman Capote

ITALY'S GREAT CITIES TOUR BEGINS TODAY ON SAN MARCO
One of Story Land & Sea®'s most popular True Small-Group Italy tour vacations commences at 3:00PM at our hotel in Venice. Located seconds away from Piazza San Marco, known to us as San Marco Square, is our collection of hotels where your Tour Captain meets you for the included Venice Orientation Tour. Great Idea: Fight jet lag and fly in a full day early.

INCLUDED ORIENTATION WALKING TOUR
At 3:00 pm, join your Tour Captain for an Orientation Walk on your arrival day in Venice along the high-end shops and boutiques where our hotels are located into Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square). Your Tour Captain will describe the setting for an included visit to Basilica San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica).

You will learn about some of the history and notoriety of St. Mark's. Your Orientation Walk 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 for Euro and currency exchange rates, and other helpful information for your stay in romantic Venice.
Hey, where's Harry's Bar? I'm ready for my Bellini!

INCLUDED ADMISSION on your Orientation Walk with the Tour Captain includes:

    • Basilica San Marco ~ Enjoy the beautiful mosaics and how they reflects and dance in the light. Your Tour Captain "paints the picture" of the history and opulence that is the Basilica San Marco prior to entering. Once inside, enjoy 'silence' as you observe its beauty encased in Byzantine architecture.
    • Orientation Walk ~ Learn about the surroundings on San Marco as your Tour Captain walks you into San Marco Square and highlights key features.

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light

star icon   Story Land & Sea® Exclusive: Tonight, join in a Story Land & Sea® original experience with our reception & welcome from the Tour Captain from one of our classic perspectives: a unique vantage point to survey Venice in the company of your fellow travelers.

Your Small Group Tour Vacation to Italy is underway! After our reception, we'll walk to our Welcome Dinner in Venice.

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: The Story Land & Sea® approach to dining debuts as you join your Tour Captain for the Welcome Dinner in Venice. Experience what can only be described as a night of the best cuisine and vino from the regions of Italy and especially the Veneto.

About the Story Way®: 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 which hail from each of the regions in which Story travels.

Story of Food in Italy: In the Veneto region you will enjoy a variety of dishes with pasta, of course, and in Venice you should try the risotto. Many seafood dishes represent the traditions of this historic sea port but not to fear, there are many options other than seafood. In Tuscany we eat from the land with locally grown produce where the concept of nostrale, or home-grown, is so evident. Tuscan cuisine is hearty and made with simple ingredients featuring a variety of bread, beans, legumes and meats. Its home of the famed Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak) and we cannot fail to mention the Pecorino cheese (goat's cheese). In Lazio, Roman cuisine is all about simple tradition: from the old style Trattoria or restaurant that serves "simple food," to its high-end Michelin venues. Get ready to discover unusual dishes like Zucchini Flowers, Rigatoni all'Amatriciana, Puntarelle, to the simple Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Tuna with cheese and pepper).

Story Land & Sea®'s unique, off-the-beaten-path venues provide an immersion into authentic regional Italian food and wine. Your Tour Captain will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening: a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling, and yes, "the wine flows." Then you will be presented with a menu with Story's top recommendations (where available) in tandem with the restaurant's primary menu. It's an intentionally slow evening of delight so you can savor the experience.

Story of the Slow Food Movement: Story Land & Sea® is committed to the Slow Food Movement which was founded by Carlo Petrini in Piedmont, Italy in 1986. This "movement" strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages the farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic to the local ecosystems found throughout Italy.

LODGING IN THE HEART OF THE CITY: 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.

ACCOMMODATION
Deluxe: Our 4- and 5-Star Deluxe hotels include Saturnia & International, 2 Nights
Classic Budget: Our Superior Tourist hotels include properties like Hotel Bel Sito, 2 Nights.  

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AH, VENICE!
Venice TourVeniceVenice, VeneziaVenice, ItalyWalking Tour Venice
Venice Italy in a Small Group Tour

Day 3: Exploring Venezia

food icon   Optional Dining Tonight: You may opt to join your Tour Captain tonight for dinner or opt to explore on your own throughout Venice.
star icon   Magic Included: Gondola through the canals of Venice with our own Italian Musicians.


You're invited to learn of Venice's fascinating and colorful history that includes everything from Napoleon to an exploration of her many calles (streets), nooks and mysteries.

Start your morning sightseeing in style as your Tour Captain and our local Guide escorts you throughout Venice. We tour by walking with our professional local guide through Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square), the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison, the famous Bridge of Sighs, and explore the Grand Canal over to Murano.

Story Land & Sea®'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 cobblestoned streets that is Italy.

Balance and Your Day on Tour: Most of our expertly guided sightseeing immersion experiences are scheduled for the morning with the afternoon at leisure to explore the city. We are not a traditional tour where you are exhaustively touring from sunup to sundown.

ROMANTIC VENICE
The romance of Venice is apparent every step of the way, from the fine Venetian glass in the traditional style to the classic gondola ride. Enjoy our boat ride on our authentic Venetian-style motorboat through the canals and the Grand Canal of Venice.

The Magic of Wandering Through Venice: Discover your "lost adventure" in this romantic city!

The afternoon on San Marco is at leisure: discover the magic of the canals and myriad sidewalks as you explore, and delightfully get "lost" in the city of Venice.

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.

Watch executive director, Mark Story, discover the challenges of being a Gondolier in Venice.

