LOGO OPACITY2
Location: ITALY
Price: $3489 -$3889 + air
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Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Florence, Italy
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The Colosseum
Rome, Italy
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View from the Vineyards of Manarola
Cinque Terre, Italy
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Michelangelo's David
Florence, Italy
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Chianti Road and Vineyards
Tuscan Region, Italy

 

Map- Best of Italy TourThe Best of Italy Tour visits favorite destinations situated north of Rome. Beginning in Rome, you’ll visit the essential tourist sights and classic destinations. Then, travel to the delightful villages of the Cinque Terre where you’ll enjoy two days exploring this coastal region where the mountains literally fall into the sea. Volterra, my choice for the quintessential Tuscan hilltown, is sure to win you over to the “la dolce vita” lifestyle. Florence, the “cradle of the Renaissance,” will have you walking in the steps of Michelangelo, DaVinci, and the Medici’s. Venice, the romantic canal laced city, rounds out the big three tourist sites.  Finally, we will cap off the tour relaxing on beautiful Lake Como in addition to taking a quick look at Milan’s bustling city center.   Your Adventure Start Here!

BEST OF ITALY TOUR DESTINATIONS

Rome – 2 nights

Cinque Terre – 2 nights

Volterra – 2 nights

Florence – 2 nights

Venice – 2 nights

Lake Como – 2 nights

Milan – 1 night


PRICED FROM: $3489

Optional Single Supplement: $750

June 24-July 7, 2018no seats availablesold out tour
Sept 16-29, 2018$3489 + air

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October 14-27, 2018$3489 + air

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---------2019 Tours------------------------------------------------------------------
April 7-20, 2019$3889 + air Easter Week

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May 5-18, 2019$3589 + air

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June 30-July 13, 2019$3589 + air

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Sept 22-Oct 5, 2019$3589 + air

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There are several ways to sign up for this tour.

The easiest way is to click the “Sign Up Now” button, complete an application and pay your deposit online. This option is located in the pull-down menu above (TOUR DATES, PRICES & ONLINE SIGNUP).

 

Download a fillable Tour Application, type in your information and return via email.  You may need ADOBE ACROBAT READER in order to fill in and complete the PDF Application.  Get it here at the official Adobe site.  https://get.adobe.com/reader/

 

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Exploring Europe – 4036 Hidden Acre Rd. – Middleburg, FL 32068     FAX 800-570-1351

DAY 1:  BUON GIORNO A ROMA!

13-100 ColosseoLet’s plan to meet in our hotel lobby at 2:00 p.m. for introductions and a welcome drink. Then, we will set off to explore the sites of ancient Rome.  Enjoy a guided walking tour through the Colosseum and Forum, giving an insider’s perspective on daily life dating back more than 2,000 years.  Later, we will enjoy a grand “welcome to Italy” dinner at a favorite restaurant.  Sleep 2 nights in Rome.  Walking: moderate. Dinner.   

 

 

 


DAY 2: THE VATICAN AND HEART OF ROME

r24After breakfast, join our local guide at the Vatican Museum.  Enjoy an in-depth tour of this vast treasure trove of the world’s finest works of art, capped off with an awe-inspiring look at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.  Then, enjoy a visit to the massive St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest Christian church.  After lunch, we’ll begin our walking tour of Rome’s historic central core visiting the Pantheon and several other sights in the area. You’ll have the remainder of the afternoon and evening to do a little exploring on your own.  After an independent dinner, let’s meet up and take a gelato-licking stroll ending at the famous Trevi fountain.  Walking: strenuous.

 


DAY 3:  BULLET TRAIN TO THE CINQUE TERRE

Cinque TerreWe’ll get an early start this morning on our way up to the Ligurian coast.  Train travel in Italy is fun and mostly worry-free, so enjoy the ride. The Cinque Terre is a delightful collection of five little villages spilling from the mountains into the sea.  After settling in, we’ll get you oriented to the region and set up with walking and transportation passes.  Then, head out on your own to explore! We’ll meet later tonight for dinner featuring fresh food from the region. Sleep 2 nights in the Cinque Terre. Walking: light.  Train: 4 hours. Dinner.

 


DAY 4:  THE CINQUE TERRE

Tom Hickinbotham - The Cinque Terre

 

You’ll have the entire day on your own to explore the Cinque Terre.  Traveling to and from the “five villages” in the region is easy by train, boat or foot.  The National Park is loaded with scenic trails providing endless opportunities to get out and explore the outdoors. You may wish to stake your claim on one of the many beaches to catch some sun.  Each village has its own character, decor, and ambiance as well as plenty of shopping and dining options. Walking: your choice.

