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Best Italy Tours 2016

Whether you are looking for a family friendly Italy vacation or exploring Italy on your own, Italy by Choice offers some of the best Italy tours available. When comparing the best Italy tour companies, it’s often helpful to look for packages that allow guests to customize their vacation by adding additional tours during their free time. Below are some of our top Italy tours for 2016.



Among the best Italy vacations is the ‘Italian Overture’ tour. In Rome, your itinerary starts with the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Colosseum to name just a few of the majestic sights. In your free time, you are invited to stroll through some of the world famous museums, spend a day shopping in Via dei Condotti, or take an optional tour of Pompeii and Naples. As your tour continues on to Siena, be prepared to snap a photo of the gorgeous rolling green hills and vineyards in the Tuscan wine country. Take a break to enjoy a delicious traditional Tuscan lunch in Siena, before continuing on to Florence. Your tour in Florence will start with a guided walking tour of the city, providing you with background on several world-known architects and writers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. On your second day in Florence, feel free to go do some exploring of your own at the Leaning Tower of Pisa or take a romantic wine tour of the Chianti region. This is one of the best Italy vacations available and comes to a close in Venice with a guided walking tour of Piazza San Marco, the Bell Tower, and the Grand Rialto Bridge. The Italian Overture tour provides something for everyone to enjoy. With the option to add additional excursions during your free time, there is no wonder why this tour is among the best of Italy 2016.



Another one of our best Italy tours is ‘Cooking in Noble Tuscany’, where visitors will have the chance to gain hands on experience with true Italian cooking. At the hotel, guests will meet their host for the week, Gianfranco Natali, a chef specializing in Tuscan food and wine. During the first two days in Italy, you will attend cooking classes taught by Chef Gianfranco that focus on the Tuscan Way of Life. Following these cooking classes, your escorted tour will take you to a local wine cellar for a wine tasting, a local olive press to discover the process of making olive oil, and finally to a local coffee shop to savor an Italian espresso. Before departure from Italy, you will relax at a farewell Cooking School Graduation and dinner, and receive a special gift from Gianfranco to return home with. If you love cooking and learning new techniques and recipes, then this is one of the best Italy vacations for you to do exactly those things.



Finally, we want to highlight the ‘Italian Duet’ escorted tour covering the gorgeous art cities of Rome and Florence.  This tour will start in Rome with a guided walking tour of the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and the Baroque quarter. Afterwards, feel free to visit the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, or spend a day shopping at Via Veneto or Via dei Condotti. On the way to Florence, take a stop at beautiful Siena and admire the romantic vineyards and the sweeping villages. Upon arrival in Florence, guests will embark on a guided walking tour to learn about some of Italy’s well-known architects and writers, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Spend the day before you leave Italy admiring Florence on your own, whether shopping around the city or exploring the famous museums. The Italian Duet tour is among our most popular Italy vacations as it provides guests with the opportunity to spend more time in Rome and Florence exploring the traditional city lifestyle.

Our 10 Favorite Hotels in Italy

Roma Ponte Sisto

Roma Ponte Sisto

Hotel Ponte Sisto
Located in the center of downtown Rome, Hotel Ponte Sisto offers easy access to three of Rome’s most famous piazzas within a short five-minute walk. The breathtaking panoramic views of the Eternal City from the hotel make it one of the top hotels in Italy.

Imperial Tramontano
Imperial Tramontano is located in Sorrento overlooking the Gulf of Naples as one of the best Italy hotels. In the summertime, guests can enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool, private beach, and boat rentals.

Montecatini Alto near Florence

Montecatini Alto near Florence

Grand Hotel Tamerici and Principe
Grand Hotel Tamerici and Principe is centrally located among some of Italy’s finest Tuscan dining. The views from the beautiful and elegant suites earn its spot as a top hotel in Italy. Five-star amenities include a free breakfast buffet with traditional Tuscan cuisine, a bar overlooking an outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a garden terrace.

Hotel Della Conciliazione
Hotel Della Conciliazione, another one of the best Italy hotels, offers sophisticated rooms and suites only a 10-minute walk from St. Peter’s Basilica. This elegant hotel is located in central Rome along some of the famous cobblestone streets.

Grand Canal and Basilica at dusk

Grand Canal and Basilica at dusk

Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal
This extravagant hotel is located on the Grand Canal, offering sweeping views from its rooftop restaurant and lounge. Located across the canal from the Santa Lucia railway station, this top hotel in Italy offers easy access to many points of interest.

