Sample Itinerary

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An Italian Itinerary for the Smith & Jones Families

June 5th, Saturday:

   Upon your arrival this morning you’ll have to clear Italian Immigration then go to baggage claim to collect your luggage. A driver from Autonoleggio XXX, phone: (06) 555555 or cell phone (300) 555555, has been arranged to meet your British Airways flight arriving  at 9:05 am for the transfer of the six of you into Rome.(Important Note: this service along with your guide & driver in Rome have been reserved with Pantheon Tours, Emergency cell phone: 300/555555.) The driver will have a card with your last names on it. Once you have met, he’ll help you to the waiting minivan for the approximately 45 minute drive into Rome to your hotel, the Hotel XXXXXX.

    As your accommodations have been prepaid, simply give the reception desk your prepaid voucher and passports (which will be returned shortly) to be shown to your room.

        Hotel XXXXXX                    Phone: (06) 55 55 55

        Via della, 42                          Fax: (06) 55 55 55

        00000, Rome

    The hotel is very centrally located and easy walking distance to Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. To help you with your sightseeing plans and dining possibilities, suggestion sheets are enclosed in your packet.

June 6th, Sunday:

    You have the morning to sleep in, relax or go to church as your guided tour is not until this afternoon after lunch. The Pope gives a Sunday blessing at noon to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square so you have time to do this if you wish. The driver from Autonoleggio XXXX will meet you at the hotel at 2pm as will your guide, Luigi (cell phone: 300/555555) who will meet you in the lobby of the hotel. You have their services for 3 hours and are at liberty to see what most interests you. Luigi will briefly discuss an itinerary with you. Please note that no entrance fees have been included so you will pay them as you go. Also, gratuities are not included and are at your discretion. When the tour is completed, the remainder of the day is yours.

        Ask the desk for a map of Rome before heading out the door for any sightseeing on your own. You are close to the Spanish Steps, the Borghese gardens & Piazza del Popolo. Nearby are the designer shopping streets and the antique dealer street, Via del Babuino. Everything will pretty much close up from about 12:30 pm or 1pm to 3:30pm or 4pm everyday so you have the morning and late afternoon to shop and sightsee. You can always get money if you are using your ATM or credit cards for cash in the ATM/Bancomat machines (and know your pin number) regardless of banking hours. A very pleasant thing to do is walk to the bottom of the Spanish Steps and hire a horse and carriage to go on a ride through the streets of Rome to the Coliseum. The driver will make a stop at Trevi fountain for you to toss in a coin (be careful of pickpockets when in a crowd here) before leaving you at the Forum & Coliseum. After you’ve had a chance to visit both, you can catch a taxi back to the hotel.

    There are some great restaurants in the neighborhood. I particularly like Ristorante & Osteria, both of which are below the Spanish Steps off of Via Condotti, or Trattoria which is just off Via Ludovisi between the top of the Spanish Steps & Via Veneto. Wherever you decide to eat, you’ll need a reservation. You’ll find additional suggestions in your packet along with some sightseeing info. Sunday is a particularly difficult day to find an open restaurant; one which should be is Caffe but you might want to check with the hotel for certain or for an alternate suggestion.

June 8th, Tuesday:

    It’s off to Venice today! You have the morning to spend in Rome before taking an afternoon train. You’ll need to arrange a large minivan or two taxis with the hotel desk for the transfer to the station. Ask the driver/s to drop you off at the side entrance on Via Marsala so you can avoid the gypsies who are usually congregating around the front of the station. Once inside, you’ll need to check the overhead boards to locate your train’s departure platform. Near the entrance of the platform will be a diagram of the train to help you find the position of your car. (I often just get a porter, when I can find one, to get me there and load the baggage onto the car. They charge about 3 Euros per bag for the service.)

    Depart Rome, Termini Station    Eurostar # 222    12:55pm, Arrive Venice, Santa Lucia*    5:28pm

*Be careful - Venice has 2 train stations. The one you want, Santa Lucia is the last stop, on the Grand Canal. Do NOT get off the train in Mestre which is on the Italian mainland.