Story Land & Sea®'s Gondola Experience is unlike the 'armada of gondolas' you would experience on other mainstream operator's tours.

And your Story Land & Sea® Gondola experience includes our authentic Italian musicians to serenade you along the magical canals.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS Sightseeing Immersion Tour with our local Expert Guide. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING TO:

    • Special Access: Skip-the-Line Entrance to the Doge's Palace (meaning Duke or Governor's Palace), the seat of the Republic of Venice's historic power.
    • The 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. Watch your head!
    • The Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
    • Story of Casanova: The most famous guest of the prison is touted, one Giacomo Casanova, who ended up in prison after a long series of crimes and was the protagonist of the most famous and fantastical of escapes: Casanova climbed onto the prison roof and managed to slide down a drain pipe and then slip inside the Palace and persuade someone to open the door so he could then escape calmly on a gondola. Not, according to legend, without first allowing himself the joy of a coffee in the Piazza San Marco. The New Prisons, rather, were found beyond the Palazzo river, and these were accessed across the famous Bridge of Sighs.

    • Tour of Piazza San Marco and our "Secret Treasures of Venice:" Learn about the Clock Tower, Campanile Tower, Caffe Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion.
    • Private Boat Ride to visit the Island of Murano: View the palaces, churches and edifices that create the backdrop that is Venice, including Rialto Bridge, Ca d'Oro (Palazzo Santa Sofia), and hear and see where the legends of Casanova, Marco Polo, and other infamous Venetians dwelled ~ all from the comfort of our boat as we venture across the lagoon to Murano. This is the home of New Murano Gallery and a family who has been in the business of glass-blowing for many years. Enjoy a demonstration and time to enjoy the stunning fruit of their labor in the gallery. Yes, you may purchase glass but this is not required or the intent of our visit.
    • Enjoy included admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Moderate


VENICE: Peggy Guggenheim Museum   $69 pp

Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket with Reservations. Hassle-Free Entry: Reservation with Ticket for admission to the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery. Based on availability at time of reservation. Duration: 2 Hours.

VENICE: Venetian Mask Making Class   $439 pp

Enjoy this "Mini-Course" and make your own Venetian Mask in the style of the masters. A minimum of two guests: $437 per person. Duration: 3 Hours.


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TO FLORENCE
Tuscany TourFlorence, ItalyTuscan WinesFlorence ToursTuscany Cuisine
Florence Italy on the Small Group Tour

Day 4: On To Firenze

We embark on the Eurostar Fast Train from Venice to Florence, city of the Renaissance.

City: Firenze
Province: Provincia di Firenze
Region: Toscana

food icon   Included Dining Tonight: Today, enjoy our included Hot Breakfast.
Tonight, enjoy our included Welcome Dinner in Florence.


WAKE TO VENICE: Ciao Venezia!
This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then meet your Tour Captain 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. We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station.

WELCOME TO FLORENCE
We deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.

INCLUDED WELCOME ORIENTATION WALKABOUT: Join your Tour Captain for a Welcome Orientation Walk on your arrival day in Florence along cobblestone streets in the very heart of Florence as you become familiar with the location around our hotel. Enjoy 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.

    Story of Florence's Arno River: Did you know in 1966 a massive flood devastated Florence? Americans and other international workers came to the rescue and provided much-needed assistance in rescuing and salvaging much of the treasured art and sculptures in Florence. Known as the angeli del fango or, "mud angels."

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: Tonight you will enjoy our dining experience at a delightful restaurant we're trying to keep a secret. It's authentic Tuscan cuisine served by Fiorentini who love what they do! Florence welcomes us with a variety of regional culinary tastes, beverages, and ample portions of fine local wines from Toscana and Chianti.

Free-choice dining means you select what you'd like from the menu: the Tour Captain is available to help you interpret the menu. Your Tour Captain will provide the appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening including a variety of red and white wine from the region.


ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Brunelleschi, 2 Nights
Classic Budget: Our Superior Tourist hotels include Hotel Rosso 23, 2 Nights

ABOUT OUR DELUXE HOTELS IN FLORENCE
We have selected hotels that are truly authentic Italiano and perfectly located in the heart of Old Florence. We have selected some of the most prestigious hotels of the city reflecting a history rich with importance and service. The hotels have been refined and feature elegant rooms. Many celebrities and heads of state from all over the world have chosen these properties as their Florentine residences (not just for their wonderful locations, but also for their superb service). The decor and furniture of our properties have been beautifully chosen, and the ambiance really does reflect Florentine aristocracy in its most elegant period.

"This was an amazing hotel - top of the line. Breathtaking and modern, but still gave you the feeling of being in Italy. Breakfast amazing and loved the bathroom."

 
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FLORENCE RENAISSANCE
Florence, ItalyFlorence Renaissance TourFlorence ItalyFlorence ToursFlorence, Italy, Piazza Reppublica
The Duomo in Florence, Italy

Day 5: Immerse yourself in all things Florence

food icon   Optional Dining Tonight: The Tour Captain will invite you to optional dinner or opt to explore on your own: Have you had your Florentine Steak yet?


Today join your Tour Captain and our local guide on a specially guided tour of the city of Florence complete with our Special Access sightseeing immersion.

Florence 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, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.

GUIDED SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION THROUGH FLORENCE
We take our time walking through the Piazza della Repubblica, the famous Piazza Signoria with her old palace, Palazzo Vecchio, and make our way through the portico of the Uffizi complex before arriving at the Arno River and a visit to the "old bridge," Ponte Vecchio. This was the only bridge in Florence to survive the World War II bombing raids.

