26 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

Discover Villages of Italy 

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.

Itinerary:

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

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.

Castelfranco Veneto

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.

Correggio

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.

Todi

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

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.

 

Highlights:

  • 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:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Villages of Italy Tour

The Kingdom of Italy was first formed in 1861. Victor Emmanuel II, the leader of the province of Piedmont, was crowned as its monarch.

Italy is much younger than Spain, France and England. After the fall of the Roman empire in 476, the Italian peninsular was ruled by a patchwork of regional Dukes, Princes and Popes. Throughout the early-mid 19th century, at least 10 independent states could be identified where modern-day Italy now resides. These included Victor Emmanuel’s Piedmont in the north , the papal states led by the Pope in the middle and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the south.

As far as regions go, Tuscany is pretty hilly. On the one hand, this creates a beautiful, rolling landscape. Small towns can be found nestled amongst the hills, surrounded by swathes of gentle vineyards.

One the other hand, some of the towns in Tuscany are built on quite steep land. Though this may pose a problem for some travellers, Odyssey travel takes care to ensure that all of our holidays are suitable for walkers of all ability. Many of the towns, though built around steep areas, are actually fairly flat. If you have any doubts or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You will probably hear this word ‘borgo’ quite a lot on your travels. Often it is prefixed on to a destination, like Borgo San Giacomo, or Borgo San Giovanni.

‘Borgo’ is typically used to describe a mountainous or medieval village in rural Italy. These are often some of the most beautiful and rustic villages in Italy.

There is, confusingly, also a ‘borgo’ in Rome. In this instance, ‘borgo’ can be translated as a densely populated suburb. Interestingly, the diminutive form of the word reads as ‘borghetto’, from where we get the modern word ‘ghetto’.

Tour Notes
  • Group size will be a maximum of 18 participants.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: We come individually to our hotel in Milan. Tonight we come together for our welcome meeting and dinner.

Accommodation: 1 night at Antares Concorde Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Grand Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 4 nights at Albergo al Moretto or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Albergo al Moretto or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Albergo al Moretto or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Albergo al Moretto or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 4 nights Best Western Hotel Dei Medaglioni or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Dei Medaglioni or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Dei Medaglioni or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Dei Medaglioni or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 5 nights at Palazzo San Lorrenzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Palazzo San Lorrenzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Palazzo San Lorrenzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Palazzo San Lorrenzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Palazzo San Lorrenzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Albergo Bramante or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Albergo Bramante or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Albergo Bramante or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 5 nights at Hotel Flora or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Flora or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Flora or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Flora or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Flora or similar.

Overview: Services end after breakfast at the hotel.

1
Meet locals during visits to Chianti and Montepulciano.
2
Appreciate the works of Michelangelo and Brunelleschi and learn how this style underpins everything Italian.
3
Savour vinegar in Modena as well as ham and Parmesan in Parma.
4
Roam the villages of the northern Dolomites, home to more than 40 glaciers.
5
Experience the famed region of Tuscany.

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 economy class international airfares including taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature like laundry and phone calls.
map_image_2018877280.jpg
Villages of Italy, Volterra, Tuscany Italy
Tuscan morning in Val d'Orcia, Italy
Hhistory of Italy, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
archway in Cortona, Tuscany Italy
Chianti vineyard ,Tuscany, Italy
Piano Grande mountain plateau, Umbria, Italy
Treviso, Italy
Tuscany Door chianti
Hams and cheseses in Parma - Italy
Siena, rooftops, italy, aerial view

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