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Essential Italy

Eat your weight in pasta, spend afternoons lazing in the sun, explore some of the best local hotspots and spot one of the Seven Wonders of the World on this 10-day adventure through Italy’s essentials. From Venice to Rome, you’ll be ticking off bucket list items, and maybe even finding that one hidden gem you recommend to friends for years to come. Beach hop around lakes and the sea, sample Tuscan wine, eat your favourite foods in the cities they were born in and soak in more art, history and culture than you can handle. When your bellies, brains and bags are full at the end of this whirlwind Italian experience, say arrivederci to your new travel besties and the trip of a lifetime.

10 days, from


per person


16 people max


Trip code: ZMYR
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s


Countries Visited:  Italy
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nights), Hostel (multi-share) (5 nights), Guesthouse (multi-share) (2 nights)
Transportation: Train
Included Meals:

  • 3 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Soak up the sun and sea in lakeside towns with plenty of free time to enjoy the beaches. Jump in a boat for a coastal tour, sip on a spritz at a beach bar or just lay out and enjoy the Italian sun.

  • Eat and drink your way through Italy, stopping in at some of the country’s finest food destinations. Whether it’s a real Italian Pizza in Rome, a traditional pesto-making demonstration in Cinque Terre or wine windows in Florence, your tastebuds are front and center.

  • There’s no shortage of incredible views and photo ops on this trip! Stopping in some of the most beautiful and iconic cities in Italy, tick off plenty of bucket list items, like finding your own Romeo or Juliet in Verona or looking out over the Mediterranean Sea from the hills of Cinque Terre.

  • Soak up Italian history in some of Italy’s most storied cities. Explore ancient Roman architecture of the Colosseum or wander through 16th century strongholds – on this trip, there’s a little something for the history buff in all of us.

  • Feast your eyes on more art than you can handle! Italy was home to some of the greatest artists to ever paint, sculpt and design. Stopping in the cities that played muse, visit their creations and follow their footsteps in the streets that inspired them.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Cooperativa Coraggio. Donations help them regenerate 22 hectares of unused public land to create local jobs and produce organic food in Italy.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Venice

Ciao! Welcome to Venice. Your Italian adventure starts in the city on the sea, famous for its winding canals, almost 400 bridges and gondoliers punting their way through the narrow waterways. You’ll meet up with your group at a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, maybe wander the labyrinth of streets and passages, discover hidden secrets in the historic streets and find the Bridge of Sighs for a pic. Window shop by the Ponte di Rialto, browse the famous flooding bookshop – Libreria Acqua Alta (the self-proclaimed ‘most beautiful bookshop in the world’) or jump in a gondola and be swept away by the romance of this place. Tonight, why not get the group together for dinner at Orient Experience – a restaurant providing employment, support and advocacy to Venice’s migrant and refugee community with a menu inspired by the journeys they took to get to Europe.

Day 2: Verona / Lake Garda

Say farewell to Venice this morning as you leave the canals behind and make your way to Verona – the city that played backdrop to the most famous love story ever told. An orientation walk with your leader will take you around the city and into the courtyard where you can gaze up at Juliet’s balcony (keep an eye out for Romeo lurking around the place). You’ll also go past Arena di Verona – a Roman amphitheatre that still plays host to live performances. Built in AD30 the theatre is one of the best-preserved ancient structures of its kind and is even older than the Colosseum! See if you can find some Sfogliatine di Villafranca (a much-loved crumbly puff pastry dessert invented in Verona). After an afternoon of exploring, jump back on the train and head to Lake Garda. Tonight, find a lakeside restaurant for dinner with your new travel buddies.

Day 3: Lake Garda

Wake up today in the lakeside region of Lake Garda. On the banks of the largest lake in Italy, you’ll have free time to explore at your leisure. As one of the most beautiful small towns on the lake, Peschiera del Garda packs a punch, with plenty to see. Wander along the canals and rivers and make your way down to the lakefront where you can take a dip in the turquoise waters or grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants. At the UNESCO World Heritage Site Peschiera del Garda fortress, you can learn how the Republic of Venice defended itself between the 16th and 17th centuries. Tonight, why not grab your group and watch the sunset over the water while sipping on an Aperol spritz or a negroni (or two!).

