September 2 – 12, 2022
Extend Sept. 12 - 17, 2022
11 or 16 Days
THE SWEET LIFE
For centuries Italy has drawn those searching for culture, romance, and sensual pleasures. Few countries can compete with its classical origins, architecture, music, literary tradition, art, scenery, food and wine.
With its exotic landmarks, Venice seems to burst forth off the canvas of an 18th-Century painting. Its grand palaces and romantic waterways rise like mirages from a calm, blue lagoon.
The spectacular beauty of Tuscany has long inspired many of the world’s great writers. The likes of Browning, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Shelley, and Forster have all waxed rhapsodic on its simple charms, rural landscapes, and centuries-old cultural heritage. Lord Byron declared himself “dazzled, drunk with beauty” from its intoxicating allure. During three nights in Florence we’ll soak up its art and also explore the historic cities of Pisa and Lucca.
Rome is Italy’s treasure trove, packed with masterpieces from more than two millennia of artistic achievements. It was here that Nero fiddled while the city burned, Marc Anthony praised Caesar and Charlemagne was crowned. Enjoy four nights to revel in such icons from the past as the Coloseum, Pantheon, Michelangelo's dome for St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Those who have more time will want to extend with us after the main tour to see the wonders of Herculaneum and Pompei at Mt. Vesuvius. During three nights in Sorrento we’ll also visit the Isle of Capri and the famous Amalfi Coast, concluding with one final night in Naples.
A renowned philosopher once wrote, “A man who has not been to Italy is always conscious of inferiority.” The miracle of Italy is that all its treasures come arranged in a gorgeous package of majestic mountains, placid lakes, idyllic islands, splendid cities, and walled villages. Come with Toto Tours to savor La Dolce Vita (the sweet life) in Italy.
COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY:
All plans for this tour are made considering the COVID procedures in effect at the time of publication. Entry requirements and vaccination requirements are subject to change at any time without notice. Please be sure you comply with the latest Italian entry requirements at the time of departure. For the safety of our groups, we only accept tour participants who are fully vaccinated, and current with their covid vaccines (including any recommended boosters) as of 4 weeks prior to departure. Proof of vaccination will be required no later than 4 weeks prior to departure.
Main Tour Highlights
- Venice Island
- Gondola Ride on Venetian Canal
- Murano Island
- Burano Island
- San Gimignano
- Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
TOUR EXTENSION HIGHLIGHTS
- Mt. Vesuvius
- Isle of Capri
- Amalfi Coast
Arrive in Venice – Welcome to Italy
Arrive today at the Venice Marco Polo International Airport. The best way to get to our hotel using public transportation is via Alilaguna water buses. The cost is €15. Here is a link to the network map and a second link to the timetable for departures from the airport. The nearest stop to our hotel is Rialto, which takes about one hour on the orange line. From there you will have a 5-minute walk to the hotel. This website provides links to companies providing private and shared transfers using water taxis. It is more expensive, but quicker and easier. Our rooms should be available for check-in by 3:00pm. If you arrive early, enjoy time for independent exploration of our city-center hotel and its environs. We convene at the hotel bar this evening for drinks before continuing to a local restaurant for our Welcome Dinner. (Welcome Dinner included)
Doge’s Palace / Gondola Ride
Built upon hundreds of small islands in the Venetian lagoon, Venice is unique. Settled by people fleeing the oncoming Barbarian tribes in the 5th century, it grew to become one of the most important independent republics of the Middle Ages, controlling trade in the eastern Mediterranean and becoming extremely wealthy in the process. The elected representative head of the republic was the Doge, and the majesty and magnificence of the Venice, known as ‘La Serenissima’, is reflected in the art and architecture of the Doge’s Palace. Enjoy a guided tour, followed by a gondola ride through some of the Venetian canals. Free afternoon. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Murano / Burano
Take to the water this morning for a tour by boat to the island of Murano, where high quality Venetian glass has been made for hundreds of years. Visit a glass foundry to see how the craftsmen blow and shape the molten glass before continuing to the island of Burano, the most picturesque in the Venetian Lagoon. Many of the brightly painted houses are still used by the traditional lace-makers and fishermen. Return to Venice mid-afternoon for a free evening. (Breakfast)
Verona / Florence
