Italy is all about experiences, from the littlest things like a quiet coffee in the sunshine, right up to the grande, like a behind-the-scenes museum tour or tickets to a once-in-a-lifetime event. We can arrange cooking classes and market tours for foodies (we even have itineraries for gourmet getaways in Rome, Sicily and Tuscany); tastings and vineyard visits for wine connoisseurs; even language lessons for anyone looking to brush up on their Italian. Below, you’ll find 10 of our favourite Italian experiences – for even more inspiration for things to do in Italy, take a look at our excursions and opera & events pages.
Whether you’re a fan of red, white, rosé or sparkling, it’s not hard to find a local winery to guide you through its vino. We’ve got all sorts of options, from cellar tours in Sicily to tastings among the vines in Chianti. There’s even a two-week wine-themed itinerary for real devotees.
Twice a year, the Tuscan city of Siena hosts one of the most exciting horse races in the world, Il Palio. Riders representing 10 of the city’s contrade (districts) race around Siena’s shell-shaped Piazza del Campo – our Palio di Siena short breaks include grandstand tickets so you can cheer them on in comfort.
Graze your way around markets and delis with a food-focused walking tour. In Rome, you could opt for a tasting tour around Campo dei Fiori and Trastevere or a visit to a local farmers market; if you’re headed for the Neapolitan Riviera, try the street food tour of Naples.
Gondolas have been a part of life in Venice for centuries – and they’re the perfect way to explore the city’s network of canals. Stick to the central waterways to see the grandest palazzi, or go for a quieter route to see a more peaceful side of Venice.
Perfect your dinner-party dishes by learning from the pros. Our chef-led cooking classes will teach you all you need to know about making authentic Tuscan, Roman and Sicilian specialities. If you prefer something a bit lighter, how about a pizza, tiramisu or gelato-making class?
Italy is the birthplace of opera, so there’s nowhere better to watch a performance. We can book tickets for the big-name opera houses (La Fenice, Teatro alla Scala), but for the ultimate opera experience, it’s got to be the Verona Opera Festival, where performances take place in the city’s open-air amphitheatre.
There are some fantastic rail journeys we can arrange for you. Head up into the Alps on the Bernina Express (one of the world’s most scenic trains), or treat yourself by travelling to or from Italy on the famous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Get the personal touch with a private tour in one of Italy’s cities. Take a turn around Naples Underground ruins, discover Venice’s Byzantine roots or get a one-to-one explanation of the amazing artworks inside the Vatican Museums.