A great morning sightseeing immersion allows you to enjoy the afternoon for sightseeing 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.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION TOUR WITH OUR LOCAL GUIDE. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

    • Special Access: Skip-the-Line and see 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
    • 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. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. Giotto's Campanile ~ we also enjoy the perspective from ground level of the towering Campanile.
    • Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.
    • Sightseeing walking tour of Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light

This afternoon explore Florence on your own. Consider a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) or just explore at your leisure. This Basilica is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie). If visiting on Sunday, entrance to the Duomo and Santa Croce will be after 1:30pm.

Tonight for optional dinner your Tour Captain invite you to join them or explore on your own. Have you tried the Chocolate Boar yet? Florence is the place to discover cuisine.

star icon   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.

 

Italian CuisineFLORENCE CULINARY CLASS:
Option while in Florence   $129.00 pp

In the company of an expert chef, in a fully equipped kitchen, the participants learn how to make a 4-course dinner: appetizer, first course, second course, and dessert. It is a different experience where the participants learn to prepare a 4-course meal and then partake in the sampling of the prepared dishes. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability.

Italy CuisineTUSCAN CULINARY EXPERIENCE IN THE COUNTRY:
Option while in Florence
(Available mid-April through October)   $339 pp

In the company of an expert chef, in a fully equipped kitchen, the participants learn how to make a 4-course dinner: appetizer, first course, second course, and dessert. It is a different experience where the participants learn to prepare a 4-course meal and then partake in the sampling of the prepared dishes. Includes round-trip transfers. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability.

uffizi galleryUFFIZI GALLERY ADMISSION:
Option in Florence: Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket with Reservations   $59 pp

Hassle-Free Entry: Reservation with Ticket for admission to Uffizi Gallery per person. Based on availability at time of reservation. This package includes admission ticket as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability (very important).

uffiziPRIVATELY GUIDED TOUR OF UFFIZI WITH ADMISSION TICKET:
Option while in Florence   $194 pp

Private Guided Experience $194/Person (2 Guest Minimum) including admission. Based on availability at time of reservation. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability.

Florence Uffizi GalleryUFFIZI SMALL GROUP GUIDED TOUR WITH ADMISSION TICKET:
Option while in Florence   $139 pp

90 Minute Group Guided Tour including Admission. Based on availability at time of reservation. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by QStory Land & Sea® to ensure availability.

Tomb of MediciMEDICI CHAPEL & TOMBS ADMISSION:
Option in Florence: Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket with Reservations   $59 pp

Hassle-Free Entry: Reservation with Ticket for admission to the Medici Chapel per person. Based on availability at time of reservation. This package includes admission ticket as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability (very important).



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TUSCANY
Tuscany, ItalyTuscan Sun TourTuscany TourTuscan Wine TourTuscan Landscape
Villa Marsili in Tuscany

Day 6: Under the Tuscan Sun

What's Your Name?
Marcello.
Of course it is!


food icon   Included Dining Tonight: Welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona.
star icon   Exclusive: Winery Estate Experience


Delightful San Gimignano and a beautiful manor house castello in the heart of beautiful Tuscany await you on today's magical discovery. We're then bound for Cortona.

Cities: San Gimignano, Cortona (lodging) Region: Toscana

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
This morning we leave the cities and delve deep into the heart of Tuscany. Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers dating back from the 11th century. San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in San Gimignano, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has several distractions for shopping - so dig in and enjoy!

HERE'S A TOAST TO YOU!
We'll toast our arrival into the countryside of Tuscany with a unique perspective and our first taste of Vernaccia, a white wine that hails from San Gimignano.

CHIANTI CLASSICO REGION
Story Exclusive®: Enjoy our in-depth experience at our winery estate in the heart of Tuscany. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!

SUPER TUSCAN
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.

One of our estates is situated in the Chianti Classico area on the western slopes of the dominating hills of the Elsa valley, looking towards San Gimignano. It was built around an ancient sighting tower and was an important "suburb" and fortress of the area. The first owners of the estate were the family Vettori, the last heir, Maddalena, brought it as dowry to her wedding with Ludovico Capponi in 1577.

The couple restored the estate completely and commissioned Bernardino Poccetti, important master painter, to fresco the loggia of the court. In this era, the estate became a place of passing by for painters and poets. One of those, Gerolamo Muzio, dedicated a poem to the castle and remained there until his death. Also the production of wine is documented from 1596 on. In 1696, Cassandra Capponi brought to the castle an important collection of codex's, parchments and books, the product of her marriage to the Marchese Carlo Riccardi Strozzi. This collection formed the nucleus of the Riccardian library in Florence. The Strozzi family remained owner of the estate until 1984. In this year, the family Albisetti took over. With its 763+ acres (majority wood), the estate is one of the biggest farms of the area, producing over 23,000 gallons of wine from just over 54 acres of vineyards. Make note, we will use one of our many other incredible winery estates at times. All of the Story Land & Sea® estates are truly impressive, both in ambiance and wine quality.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION AND EXCLUSIVE WINERY VISIT. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

    • Sightseeing and free time in the Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano
    • Story Land & Sea® Exclusive: Admission, Tour and Wine Tasting at our Estate located in the heart of Tuscany. Beautiful Property with stunning views, delicious varietals paired with sumptuous delicacies. You won't want to leave.
    • 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

ON TO CORTONA & OUR VILLA HOTEL
Mid to late-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful hill town of Cortona for our third night in the heart of Tuscany. An absolutely beautiful town awaits us and an equally authentic welcome dinner is included.

