Experience the best of Italy's countryside and its famed cities—Rome, Florence, and Venice—on this tour showcasing ancient sites, priceless art, traditional cuisine, and unique lodgings.

Starting at: $5,574 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Roman Forum  Michelangelo's early <i>Pieta</i> in St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican  Village of Positano, along the Amalfi Coast  Remarkable Pompeii, with Mount Vesuvius in the background  Painted wall found in Pompeii  The Colosseum of Rome  Florence with its iconic Duomo  View of Rome from St. Peter's Basilica, with Bernini's colonnade  St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City  Interior of St. Peter's Basilica with Bernini's Baldacchino   Michelangelo's ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel  The Etruscan town of Orvieto, sitting high above the Umbrian plain  The dramatic facade of Orvieto's cathedral   The Campo, or main square, in Siena  The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi  Panoramic view of Florence  Michelangelo's <i>David</i>, the centerpiece of the Accademia. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  The quintessential Tuscan countryside, replete with rolling hills, cypress trees, and farmhouses  Enjoy private food and wine tastings. Credit: Steve Bly/Alamy  The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers  Venice  View of the Doge's Palace and Campanile from the canal in Venice

Highlights of Italy

16-17 days from $5,574 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Experience the best of Italy's countryside and its famed cities—Rome, Florence, and Venice—on this tour showcasing ancient sites, priceless art, traditional cuisine, and unique lodgings.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was truly the trip of a lifetime. We did and saw things we never would have had we made the trip on our own. Every detail was planned for and I would have been very happy to continue longer.

- Diane C.

I had always traveled independently so this was my first experience with a group tour. I picked well! This was a great experience with a wonderful group of people. I loved the combination of being "guided" and opportunities to go on my own at times. 

- Sharon W.

Our Smithsonian tour was a true delight. These days, it is rare to receive such an outstanding value. We look forward to many more tours, and they all will be with Smithsonian. 

- Phil W.

The Highlights of Italy tour met all of my expectations. We thoroughly explored the abundant art and architecture of the regions we visited. The study leader and tour director were knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and friendly, and the other members of the tour were as inquisitive as I am.

- Michael Z.

It is because of exceptional customer service consistently provided by your company and your guides that we choose Smithsonian Journeys as our #1 tour operator. We’ve had the pleasure of traveling with you multiple times and haven’t been disappointed yet. So thank you for the fantastic tour and thank you for the excellent service you provide!! We always speak of Smithsonian Journeys with pride!

- Gary M. & Nina B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

Venice Post-Program Option – 3 Days, 2 Nights
Enjoy time on your own in this most timeless of cities. Your tour price includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations at Carnival Palace Hotel (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Carnival Palace Hotel
Opened in August 2012, the contemporary Carnival Palace overlooks the Cannaregio Canal in the heart of historic downtown Venice. Along with a garden and waterfront terrace bar, the 67-room hotel offers Internet access and laundry service. Guest rooms have Venetian furnishings, private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

This was truly the trip of a lifetime. We did and saw things we never would have had we made the trip on our own. Every detail was planned for and I would have been very happy to continue longer.

- Diane C.

I had always traveled independently so this was my first experience with a group tour. I picked well! This was a great experience with a wonderful group of people. I loved the combination of being "guided" and opportunities to go on my own at times. 

- Sharon W.

Our Smithsonian tour was a true delight. These days, it is rare to receive such an outstanding value. We look forward to many more tours, and they all will be with Smithsonian. 

- Phil W.

The Highlights of Italy tour met all of my expectations. We thoroughly explored the abundant art and architecture of the regions we visited. The study leader and tour director were knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and friendly, and the other members of the tour were as inquisitive as I am.

- Michael Z.

It is because of exceptional customer service consistently provided by your company and your guides that we choose Smithsonian Journeys as our #1 tour operator. We’ve had the pleasure of traveling with you multiple times and haven’t been disappointed yet. So thank you for the fantastic tour and thank you for the excellent service you provide!! We always speak of Smithsonian Journeys with pride!

- Gary M. & Nina B.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2017 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S., Arrive Naples, Italy

Depart the U.S. and upon arrival in Naples, travel to seaside Amalfi, a popular resort and your base for exploring Italy’s Campania region. Dine at your hotel tonight, as you will throughout your stay here. (D)

Day 3 — Amalfi and Ravello

This morning experience the breathtaking Amalfi Coast by sea on a cruise from your hotel to Amalfi Center (weather permitting). Here enjoy a brief tour of the region’s largest town, then have lunch on your own. Continue by coach to the mountain-top village of Ravello, renowned for its spectacular gardens and coastal views. (B,D)

