National Geographic Family Journeys - Gluten Free Italy Tour - October 17-24, 2020

    Home to ancient ruins, artistic masterpieces, gelato, and pasta, Italy is an enchanting destination for those who eat gluten free. Discover the country’s landscape on a journey from Venice through Florence to Rome by train. Explore fresco-adorned churches and Renaissance palaces, climb medieval towers and get immersed in Italian culture with hands on, family friendly art classes and gluten free pasta making lessons.

    8 days exploring cities, Italian cultures & visiting ancient sites

    Venice | Florence | Rome

    Please note this is a family centered trip and each booking must have at least one child age 7-12.

    Home to ancient ruins, artistic masterpieces, gelato, and pasta, Italy is an enchanting destination for those who eat gluten free. Discover the country’s landscape on a journey from Venice through Florence to Rome by train. Explore fresco-adorned churches and Renaissance palaces, climb medieval towers and get immersed in Italian culture with hands on, family friendly art classes and gluten free pasta making lessons.

    Photo: Family taking a selfie on the Venice Canal 

    • Explore Venice’s maze-like canals, learn about the fascinating art of glass-blowing from local artisans, take a walk in the Piazza del Popolo or “People’s Square” and climb the Spanish Steps in Rome
    • Dive into the atmosphere of the legendary Venetian Carnival and create your own Venetian mask in a hands on, family friendly workshop
    • Experience the genius of Leonardo da Vinci at a museum dedicated to his amazing inventions
    • Follow in the footsteps of gladiators at the Roman Colosseum where contests took place and fierce animals were once set loose
    • Learn to make gluten free pasta from scratch at a cooking class in Florence
    • A dedicated, Gluten Free Host will accompany every tour to take care of the details
    • Gluten Free meals included - 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner
    • Local restaurant recommendations provided for gluten free dining during your free time

    Photo: Ponte Vecchio over Arno river in Florence

    Photo: Map of itinerary

    Day 1 Venice

    Arrive at any time. Optional activities available. Shuttle  Venice Marco Polo Airport

    Travel from the airport to your hotel and get ready for an unforgettable journey. Your arrival transfer is included.

    Welcome Meeting Hotel, 1h

    The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. Check for the meeting time on the welcome note at the hotel. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Venice

    Photo: Venice Canal

    Day 2 Venice

    Take a walking tour of Venice, discovering winding lanes, marble palaces, and cobble stoned squares aflutter with pigeons. Then visit a glass-blowing workshop to watch a master craftsman at work. We’ll learn about the ancient technique of glass production while watching the creation of a unique piece. Afterwards, opt to hop aboard the city’s preferred mode of transportation: the gondola. This afternoon, try your hand at the centuries-old art of Venetian mask making. Watch how the mask mold is constructed and wrapped with papier-mâché, then use the tools of the trade to create your very own masterpiece.

    Venice Guided Walking Tour Venice, 1h30m

    Wander down narrow alleyways into hidden courtyards, which lead you back onto bridges overlooking the city’s iconic canals. While gondolas are scenic, exploring Venice on foot is just as exciting!

    Glass-Blowing Demonstration Venice: Learn about the fascinating art of Venetian glassmaking from skilled local artisans. Watch a master craftsman in his factory as he turns something rather ordinary into an exquisite work of art. Visit the gift shop on your way out to take a piece of Venice home with you. Venetian Mask Making For Kids

    Venice Dive into the atmosphere of the legendary Venetian Carnival and its traditional papier-mâché masks. What were the most popular masks? How were they made? This is a highly creative activity where kids get to choose their favourite mask shape and then decorate with colourful paints, elegant pearls, bright feathers, and much more! *Optional activity available – Gondola Ride

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Venice

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Photo: Italian Hand Blown Glass

    Day 3 Venice/Florence

    Catch a train to Florence—celebrated as the birthplace of the Renaissance. In Piazza della Repubblica—site of the city’s forum during ancient Roman times—take a spin on an antique wooden carousel, riding atop galloping horses and gilded carriages. Channel your inner inventor with a visit to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, dedicated to the famed Italian artist and engineer. Explore da Vinci’s creativity and genius as you interact with an astonishing array of machines, brought to life from drawings the artist created hundreds of years ago. Cap off the day with a gelato treat! Local Train

    Venice – Florence, 2h30m / 255km Climb aboard, take your seat, and get around like the locals do. Piazza della Repubblica Visit Florence

    Join your CEO for a walk to the Piazza della Repubblica – site of the city’s ancient Roman forum – then ride on a unique wooden carousel maintained by the same family for five generations.

    Leonardo Da Vinci Museum Visit Florence: With over 40 working machines recreated from da Vinci’s notebooks, interacting is definitely encouraged at this museum – go ahead, spin those wheels, knobs and levers! Discover the genius of his highly engineered bridges, hydraulic machines, and artillery designs. See a life-size “ornithopter” – da Vinci’s dream flying machine.

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Florence

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Photo: Piazza della Repubblica at night

    Day 4 Florence

    Begin the morning with a walking tour of Florence’s historic center, an enchanting warren of stone lanes bursting with treasures. Later, take part in a hands-on cooking class, where you’ll learn how to make fresh gluten free pasta—then enjoy it for lunch!