Hotel Gioberti
Another one of the best Italy hotels, Hotel Gioberti is centrally located in Rome, only a one minute walk to the Termini Station. Offering a complimentary breakfast buffet and chic, modern rooms, this hotel is perfect for Italian city getaways.

Naples and Vesuvius

Naples and Vesuvius

Grand Hotel Vesuvio
Grand Hotel Vesuvio makes the list of top five-star hotels in Italy with its beautiful views overlooking the Bay of Naples and its bright, colorful rooms. Upgraded rooms offer balconies with sea views to enjoy the beautiful Bay of Naples.

Hotel Semiramide Palace
Hotel Semiramide Palace is located in a quieter area in Castellana Grotte offering simple rooms with an elegant bar and restaurant. The outdoor pool and spa area offer a Turkish bath, which makes it one of the best Italy hotels for relaxing.



Hotel Garden
Another one of the top hotels in Italy, Hotel Garden is located in Siena with a gorgeous pool and garden terrace. This contemporary hotel is also located near traditional Tuscan dining and offers easy transportation to some of Siena’s most famous attractions.

NH La Spezia
The final property on our list of best Italy hotels is NH La Spezia. This waterfront hotel is only minutes from the La Spezia Centrale train station, and offers complimentary breakfast as well as an elegant restaurant and bar.

Many of our Italy Vacation Packages feature these excellent hotels and more!  We’re sure you will find your perfect Italy vacation in either our Escorted Group Tours, our Deluxe Private Independent Tours, or our Italy By Your Design Tours featuring City and Regional Stays.  You can also customize most of our pre-planned packages to fit your needs by adding: airfare, extra nights before or after the tour, sightseeing tours, a car rental or transfers.

“Thank you too, for setting up our wonderful trip in November. I look forward to the next one!” — Lindy from Connecticut

Why is the Italian language so difficult to preserve?

A recent BBC article claims that almost 8,000 universities, in non-English speaking countries, are offering programs entirely in English. Bachelors and master degrees are chosen by over 5 million and, while students once had to travel abroad, they are now staying in their own country to pursue their higher education in English.

Italy is one of these countries where at the University of Milan, the Sapienza in Rome and few others are offering under-graduate and graduate programs entirely in English.

There are nearly 100 million persons in the world speaking Italian but well over a billion speak English. In the financial, Hi-tech, science and other fields the “lingua franca” is undoubtedly English. If Italian millennials hope to compete in a global economy, they better be competitive and master the tongue of the Anglo Saxons.

However, it appears to me that the Italian government agencies and the media are over-extending themselves by arbitrarily choosing English expressions over Italian to communicate with its population. It seems that in Italy it is fashionable these days to utter English words and phrases.

Recently the Italian government took legislative action to reduce employment by easing hiring labor laws to urge employers to hire more staff. This program was labeled in English as “JOBS ACT”.

The Italian Navy placed ads in English to recruit personnel by using such caption as: “Be cool and join the Navy”.   What made the Italian armed forces act so unpatriotic?


Last week a gay couple wanted to adopt a child fathered by one partner while also allowing the mother of the child to retain her motherhood role. This social life anomaly was coined “Stepchild adoption”. All Italian newspapers, TV and radio shows, reported the story by using this English expression. Some reporters even had difficulty pronouncing it.

Italian companies now have “Business Meetings” instead of “una riunuione” and after the meetings obviously there are “Debriefings”.

Italians who need medical attention in a day-clinic must now look for signs saying “DAY HOSPITAL”. In pharmacies you need a “TICKET” to get your prescribed medicine.

On TV, “Notizie della domenica” is now announced as “SUNDAY NEWS” reported by an “Anchorman” sitting behind the “News Desk”. A day dosen’t go by where a multitude of English words penetrate the national media.

On a lighter note, a travel agency in Italy gave a couple a “HOTEL VOUCHER” for a prepaid vacation in a foreign country. It took the couple hours to realize that the name of their hotel was not “Voucher”. I guess the proper documentation should have been called Buono Alberghiero”.

These are a few examples on how the Italian language is being de-emphasized by individuals who should be proud of Dante’s “Lingua Volgare, a language that inspired so many musicians, artists, poets and many more. Italians accept new words from other cultures but the over-use of English expressions must be kept under check particularly when the public entities who should oversee abuses are the culprits.

Rosario Mariani

Top Beaches in Italy for Fun in the Sun

Planning a vacation to Italy and looking for a place to begin? Try starting at the beach! Whether you’re staying on the mainland or looking from an island getaway, Italy offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Popular mainland beaches include Bay of Silence and Tropea Beach. But we also love Spiaggia Capriccioli and Rabbit Beach if you’re looking for an island getaway that’s still within reach.