Day 4 — Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento

A full-day excursion today begins with an exploration of the vivid remains of Pompeii, the city devastated by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 but not excavated until 1748. After lunch on your own, embark on a breathtaking drive along the winding Amalfi Coast high above the azure Mediterranean – with stops for photos along the way and in Sorrento. Return to the hotel late this afternoon. (B,D)

Day 5 — Montecassino, Rome

En route to Rome, visit the town of Montecassino, whose abbey is the mother church of the Benedictine order and a center of medieval art. A German stronghold during World War II, the hilltop abbey was destroyed by Allied bombing then rebuilt as a replica of the 17th-century original. Tour the abbey, then continue to Rome, the “Eternal City.” Arrive at your well located hotel mid-afternoon and enjoy an informal neighborhood walk led by your tour director. (B)

Day 6 — Rome

Tour the heart of ancient Rome this morning, including the 55,000-seat Colosseum, completed in A.D. 80 to stage gladiator spectacles, and the temples of the Forum, ancient Rome’s political and legal center. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. Visit one of the many excellent museums, view the architecture of countless beautiful churches, enter the impressive Pantheon, or simply relax by sipping espresso in beautiful Piazza Navona. Early this evening enjoy a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery followed by dinner on your own. (B)

Day 7 — Rome

Visit the Vatican for a tour of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums. Highlights include Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s, considered one of the greatest sculptures of all time; his frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, now restored to its original glory; and art-filled St. Peter’s itself, the most important church in all Christendom. (B)

Day 8 — Umbria

Leaving Rome, travel north through a pastoral landscape of gentle agricultural land dotted with traditional villages and medieval hill towns. In the mid-afternoon reach Orvieto, perched high on a plateau above a vineyard-clad plain in Umbria. After checking in at the hotel in the heart of the city’s medieval quarter, enjoy an informal walking tour then attend a simple cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Zeppelin Restaurant. (B,D)

Day 9 — Orvieto

Embark on a guided walking tour of this dramatically set city. Visit Orvieto's medieval Duomo featuring a frescoed chapel by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli’s masterpiece, The Last Judgment. Next explore the formerly secret passages of Parco delle Grotte, a labyrinth of underground caves used since Etruscan times. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 — Orvieto and Assisi

Make a day excursion is to Assisi, considered a gem of an Umbrian town with inviting plazas, flowers everywhere, buildings of white marble, and a pervasive medieval air. Visit St. Clare Church and the renowned Basilica di San Francesco, the burial place of St. Francis and a sacred pilgrimage site that dominates the town. Inside are Giotto’s priceless frescoes The Life of St. Francis. There’s time on your own to stroll the fountain-splashed piazzas and to enjoy local specialties for lunch. Return to the hotel late this afternoon. (B)

Day 11 — Perugia and Siena

Leave Umbria today for the equally alluring region of Tuscany. Stop along the way in Deruta, known for its prized handpainted Majolica ceramics, where you'll enjoy a ceramics demonstratoin. Then stop for time at leisure and lunch on your own in charming Perugia. Late afternoon, reach Villa Lecchi, a restored 18th-century country villa hotel outside Siena. Tonight’s dinner at this small family-run lodging is the first of several here featuring savory Tuscan fare. (B,D)

Day 12 — Siena

Spend the day in walled Siena, whose ochre-colored buildings and ancient ramparts evoke the city’s medieval past. Fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest public squares and its distinctive Duomo is one of Italy’s finest. After a walking tour that includes an inside visit to the Duomo, housing masterpieces by Michelangelo and Donatello, enjoy free time to explore on your own. (B,D)

Day 13 — Florence

A living monument to the Renaissance, Florence is the crown jewel of Tuscany. Experience this splendid city on a full-day excursion that includes a morning walking tour. Together visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s sublime David, as well as his pieces for the papal tombs, and visit the revered Duomo, with its stupendous dome by Brunelleschi. This afternoon is free to enjoy Florence as you wish before returning to your hotel, where you dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 14 — San Gimignano

Encounter classic Tuscany today as you visit the hill town of San Gimignano, known for the 13 watchtowers that have left its skyline virtually unchanged since medieval times. Tour the 1300 Museum, then after lunch on your own visit a local winery and enjoy a tasting before returning to your lodgings mid-afternoon. (B,D)

Days 15-16 — Venice

Leaving Tuscany today, travel through the Veneto region to Venice, arriving early this afternoon. Begin enjoying this wondrous city on your own. The next morning take a guided walk through vast St. Mark’s Square and surroundings. The afternoon is free to explore Venice independently. Tonight bid "arrivederci" to Italy and your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. (2B,1D)

Day 17 — Depart for the U.S.

