If you think you’ve seen all of the great country of Italy, we have some new and exciting recommendations for you! Italia is no doubt one of the most popular countries in Europe and one of the first places many travelers visit. Your first trip to Italy typically contains a stop at the most famous cities including Venice with San Marco Square, Florence and its Duomo and Rome with its Colosseum. If you have not seen these cities we highly recommend them but if you are looking for something different, then join us on our escorted tours through the rest of this breathtaking country. Get to know the Italy beyond the canals of Venice and the culture beyond the delicious cuisine. Gate 1 will take you around the less-visited regions and show you what you could be missing out on if only visiting Venice, Florence and Rome.
Journey through the Umbria Region and see historic Assisi, home of St. Francis. Choose Southern Italy with Puglia and Campania and explore towns by the sea, delicious wines and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Perhaps you’ll pick the Adriatic Coast to see towns along the coast with unmatched beauty. Or perhaps the tour that includes Piedmont, Liguria & Veneto with Cinque Terre. You will visit a few of the serene 5 towns of Cinque Terre and experience some of the best food cities in the world.
Get a real feel for Italian culture and indulge in more of this expansive European country. Brush up on your Italiano, get hungry for gelato and prepare to cross some places off your bucket list while Gate 1 Travel does the rest.
The Umbria region is best known for the medieval town of Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Assisi is located high on top of a hill and contains everything from sacred shrines to Roman ruins. This picturesque town will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time to centuries past. If you have heard of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the patron saints of Italy, then you have come to his birthplace. St. Francis was the founder of the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208. St. Clare, the founder of the Poor Sisters was born here as well as St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. Visit the main attraction of the city, the Basilica di San Francesco, constructed in the 13th century and a true highlight of your trip. This immense Catholic church is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Christians in the entire country. Be sure to take note of the impressive frescoes by the artists Cimabue and Giotto and sacred relics of the church while here. Walk through the Upper Basilica, Lower Basilica and Courtyard of the Friary.
Southern Italy, Puglia & Campania
Southern Italy contains enchanting, magical cities by the sea including those in the Puglia and Campania regions. These areas spread across the heel of Italy’s boot shape and continue to cities on the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
Bari is a port city on the Adriatic and has been a haven for traveling sailors and fisherman for thousands of years. Be sure to visit the local open-air market and check out the super-fresh catches of the day. Walk through the old city and view the Romanesque Basilica of San Nicola and the 12th century Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino. In Lecce, nicknamed the “Florence of the South,” see sights including the Piazza del Duomo, a 2nd century amphitheater and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Walk the 300 year-old cobblestone streets and have yourself a nice meal in a local trattoria or a gelato to cool down.
Visit the quaint town of Alberobello, a UNESCO Heritage Site and home of the Apulian traditional, dry stone huts known as Trulli. Continue on to Matera with roots connecting to the Paleolithic age and view the Sassi, ancient stone dwellings carved into the rock. The Sassi are believed to be the first human settlements in all of Italy.
Next is the region of Campania where you will explore Pompeii and Naples. Pompeii is a truly unique experience you will only have in one place in the entire world. Nowhere else can you walk the streets of a town that is forever frozen in time. This is due to the explosion of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago that covered the city in ash. This ancient Roman city was buried in up to 20 feet of ash and had to be completely excavated to show what was left of the city below. The Temple of Apollo, House of the Vetti and the Forum are all fascinating ruins you will see on your tour of the ancient city.
Continue to the southwest to the city of Naples where you will take in views of the Mediterranean Sea at the Bay of Naples. Explore Naples from the Sorrento peninsula all the way to the Volcanic area of the Campi Flegrei, all of which are dominated by majestic Mount Vesuvius in the background.
The Adriatic Coast of Italy not only contains some of the places we already mentioned including Bari, Lecce and Matera but also Ravenna, San Marino and Urbino. Explore the towns that run along the coast of the pristine waters of the Adriatic Sea and find unrivaled elegance.
