Phone: (607) 756-8676
Our Experience, Your Discoveries
We want to show you the world, and to have you truly inspired by it - exploring its breathtaking diversity. Our enthusiasm is stronger than ever to reach out and expand your horizons.
We hope you accept this invitation and join us on one of our journeys so that our experience becomes one of your many discoveries.
Florence, Tuscany and Venice
There are interesting aspects of Italian life waiting to be explored in every location. In Florence, the countless museums, churches, markets, restaurants, and stores within walking distance of the hotel, make the city a desirable destination for any traveler. The quaint Tuscan villages offer wonderful landscapes, local markets, piazzas, and small shops to be enjoyed by all who might like to sketch, write, or simply appreciate the culture of Italy. The trip’s leisurely pace will provide ample opportunity to wander through medieval hill towns, and feast on the renowned regional foods and wines.
Your journey ends in Venice, the legendary city of art, encompassing approximately 180 square miles, 100 of which are water. The city is an exotic blend of Gothic, Byzantine and Renaissance styles, and appears today much as it did in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Venice is a wonderful city to explore on foot. As you wander the streets and alleys, you’ll see dark passageways that end in sunlit squares, palatial buildings lining the canals, ornate bridges spanning the waterways, and beautiful cathedrals in every quarter.
Day 1: U.S. - Florence
Depart on an overnight flight to Florence. The tour will begin tomorrow at the hotel.
Day 2: Florence arrival
Take a taxi from the airport to your hotel for an orientation meeting with your guide. Overlooking the city, the hotel terrace sits atop a medieval tower. Afterwards, if you wish to explore, there are restaurants and snack bars nearby.
Days 3 - 5: The Magic of Florence
The next three days will be spent exploring Florence, with the last day being at leisure or exploring the many museums. After breakfast the first two days the guide will outline the daily activities. Being in the heart of Florence, the hotel affords a perfect location so that daily excursions can be done easily on foot. The famous Ponte Vecchio, the most popular and oldest bridge that spans the Arno River, is within fifty yards. Just beyond the bridge are the massive Pitti Palace, originally built in the fifteenth century, and the Boboli Gardens, a maze of gardens and sculptures that covers acres. If you are looking for a good view, take a brisk walk up the hill, or take a taxi to the terrace coffee shop or the ramparts of Forte Belvedere, located just behind the gardens.
Florence’s Duomo, a magnificent cathedral whose massive dome was designed by Brunelleschi. The cathedral offers endless facets and details to explore. If you feel adventurous, climb to the dome’s cupola or to the top of the adjacent bell tower — the four hundred steps are truly breathtaking!
Florence’s town square, the Piazza della Signoria, has been the heart of political life since the fourteenth century. The spacious Piazza and adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi contain numerous sculptures that hold an important place in Florentine art. Among them are the Bartolomeo Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune that commemorates Tuscan naval victories, and Cellini’s Perseus. The Piazza also is home to the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), built in the thirteenth century, and the Uffizi Gallery, where many of the world’s great art treasures are housed. (B, L daily)
Days 6 - 8: Tuscany
Next is the heart of Chianti, twenty-one miles south of Florence. The contrast between the city and the Tuscan countryside is striking. The narrow city streets are replaced with vineyards, woods, and rolling hills. The borders of the Chianti region are almost exactly those that were established in 1716 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Today, more than sixty percent of Chianti remains forested, as there are strict limits on how much land can be cultivated.
It would be impossible to visit all the lovely towns of this region, but rest assured your itinerary can be designed to deliver your favorite highlights and interests. Some of your choices include the following. About an hour away is San Gimignano, one of the most picturesque of the Italian hill towns. It is known as the “city of the beautiful towers”. San Gimignano’s narrow streets and alleyways, courtyards, churches, Duomo, and stunning artwork provide a wealth of opportunities for you to explore. A bit further away are Pienza or Siena. Pienza is a picturesque renaissance town with quiet streets and alleys. Pope Pius II was born here in 1405, when it was called Corsignano, the pope commissioned Bernardo Rossellino to build the Duomo, papal palace, and town hall. Away from the grandeur of the main square, Peinza has various local shops selling local produce and the well known pecorino, cheese made from sheep’s milk. Siena, the twelfth century Piazza del Campo’s unusual shell shape sets it apart from other plazas, while the Cathedral is described as one of Italy’s most brilliant works of art.