Spiaggia Capriccioli

Spiaggia CapriccioliSpiaggia Capriccioli is located just a short ways off the mainland coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia. If you are staying in Rome for your vacation, Sardinia is easily accessible via a short ferry trip to the island. Spiaggia Capriccioli is clearly one of the top beaches in Italy for locals, but visitors and locals alike can’t get over its beautiful skies and crystal clear waters. Spiaggia Capriccioli also provides endless opportunities to scuba dive, take snorkel lessons or rent a boat and relax in the waves with family and friends. No matter your wishes, Spiaggia Capriccioli makes our list of Best Italy Beaches because it has something unique to offer all of its guests.

Rabbit Beach

Rabbit BeachRabbit Beach is located on the quaint island of Lampedusa. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, then Lampedusa may be the perfect island escape for you. Rabbit Beach is renowned for its spectacular views of untouched nature, kid-friendly hikes and unparalleled ocean views. Rabbit Beach is smaller and less popular than many beaches in Italy and offers a slower-paced family-friendly environment.

Bay of Silence

Bay of SilenceLocated just a short distance from Genoa, Bay of Silence makes our list of the top beaches in Italy since it truly does offer quiet serenity as well as crystal clear waters. If you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy the most beautiful views that Italy has to offer, then Bay of Silence is a must visit. Bay of Silence is also known by locals as an ideal spot for catching dramatic sunsets on clear evenings.

Tropea Beach

Tropea BeachTropea Beach is widely known for its soft white sands, clear sparkling waters and its picturesque castle atop a hill. There are several vendors walking the beach that offer everything from souvenirs to foot massages. This beach clearly earns its spot on our list of the best beaches in Italy due to its beautiful scenery and friendly environment. A short walk inland will bring you to the historic town of Tropea, where you can continue your peaceful escape learning about the unique history of the town or shopping your way through the numerous antique stores. Tropea Beach is rightfully known by both locals and tourists to be ranked among the best beaches in Italy.

Can’t Miss Italy Destinations

Trying to plan the perfect vacation to Italy? Here are a just a few of our favorite destinations in Italy, whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a romantic honeymoon.


SicilyAmong the first locations many tourists visit in Italy is Sicily. If you’re looking to stay in the city, then Palermo may be the place for you. Palermo is considered by many well-heeled travelers to be among the best Italy destinations — and its history goes back some 2,700 years. Another top city destination in Italy is Syracuse. Syracuse is remembered as one of the most influential cities of the ancient Western world mentioned in several legends of civilizations as well as the Bible.

But, if you’re looking to get out of the city, consider taking a scenic hike up Mount Etna in the summer or skiing its snowy slopes in the winter. The majestic Mount Etna is listed among the most active volcanoes in the world, thereby proving itself to be one of the most frequently visited attractions in Italy.


RomeThere is no question why Trip Advisor places Rome at the top of their best Italy destinations list. The world famous Colosseum was completed in 80 AD by Titus and remains today to be one of the largest amphitheaters in the world. Tourists come from all over the world to view this great historical landmark and see the remains of the bustling Colosseum.

If you’re looking for more attractions in Italy, try visiting the Pantheon or St. Peter’s Basilica, just two of the beautiful religious landmarks Italy has to offer. The Pantheon was built around two thousand years ago and serves as an active Catholic Church today. Another must-see church is St. Peter’s Basilica, a central focus of the Catholic world that also fosters the immaculate design of Michelangelo and Bernini.

Rome offers endless opportunities to sightsee and explore. Tour the Colosseum, spend a day at the market in Campo de Fiori square, or visit some of the Catholic world’s most praised churches.


TuscanyTuscany’s reputation sets it apart from the other Italian regions in that it has endless lush green rolling hills with charming vineyards and quaint homes, earning its spot on our list of top Italy destinations. Whether sightseeing at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa or wine tasting in the Chianti Wine Region, Tuscany has something to offer all of its visitors. The Leaning Tower remains today to be one of the most frequented attractions in Italy.

If you’re looking for romance, consider staying near the Chianti Wine Region, which stretches all the way from Florence to Sienna. This region is argued by many to be the most alluring destination in Italy due in part to its magnificent opportunities to experience Italy’s finest wine. The wine tasting opportunities in Tuscany alone set it apart from the rest and help claim its spot on our top Italy destinations list.