April 1: Last day to sign up for Genuine Italy Tour!!

E’ Marzo!! It’s March!!  

A gentle reminder that the last day to sign up/put deposits for the Genuine Italy Tour is April 1 !!  We depart on May 23!!

For any questions, please email me at mignosafrancesca@gmail.com

Hope you’ll be able to join us on this beautiful voyage from South to North across the Italian peninsula!!

Detailed itinerary and cost below.  

Cinque Terre coast of Italy with flowers


Day 1 Saturday May 23, 2015 Depart

International flights to Naples, Italy.

Day 2 Sunday May 24, 2015 Arrive Naples, Sorrento

Buongiorno e Benvenuti/Welcome to La Bella Italia!!! Upon arrival at Naples International Airport –we will transfer to our hotel in the heart of Sorrento for check in and time to settle in after your transatlantic flight. Remainder of day at leisure for rest and relaxation or independent exploration of the city. In the evening we will share our first “Welcome to La Bella Italia” dinner together. Overnight in Sorrento. PT/D/H

Day 3 Monday May 25, 2015 Sorrento, Capri

Today is a lazy day on the boat and at the beach. After breakfast and weather permitting, we will board a private boat for a leisurely ride to the upscale Island of Capri. We will circumnavigate the entire island and visit the most spectacular grottoes characteristic of the island, such as the Blue Grotto, Green Grotto, White Grotto, and around the famous Faraglioni Rock formations. Provided the seas are calm, we will be able to go into the Blue Grotto (an extra fee applies for entrance to the Blue Grotto). Lunch and beverages will be provided for you on board. By early afternoon we will dock at Capri and you will have time to independently visit the island or hang at the beach. Late afternoon return to our hotel for overnight. B/Boat/L/H

Day 4 Tuesday May 26, 2015 Sorrento, Amalfi Coast (Positano, Amalfi)

Breakfast at hotel. Morning departure from our lovely hotel in Sorrento for one of the most spectacular drives you will ever experience along the scenic Amalfi Coast. Today we will leisurely explore the quaint seaside towns of this magnificent coast. We will learn how to make the famous limoncello, the delicious liquor which originated in this area. Upon arrival Positano you will surely capture some of the most memorable pictures of the coast line from this glorious spot. We will stop in Amalfi as well to view Amalfi’s cathedral which was built in the 9th century and partly reconstructed at a later date in Arabian-Sicilian style. A number of its original ancient features remain, such as the bell tower, the bronze posts on the main door and the Chapel of the Crucifix. Plenty of time at leisure to wander through the winding streets and take in the bustling vitality of this small seaport town. Lunch together with the group. Dinner at leisure and Overnight in Sorrento. B/PD/L/H

Day 5 Wednesday May 27, 2015 Sorrento, Pompeii, Roma

Breakfast at hotel and then our private driver will accompany us to the archeological remains of Ancient Pompeii. Guided tour of Pompeii. As we stroll through the stone streets of a city built over 2,000 years ago we are magically transported in to antiquity. We will view homes in which mosaics and frescoes have been preserved despite the treacherous devastation sustained during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24th in the year 79 AD. As well we will visit the once busy commercial centers in order to gain a thorough knowledge of life in Ancient Pompeii. We will have lunch together at one of our favorite pizzerias in town. By afternoon, we continue our drive towards the Eternal city. Check into our hotel and overnight. B/PD/G/L/H/ET