Ravenna was once the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until its collapse in 476. This is largely due to that fact that Ravenna had a perfect location. It was centralized and very close to the water. It is well-known for its incredible Roman and Byzantine architecture and mosaics that can be seen throughout the entire city; so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled! In fact, these countless well-preserved buildings and mosaics make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of “Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna.” In this Adriatic city, explore the Basilica of San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.
Take the optional tour to the Republic of San Marino, said to be the oldest republic in the entire world, founded in 301 AD. San Marino is completely landlocked by Italy and is one of the world’s smallest countries. In this hilly nation you will be welcomed by the access gate that leads you to the narrow, winding streets. Walk around the city and take in the sites of the Public Palace, Cava dei Balestrieri and much more. You will feel like you stepped into a real fairy-tale between the tall castle towers, historic center and the uniformed guards in blue and orange just waiting for your arrival at the city’s gate.
Urbino is a city with a long-reaching history in both art and history. This village underwent a transformation during the 15th century and went from simple village to Renaissance hot spot thanks to the work of important artists, including the famous painter Raphael. If you have heard of him, this is his hometown and his house is still here and contains an active museum. Admire the excellence and enjoy this ideal environment for artists and dreamers.
Food & Wines of Piedmont, Liguria & Veneto with Cinque Terre:
This program encompasses a huge area of Italy that will you through the northern region of the country. From romantic Lake Maggiore to picture-perfect Cinque Terre to the food capital of Italy in Bologna, this trip is a true dream for foodies, romantics and nature lovers alike.
Start your journey in the Lake region of Italy at Lake Maggiore, a popular honeymoon destination because of its scenic beauty. Visit the islands of Isola Bella, with its splendid gardens and white peacocks and Isola dei Pescatori, or fishermen’s island, named for the main occupation here.
Arrive in Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region. Turin is also referred to as the capital of the Alps. This unsung city is filled to the brim with interesting claims to fame including being the home to Italy’s Royal Family, House of Savoy. It is also a true foodie capital with risotto and chocolate as local must tries as well as the birthplace of the aperitif. This incredible town will surprise you at every turn with countless experiences and new things to try.
Travel through the Piedmont region and take a tour through the wine vineyards of the area. Barolo produces the most famous and expensive wine made from Nebbiolo grapes. Sample Spumante in Canelli in one of the “Cathedral cellars” of the region. Choose which wine is your favorite and be sure to pick up a bottle to take home before returning to your hotel in Turin in the evening.
Luxurious and famous Portofino along the Italian Riviera, is a favorite among the rich. In this deluxe fishing village, you will find high-end boutiques and restaurants, huge yachts and a centrally located harbor. Find a cafe on the harbor looking out at the water and enjoy a beverage or snack in this picturesque scene.
If you have seen pictures of the colorful houses clinging onto cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea, you already know what Cinque Terre looks like. This enchanting region is made up of 5 centuries-old seaside villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. You will travel through a few of these villages by boat or bus and see what these UNESCO World Heritage Sites have to offer. Be sure to allow time for lots of photos because you will want to remember this.
Travel through the region of Emilia-Romagna, the land known for balsamic vinegar en route to Parma. Here you will taste various local delicacies highlighted by the town’s namesake product, parmesan cheese.
One of the last stops on this tour is Bologna, a true food lover’s paradise. This city is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region. Here, you will visit the traditional food shops and indulge in Bologna’s history at the city’s oldest food market, “Quadrilatero.” Enjoy more than wonderful food with sites including Piazza Maggiore, Accursio Palace, the Neptune Fountain and St. Petronio Basilica. This medieval city is sure to capture your heart.
Finally, travel to the region of Veneto, the land of prosecco, Italy’s sparkling wine. Enjoy a tasting before heading home.
Ciao and thank you for joining us in Italy. Now that you are an expert on all things Italian, it is time to book your trip. Let Gate 1 Travel take care of all the details of your journey while you travel effortlessly from incredible landscape to incredible landscape. Just show up at the airport and we will do the rest. Click here for our tours to Italy and get ready to experience the trip of a lifetime!
**Please note: Sightseeing varies per itinerary