The Best of Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice and more!

Comfort Tour Canada — Italy Tours from Toronto

Fall in love with Italy as you experience the ancient ruins of Rome, the beauty of Renaissance Florence, the rustic charm of Tuscany, and the romance of Venice on this guided tour with Comfort Tour Canada! Our fully-escorted 9-day/8-night tour package includes accommodation at first-star hotels, daily breakfast, sightseeing tours conducted in English, local transportation by coach and airport transfers as well as one lunch and six group dinners at local restaurants!

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.  Italy

While in Rome, you will enjoy guided tours of the Vatican City, the capital of Catholicism, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Take the opportunity to visit the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon or the beautiful piazzas and monuments. Also in Rome, enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in the quarter of Trastevere with music to accompany the dinner!

Florence View - Italy Tours from Toronto

En route to your next destination, Florence, you will visit the town of Orvieto, which stands proudly and precariously on top of a cliff of red volcanic rock. In Orvieto, admire the wonderful winding streets and past the magnificent Gothic cathedral, with its black and white striped walls and colourful mosaics. The city has a fascinating warren of caves and underground passageways, which you explore on a tour before free time for lunch in one of the many restaurants of the historic centre.

Upon arrival in Florence, enjoy a tour to Piazzale Michelangelo for a breathtaking view of the city from a dominating position on the hills above as well as the Cradle of Renaissance to see the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo (the fourth largest cathedral in the world) and Piazza della Signoria. There, you will also see the Basilica Santa Croce, burial place of some of Italy’s most celebrated icons including Galileo Galilei, Macchiavelli and Michelangelo, and as many as 1,700 masterpieces in the world-­‐famous Uffizi Gallery. In fact, much of the beauty of the city is found indoors, with a fifth of the world’s Renaissance art on display in Florence’s museums, galleries, churches, monasteries and palaces. During your free time in Florence, you may choose to explore a number of these art displays.

The tour continues as you travel to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower and then Lucca, one of the most perfectly preserved medieval towns in Italy to enjoy a guided tour through its narrow lanes and historic palaces.

Famous leaning tower of Pisa, Italy - Italy Tours from Toronto

To top of the tour, you will visit magical Venice. There, you will enjoy a private boat to Piazza San Marco for a guided tour of the square, which is dominated by the magnificent Basilica Di San Marco and the venerable Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace, an impressive and marvelous building of the Venetian rulers.  During your free time, take the opportunity to explore and get lost in the winding streets of Venice or test the wide variety of gelato shops in search of the most delicious scoop of gelato!

This Italy tour provides you with the opportunity to visit some of the most famous, well-recognized cities of this spectacular country. It’s not often that you’ll find Italy Tours from Toronto, which offer such an exciting itinerary with the perfect combination of guided tours and free time. Join us today to taste the delicious local produce, admire the beautiful architecture and discover what it means to live the “Dolce Vita” ! Trust your Canadian tour operator and travel with Comfort Tour Canada – after all, we travel in Comfort all the way!

For more information about the tour, dates and prices, please visit:  www.comforttour.ca

Need to Know Italian Phrases

The Italian language is beautiful to listen to even if you have no idea what is being said.  The intonations, the rising and falling lilt of the conversation and the rhythmic flow is music to your ears.  Add to this the many gesticulations and facial expressions of the speaker and you can begin to believe that you really do understand the dialogue going on around you.

learn_Italian_phrases

Over 85 million people worldwide speak Italian, 59 million of whom live in the European Union.  The melodic quality of Italian is mainly due to the fact that most words end in a vowel giving wonderful words like italiano (Italian), arrivderdeci (goodbye), si (yes), and mi scusi (excuse me).

Italian is descended from Latin so anyone who had classical schooling with Latin or already knows a smattering of Spanish or Portuguese will better understand Italian.  But if you don’t have a clue, just imagine how wonderful it would be if you could speak a few Italian words or phrases when visiting Italy.

Below is a list of some great but simple phrases to try out on the locals when you are in Italy. Practice them a few times and if you want to boost your confidence, check out an Italian language website where you can hear a native Italian pronounce each phrase, so you can see if you are getting it right.  And then practice some more.  Try really hard to pronounce each word or phrase with the right emphasis and with a self-assured flourish.

Basic Italian Words and Phrases

The Italian word is in bold, and the phonetic spelling to the right.  The capital letters depict where the main emphasis should be placed.

GREETINGS

  • Good morning:  buon giorno (bwohn-JOR-noh)
  • Good evening: buona sera (BWOH-nah-SAY-ra)
  • Goodbye: arrivederci (ah-ree-vay-DEHR-chee)
  • Bye: ciao (chow)

COURTESY

  • Please: per favore (pehr fah-VOH-ray)
  • Thank-you: grazie (GRAHT-zee-ay)
  • You’re welcome: prego (PRAY-goh)
  • Welcome:   benvenuto  (ben-ve -NOO- toh)
  • Excuse me: mi scusi! (me skoozee)

COMPREHENSION

  • Can you help me? mi può aiutare? (me-poo-OH ah-yoo-TAH-ray)
  • I don’t speak Italian: non parlo italiano (nohn PAR-loh ee-tah-leeAH-non)
  • I don’t understand: non capisco (nohn kah-PEES-koh)
  • Do you speak English? parla inglese? (PAR-lah een-GLAY-zay)?
  • Yes: si (see)
  • No: no (noh)

GENERAL

  • Enjoy your meal: buon appetito (bwohn ap-e-TEET-o)
  • Is everything ok?  va bene (VAH BAY-ne)
  • Yes, everything’s fine:  si, bene (see BEHN-nay)
  • What’s your name? come si chiama? (KOH-may see kee-AH-ma)

Remember that although most Italians speak English they will appreciate your efforts in trying to speak at least a few words of their beautiful language when you are in their homeland.  And if you manage to sound like a native, the only problem you will encounter is that the listener will be so enthusiastic that they will respond with a torrent of Italian that may leave you completely lost!

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If that should happen to you, then all you need to remember to say, politely and with a big smile, is: scusa – non capisco (I’m sorry I don’t understand).  And they will love you even more!

 

 

 

Wine Tasting in Italy

It’s safe to say that the Italians know how to produce great wine and the wonderful Italian custom is to drink wine with dinner in preference to soda or beer.
They are spoilt for choice with hearty, full-bodied reds, fruity light whites or for a special celebration, a sparkling Spumante. So when you visit Italy, spend time trying some of the fabulous Italian wines and immerse yourself in this fabulous Italian tradition during your stay.

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Italy’s beautiful climate of Mediterranean sun tempered by cool sea breezes is ideal for viticulture and the country can be split into 20 different wine producing regions, from coastal areas to foothills and mountains, each producing a different grape resulting in a diverse array of wines. Italian wine is the most exported in the world, and the country ranks third after Spain and France regarding the number of hectares of land devoted to growing grapes.
Italy has a classification system for its wines to guarantee they are from the region stated on the label. DOC (denominazione di orogine controllata) means the original location of the wine is certified or DOCG which includes a garantita or guarantee. So if you want to try out wine from a specific region, ensure it is labeled DOC or DOCG. Alternatively tease your taste buds with the following affordable wines:

Northern Italian Wines
Trentino–Alto Adige is the most northerly wine-producing region in Italy. Try a great white from the area, the 2005 J. Hofstätter Pinot Bianco. It has a medium body with a nectarine and peach scent. The Veneto region in the north east of Italy is where the uncomplicated, rustic 2006 Cavalchina Bardolino red is produced. It is light bodied, with tart cherry flavors and a great accompaniment to meals.
aaStMagdalena-Bolzano

Central Italian Wines
Tuscany produces Chianti Classico. Try a 2004 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva which is a vibrant burgundy and is bold and spicy on the palate. A nice white Tuscan wine is the 2005 Gualdo del Re Eliseo Bianco which shows nice floral aromas, and well balanced acidity and fruit.

castello_gabbiano-630x315

Southern Italian Wines
From the Campania region hails the 2004 Vesevo Beneventano Agloianico red made from the black-skinned Aglianico grape found in the south. It has dense, spicy flavors with a vanilla essence and aromas of red fruit. From the same region comes the white 2006 Terredora DiPaolo Falanghina which has a zesty flavor on the palate with a nice finish.

italian wines

The other option during your Italy tour is to join an organized wine tasting session. Here you will be able to sample a variety of exceptional Italian wines under the guidance of an expert who will explain their bouquets and aromas. You will also be offered first rate regional cheeses, salami, hams and other tasty appetizers, and will learn how to choose the right wine to complement the food. In addition to having the opportunity to try the wines, the experts will discuss the background of the wines and the region from where they originate.
Wine tasting sessions are available in the main cities such as Rome, Venice and Florence so you can easily incorporate this into your itinerary.

italian-wine-hub-3960

The Italians believe that wine in all its hues and flavors is nectar for the gods. So if you too want to sample the delights of Italian wine, make sure you revel in some wine tasting when you are there, salute!

Mama Mia! Why we Love Italy. Tour to Italy from Comfort Tour Canada.

If you are seeing Italy by way of guided tour with Comfort Tour, you are in for a real treat.  Italy offers far more than excellent pasta, pizza and strong red wines.  This stunning country is steeped in history, art and culture.  When you tour Italy you will be impressed and amazed at every step you take.  Here are some interesting facts about some of the wonderful Italian cities you will visit.

rome italy coliseum comfort tour

Coliseum. Rome. Italian Tour Comfort Tour Canada.

Rome: Ancient Rome was a highly developed civilization in its time and existed for 12 centuries.  It gave the world impressive architecture such as the world famous Colosseum situated in the centre of Rome which you can see for yourself on your visit.  Other architectural wonders are everywhere.

visit Trevi fountain in Italy with Comfort Tour Canada.

Trevi Fountain. Italian Tour Comfort Tour Canada.

Visit the Trevi Fountain and throw in a few coins – legend has it that if you do, you will one day return to Rome.  About €3000 worth of coins are thrown into the fountain daily!  Clearly many people want to guarantee their return.

st peters basilica in vatican, part of our tour

St Peters Basilica in Vatican. Italian Tour Comfort Tour Canada.


Vatican City
: A trip to Rome is not complete without visiting the Vatican City which is the smallest independent state in the world with just 800 inhabitants, and is of course governed by the Pope.  You can visit the vast St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) which is overlooked by St. Peter’s Basilica with its famous dome and balcony where the catholic masses wait for a glimpse of the Pope.

florence visit with comfort tour canada

View of Florence. Comfort Tour Canada Italian Tour.

Florence:  Comfort Tour will also take you to Florenceconsidered by Forbesto be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  And the magazine is absolutely right because the churches, monasteries and palaces will take your breath away.  The magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its famous domed roof is one of the many breathtaking sights.  Amazingly one-fifth of the world’s Renaissance art is found in Florence’s many museums and art galleries.

academia art image

Visit Academia in Italy with Comfort Tour

Michelangelo, born in 1475, is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time and was responsible for the iconic statue of David which is located in the Accademia di Belle Arti gallery in Florence.  Many replicas have been created over the years – the one in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London so shocked Queen Victoria when she first saw David in all his morning glory that a detachable plaster fig leaf was created to cover David’s modesty on future regal visits.

Tower of Pisa photo from Comfort Tour Italian Tour

Visit Tower of Pisa with us

Pisa: On your visit to Pisa you will of course be amazed by its Leaning Tower which is 186ft tall at its highest point.   From the time construction started in 1173 the tower started to tilt because the ground it was built on was too soft.  The tilt increased over the years until it reached an angle of 5.5 degrees, but stabilization efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have reduced this slightly.  The tower was closed to the public but re-opened again in 2001.  In addition to being famous for leaning, it has been rumored that the Pisa Tower was where Galileo undertook an experiment to prove his law of free fall by throwing two balls of different mass from the top of the tower – but many have dismissed this as a myth.

Italy Venice Comfort Tour

Venice Canals are part of our Italian Tour

Venice:  A city truly built on water and Venice is also featured on Forbes’ List of the world’s most beautiful cities.  Every visitor should indulge in a Gondola ride to see the city from the canals and take time to wander around the maze of charming streets and alleys.  St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) is the largest in the city and the center piece is St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) with its famous bell tower which stands tall at 323ft – for many people this is the most famous symbol of Venice.

st marks basilica photo

Visit St. Marks Basilica with Comfort Tour Canada

Parts of the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale was filmed in Venice and special permission was granted for Bond to speed along the Grand Canal in his yacht.  One of the explosive scenes when a house appears to fall into the Grand Canal was actually created in Pinewood Studios where a Venetian three story house was recreated – thus avoiding damage to the real Venice!

Grand Canal in Venice tour

Fantastic Grand Canal in Venice

When you visit Italy with Comfort Tour, this magical country will delight you with its beautiful buildings and architecture, its amazing art and its friendly people – you will certainly create memories that will last a lifetime.

Michelle Collins VP of Public Relations,

New Design Group Inc.newdesigngroup.ca