Day 4: Parma

Leaving the banks of Lake Garda this morning, you’ll make your way to the beautiful city of Parma. As a food lovers paradise, get ready to sample all the traditional delicacies Parma has on offer. When you arrive, your leader will take you around the city on an orientation walk, before leaving you to explore at your own pace. Wander the colourful streets of this gem in the heart of northern Italy, famously the birthplace of two essential additions to any pizza night – Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano. Once you’ve eaten all the cured hams and aged cheeses you can handle (although can you ever really get enough?), maybe check out some incredible art history and the intricately frescoed ceilings in the Duomo di Parma, or head about an hour out and visit the largest labyrinth in the world – Labirinto di Franco Maria Ricci.

Day 5: La Spezia

Today, you’ll head to La Spezia, the gateway to Cinque Terre, nestled in the hills of northern Italy and on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Today is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a day at the beach, soak up some sun and eat all the seafood you can stomach. You can also jump on the bus and take a day trip out to the unofficial ‘sixth town’ of Cinque Terre, Portovenere. On the tip of a peninsula, this small finishing town is surrounded by ocean. Full of history, maybe walk out to the 12th century Doira Castle or find literary inspiration at the Grotta di Lord Byron – a popular swimming cove that inspired the author it’s named after. Today is all about enjoying the Mediterranean coast, so make it your own! Don’t forget to check in with your leader to find the best places that only the locals know.

Day 6: Cinque Terre / La Spezia

Welcome to Cinque Terre! One of the most beautiful coastal stretches in Italy. Historically, long walking trails were the only way to travel between the villages, which means that other than the incredible views, you’ll also have some hiking opportunities. Today, your leader will take you on a hike through some of these tracks, with the Mediterranean Sea in sight the whole time. Walking past terraced farms and through coastal forests, this is the perfect way to discover this part of Italy. After your hike, the rest of the day is yours. Maybe make your way down to a beach club and soak in the sun, or join a traditional pesto making demonstration for some tricks you can take home. Alternatively, hop on a boat and take a cruise around the coast to see the rolling hills from a different perspective.

Day 7: Pisa / Florence

Say arrivederci to Cinque Terre this morning and make your way to Pisa. When you arrive, head over to the Piazza del Duomo where you’ll find the Battistero di San Giovanni, Cattedrale di Pisa and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Join the crowds and get your very own picture holding up the tower or challenge your group to come up with the most original photo. You’ve got free time for the next few hours, so why not ask your leader for the best places to sample some salami, a few cheeses or where to get the best glass of Tuscan wine? Maybe try some Cecina Toscana (traditional flatbread) too. Leave Pisa mid-afternoon, and head for Florence, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the city. Ask them to point out any hot spots for dinner and drinks tonight, and where you can jump on an optional food tour or experience happy hour the Italian way (second aperitivo, anyone?).

Day 8: Florence

Today you have a full day to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Italy – Florence. Home to the great Michelangelo, why not visit the Accademia Gallery and see David himself, or visit his replica and other Rennaissance sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria. If you’re feeling up for a bit of a challenge, walk the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo and get one of the best 360 views of Florence. Hunt through the streets and see how many wine windows you can find (there are over 180!), taking full advantage of the quirky little holes in the wall that were originally put in so Florentines could still enjoy a glass of vino during times of plague. Tonight, come together as a group and enjoy a sunset aperitivo in Piazzale Michelangelo before heading out for the night.

Day 9: Rome

Your time in Firenze has come to an end. Today, you’ll be heading to the illustrious capital city – Rome. Walking in the footsteps of emperors, conquerors, gladiators and philosophers, the streets of Rome are steeped in history. Follow your leader on an orientation walk and get the lay of the land before heading off to explore. The Roman Colosseum (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) is a must-see for most, whether you admire the architectural marvel from the outside or immerse yourself in the history from the inside. If you’re looking for more ancient Roman architecture, check out the Forum (now home to a colony of cats). You can also talk to your leader about heading out to Vatican City where you can climb St Peter’s Dome or visit the Vatican Museum and check out Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Tonight, your leader can help you find the best place for dinner to toast to the end of your adventure.

Day 10: Rome

Your trip comes to an end this morning and it’s time to say goodbye to your group. As there is so much to see in Rome, it’s recommended that you stay a little longer and book a few more days – just speak to your booking agent.