In the late Tuscan afternoon we will arrive our villa hotel in Cortona. 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.

A 'wow' moment was waking up in Cortona, opening the window to the morning sun just starting to burn the clouds off the valley floor below. The light was exquisite, the landscape revealing itself slowly, a picture perfect postcard vision of Tuscany.

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a special welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona. It is truly a treasured find where the cuisine and wine delight in the magical ambiance of this delightful hill town.

OH THE CHAOS & THE ECSTASY OF SLOW DINING IN TUSCANY
Tonight, we soak up an authentic Italian dinner, hand-crafted by the owners in the setting of a small Tuscan ristorante. There's nothing prepared in advance here, and that's just how we like it! The ensuing chaos and ritual merge together here to create none other than the magic of Italy!

Remember, dinners in Italy usually don't begin until around 9pm. Our dinner experience will begin slightly earlier, but we'll try to blend in as much as possible. Long, drawn-out dinners, where you visit and share the stories of the day is the culture throughout Italy. Remember, slow down and enjoy the journey is the goal.

Cortona is a place we never want to leave.
Sit back, breathe deeply, relax, and soak in all that is Tuscany.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili, 1 Night
Classic Budget: Hotel Italia, Villa Marsili Classic, 1 Night

Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili and Hotel Italia are situated inside the town walls of Cortona and dates back as far as the 14th century.

 
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CORTONA, ASSISI IN UMBRIA
Cortona, ItalyCortona, ItalyTuscany countrysideCortona & TuscancyTuscan Wine Country
Cortona in Tuscany

Cortona in Arrezo, Assisi in Umbria

City: Assisi
Province: Perugia
Region: Umbria

Day 7: GOOD MORNING TUSCANY

food icon   Included Dining Tonight: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner

After breakfast, enjoy a free morning in delightful Cortona. Cortona is a small but fascinating hill town in the province of Arrezo, Tuscany. It is situated on a commanding hill that overlooks Lake Trasimeno, known for the infamous rout of the Romans by Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Its cyclopean walls, still preserved in great part, are said to be 3000 years old. It was one of the twelve cities of Etruria and is our host this morning as we observe Italian life in Tuscany.

Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.

ASSISI & SAINT FRANCIS
We will board our vehicle and depart mid-day for the town of Assisi in the province of Perugia.

We begin our walking tour of Assisi at the "top" of the town, making our way down to the Basilica. Your Tour Captain provides insight into both the life of Francis and the town that he is associated with.

Assisi, where St. Francis lived and worked in ministry, is surrounded by ancient walls that lay on top of the green slopes of Mount Subasio. Assisi's rose-stone buildings, complemented by winding narrow streets, palaces, and balconies with blooming flowers, will hold the traveler spellbound.

You will have the opportunity to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, with the masterpieces of Giotto and Cimabue (occasional closings do occur).

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION AND WALKING TOUR OF ASSISI: ENJOY SIGHTSEEING to:

    • Sightseeing and free time in Tuscan town of Cortona this morning.
    • Walking Tour of Assisi: The birthplace of Saint Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Clares.

Your Tour Captain will conduct a leisurely-paced walking orientation of Assisi. Then, we'll have a short break to freshen up and maybe grab a bite before boarding our vehicle bound for Rome: Where all roads lead!
ROME
Welcome to Rome | Where All Roads Lead

City: Rome
Province: Roma
Region: Lazio

WELCOME TO THE HEART OF ROME
Upon arrival Rome, we make our way to the very center of Old Rome and check in to our hotel. The locations of our hotels in Rome are within seconds of the Pantheon.

You will have time to freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain in the lobby for a short walk to our Roman Welcome Dinner.

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a welcome dinner in Roma. Your palate enjoys a different taste as we discover the cuisine of the Lazio region influenced from a long history of the Roman Empire.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights
Classic Budget: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights

ABOUT OUR DELUXE HOTELS IN ROME
The Grand Hotel de la Minerve is just seconds from the Pantheon, and minutes from Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Story guests enjoy only their Superior category rooms or better.

 

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THE EMPIRE OF ROME
Rome, Vittorio EmanueleRoman EmpireRoman EmpireRome, ItalyRome Tour
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument

Day 8: Imperial Rome

food icon   Included Dining: Breakfast

There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.
—  Character Marcus Aurelius from the movie Gladiator

WALKING IN THE STEPS OF THE EMPEROR
After breakfast, we begin our walking tour of Rome with stops along the way to admire the unique intertwining of history and modernity in Rome.

See ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings, and discover how the modern Romans have intertwined their vast history into present-day experience. 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.

We enjoy admission to the Colosseum with our Local Expert Guide. This landmark is one of the most impressive sights in all of Europe and the world.

Did you know, all of Rome is a live archaeological dig? We will walk through the Roman Forum and view several digs. New discoveries are happening all of the time: Rome is expanding its Metro line and the construction teams have discovered barracks and a grave potentially related to the elite Praetorian Guard.

After our world-class touring experience of Imperial Rome, the balance of the day is at your leisure.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION OF IMPERIAL ROME WITH LOCAL EXPERT GUIDE: ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

    • 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.

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.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample

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.

