Italy

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

Small group escorted tours Italy for seniors.

Italian culture: how is it defined by the traveller? Olive groves ? The rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside? Or being part of one of our small group tours of Italy, where you can linger and explore the place, be it the Italian lake region, and then onto central Italy and a Tuscany tour, or with small group tours Southern Italy and small group tours Rome. The pace of the program and the places visited are some of the key benefits of our Italian small group tours, as is having an itinerary with some flexibility. Whether you are looking for small group arts tours Italy, or historic and cultural tours, scenic and culinary explorations, or a combination of each, our number of flexible Italian tours can meet your demands. For participants on Odyssey’s Italian small group tours it is this flexibility in thinking and approach as a tour company that makes for a truly memorable Italian tour with like minded people.

Crafted for the mature World traveller

Small group tours of Italy

European Cities Small Group History and Cultural Winter Tour

An escorted tour A Journey that commences in Rome and takes in 12 destinations  along its journey to Athens. This is an off season small group journey with like minded people. A small group tour across Southern Europe with local guides sharing authentic in-country authentic experiences for mature couples and solo travellers.

Departing Dec

Discover Rome | Cultural and History Small Group Tour for Seniors

Rome is arguably the most fascinating city in Italy, the capital city, once the centre of a vast, ancient empire and still today a cultural focus within Europe. Explore the city in-depth as part of a small group program spending 14 days exploring, just Rome.

15 days
Departing Dec

Ancient History of Southern Italy & Sicily group tours

Our program for senior travellers, as well as featuring the rugged countryside of Southern Italy, also encompasses learning about the many civilisations that have shaped this land. We learn about the influence of the early Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, and Aragonese.

22 days
Departing Sep, Jan, May, Apr

Florence: Living in a Renaissance City

A small group tour with like minded people that is based in Florence. An authentic experience of living in this Renaissance city  The daily itineraries draw on local guides to share their knowledge on this unique European tour. Trips to Pisa, Lucca and Perugia are included.

22 days
Departing Sep, Mar, Apr, Oct
Island of Sicily
Guaranteed

Malta & Sicily - Mediterranean Islands small group tour

For centuries MaltaSicily, held the key to the Mediterranean. Unlike other European tour companies, Odyssey provides a tour leader and local guides to share detailed itineraries about the destinations on these small group journeys. For mature couples and solo travellers. A reasonable single supplement is charged.

12 days
Departing Mar, Sep
Island of Sicily
Guaranteed

Mediterranean Islands Small Group Tour | Malta, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica

For centuries Malta, SicilySardinia and Corsica held the key to the Mediterranean. Unlike other European tour companies, Odyssey provides a tour leader and local guides to share detailed itineraries about the destinations on these small group journeys. This escorted tour explores the geography, history, culture and peoples of these 4 islands. For mature couples and solo travellers. A reasonable single supplement is charged.

25 days
Departing Sep, Oct, Mar

Via Francigena Walking Tour: Great St. Bernard Pass to Rome

An escorted tour that walks sections of the ancient pilgrimage route Via Francigena. Our small group is joined by Local guides to share knowledge and authentic experiences as our group of like minded people make their way to Rome.

Departing Apr, Oct

Heritage, culture, history of Italy, seniors small group - Short Tour

Odyssey’s small group tour features the best of the Italian countryside as well as the great cities and icons of Italy. We will see the Renaissance cities of Florence, Pisa, and Lucca as well as the Umbrian medieval cities of Perugia.

11 days
Departing Sep, May

Heritage, Culture and History of Italy | Small Group Tours for Seniors

Rome, the world’s first superpower, lasted for almost a thousand years. In this small group tour for seniors we thread our way through the Rome of the Emperors, then through the Italy of the Renaissance, Michelangelo, the Medici, and the Borgia. In the south, we visit the cosmopolitan city of Naples as well as Pompeii and the island retreat of Capri.

22 days
Departing Sep, May

Caravaggio’s Journey | Small Group Tour in Italy

On this small group tour of Italy and Malta we trace the life of Caravaggio, exploring the artistic works he left behind and the tumultuous life he led. We follow him from his birthplace in Milan to Rome, Malta, Sicily and Naples. In Rome Caravaggio established his name as a brilliant though controversial painter until, accused of murder, he was forced to flee south. In each place he lived Caravaggio left behind a rich legacy of art for us to admire.

20 days
Departing Oct, May, Sep

Italy and France, history of gardens small group escorted tour

Odyssey’s small group tour explores some of the classic gardens of Italy and France that reflect changing fashions and garden designs throughout the ages. This fully escorted tour features an Odyssey Program Leader and a handful of local guides who will examine, discuss, compare and contrast the cultural and temporal similarities and diversities between the gardens of Italy and France and the historical influences on their design.

