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 Romans. The new constantly brushes with the old and in doing so generates sparks that makes any sojourn in Italy a deeply textured experience.
From A$15,250 AUD
- 1. Appreciate the works of Michelangelo and Brunelleschi and learn how this style underpins everything Italian.
- 2. Savour vinegar in Modena as well as ham and Parmesan in Parma.
- 3. Roam the villages of the northern Dolomites, home to more than 40 glaciers.
- 4. Experience the famed region of Tuscany.
|28 August 2022 |
Ends 22 September 2022 • 26 days
|27 August 2023 |
Ends 21 September 2023 • days
Discover Villages of Italy
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Western Europe and beyond. We explore Italy’s incredible natural beauty, its ancient Roman heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities and picture postcard perfect villages, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Italy, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
Enjoy a taste of authentic Italian village life on this fully escorted small group tour of Italy. This small group tour for seniors visits some of Italy’s most interesting and picturesque villages. Rather than stopping at the typical, overcrowded tourist hot spots, like the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre, you will have the opportunity to visit places few tourists venture to and experience Italian life away from the big cities.
The Mediterranean nation of Italy is home to some of the world's best food, architecture, beaches and museums. From local produce markets and hidden caves to Roman ruins and medieval hill towns, there is something for everyone. A unique aspect of Italy is that despite being renowned for its history, it has only been a country for 158 years or so. Before 1861, the region was in a state of flux with various republics, city-states, Papal states and colonies. This tempestuous history helps to explain, in part, why Italy is so diverse. A holiday in the north, for example, near the Swiss border, may be completely different from one in Naples or Amalfi along the coast. Even cities that are close together, like Florence and Siena, can feel like visiting two completely different worlds. On the Villages of Italy tour you have the chance to explore villages in Veneto, Tuscany and Umbria before finishing the tour just outside of Rome. It is a chance to get to know Italy on another level and see the local side of this incredible, bustling country - a travel experience like no other.
The Villages of Italy tour commences in Milan before heading north and then south to finish in the hillside town of Frascati. Along the way we spend extended time in the villages of Trento, Radda in Chianti, Castelfranco and Correggio.
Trento lies along the Adige River and sits in a wide valley nestled around vineyards and orchards. It was founded by the Raetians and eventually became a Roman colony and military base before being controlled throughout history by both France and Austria. It only became part of Italy in 1918 with the end of WW1. For history lovers there is a lot to see in Trento, including the formidable Castello del Buonconsiglio, numerous Renaissance mansions and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in the 16th century.
A small, walled town in northern Italy with a population of 30,000, Castelfranco was the birthplace of the painter Zorzi da Castelfrenco, known as Giorgione. The small town is renowned for one of Giorgione's masterpieces, Madonna and Child with SS, Francis and Liberale, which is held in the 18th-century cathedral. A short drive away, you will find fishing port Chioggia, a hidden gem just outside of Venice.
In the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy you will find the small town of Correggio with only 25,000 inhabitants. The town is located between two streams and known for its neoclassical architecture and wide, tree-lined avenues. The birthplace of Renaissance painter, Antonio Allegri, Correggio is one of the little-known wonders of this province.
Radda in Chianti
Sitting atop a hill surrounded by vineyards, Radda is the quintessential Chianti town. Not only does it offer panoramic views of the luscious vines but there is a rich history waiting to be discovered. Once an archaeological site, excavations in the area show that there were inhabitants there as early as 2000 B.C. With a quaint medieval atmosphere, there is plenty to enjoy in Radda, from beautiful wine to art museums and stunning medieval architecture. It will definitely be a memorable stop on your journey.
A hilltop town in Umbria, Todi's amazing scenery could be straight out of a fairytale. The town is encircled by concentric walls which means it has a maze-like feel and gives you the chance to get lost amongst the three different architectural styles (Etruscan, Roman and Medieval).
Frascati is one of the Castelli Romani, a relaxed, historic small town to the south-east of Rome. The town is known for its beautiful, aristocratic villas built by well-to-do Roman families and the delicious cuisine.