BORGHESE GALLERY ADMISSION TICKET:
Option while in Rome: Skip-the-Line Reservations & Admissions   $59.00 pp

Borghese Gallery Entrance Reservations & Admission Tickets: Guest(s) arrive Borghese Galleria 30 minutes in advance. ((No photos. No handbags or carry-ons permitted inside the Galleria)). CLOSED ON MONDAYS! This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability (very important). NOTE: The timed admissions are provided by the Borghese Gallery and QueensLander® Tours cannot guarantee your requested time can be arranged.

italian culinary artsROME CULINARY EXPERIENCE:
Option while in Rome    $219 pp

Experience true Italian cooking experience as your expert chefs inspire you with new or traditional culinary creations. Learn from the chef, and then enjoy tasting your creation with wines from Toscana and Lazio regions. $219 Per Person. Duration: 3 to 5 Hours.

Rome HelmetROME GLADIATORIAL SCHOOL:
Option while in Rome Pricing Below

Experience training as a Gladiator in full era-garb in Rome. Absolutely exciting and exhausting! Two (2) hour (approximately) classes are organized and led by members of the Historic Group of Rome (in English) - who specialize in the re-enactment of Roman life & Gladiatorial combat. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability. Pricing based on number of participants: One (1) Participant: $225.00 per guest. Two (2) Participants: $175.00 per guest. Three (3) to Five (5) Participants: $150 per guest. $125 per guest for groups of 6 to 10. Inquire for larger groups.

Pompeii, ItalyPOMPEII FROM ROME:
Option while in Rome: ((Rome to Pompeii and Return by Train))    $479 pp

World-Class Pompeii Excursion includes Round-trip Train Tickets from Rome, Round-trip Transfers in Naples, Admission, Gratuities and Privately Guided Experience. This package includes excursion as described as well as fees for reservations made in advance by Story Land & Sea® to ensure availability. You will transfer to and from the Rome train station by taxi at your own expense. NOTE: We highly recommend that you opt to extend to the Enchanted Amalfi Coast Extension (see below) where Pompeii is more easily accessed!



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VATICAN CITY
Walking Rome TourVatican, RomeRome, ItalyRome, Vatican CityVatican City, Rome
Rome Tour

Day 9: Exploring the Vatican

food icon   Included Dining: Breakfast, Farewell to Rome Special Dining Experience
star icon   Exclusive: Imagine the Tiber River, a Private Chef and a Night of Bliss in Rome

Today we have in-depth touring of St. Peter's and the Square, with Bernini and 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. We Skip-the-Line with our special access tour. 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. Enjoy the perspective that many only dream of from the very heart of Rome.

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.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION OF VATICAN CITY WITH ADMISSION WITH OUR LOCAL EXPERT GUIDE ~ Today ENJOY SPECIAL ACCESS TO:

    • 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. SPECIAL ACCESS: 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

Tonight is a special time as you join the Tour Captain for an included Farewell to Rome Dinner with your new friends!

Story Exclusive®: Included Farewell to Rome Dining Experience in a very unique venue. 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.

 

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ARRIVEDERCI ROMA
Italy ToursRomeSmall Group Italy TourRome TourItaly's Great Cities Tour
Extend your Italy Tour with Lake Como

Day 10

food icon   Included Dining: Breakfast

Check Out or Extend Your Adventure through Italy

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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APPETITE WHETTED?
EXTEND TO THE ENCHANTED AMALFI COAST

amalfi coast, ItalyENCHANTED AMALFI COAST   $1,479 pp

Enjoy 3 days and 3 nights on the enchanted Amalfi Coast including Pompeii and our optional experience to the Isle of Capri, Positano & the amazing Amalfi Coast Highway.

 

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Heart of City Hotels mean your experience is like none other in the travel industry.

Wondering 'What hotels are really being used?
Story Land & Sea® Commitment on Hotels:
The hotels identified below are used for our Deluxe and Classic Budget hotels throughout the Great Cities Tour. The only times an alternate property may be used would be in the event of no availability at the time you place your reservation. We will alert you of this should it ever become necessary. Make note, it is extremely rare for this scenario to take place.

You may also call Story Land & Sea® and ask them about the confirmed hotels for your departure date of interest: 1 (877) 865-6711.

VENICE: AH! VENICE – 2 Nights

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 Deluxe tour hotels feature a full, hot breakfast included daily with cappuccino, tea, juice and an assortment of meats, fresh, local vegetables, fresh-baked pastries and fruit. Classic Budget guests will enjoy a continental breakfast.



FLORENCE: BIRTHPLACE OF THE RENAISSANCE – 2 Nights



CORTONA: UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN – 1 Night



ROME: WHERE ALL ROADS LEAD – 3 Nights


The Small Italy Tour everyone is talking about.

Review our true small tour of Italy with our Deluxe or Classic Budget hotel packages below. Enjoy walking the hearts of the cities and towns of Italy.

Deluxe Tours

Our Deluxe True Small Group Italy Tour Features:

4- and 5-Star Deluxe Hotels & our Villa hotel in Tuscany located in the very Heart of the Cities and Towns. Deluxe tour features include:

  • Hotels feature world-class amenities, larger rooms and lobbies
  • Private bathrooms with showers and some baths
  • Air-Conditioned Guest Rooms
  • Full, Hot Daily Breakfast
  • True Heart of City Location
  • Professional Local Guides
  • Magic Portage of Your Luggage
  • Walking the Hearts of Cities & Towns
  • Special Access
  • Story Land & Sea® Exclusives
  • Your professional, fully trained Tour Captain is with you throughout the tour.

