Savor the enchanting Italian Riviera during a week in beautiful Sestri Levante, and set out on day trips to discover northern Italy’s highlights, from Lucca and the Cinque Terre to the World Heritage-listed Piedmont wine region.

Starting at: $4,790 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The village of Manarola, Cinque Terre
 Colorful houses along the main street in Manarola
 The village of Vernazza, along the Cinque Terre
 Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca
 The cathedral at Lucca
 Piedmont vineyards
 Old castle on the sea in Rapallo
 Sestri Levante, Liguria, your home for the week
 Sampling the recipe during a cooking class
 Enjoying a culinary class
 A lesson in making pasta
 Enjoying the wine and food of Italy

The Italian Riviera: A One-Week Stay on the Ligurian Coast

9 days from $4,790

Savor the enchanting Italian Riviera during a week in beautiful Sestri Levante, and set out on day trips to discover northern Italy’s highlights, from Lucca and the Cinque Terre to the World Heritage-listed Piedmont wine region.

or Call 855-330-1542


FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 60 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.

Program Includes:

  • Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
  • Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
  • Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).


Days 1-2 — Depart the U.S. and arrive in Sestri Levante, Italy

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic to Genoa, Italy

Upon arrival at Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo International Airport, transfer to Sestri Levante and the Vis à Vis Hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, receive a Welcome Package containing general information about Sestri Levante, as well as a map of the town. This evening, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner, at the hotel. (R,D) 

Day 3 — Rapallo / Portofino / Santa Margherita

A full breakfast will be served at the hotel each morning during your stay. Travel the coastal road to Rapallo, a seaside resort adorned with swaying palm trees and hillside villas. Cruise to Portofino, playground of the rich and famous. Tucked in a cove surrounded by luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation, Portofino welcomes all with a captivating aura of romance and riches. Witness its charm while strolling along the colorful harbor. After leisure time in Portofino, sail upon sapphire waters to Santa Margherita and admire the village’s waterfront trove of fishing cottages, elegant luxury hotels and the gleaming yachts of visiting jet-setters. Take a break for lunch on your own before rejoining the group for a walking tour. Gather for a presentation by a local speaker on the art and artists who have been enchanted by this region for centuries. This evening enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D) 

Day 4 — Explore Sestri Levante / Culinary Demonstration

A jewel centered snugly in the curve of the Italian Riviera, Sestri Levante is the ideal base for your stay in Liguria. Home to some of the region’s most enticing beaches, Sestri has a distinct flair and Italian charm all its own. Stroll through the town with its converted castles and palazzos displaying styles from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance. The ornate trompe l’oeil stonework, adorning many a local façade, is a specialty of the region.  Then join a local chef for a culinary lesson where you’ll learn how to make pesto alla Genovese and focaccia. Later, gather for a presentation on current events shaping contemporary Italy and its place within the European Union. Then gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner and a chance to discuss more casually your impressions of the Liguarian Coast so far with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and fellow travelers. (B,L) 

Day 5 — Lucca / Carrara

The charismatic walled city of Lucca is home to numerous examples of brilliant Romanesque architecture, including the magnificent Duomo di San Martino. Step inside the church to view breathtaking carvings by Nicola Pisano. Two well-known carvings are Adoration of the Magi and Volto Santo di Lucca, or Holy Face of Lucca. Then follow the storied footsteps of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus and Puccini while exploring the Old Town. View the Basilica of San Frediano and the Church of San Michele. Then gather in a local restaurant for a feast of Italian specialties. This afternoon travel on to Carrara, home of the legendary marble quarries used for more than 2,000 years. Throughout the centuries, Carrara’s famous white marble has been sought after by discerning sculptors, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, who went to the quarries to choose the best marble available for his now priceless works. Tour the Fantiscritti Quarry, a privately-owned working quarry, and see local artisans in their studios. Return to Sestri Levante late in the day for an evening at leisure. (B,L)  

Day 6 — Italy’s Piedmont Region

Today travel north through a landscape of rolling hills to encounter one of Italy’s most renowned wine regions. Tucked between the towering Alps and the smaller Apennines, the Piedmont region boasts ideal temperature variations, producing many excellent wines including Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato Bianco. Arrive at the medieval Castle of Tagliolo, owned since 1498 by the Marquese Pinelli Gentile family. This captivating property is nestled in a breathtaking setting and features a centuries-old wine cellar. Tour the castle and taste popular wine varietals over a private luncheon. Return to the hotel late in the day. Later, enjoy lively discussion in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L)  

Day 7 — Cinque Terre

Travel to the World Heritage Cinque Terre villages for a visit to this beautiful region on the Ligurian coast. Enjoy a walk in Portovenere and Manarola before boarding a boat to travel on the sea to Vernazza. Enjoy a traditional seafood lunch in a local trattoria Taverna del Capitano located in the piazza right at the port. Our local restaurant proudly displays the sign “Cucina Tipica”, granted to those local businesses which guarantee their dedication to traditional methods and the high quality of their products. Return to Sestri Levante for an evening at leisure. (B,L) 

Day 8 — Sestri Levant

This morning enjoy a presentation by you Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterwards enjoy time independently to take in the shops and galleries of Sestri Levante. Early this evening gather for a welcome reception and festive farewell dinner at your hotel. (B, D)  

Day 9 — Depart Sestri Levante for the U.S.

After breakfast depart the hotel and transfer to Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo International Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)   

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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