Venice - Lake Como - Tuscany - Umbria - Rome

Tours By Italia Mia: Highlights of Northern Italy

Venice - Lake Como - Tuscany - Umbria - Rome
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18 nights
19 days
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Ciao a tutti! And welcome to Tours by Italia Mia!

Here at Italia Mia we have gone back to our roots, curating small group tours for those who want to not only visit Italy, but to truly experience it.

Highlights of Northern Italy is our first itinerary available for travellers, which will have you travelling from the northern city of Venice down to Rome, visiting and experiencing beautiful regions along the way.

Everything flows at a reasonable pace, taking into consideration that you are on holidays and need time to slow down and take everything in. Unpack for a few nights, with no stay less than 3 nights in any location. There is time when there is nothing on the schedule, so you can kick back by the pool under the Tuscan sun or take the time to discover the stunning villas on the shores of Lake Como.

And whilst you’ll have time to experience at your leisure, there are many included activities like walking tours, food tastings, rail tickets and a cooking class in a medieval village.

So join us in September for a holiday experience you’ll never forget!

Highlights & Inclusions

  • Curated itinerary by Italia Mia
  • Small group tour with a maximum of 15 guests
  • 18 nights accommodation, with breakfast daily
  • Aperitivo in Venice, Florence & Rome
  • Lunch in Tuscany with your cooking class & Umbria at a local farm
  • Five dinners, in Venice, Tuscany & Rome
  • Wine and cheese tastings in Franciacorta, Tuscany & Umbria
  • English speaking tour leader
  • Local guides in Venice, Lake Maggiore, Florence, Siena, Assisi, Perugia, Rome & The Vatican
  • Entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Boat transfers on the lakes
  • Train ticket from Milan to Florence


Day 1: Venice

Upon your arrival at Venice, make your own way to your centrally located hotel in Venice.

This evening, meet your guide in the hotel lobby and set out for an aperitivo and visit to an evening experience at St Mark’s Cathedral. This experience is only available to the few, so enjoy the ambiance of this incredible gold gilded cathedral without the day-time crowds. Dinner is at leisure this evening.

Overnight in Venice.

Day 2: Venice

This morning after you’ve enjoyed breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of the city. Twisting and turning, over bridges and alongside canals, you’ll see the Bridge of sights and Piombi Prison.

On the edge of St Mark’s Square and with prime position overlooking the Grand Canal is the Doge’s Palace. We’ll go behind the white Istrian stone and pink Veronese marble and go behind the scenes of this incredible palace. For hundreds of years, this building was not only home to the Doge’s of Venice (Chief magistrate and leader of the Republic of Venice, from 726 to 1797) but also the parliamentary building. If these walls could talk it would be a very long conversation, so we are proud to be able to take you off the tourist trail of this building and spill some of the secrets.

This afternoon and evening you’ll have some free time. Turn your Google Maps off and get lost in the canal ways of Venice – it’s a rite of passage!

Day 3: Venice

This morning after breakfast, enjoy mingling with the local Venetians in the habitat at the Mercato di Rialto. For seven centuries this has been the place to be during the morning. Stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables from across on the mainland, as well as the local seafood fresh from the sea that morning. Whilst in this area of Venice, we’ll visit the quiet pocket of Venice that is the Jewish Quarter. Relatively untouched by tourism (for Venice standards that is), take a step back in time and enjoy the peaceful nature of this area.

This afternoon you’ll have some additional time to enjoy this remarkable city at your own leisure. Why not hop on a Vaporetto (water bus) and venture out to some of the outer islands of the Venetian lagoon, like Murano and Burano? You’ll discover quaint villages and colourful houses.

To say arrivederci to Venice, we’re doing it in style – a private dining experience in a wonderful location: a Venetian palazzo!

Overnight Venice.

Day 4: Venice – Verona – Franciacorta wine tour – Lake Como

After your final breakfast in Venice, we’ll transfer to the mainland, board the coach and drive west towards Milan, stopping in Verona for a guided tour. Explore the streets of Verona’s historical centre, taking in the churches and palaces that have helped make this town a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.

Continue on to the Franciacorta wine region for a wine tasting session. In the heart of Lombardy, in the province of Brescia, the gently rolling hills capture all the unspoiled appeal of an inspiring area, Franciacorta.  This land has inherited the invaluable legacy of a winemaking tradition that was recorded since long times ago. Transfer to a famous Franciacorta wine cellar. There, the Franciacorta method will be explained together with the tasting of the best wines combined with local cheeses and salami.

Continue on to Cadenabbia on the shores of Lake Como and check in your hotel.

Day 5: Lake Como

After breakfast, start your tour of the town of Como with a look inside one of its historical attractions: the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio. Continue into Como’s historic centre, and use your free time to get to know the town at your own pace with some sightseeing or shopping for Lake Como keepsakes. Meet back with your guide for an extended cruise around Lake Como, admiring the hillside villas and hotels, and pose for photos against the backdrop of the alps.

