Rick Steves' Best of Venice, Florence & Rome tour begins with Venice's timeless St. Mark's Square and Basilica, then on to Michelangelo's stunning David and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and ends with Rome's Ancient Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. You'll also enjoy guided neighborhood walks, memorable meals and full-bodied Italian wines. Italy's three greatest cities are like fine gelato — why settle for just one flavor if you can get three scoops at once? Join us for the Best of Venice, Florence & Rome in 10 Days!
You'll get all this!
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
- Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Venice, Florence and Rome come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 20 group sightseeing events • Venice backstreets walking tour • St. Mark's Square and Basilica tour (water level dependent) • Venice Lagoon excursion • Accademia Art Museum tour • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo's David) • Uffizi Gallery tour • Florence backstreets walking tour • Cooking class & lunch • Palazzo Davanzati tour • Umbrian wine tasting lunch • Rome orientation tour • Roman Forum tour • Colosseum tour • Church of San Clemente tour • Pantheon • Vatican Museum tour • Sistine Chapel • St. Peter's Basilica • Evening walk through Rome's piazzas including Trevi Fountain...and more
- All group transportation between Venice, Florence and Rome
- 9 nights accommodations (3 nights at each hotel) in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Italy guidebook, Italy Sightseeing Supplement, Italian phrase book, moneybelt and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2013
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Venice
We'll meet at 4 p.m. at our Venice hotel, deeply nestled amidst the canals, bridges and alleyways of this magical, preserved-in-amber city. After introductions, we'll set off on an orientation walk, and then enjoy getting acquainted over a traditional Venetian dinner together. Sleep in Venice (3 nights). No bus. Walking: light.
Day 2: Historic Venice
Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour, with a modern Venetian's-eye view, through the backstreets of Venice, ending with the shimmering, mosaic-filled St. Mark's Basilica. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. Then it's all aboard for a cruise into Venice's lagoon on our private boat. We'll visit the picturesque island of Burano, known for its lacemaking, where you'll have free time to explore this pastel painted island, and find lunch on your own. After returning to Venice, the evening is yours to explore the imposing Doge's Palace, maybe take in a church concert, waltz on St. Mark's Square, or pub-crawl your way through this unique city. Boat: 1 hr. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: The Art of Wandering in Venice
This morning we'll have our first real brush with the Renaissance — Venetian-style — with a tour of the Accademia's treasure trove of great Venetian art, starring Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto...and every shade of color imaginable. Your afternoon is free for Venice's other famous sights, or to become happily lost in the tangled maze of alleys and shops. Tonight your guide will help organize a classic, romantic gondola ride for those who are interested. No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 4: Wonders of Renaissance Florence & David
We'll drive straight to Florence this morning, and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at the power of Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Tonight we'll share a hearty Tuscan dinner together. Sleep in Florence (3 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 5: The Backstreets of Florence
A local scholar will join us this morning as we take a walking tour of the backstreets of Florence, with some fascinating peeks into Roman, medieval and 19th-century Florentine life along the way. After exploring the Palazzo Davanzati, we'll continue our tour across the river, where we'll create today's tasty lunch during a fun and informative cooking class. Your afternoon will be free to see more of the city's museums. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 6: The Uffizi
This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo and more. The rest of your day is free for making your own Florentine discoveries. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 7: Wine Tasting, Rome at Night
This morning we'll drive into the rolling hills of Umbria, stopping for a wine tasting lunch at a family-run winery. We'll then make a bee-line for Rome, where we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk on our way to tonight's dinner together. We'll end our day as any good Roman would — with a stroll through the historic heart of the city, lacing together the classy Piazza Navona, the remarkably-preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon and the magical Trevi Fountain. Sleep in Rome (3 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 8: St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum
We'll spend much of today on the Vatican side of the Tiber River. At the sprawling Vatican Museum we'll tour the seemingly endless collection of treasures as we make our way to the single work of art that dwarfs them all: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. We'll then have an orientation to the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. You'll have the rest of your day free to wander through this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and explore the interesting market streets in this neighborhood. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 9: Monuments of Ancient Rome
We'll spend our morning uncovering Ancient Rome, starting with a tour of multi-layered San Clemente — a 12th-century church sitting atop a 4th-century basilica and a previous Roman temple. Then we'll tour and hear vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and the birthplace of Ancient Rome: the Forum. You'll be free this afternoon to wander through the nearby Palatine ruins, St. Peter-in-Chains Church (home to Michelangelo's Moses), — or climb to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument to enjoy a panoramic city view. Tonight we'll feast together at our farewell dinner, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Salute! No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 10: Tour Over After Breakfast
This morning we'll say our final goodbyes and head for home...or you may want to stick around for a few more days of la dolce vita (the sweet life). Arrivederci!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Venice, Florence & Rome in 10 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate cities on your own.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Venice before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Italy guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Venice that we do not do as a group: Campanile di San Marco (bell tower); Dalmatian School chapel; Jewish Ghetto and Museum; Santa Maria della Salute and San Giorgio Maggiore churches; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and the island of Murano.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Venice and Rome are major transportation hubs, making additional travel after your tour quite easy. For links to helpful rail and air travel websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425/771-8303 ext. 214). You can get a rough idea of costs from the above guide or Rick Steves' Italy guidebook.
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email email@example.com.
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"Cecilia said many times to the group that we were family while we were in Italy and that's the way she treated us — like very important family. She delighted us with stories and information alike. She was always there to help with plans for our free time, making reservations if we needed them and giving us the best advice possible. She was delightful and charming and made Italy feel very comfortable!"
— Doreen in Gresham, OR
"Nina is a phenomenal guide. She exceeded our expectations in every respect. Her enthusiasm is infectious. I have already recommended to my family to tour Village Italy with Nina. I would seek her out as a tour guide on any future tour. She is a rock star!"
— Kevin in Wytheville, VA
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"I really cannot pick out one single 'wow!' moment as the whole trip was a dream come true for me. Experiencing aqua alta our first night in Venice in front of St. Mark's was amazing with all the people, reflecting light, and music. I had to hold back tears seeing the Baptistery doors, Santa Maria del Fiore, and later Titian's Venus of Urbino and Michelangelo's David in Florence. The history of Rome is just amazing in that you can be walking down the street, turn a corner, and suddenly there's the Pantheon or other ancient ruins right in front of you!"
— Meagan in Auburn, MA
"Seeing and touching the landscape and structures in each city was my 'wow.' Venice, Florence and especially Rome were amazing! No amount of photos, travel shows or other people's descriptions can compare to actually being there."
— Alan in Morgan Hill, CA
"I will always remember the evening gondola ride in Venice. It was one of those 'I can't believe I am really here' moments."
— Yvette in Moorhead, MN
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- Venice: Bread and Tulips (2000); The Italian Job (2003); The Merchant of Venice (2004)
- Florence: The Light in the Piazza (1962); A Room With a View (1986)
- Rome: Roman Holiday (1953); Three Coins in the Fountain (1954); La Dolce Vita (1961)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves' Audio Tours
- Venice: St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Cathedral, Frari Church, Grand Canal Cruise
- Florence: Renaissance Walk, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia & Michelangelo's David
- Rome: Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Opera: Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Andrea Bocelli, Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Ezio Pinza, Three Tenors
- Classical: Vivaldi's Four Seasons
- Pop/rock: Pino Daniele, Dean Martin, Mina, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti
- Movie Soundtrack: Big Night
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Venice
- Rick Steves' Florence
- Rick Steves' Rome
- Venice Observed — Mary McCarthy
- Venice: A Cultural & Literary Companion — Martin Garrett
- Brunelleschi's Dome — Ross King
- Florence: The Biography of a City — Christopher Hibbert
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Edward Gibbon
- When In Rome — Robert Hutchinson
- The Wings of the Dove; Italian Hours — Henry James
- A Room With a View — E. M. Forster
- The Agony and the Ecstasy — Irving Stone
- The Birth of Venus — Sarah Durant
- The First Man in Rome — Colleen McCullough
- I, Claudius — Robert Graves