25 days
Departing Sep, May, Aug

Renaissance Italy Tour: Story of Five Families

Explore Renaissance Italy on this small group tour though an examination of five significant city states. Florence, Urbino, Ferrara, Mantua and Milan were all dominated by families determined to increase the status of their city through art and architecture. Spend time coming to know the men and women who helped create the cities, as well as the magnificent legacy they left behind.

21 days
Departing Aug, May

Tour of Northern Italy's Lake and Alps

A European tour to the stunning Lakes Region of Italy. Your travel experience begins in Milan, daily itineraries include two of the region’s lakes – Garda and Maggiore, plus the Roman villa Desenzona and a day in Cinque Terre. Local guides share experience and knowledge with you on this escorted tour.

22 days
Departing Sep, Jun, May

Italy Puccini Festival small group Tour

The Puccini festival is an escorted tour complete with local guides as part of our small group travel program. Join like minded people on this European tour in Italy. For solo travellers there is a nominal single supplement charged.

20 days
Departing Jul

Villages of Italy - short small group tours

Roam the villages of the northern Dolomites, in Italy,  home to more than 40 glaciers. A small group tour is a great way to get to know Italy, or reacquaint yourself with its beauty and hidden gems. Travel with like minded mature couples or solo travellers.

13 days
Departing Aug

Villages of Italy | small group tours Italy

Explore Italy in a small group tour. Italy is the most Mediterranean of nations and as mature and aged as many of its red wines. In terms of being a nation, it is even younger than New Zealand. This is often hard to believe, bearing in mind that Italy gave rise to Europe’s first global empire, which endured for approximately 2,000 years. The new constantly brushes with the old and in doing so generates sparks that makes any sojourn in Italy a deeply textured experience.

26 days
Departing Aug

Art and History of Italy | Small Group Tour for seniors

Taken as a whole, Italian Civilization (which includes, of course, the splendid inheritance of Ancient Rome) is absolutely foundational to Western culture. Music, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature, Philosophy, Law and Politics all derive from Italy or were adapted and transformed through the medium of Italy.

18 days
Departing Sep, Aug

Lakes and Landscapes of Northern Italy | Short Small Group Tour for Seniors

Our small group tour begins in the cosmopolitan city of Milan and ventures to 2 of the region’s lakes – Garda and Maggiore. Our tour uncovers a wealth of natural beauty, castles, serene waters, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking scenery.

13 days
Departing Sep

Via di Francesco Walking Tour | Small Group Walking Tours Italy

Experience with like minded people a small group journey walking  Via di Francesco (or the Way of St. Francis) in Italy. One of a few European tour companies who offer a tour leader and local guides for senior couples and single travellers on this journey between the key destinations on this walk.

18 days
Departing Sep

Our small group tours cover a wide range of destinations that will spoil you for choice.  An always popular main attraction is Florence, the city of important artists and thinkers such as poet Dante Alighieri and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli and home of the powerful Medici family, which gave birth to the Renaissance with both men and women of influence and left behind a legacy that shaped the Italy we know today. On small group tours Venice also sticks out as a memorable highlight. The city-state emerged on a lagoon from the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine empires in the 9th century and grew to become the greatest seaport in late medieval Europe and an important centre of commerce linking the continent to the East, whilst Genoa to the west championed Banking and the completion against Venice. And of course, on your small group tours Rome always features as a particular highlight  – who can resist the beauty of the Eternal City?  All these are places that you can expect to be highlights of small group escorted tours Italy whether travelling as a couple or solo traveller on a group tour with Odyssey.

Italy truly has something for all on an escorted small group tour with a well planned itinerary.  On small group arts tours Italy you can immerse yourself in the splendour that is the art of Italy. Much of the music, painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, philosophy, law, and politics which we in the West enjoy today derives from Italy and is absolutely foundational to Western culture. Experience some of the most important sights and sounds of Italy for lovers of art, opera, history and literature.

Your Italy tour is also steeped in history and a UNESCO world heritage site (s); indeed you can discover a whole other ancient world with a group tour. Your tour director and tour guide will readily share the history from the ghostly ruins of Pompeii on a walking tour all the way to the wonders of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, iconic landmarks abound. Visit on a group tour with like minded senior travellers the world’s smallest country, Vatican City, the city-state surrounded by Rome and admire the opulent Sistine Chapel and some of the world’s finest Renaissance art in the Vatican museum. Extend the itinerary for small group tours Venice to ensure you marvel at the majesty of the Gothic Doge’s Palace in the centre of the road-less city of more than 100 small islands, another UNESCO World heritage site. Pause in Verona to visit Juliet’s balcony.

