As you float along winding canals, stare awestruck at priceless art, and indulge in plate after plate of fresh pasta, try to reflect on why you’re here. Maybe to explore your heritage, maybe for a magical Christmas-time experience, or maybe you’re just really, really hungry. Regardless, a holiday in Italy awaits.
Eating the cacio e pepe you typically dream about
Tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain (tip: right hand over left shoulder)
Drifting through the canals of Venice in a gondola
Standing in the Colosseum, channeling your inner gladiator
Snapping selfies in front of bright and festive holiday lights
What you'll get
Round-trip flights & airport transfers (or book 'em yourself)
8 nights in handpicked accommodations
Expert Tour Director
24/7 support from our travel gurus
3 insider city tours with local guides
Tour of the Colosseum in Rome
Trips to Christmas markets in each destination
- Day 1: Overnight Flight
Board your overnight flight, bound for Italy. Get ready to eat spaghetti on penne on linguine on fettuccine on gnocchi on ravioli on chocolate gelato (not literally, but maybe literally).
- Day 2: Arrive in Venice + Welcome Dinner
Benvenuto (welcome) to the Venice Region, otherwise known as Veneto. Once one of the richest and largest maritime trade empires in the world, the sheer number of canals, bridges, and boats should come as no surprise. You’ll drop off your bags, stretch your legs, then venture over to an authentic neighborhood on the western side of Venice.
In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Dinner. Enjoy local cuisine and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Then it’s on to wherever your new friends and the party takes you.
- Land at the airport and meet a waiting EF representative.
- Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
- Bask in the unique culture and style of the city during on introductory tour with your Tour Director.
- Day 3: Tour Venice + Christmas Markets
Meet a local guide who’ll show you the famous sights of the city, including the intricate artwork of St. Mark’s Basilica. Just remember to observe the local custom of covering your shoulders and knees before entering—but covering your mouth in awe is completely up to you.
- Arrive in true Venetian style at St. Mark’s square via the Giudecca Canal.
- Gawk at the golden ceiling of St. Mark’s Basilica (Crowds and schedule permitting the group will enter the basilica. If not, you’ll have the option to enter in your free time)
- Stand in the footprints of history on the Rialto Bridge, the oldest spanning the Grand Canal.
- Get in the Christmas spirit at Campo Santo Stefano, a square that is completely transformed into a Christmas village this time of year.
- Day 4: Travel to Florence via Emilia Romagna
Head further down the boot that is Italy and add two more cities to your ‘been there, done that’ list. Watch the hills and trees of the countryside slip by out the window of your private coach before reaching your final destination for the evening and deciding what’s for dinner (pizza is never not an option).
- Break up your trip to Tuscany with a stop in the Emilia Romagna region for some lunch and time to explore.
- Check in to your accommodations in Florence and see what the place has to offer.
- Get the scoop on the area you’re staying on a short walk with your Tour Director.
- Day 5: Tour Florence + Florence Christmas Markets
Join a local guide as you walk to some of the most famous sights in the city while taking mental notes of the best smelling restaurants you pass for later. After all, it *is* Italy and food is kind of a big deal.
*Note: There is no included entry to the Duomo during the guided sightseeing on this day, but travelers will have free time to return if they choose
- Take note of the Piazza della Singnoria, home to Florence’s seat of power, the Palazzo Vecchio, as well as several intricate sculptures.
- March your way across Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge with shops built along it (formerly butchers, now jewelers and souvenir shops).
- Visit the final resting place of some of the most illustrious Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli at the Basilica di Santa Croce.
- Join your Tour Director on a merry adventure to one of the city’s Christmas markets—hot chocolate highly encouraged.
- Day 6: Free Day in Florence + Optional Tuscan Wine Tasting
Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, the Tuscany region is known for its landscapes, history, and artistic legacy. It is also an area known for its wine, notably Chianti, which is sure to come in handy later when you have plenty of free time on your hands.
Free time suggestions
Pitti Palace: Pitti Palace once housed the dukes of Tuscany and their extensive art collections, these days the dukes are gone but the art remains. Be sure to check out the statues in Boboli Gardens out back.
