Cruising Italy: Top 5 Shore Excursions


About 80% the boot-shaped country of Italy borders the sea. For this reason, many Italian destinations are easily reachable by water. Shore excursions are probably the best way to relax while sailing the beautiful Italian seas but, at the same time, not miss the highlights of this charming peninsula. During these kinds of excursions, you will have the chance to rest in your cruise ship for the night and enjoy splendid landscapes or monuments on shore during the day. As your expert travel agents for Italy, we have designed 5 shore excursions that will allow you to visit your favorite spots without the need to rush from one place to the other. Accompanied by our professional local guides, you will avoid the risk of wasting time looking for the most popular touristic sites or waiting in endless lines. You will also benefit from the well-organized transfers, some of which are private, that will get you directly to the crucial locations and that will take you back to the cruise pier with plenty of time to prepare for your next amazing adventure.

But now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at these 5 excursions.

1) Cinque Terre: Livorno Port-of-Call

The Cinque Terre are 5 very typical Italian small towns, overlooking the “Mar Ligure” and making up one of the most scenic landscapes on the globe. All sharing a distinct fishing village atmosphere, the Cinque Terre are one aspect of the ‘maritime Italy’ that is not to be missed. The combination of a deep blue ocean, the vivid green vegetation and the colorful small houses of the “Terre” are good enough reasons not to think twice about this excursion. But that is not all: the shapes of the hills, the way the houses are nestled in coves and cliffs, as well as the delightful scents of the plants and the unique flavors of the typical Ligurian cuisine are surely going to astonish you.

Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera

Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera

In the morning, you will be picked up at the port and you will benefit from the professionalism and knowledge of a personal local guide. During the day you will travel by car, train and boat while you sit back and appreciate the scenery from both the shore and offshore. Your first stop will be Manarola, one of the five fishing villages, followed by Riomaggiore, where you will have a delicious lunch in a local trattoria we hand-picked for you. The meal will get you ready for the second part of the day: a boat trip will take you to Vernazza, a truly gorgeous natural harbor, something like a dream come true. Vernazza is completely car-free, which contributes to its being this peaceful pearl in the heart of the Italian Riviera. House to the Vernaccia wine, Vernazza is a conglomerate of lovely houses and quiet streets. In the past, this village was often the target of pirates and has devoted many of its resources to defend itself from this threat.

If you wish, your guide will be happy to tell you all about this captivating piece of naval history. These tales are sure to captivate you until the time you must return to Livorno, and take your own ship.

2) Rome: Civitavecchia Port-of-Call

This excursion will allow you to see the most beautiful locations in Rome, explained by a local private guide and comfortably reached by your personal driver – all in one day, before your cruise departs Civitavecchia port. With the Rome Shore Excursion, you will certainly make the best use of your free day in the Lazio region, enjoying delights that you won’t easily forget.

This easily customizable itinerary includes a private pick up at the Civitavecchia port from where you will be driven to the city center of Rome, where your private guide will start to amaze you from the very first stop of the tour: the Colosseum. Not only will you be able to enjoy its beauty from the outside, but you will also have the chance to enter and appreciate the magic of its history. The Flavian Amphitheatre (yes, I am still referring to this magnificent ancient building) is the place where, almost 2000 years ago, thousands humans and animals were involved in often violent shows or games and fought for their lives to entertain greedy crowds. Hence, a fascinating trip back in time is guaranteed inside the so-called Amphitheatrum Flavium.

The Colosseum is the most visited site in Italy

The Colosseum is the most visited site in Italy

However, as much as the Colosseum is not the only beauty in Rome, it will not be the only stop in your excursion. The Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Saint Peter’s Square are just some of the highlights you will be so glad to have seen at the end of this day touring the Italian capital.

Regardless of how sad it might make you (and I bet it would be quite a lot), your driver will make sure you leave Rome early enough for you to get back in the cruise with no rush. You will sail away with Rome in your heart.

3) Glimpse of Rome: Civitavecchia Port-of-Call

This ideally designed Shore Excursion encompasses two of the most popular tours in Rome: the Must-See Rome Small Group Walking Tour and the Dungeons and Upper Tiers Tour of the Colosseum. This excursion is the perfect option to grasp the magnificence of the Eternal City in a comfortable way, while still saving yourself some money.

You will be picked up at the port and be transferred directly to the center of the city in a private car. During the Small Group Walking Tour you will explore the most fascinating spots in Rome, including Piazza Colonna, Trevi Fountain (you better have a penny to throw in it with you!) and many more! Everything is tightly organized in a 2.5 – 3 hour easy walk. Oh, by the way, a little digression here. I need to make sure all of you know how to properly throw a coin in the notorious Fontana di Trevi (I don’t want any of you to get disappointed should your wish not come true): you must put the coin in your right hand and throw over your left shoulder!

 The Trevi Fountain si one of the most famous fountains in the world.

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world.

Have lunch and relax during the free time that follows, as you will soon jump back in the car and head to the oldest symbol of Rome: the Colosseum. Here you will have the privilege to participate in an often sold-out tour in Rome: the Dungeons and Upper Tiers Tour. A Colosseum expert will guide you around intriguing places within the infamous Amphitheater and you will undoubtedly be enchanted by the enigmatic stories you will be told. During this exhaustive tour, you will see the Dungeons, where animals and humans were kept before the show, then proceed to the Colosseum main floor and then all the way up to the top stands. From there, the view of the monument and the city Rome will be absolutely stunning, I promise.

I hope the battery of your camera has not reached 0% yet: save some of it for St. Peter’s and the Vatican City as you will want to take memories of both back to the cruise.

4) Florence & Pisa: Livorno Port-of-Call

Florence, Pisa, and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside: the essentials of this full-day excursion are authentic must-see places in Italy! In Florence, you will benefit from a 3-hour guided tour of intense artistic charm. The astonishing setting of the Piazza del Duomo is easily one of the most important symbols of the Italian Renaissance.  Heading south, you will get to the L-shaped Piazza della Signoria, overlooked by its main building: the Palazzo Vecchio. The Palace, now location of the Florentine city hall, was gradually expanded on the East side until it ended up being four times bigger than its original size. As weird as it may sound, its front side is also the shortest one. Only after stopping by other infamous sites of Florence, you will head to Pisa.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Take a nice break from the urban environment during the ride. You can finally relish the traditional Tuscan countryside while transferring between the two cities: the smooth, elegant shapes of the hills, the cypresses, the farmhouses.

The last part of this shore excursion is going to be spent in Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa’s artistic heart. Depending on your preference and personal curiosity, devote time to the monuments that uniquely characterize this huge square: the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Camposanto Monumentale, the Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito, and, of course, the Leaning Tower.

This taste of Tuscany will be so pleasant to you that, once back to Livorno, you’ll just say “Arrivederci

5) Florence: Livorno Port-of-Call

This excursion is very similar to the previous one as far as the first part of the day is concerned. From Livorno you will arrive in Florence in a private transfer. You will walk around the “centro storico” and your private guide will illustrate the main artistic masterpieces in a truly personalized experience.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

After reveling in the astonishing panorama over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, shopping lovers will conclude this unforgettable experience hopping between the most fashionable stores in the city. Oh–how could I forget?!?–you will also have the chance to enjoy a tasty meal for lunch: follow your guide’s suggestions and you won’t be disappointed!

I know you really don’t want to, but you’d better listen to your personal driver advice and get back in the car if you don’t want to miss your cruise leaving the port of Livorno!

Which one do you like the most?

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