Exploring Globus’ "Italy By Design” Tour

by  ShermansTravel Editorial Staff | Aug 30, 2023
Sponsored by  Globus
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Freedom and flexibility are travel's new bywords. Most travelers these days want to see the major sites and cross them off their list. But they also want the ability to explore on their own, pursue their own passions, and make sure every experience is personally rewarding. That's why Globus, the world leader in touring vacations, has created Choice Touring by Globus, a series of vacations in Europe and North America designed to fit a variety of traveler styles. In addition to guided visits to all the must-see sights, each tour includes YourChoice Excursions, a selection of exciting experiences that let guests tailor their own tour — at no additional cost. Art aficionado or nature lover? Bike ride or wine tasting? Choice Touring lets you design your own discovery and make memories the way you want. 

To show you how Choice Touring by Globus works, we took a look at three iconic itineraries in Europe — in Italy, Portugal, and Ireland — and broke down the various options each includes. We also added recommendations from ShermansTravel experts on the ground to help you take advantage of the ample free time each tour offers. Below, we explore "That's Amore!: Italy By Design," a 7-day, 6-night  journey from Rome to Florence that brings you back to Ancient Rome and the Renaissance and lets you enjoy artful cuisine, fabulous fashion, storied scenery — the choice is up to you!

Day 1: Arrive in Rome

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Once you've settled in at your hotel, head out and soak in the Eternal City's magnetic beauty. Piazza Navona, centered around Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers, has an energetic vibe that's the essence of this city. For a snack, Mami is a nearby pizzeria that also serves supplì, a Roman favorite of rice croquettes with ground meat, tomato sauce, and gooey mozzarella. That should tide you over until this evening's welcome dinner.

Day 2: Rome 

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After breakfast, you'll tour the major landmarks, such as the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Piazza Venezia, dodging the Romans weaving through the streets on their motorini (mopeds). 

Then, you'll have the option of three guided YourChoice excursions. For first-time visitors, we recommend the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel itinerary, which includes must-see gems such as Michelangelo's frescoed Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Renaissance tapestries. 

If you want to dive deeper, select There's No Place Like Rome and explore Trastevere, a formerly working-class neighborhood that's become a hotspot. Check out the butter-soft leather goods at Carlo Cecchini and secondhand clothes at Twice Vintage. Cross over the Tiber to the Jewish Ghetto and learn the fascinating history of Rome's Jewish population. Don't skip the chance to sample carciofi alla giudia (deep-fried baby artichokes) and other specialties of the Roman-Jewish kitchen at spots like La Taverna del Ghetto and Renato al Ghetto.

Roman Around Realism is catnip for art lovers, who'll tour an assortment of works by Caravaggio, whose trademark chiaroscuro paintings grace several Roman churches and museums. 

Now it's time for dinner. Start with an aperitivo at Salotto 42 or Bar del Fico: Nothing says la dolce vita more than sipping a bright orange Aperol Spritz. The Testaccio neighborhood is revered for its authentic atmosphere and off-the-chart culinary scene. Felice A Testaccio and Checchino dal 1887 are both legendary for their classic Roman pastas, particularly cacio e pepe (pasta with pecorino cheese and freshly ground black pepper) and bucatini all'amatriciana (hollow spaghetti dressed with tomatoes, cured pork cheek, and pecorino).

Day 3: Rome-Narni-Spoleto

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Today you'll head to Narni, an un-touristy hill town situated in Umbria, the geographic center of Italy. After an orientation, you'll have free time to gaze at the stone buildings that have remained intact since medieval times. Snap a photo of the impressive Ponte d'Agosto, an arched Roman bridge built with massive blocks of white marble. For lunch, pop into Vinicola 23 and sip a glass of Orvieto, a dry, approachable white wine that's produced locally, paired with a plate of salami. 

Then it's on to postcard-pretty Spoleto. Piazza del Duomo is the town's main square, home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with its five arches, mosaics, and glorious frescoes by Florentine painter Filippo Lippi. 

After an orientation, dinner is on your own. Meat features prominently in landlocked Umbria, as do grains like farro, which has been grown here since ancient times. Ristorante Sabatini is known for its pork filet in a ruby red sauce enriched with local Sagrantino wine. 

Day 4: Spoleto

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Today's three YourChoice excursions explore the region around Spoleto. The town is surrounded by olive groves whose oil is prized for its fruity flavor, intense body, and bold personality. Select Olive You, Spoleto! for the opportunity to taste a variety of these luscious liquids. History buffs will gravitate to The Steps of Saint Francis, with a local guide interpreting sites pertaining to one of Christianity's most venerated figures, born in nearby Assisi, whose basilica dates to 1228 and features frescoes by Giotto and others. Epicureans won't want to miss Diamonds in the Rough, a plunge into the world of the Umbrian truffle. You'll learn the art of hunting this very fragrant, very expensive tuber with a local farmer.

Dinner is at your leisure. You might want to continue with the fungi theme and order truffle-enhanced pasta at Il Tempio Del Gusto, situated in a medieval building in Spoleto's historic center.

Day 5: Spoleto-Pienza-Florence

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Today you'll head to Tuscany. After exploring Pienza, known as the Italian Pearl of the Renaissance, with your guide, be sure to check out the crypt and labyrinth below the elegant cathedral and savor panoramic views of the vineyards and castles of the Val d'Orcia. 

Then it's onward to Florence, where you'll get an eyeful of showstopping architecture and art on a guided tour. You'll visit the Gates of Paradise, a pair of gilded bronze doors on the Baptistery of San Giovanni, and Piazza della Signoria, the city's main square, whose impressive sculptures include a replica of Michelangelo's David and the Fountain of Neptune. 

Tonight, make like a true Tuscan and start the evening at a wine bar. Family-run for generations, Enoteca Alessi serves flights accompanied by crostini spread with liver pâté, a Tuscan specialty. If you're drawn to biodynamic wines, Le Volpi e L'Uva has a broad selection. For dinner, carnivores should order Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a thick cut of porterhouse from the Chianina cattle, an ancient breed prized for its extraordinary flavor. Buca Mario and Trattoria dall'Oste both do a noteworthy job at presenting this beefy meal, served rare unless you ask otherwise.

Day 6: Florence

Select from three different YourChoice excursions. Oenophiles should consider On Cloud Wine, which lets them taste a variety of wines and stops in San Gimignano, a walled hill town distinguished by its tall medieval towers (and by Gelateria Dondoli, which makes some of the best gelato in all of Italy). 

Sporty types should check out Firenze in Bicicletta, a small-group guided bike tour that will have you pedaling along Florence’s narrow streets before lunch at a local restaurant. Fashionistas will enjoy Fragrance and Fashion in Florence, which includes a visit to the Ferragamo Museum, dedicated to the iconic Italian shoe designer, and a stroll down the elegant shopping street Via de’ Tornabuoni. 

This evening’s farewell dinner is a chance to dine at a local restaurant and reflect on all that you’ve experienced. 

Day 7: Florence

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Get up early to watch the city awaken at the Central Market, where stalls overflow with colorful produce and fresh flowers. Join Florentines in a shot of espresso to jump-start your final day. The itinerary ends after breakfast.

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