When it comes to vacations, people have a variety of goals for what they want or need a vacation to be. For a great many, it’s a time for much-needed rest and relaxation. For others, maybe they’re seeking thrills and adventure. And for a select few, a vacation goal might be a chance to learn something new or immerse oneself into local culture. Regardless of which camp you fall in, those vacation goals are all good. To help you hone in on your vacation goals, here are 5 unique vacation ideas to inspire your travels to Italy.
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5 Unique Vacation Ideas for Travels to Italy
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of tour group options, guidebooks, and referrals from friends for your travels to Italy. Rather than become lost in a crowd and a list of recommendations, one way to plan your travels to Italy is to work with a local transport service that offers small group experiences.
An Italy vacation is a once in a lifetime experience (hopefully more), so by planning a more intentional trip you’re poised to get more out of it. And, in a smaller group, there might be less tourist burnout from what you could experience from larger tour companies. The 5 ideas that follow cater to a wide variety of interests to inspire meaningful travels to Italy, and will take your #vacationgoals to the next level.
Painting & Sculpting Workshops
Channel your inner Bob Ross and get ready to paint and sculpt like Rafael and Michelangelo. At the Florence Studio, you can book one-day or multi-day workshops with instruction in traditional painting or sculpting. The Florence Studio is located in a beautiful palazzo in the heart of Florence and its instructors are classically trained artists.
It makes sense to book a painting or sculpting workshop during one’s travels to Italy. For one, Florence is arguably the birthplace of the Renaissance and some of the preeminent artists of that time flocked to Florence to be part of the cultural movement. And, second, imagine using a photogenic city like Florence as your canvas and inspiration to create works of art of your own.
Whether you are a beginner artist or more advanced, the Florence Studio offers flexible scheduling for all skill levels. Class offerings include portrait, still-life, figure, and even “Old Master Copy” workshops. As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in the instance of the “old master” classes, you’ll draw inspiration from the greats. After the workshops are over, your travels to Italy will be enriched by visiting the great many museums of Florence and identifying the techniques used by the masters on display across the city.
If the thought of wielding a torch or saw during your travels to Italy excites you, then you might want to consider a metalsmithing workshop in the heart of Florence, Italy. The renown of Italy’s jewelers, especially their work in gold, is legendary. At one time, goldsmiths were considered “jacks of all trades,” and made more than just jewelry. But, it was jewelry that elevated their art and on account of that, one of the Medici Dukes moved Florence’s jewelry workshops to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge (it also helped to clear out the foul-smelling butcher shops that were a nuisance on the bridge).
As it turns out, there are only a handful of true Italian goldsmiths left in Florence. If, through your travels to Italy, you are at all interested in the traditional art of metalsmithing then you can still study with Italian goldsmiths at Metallo Nobile in the historic core of Florence.
Metallo Nobile offers classes for a wide range of aspiring jewelers. Students are provided a tool kit so there’s no need to pack tools in your luggage for this trip. Metallo Nobile attracts students from all of the world, so imagine the wide array of styles, techniques, and language exchange that happens at a jewelry bench in the school’s studio located on the ground floor of a Renaissance palazzo.
Cooking Classes & Wine Tours
One’s travels to Italy would not be complete with a cooking class or a wine tour. There’s no doubt that anyone who travels to Italy will return raving about the food and the wine. So, why not take your vacation up a notch by getting in the kitchen yourself or booking a wine tour with a sommelier.
In Tavola offers group cooking classes, master cooking classes, and gourmet cooking classes. All classes teach students the secrets to Italian cooking and the tips common to an Italian kitchen. Food is such an amazing window into the cultural traditions of a country, and In Tavola aims to give you a peek inside and a seat at the table (or Tavola, as an Italian would say).
If a more bespoke experience would make your travels to Italy all the more memorable, then Vinarium is the small tour operator for you. Vinarium specializes in private lessons in their chef kitchen or with a Tuscan chef in their restaurant kitchens. Class times offered include half-day, full-day as well as customized stays if your travels to Italy allow for a longer cooking course.
A wine tour in Tuscany? As the saying goes, “When in Rome,” scratch that make it “When in Florence.” Trust that your travels to Italy will be that much better with a wine tour. Florence is in the heart of Tuscany, and that means Chianti country. If you like wine, then a wine tour of the vineyards and agricultural region of Tuscany is a must.
Tuscan Trails is a small group tour operator that offers wine tours of the Tuscan region. Led by a native English speaker who has an incredible knowledge of the history of the Tuscan wine region, Tuscan Trails Wine Tours offers the historical, political and cultural context of the winemakers of the region.
Considering bicycles have outsold cars most years since 2003, then it would not be surprising that the popularity of vacation cycling tours is also on the rise. The sweeping and winding roads of Tuscany are an ideal place for cycling. Few stoplights and stop signs are a green light for pelotons and the cyclists amongst us.
Bici Italia is a small group tour operator that plans biking routes led by ex-pro cyclists, books your private villa, and loads up the SAG vans to support cyclists of all levels and on all types of bikes. Each day, depending upon how you feel, your ride route and duration can be adjusted to meet your physical fitness goals or needs. A concierge cycling tour service, after you’ve washed up from a long day’s ride, Bici Italia offers you and your group options for special excursions, wine tastings, and cooking classes to enhance your overall travels to Italy.
Read More: How to Stay Fit on Vacay
Shopping & Fashion Design
If you’re the type of person who leaves room in their suitcase for shopping hauls or is perfectly willing to buy a second carry-on to pack the new wardrobe you purchased during your travels to Italy, then maybe a tour of Florence’s best fashion houses is for you. From consignment vintage to designer boutiques, and everything in between, shopping in Florence is fun, especially when the dollar is strong.
Florence Fashion Tours organizes four-hour shopping tours. Led by a guide with all of the hook-ups, the various tours take you into designer showrooms, jeweler’s studios, vintage stores with hard-to-find vintage Italian designer pieces. At the end of the tour, you can celebrate your shopping success with a glass of Prosecco and appetizers at an upscale bar in the historic city center.
If you’d prefer to learn about fashion design instead of or in addition to shopping, then Florence Fashion Tours also offers fashion design workshops. Imagine being able to look over the shoulder of a designer as he or she sketches, ask questions about the process and collections, and visit factories in real life, all the things you can’t learn about Italian fashion in a textbook. These are the kinds of memorable experiences you won’t get in a large tour group setting.
These are 5 unique vacation ideas to inspire your travels to Italy. A European vacation can certainly be all about arts and culture or rest and relaxation, but it can also be an opportunity to learn something new full of personal enrichment. To help you prepare for your trip, follow influencers on social media who oftentimes offer tips for places to eat, visit, or take those to-die-for Instagram photos to show off all of your fun adventures.
Photo credits: unsplash.com
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