Italy… the world of fine dining with unique cuisines, elegant cultures and an undeniably rich history. This is the one place in everyone’s bucket list and getting great tour companies such as Eating Italy Foods Tour, they take you the heart of each city for a memorable experience.
With cities such as Rome, Milan, Florence and Naples to mention but a few, destinations waiting to be explored are endless. From the beautiful hills to the extensive vineyards, getting to experience all the hidden gems will require help and that is why we have highlighted the best tour companies in Italy, to help you navigate the beautiful Italy.
Italy is comprised of 20 regions each holding to a variety of things to offer. The architecture, food, culture, art, landscapes and vineyards will vary from one region to the next. It’s quite basically a conglomerate of beautiful experiences.
If you’re planning on travelling to Italy, then it is best that you plan to be there longer in order to visit some famous stops such as the Colosseum and the Tower of Pisa. You will need to plan for tours that will cater to your interests as the list of tour operators is just too long. Narrow down your interests and figure out whether you would like a cultural tour, a food tasting and cooking tour, an architectural or art tour.
With that in mind, proceed to finding which tour companies offer a combination of everything you would like or basically find the one with majority and find like one or two with the items not your list but that you will still like to explore.
You want to travel to Italy with an appetite because you will be sampling and eating quite a lot. With the list we have compiled for you, narrowing it down to the tour operator will be a lot easier and all you’ll have to do is get your passport ready and get exploring.
Exodus Travels are all about exploring and going far and beyond to ensure you get a truly personal experience. This is no wonder as it is an award winning tour company with over 44 years of experience in the traveling industry. They have expanded their wings as recently the company opened offices in America and Canada.
Whether you are looking for a walking tour, a cultural experience, cycling tour or are aching for a responsible wildlife tour, Exodus Travels have their specialty in these areas and more. Their adventures will bypass the normal paths taken by most companies and take you through the off beaten paths right into the heart of the towns you’ll be visiting.
Enjoy great cuisine as you interact with the locals and get to know more about the history and stories that you will not learn from the travel guides. They have informative guides who are passionate about their job and will do so in a fun and interactive way.
Exodus travels wants to open your eyes to behold the beautiful world we’re living in and to do this they expose you to experiences that will enable you to view the world differently.
- Award winning hiking, biking, cultural and wildlife tours
- Responsible travel
- Small group and self-guided tours across 100+ countries
- Original active adventure company
G Adventures was founded by an entrepreneur by the name Bruce Poon Tip in the year 1990. This was after he’d gone for a backpacking trip to Asia. Driven by a need to share his passion and his vision, G adventures was born with nothing but his two personal credit cards. This company has since grown to accommodate over 2,200 employees spread out in over 28 offices globally.
Aside from offering affordable travel they are focused on changing lives by giving back to the communities travel to and so it just won’t be a vacation but one with a difference. With now over 1,350 employees with majority of them being professionally trained guides, you have round the clock support in case you have any queries.
Whether you want a Rio to Lima Adventure for 51 days or you just don’t have that much time, you can opt for the classic Lombok for a period of 8 days and still manage to enjoy the 8 days exploring traditional villages, basking on the picturesque beaches and so much more.
With the overwhelming reviews from different travelers, G Adventures is definitely living up to its name.
- 100% guaranteed departures
- Strong engagement with the locals
- Different travelling styles
- Life changing trips
- Impacting local communities during vacations
- Responsible travel
Intrepid Travel was started by two Australians, Darell and Manch, who decided to travel to Africa and stuff their friends in a modified truck without any conditioning. In that truck they came up with the idea that possibly others could be interested in that type of travel and that was the start of many international trips and serving over 100,000 travelers in a year.
If you’re looking for day trips as well as weekly adventures, Intrepid employs local guides who are passionate in what they do and who have an appreciation for every community they will guide you to.