Day 6 Thursday May 28, 2015 Roma Antica

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning will be entirely devoted to the tour of Ancient Rome and all its glory. Our private, bilingual and certified guide and driver will meet us in our hotel lobby at 9.00am for a four hour tour. As we plunge into the vivacious morning traffic of Rome, our senses will be simultaneously stimulated by antiquity and modern day society. We will feel the heartbeat of the city as we drive through the Piazza Venezia where we will admire the huge monument to the first Italian King Vittorio Emmanuelle II. Today, this has been dedicated to the memory of the unknown soldiers with the eternal flame. We will pass the Teatro Marcello and The Circus Maximus, the site of many chariot races. We will take a stroll through the Roman Forum, rich with antiquity. Through the main square of Rome, crossing the Via Sacra (the Sacred Way), the most important street in ancient Rome where many triumphant processions took place. We will see the ruins of some ancient monuments as well as the Triumphal Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, the Curia, seat of the Roman Senate, the Basilica Emilia and the Basilica Julia which were both used for business transactions. We will also see The Vesta Temple with the house of the Vestal Virgins, and finally the Temples of Antoninus and Faustina, Vespasian and Saturn. Included are the Piazza Navona which is the most important Piazza of Baroque Rome, The Pantheon, and The Piazza di Spagna. We will enter The Coliseum (we will have tickets prearranged for you to avoid long lines), the magnificent Flavian Amphitheatre where we will envision the gladiator duels, wild beast fights and naval battles which were arranged for the entertainment of the Roman people. The Arch of Constantine is visible from here as well. Our tour will end at the famous Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that if you toss a coin into the fountain and make a wish to return to Italy, it will come true. Return to hotel or time at leisure until dinner. This is an opportunity to revisit an important Piazza or area of antiquity, do some last minute shopping or simply find a cozy Roman Osteria to relax in and reflect upon your unforgettable days in the eternal city. Remainder of day at leisure. Dinner and Overnight in Roma. B/G/ET/PD/H/D

Day 7 Friday May 29, 2015 Roma Religiosa, Montalcino, San Gimignano

Breakfast at hotel. This morning will be devoted to Religious Roma with a three hour walking tour. This tour will begin at 9.00am with a visit to the Pio-Clementino Museum and will then move on to the visitation of The Vatican, The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museums. The journey through the Vatican Museums will proceed through the Gallery of the Candelabre, the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps and from these Galleries, we will enter directly into the Raphael Rooms, where we will observe the extraordinary frescoes executed by Raphael and the Sistine Chapel. The actual visit to the Basilica, the largest Christian place in the World, will include a viewing of the magnificent Pieta by Michelangelo, Bernini’s bronze Baldacchino (canopy), and the throne of St. Peter. If you wish, you can visit the Underground Catacombs of the Popes at the end of our tour. We will have all entrance tickets prearranged to avoid long lines. Independent lunch and then we are off to Toscana, one of the most beautiful regions of Italy! Have your cameras ready for we will drive through the gently rolling hills of Tuscany and breathtaking sceneries will meet us at the horizon. Afternoon arrival to the beautiful valley where the coveted Queen of Italian Reds is produced, the famous Brunello di Montalcino. Our tasting will include olive oil, Vin Santo and grappa and will consist of a light meal. In the afternoon, we will continue our journey to the idyllic town of San Gimignano, a true Tuscan jewel. We like to refer to this genuine Tuscan town as an outdoor living room. This tiny and pristine city has remained intact over the centuries and is situated on top of the rolling hillside. It is famous for its numerous medieval bell towers, frescoes and other art treasures. Overnight in San Gimignano. B/PD/WT/H/G/ET

Day 8 Saturday May 30, 2015 San Gimignano, Firenze

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, we will meet our private driver for transfer to Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance, where we will meet with our private, bilingual and certified guide for an unforgettable three hour walking tour of the city. We will begin our tour with a visit to the lovely Santa Maria Novella. Then onto the Galleria Academia to view the beautiful sculptures by Michelangelo, the slaves or prisoners of the rocks and the unforgettable statue of David. To avoid long lines, we have prearranged all entrance tickets for our group members. The Academia houses some of the most important sculptures of Florence. Then we are on to the famous Duomo of Florence (the fourth largest church in the world), with its grandiose cupola by Brunelleschi, Giotto’s bell tower, and the Baptistery with its famous bronze doors. Our guided tour will end with a visit to the Viale dei Colli up to the Piazzale Michelangelo where a wonderful panoramic view of the city will be awaiting us. Afternoon at leisure. At this point, you may choose to rest at an outdoor café or visit the open air markets of the San Lorenzo or the Mercato Del Pulcinello for some genuine Florentine artifacts, leather goods and souvenirs. Late afternoon return to San Gimignano for a genuine Tuscan dinner at one of my favorite restaurants prior to overnight. B/PD/G/ET/D/H