Return to dry land in time for your trip to the colourful seaside town of Bellagio, which many pinpoint as a highlight of the lake. Spend some time at your leisure here to explore and perhaps savour lunch.

Later, cruise to Cadenabbia, then return to your hotel for a free evening and overnight.

Day 6: Lake Como

After two full days of touring, it’s time to slow it down. Today you’ll be able to take some time for yourself with a day at leisure.

Enjoy a lay in, take a walk, explore more of the lake on the ferry network, or visit some of the grand lakefront villas (booking ahead is recommended).

Whatever you decide, the choice is all yours!

Day 7: Lake Maggiore

After breakfast, board the private coach and depart for Lake Maggiore. Once we have arrived at Italy’s “International Lake” (with the northern point firmly in Switzerland), we shall board our private boat and visit the famous islands of Lake Maggiore.

First stop will be Isola Bella where we have included entrance and a guided tour of the palatial Borromeo villa and gardens, which dominate the island. The villa boasts Murano glass chandeliers, Gobelin-covered chairs, intricate tapestries and paintings. The spectacular formal gardens rise behind the ornate villa, with patterned flower beds falling in terraces, with statues and ornamental stonework completing the Italianate style.

Next, we shall visit Isola Pescatori (the Fisherman’s Island). Lunchtime is at leisure on this small, picturesque island with its quaint cafés and restaurants set amongst the old houses with wooden balconies, tiny boats and fishing nets.

Return to Lake Como in time for dinner and relaxing on your last night in the northern lake district.

Day 8: Lake Como – Florence – Tuscany

This morning after breakfast on the shores of Lake Como in the hotel, we’ll transfer from Lake Como to Milano Centrale for a fast train service to Florence. This is by far the most economical and efficient way that Italians travel, so we wanted to give you that same experience. Watch the scenery of Emilia-Romagna and northern Tuscany fly by from the comfort of your seat (except when passing through all the tunnels that is!).

Upon arrival, your bags will be looked after whilst you enjoy a guided half day walking tour of the city. Enchanting, romantic, irresistible – Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance and packed with art and architecture masterpieces everywhere you look. It is a feast for the eyes and mouth, being the capital of the Tuscan region.

Follow your guide along the windy pathways, then come to a stop in Piazza del Duomo. Be awed as you take in the glory of the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori). You’ll also see Giotto’s bell tower (Campanile di Giotto), and the bronze baptistery doors by Ghiberti. Next, stroll to the Accademia Gallery. Head inside and make a beeline for the gallery’s most famous exhibit: Michelangelo’s David, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture. Admire the marble statue which was carved in the early 16th century, and learn how it is a symbol of strength and youthful, human beauty.

Free time at leisure in the afternoon. Later, meet your guide above the skyline of Florence at Piazza Michelangelo for a glass of prosecco to watch the incredible sunset. This is almost a rite of passage when visiting Florence. The views highlighted by the setting golden sun will be a memory that will stay with you forever.

Once the sun has set it is time to transfer from Florence to your accommodation in the hills of Tuscany. It has been a long day, so upon your arrival your dinner will be ready and waiting for you.

Day 9: Tuscany

Welcome to Tuscany – you’ll never forget it. Take some time for yourself, with this day at leisure.

Your accommodation is well placed amongst the rolling hills, and it is a short walk into the local town of Colle Val D’Elsa. This town has an impeccably preserved medieval town, which we highly recommend you spend some time in. Not on the well-trodden tourist route, this town will have you mingling with the locals. Why not pop in for a glass of wine and a nibble at La Dama Juana, a local organic wine bar that is operated by personal friends of Italia Mia?

Or why not spend some down time by the pool? Your hotel in Tuscany has an outdoor pool with lounge chairs just inviting you to slow down and relax.

Day 10: Siena - San Gimignano - Monteriggioni

After breakfast, depart for a full day excursion to Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni.

Start your day in Siena, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this magnificent medieval city. Admire the interior of the Cathedral, with the Piccolomini Library. Your private tour will then proceed to Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and the Town Hall. After your guided tour, enjoy some free time to walk around the old town centre and enjoy lunch (and make sure you stop for a cake and coffee at Nanninis – oh so good!).

Meet your driver and get ready for your next stop, San Gimignano. Dubbed the “Manhattan of Tuscany” due to its soaring towers, this pint-sized town is full of treasures to be explored. Upon arrival, you will have free time to see the town at your own pleasure. Walk around this tiny city that has remained intact through the centuries. It’s situated on top of a hill and is famous for its numerous towers, frescoes and other art treasures. There is a wine museum at the top of the town, offering wine tastings and incredible views. And award winning gelato in the main square at Gelateria Dondoli.

Before heading to your accommodation, visit the Monteriggioni fortress, that was built around year 1200 in defence of the city of Siena and Via Francigena: the ancient road and religious pilgrim route running from France to Rome in the Middle Ages.

Return to your accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Cooking Class

This morning we recommend a light breakfast, because you’ll quickly discover why!