    Once you arrive, to get into your hotel, the Hotel XXXX in the Dorsoduro area, the least expensive way is to take the vaporetto (Line 1 along the Grand Canal) which will be about 4 Euros per person. It’s best if you purchase a 3 day vaporetto pass at the ticket booth which gives you unlimited use for the period of time purchased. You can also buy these online in combination with a museum pass as a VENICEcard ORANGE before you depart the US ( If you take the vaporetto, your closest stop to the hotel is Ca’ Rezzonico near the museum of the same name. I’ve marked a map with the walking route for you and your luggage from this stop to the hotel. Alternatively, you can hire a private watertaxi to drop you at the hotel’s pier (cost will be about 60 Euros). Occasionally the tides are too high for them to get under the bridge near Ca’ Rezzonico so you’ll have to walk from the square anyway. If you need help with the luggage, you can send one or two of you ahead to get a bellman and a dolly for assistance.

    Once you’ve arrived at the hotel you can give reception your prepaid voucher and passports and go to your rooms. As before, when you arrive at the hotel reception, give them your prepaid voucher and passports. If Susanna is there when you arrive, tell her hello from me! She’s a dear and I never miss visiting with her when I’m in Venice.

        Hotel XXXX                    Phone: (041) 555 55 55

        Dorsoduro 1234              Fax: (041) 555 55 55

        30000, Venice

    This evening after you’ve gotten settled, ask if Caffe is open for dinner. If it is, although small and rustic, a fisherman’s shack really, it has a wonderful location on the Zattere which overlooks the Giudecca canal and great seafood. Alternatively, Osteria in the neighborhood is good as is the little Sardinian restaurant around the corner, Trattoria. When you’re finished, take a vaporetto across the Grand Canal & stroll into St. Mark’s Square where there will be the dueling musicians at both Caffe and Caffe. While both are atmospheric, I think the best music is around the corner on the Piazzetta overlooking the lagoon at the slightly jazzier Caffe. Whichever you choose, be prepared to pay top dollar for a drink, coffee, ice cream or snack because you’re really paying for the entertainment. As before, you’ll find all of the usual information in your packet!

June 9th, Wednesday:

    The only activity planned for you today is the meeting with your guide, Maria (phone: 041/555555 or cell phone: 300/555555) for a 3 hour walking tour of Venice. She’ll meet you at the hotel this morning at 9:30am. As with other services, entrance fees are not included to give you complete freedom. I have asked that she walk you through Dorsoduro which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Venice to the Salute Church, then take the vaporetto across to San Marco. After the tour, the rest of the day is at leisure.

June 10th, Thursday:

    It’s another travel day, this time to Florence. Again you’ll have the morning at leisure in Venice before departing for the train station. It will take about 45 minutes on the vaporetto to the station so plan your departure accordingly. The watertaxi will only take about 15 minutes as it goes through back canals in a more direct route. When you arrive follow the same procedure as before for locating the platform and car.

    Depart Venice, Santa Lucia        IC Train # 222    1:23pm, Arrive Florence        4:26pm

    When you exit the train platform, turn to your left and go out of the station. You’ll find a bank of taxis waiting in front. Your hotel, the Hotel XXXX, is not far away but you will need the taxis to avoid a long walk with luggage. The ride should take about 10 minutes and cost in the area of 15 to 20 Euros (they are allowed to charge supplements for each piece of luggage). Once you arrive at the hotel, two triple rooms have been reserved and prepaid for your stay and you only need to present the voucher and your passports. As before, you’ll find information for sightseeing, shopping and dining in your packet.

            Hotel XXXX                    Phone: (055) 555 555

            Via, 3                                Fax: (055) 555 555

            50000, Florence

June 11th, Friday:

   This morning at 9am your guide, Dr. Giorgia (phone: 055/555555 or cell phone: 300/555555) will meet you at the hotel for a walking tour of Florence. As with your other guides, no entrance fees are included so you are at liberty to see what you like. You will have her services for 3 hours, after which the remainder of the day is at leisure.

June 12th, Saturday:

    Today you all part company with the dads returning to Rome on the train and the moms and daughters heading into the Tuscan countryside. The ladies must pick up their rental car this morning before the agency closes (they close early on Saturdays). I have set your pick up time at 10:30am which should give you ample time for driving to your next destination.