Day 9 Sunday May 31, 2015 San Gimignano

Breakfast at hotel and then entire day at leisure to enjoy the elegance of this wonderful walled city. Time to prepare for your overseas journey and then in the evening, we will have our farewell dinner as we reminisce about the memories created over the last several days. This is also a good time to complete your souvenir shopping! For dessert, we will have gelato if you wish at one of the best gelaterias in town and in all of Italy! Prepare for international flights. Overnight in San Gimignano. B/D/H/GTO

**OPTIONAL: for anyone interested, today we can arrange a private cooking class for you in San Gimignano! The lesson would begin at 11.30am. After preparing some authentic Tuscan dishes with Chef Fulvio, you will also get to share and enjoy them for lunch. The experience should last until about 3.30pm or so. Let us know if you are interested in signing up for this fun culinary experience! CL

Day 10 Monday June 1, 2015 Depart or Select One of the Two Possible Add Ons

Breakfast at hotel and then transfer to Florence/Pisa International Airport for overseas departure. Arrivederci Bella Italia!! B/PT


*At this point, for anyone interested you may select one of these two possible add-ons. Please know that the Cinque Terre Add On will have a Group Leader, while the Venice Add On will be all arranged but will have NO Group Leader.

Cinque Terre Add On

Day 10 Monday June 1, 2015 San Gimignano, La Spezia

Breakfast at hotel and then transfer to the picturesque Cinque Terre. Our destination today will be the town of Portovenere, where our hotel is located. Check in and settle. Then we have arranged another fun cooking class for our group (please know that this is optional). After cooking together and learning about Ligurian cuisine, we will also share and enjoy our culinary creations together for lunch! Overnight in Portovenere. B/PD/H CL ??

Day 11 Tuesday June 2, 2015 Le Cinque Terre

Weather permitting, today after breakfast at our hotel we will board a boat in order to cruise from one village to the next. The five villages which make up the Cinque Terre, for “Cinque” in Italian means five, are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The unusual landscape of this area was created by a series of folds which were formed when the rocks were pushed, raised and pressed together during the Tertiary period. During millions of years of erosion countless mini peninsulas and bays have slowly formed gifting this terrain with its modern day façade. From the study of jewelry and decorated shells that have been found in significant archaeological excavation, it has been proven that prehistoric man inhabited this stretch of coastline from very early times. This is time at your own pace. Instead of an organized guided tour, you will engage in leisurely exploration of this majestic land with its characteristic towns and rugged seashore. Engulfed in wind kissed vineyards, Le Cinque Terre is a chain of five small paesi (villages) which are connected by foot paths. Quite undiscovered until recently, it is a wonderful chance to indulge in the old world charm and grace of everyday Italian life. Much walking on less than perfect terrain is required during this leg of the tour. Lunch at our favorite restaurant in Riomaggiore and overnight in Portovenere. B/D/H/L Boat??