Leave Venice this morning and drive a short distance to Verona, an ancient Roman city and one of the most beautiful in Italy. Tour the historic centre with a local guide, seeing the house of Romeo and Juliet, the Scaliger Tombs, Piazza delle Erbe and the Roman Arena. Following free time for lunch, cross the wide delta of the River Po and the Apennine Mountains to Florence, capital of the region of Tuscany. The city was one of the largest and most powerful in Europe in the Middle Ages, and the patronage of the Medici family who controlled it for many years is still evident in the buildings and art. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Lucca / Pisa
Today we embark upon a full-day excursion to Lucca and Pisa. In Lucca, one of Tuscany’s most perfect towns, enjoy a scenic walking tour, including part of the well-preserved 2.6-mile ring of city walls, and Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, built over the site of the Roman amphitheatre. Continue to Pisa, one of Italy’s great Maritime Republics in the Middle Ages, when its monumental buildings were built as an expression of the city’s power. See the famous Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the cathedral) which was begun in 1172 on sandy soil and was already leaning before it was finished. Return to Florence in the late afternoon. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Visit the Accademia, the former Academy of Fine Arts, and see Michelangelo’s ‘David’, the most famous statue of the Renaissance and a symbol of Florentine independence. Continue to the Cathedral, made of red, white, and green marble, and Baptistery, where Ghiberti’s bronze doors were named the ‘Gates of Paradise’ by Michelangelo for their beauty and workmanship. Cross the Ponte Vecchio, still with original houses lining the bridge, and see Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city and an open-air museum with many fine statues. After free time for lunch, our amazing art historian guide will dazzle us with a special tour of homoerotic art at the Bargello Museum. Here we will compare Michelangelo’s David from the Accademia with earlier examples by Donatello and Verrocchio, as well as many other sculptural masterpieces. (Breakfast)
San Gimignano / Siena / Rome
Cross the Chianti region to San Gimignano. This town of many towers, known as the Medieval Manhattan, is situated in one of the most stunning parts of Tuscany. Enjoy a walk through its characteristic streets before continuing a short distance for a wine-tasting light lunch with a local producer. Then continue to Siena, one of Europe’s biggest and most powerful cities in the Middle Ages. Following the Black Death plague in the mid-14th century, Siena lost its position of importance, and the consequent lack of trade and investment froze the city in time, saving the majority of its original Gothic buildings. See the Cathedral and Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s most impressive public squares, where twice a year the famous Palio horse race takes place. Then continue south to Rome, the Eternal City. (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
No passports are necessary to visit the smallest sovereign state in the world - the Vatican City-State, where in the Vatican Museums we see part of the vast collection of art and antiquities built up by the popes over the centuries. The acknowledged artistic masterpiece is the Sistine Chapel, still in use for papal elections, where Michelangelo worked for 10 years painting the walls and ceiling. Next door we tour St Peter’s, the largest Christian church in the world, built above the spot where St Peter is reputed to have been buried over 1900 years ago. Free afternoon. (Breakfast)
We undertake a walking tour of the historic centre, including the Trevi Fountain, probably Europe’s most famous fountain and a vivid expression of Roman Baroque style. Marvel at the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all gods and the best-preserved Roman building in the world. Piazza Navona is Rome’s most beautiful square, built on the site of a Roman athletics stadium. We conclude at the Spanish Steps, in the heart of the city’s best shopping venues where you’ll undoubtedly want to pick up some mementos of your grand tour of Italy. Free afternoon. (Breakfast)
Tour the Coliseum, symbol of Rome and the largest amphitheatre in the ancient world, constructed nearly 2000 years ago from local travertine stone. In use for over 400 years, admission was free, part of the policy of the Emperor Vespasian who commissioned it to provide the people with ‘panem et circensis’, or bread and circuses, as a way of generating approval while distracting from more serious issues. Then visit the ruins of the Roman Forum, the political, religious, and commercial centre of the Roman Empire, seeing the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Antonino and Faustina, the Curia, or senate house, and the Temple of Julius Caesar, built on the spot where his body was cremated following his funeral in 44BCE. After a free afternoon, enjoy a special farewell dinner. (Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)
Departure – or - Extend to Sorrento