Depart this morning for your connecting flights to the U.S. (B)

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

2018 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. / Arrive Naples, Italy

Depart the U.S. and upon arrival in Naples, travel to seaside Amalfi, a popular resort and your base for exploring Italy’s Campania region. Dine at your hotel tonight, as you will throughout your stay here. (D)

Day 3 — Amalfi and Ravello

This morning experience the breathtaking Amalfi Coast by sea on a cruise from your hotel to Amalfi Center (weather permitting). Here enjoy a brief tour of the region’s largest town, then have lunch on your own. Continue by coach to the mountain-top village of Ravello, renowned for its spectacular gardens and coastal views. (B,D)

Day 4 — Pompeii / Amalfi Coast / Sorrento

A full-day excursion today begins with an exploration of the vivid remains of Pompeii, the city devastated by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 but not excavated until 1748. After lunch on your own, embark on a breathtaking drive along the winding Amalfi Coast high above the azure Mediterranean – with stops for photos along the way and in Sorrento. Return to the hotel late this afternoon. (B,D)

Day 5 — Montecassino / Rome

En route to Rome, visit the town of Montecassino, whose abbey is the mother church of the Benedictine order and a center of medieval art. A German stronghold during World War II, the hilltop abbey was destroyed by Allied bombing then rebuilt as a replica of the 17th-century original. Tour the abbey, then continue to Rome, the “Eternal City.” Arrive at your well-located hotel mid-afternoon and enjoy an informal neighborhood walk led by your tour director. (B)

Day 6 — Rome

Tour the heart of ancient Rome this morning, including the 55,000-seat Colosseum, completed in A.D. 80 to stage gladiator spectacles, and the temples of the Forum, ancient Rome’s political and legal center. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. Visit one of the many excellent museums, view the architecture of countless beautiful churches, enter the impressive Pantheon, or simply relax by sipping espresso in beautiful Piazza Navona. Early this evening enjoy a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery followed by dinner on your own. (B)

Day 7 — Rome

Visit the Vatican for a tour of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums. Highlights include Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s, considered one of the greatest sculptures of all time; his frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, now restored to its original glory; and art-filled St. Peter’s itself, the most important church in all Christendom. (B)

Day 8 — Umbria

Leaving Rome, travel north through a pastoral landscape of gentle agricultural land dotted with traditional villages and medieval hill towns. In the mid-afternoon reach Orvieto, perched high on a plateau above a vineyard-clad plain in Umbria. After checking in at the hotel in the heart of the city’s medieval quarter, enjoy an informal walking tour then attend a simple cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Zeppelin Restaurant. (B,D)

Day 9 — Orvieto

Embark on a guided walking tour of this dramatically set city. Visit Orvieto's medieval Duomo featuring a frescoed chapel by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli’s masterpiece, The Last Judgment. Next explore the formerly secret passages of Parco delle Grotte, a labyrinth of underground caves used since Etruscan times. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 — Orvieto and Assisi

Make a day excursion is to Assisi, considered a gem of an Umbrian town with inviting plazas, flowers everywhere, buildings of white marble, and a pervasive medieval air. Visit St. Clare Church and the renowned Basilica di San Francesco, the burial place of St. Francis and a sacred pilgrimage site that dominates the town. Inside are Giotto’s priceless frescoes The Life of St. Francis. There’s time on your own to stroll the fountain-splashed piazzas and to enjoy local specialties for lunch. Return to the hotel late this afternoon. (B)

Day 11 — Siena and Tuscany

Continuing your journey visit walled Siena, whose ochre-colored buildings and ancient ramparts evoke the city’s medieval past. Fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest public squares and its distinctive Duomo is one of Italy’s finest. After a walking tour that includes an inside visit to the Duomo, housing masterpieces by Michelangelo and Donatello, enjoy free time to explore on your own. (B,D)

Day 12 — Florence

A living monument to the Renaissance, Florence is the crown jewel of Tuscany. Experience this splendid city on a full-day excursion that includes a morning walking tour. Together visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s sublime David, as well as his pieces for the papal tombs, and visit the revered Duomo, with its stupendous dome by Brunelleschi. This afternoon is free to enjoy Florence as you wish before returning to your hotel, where you dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 13 — San Gimignano

Encounter classic Tuscany today as you visit the hill town of San Gimignano, known for the 13 watchtowers that have left its skyline virtually unchanged since medieval times. Tour the 1300 Museum, then after lunch on your own visit a local winery and enjoy a tasting before returning to your lodgings mid-afternoon. Dine together tonight at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Days 14-15 — Venice

Leaving Tuscany today, travel through the Veneto region to Venice, arriving early this afternoon. Begin enjoying this wondrous city on your own. The next morning take a guided walk through vast St. Mark’s Square and surroundings. The afternoon is free to explore Venice independently. Tonight bid "arrivederci" to Italy and your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. (2B,1D)​

Day 16 — Depart for the U.S.

Depart this morning for your connecting flights to the U.S. (B)

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