Dreaming of an Italian vacation? There are 20 regions and over 58 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. Italy is an ancient land that has left a powerful mark on the Western world. Its language, history, and varied wines and cuisine have shaped modern times.
Italy’s capital, Rome, is home to awe-inspiring landmarks and ancient ruins such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Rome is also home to Vatican City, which contains St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
But there is more to Italy than just Rome. Florence is awash with Renaissance art and was the home of Da Vinci for a time. Florence gave the world modern banking. The Uffizi Gallery is a stunning collection of masterpieces including Michelangelo’s David and Brunelleschi’s Duomo.
The historical Leaning Tower of Pisa and Venice’s canals are breathtaking sights. The cosmopolitan Milan is the center of the Italian fashion world. And don’t forget the Italian Riviera. Wake up to a traditional Italian breakfast of cappuccino and croissant while gazing at the blue waters and stunning coastlines of the central Mediterranean.
So how do you fit all that Italy has to offer into a single vacation? One of the best ways to see and understand the vibrant culture and ancient history of this picturesque country is with a tour. But instead of you spending hours and hours researching the best Italy tour packages, we’ve done the work for you.
Best Tours in Italy
An Italy vacation would not be complete without a visit to the Vatican Museums. Guided by a local art historian, this is a walking tour, but worth every step. Offered in English and four other languages including German and French, this skip-the-line adventure offers six stops on this 4.5-star, 2.5-hour pedestrian tour of some of the most famous attractions in Rome. Vatican tours with skip-the-line access allow special admission through an alternate entrance – no lines.
You’ll tour the Sistine Chapel, Bramante’s Pinecone Courtyard, and the Vatican Museums. Marvel at the 16th-century frescoes of Raphael’s Rooms and St. Peter’s Basilica. The tour of Vatican City is amazing, as visitors learn how past popes used art and culture to spread their message to the faithful.
While most tours only guarantee a place in line, this tour, operated by City Wonders, ensures Reserved Priority Access to the Vatican Museums and Skip-the-Line Access to the Sistine Chapel. Small groups allow for a more personalized experience.
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Combine breathtaking scenery and history along Italy’s most beautiful coastline. The Pompeii and Amalfi Coast Tour begins and ends in Naples. This eight-hour excursion into Italy’s Campania region includes three hours at Pompeii and a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast to several of the cliffside towns.
At Pompeii, you will learn about the fated Roman-era eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. And there is plenty to see at the decades-old archeological site of a city trapped in time. After touring Pompeii village, there is plenty of free time to explore Positano, a 13th-century cliffside village, and take that perfect photo. Positano is also a part of the Sentiero degli Dei hiking trail.
Amalfi is a striking coastal town with cliffs and stunning blue water. For over two hundred years, beginning in the 10th century, Amalfi was a powerful maritime republic. The Amalfi Cathedral, or Sant’Andrea Cathedral, dominates the town. It is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral typical of Byzantine architecture. During the day, there will be a delicious Italian lunch to rest and refresh before starting back on the tour.
The next stop is a part of Roman history: the awe-inspiring Tempio di Giove Capitolino – the Temple of Jupiter. Overwhelming in its beauty and historical importance, this massive complex was dedicated to the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.
Also on the 4.5-star tour is the small town of Ravello, which sits high above the Tyrrhenian Sea and is famous for its iconic cliffside gardens. This medieval old town boasts a 13th-century, Moorish-style Villa Rufolo with spectacular views of the gardens and Mediterranean.
Included in this tour:
- Hotel/Port Pickup and Drop-off
- A Traditional Italian Lunch
- Local Historian and Guide
- Entrance to the City of Pompeii
If you want to see more of the Amalfi Coast, World Tours also offers some of the best tours in Italy that visit Capri and Sorrento.
This is the quintessential Italian Vespa tour of Rome. Made famous in movies, this 22-mile ride takes in the iconic sights of the Italian city – Aurelian Walls, the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain.
This is a great way to learn about the city with an experienced and learned guide. Riders view ancient ruins and the famed aqueducts before enjoying a cappuccino or Italian ice cream.
Daily tours are available in English and several other languages and last between three and four hours, depending on traffic. The only downside is that Vespa drivers must have a valid motorcycle license.
Things that are included in this tour include:
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (if option selected)
- Private driver/guide
- Live commentary on board
- All taxes, fees and handling charges
Bici & Baci Tours also operates similar tours throughout Italy.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Rome, Italy: Top Getaway Ideas
Experience the eternal city and the seat of Western civilization as one of the best excursions in Italy tours Rome, Florence, and Venice for an authentic Italian holiday.