The main tour ends after breakfast. We will assist those departing today to arrange airport transfers to meet your flight. You may wish to continue your stay in Italy by joining our optional extension to Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast. We take the scenic highway south to Sorrento, passing the city of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius volcano along the way. Situated near the end of the peninsula of the same name, Sorrento is an elegant resort where commerce and tourism mix with countless citrus groves, producing Italy’s best lemons for the famous Limoncello liqueur. Enjoy some free time in the old town before convening for an included dinner. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Amalfi Coast / Ravello
Today experience one of the world’s most scenic drives - the Amalfitana - passing between sea and mountains on a road carved out of the sheer rock. The coast was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997. Stop for a panoramic view of the town of Positano before continuing to Amalfi, the world’s oldest republic. Founded in 840, the Duchy of Amalfi was an important trading nation for hundreds of years. Enjoy a tour of its narrow streets, quaint squares, and imposing Cathedral, dedicated to the apostle Andrew and a visible expression of the wealth and importance which Amalfi enjoyed in the past. Following some free time for shopping, strolling, gelato (or all three), re-join our vehicle and climb the cliff to the town of Ravello, visiting Villa Rufolo, built in the 13th century by the Rufolo family and home to several popes, Charles of Anjou, and Richard Wagner, who found inspiration for Parsifal here. Then cross the Monte Lattari on the way back to Sorrento. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Herculaneum / Pompei
Head out of the city after breakfast toward Herculaneum, one of three towns destroyed during the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Wealthier than the better-known Pompeii, the pyroclastic material which buried it preserved organic materials such as wood, conserving many roofs and doors. Vesuvius is best known for the big eruption of 79 A.D., but it continued to erupt regularly every 100 years or so, until it entered a 600-year period of quiescence in 1037. After another deadly blast in the 1631, workers repairing the damage discovered the ruins of Pompeii, but it would be almost 300 years before excavation of the site would begin in earnest. Now it is an outdoor living museum which documents a great tragedy. Enjoy a tour of the site itself, also preserved in an excellent state by the volcanic material which covered it, before returning to Sorrento for overnight. (Breakfast)
Isle of Capri
After breakfast we transfer to Sorrento port to catch a hydrofoil that whisks us over to the Isle of Capri, arriving at Marina Grande. This famous island combines natural beauty, the allure of rich and famous visitors who have come before us, and today’s busy glitz. Begin with an excursion to Capri’s most famous site, the Blue Grotto, a sea cave which is only accessible when the water is calm. The restricted entrance leads to a much larger space which appears to glow blue, thanks to light entering from a hidden source. Following our return to the port, drive along Capri’s only main road to the island’s second town, Anacapri, crossing the unforgettable ‘Mamma Mia’ bridge on the way. After some time for lunch, ascend Monte Solare, Capri’s highest point, by chair lift for an unforgettable panorama of the island and beyond. Then return to Marina Grande for the crossing back to Sorrento. (Breakfast)
Depart Sorrento for Naples. This once downtrodden city is undergoing a renaissance as visitors become aware of its unique character and wealth of artistic treasures. Enjoy a panoramic city tour and free afternoon for last-minute souvenir shopping before transferring to a local restaurant for our tour extension’s farewell dinner. (Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)
The tour extension concludes after breakfast. We will assist in arranging transfers to the Naples Capodichino international airport timed for your departing flight. The airport is about a twenty-minute drive from downtown. (Breakfast)
EASY TO MODERATE WALKING
This Toto Tours Cultural and Scenic Expedition in Italy is accessible and suitable to all those with good health and who are able to walk 2-3 hours without much carrying. This tour is based on moderate city walking for several hours daily. The tour extension is slightly more challenging as there are elevation gains and descents while walking at Vesuvius, the ruins of Pompei and Herculaneum, the Isle of Capri, and towns along the Amalfi Coast.
Entry Requirements-- FFor citizens of the United States and Canada, no visas are necessary. All you need is a passport valid for at least 3 months from date of arrival. Citizens of other countries please refer to this website of the National Tourism Agency of Italy for the applicable regulations. All passengers are required to complete the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival.
