While I like to advocate the DIY approach to traveling around Italy, I also like to keep up with the many types of tours that are on offer.
For 2020, I found four intriguing Italy tours that I would love to take part in. So I figured my readers would love to know about them, too.
Three out of the four of the following tours are in northern Italy, an area that I long to see more of, while one tour is in Sicily. All of them take place in summer or late summer/early fall, so as to give you time to make your plans.
Will this be the year you book a tour of Italy? Read on!
Hike & Bike the Dolomites – July/August
In summer, when the cities are full of tourists and the beaches become one big party zone, it’s understandable that some want to escape to the cool air, relative quiet, and breathing room of the mountains. This is why I was attracted to this family-friendly hike and bike tour of the Dolomites.
Austin Adventures’s South Tyrol and the Dolomites tour includes three days of “easy hiking” through the UNESCO World Heritage mountains of Trentino-Alto Adige plus two days of “mostly downhill” biking through green valleys.
Breaks include visits to Mondotreno, which has the largest installation of model miniature trains in Italy and a visit to see the unusual ancient frescoes in the church of San Procolo. There is also a chance to get above it all with a cable car ride among dramatic alpine peaks. The tour, offered in late July and late August, starts and ends in Verona.
Chef-Led Cycling in Friuli-Venezia Giulia – Early September
I have been on tours that have focused solely on eating and thought, “My God, I need to get some exercise.” Then I’ve been on tours that were so focused on the activity I thought I was going to die of hunger.
Tourissimo’s Chef-Led Cycling Tour in Friuli-Venezia Giulia seems like the best of both kinds of tours. During the tour, you get to bike (or hike) along the world-class Alpe-Adria trail, a scenic route connecting hiking trails in Italy, Slovenia, and Austria. City stops included on the tour are the Venetian fortress city of Palmanova and the UNESCO sites of Cividale del Friuli and Aquileia.
There are also visits to vineyards, beaches, and a Michelin-starred restaurant, complete with cooking demonstration. Chef Mary Sue Milliken, of Food Network fame, is the guest chef on this tour, which takes place in early September.
Prosecco Tasting and Tour of the Veneto + Andrea Bocelli – Mid-September
A week of wining and dining through the Prosecco hills of the Veneto always sounds inviting, especially in the crisp days of September.
But this tour by Ortensia Blu Italian Adventures has something extra. Midway through the wining and dining, guests will have a chance to attend an open-air Andrea Bocelli concert in the main square of Marostica, which is known for its life-size chess board.
In addition to being in the Veneto for the annual grape harvest (vendemmia), this tour offers a cruise around the Venice lagoon, a stop in the charming town of Bassano del Grappa to sample its namesake liquor, a cooking class with a certified pizzaiolo, and a visit to Treviso.
Life in a Remote Sicilian Town, Experience Sicily – July
There is a growing desire among many travelers to see something beyond what is pictured in in the holiday brochures — a desire to go one step further, to the hidden villages and back roads where few other tourists go. One sure way to have such an “authentic” vacation in Italy is to live among the locals for a little while.
Experience Sicily’s Life in a Remote Sicilian Town is a unique opportunity to see and experience the best of Eastern Sicily — Mt. Etna, Ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples, famously beautiful cities like Taormina and Modica, beaches — all while enjoying the day-to-day rhythms of the small town of Licodia Eubea.
In addition to touring some of Sicily’s hot spots, travelers will be in town for Licodia Eubea’s annual saint’s day feast, Santa Margherita, on July 20. Typical Italian feast days, which pair traditional Catholic processions with secular merriment (e.g., lots of eating, drinking and music), are when little Italian villages like this come alive.
Almost all of the above tour companies run various tours to Italy throughout the year. So click the links to browse other offerings.
Have you been on a great tour in Italy? Please tell us all about it in the comment box below.