- David’s Blog
In 2006, the famous Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli, initiated an innovative project uniting art, culture and territory by constructing an open-air theater in the heart of the Tuscan hills near Lajatico, his hometown. The theatre hosts a single concert by Bocelli each summer, while remaining silent the rest of the year (hence the name Teatro del Silenzio - Theatre of Silence). The stage, as well as the seating for the audience, are completely dismantled during the time when they are not used and the theatre gets back to its natural silent state turning into an artificial lake. Bocelli’s concert is an extraordinary way to enjoy the beautiful countryside, surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany.
For many years now, I have been taking my Italy groups through the little town of Lajatico as we drive from Pisa to Volterra. Invariably, I point out the home of Andrea Bocelli and the Bocelli family enoteca wine bar. At times, if the group is small, we venture off the road to visit the beautifully remote Teatro del Silenzio. Until now, the theatre has been empty and silent on our visits. However, I’ve managed to get my hands on twelve coveted tickets to see and hear Andrea Bocelli, live in concert, at his hometown in Tuscany. As a lover of Italy and a lover of music, this is an awesome “score.” The clock is ticking on this offer and expires when we’ve sold all the seats or reached the ticket deadline of December 31, 2017.
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Rome- 3 nights
Florence - 4 nights
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Exploring Europe – 4036 Hidden Acre Rd. – Middleburg, FL 32068 FAX 800-570-1351
July 23, 2018: BUON GIORNO A ROMA! – We will arrange a private coach transfer from the Rome airport to your hotel. There are no scheduled activities today to allow you to rest and recoup from your flight and to experience a bit of Rome on your own. Later, enjoy a welcome to Italy dinner at our hotel. Sleep 3 nights in Rome. Walking: light to strenuous, your choice. Dinner.
July 24: Ancient Rome - Enjoy a guided walking tour through the Colosseum and Palatine Hill Imperial Palaces, giving an insider’s perspective on daily life dating back more than 2,000 years. Later, you’ll join your guide for a walking tour in the heart of Rome visiting monuments and piazzi such as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. You’ll have the afternoon and evening free to enjoy more of Rome on your own. Walking: strenuous.
July 25: Vatican City and Trastevere – After breakfast, join your 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, visit the massive St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest Christian church. Later, walk through the colorful neighborhood of Trastevere, known for its village atmosphere even though it is in the heart of Rome! After a full day of sightseeing, we’ll sit down to a meal here in Trastevere. Walking: strenuous. Dinner.
July 26: Umbria and Tuscany – Today, we leave Rome and head north into the regions of Umbria and Tuscany. Our first stop is only about an hour from Rome, but oh so much different. Orvieto sits on a hill surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and rich farmland. Enjoy a few hours here exploring the varied artisan shops, visiting the ornate Cathedral and eating lunch on your own. Later, arrive in Florence for hotel check-in and dinner. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: moderate. Dinner.
July 27: Florence – We’ll begin the day with a walking tour exploring Florence’s most magnificent sights. The Cathedral dominates the skyline and stands as a beacon to the city and its leader’s determination to ditch the middle ages and spring forth with a renewed interest in the arts. You’ll have some free time for lunch and shopping before we meet again for a visit to the Galleria Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the statue of David. Afterwards, enjoy the evening on your own to experience more of Florence. Walking: moderate.
July 28: Florence, Chianti and Bocelli – Enjoy a few hours on your own this morning. In the afternoon, we will drive through the countryside and arrive at a private estate for a meal featuring Tuscan foods and wine. Then, onward to Lajatico and the Teatro del Silenzio nestled in Bocelli’s own hometown. Finally, the big event, Andrea Bocelli singing in his outdoor theatre surrounded by the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate. Dinner.
July 29: Florence –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 ambience. Walking: light to strenuous, your choice.
July 30: Your tour ends this morning - Florence’s train station and airport are nearby which offer easy connections to the USA and the rest of Europe. Regardless of your exit plans, your Exploring Europe guide will be available to assist with plans and recommendations.
BOCELLI CONCERT NOTES: The Bocelli tickets included in this package are the 6th category, higher/cheaper seats. There are upgraded seats available beginning at a supplemental fee of € 55,00. Call or write for details as soon as you make your plans. The concert will begin around 21:00 and finish near midnight. In case of bad weather conditions on the evening of the concert, it will be rescheduled for the next evening. If this is the case, we will modify our tour plans to attend the rescheduled concert. It has never happened, but if the concert is cancelled on the second night, it will not be rescheduled and no refund will be given for the tickets.
Transfer from the airport in Rome to your hotel.
All transportation as mentioned in the itinerary.
7 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels. All rooms have private en-suite baths.
Tickets for the Bocelli concert in the 6th category, higher/cheaper seats. There are upgraded seats available beginning at a supplemental fee of € 55,00. Call or write for details as soon as you make your plans.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.
Guaranteed Small Group with no more than 24 travelers.
All breakfasts and four of your dinners or lunches.
Traditional and authentic dining experiences as mentioned in the itinerary.
Water is included with all group meals. Sodas, wine, beer and other drinks are your responsibility.
All tours and admissions at no extra cost: Guided walking tours in Rome and Florence ▪ Guided tours and entrance fees of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Vatican Museum in Rome and the Galleria Accademia in Florence.
A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, music, 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.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each David McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
$100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.
Single rooms for solo travelers are available for an additional cost of $390.
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 experiencing sites. Up to eight miles of walking per day.
THE BEST OF ITALY TOUR – The reason we chose David and this tour is because we wanted to be able to take advantage of David’s extensive knowledge of the areas visited to be sure we saw the best Italy had to offer. Having David take care of hotel and travel reservations and many of the meals was a huge benefit to us. Traveling with this size group (13) was great because we met some wonderful people and David is a delight to travel with. – Bill, Daytona Beach, FL
THE ESSENCE OF ITALY TOUR – David’s tours are a wonderful way to see and explore Europe. He does as promises in giving everyone a true local experience and getting you immersed in the culture. You not only get to see the “must see” attractions but he also gives you a look at “real life” in each destination. The dinner’s he provides are outstanding and are all ‘grand feasts”. We found all the accommodations he provided to be wonderful. No complaints whatsoever! – Becky, Panama City, FL
THE BEST OF ITALY TOUR – David’s tours are always very relaxed & friendly, with much walking, touring the best of each city, but allowing time on travelers own to explore or to relax. Being in a smaller group, we became better acquainted while enjoying wonderful evenings of group dinners. David is a very easy-going and relaxed guide who is willing to share his free time with the group. I have never experienced another tour guide who would spend his free evenings with the group, joining with anyone who wished for dinner or for additional entertainment in the evening. – Ramona, Sarasota, FL
THE BEST Of ITALY TOUR – The David McGuffin tour experience was fantastic! I would not have changed a single thing about the experience! I thought we covered all the best cities, tours, etc. that were really important to anyone who may never have the opportunity to go but once. Although we covered a lot I never felt it was a “whirlwind” tour. Always had the time to see what was in each place. – Linda, Gainesville, FL
THE BEST OF SICILY TOUR & THE ESSENCE OF ITALY – As my passion is archaeology and ancient history I was hoping and planning to see many ancient sites, and I was not disappointed. Most tours going to Sicily only cover two or three locations, but David’s itinerary covers pretty much the entire island. Good health and good walking-legs are required, as the terrain is steep and rocky in many places. It is always a plus when a tour leader is knowledgeable and a safe driver, as David is, but more importantly it is essential that he likes good food and wine, even though we couldn’t always eat all four courses. And in one hotel we even had a cooking class especially for us: So much fun! – Mette, Orange, CA
THE ESSENCE OF ITALY TOUR & THE ESSENCE OF IRELAND TOUR- This was my second tour with David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe. It was an amazing trip. A very relaxed pace during the delay that allows you to see the sites and plenty of time to take pictures. Of course, the dinners and meals were amazing. It’s so very nice travel with all lodging, schedules, and transportation already planned. I’d like to add that possibly our group had just too good of a time! Our small group really enjoyed every minute and had an absolute blast with Charlotte (our guide). We just laughed and had fun every day. While that makes for a fantastic vacation…it does make the ‘re-entry’ to normal life just painful. – Patti, Atlanta, GA
PRIVATE CUSTOM TOUR IN TUSCANY – Overall experience was outstanding. David picked us up at the train station in Florence and drove us thru the Tuscany area. He reserved a wonderful place for us to stay in the countryside, a little outside the city which was very relaxing, vineyards surrounded us. Very nice. The guides and tours that were set up for us could not have been better. Not only did he take us to places and explain the sites the guides he set up were outstanding. We have been to Florence before – but our guide Paola who took us thru the Accademia and the Uffizi gallery was so good that she made this experience the best that I have ever had. Overall our experience was just outstanding and I wish we could just do it all over again. – Joe, Jacksonville, FL
THE ESSENCE OF ITALY – This tour allowed us to experience different regions of Italy from small villages to big cities. Andy and his wife, Mary Ada, were the perfect tour guide couple! I can’t imagine learning as much or having as much fun without them! The flexibility and organization of this tour was amazing! We can’t wait to go on another tour! The dinner in Volterra was the best food I have ever eaten! I was not so keen on the seafood mix in Monterosso, I quickly became a vegetarian! I was shocked at how nice our lodging was. The breakfasts, accommodations and staff were great! – Sandra, Port Orange, FL
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 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.
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 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.
We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions. firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-570-1351.