Immunizations-— It is required that you bring proof of Covid Vaccination with you. You are also required to present a document certifying that you have performed a molecular or antigenic swab test in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Italy with negative results. No other immunizations are required, but it is wise to have your inoculations up to date. Is your tetanus booster current?Exit Requirements -- Your airport departure tax will be included in the cost of your international airline ticket. Please check the requirements for entry to your final destination. For example, the United States currently requires a negative antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival in the US. Antigen testing is widely available in pharmacies in Italy, and costs about €20-25 per person, with results immediately available. We will help to organize this at the right time prior to your departure from Italy. After receiving the test results you must file this Passenger Disclosure and Attestation Form with your airline.
WHAT TO BRINGTemperatures in the north of Italy during September could range between 58 degrees F during the night to daytime highs in the low to mid-70s. For the more southerly tour extension, expect the temperature range to be 64 – 81 degrees F. Pack light and try to limit yourself to no more than one suitcase and a carry-on bag. Pack medications in your carry-on just in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive when you do. We suggest leaving expensive jewelry at home!
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Proof of full Covid-19 vaccination and current PCR test results.
- Lightweight slacks for city sightseeing and evening meals
- Shorts for hiking or excursions on warm days
- Socks and underwear for several days (laundry service readily available at all hotels)
- Light sweater and/or windbreaker
- Rain jacket for misty or stormy days
- Comfortable walking shoes
- T-shirts / polo shirts / short-sleeved shirts (5 - 6)
- Casual long-sleeved shirts (3 or 4)
- Sunscreen / lip balm / sunglasses / sun hat
- Personal toiletries
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in Italy is 220 Volts/50 Hertz. Click here to see examples of the outlets you will encounter, and the plugs you will need.
- A good book for the long flights.
MONEY MATTERSItaly uses the standardized European currency, the Euro (EUR). Notes are issued in the following denominations: €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10, and €5. There are €2 and €1 coins, plus fractions (there are 100 cents in one Euro). As of October 16, 2021, the interbank exchange rate was about US$1.16 to €1.00. Bank debit cards, Visa & Mastercard work for Euro cash withdrawals in most ATMs, which are widely available throughout the country. It is wise to carry some cash with you, however, in case you get caught in a situation where an ATM is not available. Click here to find the most up-to-date exchange rate.
Tipping Guidelines: Click here to read an excellent article about tipping etiquette in Italy. We will give group tips at appropriate times throughout the tour, and guidelines concerning this will be sent to you prior to departure.
THE TOTO SPIRITToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please click on the image or link below, or call us for more information.
MAIN TOUR PRICING
(tour prices per person)Price: $5,700 in double occupancy hotel accommodations
Single Supplement: $1,200 additional, for a total tour price of $6,900
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance : $5,100 double / $6,300 single
Remaining Balance Due: June 15, 2022 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Included: Full time tour leader; private vehicle and driver; English-speaking guide for sightseeing; 10 nights hotel accommodations; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners and other meals as specified in the itinerary; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary; fully guided and escorted tour.
Not Included: International airfare to Venice (VCE) returning from either Rome (FCO) or Naples (NAP); airport transfers; ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
SORRENTO TOUR EXTENSION PRICING
(extension prices per person)Price: $2,800 in double occupancy hotel accommodations
Single Supplement: $700 additional, for a total tour price of $3,500
Deposit: $200 additional, for a total tour deposit of $800
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance for Both Main Tour and Extension: $7,700 double / $9,600 single
Remaining Balance Due: June 15, 2022 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Included: Full time tour leader; private vehicle and driver; English-speaking guide for sightseeing; 5 nights hotel accommodations; hotel breakfasts daily plus Farewell Dinner and other meals as specified in the itinerary; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary; fully guided and escorted tour extension.
Not Included: International airfare to Venice (VCE) returning from Naples (NAP); airport transfers; ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
Click hotel name to read description
We are holding just 12 rooms at each of these properties and our tour dates are in high season. Unsold rooms will need to be released well before departure per our agreements with the hotels, so late bookings will be difficult to accommodate. We encourage you to book this tour early. Please let us know on your reservation form if you would like us to book an extra night for you at the beginning or end of your tour.
MAIN TOUR HOTELS
- Venice (3 nights) – Hotel Bonvecchiati
- Florence (3 nights) - UNAHOTELS Vittoria
- Rome (4 nights) - Grand Hotel Palatino