A few of the lesser known or popular towns are equally as beautiful, and offer a bit more tranquility at a slower pace. Volpaia, is one of Chianti’s most beautiful fortified villages. It was built out of honey-colored stone and boasts a castle from the tenth century. Montefioralle is a fourteenth century hamlet, perched on a ridge that overlooks the town of Greve in Chianti. A bit further south is Castellina in Chianti, a charming town, featuring a tunnel street that served as a soldiers’ walk back in the days when the town was a Florentine bastion. Another destination is Monteriggioni, one of the most perfectly preserved fortified villages in all of Italy. Dante mentioned its vantage points in the Inferno, as the circle of Titans guarding the lowest level of Hell. (B, D, optional lunch at vineyard)
Day 9: Florence - Venice
After breakfast the driver will return you to the train station in Florence, taking the train to Venice, where your next journey begins. Your Venetian guide will meet you, assist with getting settled at the hotel, and you will have your first introduction of the city. The first stop will be the Ducal Palace, one of the city’s most significant monuments. The palace is situated at one end of the Piazza San Marco along with its great Basilica and its towering Campanile or bell tower. The Piazza is flanked by arcades of shops and open-air cafés, and was built in 1340 to be the home of the Duke – the head of the Venetian State – and the seat of government. Nearby, the famous Bridge of Sighs arches over a narrow canal. (B, D)
Days 10 - 11: Venice
After breakfast today you will explore more of the city on foot. There are optional walking tours to choose from. Your guide will take in to account your interests and design a program specifically for you. Your choices can include highlights such as the Rialto Bridge, the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, a Benedictine Monastery offering great views from which to photograph the canal, or the Frari Church. The most imposing example of religious Gothic architecture in Venice, you can admire Titian’s masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. You can also choose from some of the less frequented, yet equally fascinating areas of the city such as a colorful and bustling market with fresh fish, fruit and vegetable stalls, or the once defined “red-light” district. (B, L)
The last day is at your leisure to visit one of the many museums, go for a gondola ride, do some shopping, take an optional interior tour of the Basilica, or even venture to the tiny island of Burano. Scarcely more than a half-mile wide and a forty-minute boat ride across the lagoon. You can explore the island on your own to shop, enjoy lunch amidst the brightly painted houses of blue, red, green, and yellow that line the narrow canals. This evening you can stroll around the city on your own, it will be quieter, except for the occasional singing of a gondolier. (B)
Day 12: Venice - U.S.
Travel on the Alilaguna (public water taxi) to airport today for an afternoon flight home. (B)
The accommodations chosen combine simple elegance with excellent location. In Florence, stay at one of the city’s best-kept secrets. This small, family-run hotel is in an ideal location, just a block from the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio. The hotel offers a special treat, from which it takes its name; it contains the tallest privately owned tower (torre) in Florence. It is worth the climb to the tower’s terrace to enjoy the stunning panorama of the city. In the Tuscan countryside, stay a meticulously restored country villa. It provides an absolutely perfect location for country walks and day trips to Tuscan hill towns and villages. In Venice you will stay at a lovely hotel on the grand canal, within meters of the San Zaccharia water stop.
Tour land cost: $0 US Dollars based upon minimum of 2 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: Please contact us for more details about the single room supplement. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Extension land cost: $0 based upon minimum of paying participants.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.
Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.
Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties.
Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.
Fitness and Health
If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).
You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.
Subject to Change
This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best this destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Above is a summary of typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.