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Italy: Renaissance Cities and Tuscan Life
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10 days

from ₹5,00,100 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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trip_detail module Light icon Light-Moderate trip_detail hint icon

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

Premium trip_detail hint icon

Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Enjoy a private, after-hours tour of the stunning Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice
  • Marvel at the works of Italian masters during a visit to the Vatican museums, and tour Florence’s iconic Uffizi Gallery with an art historian.
  • Learn the secrets of Tuscan cuisine while enjoying meals and excellent Italian wines at local restaurants, wineries, and family homes.
  • Stay two nights in the Tuscan countryside at a family-owned and operated 13th-century castello, and get to know members of the family.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

Tap into the rhythms of la dolce vita on an unforgettable journey through Italy. Explore the winding canals and architectural wonders of Venice, walk through the picturesque villages, and settle into a restored medieval castello to savor the cuisine and traditions of Tuscany. Delve into the country’s enduring legacies among Florence’s Renaissance masterpieces and amid the ruins of the Roman Empire.

Day 1: Venice, Italy

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Arrive in Venice and transfer by motorboat to our hotel overlooking the famous Grand Canal. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at a Venetian restaurant followed by a walking tour of the illuminated city.

Day 2: Venice

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Set out on foot for a guided tour of this enchanting UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through Piazza San Marco and its golden mosaic-filled basilica. Admire the Gothic arches of the Doge’s Palace, and see the 16th-century Sansovinian Library and the iconic Rialto Bridge. Explore Venice's winding paths at your leisure this afternoon. After dinner, enjoy a private, after-hours visit to the breathtaking Saint Mark's Basilica.

Day 3: Florence

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Hop aboard a high-speed train to Florence, and after lunch set out on a walking tour of its historic center. In Piazza della Repubblica, discover the city’s beginnings as a Roman settlement. Wander through narrow streets past the fortified houses and towers that marked the medieval town, and emerge onto the open Piazza della Signoria, the political center of the city since the Middle Ages. See the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, and encounter Michelangelo’s peerless David and the evocative Prisoners at the Accademia.

Day 4: Lucca and Pisa/Florence

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This morning, choose between two options. Venture to medieval Lucca for a bike ride atop the city walls, then visit Pisa to climb its famed leaning tower. Alternatively, explore Florence at your own pace; perhaps take a short walk to the Basicilia di Santa Croce or wander across the river Arno to stroll the lovely Boboli Gardens. This afternoon an art historian will guide us through the iconic Uffizi Gallery. Commissioned in 1560 by Cosimo I de’ Medici and designed by the great architect Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi has drawn visitors to view the masterpieces within for centuries. Cap off your day with a special dinner in the home of a Florentine family.

Day 5: Tuscan Countryside

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Travel south into the Chianti region. Visit the renowned Badia a Coltibuono winery and fortified former abbey for a wine tasting and lunch. Then continue to Gargonza, a medieval hamlet superbly situated in the Tuscan countryside. This afternoon, settle into the privately owned 13th-century castello of the Guicciardini family—our home for the next two nights. Take the rest of the day to read, relax, and enjoy the swimming pool, set in an olive grove with a glorious view.

Day 6: Tuscan Countryside

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Venture into the Tuscan countryside on a morning hike through the scenic landscape near Gargonza. During a free afternoon at the castello, stroll the gardens, relax by the pool, or try your hand at a game of bocce. Later, you may join the castello’s chef for a cooking lesson and a tasting of several fine local vintages.

Day 7: Siena/Rome

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A short drive brings us to the Tuscan gem of Siena. Soak up the medieval flavor of the city on a walking tour that includes the Piazza del Campo; the Palazzo Pubblico; and the colorful, marble-clad cathedral. Stop for lunch on your own in one of Siena's many trattorias before traveling south to eternal Rome.

Day 8: Rome

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Stroll the ruins of the Roman Forum and enjoy a specially arranged visit inside the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Miranda, formerly the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina erected in A.D. 141. Here, meet archaeologist Dr. Valerie Higgins of the American University in Rome, a top expert in the field of Roman archaeology who recently appeared in the popular National Geographic documentary series The Story of God. After lunch, venture into the Colosseum, where gladiators prepared for battle.

Day 9: Rome

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Take in the sacred grandeur of Vatican City with an early morning visit to its famed museums. See the stunning Sistine Chapel, then visit St. Peter’s Square and its soaring basilica before enjoying some free time to explore on your own. Later this afternoon, gather for a walking tour including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona. Toast our Italian sojourn at a festive farewell dinner tonight.