    The gentlemen have most of the day to spend in Florence before catching their late afternoon train back to Rome. (Good time to buy the ladies a pretty little trinket!) You’ll need to arrange a taxi transfer to Santa Maria Novella station for arrival by 2:25pm at the latest. Once there, follow the same procedure for locating your train.

    Depart Florence, Santa Maria Novella    Eurostar 9437    2:53pm, Arrive Rome,Termini    4:30pm

    Once in Rome, you’ll need to locate the train which takes you out to the airport, the Fiumicino shuttle. Because this train is not part of the Italian national train system, you’ll have to purchase tickets for the trip (about 13 Euros if I recall properly). Trains depart about every 20 to 30 minutes so you won’t have long to wait for the next departure. When you arrive at the airport, your hotel, the Airport XXX, is adjacent to the train station. Just walk off the platform and follow the signs. You are sharing a room, the hotel is prepaid so just give reception your voucher. There is a restaurant in the hotel for dinner this evening. Tomorrow when you are ready to depart you can ask a bellman to walk your luggage across the street to the terminal with you to check in for your flight. Buon Viaggio, Signori!

           Airport XXXX Hotel                        Phone: (06) 55555

            Via, 2                                                  Fax: (06) 555555

            00000, Rome

    The ladies pick up their rental car, a VW Passat station wagon with manual transmission or similar, at the Rental Car office on Via at 10:30am. You’ll have to check out of the hotel, take your luggage and a taxi over to their office so you can depart from that location. When you arrive at the rental agency, give the agent your prepaid voucher from Rental Car Company which is stapled on to the voucher cover along with your current state’s driver’s licenses. Car is rented in Jones name but if you are both going to drive, you must advise Rental Car. There is a small charge for additional drivers (pertaining to insurance) so drivers must be designated to be covered. When the rental formalities are completed, ask the agent to mark a map of Florence showing you the easiest route out of town to the A1 autostrada south towards Rome and you’ll be on your way.

    Your destination today is Hotel XXX in southern Tuscany. You’ll find a map with the route marked in yellow in the Jones packet. I’ve also marked highlights along the way but I recommend that drive to the hotel first along the most direct route following the A1 south towards Rome, check in and leave the luggage before doing any kind of touring. In both of your packets you’ll find extensive information on touring in Tuscany. The hotel is in the heart of town on Via. When you arrive, give reception the prepaid voucher and passports. Your two rooms have panoramic views so you may want to relax with a glass of wine this afternoon after checking in. If you feel really energetic, you can visit nearby Pienza to walk this tiny but beautiful town. This evening you have a table for the 4 of you reserved in the hotel’s dining room. Just reconfirm with Alessandra when you check in.

       Hotel XXXX                    Phone: (0577) 555 555

        Via, 15                              Fax: (0577) 555 555

        53000, Southern Tuscany

    At this point, I’ll refer you to the enclosed info on Tuscany and let you plan your own itineraries for the next several days.

June 15th, Tuesday:

   Though still in Tuscany, you’ll be changing locations today to go to the Chianti district where you’ll be spending the next three nights in the heart of the area. To reach the hotel, take the road to Pienza (S146) and on to San Quirico d’Orcia, then the SS2 north towards Siena. Go around Siena and take the S222 (the beautiful Chiantigiana through the heart of the wine district) to In-Chianti. Your hotel, Castello XXXX, is in the center of town. Here I’ve reserved a superior room for the moms to share and a standard twin room for the girls to share. Follow the usual check in procedure, then settle in to relaxing or sightseeing.

            Castello XXXX                        Phone: (0577) 555 555

            Via, 22                                      Fax: (0577) 555 555

            53000, In-Chianti

    If you are interested in visiting a winery, you’ll find several recommended on your enclosed sheets. Please note that you cannot drop in at a winery in Italy; you must have an appointment for a visit. You can ask the hotel to telephone ahead for you to make a reservation.