For those who prefer intimate groups, this option is definitely tailored for you because they deal with small groups to ensure that everyone is involved. Inclusive of sailing trips, the trips usually last between 8 to 15 days.
Staying true to the integration of travelers with the local communities, transportation and accommodation have not been left behind. Intrepid Travels uses local transport as well as local accommodation such as Cambodian stilt houses.
The three travelling styles are basix, original and comfort. Where basix caters to budget travelers who prefer simple travels with camping or homestays allowing them ample time to explore. Original caters to those with a backpackers’ sprit who enjoy getting locally immersed into the local culture and way of life. Lastly, the comfort style of travelling incorporates more amenities in the accommodations, more group activities and transportation is mostly private but since we’re talking Intrepid, you should expect to use public transportation a few times.
With all this growth, this company has held on to their mission of small groups, big adventures and important of all, safe travel.
- Authentic, sustainable small group trips
- Professional local guides
- Different travel styles
- Balanced out itineraries
- Largest small group adventure providers in the world
This company is another great example of people who turned their passion into reputable companies. Kenny spent three years travelling the world and after returning home to Philadelphia, he couldn’t contain all the great stories and almost all of them were about food.
In the year 2009, he moved to Rome where he fell in love with the European cuisine and it wasn’t until 2011, that Eating Italy Food Tours was born. Ever since, Kenny started travelling across Europe and in the process he met people who shared the same passion of wanting to show travelers the local cuisines, people and unique places within their reach.
By this networking, Eating Italy Food Tours became Eating Europe and this company is now in 9 cities across Europe. It seems many travelers are going for more authentic tours that allow for intermingling with local cultures which are scattered all over Europe.
Over 100,000 travelers have had the opportunity to tour with Eating Italy Foods and from the many reviews, they had nothing but good words for this team.
Their food tours include Eating Amsterdam Food Tours, Eating Prague Food Tours, Florence Food Tours among others.
- Beyond the food for an insider experience
- Great engagement with locals
- Excellence certification
To get the best introduction to the destination you’re in, you need to go for one the free walking tours. Rome Free Walking Tour offers daily tours with each tour being different from the other. Every tour will take approximately 2 hours.
These tours are great at giving you an overview or summary basically of the city. You will get an overview of the city and the diverse cultures the city has to offer, without having to be bombarded with the overwhelming historical details. You’re in the hands of very knowledgeable guides ready to satisfy any burning questions that you may have.
This is knowledge that you will be getting for free so while it is saving you money, remember to tip your guide. It’s not compulsory but it’s a kind gesture.
- Two different free 2-hour tours daily
- Authorized local guides
- Good introduction into Rome
- Free and friendly tours for all that come in two languages
Context Travel is a great company that was founded in the year 2003 in Rome husband and wife, Paul and Lani. They got to the Italian capital after having sailed the Atlantic Ocean for over two years. Once there, it was impossible to leave as they fell in love with the rich aesthetic that is Italy.
The couple got to meet a diverse group of people from native Romans, Scholars, researchers as well as professors and an idea was born to connect visitors who were out looking to gain a deeper understanding of the city, with this group of people. And that is how Context Travel was born.
Therefore, if you love to dig through the histories and cultures of the cities you travel to, Context Travels are your go-to. They don’t come about getting that information for you but instead they employ the local people to be able to paint the true picture of each city.
They currently have over 150,000 tours including Milan’s The Last Supper Painting Tour: Da Vinci in Depth, Naples Savoring Naples Food Tour and Rome’s Context Journeys: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Rome and so much more.
- Cultural and historical tours
- Discussions of in-depth, thematic topics
- Excellence certification
Tips when traveling to Italy like a local
When travelling to any new locations, you will often feel spotlighted in everything you do because you’re new there and the locals know you’re new there. If this bugs you, then you want to know the way locals live and emulate some of these habits.
Without further-a-do let’s see how the Italians do it.