Vivoli Gelateria: Would it really be a trip to Italy without gelato? The answer is no. Vivoli Gelateria is the local institution to go to for this frozen treat.
Tuscan Wine Tasting (extra cost)
Some of the world’s best wine come from Tuscany, and you get to sample some at a scenic winery. Next head to the medieval walled town of San Gimignano, home to the world-famous Gelateria di Piazza gelato shop.
Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.
- Day 7: Travel to Rome via Orvieto
Board your chariot (AKA bus) and head to the Eternal City: Rome. On the way, make a pit stop to the olive groves—get it? Pit stop!—of the rustic town of Orvieto. Take refuge from big city life among the relaxing vistas and winding streets, then continue on to today’s destination
- Say ciao to Tuscany as you head to Rome on the next leg of your odyssey.
- Stop en route in Orvieto, to stretch your legs and snap your shutter at the never-ending Italian countryside.
- Enter the arena that is Rome—you are the gladiator, and pasta is your lion—and get your bearings for the night.
Free time suggestions
Piazza del Campidoglio: Michelangelo didn’t invent the square, but he did revolutionize it when he designed this city meeting spot on top of the Capitoline Hill. Municipal politics never looked so Instagrammable.
Porchetta: You didn’t come all the way to Rome to not pig out. Ask your Tour Director where you can find an authentic spot for Porchetta—a delicacy of roasted pig with herbs and garlic served fresh from the countryside.
- Day 8: Explore Rome
They say all roads lead to Rome, but once you’re there you quickly realize that all roads actually lead to restaurants. Take the morning to satisfy your cravings and sip some espresso, then experience everything ancient Rome has to offer with a local guide.
- Practice your “buongiorno”s as you mingle among the locals exploring on your own in the morning.
- Tour the city with a local guide who will show you the Roman Forum, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Piazza Venezia, Teatro Marcello, and the Roman Ghetto.
- Learn where we get the word “colossal” from as you walk by the world’s most famous gladiator arena—the Colosseum.
Free time suggestions
Dancing in Testaccio: They don’t call it the Eternal City for nothing—keep the party going all night at one of the Testaccio Neighborhood’s many glamorous nightclubs.
Via dei Condotti: Stroll this “who’s who” street of high fashion shops, including Armani, Prada, Versace, and Gucci—all of which once charged entrance fees—ultimately culminating at the famous Spanish Steps.
- Day 9: Free Day + Optional Vatican City Excursion + Christmas Markets
Rome looks goooood for being 2,000 years old. (It must moisturize.) Shop, eat, drink, and talk like an Italian (with your hands) during your free day. In the afternoon, head to Piazza Navona for your last taste of Italian Christmas cheer at Rome’s best Christmas market.
Free time suggestions
National Roman Museum: Practice your Latin at this immense collection of Ancient Roman statues, frescoes, mosaics and more, housed across four different buildings throughout the city.
Campo de' Fiori: Veg out at the daily market held for centuries at this “field of flowers,” perfect for people watching and produce prodding.
Share some last laughs and revisit the best moments of the trip at this included farewell dinner with the group.
A Visit to the Vatican (extra cost)
Visit the Pope’s house: Vatican City. Take a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica, and get your dose of art history up close and personal—viewing Michelangelo's famed Sistine Chapel frescoes.
Please note: The Vatican is closed on Sundays. In the event that the itinerary day containing this optional lands on a Sunday for your departure, the optional will take place the day before.
This excursion is pre-book only; if your trip is less than twenty days away, please call 800-766-2645 to purchase.
- Day 10: Fly Home
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateway
Traveling with us helps the EF community plant trees, at no extra cost to you.
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Based on 1 authentic traveler reviews
I got COVID out here but it was still a fun tripTiale, traveled Dec. 2021
I ended up getting COVID and had to quaratine for about a month. Besides getting COVID the trip was amazing. Filled with good food and fun people. Be careful when traveling!!