Published Rate: Payable by credit card or check. See pricing table.
Single Supplement: $1,749

Our Heart of City Hotels
There is a difference between centrally located hotels and Story Land & Sea®'s Heart of City Hotels - compare with mainstream tour companies and you'll see we mean what we say. Our deluxe hotels feature large rooms, private bathrooms, air conditioning, and all the amenities of modern luxury properties.

Lunches: One (1) lunch is included at our estate in Tuscany. All other lunches are optional, however, our Tour Captains offer great, affordable options for you everyday.

Our Deluxe Dining Plan:
Five (5) Dinners included. Our Tour Captains will invite you to join them to unique restaurants each night even when dinner is optional.

Travel Protection is not included. Story Land and Sea recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travelex plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Click here to get a quote and purchase on their website.

Remember, you are responsible to arrive at the point of tour origination. If you are delayed your vacation may be at risk. 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.

Gratuities Included: Gratuities are provided for your Local City Tour Guides, Tour Drivers, Restaurant and Hotel Staff. Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.

Airfare is not included. Airfare arrangements made by Story Land & Sea® are considered a completely separate booking from your land vacation.

That's it: everything else excluding personal item purchases is included.

Classic Tours

Our Classic Budget True Small Group Italy Tour Features:

Superior Tourist or Classic Budget Hotels & Villa hotel located in the Heart of the Cities and Towns. Classic Budget features include:

  • Hotels feature private bathrooms with showers, typical European-sized rooms, small lobbies
  • Air-Conditioned Guest Rooms
  • Daily Continental Breakfast
  • Within seconds of Deluxe Hotels
  • Professional Local Guides
  • Magic Portage of Your Luggage
  • Walking the Hearts of Cities & Towns
  • Special Access
  • Story Land & Sea® Exclusives
  • Your professional, fully trained Tour Captain is with you throughout the tour.

Published Rate: Payable by credit card or check. See pricing table.
Single Supplement: $949

Exploration & Immersion: Enjoy the same great sightseeing as our Deluxe package with our professional guides and, yes, you go inside to the venues per the itinerary.

Lunches: One (1) lunch is included at our estate in Tuscany. All other lunches are optional, however, our Tour Captains offer great, affordable options for you everyday.

Classic Budget Dinner Plan:
Welcome Dinner in Venice Included. Consider upgrading to a total of Five (5) Dinners Included Plan for an optional supplement of $390/person. This adds four (4) more dinners to your experience for a total of five (5) included dinners.

On Welcome and Farewell Dinners the rate to opt-in while on tour is $130 per person collected by credit card and includes the entire dinner experience.

Classic Budget Hotel Rooms: Superior Tourist Hotel rooms are small, but safe and located in the hearts of the towns and villages. The rooms feature private bathrooms (typically small, European style lodging with some bathrooms featuring only a shower) with included breakfast.

About the Classic Breakfast: Classic Superior Tourist Hotel breakfasts include a standard Italian experience with most offering coffee, juice and pastries.

Gratuities Included:Gratuities are provided for your Local City Tour Guides, Tour Drivers, Restaurant and Hotel Staff. Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.

Airfare is not included. Airfare arrangements made by Story Land & Sea® are considered a completely separate booking from your land vacation.


Slow Travel on a Small Italy Tour: What's Included in Your Small Group Tour?

We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures –  however, make note of the following:

Everything you need from airport transfers to cuisine information.