 

 

 


DAY 5:  VOLTERRA

vinotasteIt will take about an hour by train to get away from the coast and meet up with our driver. Then we’ll travel the backroads of Tuscany enroute to my favorite little hilltown. Volterra has become “famous” in recent years for The Lair of the Vampires in the Twilight book series.  It has long been known as a quaint and off-the-beaten-path destination for savvy travelers. After settling in, enjoy a walking tour of the historic town followed by a guided wine tasting at my favorite wine cave.  By now, you’ll be well on your way to knowing the town, so enjoy dinner on your own and an event-free evening.  Sleep 2 nights in Volterra. Train: 1 hour.  Driving: 1.5 hours.  Walking: moderate.

 


DAY 6: SIENA AND VOLTERRA

Siena SkylineWe will take a short ride to Siena to explore another facet of medieval history and grand scale art.  After an informative walking tour of the historic town center, you’ll be cut loose on the world famous Il Camposquare to enjoy lunch and a free afternoon.  Returning to Volterra, prepare your taste buds for my favorite dining experience in all of Italy as we experience the cuisine of the Del Duca family ristorante.  Walking: moderate.  Driving 2.5 hours. Dinner.

 


DAY 7:  FLORENCE

The Duomo in Florence sports the fanciest top in the Renaissance. After losing engineering expertise in the dark ages, the top red-tiled dome of Brunelleschi was almost a miracle.

The Duomo in Florence sports the fanciest top in the Renaissance. After losing engineering expertise in the dark ages, the top red-tiled dome of Brunelleschi was almost a miracle.

Back on our bus and in less than two hours, you’ll be knee-deep in the Renaissance!  After settling in at our hotel, join a walking tour linking together Florence’s famous historical sights followed by a visit to the Galleria Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the statue of   David. Then, enjoy more of Florence on your own and with the suggestions of your guide, consider your independent dining options.  Sleep 2 nights in Florence. Walking: moderate. Driving: 1.5 hours.

 


DAY 8:  FLORENCE

The Ponte Vecchio and River Arno

 

You’ll have the entire day to explore more of Florence on your own. Visit another of the city’s museums, check out the Pitti Palace, get in some shopping, visit the market, or simply soak up the local ambiance. Tonight, join your group for a farewell to Tuscany dinner at a favorite ristorante. Walking: strenuous. Dinner.

 

 

 

 


DAY 9: VENICE

27-1 McGuffin groupWe will hop on the train for a quick and easy ride up to Venice.  Within three hours you’ll be cruising the Grand Canal and snapping photos faster than the bullet train. After settling into our hotel and taking a break for lunch, let’s visit St. Mark’s Square and its famed church. Then, we will spend some time on a walking tour lacing together several piazzi e ponti.  After some free time to poke around on your own, we will meet for a canal-side pizza dinner.  Sleep 2 nights in Venice. Train: 2 hours. Boat: 1 hour. Walking: Moderate. Dinner.

 

 


DAY 10: VENICE

E27-3 Venicenjoy a free day on your own in Venice. Your guide will assist with customizing activities to fit your needs. Consider visiting a museum, boating to a nearby island, exploring the many interesting churches, taking a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, or simply wandering and experiencing all Venice has to offer. Walking is your choice.

 

 

 

 


DAY 11: LAKE COMO

Lake ComoMost of the morning will be spent getting first to Milan, and then Lake Como.  Once set up at our hotel, enjoy an orientation and walking tour of your “home” village followed by independent time on your own. Later, let’s meet for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  Sleep 2 nights at Lake Como. Train: 2.5 hours.  Driving: 2 hours. Walking: moderate. Dinner.

 

 

 

 


DAY 12: LAKE COMO

BellagioThe day is free for you to enjoy elegant Bellagio, Varenna and its charming villa, or take a hike in the foothills of the Alps for beautiful vistas.  Your guide will be available to assist you with tailoring your plans for the day. Walking is your choice.

 

 

 

 

 


DAY 13: MILAN

Sun setting on the western façade

 

We will return to central Milan after breakfast and get set up at our hotel.  Then, let’s head downtown for a look at the famous cathedral, shopping district, and opera house.  After some free time, we will meet for a grand farewell dinner to recall tour memories and toast new friends. Train or bus: 1.5 hours.  Walking: moderate. Dinner.           

 

SPECIAL NOTE: DaVinci’s Last Supper fresco is here in town and reservations are hard to come by.  It is wise to make a reservation on your own as soon as you know you’ll be in Milan. The cost is €8 which includes the reservation fee. Guided English tours are at 09:30 and 15:30 and require a mandatory extra fee of €3.50, however you do not have to take the guided tour.  I suggest obtaining any entrance that works for your schedule.  It is open until 18:45, but show up 20 minutes before your scheduled entry.  Reservations are accepted by phone and online beginning 3 months before you visit.  To book online visit http://www.vivaticket.it and choose Cenacolo Vinciano.  To book by phone, from the USA dial 001-39-02-9280-0360.  The number may be busy, but when you get through, choose option 2 to speak to someone in English.  There is a better chance to snag a reservation here because cancellations typically do not show up on the online website.