June 18th, Friday:

   The drive today will take you through eastern Tuscany to Lucca. You’ll need to take the little winding road (S429) out of In-Chianti towards Poggibonsi (see your map) and then north through Certaldo and Castelfiorentino. You could go via Pisa (but again, I’d recommend that you drive straight to Lucca, leave the luggage, then go back to Pisa for a visit in the afternoon) or directly to Lucca on the A11. Your hotel, the Hotel XXX, is located just outside the city walls near the train station. From the A11 toll booths, follow the signs for the centro storico as far as the Renaissance walls. Then continue to the right on the ring road outside the walls until you come to the hotel.

            Hotel XXX                            Phone: (0583) 555 555

            Viale, 25                                Fax: (0583) 555 555

            55100, Lucca

    The hotel has complimentary parking for the car and bicycles for your use. After checking in, you may want to hop on the bicycles and pedal into the old city for some sightseeing or take a walk along the top of the walls which surround Lucca. Or, drive back to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and the cathedral. You’ll find additional suggestions in your packet. If you love opera, you may want to visit Puccini’s home at Torre del Lago Puccini, or drive to the seaside to see beautiful town of Forte dei Marmi, both of which are fairly close to Lucca.

June 20th, Sunday:

   As the trip winds down, you’ll be heading to the sea shore at the beautiful Gulf of Poets, so named because Byron and Shelley once stayed here with the latter drowning while swimming in the gulf. You’ll be driving north along the A12 past Forte dei Marmi, the white marble mountains of Carrara and into the province of Liguria. Just over the border is the town of Lerici where you’ll be spending the next three nights at the Hotel XXX on the Gulf. You’ll take the exit at La Spezia then drive back to Lerici which is directly across the bay from Portovenere. The hotel is on the waterfront within easy location for the boat departures for your Cinque Terre visit.

            Hotel XXX                               Phone: (0187) 555 555

            Lungomare, 55                        Fax: (0187) 555 555

            19000, Lerici

    Here are some of the possibilities for your stay along the coast:  1) The Cinque Terre. Your best way to visit, as the Cinque Terre is accessible only by water (train or hiking), is on the boat. There are 5 villages which make up the Cinque Terre with Monterosso is the largest and most northerly. From Lerici take the boat to Portovenere (which is not one of the villages but very pretty), then to Riomaggiore or Manarola and walk back (or take the boat) to Monterosso stopping in Vernazza which is one of the prettiest of the 5 villages. You’ll need to have the hotel’s concierge help you with the scheduling as there are many boats from there which stop in Portovenere, then the Cinque Terre and return. 2). Visit Portofino. It’s really very pretty and although you don’t need much time to see it, you shouldn’t miss it. There are many cafes around the small yacht harbor so if you want to eat lunch Ristorante is wonderful where you should try their lasagna al pesto (however, they take cash only, no credit cards). It will be more expensive than dining in S. Margherita as Portofino is quite a posh Riviera resort!

June 23rd, Wednesday:

   Today is the end of the trip! After checking out of the hotel, drive out to the autostrada, the A12 to Genoa where you’ll take the A7 north to Milan. There is one very interesting stop which you could make along the way (I’ve marked it on your map), the Certosa di Pavia. It’s a magnificent complex outside of Pavia to the north of town. It does, however, close down at lunch time so depending on your timing a stop may not be possible. When you reach the A1 near Milan, take it around the city until you see the signs toward LINATE airport. Follow them; once you reach the airport, the hotel, Hotel XXX, will be located to the south. Once there give reception your voucher and passports for your final overnight in Italy.

            Hotel XXXX                            Phone: (02) 555 555

            Via, 4                                        Fax: (02) 555 555

            22068, Linate Airport

    After checking in, you have the option of returning your rental car this evening as the hotel does have a shuttle to the airport, or driving yourselves to the terminal tomorrow to check in for your flight. The Rental Car office is located inside the terminal and the car drop off is in the parking lot behind the terminal. I’ll leave you with this final instruction and wish you all a Buon Viaggio a Casa!

Every itinerary provided by Endless Beginnings is custom designed and includes our extensive intimate knowledge of the travel logistics involved for the desired area and written specifically for each individual client.  The adjacent sample Itinerary is a typical and actual client itinerary with the names and numbers altered to protect Endless Beginnings' contacts, contracts and clients: