Explore Italy with Spike! 2024


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8 days, 8 nights

SOLD OUT! This tour is currently unavailable but check out our Italy April 2025 tour.

or sign up for the Waiting List in case someone drops out of the Sept 2024 tour.


Is Italy at the top of your “bucket list?” This trip is built for you. The 8 day, 8 night tour is planned for a first-time visitor to Italy… and Spike will lead the tour!  You’ll be transported through time as you explore ancient Roman ruins, medieval streets, and Renaissance art in cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, while indulging in the rich flavors of authentic Italian cuisine in Siena and experiencing the warm hospitality of the locals. You’ll visit the rolling hills of Tuscany (including lunch at a farmhouse winery), the medieval walled city of San Gimignano, the picturesque winding alleys and canals of Venice… all of these diverse landscapes offering a sensory journey through history, culture, and the breathtaking beauty that defines authentic Italy.

Did I mention the food? You’ll eat well! Few countries have mastered the fresh seasonal culinary craft that changes with each region we visit. We’ll visit colorful markets, family-run pizzerias, seaside trattorias, and maybe even do a little cooking ourselves!

With a group size of 13 people, you get an up close and personal tour. This trip is perfect for solo travelers, couples, family and friends. (In fact, two people save $ by sharing a room!)  Not designed specifically for photographers but you’ll come home with some amazing pictures and stories!

Tour Details

Starting in the capital city of Rome, we will visit the “birthplace of Western Civilization” and wander through iconic landmarks of the once-mighty Roman Empire like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon… a literal millennia of history. We will also visit Vatican City for a private tour to marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica (the largest church in the world) along with the Renaissance art of the Vatican Museums, and of course Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. And we will enjoy authentic Italian cuisine and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Rome’s lively piazzas and my favorite neighborhood, Trastevere.

Then, we board a high speed train and move on to Florence, a city synonymous with Renaissance art and culture and home to masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David and Brunelleschi’s Duomo. Surrounding Florence, the region of Tuscany unfolds with rolling hills adorned by vineyards and olive groves, inviting travelers to savor world-class wines, indulge in delectable cuisine, and immerse themselves in the timeless beauty of this enchanting Italian landscape. We’ll visit Siena and the Medieval walled city of San Gimignano with lunch and wine samplings in a local farmhouse winery. There will also be an option to take a cooking class while in Florence with a local chef teaching us how to make three homemade dishes from scratch as well as a dessert – all of which we will enjoy with a glass of wine (or beverage of your choice).

Have you ever arrived to your hotel by boat? Venice is our last stop… a city of unparalleled beauty and one of my favorite places on Earth. We will wander its unique network of winding alleys and picturesque canals and get lost in a world of exquisite architecture on foot and by boat. You’ll enjoy the slow food experience known as “Cicchetti” as we walk through quiet neighborhoods to some of my favorite spots. You’ll see all of the historic palaces and landmarks, plus you’ll have the option of floating down the Grand Canal on an enchanting gondola. Venice remains an bucket-list destination where every corner holds a piece of the city’s rich cultural heritage… the perfect place to end our tour before returning home with incredible photos and memories.

Book Now for only $5,307 (or $4,507 for double occupancy)
Only Two Spots Left for 2024 tour (Regular Price $6,244)


Why September?
Summer in Italy is crowded, expensive and hot! But September is very pleasant with an average of around 77°F.  Arguably the best time to travel to Italy, the crowds thin out which mean less people in our photos! Plus, the harvest period begins, which in Italy, means the food scene explodes with everything from truffles to olives, grapes ripe on the vine and more!

Please Note: This tour will involve a lot of walking, you should be physically fit to be on your feet most of the day (and able to handle your own luggage to & from hotels and airport).  We regret that this tour is not designed to accommodate guests with wheelchairs, mobility limitations, or strollers due to conditions beyond our control – some of the villages, ancient sites and old buildings we are visiting are not fully accessible.

Minimum Age: 21 (or age 17+ with parents)

Departure & Return Location

We will fly into Rome (FCO).  Your flight should depart the U.S. on Sept 15 to arrive on Sept 16 before 2pm so you can make it to our welcome dinner. We will depart from Venice (VCE) to return home on Sept 24.

Price Includes:

  • 8 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transportation by private shuttle vans & boats, high-speed train
  • Most Meals (7 dinners, 7 lunches and 7 breakfasts)
  • Entrance fees for all tours & attractions
  • Private "skip the line" guided tours for most major attractions
  • Several fun, engaging & knowledgeable tour guides
  • Welcome gift upon arrival

Price Excludes:

  • Airfare (but I'll help you plan it!)
  • Transportation to/from airports
  • Excessive alcohol (a complimentary drink is included with dinner each night)
  • Room service fees & personal expenses
Daily Itinerary

Sept 16Arrive in Rome

Begin your Italian adventure in Rome, a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and modern charm. Check in your hotel room and shake off the jet lag. We will meet for an early welcome dinner and tour orientation in Trastevere with its medieval houses and some of the oldest churches in Rome. We’ll wander through the maze of narrow car-free streets and alleyways – it’s a particularly lively affair at night.
HOTEL: ROME (3 nights) …if you choose to arrive in Rome even earlier, I can provide hotel info for discounted rates.

