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Save $1,000 per couple | $500 solo

Italy by Rail with Privately Guided Sightseeing

9 days

Rome + Florence + Venice and more!

Our Distinctive and Flexible A+R Style

  • Tailor your holiday with your choice of first class, deluxe or luxury hotels including breakfast… All have been handpicked for their terrific city-center locations and fine service; some are even set in historic landmarks that capture the heritage of these cities.
  • Pursue your own passions with our curated selection of sightseeing tours in each city – each with your own personal guide.
  • Sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of the Italian countryside: High-speed Italo trains with reserved First Class seats promise comfort and more time to enjoy this trio of cities.
  • Chauffeured airport and rail station transfers are always included for your convenience!
  • With our signature flexibility, we can arrange additional privately-guided sightseeing tours, add extra nights in any city, do this trip in reverse, or extend your journey to more than 20 destinations throughout Italy!
 c Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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On arrival at the airport or rail station, you’ll be met and chauffeured to your choice of hotel in the heart of the Eternal City. The rest of this day is yours to get settled and explore as you wish.

Rome offers a wealth of ancient and historic sites to explore. Today you’ll have the opportunity to pursue your own personal interests and to tailor your stay in this captivating city. Just choose one of these included half-day tours and delight in the intimacy and thoughtful engagement of touring with your own personal guide!  Meals B

Half-Day Walking Tour: Enjoy this comfortably paced walk through the center of Rome as your personal guide shares history and insights into treasured landmarks like the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain. Of course, you’ll want to toss in a coin here at the city’s most famous fountain to ensure a return visit. This 4-hour tour is offered every day of the week.

Roman Forum + Colosseum by Private Car: Starting from your hotel in a privately chauffeured vehicle, you’ll depart for an in-depth tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Explore these two iconic landmarks, as your personal guide shares some fascinating historical facts and stories that will bring to life the glories of Ancient Rome. This 3-hour tour is offered every day of the week.
 
Vatican Museums + St Peter's Basilica: Starting from your hotel in a privately chauffeured vehicle, this half-day tour begins with one of the most important museums in the world, home to a fabulous collection of art, antiquities and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. As your guide shares history and insight, you’ll also tour St. Peter’s Basilica where there is much to admire including, of course, one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, the Pietà. This 5-hour tour is offered every day except Sunday
 
You can also purchase any of these tours in advance for additional sightseeing to enhance your time in Rome. CLICK HERE for a complete list of our Privately Guided Sightseeing Tours.

This day is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore as you wish. The heart-of-it-all locations of our hotels make it easy to step out and experience Rome at your own pace. Meals B

If you prefer guided touring, we offer a wide variety of additional privately guided sightseeing tours to complement your stay here in Rome. CLICK HERE for a complete list of our sightseeing tours in the Eternal City.
 

We’ll chauffeur you to the station today to board the high-speed Italo train. Sit back and enjoy reserved First-Class seats as you travel in comfort to Florence, the city of the Medici’s and home of the Italian Renaissance. On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted by private car to your choice of hotel, carefully selected for a warm welcome, air-conditioned comfort - and a terrific location close to the city’s best known landmarks, shopping and dining.  Meals B
 

The city’s extraordinary legacy of art, architecture and culture has blessed Florence with a wealth of impressive sites to discover. Today, you can customize your vacation with the included privately guided sightseeing tour of your choice. Meals B
 
Walking Tour + Academia: Departing from your hotel with your personal guide, you’ll discover the city’s greatest highlights including the Duomo with its spectacular cupola designed by Brunelleschi; Giotto’s Bell Tower, one of the city’s most impressive Gothic landmarks; and the Baptistry with its famous gilded bronze doors. Arriving at the Accademia, one of the world’s finest art museums, enjoy a narrated tour of its most important masterpieces including, of course, Michelangelo’s David. This 3-hour tour is offered every day except Monday.  
 
Walking Tour + Uffizi Gallery:  Set out from your hotel with your personal guide to explore some of the city’s most important landmarks including the Duomo with its spectacular cupola designed by Brunelleschi; Giotto’s Bell Tower, one of the city’s most impressive Gothic landmarks; and the Baptistry with its famous gilded bronze doors. Arriving at the Uffizi, your guide will share historic insights and colorful stories about the wondrous Renaissance masterpieces you’ll see on display here in the gallery - including works by Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, and da Vinci. This 3-hour tour is offered every day except Monday.
 
Chianti with Wine Tasting + Lunch:  In the pastoral heart of Tuscany, Chianti is a region famed as much for its robust wines as for its picturesque villages, rural charms and natural beauty. Departing Florence this morning in your private vehicle, you’ll enjoy the scenic drive into the countryside to tour the town of Greve in the heart of Chianti. After stopping to explore another of the region’s picturesque medieval villages, you’ll tour a local wine and olive estate – tasting five of their fine vintages accompanied by Bruschetta and cured meats.  This 4.5-hour tour is offered every day of the week.
 
You can also purchase any of these tours in advance for additional sightseeing to enhance your time in Florence. CLICK HERE for a complete list of our Privately Guided Sightseeing Tours.

With a convenient city-center location, it’s easy to step out from your hotel today to explore more of Florence at your own pace.  Meals B

If you prefer additional privately guided touring, we offer a wide variety of excursions in and around Florence… Here in the city, into the Tuscan countryside, and even to the enchanting Mediterranean coastal towns of Cinque Terre. CLICK HERE to see all of our Privately Guided Tours.

After breakfast, our car and driver will take you to the rail station. Sit back and enjoy your reserved First-Class seat aboard the high-speed Italo train. On arrival in Venice, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the hotel of your choice, handpicked to enhance your stay in this magical city.  Meals B

Tailor your day by choosing one of these included excursions - and discover the magic of Venice with your own personal guide.  Meals B
 
Walking Tour + Doges Palace:  Behold the iconic landmarks that grace St. Mark’s Square as your personal guide shares colorful stories about their history and the city of Venice. Continuing to the resplendent Doge’s Palace, you’ll enter within for a privately guided tour – highlighted by the works of famous Italian artists like Titian and Tiepolo.  After visiting the infamous prisons, connected to the Palace by the Bridge of Sighs, continue your guided stroll along the charming streets, alleyways and canals of the city until you reach the Rialto Bridge. Spending some time in this area, one of the oldest parts of the city and home to the famous Rialto Markets, will offer insight into both modern-day life as well as what the city was like centuries ago. This 4-hour tour is offered every day of the week.

Private Gondola Ride:  Departing from the Bacino Orseolo Gondola Station, this delightful excursion in your own private gondola with an experienced Venetian gondolier is the best way to take in the magic and romance of the city. Gliding along the city’s fabled canals and waterways offers a unique perspective on Venice’s astounding architectural wealth. This 30-minute tour is offered every day of the week
 
You can also purchase any of these tours in advance for additional sightseeing to enrich your stay in Venice. CLICK HERE for a complete list of our Privately Guided Sightseeing Tours.
 

Day
9

Arrivederci, Italia!

After breakfast, our private car and driver will take you to the airport or rail station for your onward journey. If you wish to explore more of Italy, you can add extra nights here in Venice or let our experts assist you with extensions all across Italy. We can arrange your transportation, wonderful hotels, meals, and sightseeing.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Include Pompeii + Sorrento in your Journey by Rail

4 days from $1,899

Our program includes First Class rail between Rome and Naples, 3 nights hotel accommodation in Sorrento with arrival and departure transfers, daily buffet breakfast and a privately guided tour of ancient Pompeii. You can extend your stay and add any features you wish.

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Day
1

Naples to Sorrento

You’ll be warmly greeted upon arrival at the airport or rail station in Naples. Then setting out in your own chauffeured car, you’ll skirt the Bay of Naples traveling southeast to Pompeii. Two thousand years ago, Pompeii was a thriving port and sophisticated Roman city with an estimated population of more than 10,000 residents. But in the year 79 AD, a cataclysmic eruption buried the city and thousands of its inhabitants under 13 to 20 feet of volcanic ash. These ruins were first discovered in the late 1500’s, but systematic excavation did not begin until 1738. Today, the vast archaeological site at Pompeii is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; indeed, it’s remarkably preserved villas, frescoes, baths and other public buildings offer an almost you-are-there look into the life and culture of ancient Rome! With your own private guide, your tour of Pompeii will be enhanced by historical narratives and gripping stories that bring the ancient city and its long-ago inhabitants to life.

After sightseeing, continue your journey around the Bay of Naples to Sorrento, a picturesque coastal resort set on the southern shores with spectacular views of Mt. Vesuvius and the Bay. Check in to the Hotel La Favorita in the heart of town and enjoy the rest of this day to relax or explore the town at your own pace.

Note: If you have a late arrival into Naples, we can take you directly to your hotel in Sorrento today. Then you can enjoy your tour of Pompeii on Day 4 en route back to Naples.

Day
2

Sorrento Walking Tour

Sorrento has long been popular with travelers on holiday! But despite its continued appeal over the centuries, it retains all the charms of a classic Mediterranean town. Setting out this morning with your in-the-know personal guide, you’ll enjoy a walking tour along its cobblestone streets, passing through its graceful plazas to admire the town’s handsome villas and enchanting gardens. After sightseeing, the rest of this day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Meals B

Day
3

A Second Free Day

This entire day is yours to relax and do as you please. There are wonderful cafes and restaurants to try and many shops, galleries and boutiques to explore at your own pace. If you prefer additional guided sightseeing, we offer a variety of optional excursions including the Isle of Capri and a tour to the enchanting coastal resorts of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello.  Meals B

Day
4

Back to Naples

After breakfast, your car and driver will take you to the rail station in Naples to board the Italo Train. Enjoy your included First Class seat for the journey to Rome.  Meals B

MapSearch

We Can Add Destinations Across Italy  

Alberobello + Amalfi + Assissi
Bellagio + Bologna + Capri + Catania
Cinque Terre + Genoa + Lake Como
La Spezia + Ligure + Lucca + Milan
Naples + Palermo + Parma + Perugia
Pisa + Portofino + Portovenere
Positano + Santa Margherita + Siena
Siracusa + Sorrento + Taormina

Occupancy


Date RangeFrom
01 June 2024 - 26 June 2024$4,799
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,799
Deluxe$5,799
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
27 June 2024 - 10 July 2024$4,599
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,599
Deluxe$5,799
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
11 July 2024 - 16 July 2024$4,399
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,399
Deluxe$5,799
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
17 July 2024 - 21 July 2024$4,399
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,399
Deluxe$5,299
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
22 July 2024 - 31 July 2024$4,399
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,399
Deluxe$5,299
Luxury$6,399
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
01 August 2024 - 22 August 2024$4,199
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,199
Deluxe$5,299
Luxury$6,399
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
23 August 2024 - 28 August 2024$4,199
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,199
Deluxe$5,299
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
29 August 2024 - 29 August 2024$4,599
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,599
Deluxe$5,299
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
30 August 2024 - 31 October 2024$4,599
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,599
Deluxe$5,799
Luxury$7,099
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
01 November 2024 - 22 November 2024$3,999
AccommodationPrice
First Class$3,999
Deluxe$4,999
Luxury$6,399
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
23 November 2024 - 30 November 2024$3,999
AccommodationPrice
First Class$3,999
Deluxe$4,699
Luxury$6,399
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
01 December 2024 - 17 December 2024$4,199
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,199
Deluxe$4,699
Luxury$6,399
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
18 December 2024 - 21 December 2024$4,199
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,199
Deluxe$4,699
Luxury$6,799
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
22 December 2024 - 26 December 2024$4,599
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,599
Deluxe$5,599
Luxury$6,799
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
27 December 2024 - 31 December 2024$4,599
AccommodationPrice
First Class$4,599
Deluxe$5,599
Luxury$6,999
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking

Prices are per person, land only and may vary by day of week, season and during holiday periods. Availability of included sightseeing tours may be affected by holidays, museum closures and seasonally-adjusted schedules. Holiday surcharges may apply.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on our Italy by Rail when you book and pay-in-full within 7 days of booking and prior to the final payment date listed in our published terms and conditions.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Take advantage of our Family & Friends offer and Save $100 per person anytime you book 4 or more people on the same A+R program.

