- Learn valuable tips and techniques from a National Geographic photographer as you capture iconic Italian sights, from the canals of Venice to Rome’s Vatican Museums.
- In Venice, visit a gondola workshop to document the construction of these classic vessels, and photograph the grape harvesting process at a local vineyard.
- Explore the charming alleyways of Florence with an architect and immerse yourself in a feast of color and texture at the Sant’Ambrogio market.
- Capture evocative shots of the Roman Forum on a photo shoot, and frame 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 artisans at work in Venice, and document the daily rituals at a local monastery. 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. Spend the afternoon on a guided walk through the “floating city” with a focus on nearby Giudecca Island. Here, we enjoy a private visit to a monastery attached to the 16th-century Redentore church, designed and built by Italian architect Andrea Palladio. Meet the monastery’s Capuchin friars, take a tour of their kitchen and vegetable garden, and document their daily lives. Continue to a local artisan workshop to learn the science of traditional gondola construction and to photograph these traditional Venetian vessels. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner at a Venetian restaurant.
Set out to explore the city’s canals by private boat, capturing scenes of everyday life along the water. Stop at Mazzorbo Island to visit a vineyard and discover how it has overcome the challenges of high tides to produce celebrated Venetian wines. Document the harvesting of grapes and learn about the wine-making process, followed by a tasting. Later, stop in at a traditional textile workshop that has been in the same family for centuries. During the visit, photograph artists at work as they create intricate fabrics using traditional tools. This evening, embark on an optional nighttime photo shoot to capture the city after dark.
This morning, 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. Meet a local architect and stroll through the city’s charming, cobblestoned alleyways, examining superb examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Later, head to the Ponte Vecchio for a sunset photo shoot, capturing the play of light on the Arno River.
Embark on an optional morning photo walk, followed by breakfast. Later, head to the Sant’Ambrogio 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. Then spend the afternoon exploring the city. Stroll through the Giardino di Boboli with a landscape architect and learn about the intricate 16th-century design of the gardens. Enjoy a photo shoot in this beautiful setting, capturing the sweeping drama of the greenery. After dinner, embark on an optional nighttime photo shoot.
Travel south to the vine-covered region of Chianti. Visit the renowned Badia a Coltibuono winery, situated in a former abbey, and enjoy a wine tasting and lunch, followed by a photo shoot in the wine cellar. 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 three nights. Take the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the swimming pool, or explore the grounds on an optional photo walk.
A short drive brings us to the Tuscan gem of Siena. Capture the medieval flavor of the city on a photo walk that includes 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. In the afternoon, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Tuscany, stopping at several viewpoints. Photographic opportunities abound as we explore the countryside and interact with its gracious people.
Venture into the Tuscan countryside on a morning hike through the scenic landscapes near Gargonza. Visit a local cheese farm, where we’ll learn about the production of world-famous pecorino cheese. Later, join the castello’s chef for a cooking lesson, which includes a culinary photo shoot. Enjoy a tasting of several fine local vintages as we feast on our freshly-prepared meal.
Travel south to Rome and have lunch at a local restaurant, then set out to explore the Eternal City. Venture into the Colosseum and document the subterranean ruins where gladiators prepared for battle. 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. Later this evening, head back to the Colosseum for a photo shoot in the rich hues of twilight.
Take in the sacred grandeur of Vatican City with an early morning visit to its famed museums before they open to the general public. See the stunning Sistine Chapel, then photograph the graceful sweep of the Bernini-designed St. Peter’s Square and explore its basilica. Later this afternoon, gather for a walking tour of Rome. Photograph the remarkable architecture of the Pantheon as well as the Trevi Fountain, the largest baroque fountain in the city, and Piazza Navona. Gather for a festive farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Italy: Amalfi Coast Extension4 days from $3,295
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 in the heart of Positano, and enjoy the evening at leisure in this lively city perched on the Amalfi Coast.
This morning, discover the charming historic quarter of Sorrento at your own pace. Then set off with a local guide to trace the Amalfi Coast, dotted with picturesque towns and villages nestled among dramatic seaside cliffs. Stop in Amalfi—once one of Italy’s four great maritime republics—to see its stunning 13th-century cathedral and 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 Sorrento.
Transfer to the airport in Naples for your international flight home.