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- Best Overall: City Wonders "With their official Vatican partnership, City Wonders offers the opportunity to skip the line faster than any other tour operator."
- Best Budget: Florence and Tuscany Tours "Florence and Tuscany Tours is a female-led company that takes great pleasure in sharing their passion for art and culture."
- Best for Seniors: Tauck "Tauck offers the best of both worlds for seniors who either wish to relax or venture on an active excursion."
- Best for Families: Perillo Tours "The ability to customize tours makes it easy for parents and children to enjoy their vacation without all the usual hassles."
- Best for Singles: Italy on a Budget "The company offers great value for money, as well as a wealth of knowledgeable and engaging staff."
- Best for Couples: Divina Cucina "The company offers an ideal experience for couples who have a day to spend exploring the streets of this romantic city with a gastronomical twist."
- Best for Adventurers: Dolomite Treks "Take a tour of the Roncolo Castle at the base of the Dolomites, or set out on a custom-made tour suited specifically to your hiking ability."
- Best Sardinia: Elena Tour Navigazioni "You can expect to anchor at various idyllic bays like the shores of Cala Corsara or the pink-sand beach on the Isle of Budelli."
- Best Pompeii Tour: Tours of Pompeii "Knowledgeable local guides and reasonable prices are just two of the reasons that visitors continuously book with Tours of Pompeii."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: City Wonders
City Wonders has been a leader in the Italian tourism sector since 2004 when founder Simone Gozzi created tours that introduced travelers to a different view of Italy’s cities. With smaller groups, exclusive customer benefits, and exceptional guides, City Wonders is a must-choose for those looking to get the most out of their trip to Italy. With over 150 tours throughout nine cities such as Florence, Venice, and Milan, City Wonders has an impressive portfolio of 200,000 satisfied customers.
Winner of TripAdvisor’s “No. 1 Tour in the World 2019”, their “Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica” tour is an example of why people should choose City Wonders to guide them. With their official Vatican partnership, City Wonders offers the opportunity to skip the line faster than any other tour operator. In a city known for its queues, this is crucial. City Wonders’ private entrances and exclusive access is a unique bonus for those who choose their tours.
With a maximum of 20 people per tour, all entrances and reservations are included. Likewise, tours are even more immersive with guides that are hand-picked for their personality, passion, and expert knowledge about the sites on the tour. Thorough research, animated storytelling, and excellent customer service combine to make each City Wonders tour an unforgettable adventure.
Best Budget: Florence and Tuscany Tours
Founded by three multinational women, Florence and Tuscany Tours is a female-led company that takes great pleasure in sharing their passion for art and culture with those who visit from far and wide. Located in the heart of Florence, both their private and group tours are conducted in a wide variety of languages.
Their private tours include special events and tailor-made itinerary planning, off-the-beaten-path tours, and local cuisine itineraries focused on food, wine, and gastronomy. The greatest praise by customers is that Florence and Tuscany Tours take pride in their local community, frequenting family-run institutions and unique tourist areas instead of the tourist traps and international chain hotels.
Their 12-hour "Tuscany Day Tour" is an example of one of the perfect budget outings. Beginning in Florence before exploring the Tuscan countryside, Sienna, and Pisa, the price of the tours always includes transfer in an air-conditioned coach, entrance fees, and usually lunch, which in this case is at a Tuscan winery.
Best for Seniors: Tauck
Tauck has a prestigious reputation in Italy. While the company’s tours may have lofty prices, there is no denying their excellence. With both land journeys and small ship cruises, Tauck offers the best of both worlds for seniors who either wish to relax and disembark for the occasional tour, or, in contrast, venture on an active excursion.
Founded in 1925, Tauck’s legacy was built on integrity and trust, a foundation apparent in each and every tour. Tauck’s tour directors each have 10 years' experience on average, solidifying their ability to handle all travel details seamlessly and make every moment of one's tour count.
Their Classic Italy Tour is an example of the comfort on offer. This 14-day land journey visits cities and landmarks including Venice and Cinque Terre, plus an Umbrian wine tasting and a Florentine walking tour.
But whichever tour you choose, the detailed website and supportive customer service make your tour experience a pleasure from start to finish.
Best for Families: Perillo Tours
Since 1945, Perillo’s family-run service has offered American-Italian tours that promise deluxe, fully-escorted adventures for the whole brood. Run by knowledgeable tour directors, one of Perillo Tours’ principal beliefs is that food and drink are an essential part of the Italian experience. Therefore, each breakfast, lunch, and dinner is prepared to be better and more delicious than rival tour companies’ meals. The same idea is brought to their hotel selection, flights and optional excursions.
Perillo Tours offers a service that allows either escorted group tours or a create-your-own Italian adventure option. A simple yet detailed website will give various drop-down options where you can choose which cities or regions you wish to explore and the hotels and mode of transport you would like until you have built your very own tailor-made tour. The ability to customize tours makes it easy for parents and children to enjoy their vacation without all the usual hassles of travel since you’ll never have to worry about a single bump in the road.
For those wishing to embark on a guided tour, Perillo’s 12-day “South and Sicily” tour has received numerous positive reviews. The tour includes various sightseeing excursions for the entire family, and Perillo also takes pride in providing a stunning vineyard experience in Sicily for the adults.