About Your Journey.... Italy

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”

No doubt, the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was partial to his homeland, but surely his words will resonate as well with the many travelers who have fallen in love with Italy!

If this is your first visit and you’re focusing on Rome, Florence and Venice, you won’t be disappointed. This classic trio of cities captures everything we love about Italy – from its ancient landmarks and wealth of art and culture to its modern-day vibrancy and enduring culinary traditions. And if you’re a repeat traveler, there will always be an abundance of new sights and experiences awaiting your discovery.

If you’re venturing farther afield to explore other regions of the country – perhaps the charming seaside enclaves of Cinque Terre, the medieval hill towns of Tuscany, or the surprising city of Bologna – then you’ll have an opportunity to discover even more of Italy’s bounty. Indeed, Italy is that rare destination where food, wine and history come together so perfectly with abundant natural beauty, welcoming residents and a pace of life that it never fails to enchant.

So whatever your itinerary, come to Italy with every expectation of a marvelous time! And be sure to bring your smile, an open mind and your spirit of adventure… We’re sure that your journey will be filled with a delightful variety of experiences that are enriching, memorable, inspiring and just plain fun!

Travel Checklist

  • Complete your Guest Information Forms available at www.alexanderroberts.com/before-you-go.aspx
  • Check your Passport for required validity and blank pages.
  • Double-check all mandatory visas are secured and are accurate.
  • Check that first and last names on your airline tickets match your passport.
  • Report international flight information to Alexander+Roberts and all times verified.
  • Communicate special diets, allergies, mobility limitations and special needs to Alexander+Roberts prior to travel.
  • Check your cell phone plan has international coverage and be sure to provide your phone number to Alexander + Roberts

Your Health

Italy does not require any specific vaccinations or inoculations. However, recommended inoculations for travel may change and you should consult your practitioner for current recommendations before your upcoming journey. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all health entry requirements, obtain the recommended inoculations, take all recommended medication, and follow all medical advice in relation to your trip. Inoculation requirements can be found on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/. Also check the World Health Organization (WHO) website http://www.who.int/ith/en/ before you travel internationally.

Medical supplies, such as CPAP machines for sleep apnea can be brought as an additional carry-on with most airlines.  If you are traveling with a CPAP machine, please let us know in advance and consider bringing a backup battery in case of inconsistent electricity supply. Distilled water may be easily obtained in most destinations but all machines will work with filtered or bottled water in a pinch. Make sure you have all appropriate adaptors although newer machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to various voltage. Bring extra supplies (especially cushions) and pertinent replacement parts as repairing the machine while travelling may not be possible.

Physical Activity

Journeys to Italy tend to be active trips. The excursions and activities often involve a great deal of walking over uneven terrain, both paved and unpaved. There will be hills to climb and descend, and steps usually have no wheelchair access. Even indoor sites like museums and historical buildings may have only steps, no elevators or ramps.

Ancient sites worldwide were constructed well before building codes or the existence of safety and accessibility standards. And in order to maintain the architectural and historical integrity that attracts visitors in the first place, many of the sites have been intentionally left in their natural state. As such, you will encounter uneven terrain, irregular steps, and a lack of handrails, barriers, ramps and cautionary warning signs where you might expect them back home. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to take great care and caution when exploring these sites. Pay attention to all instructions and do not wander away from your guide, especially off designated paths into unmarked terrain. When exploring on your own, heed all regulations, be extra mindful of your surroundings and note any conditions that could increase the risks (poor visibility, wet slippery surfaces, etc).

For travelers with mobility issues or physical challenges, be prepared for less accessibility than we enjoy in the United States. Hotels may be limited in the provisions made for such travelers and some do not have elevators. Airports are not always fully equipped with modern jetways, and ramps for wheelchairs are often absent.

We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance for guests who need mobility assistance.  Nor can we ensure that local vehicles will be wheelchair-equipped. For these reasons, a qualified companion must accompany guests who need such assistance.

Physical limitations requiring special attention and/or equipment must be reported when making reservations. We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate special needs but cannot provide individual assistance.  Should issues become apparent on tour that impact other guests, we may require individual assistance be obtained or require the guest to return home early at the guest’s expense. 