Admire the dramatic shorelines of Lake Como and/or Lake Maggiore nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps of Northern Italy. Head to Florence and the Chianti region to glory in the wonder that is Tuscan wine. Set against the rugged Apennine Mountains, Tuscany’s beautiful scenery is just as charming as the food and wine tasting on offer. Or on small group tours Southern Italy, experience the stunning landscapes of the dazzling Amalfi coast, where pastel villages tumble into azure blue seas. Off the ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot, you will find Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island. Home to the formidable Mount Etna and Agrigento’s Concordia temple, Sicily is a treasure trove of natural and architectural wonders. Take an excursion to discover one of Italy ’s hidden gems off the coast of Sicily in the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago with sparklingly clear seas and stunning landscapes.

On small group escorted tours Italy offers so much exploring on the cards, you are bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, there is no shortage of food to try when it comes to Italian cuisine. Italy ’s food culture is fiercely local, with each region having its own mouth-watering specialty for you to try as you tour the beautiful Italian landscape.

Articles about Italy

Getting around

Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries when operating its small group escorted tours Italy. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Italy has a centralised and impressively extensive rail network that is more affordable than most European rail networks, and is usually the best way to travel from city to city. You can travel between nearly all major cities by train. The Italian Railway System has nearly 20,000km of rail.

 

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey escorted small group tour stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours,such as those offered in Florence or Rome during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments. For the solo traveller there is a single supplement charged to cover the cost of sole occupancy of a double bedded room or studio apartment.

 

Tour Guides

Odyssey has a tour directortour manager led your small group escorted tours Italy. The tour director is supported by an appropriate local tour guide on a small group tour. Your tour guide has been chosen for their regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during your guided tour or walking tour enabling you to learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit during your excursion.

 

Geography, environment, & weather

Italy’s boot perhaps the most famously shaped country in the world, kicking Sicily out into the ocean. Italy borders Switzerland, France, Austria, and Slovenia and is extroardinarily mountainous, the Alps forming its northern boundary. Italy is divided into twenty regions and has a population of around 61 million. We know the cities and towns are beautiful and full of heritage and history of ancient Rome, but the Tuscany and Umbria and Southern Italy with enclosed fields of Olive groves present stunning landscapres for the senior traveller to enjoy.

In terms of weather, the climate can vary wildly but it is usually very mild in areas such as Rome, Florence, , Umbria and Assisi in Tuscany. In Southern Italy, the amalfi coast, Sorrento, Sicily and Naples the winters are mild and the summers hot. However in Northern Italy, Venice, Verona, Milan, Lake Maggiore it can get cold, during the day and at night, especially in the winter. In certain areas can become extremely dry and hot during the summer. And, of course, if you’re planning on heading to the mountains before after or during Winter, you’ll need to pack for snow.

 

World Heritage sites

Italy has an impressive 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here (http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/IT). While every single site has something of value, here are a few highlights:

  • The historic centres of several towns are listed as World Heritage Sits, including those of Florence, Rome, Naples, Urbino, and Siena.
  • The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which includes Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.
  • The Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, a Piazza that contains four cultural monuments including the famous leaning tower.
  • The Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany.

Festivals & events

Italy is the cultural centre of many artistic and industrial fields, and thus there are plenty of events to look out for across the country and throughout the year. Here are a few that are worth marking on your calendar:

  • The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most spectacular art exhibitions. It was founded in 1895, and takes place every two years.
  • Milan Fashion Week is held in September/October and February/March each year; it is among the most popular and influential fashion shows in the world.
  • Carnevale, a pre-Lent festival, is popular throughout Italy, but its most famous celebration is the Venice Carnevale, during which revellers wear elaborate masks.
  • If you’re even vaguely interested in sports, try not to miss an Italian football match. The atmosphere is extraordinary and the spectacle is unforgettable.

Reading list

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit by Helena Attlee

The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert

SPQR by Mary Beard

The Popes: A History by John Julius Norwich

The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples by David Gilmour

Eating & Drinking

Your Tour managertour director and tour guide on your guided tour will be be able to assist with ordering meals or a coffee in Italy. Traditionally, Italians enjoy a small breakfast, a single-dish lunch, and a single-dish dinner. Breakfast is often simply a pastry and a cappuccino; drinking a cappuccino later in the day, rather than an espresso, is seen as strange. In smaller towns, shops often close down for around an hour for lunch, which is regarded as the most important meal of the day. Dinner is generally eaten after 8pm.