Best for Singles: Italy on a Budget
Created in 2007 and based in Florence, this company is perfect for 18- to 39-year-olds who are traveling solo. With tours to all major destinations in the country, including Naples, Rome, and Venice, the company offers great value for money, as well as a wealth of knowledgeable and engaging staff. Italy on a Budget offer day trips, city breaks, and coastline excursions alike.
An excellent choice for both students and backpackers, as well as singles, Italy on a Budget, is a tour company that has had over 150,000 satisfied clients. All tours are in English, and the staff are locals passionate about history, tradition, and customs.
With the staff taking care of all logistical issues such as lodging and booking, travelers have nothing to worry about, meaning the small group tours can enjoy plenty of free time and activities such as wine tasting, sightseeing in Pompeii, and cruises to Italy’s famous shorelines.
The Amalfi Coast tour from Rome is a four-day journey that has proved to be one of the company’s most popular options. Clients from the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia have all expressed their enjoyment of this tour that includes visits to Rome, Pompeii and Sorrento as well as Capri, and the Amalfi Coast where activities, cultural immersion, and Instagrammable views are aplenty.
Best for Couples: Divina Cucina
Offering week-long culinary classes and day-long market tours, Divina Cucina was created by Judy Witts Francini, a Californian native who emigrated to Tuscany in 1984 in pursuit of her passion for cooking. A renowned pastry chef in her own right, Judy began running week-long cooking classes in various regions of the country, hoping to instill the same passion for those who participate in her classes. As well as cooking classes, Witts Francini is known across Italy for her detailed cooking blog, which documents various recipes from the regions she visits.
Her two most popular tours are the “Florence Market” tour and ‘The Sicily Program.” The former is an ideal experience for couples who have a day to spend exploring the streets of this romantic city with a gastronomical twist, while the latter is based at the Planeta Winery in Menfi – a perfect place to toast a special occasion.
Each tour offered by Divina Cucina is private and can be customized upon request. Available Monday to Friday, truffle experiences and wine tastings are also available for those staying in Florence.
Best for Adventurers: Dolomite Treks
With their staggering, jagged peaks, the Dolomites are one of the most striking mountain ranges in the world. These northern Italian mountains are a hiking paradise, and various tour companies run multi-day tours throughout Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park.
Dolomite Treks is a small company founded by Isabelle Johnson and Anna Vecellio del Monego. Johnson, a Brit fascinated by the history and alpine flora and fauna, and del Monego, a local and an impressive mountain leader, provide expert advice and local knowledge through their tours.
Dolomite treks will assist with logistics and planning before you undertake a chosen route. Custom trekking, guided hiking, and self-guided hiking trips are the company’s focus.
One of many popular self-guided tours organized by the Dolomite treks is an eight-day panoramic trekking circuit of Cortina, which begins and finishes in scenic Cortina d’Ampezzo. Participants will follow high mountain trails through pristine alpine meadows and forests, while surrounded by breath-taking views of the famous rock spires of the Dolomites.
But if that sounds too arduous for you, there are plenty of other options, including a tour of the Roncolo Castle at the base of the Dolomites, or even a custom-made tour suited specifically to your hiking ability.
Best Sardinia: Elena Tour Navigazioni
Sardinia is a large island in the Mediterranean, south of Corsica and west of the Italian mainland. Many Italians flock there during the summer months to enjoy the azure waters and sugar-sand beaches. So why not join them?
The best way to enjoy Sardinia is to cruise the gin-clear waters on a luxurious boat provided by numerous tour companies in the area. Our recommendation is Elena Tour Navigazioni – an eco-friendly, family-run business whose boat tours and rental options are famous in the area.
You can expect to anchor at various idyllic bays like the shores of Cala Corsara or the pink-sand beach on the Isle of Budelli, with long stops at the Maddalena Archipelago for swimming, picnicking, and relaxing. And for those who wish to stay in the shade, there is plenty of space on the boat to relax in the company of friends and family.
And with new boats in their fleet including rigid inflatables and catamarans, Elena Tours prides itself on their high safety and comfort standards.
Best Pompeii Tour: Tours of Pompeii
Perhaps the most famous and well-documented volcanic disaster in history, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried the city of Pompeii, preserving it in volcanic ash for millennia until the city was uncovered in 1748. Now, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.
Tours of Pompeii is the top-rated tour operator at the site. Knowledgeable local guides and reasonable prices are just two of the reasons that visitors continuously book with Tours of Pompeii.
Likewise, the company conducts climbs of Vesuvius, visits to the Archaeological Museum in Naples, offers specialty tours focusing on food and family, and organizes other tours around the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum such as kid-friendly options, and a single-day tour of Positano, Pompeii, and Sorrento that leaves from Naples.
With over 2.5 million visitors to Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum every year, it is vitally important to purchase a skip-the-line tour of the ancient ruins. The company has a five-hour tour that will take you through the cobblestone streets of the ancient Roman city and is narrated by an expert guide. In addition to seeing the many shops, homes, and temples that were preserved by the ash, other highlights include the Domus of Venus, House of Octavius Quartio and the House of the Fruit Trees.