Paolo's Private Driving Tours

Family business since 1949.

I'll show you more than you expect to see!

 

 

Day trips for cruisers, Rome, Florence, Naples and more

Lately, a lot of people have been coming to Italy by cruise ship, a very comfortable way to tour around the most important areas of the Mediterranean Sea without having to worry about means of transportation, hotels and other matters usually related to traveling.

Surely you don't have the time to get to really know the places when you travel this way, but at least you get a pretty good idea and you can choose which places you want to go back to and explore more deeply on another trip.

In the page you find sample of itineraries from the major Italian port which will give you an idea of what you can see in a day's time starting and ending your tour from a sea port. You'll find tours for first timers and tours for those who have already been here once, or multiple times, and want to see something different.

So you'll find a tour that will take you to see the major highlights of the cities of Rome and Florence as well as itineraries which, starting from the same ports, Civitavecchia and Livorno, cover sites that are commonly left out of the usual itineraries. Tours off the beaten path in the city as well as excursions in the countryside to lovely little hilltop towns or out of way excavation sites.

Though you'll find a tour of the Vatican listed here, but I wouldn't recommend that to first timers. The Vatican, consisting in the Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, take at least three hours to visit, and that means that it would use up more than half of your time ashore leaving you with only enough time to see another two of Rome's major highlights: Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.

When you tour the Vatican, you stand or walk very slowly and climb steps for three hours, so it's a tiring tour I would not recommend to seniors, especially if they have walking problems. Little kids don't do well at the Vatican either, it's too complicated for them.

The tours for cruisers are more expensive than the other tours because we have to go all the way to the port to meet our clients and then go back to the city after we drop them off. It's at least one hour each way. You can save money meeting us in town. Taking the train is very easy and it costs about 9 Euros per person. The shuttle takes you to the port's gate and from there you have to walk half a mile to the train station. I'll meet you at the station and bring you back to it at the end of the day, in time for your train back to Civitavecchia.

View of Rome

Rome, samples of day tours for cruisers, the major highlights and more.

I'll meet you at the port. The car will be right on the pier where the ship docks and your name will be posted right on its windshield.

When parking next to the gangplank isn't possible, I stand near it holding the sign in my hands.

Shore excursion to Rome Shore excursion to the Vatican and Rome Tours of Rome by golf cart from Civitavecchia Tours from the port of Civitavecchia to the countriside near Rome

 

Rome from the sea port of Civitavecchia.

This tour doesn't include the Vatican, but you'll see all the other major highlights of Rome and you'll have a great day, without having to spend time in hot, crowded places and without any rush. As I said before, these itineraries on my websites are just suggestions, the tour is always tailored to the client's taste and interest. However, they give you an idea of what you can see in a day's time starting your tour from the sea-port of Civitavecchia. The only thing that matters is that we leave Rome around 4/4:30 pm, at the latest, to make sure you get back to your ship in time.

Normally we stop at the Colosseum first and then tour around the center of Rome before cruisers crowd it up J !

We'll then proceed to the center of the city and to the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Aventine Hill, the Pincio terrace in Villa Borghese and more. These will be our main stops, but as we drive around more stops will be made, sometimes without getting out of the car, to see other sites and take pictures. These will be the Theatre of Marcellus, monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the temples of Hercules, Portumnus and arch of Janus and more.

When you'll get hungry, I'll find you a nice, little, tourist free, trattoria or, if you want a light lunch, a pizza place or a sidewalk café where you can have a snack.

 
Vatican, St. Peter's Dome

This tour is centered on the Vatican, so most of the tour time will be spent there.

Accompanied by a private specialized guide, you'll tour the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. It'll take three hours to go through all that and you'll not have the chance to sit down of get a drink so,  please come prepared.

In the summer, expect it to very crowded and hot too.

Before touring the Vatican, I'll show you some of Rome's major highlights too. Usually the first stop is at the Colosseum, you'll not have the time to enter and tour it, but an overlook, from two different view points, will be satisfactory.

The Trevi Fountain is a must-see highlight of Rome and it'll be our next stop and, from there, we'll drive by the Spanish Steps and continue to the Pantheon.

Depending on the traffic and how much time you spend in each of the above mentioned sites, there might be enough time left to stop in Piazza Navona too.

At this point we'll cross the Tiber river and move to the Vatican.

Normally by this time people get hungry and i can take you to a nice "trattoria" restaurant just outside the entrance to the Vatican where you can have a nice, typical and quick meal for 15 Euros.

Obviously, those who have toured Rome before, maybe will not want to go back to the major sites. Well, in this case I'll be extremely glad to show them some peculiar and interesting places which are normally left out of the itinerary of the standard tours. Your Vatican tour will end around 3:30/4:00pm and we'll get back in the car to get back to the port then.

 
St. Peter's Dome

You have toured around Rome before and do not want to go back and see the major highlights again? Great, I love to take people on tours of Rome off the beaten path! Besides the places that every body knows about, there are a lot of other interesting sites I can show you but, be prepared, most of the works of art in Rome are housed in churches. You don't have to be a devout catholic to appreciate

art and you are absolutely welcome to enter the churches even if you are a non believer feeling comfortable doing that.

