Private Tour of Italy
Italy : Rome, Florence & Venice
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Rome, the capital of Italy’s Lazio Region in the central-western part of the peninsula, is a city that remains virtually unrivalled in the sheer volume and diversity of its cultural repertoire. One could spend months here and still only scratch the surface of treasures to be discovered in this phenomenal ancient city. 3000-odd-years of haphazard urban development has resulted in a complex cocktail of art, history, and architecture full of fascinating cultural clashes and contrasts. Classical ruins as well as countless early Christian catacombs and clandestine churches sit alongside (or beneath) magnificent Renaissance palazzos and breathtaking Baroque fountains. This unique combination of a rich historical tapestry interweaved with a thriving and vibrant modern community living life to its fullest as only the Italians can, makes Italy's Eternal City one of the world's most intriguing and inspiring tourist destinations.
The gorgeous capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence, lies towards the centre of the country, a tiny city with a massive heart and an even larger supply of artistic and historical treasures. For centuries, travellers have flocked en masse to the birthplace of the Renaissance movement to marvel at its abundant array of grandiose masterworks of architecture and art. Paramount to any itinerary are Michelangelo’s David, the awe-inspiring Botticelli works, the Uffizi (packed to the brim with pieces by Caravaggio and Da Vinci), and, of course, Brunelleschi’s remarkable cupola, the religious heart of Florence, which dominates the skyline. Once these popular tourist favourites have been ticked off, take a stroll around the alluring Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience enthralling views of this beautiful, beguiling city.
The city is spread across three hills in the heart of Tuscany, the compact city of Siena is a historic jewel centred around the sloping Piazza del Campo. Watched over by the glorious Palazzo Pubblico, the town is known worldwide for the famous Palio run, a horse race run around the piazza twice every summer. Siena has managed to retain its quaint old-world charm to a remarkable degree. Its beautiful Gothic buildings include the city’s Duomo, arguably one of Italy’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals, as well as numerous other architectural treasures. The town is also home to a wealth of exceptional early Renaissance art. At the same time, the city bustles with modern life, and the 17 neighbourhoods into which the city was historically divided are each as captivating as the next.
Located amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany, the Italian hill town of San Gimignano is set just southwest of Florence. This well-preserved fortified city is known for its medieval architecture, rich history, and enchanting rural setting. This ancient town is encircled by 13th-century walls and is peppered with 13 impressive towers. Visitors can look forward to exploring the Piazza della Cisterna, a picturesque square fringed by medieval heritage buildings; and visit the 12th-century Duomo di San Gimignano Church featuring frescoes by Ghirlandaio in its Santa Fina Chapel. Soak up views of the surrounding valleys, sample the locally-produced saffron and its Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a popular Italian white wine; and enjoy an evening stroll down the empty alleyways bathed in the warm yellow light of the street lamps.
Venice is a small, unique city in Italy’s Veneto region, a historical centre consisting of 118 small islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, linked together by a complex web of canals and footbridges. Imagine the audacity of building an entirely man-made city of marble palaces on a lagoon with no visible means of support. The inexplicable nerve required to undertake such a project is part of the mystery of this astonishing island city. The stately palaces and ancient churches exist as fascinating remnants of what was once an important trading centre between Europe and the Orient. From the famous Gothic Palazzo Ducale, and the breathtaking Basilica di San Marco to the incomprehensible radiance of Titian's Assunta altarpiece illuminating an entire cathedral, Venice has remained virtually unchanged in the past 600 years.
The Venetian Lagoon is a crescent-shaped bay between the Italian mainland and the Adriatic Sea, in northern Italy. While the magnificent city of Venice is certainly the highlight of the area, the lagoon is home to numerous lesser-known islands just waiting to be to discovered. The main islands are Murano, famous for its fantastic glass laboratories; Burano, known for its wonderfully handcrafted lace works; and Torcello, where you can visit the fascinating ruins of the Santa Maria Assunta Complex. Surrounded by one of the most ecologically rich bodies of water in the Mediterranean, the lagoon is a haven for a wide variety of marine life, birdlife and occasionally, bottlenose dolphins. This remarkable lagoon is an ideal natural getaway for travellers seeking a tranquil retreat from the bustling hordes of tourists and frenetic energy of Venice.