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How to Compare Tours of Italy

Updated on August 7, 2010

 A tour of Italy can be the longed for trip of a lifetime. Italy beacons visitors with visions of romantic Venetian moonlit alleyways, public water fountains designed by artistic masters, authentic pizza and a lingua fraca that brings to mind opera as you hear it. One of the best ways to explore Italy is with a tour group. An Italian tour can take all the problems of preparing for the trip out of your hands and make the touring process much easier.

The cost of a tour is often one of the most important factors when deciding which one to chose. Prices for tours of Italy vary widely. Factors that influence the price include fluctuations in the dollar to Euro exchange rates, the cost of airplane fuel and the stability of the Italian government. Tours can be divided into high end, middle class and budget. A more expensive Italian tour may include luxuries such as a private Italian speaking guide and limousine service from one area to the next.

Mid-priced tours often include all at least two meals per day, transportation in an air conditioned bus and a hotel with a private bath located within a short distance of the middle of town. A tour on the lower end of the price scale will include basic accommodations such as hostels near a train station and group admissions to important attractions.

Read the tour descriptions very closely.  Italy is home important art, history and cultural treasures. Some tours can guarantee you access to such treasures that might otherwise be hard to come by on your own. A tour group owner can arrange for you to attend a private mass at St. Peter’s cathedral, a behind the scenes meeting with art restorers who have worked on the Sistine Chapel or the chance to learn how to prepare fresh tortellini from scratch. Find out which activities are included in the basic price and which ones may cost extra. Find out what policies exist should the tour group operator be unable to fill the terms of the contract. Tour officials may allow themselves the right to substitute one activity for another should the first be unavailable.

Sometimes people travel to Italy for very specific reasons. Art lovers may want to see the Last Supper close up or examine the works of Botticelli in the city where he first sought inspiration. Those with a culinary bent may want to taste homemade risotto and explore how one Italian region differs in food products from another. If you have a specific passion look for tours that will help you embrace it. A tour operator may offer participants a tour based around your interests. A trip geared towards wine lovers will wend slowly around the small cities and back paths of the Tuscan Chianti road.

Even though the whole of Italy could easily fit into a single American state, the country remains highly diverse. The chic fashion halls of Milan and outlying nearby hubs of industry differ from the more laid back isle of southern Capri. A tour may focus on a single region, bring you to a group of cities such as Venice, Florence and then Rome or even incorporate additional countries such as Greece and Switzerland as you travel. Travelers who have never been to Italy may wish to sample a bit of every part of the country to see which regions they like best. Repeat visitors may want to focus on a single region in depth such as Umbria or the Veneto.


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