- Learn valuable tips and techniques from a National Geographic photographer as you document iconic Italian sights, from the canals of Venice to Rome’s Vatican Museums.
- In Venice, capture the vibrant colors at a traditional textile workshop, and take a boat ride to Murano island for an exclusive tour of a glassblowing factory.
- Get an in-depth look at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the site of a National Geographic-funded search for a lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, and immerse yourself in the sights and smells of the San Lorenzo food market.
- Frame evocative shots of the Roman Forum on a photo shoot, and zoom in on the legendary ruins of the Colosseum in the glow of the late afternoon sun.
From timeless hill towns to ancient ruins to Renaissance treasures, Italy abounds with inspiring photo ops. With your camera in hand, immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant spirit as you capture famed sights and lesser known gems. Photograph traditional glassmakers at work in Murano, and document the morning bustle of a Venetian fish market. Explore the cultural centers of Florence and Siena, and settle into a restored medieval castello to discover traditional Tuscany. In Rome, step back in time amid the ruins of the Roman Forum and uncover the city’s baroque masterpieces. Along the way, delve into Italian cuisine while enjoying meals and fine Italian wines at local restaurants and wineries.
Arrive in Venice and transfer to your hotel by motorboat. After settling in, head to tiny, picturesque island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Photograph the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) from this exceptional vantage point before returning to the city for a welcome reception and dinner.
Rise early for a photo tour of a local fish market, capturing the hustle and bustle of the city's residents as they go about their daily seafood shopping. In the afternoon, stop in at a textile workshop that has been in the same family for centuries, and photograph artists at work as they create intricate fabrics using traditional tools. Later, cruise to Murano island. Learn about Murano's long tradition of glassmaking—dating to the 13th century—and enjoy a private visit to a glassblowing factory to photograph artisans creating exquisite objects. This evening, embark on an optional nighttime photo shoot to capture Venice after dark.
Enjoy an optional photo shoot of Piazza San Marco and the stunning Basilica at sunrise. Then travel by train to Florence, where we’ll set out on a walking tour of the historic center. In Piazza della Repubblica, discover the city’s beginnings as a Roman settlement. Wander through narrow streets past the fortified houses and towers that marked the medieval town, and emerge onto the open Piazza della Signoria, the political center of the city since the Middle Ages. Learn about da Vinci’s famous painting, The Battle of Anghiari—known as “The Lost Leonardo”—and see the epicenter of a National Geographic-funded search for this misplaced masterpiece, believed to be hidden behind a wall in Palazzo Vecchio. Later, head to the Ponte Vecchio for a sunset photo shoot, capturing the play of light on the Arno River.
This morning head to the San Lorenzo food market, known for its fine produce, cheese, and meat. Amid this veritable feast of color and texture, shoot images of locals haggling with merchants over fruits, vegetables, and other goods. In the afternoon, climb to the rooftop of the breathtaking Florence cathedral—known as the Duomo—on a private, after-hours visit. Take in a bird's-eye view of the city's charming terracotta roofs, and observe Brunelleschi's dome—the largest masonry dome in the world—just meters away. Cap off your day with dinner at the home of Florentine family.
Travel south to the vine-covered region of Chianti. Stop at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial on the way, dedicated to the troops of the U.S. Fifth Army. Then visit the renowned Badia a Coltibuono winery, situated in a former abbey, and enjoy a wine tasting and lunch. Continue to Gargonza, a medieval hamlet nestled in the Tuscan countryside. This afternoon, settle into the privately owned 13th-century castello of the Guicciardini family—our home for the next two nights. Take the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the swimming pool, or explore the grounds on a photo walk.
Explore some of the enchanting villages surrounding Gargonza, and photograph scenes of country life. Later, join the castello’s chef for a cooking lesson, which includes a culinary photo shoot. Spend the afternoon at leisure, relaxing by the poolside or trying your hand at a game of bocce. This evening, enjoy a tasting of several fine local vintages, guided by the castello's owner.
A short drive brings us to the Tuscan gem of Siena. Capture the medieval flavor of the city on visits to the Piazza del Campo; the Palazzo Pubblico; and the colorful, marble-clad cathedral. Enjoy lunch on your own in one of Siena’s many trattorias before traveling south to eternal Rome. After checking in to your hotel, head to Casina Valadier, an elegant restaurant perched above the Piazza del Popolo. Capture a spectacular Roman sunset from the restaurant's terrace, then sit down to enjoy a gourmet dinner.
Rise early this morning to photograph the graceful sweep of the Bernini-designed St. Peter’s Square. Then take in the sacred grandeur of Vatican City with a morning visit to its famed museums and see the stunning Sistine Chapel. Later this afternoon, gather for a walking tour of Rome. Venture into the Colosseum, stroll through the Roman Forum, and enjoy a specially arranged visit inside the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Miranda, formerly the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina erected in A.D. 141. Enjoy a sweeping panorama of the Forum from the church’s front steps, and take advantage of unique photo opportunities as we explore the interior.
Set out before sunrise for a photo tour of Rome's baroque landmarks. Photograph the remarkable architecture of the Pantheon; the Piazza Navona; and the Trevi Fountain, the largest baroque fountain in the city. Enjoy a typical Italian breakfast at a local café, followed by a private visit to an artisanal gelato shop. Today, you are free to wander the city's ancient streets and lively squares, following your photographer's instinct wherever it may lead. Toast to your Italian photo adventure at a festive farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Italy: Amalfi Coast Extension
Post-Trip, 4 Days
Trace the picturesque Amalfi Coast, exploring its colorful cliff-top towns and centuries-old villages. Step into the legendary time capsule of Pompeii, a vibrant first-century Roman city stopped in its tracks by a sudden volcanic eruption from nearby Vesuvius. Visit the sources of local limoncello, perfume, and wine; see historic cathedrals and villas; and soak up the sun on the dazzling island of Capri.
Ride the high-speed train from Rome to Naples, and then transfer to a winery at the base of Mount Vesuvius for lunch and a wine tasting. Take a private tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Archaeological Area of Pompeii, a city frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, preserving the area in a thick layer of ash. The site was only discovered in the 18th century, when explorers excavated Pompeii’s dwellings, still filled with everyday objects. Venture into this splendid and haunting city to see its frescoed villas and get a rare glimpse of daily life nearly 2,000 years ago. Then check in to your hotel perched on the Amalfi Coast.
This morning, discover the charming Amalfi—once one of Italy’s four great maritime republics—and see its stunning 13th-century cathedral. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant then continue on to the medieval village of Ravello. Explore centuries of history, art, and folklore at Villa Rufolo, an architectural gem famed for its elegant cascading gardens. Wind down the day with a tour and tasting at a traditional limoncello farm.
Ride a ferry across the Bay of Naples to the island of Capri, celebrated for its beauty since the time of the Roman Empire. Join a guide on a walking tour of old town Capri and visit its historic perfume factory, Carthusia. After lunch, explore the stately villa and gardens of San Michele, then return by boat to Amalfi.
Transfer to the airport in Naples for your international flight home.