Stop and talk to people
Italy isn’t like New York where everyone seems to be running somewhere; it is slow paced. No matter where you’re headed and the type of commitment that lies ahead of you, if you meet someone you know, it is only natural that you stop for a little chat. The probability of finding the meeting you had planned way underway is minimal because everyone everywhere seems to do things the same way, later.
Stopping to speak to a local is actually important in getting to understand their way of life. Be kind and polite and don’t walk around with the weight of the world on your shoulders; you’re in Italy.
Greet everyone with two kisses
You’re probably thinking here that this is an invasion of privacy and while in other countries this could earn you a slap across your face, the Italians are very affectionate people. This greeting is quite normal and anything less is plain awkward. Whether you’re greeting an elderly or someone your age or of the opposite gender, a kiss on each cheek is the way to say hello.
Learn basic Italian
While this is not a requirement, it would help to have some basic Italian phrases to help you get by with. Saying “hello” “saluti”, “have a good day” “buona giornata” when saying goodbye, and a few more phrases such as this will be a plus you will be thankful for later on.
Avoid putting ketchup on pizza or pasta
If you’re often adding ketchup on your pizza or pasta you want to forget you even know what that is when you get to Italy. Whenever you think to ask for ketchup, think of it as if you’re driving a knife into an Italian Chefs delicate heart; don’t do it. If you forget and ask for it anyway, then the disapproving looks you’ll get will be sure to jog your memory.
Avoid Italy in Summer
A combination of the heat, crowded alleys and inflated prices are sure to make anyone recoil. If you travel to Italy in the summer, then this is the scenery you will have to endure. Most schools are closed during summer and so you have people from all over the world travelling to Italy because that’s the only opportunity they will have to visit Italy. What’s interesting is that this is also the time that most Italians travel elsewhere and so you’re just going to be a bunch of foreigners struggling for space and shade. It won’t be worth your money in all honesty. The best time to go on vacation is Early June.
Don’t queue in line
Alright, so this is one tip I found to be a bit funny as it is quite similar to how my African brothers and sisters do it. When you get to Italy, you will notice a lot of informal lines from cinemas to fast food joints and while you wait to board a plane. Don’t be too confused thinking that there’s probably too many mobs in Italy; there aren’t. it is quite ironic as on the one hand no one seems to be in a hurry to go anyway and on the other hand, well people just don’t have the patience to wait in line for the service being provided.
So, don’t just stand there, meander your way to the front and put on your best no-nonsense face and no one will challenge you because there’s a 90% chance that they got there the same way you did. Or just wait your chance and be a good citizen to all mankind.
Q. Do I need a Visa to travel to Italy?
A. It depends on where you’re travelling from. If you’re coming from anywhere within Europe, then you don’t need to have a Visa. As of 2021, U.S. citizens will have to apply for Visa in order to travel anywhere in Europe.
Q. Can I use my ATM card in Italy?
A. This shouldn’t be a problem but you will need to communicate with your bank to be advised on whether you can actually use it. You will find that most ATM cards have a lock on them to prevent fraudsters from accessing your account overseas. Should this be he case, then the bank can have the lock removed.
Q. Are there other places to explore apart from Rome?
A. Most definitely. Some of the best tours that have been embraced by many are the ones involving the off-beaten paths. From Milan, Naples to Tuscany, there are endless destinations you can explore before you even consider revisiting Rome. Use any of the tour companies to choose what tour best serves you.
Q. Are some parts in Italy dangerous?
A. Italy is no exception when it comes to crime as no place really is immune to this vice. The cases that are common are pick-pocketing and on the extreme, purse snatchers. For this reason, you want to be careful with how you keep your items such as cash and be extra aware of your surroundings.
There is a lot to see as we have clearly seen just from going through the best tour companies in Italy. Why no start saving to take advantage of one of the affordable trips offered in Italy and get a few days off to let go of everyday pressures. Hopefully this article has managed to point you into the right direction with a clear starting point.