Sept 17The Vatican

Because the Vatican is closed for a Papal audience on Wednesday morning, we’ll start our Roman adventure today in Vatican City. You’ll have a private tour of the Vatican Museums, one of the world’s true marvels.​​ How does the smallest country in the world have the largest art collection on Earth complete with priceless masterpieces and curiosities from around the world? We will see the highlights before our guide takes us into St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest sites of Christianity (and one of the largest buildings in the world). Before leaving, we will step inside the Sistine Chapel, a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art with its ceiling painted in fresco by Michelangelo. After lunch we will have a chance to visit more Roman sites as well as some free time.

Sept 18Rome

Today we’ll visit iconic landmarks & ruins of the Roman Empire. No matter how many photos you’ve seen of the Colosseum, your first view in person is likely to amaze you with its sheer size and grandeur. We will have a “skip the line” guided tour of this archaeological wonder of the world. Other impressive sites we’ll visit today include the Roman Forum Ruins, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and more.

Sept 19Florence

In the morning, we will take a high-speed train to Florence. You will have a choice of two activities in the afternoon: You can take a guided walking tour of Florence (the choice for art lovers to see masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David and Brunelleschi’s Duomo). OR you can take a cooking class led by a local chef who will teach you how to make 3 courses and a dessert, which you will enjoy with a glass of wine.
HOTEL: FLORENCE (2 nights)

Sept 20Tuscany

We will visit Siena today, Italy’s medieval heart and soul. This Tuscan hill town will transport you back to the Middle Ages. After seeing the grand cathedral, Piazza del Campo (the main town square) and Siena’s narrow cobblestone streets, we will have lunch at a local farm/winery in the countryside and then visit San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hill town that is both visually striking and perfectly preserved. Then we return to Florence for dinner and a free night of exploring.

Sept 21Venice

This morning is our chance to see anything in Florence we missed including the Duomo. For those who like exercise, you can climb Giotto’s Bell Tower for beautiful early-morning views from the top. For the rest of us who don’t want the morning challenge of 400 steps, we’ll lazily sip espresso in the cafe. After breakfast, we will board the high-speed train to Venice, our final stop. Venice is a city of unparalleled beauty and one of my favorite places on Earth. We will wander its unique network of winding alleys and picturesque canals and get lost in a world of exquisite architecture on foot and by boat.

Sept 22Venice

Today you’ll see all of the historic palaces and landmarks that make Venice a city of unparalleled beauty. How does it all just rise up out of the sea? You’ll also have free time this afternoon for shopping or have the option of floating down the Grand Canal on an enchanting gondola ride. And how about dinner by the waterfront and watch the sun set from one of the best viewpoints in Italy.

Sept 23Venice

Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, The Bridge of Sighs, Teatro La Fenice, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Rialto Bridge… these are some, but not all, of the iconic Venetian landmarks you’ll see before we leave. Plus a haunted, flooded crypt under a church if you dare. For our last night in Italy, we will enjoy the slow food experience known in Venice as “Cicchetti” as we walk through quiet neighborhoods to some of my favorite spots.

Sept 24Depart for home

Bid farewell to Italy in the morning, a private water taxi will take you to Venice Airport for your flight home. (Or you have the option to extend your stay… just ask for details!)

Italy Photos by Spike

DOCUMENTS NOTE: You must have a passport that is valid at least 3 months beyond our visit (aka Dec. 30, 2024 (or a visa to enter Italy if you’re a U.S. green card holder). Refunds will not be given because you did not secure a valid passport or visa in time for this trip. Please ask if you need clarification on travel documents.

LIMITATIONS NOTE: For this trip. we require you to be reasonably fit in order to casually walk from location to location. We also require that you are able to handle your own luggage/bags, and enter/exit the vehicle without assistance. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make a trip challenging and we can answer all questions. We regret that this tour is not designed to accommodate guests with wheelchairs, mobility limitations, or strollers due to conditions beyond our control – some of the village streets, ancient sites and old buildings we are visiting are not fully accessible.  When you send your tour deposit, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for others on the trip or alter/delay the group’s travel plans.

CANCELLATION NOTICE:  In the event that you have to cancel your “Explore With Spike” trip, we make every attempt to replace you with another paying traveler but if not, your payments are non-refundable. The best way to protect yourself against unforeseen changes in your travel plans is to purchase travel insurance.

Italy 2024 Cancellation Policy

Travel Insurance Recommendations

Questions? Email us! travel@explorewithspike.com

WEATHER NOTICE: We are headed to Italy in its dry season (July-Sept sees the least precipitation) but that doesn’t mean we won’t see rainfall.  We will adjust the tour locations each day as necessary for comfort but we continue in all weather. Venice Photographers: keep your gear protected because we shoot in all conditions. Rain and fog makes great photographs too! 

COVID-19 NOTICE: We kindly ask you to take precautions if you have symptoms or feel sick, for example wear a mask and notify your guides so they can care for you. We follow each country’s guidelines; at this time, Italy does not require proof of vaccinations. We do not offer a refund if you can not attend a tour due to changing Covid-19 guidelines. Explore With Spike’s tour guides, pros and staff are fully vaccinated. We wish to be respectful to each other and the people of Italy. Kind people are our kinda people!