    Florence Guided Walking Tour Florence: Head out for walk through the heart of Florence, passing magnificent structures that truly bring the Italian Renaissance to life.

    Gluten Free Pasta Cooking Class Florence: Take part in the tradition of making fresh pasta in a real Italian kitchen, then enjoy your creations for lunch. Preparing delicious foods with simple ingredients and the right technique – it’s a skill you can bring back home!

    Free Time Florence, Evening

    Enjoy some free time to explore this historic city, home to many Renaissance treasures.

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Florence

    Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch

    Photo: Florence Duomo

    Day 5 Florence

    Florence, Full Day - Today is free to explore on your own or take part in optional activities. Choose to join our guide for an excursion by train to the city of Pisa and see just how far the tower leans. Those spending the day in Florence can visit the city’s enormous, red-tiled cathedral—known as the Duomo—which took more than 140 years to complete; or marvel at Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery; experience Medici court life at the Palazzo Vecchio; visit to the Uffizi Gallery to see the works of the Renaissance masters; take in the panoramic view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo; and more. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

    *Please note that if you wish to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Duomo or Medici Chapels, we highly recommend booking admission tickets online, prior to your departure. Many popular attractions in Europe have a timed ticketing system (i.e. morning & afternoon admission) so please keep this in mind while you are deciding on activities for this free day. Without reserved tickets, there is the risk of waiting in long queues – a little planning goes a long way!

    Optional Activities Pisa Excursion, 6-8h, 15-20EUR/person

    Take the train to Pisa with our CEO and check out its famous leaning tower. Wander the area and take photos to your heart’s content. Opt to enter the Pisa Cathedral, or enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant.

    Medici Chapels Admission, Florence, 8-10EUR/person

    Admire the opulence of the two Medici Chapels. The Sagrestia Nuova was designed by Michelangelo and built as a mausoleum for the powerful Medici family.

    Galleria dell’Accademia Admission, Florence, 1-3h, 9-12EUR/person

    Admire beautiful sculptures by the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, including the famous statue of David, at this beautiful art gallery. Check out rare musical instruments made by Stradivari (who made string instruments) and Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano, at Accademia Gallery’s Museum of Musical Instruments.

    Il Duomo di Firenze Admission, Florence, 1-2h, free

    This green-pink-white marbled 13th century basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches and its brick dome is the largest ever constructed.

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Florence

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Photo: Il Duomo di Firenze © G Adventures Inc.

    Day 6 Florence/Rome

    Ride the rails to Rome, home to one of history’s greatest empires. Enjoy a walking tour of Piazza del Popolo—which features twin churches and a towering obelisk—and take in the sunset from the Spanish Steps.

    Local Train Florence – Rome, 3h / 262km Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.

    Spanish Steps Rome, 15m

    Built to connect the hilltop Trinità dei Monti church with the Piazza di Spagna (or Spanish Square) below, the Spanish Steps are a colourful example of Baroque architecture from 18th century Rome. Opt to climb its 136 steps, or simply watch the crowds weave through this popular tourist attraction. Piazza del Popolo Walk 

    Rome Take a walk in the “peoples square” or Piazza del Popolo. Explore the oval “square” admiring the churches and gaze up at the ancient obelisk. This is a perfect place to people watch!

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Rome

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Photo: Piazza del Popolo

    Day 7 Rome

    Step inside the ancient Colosseum, where gladiatorial contests took place before cheering crowds and fierce animals were once set loose. Then head to a local gladiator school and learn how to become a Roman warrior! Delve into gladiatorial history and examine authentic artifacts including shields, swords, and armor. With the guidance of an instructor, venture into an arena to safely train and fight other new centurions—and feel the thrill of handling your own wooden sword and shield. Later, join an optional walk to St. Peter’s Square or choose to visit the Vatican or the Roman Forum. This evening, gather for a festive gluten free dinner to celebrate our Italian adventure.

    Colosseum Visit: Enjoy a visit to this famous spot, the scene of many bloody gladiator fights for the entertainment of ancient Rome’s aristocracy. Take a tour of the old venue—a UNESCO World Heritage site—and feel free to walk around on your own. No battles, please!

    Gladiator School Lesson: Go back 2,000 years in time at the Gladiator School of Rome. First, visit the museum to see and touch authentic weapons and gear used by gladiators and Roman legionaries. Then, learn the basic techniques of gladiatorial sword fighting from a skilled instructor and challenge other new centurions, either in the outdoor arena (weather permitting) or indoors, using play-safe materials.

    Optional Activities: St. Peter’s Square Walk, Rome, 3-5EUR/person

    With your CEO, explore St. Peter’s Square, located in Vatican City. Created in the 17th century by Bernini, the square has an elliptic shape, surrounded on two sides by colonnades before St. Peter’s Basilica. Statues sit atop the colonnades. At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk that was transported from Egypt to Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

    Roman Forum Visit, Rome, 1-2h, 16-20EUR/person: Even with the bustle of modern day Rome whizzing past on Vespas, you can still lose yourself in the fragmented columns and ancient ruins of this plaza, conjuring images of the rich Romans sauntering by in togas.

    Accommodation: 4 star hotel, Rome

    Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

    Photo: Colosseum

    Day 8 Rome

    Depart at any time.

    Not ready to leave? We can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Photo: Trevi Fountain in Rome