Italy has been a hot travel destination since the age of the "Grand Tour." Its allure hasn't faded at all, thanks to the country's astonishing natural beauty, cultural diversity, historical riches, delectable cuisine and welcoming people. But for travelers who want to really get in touch with the country, and experience the lifestyle on a deeper level, it's important to seek out an Italy tour that takes you beyond the usual checklist of "must-sees."
It helps to look for a tour operator that has both experience and expertise. Tour operator Tauck, in business for over 87 years, has built a reputation for well-planned Italy tours that engage the senses and immerse travelers in their destination. The added benefit of putting your schedule in the hands of such a trusted tour operator is that you can sit back and revel in the experience, without having to worry about the stresses of travel.
Any traveler wants to see the justifiably famous sites in his or her destination of choice, and Italy certainly has a rich bounty to choose from, including the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the statue of David in Florence. Standing in the presence of such monuments will leave an indelible impression, but seeing them should be just one aspect of your time on an Italy tour.
Getting a behind-the-scenes look at both famous sights and everyday Italian life takes your trip from good to unforgettable. Keep in mind that not all tours are created equal, so study itineraries carefully to make sure that they include experiences like these:
* Seeing artisans work. Italy's fine traditional crafts are some of the most prized in the world, and having the opportunity to meet artisans and watch them create is truly unique. On Tauck's Italy tour, you can see local craftspeople making the famous masks of Venice. The centuries-long tradition is still going strong, providing masks for the revelers in the city's renowned Carnevale, and for discerning collectors.
* Get a taste for authentic cuisine. The Italian food you know and love reaches its zenith in the land where it originated. On an Italy tour designed to cater to your every sense, you'll be able to savor the freshness of the local cuisine, and gain an understanding of just how diverse Italian food really is. Look for an Italy tour that offers the chance to experience a cooking demonstration where you can learn the secrets behind a truly perfect pizza, pasta or other Italian classic.
* Beat the crowds. The museums of Italy are packed with some of the most famous artistic creations of all time, and the lines that snake out their doors are testament to that fame. An Italy tour from Tauck that overnights in Rome, however, gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with a legendary work of art - the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. On an after-hours tour, you'll be able to relax and really study Michelangelo's ceiling fresco without the press of a crowd hurrying you through the chapel.
Italy's standing as a top travel destination is unshakable, and it will continue to draw crowds seemingly forever. However, by opting for an Italy tour that shows you the noted sights as well as the hidden gems, your Italy experience will be one of a kind. Visit www.tauck.com for more information.