That's for what art is concerned, then there's archaeology and the ruins of the Roman Empire. So, besides taking you to see masterpieces by Bernini, Michelangelo and others in the churches, I can take you to see the ruins of the Roman Aqueducts, and other interesting diggings. I can show you some curiosities or new discoveries, you just need to tell me what interests you more and I'll show you a great day!

 

A great way to discover Rome is to tour around it by golf cart. The little electric buggies have access to all the out of the way back streets and hidden gems that tourists normally don't get to see. It's very easy to stop almost anywhere to take a picture or a closer look at some interesting attraction while driving around the city. You discover the real Rome and get to know it like a native.

 
Rome by golf cart

After touring people around Rome, by car and on foot for 40 years, I discovered a new way to to take people sightseeing: I take them around in a golf buggy and, believe me, it turned out being the very best way!!!

The best way to get to know a city like Rome is to walk around , but that takes time and it's tiring. Driving around Rome in an electric golf cart you can explore the areas and streets that would otherwise only be accessible on foot, but you get around much faster and cover more ground. You are comfortably seated and you enjoy the city around you. You drive through the evocative streets of the old city and stay away from the crowded main streets.

Especially for those who come by cruise ship and need to maximize their time in Rome more than the ones who spend more than a day in city, the golf cart tour is ideal. It can also be cheaper compared to the regular land excursion by private car. You can come to Rome by train and I'll come to meet you at St. Peter's train station, near the Vatican, show you around Rome for about six hours and then take you back to the station to board your train back to Civitavecchia.

If you don't want to take the train, I'll come to meet you at the port, drive you to Rome and, one in town, switch to the golf cart. Then, at the end of the golf cart tour, I'll drive you back to the port in the car.

The golf cart tour is especially the best way to tour Rome if you have mobility problems and/or if you have kids with you. Kids love touring Rome by golf cart!

 

Tours in the countryside for cruisers: hilltop towns, landscapes, wine, food and more.

I'll meet you at the port. The car will be right on the pier where the ship docks and take you on an unforgettable tour in the countryside. We'll tour beautiful hilltop towns, see gorgeous panoramas and, if you like sample the wine and the food. I can also take you to visit a winery and/or an oil press.

Shore excursion to Rome Shore excursion to the land of the Etruscans

 
Tuscania, St: Peter's church

A nice day in the peaceful countryside. Tour evocative medieval places like Tuscania (not to be mistaken with Tuscany), Montefiascone, Civita di Bagnoregio and Orvieto. Enjoy great panoramas, quaint medieval hilltop towns, visit incredible churches and enjoy the local food and wines. The area north of Rome, between northern Lazio and southern Umbria, is called Tuscia. The name comes from the original inhabitants, Etruscans. Tuscan is a corruption of Etruscan. These people, who were in the area before Rome's foundation, where experts in manipulating the local stone, the Tufah. They used it for building fantastic cities and their posterity was none of less, the Cities of Orvieto, Civita di Bagnoregio and others, were built in the middle-ages, on different Tufah plateaus. In addition to building their cities using such volcanic stone, they cut the hillsides into sharp cliffs to serve the purpose of walls, protecting their inhabitants potential attacks.

In Tuscania we'll wander about and visit its church of San Pietro, we'll stop in Montefiascone for the view of the lake Bolsena and we'll enjoy Civita di Bagnoregio, a very charming, little town perched on a small plateau of Tufah.. The original walk way to the town has collapsed and the only access now is via a concrete bridge. on the way to Orvieto. In Orvieto we'll visit the famous Duomo church and stroll through the fascinating streets selling the local ceramics. We can have a typical lunch, or a light meal, in Orvieto or Civita and sample the local wines.

 
Cerveteri

A very interesting and relaxing tour around the area colonized by the culturally and technologically advanced Etruscans, who who dominated central Italy before the foundation of Rome. They were later absorbed by the Romans to took over the cities and transformed them. Because of this, what we know about them is what we learned from their tombs strewn all over the countryside.

You will enjoy visiting the excavations and the towns of Tarquinia, Ceri and Cerveteri, plus the scenery while we drive.

From the seaport of Civitavecchia we'll drive to Tarquinia, a lovely medieval town just twenty minutes away. We'll stroll around its attractive narrow streets and visit the Etruscan Museum, if you like. Later we will drive to the location, just outside the city, were the most interesting Etruscan tombs have been dug out, famous for the their fresco paintings. After the tombs we drive to Ceri, which is a very small medieval castle-town. Ceri is the ideal place for a lunch break. In either one of the two restaurants there you can enjoy exquisite, authentic food and wine for a reasonable price. In the afternoon we drive to Cerveteri. Like Tarquinia, also Cerveteri was founded by the Etruscans and later taken over by the Romans, but today it has the typical aspect of a medieval city. Just outside Cerveteri, we visit the Etruscan necropolis in the locality called “Banditaccia”.