Most of all this tour seeks to deliver the uniquer experience of being in small towns in the regions of Italy away from the usual tourist path. There is the opportunity to really engage with local culture with some of the best local guides in each region sharing their knowledge of the history with you.
Along our way on this 26 day tour whilst we enjoy time in the larger cities of Milan and Florence. Our purpose here is to learn about the contribution these regional centres made to village life before we retreat again to explore the smaller towns.
- Visit Modena to sample the vinegar and then on to Parma for ham and parmesan cheese.
- Roam the villages of the Northern Dolomites.
- Meet locals during visits to Chianti and Montepulciana. Enjoy with them some of the great local wines.
This small group tour Italian villages is one of 9 tours offered each year to travellers Italy by Odyssey . Each tour offers something different and all these tours are designed to interest the mature traveller, travelling either alone or in company. Because Odyssey's tours are fully escorted, they allow you time to enjoy yourself time exploring Italy.
Other tours offered can be found by clicking on the page links below and include:
- Northern Italy Lakes
- Heritage Italy
- Ancient History of Southern Italy
- Gardens of Italy & France
For more details about Villages of Italy discovered, small group tours for senior travelers please click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Day 1: Milan
We come individually to our hotel in Milan. Tonight we come together for our welcome meeting and dinner.
Day 2: Milan -Trento
In the morning we have a short tour in Milan. Later on we depart Milan and head for Trento along the scenic route. We will stop regularly along the way. This evening a local alpine choir will perform for us.
Day 3: Trento
This morning we have a guided tour of Trento, including visits to the cathedral and the Castle of Buonconsiglio. After time for lunch at leisure we head out of town and visit a local vineyard for a tour and tasting. We return to our hotel for some time to relax at leisure before we walk to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 4: Trento
Today we have a full-day excursion to the scenic Dolomite resort of Moena. We will explore the area with our leader in the morning before having lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we take an afternoon cable car ride from Campitello di Fassa to Col Rodella. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 5: Trento - Castelfranco
We have a free morning to explore Trento at leisure. This afternoon we depart Trento bound for Castelfranco. En route we pause at San Michele all’Adige where we will visit the Museum of Mountain Traditions. We continue on to Castelfranco and check in to our accommodation. We will have dinner tonight at a local restaurant.
Day 6: Castelfranco
This morning we have a guided tour of Castelfranco. Following that, we visit the Conservatory di Musica A Steffani for a tour followed by a piano recital. We then travel to Treviso where we will have lunch at a local restaurant. Following lunch we have a guided tour of Treviso. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 7: Castelfranco
We have a full-day excursion to the charming Venetian fishing port of Chioggia today. We will have lunch at a restaurant offering the local fare before an afternoon free to explore at leisure. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 8: Castlefranco
This morning we visit the Prosecco wine school in Conegliano for a tour, a taste, and the chance to learn about how Prosecco is produced. A local guide will then give us a tour of the town of Conegliano before we have time for lunch at our own arrangements. We transfer to the town of Asolo for a guided tour before we carry on to Bassano del Grappa for a guided tasting of the local product. We have dinner at a local restaurant in Bassano del Grappa before returning to our accommodation in Castelfranco.
Day 9: Castelfranco to Correggio
After checking out of our accommodation early, we head for Correggio by way of Venice. We meet our local assistant and board the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco. Our local guide then gives us a guided tour of the city of canals before we have a fish and wine tasting. After some free time we jump back on the vaporetto and meet up with our coach to continue the journey to Correggio. We arrive at our hotel in time for dinner.
Day 10: Correggio
Our day begins with a free morning to relax and explore Correggio at leisure. At noon we head for Modena, where we have lunch at own arrangements before our local guide gives us a guided tour of the highlights of the city. We have a tour of a local balsamic vinegar factory where we learn what work goes into producing this Italian staple. We will have dinner at a local restaurant in Modena before we board our coach for our return to Correggio.