Day 10: Rome

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

EXTENSIONS

Post-Trip, 4 Days
Trace the picturesque Amalfi Coast, exploring its colorful cliff-top towns and centuries-old villages. Step into the legendary time capsule of Pompeii, a vibrant first-century Roman city stopped in its tracks by a sudden volcanic eruption from nearby Vesuvius. Visit the sources of local limoncello, perfume, and wine; see historic cathedrals and villas; and soak up the sun on the dazzling island of Capri.

Day 1: Rome/Naples/Sorrento

Ride the high-speed train from Rome to Naples, and then transfer to a winery at the base of Mount Vesuvius for lunch and a wine tasting. Take a private tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Archaeological Area of Pompeii, a city frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, preserving the area in a thick layer of ash. The site was only discovered in the 18th century, when explorers excavated Pompeii’s dwellings, still filled with everyday objects. Venture into this splendid and haunting city to see its frescoed villas and get a rare glimpse of daily life nearly 2,000 years ago. Then check in to your hotel perched on the Amalfi Coast.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 2: Amalfi Coast

Set off with a local guide to trace the Amalfi Coast, dotted with picturesque towns and villages nestled among dramatic seaside cliffs. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in Amalfi—once one of Italy’s four great maritime republics—and see its stunning 13th-century cathedral. Then continue on to the medieval village of Ravello. Explore centuries of history, art, and folklore at Villa Rufolo, an architectural gem famed for its elegant cascading gardens. Wind down the day with a tour and tasting at a traditional limoncello farm.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 3: Capri/Sorrento

Ride a ferry across the Bay of Naples to the island of Capri, celebrated for its beauty since the time of the Roman Empire. Join a guide on a walking tour of old town Capri and visit its historic perfume factory, Carthusia. After lunch, explore the stately villa and gardens of San Michele.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 4: Naples/Depart

Transfer to the airport in Naples for your international flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast

Post-Trip, 4 Days
Trace the picturesque Amalfi Coast, exploring its colorful cliff-top towns and centuries-old villages. Step into the legendary time capsule of Pompeii, a vibrant first-century Roman city stopped in its tracks by a sudden volcanic eruption from nearby Vesuvius. Visit the sources of local limoncello, perfume, and wine; see historic cathedrals and villas; and soak up the sun on the dazzling island of Capri.

Day 1: Rome/Naples/Sorrento

Ride the high-speed train from Rome to Naples, and then transfer to a winery at the base of Mount Vesuvius for lunch and a wine tasting. Take a private tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Archaeological Area of Pompeii, a city frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, preserving the area in a thick layer of ash. The site was only discovered in the 18th century, when explorers excavated Pompeii’s dwellings, still filled with everyday objects. Venture into this splendid and haunting city to see its frescoed villas and get a rare glimpse of daily life nearly 2,000 years ago. Then check in to your hotel perched on the Amalfi Coast.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 2: Amalfi Coast

Set off with a local guide to trace the Amalfi Coast, dotted with picturesque towns and villages nestled among dramatic seaside cliffs. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in Amalfi—once one of Italy’s four great maritime republics—and see its stunning 13th-century cathedral. Then continue on to the medieval village of Ravello. Explore centuries of history, art, and folklore at Villa Rufolo, an architectural gem famed for its elegant cascading gardens. Wind down the day with a tour and tasting at a traditional limoncello farm.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 3: Capri/Sorrento

Ride a ferry across the Bay of Naples to the island of Capri, celebrated for its beauty since the time of the Roman Empire. Join a guide on a walking tour of old town Capri and visit its historic perfume factory, Carthusia. After lunch, explore the stately villa and gardens of San Michele.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations:Hotel Eden Roc Positano (2019) or Hotel Marina Riviera (2020)

Day 4: Naples/Depart

Transfer to the airport in Naples for your international flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light/moderate; travelers should be in good health, and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, navigating uneven terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels with many amenities in the cities, as well as a 13th century castle in Tuscany.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

Accommodations

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

1 /9

Castello di Gargonza - Gargonza, Italy

The charming Castello di Gargonza is a walled hilltop village between Arezzo and Siena. Guests stay in restored medieval cottages within the castle walls. Each cottage is uniquely configured, ranging from one to four bedrooms, with private bath(s) and a kitchenette. The castle is set on 600 acres of parkland, offering walking trails, a beautiful swimming pool, and a restaurant featuring delightful Tuscan cuisine.