Gondolas in Venice

Fiasco from Chianti

The Empire of Rome

Caprese Salad with Roma Tomatoes

  • ARRIVING IN VENICE —  Consider our Special Venice Lagoon Water Taxi experience.
    Our Stunning AnyTime Private Boat Arrival Experience into Venice San Marco:
    We feature Story Land & Sea®'s Venice Meet & Greet, Shuttle from Airport (VCE) to Airport Boat Dock with Portage included from the Boat to hotel. Enjoy the amazing ride across the Lagoon of Venice and then enter the magical canals of San Marco. You will arrive our hotel's canal entrance shortly. $146/person, 2 Guest Minimum. Includes all gratuities.
  • LEAVE THE WORRY TO US —  We can arrange your transfer.
    Departure Transfers in Rome: $69 per person, Rome Hotel to Airport, minimum two (2) guests.
  • Private, Expertly Guided Touring with an easy pace and perfect-balance:
  • SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN VENICE
    • VIP Entrance to St. Mark's Basilica
    • VIP Entrance to Doges Palace and Venice's Old Prison that housed Casanova
    • Walking Tour of St. Mark's Square
    • Story Exclusive: Unique Perspective's Experience in Venice: Your Story Begins with Venice Skyline
    • Exclusive Gondola Experience with our Private Musicians - no large armadas, just our small group of fellow travelers.
    • Story Way® Welcome Dinner
  • SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN FLORENCE
    • Renaissance Florence: Walking Tour, The Baptistery, Signoria Square, Admission to the Galleria dell' Accademia to see Michelangelo's David and the other magnificent works of art
    • VIP Entrance to Galleria dell'Accademia for tour and in-person visit to see Michelangelo's David
    • Entrance to the Duomo
    • Visit to see the Bronze Doors of the Baptistery
    • Visit to Orsanmichele church
    • Visit to Ponte Vecchio
    • Walking Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Della Repubblica, Piazza Signoria, Piazza Santa Croce
    • Visit to San Lorenzo Market
    • Story Way®  Welcome Dinner in Florence
  • SPECIAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDED IN TUSCANY
    • Morning in beautiful San Gimignano Hill Town
    • Taste of the San Gimignano White Wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
    • WINERY ESTATE EXPERIENCE INCLUDED
      Our delightful included lunch experience is at our wine estate in Tuscany featuring a tour of the facilities with an absolutely beautiful presentation of Italian wine paired perfectly with delectable Tuscan cuisine from the region.
    • Story Way® Welcome Dinner in Cortona
  • SPECIAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDED IN ASSISI
    • Afternoon in Assisi with Walking Tour
    • Saint Francis' Assisi: Guided tour of the town and Basilica: the mystic city of St. Francis surrounded by ancient walls lays on top of the green slopes of Mount Subasio. Its rose-stone buildings complemented by winding narrow streets, palaces, balconies with blooming flowers will hold you spellbound. You will have a visit of the Basilica of St. Francis, with the masterpieces of Giotto and Cimabue.
  • SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN ROME
    • Heart of The Empire, Rome: Roman Forum, Admission and guided commentary with Story Land & Sea®'s local guide to the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, Admission to St. Peter's Basilica
    • Special Access to the Roman Colosseum
    • Expertly guided tour through the Archeological dig of the Roman Forum
    • VIP Entrance to Vatican City with Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel
    • and St. Peters' Basilica
    • Story Exclusive Culinary & Chef-Prepared Dining Experience in Marlon Brando's former apartment (Included in Deluxe package and Class-Budget if dinner package selected)
  • Comfortable Vehicles
    • Sightseeing per itinerary with professionally driven, air-conditioned motorcoach (half-motorcoach - 22 passenger vehicle or less based on tour group size)
      Services of English-speaking, service-driven Tour Captain throughout tour.
  • EXPERT LOCAL GUIDES INCLUDED
    Our expert, local Italian guides in Venice, Florence and Rome speak English well, and possess a passion for sharing Italy with our guests.
    Go Inside with Story Admission and Entrance Fees per itinerary - No Long Lines.
  • Story Way® Dining: Welcome Dinner and Farewell Celebration and Feast - a total of 5 dinners with wine and gratuities included for Deluxe package.
  • DISCOVERING ITALY'S CUISINE
    Our winery experience includes a dramatic luncheon experience. Other lunches are not included. Our Tour Captains will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches everyday.
  • Story Way® DINING INCLUDED —  5 Great Dinners
    5 incredibly unique dinners at authentic Italian restaurants (not tourist traps) are included with our Deluxe Tour, 3 are not. Our Tour Captains will invite you to join them to dinner at authentic restaurants each and every night, though you may choose to explore on your own. Deluxe: 5 of 8 dinners included
    Classic Budget: 1 included, upgrade to 5 total for $390 per person.
  • DISCOVER Story Land & Sea® 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.
  • PORTAGE
    One (1) piece of luggage up to 50 pounds is included.. One (1) carry-on bag is included and must fit on your lap (no roller carry-ons). The carry-on may be stored inside the vehicle for the transfer from Florence through Tuscany to Rome but must fit on your lap. There is some space available in the shelf above your seat but extremely limited. 

 

  • Airfare is not included but it can be quoted by emailing here. 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.

  • Travel Protection is not included. Story Land and Sea recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.

Travel protection companies, such as Travelex, plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Click here to get a quote and purchase on their website.

 

That's it ~ everything else excluding personal item purchases is included.

Included sightseeing and excursions

Story Land & Sea®'s Unique Walking Tour Experience
We do walk on our small group tours of Italy. We walk a lot, but it's unhurried and there are ample opportunities to sit and relax. But you must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs of Italy. Please inquire with Story Land & Sea® Reservations for more details.

Hotels in Italy

Our small group Italy tour hotels feature historical architecture with all the amenities you'd come to expect from 4-star and 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. Even our classic budget hotels are in the very hearts of the cities and villages, seconds away from our deluxe hotels.

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.

OUR DELUXE HOTELS

  • Venice: 2 Nights Hotel Saturnia & International or similar
  • Florence: 2 Nights Hotel L'Orologio, Hotel Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Bernini Palace or similar
  • Rome: 3 Nights Grand Hotel de la Minerve or similar
  • Tuscany Region: 1 Night Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili, in Cortona
  • Twin-bedded rooms with private bathroom facilities
  • Portage of one (1) piece of luggage. Extra portaged bag is $USD130.00 per bag.
  • All hotel service charges, baggage handling fees and local taxes included
  • Meals Included: All Breakfasts, 5 Dinners with regional Wines at real restaurants in the cities and towns of your true small group tour to Italy. No set menus, freedom of choice.
  • Gratuities:
    • Story Land & Sea® provides gratuities for your Local City Tour Guides, Tour Drivers, Restaurant and Hotel Staff. Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.
    • Room Steward and Wait Staff (while dining on your own): At your discretion. (not included in tour package).

OUR CLASSIC BUDGET HOTELS

  • Venice: 2 Nights Hotel Bel Sito, Hotel Kette or similar
  • Florence: 2 Nights Hotel Rosso 23 or similar
  • Rome: 3 Nights Hotel Abruzzi or similar
  • Tuscany Region: 1 Night Hotel Italia, Villa Marsili (classic rooms) or similar in Cortona
  • Twin-bedded rooms with private bathroom facilities
  • Portage of one (1) piece of luggage. Extra portaged bag is $USD130.00 per bag
  • All hotel service charges, baggage handling fees and local taxes included
  • Meals Included: All Breakfasts, 1 Welcome Dinner in Venice with Regional Wine. Upgrade to 5 Dinners Included Plan for $390 per person.
  • Gratuities:
    • Story Land & Sea® provides gratuities for your Local City Tour Guides, Tour Drivers, Restaurant and Hotel Staff. Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.
    • Room Steward and Wait Staff (while dining on your own): At your discretion. (not included in tour package).


