Finding the right tour agency for your trip to Italy is no easy task. There are big players in the industry that treat travelers like numbers and stop by the same-old tourist sights. Let’s be honest – will you really look back fondly on the time you took cheesy photos at the Leaning Tower of Pisa or dressed up as a gladiator outside the Colosseum? Probably not. What we crave now more than ever are authentic experiences that dive deep into the culture.
That is what Italy boasts in spades – legendary culture, from the remnants of the Roman Empire to “cucina povera” championed by the working class. To discover the real charm of Italia we suggest booking with the boutique travel company, Italy Charme. Led by an Italian local Moreno Moretti, who has explored every corner of his homeland, this agency focuses on culturally rich destinations and adventures that reveal the soul of Bel Paese.
Italy Charme helps you live as a local by showcasing rich customs and traditions through a range of customizable itineraries. All the topics of architecture, cuisine, fashion, hiking, history, landscapes, sightseeing, villas, wine and more are covered – so there is a tour or two suited for every type of traveler. Below we go into more detail about the best tours that Italy Charme offers and outline some of the highlights that you can expect.
4 Best Tours with Italy Charme
1. A Journey Through Italy (16 Days)
Over two weeks exploring the most iconic Italian destinations such as Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast and Capri is what this journey has in store. It’s a wonderful introduction to Italy for those who have never been. The trip begins in Venice and features a gourmet walking tour of the City of Canals, as well as a day tour out to Murano Island to learn how the famous Murano glass is made at a factory visit and workshop.
Next on the itinerary is Cinque Terre, reached via train from Venice. With a local expert accompanying you, the natural beauty of the “five villages” unfolds before your eyes. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso and Vernazza all offer something unique. The vineyard and wine excursions here are special indeed. Afterwards, the famous Renaissance city of Florence awaits. Guests get to enjoy an art-focused tour of the Uffizi Gallery.
Then, on the ninth day, the Tuscan countryside will be visited. Wine and olive oil are big products in this region and guests are shown the secrets of production at a boutique winery in Chianti. With your next base in Sorrento, facing the Bay of Naples, you will be able to take a boat ride to Capri and check out the hidden gem of Schiazzano. Finally, the trip concludes in Rome with a walking tour and some free time to see the Eternal City.
2. A Taste of Gourmet Sicily (9 Days)
Sicily is the largest island in the Med and its home to UNESCO sites, as well as spectacular beaches and phenomenal food. On this tour with Italy Charme you will get immersed in the island’s rich heritage through its favorite pastime: eating! Sample Sicilian street food in Palermo, marvel at the Trapani Salt Flats, visit Taormina with its Greco-Roman Theatre, enjoy gourmet foods in Catania, hike around Mt. Etna, discover Noto and more.
3. A Taste of Puglia (8 Days)
Puglia is an up-and-coming region of Italian tourism and for good reason. The beaches are fantastic, the towns are charming and the food superb. This tour concentrates on local cuisine, and by basing yourself in Polignano a Mare and Martina Franca you will have a variety of flavors at your fingertips. Everything from cooking classes, to wine tastings, to market visits will be experienced – leaving you with a lovely taste in your mouth.
A local guide leads these activities and takes you to spellbinding places such as Matera, Cisternino and Alberobello. One unforgettable moment on the Taste of Puglia tour is the cooking experience at a local Apulian farm on Day 4. Foodies will get to try their hand at whipping up typical dishes – including focaccia bread, calzone and taralli. Take plenty of notes because these are foods you will want to be introducing to your friends back home.
4. Secret Italy – Abruzzo and Le Marche (7 Days)
Not many tourists ever make it to the local secrets of Abruzzo and Le Marche – two regions located on the east of Italy’s “boot” that are bursting with culture, cuisine and scenery. This week-long adventure kicks off in the Province of L’Aquila, Abruzzo, known for its incredible mountains along with medieval castles. The city/commune of L’Aquila is where you will be based while you check out fascinating sites like the Fountain of 99 Spouts.
On the second day, travelers swap their sneakers for hiking boots as they trek around the snow-capped Gran Sasso massif through a series of forests, waterfalls, farms and villages. It’s not uncommon to see shepherds and sheep in this part of Italy. During the hike, you will get the chance to meet a farmer who produces artisan cheese. Following this, on Day 3, guests get transported to the coast where the epic hilltop town of Vasto lies.
Costa dei Trabocchi, with its quirky fishing structures, makes for cool photos on the next day and the seafood lunch there will show you a different (but still brilliant) side to Italian gastronomy. After, a tasting at a winery puts the Pecorino Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape on display. The final days include the Heritage Trail to Limosano, a change of hotels to Ascoli Piceno and a walking tour of Ascoli Piceno, before finishing in Rome.
4 Bonus Experiences with Italy Charme
If you like the idea of traveling through Italy on your own, without following an itinerary and being led by guides, you could still add on experiences to enhance your overall trip. Italy Charme offers a few exciting and unique excursions that can be done in a day, usually over several hours. They give you a taste of the real Italian way of life. Here are four we recommend. The more of these you book on your independent journey, the better!
- Truffle Hunting: This unique day tour takes place in either Tuscany or Piedmont. Truffles are a major component of Italian cuisine, especially the fine dining scene, and so truffle hunting is big business. Pound for pound, truffles are some of the most expensive foods on the planet. You can learn about this fungus by walking through the woods and finding them with a guide. After the walk, you will be able to taste the truffles with wine.
- F1 Driving Experience: You don’t have to be a petrolhead to revel in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Driving a real Formula 1 car is thrilling just to get a sense of the possibilities that vehicles are capable of. Speed and handling are two things that will grab your attention right away, as you drive around an empty track. For Formula 1 lovers it’s a dream come true. It will give you a greater understanding of what the drivers go through.
- Meeting an Aristocratic Family: History abounds in Italy and families here have a long lineage – some tracing back as far as Roman emperors. The Italian Lakes in particular are dotted with noble houses and ancient palaces where families have kept their properties guarded for centuries. Italy Charme gives you the chance to enter one of these noble houses and be welcomed as a guest. It even includes dinner with the family at night.
- Legends and Ghosts of Venice Twilight Tour: Venice is a mysterious place. The fact that it’s built on water is enough to generate a few myths and legends. Once the sun goes down, the City of Water has a different character. By booking this tour with Italy Charme you can hear stories of ghosts and fables that will bring the past to life. Guides narrate the tales and take you down hidden alleyways to see what is lurking after dark.