Your International Flights

If you have not already made your international flight arrangements, you should consider taking advantage of our excellent relationships with outstanding international carriers including Lufthansa, British Airways, United Airlines and Emirates. We can book your air in Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class with advice on seat availability - and even advance seat assignments on many carriers and routes. Booking your international air with A+R would allow us to directly assist you with any flight disruptions, delays or cancellations while on-tour.

A Word about Hotels

As in other parts of the world, check-in time for most hotels is around 3:00PM and check-out time is typically 11AM. If your flight arrives early, and your room is not ready, you can usually store your luggage with the hotel and step out to explore a bit at your own pace or relax with a cup of tea or coffee in the lobby. 

Similarly, if you have a late departure flight, hotels will store your luggage after you’ve checked-out, leaving you unencumbered to explore and relax until it’s time to go to the airport. Depending upon how busy they are, hotels may allow you to occupy your room for another hour or two without charge; check with the front desk to determine if this is possible for your day of departure.

If early check-in or late check-out is required, advance arrangements can usually be confirmed for the cost of an additional night. Please notify us or your travel agent if you wish to confirm either.

Climate

Central and southern Italy enjoys a predominantly Mediterranean climate. Northern Italy, however, has a transition zone from the Mediterranean climate to alpine. In the far north of the country, winters are normally cold, windy and humid with snow coverage in the mountainous areas while the south enjoys the balmy winter Mediterranean sun. Spring and autumn are clearly defined. From April to September, you can expect the sun to shine for about 12 hours a day. The hot spells of summer tend to be broken by sudden showers and thunderstorms. The average July temperature will range from the low 80s to the high 90s, however, be prepared for hotter summer spells.

Money Matters

The currency of Italy is the Euro (€, EUR), Europe’s common currency. Exchange rates can vary widely but one US dollar roughly equals about €0.90.

Major credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants. We recommend that before you travel you inform both your bank and your credit card company which countries you will be visiting. It is also a good idea to inquire about fees for transactions abroad.

Traveler’s checks must be cashed into local currency. You may be required to show your passport when cashing traveler’s checks, and there is usually a transaction fee involved. Make sure to ask what the fee is before exchanging your money. The best place to exchange is at a bank. Although the exchange rates at train stations and independent counters look favorable, they usually also charge extremely high commissions for exchange.

ATMs on both the Cirrus and Plus networks will give you instant cash in the local currency. You can find ATMs in most major Italian cities. However, most European ATMs will not accept PIN numbers longer than 4 digits. Also, please be aware that like many American ATMs, some Italian ATMs limit how much cash can be taken out at one time. 

It’s always a good idea to carry some Euros, especially small bills for tips and small purchases.

Tipping

All tips are voluntary and at your discretion. It is a nice gesture to tip your guides and drivers whether on a private tour or shared tour. Please use your own discretion as to the amount. Follow the guidelines you would use for similar service in the US. When tipping your local guide or driver, a personal note from you is always a source of great pleasure to them.

The following recommendations are meant to help you prepare for your trip but as always please use your own discretion when tipping:

Local Guides:        $5-8 per person per excursion  

If you enjoy a private excursion with a private guide and driver, we suggest you double the above amounts.

At restaurants a 15% tip is expected and standard practice if you are satisfied with the service, the food and the experience in general. Tips should be given directly to your server and not left on the table. Before you tip, make sure that it has not already been added to your bill although in Italy it is customary to leave a small tip for waiters and hotel room maids even if the bill includes service charges. Most restaurants cannot accept tips on credit card even if the meal is paid with credit card.  Tips should always be provided in cash.

Local City Taxes

In most Italian cities, city taxes are charged for your hotel accommodations and range from 1 to 10 Euros per person per night, with the rate increasing within this range by tier (3-star hotels are assessed at a lower rate than 4-star hotels; likewise, 4-star hotels are assessed at a lower rate than 5-star hotels). Rome has the highest city taxes in the country: 4 Euros at 3-star hotels, 6 Euros at 4-star hotels, and 7 Euros at 5-star hotels. At Rome airport hotels, though, the tax is a flat 2 Euro across all hotel classes. These city taxes cannot be prepaid and are not included in your package cost. Payment will be applied upon checkout at each hotel respectively.  