NEW YEAR OF SAVINGS
SALE NOW ON!

Book your 2017 or 2018 Italy tour by January 31, 2017 for end-of-year savings on select departures. Call 1 (877) 865-6711 to see if your preferred departure qualifies AND HOW MUCH YOU WILL SAVE!  

Story's Prices are More Inclusive than other tour operators. Read the fine print.
And Story does not up-sell to you while on tour.

Speak to a Live Specialist: Here
Complete Contact Form: Here
Or Email a Specialist: Here

2017 Small Group Tour Prices —  Prices in US Dollars

Published Dates Italy small group Tour Dates and Rates
Story's 16 Guest
Small Group Tour of Italy
classic italy tours small group Dates and Rates
Same 16 Guest
Small Group Tour of Italy
Departures in January - March 2017
Jan 9, 30
$4,979 $4,279
Feb 6, 27
$4,979 $4,279
Feb 16, 23
$5,579 $4,579
Mar 6,13,20,27
$4,979 $4,379
Departures in April 2017
April 3
$5,679 - Super Saver Sale: Call for pricing. $4,379 - Super Saver Sale: Call for pricing.
April 10
$5,679 - Super Saver Sale: Call for pricing. $4,379 - Super Saver Sale: Call for pricing.
April 17
$5,679 $4,379
April 24
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in May 2017
May 1
$5,679 $4,679
May 8
$5,479 - Super Saver Sale on this departure: Call for pricing. $4,279 - Super Saver Sale on this departure: Call for pricing.
May 15
$5,679 $4,679
May 22
$5,679 $4,679
May 29
$5,679 $4,679
Departures in June 2017
June 5
$5,679 $4,679
June 12
Departure Sold Out Departure Sold Out
June 19
$5,679 $4,679
June 26
$5,679 $4,679
Departures in July 2017 - Summer Savings!
July 3
$4,979 $3,979
July 10
$4,979 $3,979
July 17
$4,979 $3,979
July 24
$4,979 $3,979
July 31
$4,979 $3,979
Departures in August 2017
August 7
$5,379 $4,379
August 14
$5,679 $4,679
August 21
$5,379 $4,379
August 28
$5,679 $4,679
Departures in September 2017
Sep 4
$5,679 $4,679
Sep 11
$5,679 $4,679
Sep 18
$5,679 $4,679
Sep 25
$5,679 $4,679
Departures in October 2017
Oct 2
$5,679 $4,679
Oct 9
$5,679 $4,679
Oct 16
$5,679 $4,679
Oct 23
$5,679 $4,679
Oct 30
$5,379 $4,379
Departures in November 2017
Nov 6
$4,979 $3,979
Nov 13
$4,979 $3,979
Special Itinerary: Italy's Great Season's Tour: November Departures
Nov 20
$4,979 $3,979
Nov 27
$4,979 $3,979
Special Itinerary: Italy's Great Season's Tour: December Departures
Dec 4
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 11
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 18
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 25
$4,979 $3,979

 2018 Early Booking Sale —

Book your 2018 trip by Dec 31, 2016, and save BIG on select departures. Call 877 865 6711 to see if your preferred trip date qualifies.

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2018 Small Group Tour Prices —  Prices in US Dollars

Published Dates Italy small group Tour Dates and Rates
Story's 16 Guest
Small Group Tour of Italy
classic italy tours small group Dates and Rates
Same 16 Guest
Small Group Tour of Italy
Departures in January - March 2018
Jan 6, 13
$5,679 $4,379
Feb 10
$5,679 $4,979
Mar 12
$5,679 $4,379
Mar 26
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in April 2018
April 9
$5,679 $4,379
April 16
$5,679 $4,979
April 23
$5,679 $4,379
April 30
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in May 2018
May 7
$5,679 $4,379
May 14
$5,679 $4,979
May 21
$5,679 $4,379
May 28
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in June 2018
June 4
$5,679 $4,379
June 11
$5,679 $4,979
June 18
$5,679 $4,379
June 25
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in July 2018
July 2
$5,679 $4,379
July 9
$5,679 $4,979
July 16
$5,679 $4,379
July 23
$5,679 $4,379
July 30
$5,379 $4,379
Departures in August 2018
August 6
$5,679 $4,379
August 13
$5,679 $4,979
August 20
$5,679 $4,379
August 27
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in September 2018
Sep 3
$5,679 $4,379
Sep 10
$5,679 $4,979
Sep 17
$5,679 $4,379
Sep 24
$5,679 $4,379
Departures in October 2018
Oct 1
$5,679 $4,379
Oct 8
$5,679 $4,979
Oct 15
$5,679 $4,379
Oct 22
$5,679 $4,379
Oct 29
$5,279 $4,279
Departures in November 2018
Nov 5
$4,979 $3,979
Nov 12
$4,979 $3,979
Nov 19
$4,979 $3,979
Nov 26
$4,979 $3,979
Departures in December 2018
Dec 3
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 10
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 17
$4,979 $3,979
Dec 22
$4,979 $3,979

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