Day 12 Wednesday June 3, 2015 Depart

Breakfast at hotel and private transfer to Florence International Airport for overseas flights. Arrivederci, Bella Italia !! B/PT

Venice Add On

Day 10 Monday June 1, 2015 San Gimignano, Venice

Breakfast at hotel and then transfer to Venice, La Serenissima via high speed train. Upon arrival in Venice, you will be met by your private water taxi for transfer to your hotel. Check in and settle. By early afternoon you will meet your private bilingual and certified guide, for an unforgettable walking tour of Venezia. The city is a symphony of romance, elegance, mystery and invigoration. Built to accommodate an active maritime trade of exotic spice from the Far East, Venice and her intriguing history are fascinating. Rich in art, architecture and literature, she will take your breath away. With your guide, you will venture into the heart of Venice to unveil her most precious treasures. The Grand Canal, will lead you to The Piazza San Marco and the incredible Basilica. Saint Mark’s Basilica is a wonderful example of Byzantine Venetian architecture. It was at one time the Doge’s chapel but it was also the mausoleum for Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice, whose life is narrated in the golden mosaics on the walls. You will also learn about the Palazzo Ducale or Duke‘s Palace. This impressive structure is a combination of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and was the official residence of the 120 Doges who ruled the “Serenissima Republic” for 1,100 years. If you choose, you may explore the many lavish rooms and admire masterpieces by Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese and Bellini. You will be entertained with stories about the scandals, intrigues and mysteries that took place within the walls of this amazing complex. You will view the Bridge of Sighs as well as the famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge in Venice dating back to 1172. You will end your tour with a relaxing ride in an authentic Venetian Gondola. At this point you have free time for independent exploration or shopping. Independent dinner and overnight in Venezia. B/PT/TRTK/PWT/G/H/GR

Day 11 Tuesday June 2, 2015 Venice

Breakfast at hotel and then entire day at leisure to explore the mysteries of Venice. Prepare for international flights. Overnight in Venice. B/H

Day 12 Wednesday June 3, 2015 Venice, US

Breakfast at hotel and then private water taxi transfer to Venice International Airport. Arrivederci, Bella Italia !! B/PWT

Cost for Genuine Italy 2015 Tour (10 days only):

8 Breakfasts
3 Lunches which include wine
4 Dinners which include wine
8 Nights stay in 3 star superior and 4 star hotels
2 Private transfers: upon arrival in Napoli to the hotel and upon departure from San Gimignano hotel to Airport in Florence
All needed transportation within Italy
1 Wine tasting which includes a snack
4 certified bilingual guides: For Pompeii, Roma Antica, Roma Religiosa and Florence
4 entrance tickets: to Pompeii, to the Coliseum in Roma, to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Roma and to the Galleria Academia in Florence
1 private boat ride to the island of Capri
Gelato and several spontaneous snacks
The accompaniment of Diana Maiola or one of her staff 24/7
Kick off Reception which includes a lesson in the Italian lesson

Price per person based upon double occupancy is $3788.00
Price per person based upon triple occupancy is $3686.00
Price per person based upon quadruple occupancy is $3560.00

Single room supplement is $448.00

*Cooking Class in San Gimignano for those who are interested – cost per person is $110.00

NB: If the group arrives to 16 participants, each traveler will receive a discount of $125.00

Cost for Cinque Terre Add On (based on 6 people) $1180.00 ($110.00 single room supp)

2 breakfasts
2 private drivers (from San Gimignano to Le Cinque Terre, from Le Cinque Terre to Florence Airport for departure)
2 nights in 4 star hotel
2 lunches with wine
1 ticket for boat ride
**Cost for Cooking Lesson for those interested per person is $135.00

Cost for Venice Add On is $1364.00 per person in Double Occupancy ($242.00 single room sup)

2 breakfasts
2 nights stay in 4 star hotel in Venice
2 private water taxis in Venice: Upon arrival and upon departure
1 private bilingual certified guide
1 gondola ride
1 private transfer from San Gimignano to Florence
1 train ticket from Florence to Venice

B Breakfast CL Cooking Lesson TRTK Train Ticket G Guide

L Lunch ET Entrance Ticket BR Boat Ride WT Wine Tasting

D Dinner PD Private Driver Flgt Flight PL Pizza Lesson

H Hotel PT Private Transfer PWT Private Water taxi


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