These prices are subject to change at any time but can be used as an indicator for budgeting purposes.

About Electricity

Electric current is 230V at 50 Hz AC and most outlets support two round-pin plugs. An adapter plug and a converter may be necessary to charge your electronic devices, and are usually available from the front desk. If you’re bringing electric appliances from the US such as an electric razor or hair dryer, you’ll need a converter and a plug adapter. However, many hotels have electrical outlets at 110V for electric shavers. For more information on plugs and sockets, review the information at: www.iec.ch/world-plugs

Internet and Phone calls

We strongly encourage all travelers to bring your cell phone when you travel and ensure with your carrier that your plan covers international calls and/or mobile data from the countries you will visit. Carriers and plans vary widely on coverage so please make sure the details of your plan are understood before you travel. Alternatively, local prepaid SIM cards for your phone are usually available at the airport where you arrive and can be used to tap into local service providers. Wi-fi is available at all hotels either complimentary or for a fee; you can find Wi-Fi information on your itinerary and hotel list, or check with the front desk upon check in regarding access details.

If making an international call from your hotel room, please check the rates first.  Hotels often contract with outside companies to provide direct-dial telephone services for guests calling overseas from their rooms, and the rates can be unexpectedly high.  Popular wi-fi calling and messaging apps are also available to download to your mobile phone, we recommend WhatsApp or Skype for communicating while abroad, but not all phone numbers are possible to reach via these services.  Some apps and websites may not be available in all countries.

WhatsApp and Skype allow users to add contact phone numbers and send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, over Wi-Fi or mobile data coverage. Both caller and recipient need to have downloaded these apps to communicate, however.   If our local office has a WhatsApp or Skype account, that information will be included in your final documents.

Each country has a dialing exit code (the US is 011), when calling abroad, you will need to prefix the international call with the dialing exit code. If using a modern smartphone, you can hold the zero which will add a “+” and it will automatically include the country exit code from wherever you are calling. The dialing code for Italy is +39; you’ll need to prefix the local number with this dialing code when calling from outside of Italy.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?

The tap water in Italy is safe to drink. However, most Italians drink bottled water. In restaurants, when you order water you will be served bottled water at a charge. If you do not want to pay for it, ask specifically for tap water.

Meal Time!

Your hotel accommodations include breakfast. You will find a good choice of typical European and American breakfast foods.

Eating a leisurely Italian meal is one of the pleasures of traveling in Italy! Traditional meals may last one or two hours or even longer, and some restaurants will not serve lunch before 1:00PM or dinner before 8:00PM. Italians take food very seriously. Each region, and sometimes even a city, will have regional specialties that they are very proud of. Your experience might be enhanced by telling your waiter that you want to try the regional specialties. A full meal usually consists of an appetizer, first course and a second course with a side dish.

The waiter will almost never bring the bill until you ask for it. When you are ready for the bill, simply ask for il conto. Prices listed on the menu usually include tax and service fee. You may leave a small tip (a few coins) if you wish. Not all restaurants accept credit cards so be prepared with cash.

A Word about Train Travel in Italy

There are several types of trains operated by privately run lines and the Italian railway system. “Eurostar Italia” and “Italo” trains are exclusively first-class inter-city trains on which you must have a reservation or you may be unable to board. “Diretto Espresso” and interregional trains are long-distance expresses that stop only at the larger stations. Lastly, there are regional services, which stop at every station along their route. In winter, trains are not crowded, but during the summer a seat reservation is necessary on the main routes.

If your program includes train travel in Italy on the Italo train line, please review your travel documents, where you will find your e-ticket receipt with your booking number, or PNR, your train information and your seat numbers.  In order to board your train, you will need a valid photo ID and your PNR, which is listed on your Rail Europe e-ticket receipt.

Guests departing from Rome (Roma Termini), Milan (Milano Centrale) and Florence (Firenze SMN) must retrieve a QR code to access the train platform before train departure at the station’s Casa Italo lounge or Italo ticket machine. To print the tickets / QR codes, you must provide your PNR, which is listed on Rail Europe e-ticket receipt. Failing to do so might prevent you from boarding the train.

