A little side story here.

While my daughter was in high school she went to Spain with her Spanish class, she was particularly excited by the idea of exploring Spanish Cuisine. On returning home she reported how disappointed she was. Apparently, the student travel tour agency had learned over the years that kids prefer fried potatos and beef over food they did not recognized. Consequent all of the tours meals had been "Americanized", nothing too out of the ordinary was served.

After the Tour - would I recommend this trip?

In many ways the tour was a “poor man’s’ version of a luxury design tour as done by a travel agent. Our guided tours were with large groups and our hotel pick-up was repeatedly by private transfer. One of the more striking (luxury) events was at the Venice train station. Our private transfer consisted of being greeted at our platform. Our Greeter arranged for our bags to be carted to the hotel and then walked us personally (15 min) to our hotel. On our own, I am certain we could have found it easily with in one or two hours. We stayed in 3 star rated hotels, accommodations were adequate, we did not expect luxuries, 4 star hotels are a selectable option.

The tour we were on (other tours may work differently) basically used a number of day tour and city walking tours to create the tour experience. Most of the people leaving Rome with us were on a day tour of Florence. We stay with the group until it was time for them to go back to Rome. For us a taxi was arranged, paid for by the guide, and we were then delivered to our hotel in Florence. The following morning, after receiving directions from the hotel clerk, we walked around the corner from our hotel and got on the day tour bus for Pisa. Returned to Florence for the night, the next day we were picked up by a private transfer and taken to the train station to head in to Venice. On our fourth day we met up with a walking tour guide at Venice’s St. Mark’s Squire, receiving a tour of the immediate area and the Doge’s Palace. All the tour guides were good; though one was a little harder to understand, possible due to the audio equipment (wireless earpieces are the way many tours are done now). 

Some HInts - Since you are being transferred between various day tour companies there is always the possibility of confusion. Once you arrive at your tour meeting spot (first day)  make certain you, or your tour guide, acquires your hotel vouchers, and the vouchers for all of the day tours/hotels to come. The Viator voucher is your proof to be on the multi-day tour but it does not work as a hotel voucher. Make certain you have a copy of itinerary and the tour contact info with you. Call the tour company’s contact number if things do not seem right.

I would recommend this trip to people with limited time in Italy; or people that like to pack in a lot within a short travel time.  Since we like to do things at our own slow pace, we wanted more time in the cities we visited during the tour. We realized this in our late planning stages and ended up taking the train from Venice back to Florence so we could spend more time there.

Viator tour pages for:

  1. Venice

  2. Rome

  3. Vatican

  4. Florence

  5. Pompeii

  6. Milan

  7. Naples

Mid - 2010  I have promised my wife a trip to Italy for more than a couple of years. Planning the trip seems overwhelming, I do not speak the language and I know next to nothing about traveling in Italy..... Working on the Europe website I notice the 5 day tour of Italy. I wonder, "could I mix some extended tours of italy with a couple of city stays and avoid the stress of planning all the details of our Italy Trip?"