 


DAY 14: THE TOUR CONCLUDES AFTER BREAKFAST

I am grinding my heel (three times) on the testicles of this mosaic bull. This local custom is known as the

 

It is easy to reach Milan’s airports by taxi or bus. Your guide will be happy to assist with your post-tour travel needs. Ciao e buon viaggio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation provided by coach, minibus, and train from your Rome hotel to your Milan hotel.

13 nights accommodation in centrally located hotels, guesthouses, and B&B’s.  All rooms have private en-suite baths.

All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.

Guaranteed Small Group with no more than 24 travelers.

All breakfasts and seven of your dinners or lunches.

Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David’s personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best each locale has to offer.

All tours and admissions at no extra cost: Guided walking tours in Rome, Volterra, Siena and Florence ▪ Entrance and guided tour of the Colosseum and Forum, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome ▪ Cinque Terre orientation and a train and trail pass ▪ Guided wine tasting in Tuscany ▪ Guided tour of the Galleria Accademia in Florence (Michelangelo’s David) ▪ Artistic and historical overview of the Piazza San Marco and entrance into the Basilica San Marco in Venice ▪ A two-day Vaperetto water bus pass in Venice ▪ David’s signature piazzi e ponti walking tour in Venice ▪ Lake Como area orientation ▪ Milan orientation and sightseeing suggestions ▪ and much more (itinerary specifics are subject to change).

A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, history, and culture of the tour destinations.

David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s historical and cultural experiences.

Free luggage tags and David’s custom-designed drawstring backpacks.

Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in will never change.

Travel Insurance providing coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the day your tour begins.

$50 Tour Alumni discount for each David McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.

Water is included with all group meals. Sodas, wine, beer and other drinks are your responsibility.

Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the big cities. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:

Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some hills and elevation gains. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.

Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths and city cobbled sidewalks. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected as is standing while viewing sights or museums. Four to six miles of walking per day.

Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths and city cobbled sidewalks.  There will be steps and stairs. Up to three hours standing in museums or experience sites. Up to eight miles of walking per day.

Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.

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Average rating:  
 22 reviews
A great trip

ESSENCE OF ITALY - There was so much to see, do, eat and be awestruck. David is so knowledgeable! He is a walking encyclopedia of fun and interesting facts about the things we saw. Our local guides were also great. Fabrizio was so interesting and knowledgeable about Rome, the history and the why's and why not's. Annie was the best in Volterra! The food was superb! Most dinners were a great experience, but I have to admit I enjoyed the breakfasts almost as much!

A phenomenal experience

CUSTOM TOUR TO ITALY - The tour was well planned down to the final details. Volterra was simply beautiful. I could have spent a week in Volterra absorbing the atmosphere and culture. Al, our local guide in Rome, was full of knowledge and interesting lore. We are trying to determine where we will go next.

Can't wait for the next trip!

CUSTOM TOUR TO ITALY - Once again, we had a great time. The accommodations were perfect, the food experiences were fun, and the transportation went smoothly. David did a great job. All of the local guides were knowledgeable and informative, and the alabaster demo was awesome, too. I loved the hotel in Florence; the flat in Volterra was amazing; and the hotel in Rome was great, too. The restaurant in Volterra, Del Duca, had a beautiful atmosphere, and I enjoyed the restaurant on our last night in Rome.

a fabulous trip

TUSCANY VILLA TOUR - The Tuscan Villa Tour is advertised as a relaxing tour of the Tuscan countryside - and that's exactly what it is. With only 10 people on our tour, we were allowed to be flexible with the agenda which made for a very casual and relaxing tone for the week. The villa (or agriturismo) was beyond perfect and fulfilled my lifelong desire for a true Tuscan dream vacation. It's hard to pinpoint one "wow" moment, but the true highlight was visiting the small towns in the Tuscan countryside (Sienna, Lucca, & Volterra). Each of these quaint towns were enchanting with their own beautiful architecture and fascinating histories. Every local guide that we had on our tour was excellent. Each guide was very knowledgeable, fascinating to listen to, and truly passionate about the topic. Having these guides were imperative to truly enjoy these historical sights. Each hotel was the perfect combination of local charm with American comforts. As someone who can be picky about hotels, I was very satisfied. David knew the perfect places to eat at every location and the best things to order for our family-style dinners. It was a fabulous trip and I can't wait until my next one. 

Well planned out

ESSENCE OF ITALY - The tour to Italy was amazing! We were able to see a lot in a week. David was very professional and knew a lot about the areas visited. I loved all that we saw, and it was planned out well.

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Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions.  Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.

David’s Video Series: The Best of Italy

David and his team have produced an episodic video series detailing many of the destinations on this tour itinerary.  They are all neatly organized on his YouTube channel.  Watch the complete series or view one episode at a time on his Best of Italy Playlist.

David’s 60 Seconds destination videos

Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Italy.  Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Italy.

David’s Blog Articles

David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog.  But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.

Send us a Email or give us a call

We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions.  tours@davidmcguffin.com   or 800-570-1351.