The next stop on this Best of Italy tour is the San Marco basin. Here you will experience a gondola ride through the canals of the Venice islands. In Murano, you’ll visit extraordinary glassmaking studios before moving on to the handcrafted lacework of Burano. In Torcello, the lagoon’s first settlement, you will have time to wander about Attila’s Throne and the 11th century Church of Santa Fosca.
Included in this tour:
- Accommodations with breakfast
- A private city tour: Rome, Florence, Pisa & Venice
- Private vehicle transport
A Venice adventure can last a lifetime. But if this is your first time or the great city is a short stopover, there is still much to see that will inspire you. Choose a private, guided tour such as Venice In a Day, operated by Walks of Italy, for a full itinerary that will include many of the famous sights and attractions.
This five-star tour includes a visit to the breathtaking St. Mark’s Basilica and Square. Enjoy the frescos before ascending to the rooftop terrace for a panoramic view of the city.
Visitors often stroll the famous Rialto Bridge and follow through to the fountain of San Giacomo – the piazza’s central fountain. While in the square, enjoy a cappuccino or lunch al fresco, at your own expense, at one of the many small cafes.
Need a rest from walking? Ride a traditional gondola for an unforgettable cruise along the Grand Canal. Finally, enjoy preferred access to the magnificent Doge’s Palace, a Venetian Gothic-style palace built in the early 14th century.
This tour includes:
- English-guided Venice walking tour
- Venice gondola ride
See Related: Best Day Trips from Milan, Italy
Take a day to experience the iconic rolling hills and rosy hues and green pastures of Italy’s Tuscany. The Best of Tuscany in One Day Trip from Florence is an award-winning tour from Walkabout Florence Tours. This 13-stop adventure has it all. Explore Italian art, history, incredible scenery, and delicious food. This Italy tour also includes a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This full-day tour from Florence takes you to the medieval city of Siena and its cathedral, then to Chianti for a three-course Tuscan lunch and tasting of local wine. Here, amidst the warm winds, you will experience la dolce vita.
In San Gimignano, there is time to wander the streets before traveling through the Italian countryside to Pisa and the UNESCO site – the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. There will also be plenty of free time to wander the major attractions for the full Italian experience.
This tour includes:
- An enthusiastic local guide
- Wine lunch and tasting
- Plenty of free time to explore
- Cancellations accepted up to 24 hours in advance
The Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence is one of the best tours in Italy. Operated by Walkabout Tours, this memorable trip includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cinque Terre, through a guided tour of the mountainside villages of the ancient world. This award-winning five-star tour is perfect for your first time in Italy.
A 13-hour tour tells the tale of master composer Puccini’s home in Lucca, or opt for a picturesque local train ride through the park’s five villages — Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, and Monterosso. Experience the walking trails of the Cinque Terre National Park that connects the five fishing villages. And enjoy a boat cruise in the Mediterranean waters with spectacular views of the Italian Riviera.
What’s included in this great tour?
- A fun tour guide
- Transport between Florence and Cinque Terre by coach plus all other transport for the day
- Boat ride along the Riviera (weather permitting)
- Entry tickets to the Cinque Terre National Park
- Free time to explore
See Related: Best Places To Stay In Cinque Terre
The Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan is a highly rated, 4.5-star experience. It is organized and operated by Zani Viaggi, one of Italy’s most respected tour companies. First, travel coach from Milan to Tirano crossing the immense Brusio viaduct. Then travel what is considered one of the most beautiful railway routes in the world. The route is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Throughout this tour, enjoy Swiss Alpine views while a local guide offers an historical perspective in English and other languages.
As you wander the streets of St. Moritz, sample Swiss coffee or a few pieces of local chocolate. There is plenty of free time for lunch at a local cafe. The tour of Northern Italy and Switzerland ends 13 hours later back in Milan.
Included in this tour:
- A scenic coach ride aboard the Bernina Red Train
- Free time to explore Tirano and St. Moritz
- Learn about the region from a guide as you travel
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Genoa, Italy
One could spend a lifetime experiencing the art, history, and culture of Florence. But if you only have a day, the best way to see the major attractions is through the Best of Florence & Uffizi Gallery Tour operated by City Wonders.
This 4.5-star tour allows you to skip to the front of the line at the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery. Here you will revel in 14th century and Renaissance masterpieces. See the works of Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci. The tour also provides specialized access to the Accademia Gallery, allowing a leisurely look at Michelangelo’s David.
After the galleries, the two-hour guided walking tour highlights Florence’s top attractions including the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Piazza della Signoria.
This small group tour includes:
- Priority entrance to Uffizi and Accademia Galleries
- Local historian and English-speaking tour guide
See Related: Italy vs France: Which is Better to Visit?
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Directly south of Florence in the heart of Tuscany is the renowned Chianti region where you will find ancient vineyards, rolling farms, and breathtaking scenery.
The Chianti Wine & Food Safari, from tour company Walkabout Florence, is one of the best Italy food tours. An enthusiastic tour guide will host you through two of the region’s best wine estates providing a historical account of the region.
Everyone will meet at the Biblioteca Nazionale (National Library) in Piazza dei Cavalleggeri. The tour’s first stop is an iconic Tuscan winery belonging to an Italian aristocratic family. Here, taste wine paired with cheese and two olive oils from the estate’s olive groves.
Listen as the tour director explains the traditional craft of winemaking and the art of tasting and food pairing. Finally, tour the villa’s underground tunnels from wine cellars to olive mills. Afterward, take a short drive through idyllic farms to a typical Tuscan restaurant.
The final wine estate, deep into the Chianti hills, is a Chianti Classico vineyard. The vast plantings include many smaller, award-winning wines that combine the ancient traditions of wine-making with contemporary innovation under the respected name.
The last stop for the day is in picturesque Greve, a small town in the Chianti region. Here you can shop, grab a coffee, or soak in the Tuscan culture.
Things that are included in this food tour:
- Taste 8 different wines
- Extra virgin olive oil tasting
- Sheep cheeses and Salumi (cured meats) tasting
- Traditional Tuscan lunch
Start your scuba diving adventure on the Calabrian coast, located at the toe of the boot in Southern Italy. Some of the best diving is in the Strait of Messina to the southwest. This rocky region separates Italy’s toe from the island of Sicily and is one of the best trips to Italy.
The Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas are known for stunning crystal-blue waters and ancient Roman shipwrecks. And ancient underwater cities are begging for exploration. These fascinating ruins are also home to colorful coral reefs and a wide variety of marine life.
The coves of this corner of the Mediterranean Sea are hidden gems for snorkeling and scuba diving. Join a local diving guide from Megale Hellas Diving Center for a full day of exploration in and around Marina di Gioiosa Ionica with plenty of time to explore reefs, sunken ships, and Roman ruins.
One of the best parts of diving with local guides is their intimate knowledge of the coves and coastline. The dive tour guides are experienced and will customize these private excursions to your skill level and interests. In addition to a private boat that’s fully equipped, this unique Italy tour provides divers with tanks and weights for a worry-free dive.
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If you are looking for a comprehensive and private way to visit Italy where you can sit back and let the tour and travel director do all of the work, the Best Tour of Italy is for you. This two-week private excursion is one of the best Italy tours, visiting all of the top attractions. Premier transportation with a private driver complements four-star accommodations and delicious Italian meals. Visit UNESCO sites such as the Roman Colosseum, the Vatican, and the ashen city of Pompeii. Customize your itinerary, or just sit back and soke in the Tuscan sun.
Your trip starts in Rome before heading south. Spend a few days on the Amalfi’s Italian Riviera, then drive north with your driver and guide. Your itinerary includes Orvieto and Florence. In Modena, a foodie’s paradise, spend the day learning about the traditional craft of making Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. There is also an option to tour the Ferrari Museum. In Verona, enjoy a walk in the Piazza della Erbe.
The next stop is the fabled City of Canals. Once settled in your hotel, there is ample time for exploring Venice. And don’t forget to stop in the medieval town of Assisi in central Italy’s Umbria region, before returning to Rome.
This multi-day trip around Lombardy, Italy’s northern region, is a great Italian tour for those who want a short but busy itinerary. If this is your first trip to the north, or you only have a few days to see the sights, try the Jewels of the North 3-day tour.
Operated by Taotravel tour group, this tour first hits the cosmopolitan city of Milan for a day at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping gallery for luxury fashion and shopping. Tour the Castello Sforzesco, and Brescia. The area is known as the Italian Lake District, so a visit to Lake Garda, near Lake Como, is a must.
You will also have time in several of the picturesque cities in the region, such as Lombardia and Desenzano. On the third day, the golden city of Venice and San Marco Basilica awaits. This jam-packed tour includes transfers, a local guide, a driver, meals, and accommodations.
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If you love unique Italian flavors and tastes, then the Cheese & Ricotta Making Tour in the Abruzzo countryside is for you. This food-driven experience involves four hours of traditional life, cheese making, and wine tasting on the family sheep farm. There is also a walking tour of Teramo and a tour of the ancient olive groves – complete with panoramic views.
You will learn the ancient skill of ricotta, pecorino, and mozzarella cheese making. And while you wait for your creations to cure, it’s time for a walking tour of Teramo. When the cheese is finished, sample olive oils, cold cuts, local wines, and newly made fresh ricotta.