When eating in Italian bars in city centres, you will likely be charged significantly more if you are seated outside instead of standing at the bar, or ordering takeaway. This is due to establishments being taxed heavily for placing seating outside. Often, when ordering drinks or coffee, you order at the cash register, then take your receipt to the bar staff or barista who will serve you. Tips of a euro or two are generally appreciated.

Here’s a tip: If you are in a large group ordering pastas, try to order the same kind (say, spaghetti or penne), as the pasta itself is often cooked fresh, meaning ordering a variety of pastas can slow down service and frustrate the kitchen.

Health & safety

Smarttraveller.gov provides the latest advice on travelling to Italy. While Italy is largely a safe country for tourists, you will often see signs warning of pickpockets in areas popular with tourists, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.

Electrical supply

Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Plugs in Italy have two round pins, so make sure to pick up the right adaptor before your trip.

See All

Tour Reviews

Thank you so much for being a wonderful leader for the Heritage Italy tour. It was so interesting and has left me with lots of things to think about and follow up in my reading. I found I had an old book giving the history of Greek science, i.e. the thinking of the Greeks in the early BC time. An interesting addition to our visit to Paestum and Cumae. The whole experience was marvellous and I have to thank you again for your kindness and consideration and the generous amount of time you gave to us all. I really appreciated that. (MB - Heritage Italy)
Participant Sep -15
• Thank you so much for being a wonderful leader for the Heritage Italy tour. It was so interesting and has left me with lots of things to think about and follow up in my reading. I found I had an old book giving the history of Greek science, i.e. the thinking of the Greeks in the early BC time. An interesting addition to our visit to Paestum and Cumae. The whole experience was marvellous and I have to thank you again for your kindness and consideration and the generous amount of time you gave to us all. I really appreciated that. (MB - Heritage Italy)
Participant May -15
Apart from just touching base and saying hi, I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful trip. Fourth time in Italy for me but the chance to get a little off the beaten track was really special... not to mention I got so much more insight into Italy than I had before. (KG Heritage Italy)
Participant Sep -15
• It was a marvellous tour. I was privileged, as we all were, to see so many things of beauty, and so much history, in your very capable hands. Thank you for passing on some of your knowledge, and for your ready assistance. Thank you also for the photos and the list of guides; I'd been trying to remember the name of that rather good, but unusual fellow we met in Siena. No doubt because of his enthusiasm - and eccentricity - I remember Siena so well. (BH - Heritage Italy)
Participant May -15
Apart from just touching base and saying hi, I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful trip. Fourth time in Italy for me but the chance to get a little off the beaten track was really special... not to mention I got so much more insight into Italy than I had before. (KG Heritage Italy)
Participant Sep -15
It was a marvellous tour. I was privileged, as we all were, to see so many things of beauty, and so much history, in your very capable hands. Thank you for passing on some of your knowledge, and for your ready assistance. Thank you also for the photos and the list of guides; I'd been trying to remember the name of that rather good, but unusual fellow we met in Siena. No doubt because of his enthusiasm - and eccentricity - I remember Siena so well. (BH - Heritage Italy)
Participant Sep -15
One of my most pleasurable holidays, and one I must repeat, as it was not long enough. We were most fortunate in having our marvellous tour leader.
B F

FAQs

Italy has a single time zone, Central European Time. The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping. So, when you’re with the group, you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you make sure you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It’s customary to tip 10% of the bill at restaurants, or 1 to 3 euro at a more casual establishment. It’s polite to round a bill up to the nearest whole figure or leave the change when buying drinks.

Internet is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.

It maybe patchy in the more rural parts of Italy.

Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Italy. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.

Crafted for the mature World traveller, these are some of the best small tours of Italy. We have been offering these guided small group tours throughout Italy since 1983. From a guided tour to a walking tour, the tour itinerary for a small group tour produced will present memorable stories. Whether on the Amalfi coast on a Southern italy tour to an itinerary in Rome packed with UNESCO world heritage site ancient ruins to learn about, or in Northern Italy reflecting on a world past watching the gondola traffic on the Venetian canals, Odyssey remains confident that the expereinces offered are for some of the best small tours of Italy.

Odyssey Traveller has published many articles about Italy.

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.

External articles to assist you on your visit to Italy

Responsible Travel Tips For Italy

  1.  Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, The more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
  2. Carry a card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
  3. Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
  4. When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out!
  5. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
  6. Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious.
  7. Check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.Before departing, make sure you have a number of euros in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.

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