Day 11: Correggio
Parma is the destination for our full-day excursion today. This morning we meet our local guide and visit local cheese and prosciutto producers where we learn about the local Parmesan and Parma ham. Naturally, some tasting will be involved. We have lunch at a local restaurant to sample more of the local produce before our local guide gives us a tour of the city. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 12: Correggio
This morning we explore Comacchio Natural Park in the area of the Po Delta. We have a guided boat tour of the wetlands where we gain an understanding of the local flora and fauna. We have lunch at a local restaurant in Comacchio. After lunch we visit Ferrara where our local guide will take us on a walking tour including a visit to the local castle. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 13: Corregio-Radda in Chianti
We check out of our hotel and depart Correggio bound for Radda in Chianti. En route we spend half the day in Florence where our local guide will show us the highlights of this fabulous city. We carry on to Radda in Chianti and check in to our accommodation in time for dinner.
Day 14: Radda in Chianti
This morning we visit Castello Meleto for a vineyard tour and wine tasting. We return to Radda in Chianti for an afternoon at leisure followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 15: Radda in Chianti
We spend today exploring historic Colle di Val d’Elsa. We will also pause in Castellina in Chianti. We have dinner at a local restaurant in Colle di Val d’Elsa before returning to our accommodation in Radda in Chianti.
Day 16: Radda in Chianti
This morning’s field trip explores the hill town of Volterra, including a visit to the excellent Etruscan Guarnacci Museum. After lunch at own arrangements and some free time we travel to Certaldo where we take the funicular to the old town for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 17: Radda in Chianti
Monteriggioni is first stop on our schedule today. We pause there for brief exploration en route to Siena. In Siena our local guide will introduce us to the highlights of this medieval city. After lunch at own arrangements, we travel on to San Gimignano for time to explore at leisure. We will have dinner in a local restaurant before our return to Radda in Chianti.
Day 18: Radda in Chianti - Todi
This morning we check out of our hotel and have time to explore Pienza at leisure. We carry on to Montepulciano where we visit a vineyard for a tour and tasting. Our local guide will then take us on a tour of the town. We carry on to Todi and check in to our accommodation in time for dinner.
Day 19: Todi
Today our local guide takes us on a full-day excursion to Todi and Spoleto. We are given guided tours of both towns before we carry on to Montefalco where we visit a local olive oil producer for a tour and tasting. We have dinner in a local restaurant before our return to Todi for the night.
Day 20: Todi
We spend the morning exploring the town of Norcia and take lunch in a local restaurant where we sample the local produce, including the famous local truffles. During the afternoon we return to Todi for a free evening to explore the town at leisure. Dinner is at own arrangements.
Day 21: Todi - Frascati
Today we leave Todi bound for Frascati. En route we pause in Orvieto to explore at leisure. We carry on to Cerveteri where we have a guided tour and visit the Necropolis of the Banditaccia. We continue to Frascati and check in to our accommodation in time for dinner.
Day 22: Frascati
Today we have a full day exploring the Roman Hills. After a guided tour of Frascati we travel through to Nemi, pausing at Grottaferrata en route. We have lunch in a local restaurant in Nemi before we carry on to explore Castel Gandolfo. Dinner tonight is at own arrangements.
Day 23: Frascati
Anzio is our destination today. We have a guided tour here and visit the Beach Head Landings Museum in the town. We have lunch at a local restaurant and time to explore before returning to Frascati. Dinner is at own arrangements tonight.
Day 24: Frascati
We have a full day’s field trip to Tivoli where we explore the ancient Villa of Hadrian and the medieval Villa D’Este with lunch in restaurant in Tivoli. Dinner is at own arrangements tonight.
Day 25: Frascati
Today’s field trip takes us to the medieval town of Sermoneta and the ruined village of Ninfa, now a restored garden. Our farewell dinner is at a restaurant in Frascati where we enjoy local produce and local wine.
Day 26: Frascati
Services end after breakfast at the hotel.
- Group size will be a maximum of 18 participants.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 25 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 25 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 16 dinners.
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Service charges and gratuities.