2 /9

Castello di Gargonza - Gargonza, Italy

The charming Castello di Gargonza is a walled hilltop village between Arezzo and Siena. Guests stay in restored medieval cottages within the castle walls. Each cottage is uniquely configured, ranging from one to four bedrooms, with private bath(s) and a kitchenette. The castle is set on 600 acres of parkland, offering walking trails, a beautiful swimming pool, and a restaurant featuring delightful Tuscan cuisine.

3 /9

Castello di Gargonza - Gargonza, Italy

The charming Castello di Gargonza is a walled hilltop village between Arezzo and Siena. Guests stay in restored medieval cottages within the castle walls. Each cottage is uniquely configured, ranging from one to four bedrooms, with private bath(s) and a kitchenette. The castle is set on 600 acres of parkland, offering walking trails, a beautiful swimming pool, and a restaurant featuring delightful Tuscan cuisine.

4 /9

Gallery Hotel Art - Florence,

The contemporary Gallery Hotel Art is a design and boutique hotel in downtown Florence dreamed up by Michele Bönan, a refined Florentine architect, and offers a favorite local meeting place in the heart of Florence amongst fashion, art and style. It allows you experience art and photography vernissages, enjoy a few quite moments in the inviting lounge-library, or indulge in culinary delights at the Fusion Bar & Restaurant.

5 /9

Gallery Hotel Art - Florence,

The contemporary Gallery Hotel Art is a design and boutique hotel in downtown Florence dreamed up by Michele Bönan, a refined Florentine architect, and offers a favorite local meeting place in the heart of Florence amongst fashion, art and style. It allows you experience art and photography vernissages, enjoy a few quite moments in the inviting lounge-library, or indulge in culinary delights at the Fusion Bar & Restaurant.

6 /9

Venezia Palazzo Barocci - Venice, Italy

The NH Collection Venezia Palazzo Barocci is a historic building every bit as beautiful and atmospheric as you’d expect a former Venetian aristocratic palace to be. The hotel enjoys a prime location in the city, overlooking the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.

7 /9

Venezia Palazzo Barocci - Venice, Italy

The NH Collection Venezia Palazzo Barocci is a historic building every bit as beautiful and atmospheric as you’d expect a former Venetian aristocratic palace to be. The hotel enjoys a prime location in the city, overlooking the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.

8 /9

Rose Garden Palace - Rome, Italy

The Rose Garden Palace is located in a beautifully restored historical building, just off Via Veneto in front of the American embassy and next door to the Villa Borghese gardens. Rooms are elegant and charming. It features an internal gourmet restaurant, a large Jacuzzi pool, SPA and gym.

9 /9

Rose Garden Palace - Rome, Italy

The Rose Garden Palace is located in a beautifully restored historical building, just off Via Veneto in front of the American embassy and next door to the Villa Borghese gardens. Rooms are elegant and charming. It features an internal gourmet restaurant, a large Jacuzzi pool, SPA and gym.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Apr 17-26, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/04/26 - 2020/04/29

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

  • date May 15-24, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/05/24 - 2020/05/27

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

  • date Jun 12-21, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/06/21 - 2020/06/24

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

  • date Sep 4-13, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/09/13 - 2020/09/16

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

  • date Sep 18-27, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/09/27 - 2020/09/30

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

  • date Oct 16-25, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,39,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/10/25 - 2020/10/28

Double Occupancy from ₹5,00,100per person

Single Occupancy from ₹6,39,600 per person

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

    What's Not Included

    • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
    • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
    • Visas
    • Alcoholic beverages
Dirk Booms
Archaeologist
"

Archaeologist Dirk Booms has lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, and the University of London, Birkbeck. He was Curator of Roman Mediterranean Archaeology at the British Museum. His main research interests are architecture (including 3D reconstructions) and inscriptions, and he has excavated in Italy, Belgium, Turkey, and Tunisia. He has worked in Italy over many years, and curated the major Sicily: Culture and Conquest exhibition at the British Museum, for which he also co-authored the companion publication and organized a conference and public events programs. Dirk has curated three other exhibitions for the British Museum, all focused on the Roman Empire. He has been involved in the excavation and reconstruction of the imperial villa of the emperor Marcus Aurelius at Villa Magna, Italy. His doctoral research focused on life at Roman Imperial villa complexes and their usage and decoration as statements of power and identity by the emperors.

"
  • May 15-24, 2020
  • Jun 12-21, 2020
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author
"

Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

"
  • Sep 18-27, 2020
Tim Jepson
Author
"

Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

"
  • Apr 17-26, 2020
  • Oct 16-25, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist
"

William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

"
  • Sep 4-13, 2020