You’ll travel to a special area in the heart of Tuscany, to spend time with a special friend of ours Giuseppina and her two sons Simone and Luca. It is a cooking lass like no other, with food (obviously), laughter and maybe a glass of wine if the boys are feeling cheeky. Cook up a storm from fresh local ingredients, and savour the fruits of your labour for lunch.

Later this afternoon you’ll head into the Chianti hills to sample the local tipple, at wineries known to locals and off the beaten track. Taste the local cheeses and learn about farm life in the stunning countryside.

Day 12: Free day

Wake up this morning and smell the coffee – it is a day of relaxing at leisure.

If you would like to get out and see more of the Tuscan region, why not take an optional day tour towards the UNESCO World heritage listed Val d’Orcia? Embark on either a wine experience to taste the best of Brunello, or follow your nose to Pienza and discover an organic farm specialising in the production of Pecorino. On either tour, you shall be guided by a local organic specialist and yes, there will be plenty of tastings!

** Please note the optional day tours are not included in the price of your tour, and will need to be arranged before departure to Italy. For more information, please ask your consultant.

Day 13: Tuscany – Assisi – Spoleto

This morning after breakfast, you’ll say farewell to Tuscany and depart to Umbria. Stopping on the way to your accommodation in Assisi, the town best known for the legacy of Saint Francis and his followers, who practiced humility and compassion in the face of poverty. Here, we’ll visit the striking 13th-century Basilica, erected on the former “Hill of Hell” in his memory. Inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site we’ll witness frescoes painted by master artists like Giotto, and we’ll find out why this is such an important sanctuary for Christians.

Continue on to your accommodation in Spoleto and check in your hotel. Located in the heart of this small town, you will be surrounded by options to dine for dinner.

Day 14: Perugia – Perugina – Umbrian Wines

This morning enjoy an intimate introduction to Perugia and its key sights with your guided walking tour of the Umbrian capital. Settled since Etruscan times, the city is renowned for its wealth of historical artifacts. In the company of your guide, stroll along its ancient town walls, admire the medieval–era Fontana Maggiore, explore the Rocca Paolina and its underground passageways, and more. As you go, learn more about the city’s history, and its lively present, from your guide.

We’ll visit a local farm for lunch, and then for dessert visit the famous Perugina chocolate factory for tour and samples.

Before returning to your hotel, stop at a local winery to learn more about the excellent Umbrian wines.

Day 15: Umbria

Take today to unwind and relax on this day of leisure. Soak up the atmosphere of Spoleto, or you could jump on a train and visit neighboring towns such as Foligno.

Day 16: Umbria – Orvieto – Bagnoregio - Rome

After breakfast, travel from your accommodation in Umbria to the Eternal City – Rome. On the way visit picturesque Orvieto with its golden cathedral, and the unique city of Civita di Bagnoregio.

As one of Umbria’s star towns, Orvieto is set high above rolling hills or olive trees, vines and pencil pines. With winding roads weaving its way through this medieval town, it is the gothic styled cathedral with is glistening façade that will have you mesmerised.

Once we have crossed over the regional border into Lazio (with Rome being its capital), we will visit one of Italy’s “il paese che muore” – dying towns. Another town set high on a rock plateau, it is only accessible via a foot bridge. Thanks to the help of tourism this once closed village is back and is prosperous for its local residents.

Rome is a feast for the senses! It’s loud, it’s busy, and it’s a world of its own. After a long day in transit, once you have checked into your hotel and freshen up, we’ll take you to a local trattoria where you won’t be walking into a tourist trap! Enjoy your first night in Rome with ease.

Day 17: Rome

After breakfast, meet your guide for a tour of Ancient Rome: see the impressive Roman Forum, the meeting point of Ancient Rome, where your guide will bring to life these ancient ruins and recount to you the fascinating history behind them.

Free time for lunch, and then regroup the afternoon to enjoy an orientation of the city of Rome. Discover the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and meet the locals at the market of Campo Di Fiori.

Day 18: Rome

After breakfast, it’s free morning! A bit like Venice, it is a rite of passage to just wander and get lost in the maze of small streets (thankfully without the water element here). We love to explore the Jewish Quarter, as well as crossing the Tiber River to the area of Trastevere.

Alternatively, if you wanted to head back over towards the Roman Forum and Colosseum, you’ll still have your ticket for entry from yesterdays exploration.

In the afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican. The worlds smallest sovereign state, radiates from the dome of St Peters Basilica, with the Vatican museums (including the Sistine Chapel). Visiting all of these monuments will have you gasping at the beauty that lies within the walls.

This evening, say goodbye to your new friends in the most Italian fashion – aperitivo (at a secret location), before heading out for dinner.

Day 19: Rome

Departure after breakfast.


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Optional excursions/sightseeing (including on day 12)
City Tax: some City Councils may introduce a tourist tax that has to be paid directly at the hotel
Meals and beverages other than those specified
Everything which is not clearly specified under inclusions

* Please note, price is subject to fluctuation and availability is subject to change until booked and confirmed *

- Travel agents, please contact us on 03 9682 8098 for more information about booking this tour for your clients -