Wearing comfortable clothes is a must on this one-of-a-kind experience, but the tour operators have you covered, as aprons, gloves, and shoe covers are included. So are snacks and beverages – wine too. The Cheese & Ricotta Making excursion is a five-star tour, perfect for couples or solo travelers interested in expanding their horizons.
Italy is synonymous with good food. And this tour, operated by Cook in Milano, does not disappoint, especially if you want to bring home a few new recipes and an Italian cooking diploma!
If you have a day to spare in Milan, this is a great option. This exciting four-hour cooking class teaches several Milanese delicacies and specialties by a world-renowned chef.
Learn how to make a four-course meal including picture-perfect gnocchi, risotto, and tiramisu. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients will be used.
When class is complete, enjoy the meal and a glass or two of local wine. These classes are small, with only six potential chefs. The small group allows for individualized attention and much more fun!
This tour experience includes:
- A self-prepared four-course meal
- Two glasses of wine or espresso
- All cooking equipment
- Recipe book and cooking diploma
See Related: Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Milan
Discover Capri, the island of love, on board a private luxury yacht. This unforgettable eight-hour trip departs from a port of your choosing on the Sorrento and Amalfi Coast.
The Full Day Private Boat Tour of Capri is operated by YTour Boat Experiences. You will spend the day drifting by 15 unique sights along the coves and bays of Capri. Its craggy coastline hides caves and supports natural volcanic rock arches. The waters surrounding Capri are crystalline with a turquoise shimmer. Close your eyes and relax on deck as you soak up the Italian sun.
There will be plenty of free time to wander the island visiting the central Piazzetta and iconic Roman Villas. Also in Capri are the famous Gardens of Tiberius – Giardini di Tiberio.
The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterful work, ishoused at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The 15th-century mural is arguably one of Milan’s most famous attractions.
If you are looking for a walking tour that focuses on the exquisite examples of art and historical architecture of Milan, this is one of the best tours available. It provides a one-hour, 4.5-star guided look at The Last Supper and Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The tour is operated by GT Tours. A local English-speaking guide provides artistic and historical perspectives. Participants have guaranteed entrance.
One of the best tours of this UNESCO site is the Colosseum Skip the Line Small Group Tour. This five-star tour, operated by KK Tour, boasts nearly three hours of Ancient Roman history that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The tour begins with the Colosseum, the largest ancient open-air amphitheater ever built. This impressive building held gladiator games, theater productions, and animal parades. The amphitheater was even filled with water for live naval battles. An extraordinary feat of engineering thousands of years ago.
The next stop is the Roman Forum – Foro Romano. Situated between Palatine and Capitoline Hills, this was the scene of public meetings, law courts, and gladiatorial combats in republican times and was lined with shops and open-air markets.
Today, the spattering of ruins is a premiere archaeological site with ongoing excavations and discoveries. Finally, the tour stands atop Palatine Hill, the spot where Romulus built a wall and setup the early foundations of Ancient Rome in 753 BC.
On this highly-rated and unique tour, guests will explore the beautiful city of Rome at night on a guided tour by e-bike with an art historian guide. You will see iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Capitoline Hill and more before tasting some traditional Italian meats with a glass of wine.
Your adventure will begin close to St. Maria Maggiore, one of the most beautiful basilicas of Rome. Enjoy the views over the Fori Imperiali, Campidoglio, and Circo Massimo by dusk. Then, head for the Trevi Fountain, and make a wish as you throw a coin in.
You’ll see popular landmarks illuminated by moonlight while biking through little-known streets far away from the city traffic. You’re adventure will end with delicious Italian cold cuts accompanied by a glass of wine. Without the crowds and among the shadows, one can almost feel the heartbeat of Ancient Rome. This spectacular four-hour tour is operated by EsBike Tours.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Ravello, Italy
Often untold and forgotten, the women of Ancient Rome played an important role behind the scenes of ancient Roman society. This one-of-a-kind tour focuses on these women of strength in the ancient city. The 3-Hour Guided Tour: Women in Ancient Rome with the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill is operated by LivTours.
In the Colosseum, women were pivotal to the gladiatorial games. They were tasked with nursing the wounded fighters and slaves back to health, surprisingly providing complete medical care. The local tour guide will detail the extent of women’s knowledge and education in the Eternal City.
As you walk the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, you’ll learn of the influential women that helped quietly shape the ancient city. Guests will discover the palaces that housed influential women of Rome, including Empress Livia Drusilla, wife of Emperor Augustus Caesar, who ruled Rome from 31 BC to AD 14. She is remembered in history as having extraordinary power and influence.
This three-hour guided walkabout is one of the most interesting Italian history tours offering a glimpse into the daily lives and motivations of ancient and influential Roman women.