Please note that on the Italo train line, First Class is listed as “Prima” class on your rail ticket—prima being Italian for “first”.

A separate note of caution: please beware of pickpockets around train stations (and on the train). Do not leave your possessions unattended.

Shopping

By all means, enjoy your shopping! But we do recommend that you avoid objects that appear to be ancient artifacts. Many so-called artifacts are anything but old. In addition, the export of genuine ancient relics is strictly controlled so that cultural treasures do not leave the country. Animal skins, things made with tropical bird feathers, and similar items should also be avoided. Some could be made from endangered species and their export (and import into the US) may be illegal. Buying only from reputable shops will help you to avoid problems.

Ban on Public Snacking Near Historical Sites

The city councils of Venice, Florence and Rome have banned snacking in key locations in their historic city centers (particularly on or near any monuments). It is a costly offense: fines range from 25 to 500 Euro! Please look carefully for signage denoting areas where you should not eat in public.

What are the Business Hours?

Italy is 6 hours ahead of New York City and businesses generally operate between 8:00AM and 6:00PM. In some cases businesses will close for a mid-day meal. Most shops are closed on Sunday; Italy also observes many civic and religious holidays that will close banks and other businesses.

A Note about Traveling with Minors

Many countries currently require documentary evidence of a relationship between minors traveling with an adult. Although Italy is not one of them, we strongly recommend that parents traveling alone with a minor carry a notarized letter from the absent parent authorizing the trip, regardless of whether the parent is married or divorced. Never-married parents, parents whose spouse has died, and parents who have been granted sole legal custody of children are encouraged to carry notarized proof of their status, including death certificate where appropriate. Grandparents traveling with grandchildren and adults traveling with children who are not their own should carry letters of authorization from both parents of the children. It is wise to also carry the child’s birth certificate with the original seal. Please visit the state department’s website travel.state.gov if you plan to travel with a minor.

Packing Advice to Get You Started

Generally, the attire is casual with the emphasis on comfort and convenience. Easy-to-care-for clothing and mix-and-match separates are ideal to prevent the need to bring a lot of clothes. To accommodate the variable weather, you should pack rain gear (raincoat or all-weather jacket, collapsible umbrella and hat) and clothing you can layer. For dining out, the dress code is “smart casual.”  However, you may wish to pack semi-formal attire if you plan to attend the theater or an evening cultural event.

If your program includes visits to churches, the Vatican or other religious sites, please dress conservatively on these dates to show respect for the local custom. Most Italians consider shorts, mini-skirts, and uncovered shoulders inappropriate attire for a church setting. If you are dressed this way, you may not be allowed to enter the church. 

Since your itinerary includes some walking during city sightseeing tours and excursions, please pay particular attention to footwear: a pair of comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and firm arch support is strongly recommended. Note that cobblestone streets are common in old towns of Italy; some of the sites included on your tours are accessible only on foot. European cities tend to restrict access to city centers and their historical core to pedestrians; therefore, be prepared for lots of walking! Suitable footwear consists of low-heeled shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes and similar. Be prepared for rainy days no matter the season. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen.

Consider an Easy-to-carry Traveling Bag

It’s good to have a small bag to carry your daytime needs with you while traveling; a backpack is used by many travelers for this purpose. A water bottle is always handy to have in your traveling pack.

The Essentials

Hotels are well-equipped with tissues and toilet paper; however small packets of facial tissues and a small bottle of hand-sanitizer can be handy. Your hotel will provide fine amenities, including soap and shampoo, but pack your own if you use particular brands. Please bring your own lotions, contact lens solutions, cosmetics and feminine hygiene products. Bring extra prescriptions (packed partially in your hand luggage) as well as cold medicine, aspirin and cures for intestinal troubles. You should also bring a good sun block lotion with you since high temperatures and altitude can intensify the impact of the sun. We recommend 30+ SPF.

Seeing + Capturing Your Experiences

Make a complete check of your camera equipment before you leave and make sure you have replacement or rechargeable batteries and additional memory cards. It’s also a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars. A waterproof flashlight can also come in handy.