- Services of a Tour Leader.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares including taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature like laundry and phone calls.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Sublime and maddening, fascinating yet baffling, Italy is a country of endless paradox and seemingly unanswerable riddles.
John Hooper's marvellously entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Looking at the facts that lie behind - and often belie - the stereotypes, his revealing book sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover.
By John Hooper
The Popes: A History
John Julius Norwich examines the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter (traditionally - but by no means historically - the first Pope) to the present. Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unquestionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable iniquity.
One was said to have been a woman, her sex being revealed only when she improvidently gave birth to a baby during a papal procession. Almost as shocking was Formosus whose murdered corpse was exhumed, clothed in pontifical vestments, propped up on a throne and subjected to trial.
From the glories of Byzantium to the decay of Rome, from the Albigensian Heresy to controversy within the Church today, The Popes is superbly written, witty and revealing.
By John Julius Norwich
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
The Romans left a long-lasting legacy and their influence can still be seen all around us - from our calendar and coins, to our language and laws - but how much do we really know about them? Help is at hand in the form of Veni, Vidi, Vici, which tells the remarkable, and often surprising, story of the Romans and the most enduring empire in history.
Fusing a lively and entertaining narrative with rigorous research, Veni, Vidi, Vici breaks down each major period into a series of concise nuggets that provide a fascinating commentary on every aspect of the Roman world - from plebs to personalities, sauces to sexuality, games to gladiators, poets to punishments, mosaics to medicine and Catullus to Christianity.
Through the twists and turns of his 1250-year itinerary, Peter Jones is a friendly and clear-thinking guide. In this book he has produced a beguiling and entertaining introduction to the Romans, one that vividly brings to life the people who helped create the world we live in today.
By Peter Jones
Invisible Romans: Prostitutes, outlaws, slaves, gladiators, ordinary men and women ... the Romans that history forgot
Robert Knapp seeks out the ordinary people who formed the fabric of everyday life in ancient Rome and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. They are the housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators who lived commonplace lives and left almost no trace in history - until now. But their words are preserved in literature, letters, inscriptions and graffiti and their traces can be found in the histories, treatises, plays and poetry created by the elite. A world lost from view for two millennia is recreated through these, and other, tell-tale bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of Roman history and culture.
Invisible Romans reveals how everyday Romans sought to survive and thrive under the afflictions of disease, war, and violence, and to control their fates under powers that both oppressed and ignored them. Their lives - both familiar and foreign to ours today - are shown against the tumult of a great empire that shaped their worlds as it forged the wider world around them.
By Robert C. Knapp
The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit
Travellers have always been thrilled by the sight of citrus in Italy, where dark leaves and bright fruit seem to charge the landscape, making the trees symbols of a sun-soaked, poetic vision of the country. Citrus also holds a special place in the Italian imagination, and in The Land Where Lemons Grow, Helena Attlee sets out to explore its curious past and its enduring resonance in Italian culture. The Land Where Lemons Grow is a heady mixture of travel writing, history, horticulture and art; a unique journey through Italy's cultural, culinary and political past. Helena Attlee is the author of four books about Italian gardens, and others on the cultural history of gardens around the world. Helena is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has worked in Italy for nearly 30 years.
By Helena Attlee
Art in Renaissance Italy
With a freshness and breadth of approach that sets the art in its context, this book explores why works were created and who commissioned the palaces, cathedrals, paintings, and sculptures. It covers Rome and Florence, Venice and the Veneto, Assisi, Siena, Milan, Pavia, Genoa, Padua, Mantua, Verona, Ferrara, Urbino, and Naples. Chapters are grouped into four chronological parts, allowing for a sustained examination of individual cities in different periods. "Contemporary Scene" boxes provide fascinating glimpses of daily life and "Contemporary Voice" boxes quote from painters and writers of the time. Innovative and scholarly, yet accessible and beautifully presented, this book is a definitive work on the Italian Renaissance. This revised edition contains around 200 new pictures and nearly all colour images.
By John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke