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11 Day Italy's Great Cities Small Group Tour

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Day 1: Transatlantic Flight Day

Stop At: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, NY 11430, USA
Choose your home airport for your flight to Venice. Flights are not included in the tour price.
Duration: 16 hours

No meals included on this day.
No accommodation included on this day.

Day 2: Arrive Venice

Stop At: Piazza San Marco, 31024 Venice Italy
This afternoon, you will meet your Tour Captain for an Orientation Walkabout on your arrival day in Venice along the high-end shops and boutiques where our hotels are located into Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square).

You will learn about some of the history and notoriety of St. Mark's. Your Orientation Walk will also point out the major landmarks and the lay of the land in relation to our hotel. We'll introduce you to the best ATM machines for Euro and currency exchange rates, and other helpful information for your stay in romantic Venice.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Stop At: Hotel Saturnia & International Venezia, Calle Larga XXII Marzo, 2398, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
STORY Exclusive: Tonight, join in a Story Land & Sea® original experience with our reception & welcome from the Tour Captain from one of our classic perspectives: a unique vantage point to survey Venice in the company of your fellow travelers.
Duration: 1 hour

Meals included:
• Dinner: Included Story Way® Dining: The Story Land & Sea® approach to dining debuts for the Welcome Dinner in Venice.
Accommodation included: 4-5* Hotel Accomodations, Hotel Saturnia & International, Hotel Kette, or Similar

Day 3: Ah, Venice!

Stop At: Doge's Palace, Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venice Italy
Sightseeing Immersion Tour with our local Expert Guide. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING TO:
-Special Access: Skip-the-Line Entrance to the Doge's Palace (meaning Duke or Governor's Palace), the seat of the Republic of Venice's historic power.
-Basilica San Marco ~ Enjoy the beautiful mosaics and how they reflects and dance in the light. Your Tour Captain "paints the picture" of the history and opulence that is the Basilica San Marco prior to entering. Once inside, enjoy 'silence' as you observe its beauty encased in Byzantine architecture.
-The Bridge of Sighs: The bridge made famous for its window and last view of blue sky and freedom as prisoners are marched to their sentence. Watch your head!
-The Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
-Tour of Piazza San Marco and our "Secret Treasures of Venice:" Learn about the Clock Tower, Campanile Tower, Caffé Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion.
-Enjoy additional included admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.
Duration: 3 hours

Stop At: Saint Mark's Basilica, Piazza San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Included with your tour.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Grand Canal, 30124 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
VENETIAN GONDOLA RIDE WITH PRIVATE MUSICIAN SERENADE

Before the optional dinner tonight, you will enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with professional musicians. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.
Duration: 40 minutes

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: 4-5* Hotel Accommodations, Hotel Saturnia & International, Hotel Kette, or Similar


Day 4: Venice to Florence

Stop At: Santa Lucia Stazione, Fondamenta Santa Lucia, 30121 Venice Italy
WAKE TO VENICE: Ciao Venezia!

This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then meet your Tour Captain for our included boat transfer as we make our way to the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station for our included, First-Class Tickets on the Eurostar Fast Train to Florence. We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Stazione di Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Stazione 1, 50123, Florence Italy
WELCOME TO FLORENCE

We deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.

ORIENTATION WALKABOUT: Join your Tour Captain for a Welcome Orientation Walk on your arrival day in Florence along cobblestone streets in the very heart of Florence as you become familiar with the location around our hotel. Enjoy entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Dinner: Tonight you will enjoy dinner at a delightful restaurant. It's authentic Tuscan cuisine served by Fiorentini!
Accommodation included: Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Brunelleschi, 2 Nights Classic: Hotels include Hotel Rosso 23

Day 5: Florence Immersion

Stop At: Galleria dell'Accademia, Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122, Florence Italy
Our Private Guided Tour Includes:
-Local Expert Guide
-Special Access: Skip-the-Line and see Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery.
-Galleria dell'Accademia: The first art school of Europe.
-Our tour includes the historic city center which is a World Heritage site that comprises the Baptistery, Campanile, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo. The 14th-century dome was created by Brunelleschi.
-See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery, so called by Michelangelo. Our Story Guide will comment on these impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile whose perspective we enjoy from ground level are all part of part of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiori complex.
-Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.
-Sightseeing walking tour of Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.
Duration: 3 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Brunelleschi, 2 Nights Classic: Hotels include Hotel Rosso 23


Day 6: San Gimignano, Winery Experience & Lunch, Cortona

Stop At: Historic Centre of San Gimignano, Piazza del Duomo 2, 53037, San Gimignano Italy
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN: SAN GIMIGNANO

This morning we leave the city and delve deep into the heart of Tuscany. Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers dating back from the 11th century. San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in San Gimignano, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has several distractions for shopping - so dig in and enjoy!
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Stop At: Chianti Road, Italy
CHIANTI CLASSICO REGION

Story Exclusive®: Enjoy our in-depth experience at our winery estate in the heart of Tuscany. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!

SUPER TUSCAN

Our lunch features palate-pleasing appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll get your fill of classic Chianti and Super Tuscan varietals along with delicate cuisine hand-made by the family chef.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Hotel Villa Marsili, Viale Cesare Battisti, 13, 52044 Cortona AR, Italy
We even do your laundry! Your clothes will be delivered to your room washed and folded by the evening. Now you can pack lighter!
Duration: 1 minute

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch: Our lunch features appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights!
• Dinner: Join your Tour Captain for a special welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona.
Accommodation included: Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili, 2 Nights — Includes Story Laundry Service.

Day 7: Under the Tuscan Sun - Cortona at Leisure

Stop At: Cortona, Via del Sindacato, 12, 06083 Bastia Umbra PG, Italy
Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.

Or chose one of our optional excursions to Siena or Assisi.
Duration: 12 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili, 2 Nights — Includes Story Laundry Service.


Day 8: Orvieto to Rome

Stop At: Orvieto Underground, Piazza del Duomo 23, 05018, Orvieto Italy
After breakfast, we make our way southward on the way to one of the most striking and enjoyable hill towns in Italy, Orvieto.

Its medieval Old Town (upper town) is the crown jewel as it is characteristically outstanding featuring medieval spires on its cathedral along with a beautiful collage of stained glass, sculpture and mosaics dating from circa 1330.

Orvieto is located on a tufa outcropping about 300 feet above the Paglia valley. And though its cathedral boasts most of the attention with Story you get to visit underground Orvieto with its network of 440 caves. We will go underground to explore this fascinating labyrinth that has been used for stables, refrigeration, wine barrels, water wells and cisterns and more.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Rome, Via de' Ciancaleoni, 45a, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
WELCOME TO THE HEART OF ROME

Upon arrival Rome, we make our way to the very center of Old Rome and check in to our hotel. The locations of our hotels in Rome are within seconds of the Pantheon.

You will have time to freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain in the lobby for a short walk to our Roman Welcome Dinner.
Duration: 1 hour

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Dinner: Your palate enjoys a different taste as we discover the cuisine of the Lazio region influenced by the Roman Empire.
Accommodation included: Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights

Classic: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights

Day 9: Imperial Rome

Stop At: Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, 00184 Rome Italy
Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with Story Land & Sea® with no waiting in lines.Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Roman Forum, Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53, 00186 Rome Italy
Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with Story Land & Sea® with no waiting in lines.Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.
Duration: 1 hour

Pass By: Palatine Hill, Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53, 00186 Rome Italy
Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with Story Land & Sea® with no waiting in lines.Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights Classic: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights


Day 10: Vatican City

Stop At: Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, 00120 Vatican City Italy
Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning. SPECIAL ACCESS: Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included. Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.
Duration: 3 hours

Stop At: St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza di San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City Italy
Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning. SPECIAL ACCESS: Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included. Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Sistine Chapel, Citta del Vaticano 1, 00120 Vatican City Italy
Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning. SPECIAL ACCESS: Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included. Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.
Duration: 30 minutes

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Dinner: Included Farewell to Rome Dining Experience in a very unique venue.
Accommodation included: Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights Classic: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights


Day 11: Farewell to Italy

Stop At: Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Via dell' Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy
Opt for our Rome departure transfer to the Rome Airport.
Duration: 1 hour

No meals included on this day.
No accommodation included on this day.
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Important Information
Departure Point
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Traveler pickup is offered
Airport or Train Station
Departure Time
12:00 AM
Duration
11 days
Return Details
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Inclusions
  • 8x Breakfast
  • 5x Dinner
  • 1x Lunch
  • Accommodation included: 9 nights
  • Private transportation
  • Service of a STORY Tour Captain from beginning to end
  • All Customary Gratuities are Included
  • Local Expert Italian Guides
  • Fast-Track Skip-the-Line Admissions per itinerary
  • STORY Exclusive Experiences throughout the tour
  • Magic Portage - luggage handling from beginning to end
  • Complimentary Laundry Service - so you can pack lighter!
  • Tuscan Winery Experience
  • Gondola Ride in Venice with Italian Serenade
  • Internet WiFi for STORY Guests
  • Entry/Admission - Doge's Palace
  • Entry/Admission - Saint Mark's Basilica
  • Entry/Admission - Grand Canal
  • Entry/Admission - Santa Lucia Stazione
  • Entry/Admission - Galleria dell'Accademia
  • Entry/Admission - Chianti Road
  • Entry/Admission - Orvieto Underground
  • Entry/Admission - Colosseum
  • Entry/Admission - Roman Forum
  • Entry/Admission - Vatican Museums
  • Entry/Admission - St. Peter's Basilica
  • Entry/Admission - Sistine Chapel
Exclusions
  • Flights are not included and can be quoted separately.
  • Entry/Admission - John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Entry/Admission - Leonardo da Vinci International Airport
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Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 7 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Cancellation Policy
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.
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Popular mentions
To All World Travelers; We just returned from Storyland’s Great Italian Cities tour. If you have been reading the previous lengthy reviews that give high praise and enjoyable accounts of this tour package, all I can do is reaffirm all of them. For those racking their brains
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I wrote this review almost 6 years ago after our trip to Italy. I now see that there is a place for reviews for this company. The company was then called Queenslander...but so much of this still rings true today. We recently have booked a trip to Australia and New Zealand
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I accompanied a dear friend on this tour to celebrate her 50th birthday! The trip was well planned and organized down to the smallest detail. The tour captain was fun and energetic and the attractions were very interesting. Everybody involved in this tour was delightful. It
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Response from Sherry M, Manager at 11 Day Italy's Great Cities Small Group Tour
Responded 18 Jun 2019
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! Grazie!!! Sherry Moore, Story Land & Sea
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This was a wonderful way to see Italy. Each city offered its own unique experience. We were a small group of ten fun-loving folks and the size of the group makes a big difference. Enjoyed every aspect of the trip. We had excellent tour guides in each city. The hotels were great,
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Response from AnneMarie R, Manager at 11 Day Italy's Great Cities Small Group Tour
Responded 13 Aug 2019
Thank you for the review! We appreciate and are thrilled you had such a great time. Can't wait to see you on another STORY tour very soon!
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We had an awesome honeymoon thanks to Story and Jodie. The trip was very well organized and every detail was taken care so we could have a stress free time. The hotels were definitely near all the must see things. The local expert guides were very knowledgeable and passionate
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Response from AnneMarie R, Manager at 11 Day Italy's Great Cities Small Group Tour
Responded 13 Aug 2019
Thank you for the review and congratulations! We are honored that you spent your honeymoon on a trip with STORY!
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