Camera drones are not allowed for use on our tours as they can detract from the experiences of your fellow travelers. If, however you plan to bring a drone for use in your free time, please pay close attention to the local aviation laws.  Most historic sites and national parks explicitly prohibit the use of personal drones, so it is your own responsibility to acquire any necessary permission and adhere to local laws should you plan on traveling with a drone. 

On-Tour Hunger Pangs

High-protein snacks are good for both the air trip as well as for your activities while traveling: nuts, raisins, granola bars and peanut butter are popular with many of our travelers. If you drink decaffeinated coffee, this is a good item to bring along as it may not always be available. Powdered milk or coffee creamer is also recommended for those who like them and sugar substitutes are not always available.

A Few Final Tips

Some handy items we recommend include: an extra pair of glasses,  zip-lock plastic bags, a bottle opener and an English/Italian dictionary.

Reminders about Your Baggage

Baggage restrictions vary by airline, and we ask you to review the airlines on your itinerary and review baggage restrictions on their website to determine the maximum number of bags and weights that are allowed.  In Economy, passengers are limited to one bag.  Keep in mind that the flights that are included on your tour are in Economy and are limited to one checked bag with weight limits.  So, when packing for your trip, consider the bag and weight restrictions on all of your flights, not just your international arrangements.

Most airlines charge travelers for additional bags and excess weight so we advise you to pack as lightly as possible. Most of our hotels offer laundry services.

TSA Packing Tips

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) publishes a comprehensive list of items that are Permitted and Prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage. You can find the complete list online at https://www.tsa.gov/travel.

For vacation travelers, the important thing to remember is that only one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes can be in your carry-on bag when you pass through security. Each item is limited to 3.4 ounces (100ml) - and all containers must fit inside a clear, 1-quart sized, zip-top bag. If you have containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces, they must go inside your checked baggage.

Medications, baby formula/food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3.4-ounce limit, and they do not have to be in a zip-lock bag. You should declare these items at the checkpoint, and keep in mind that TSA Officers may need to inspect them.

Other Recommendations:

  • Jewelry, cash, tablet devices and laptops should be in your carry-on baggage. Tape your business card to the bottom of your laptop for easy identification if it gets separated for inspection.
  • Avoid accessories and jewelry that contain metal as they may set off the metal detector at the check point. This will save having to take them off and put them back on as you pass through security.
  • Wear slip-on shoes that can be easily removed and placed on the conveyor built to be x-rayed at the security check-point.
  • If you wish to place a lock on your checked luggage, it must be of a make and model approved by the TSA.
  • Do not pack wrapped gifts and do not bring wrap gifts to the security check point.

A Few Words about Safety + Security

Traveling abroad is no different than visiting a new city in the United States. Although you will find Italians to be friendly and welcoming, use common sense precautions to safeguard your person and your possessions at all times.

  • Do not go out and about with your passport unless specifically instructed to do so by your local guides.
  • Keep your extra cash and passport in the in-room safe of your hotel. In the few instances where they are not available, then store these items in the safety deposit box at the front desk.
  • Always make a copy of your passport, credit cards and e-tickets and keep them separate from the originals so that they can be more readily replaced if lost or stolen. Leave extra copies with someone at home who you can reach while traveling. Or consider scanning these documents and emailing them to an address that you can access while abroad.
  • If you don’t already own one, consider investing in a money belt that can be concealed under your clothing. This is a good place to keep the cash and credit cards that you need for personal expenses while sightseeing, shopping and touring. Do not display large amounts of cash in public. Carry your purse with the strap across your chest, not dangling from your shoulder or arm.

These measures will save you countless time and trouble should your credit cards, airline tickets or passport be lost or stolen. 

Some Helpful Web Links

U.S. Department of State

www.travel.state.gov

Travel documents and tips; State Department Travel announcements; Consular Information for countries you will visit

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

General health information for travelers and health information on specific destinations

Transportation Security Administration

www.tsa.gov (select Traveler Information)

Tips for travelers going through security at the airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

www.cbp.gov (select Travel)

Helpful information for returning U.S. citizens travelling abroad

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

www.att.com/traveler

AT&T’s USADirect service offers convenient telephone access to the U.S. from around the world

Currency Converter

www.oanda.com/currency/converter