A must-see! Unique atmosphere that brings you back to the days of the Etruscans. This "city of the dead" was carved out of the “tufah” stone. Cylindrical tombs looking like villas sculpted out of stone. The diameter of these tombs is between 30 and 90 feet. Inside you find a hall and bedrooms for the master, his descendants and even for the slaves. The domed roofs are built using tufah (tufo) blocks up to 3 feet of length, result of the carving of the cylinder.
The space inside is decorated like a rich home, with paintings and bas-reliefs.
When these tombs where found they contained the items that we can now see in the museums: arms, jewels, pottery, statues, mirrors etc.

 
Ostia Antica

Charming hilltop towns overlooking volcanic lakes in the beautiful hilly area of the Roman Castles. Fantastic food and wine, the romantic ruins of the old Roman port city of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber river. We'll drive on the motorway toward Rome first and then switch onto the Appian Way to the Alban Hills. We’ll stop at the charming town of Castelgandolfo first. This is a beautiful place right on top of a volcanic lake with a lovely view and, since the 17th century, the Pope has had his summer residence there.

From Castelgandolfo, the road unravels through the woods over the Alban Hills , taking us to Nemi, another lovely small town overlooking another volcanic lake, famous for the production of a particular type of strawberry which is tiny, but very tasty. You might want to try them with some "gelato"!

The Alban Hills are famous for the production of wine, so you may want to sample some, either in one of the specialized shops in Castelgandolfo or, if you prefer, we can take you to a winery.

If you like we can have a nice lunch in one of the local restaurants, or we can snack with some cheese, prosciutto and wine right by the lake of Castelgandolfo.

We'll then retrace our steps and travel to Ostia Antica. We'll wander through the ruins of the ancient port city which Rome depended on for all its supplies.

As large and interesting as Pompeii, but no as well preserved for it was exposed to the vandals and elements for centuries while for all that time Pompeii was concealed by volcanic ashes and pumice stone. Touring the ruins of homes, theatre, bakeries, restaurants, public and private baths, shopping malls and public toilets, you’ll learn that life at the time of the Ancient Romans was similar to ours.

 

Florence and Tuscany, samples of day tours for cruisers, the major highlights and more.

I'll meet you at the port. The car will be right on the pier where the ship docks and your name will be posted right on its windshield.

When parking next to the gangplank isn't possible, I stand near it holding the sign in my hands.

Shore excursion to Rome Shore excursion to the Vatican and Rome Shore excursion to Rome Tours of Rome by golf cart from Civitavecchia

 
Florence, Piazza della Signoria

On your way to Florence from the seaport where your ship will dock, Livorno, you drive by the famous Pisa and you can stop there shortly to take a picture of the famous Leaning Tower and a look around. Once in Florence, you'll start touring the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. This is a terrace overlooking Florence offering a fantastic view of the city. The you'll visit of the Accademia museum, where the famous statue of David is housed. To make sure you'll not have to waste time in line to enter the place, we'll make a reservation for you.

After seeing the David, you'll probably want to eat something and depending on your preferences, you'll be taken to a typical local restaurant for an authentic meal, or to a place where you can have a quick and light lunch.

In the afternoon you'll stroll through the city, Florence is not a big place, and enjoy looking at the shops on via Calzaiuoli on your way to piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio, the famous old bridge with the shops of the goldsmiths.

You may want to see the Uffizi museum too and, though I think visiting two museums in one day would be too much and subtract time to the visit of other interesting sites, if you really want to visit it.

Driving guides provide you with all the information you need during the tour, but they aren't allowed to tour you inside museums and churches. For a detailed tour of such places you can ask for a driving guide with the necessary qualification.

 
Tous in Tuscany Pisa, the Carthusia of Calci

If you already visited Florence and do not want to go back, you can spend your day touring its region: Tuscany. The area is renowned for it landscapes, beautiful little towns, wine and food. My suggestion is to spend the day visiting Pisa and Lucca. These two beautiful towns within a range of 70 miles from the seaport of Livorno and this will make your day very pleasant, since you'll be spending more time sightseeing than driving in the car. Pisa is the most famous of the two, obviously because of the Leaning Tower, but Lucca is a jewel! A lovely little town still surrounded by the original Renaissance-era city walls. You will enjoy wandering through the city and walk, or ride a bicycle if you like, on top of the walls.

The layout of Lucca goes back to the days of the Roman Empire and that shows especially in the city center, its most famous square was built over the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and still keeps the original shape and size. 

In Pisa you can climb the Leaning Tower, tour the Duomo, the Baptistery and the beautiful Monumental Cemetery.

Willingly, you can also make a short detour to visit the famous Carthusia of Calci. Located at the foot of the Monte Pisano, the place fascinates with its frescoes and tromp-l'oeil dating back to the last renovation operated between 1764 –1797. The Carthusia is today housing the Museum of Natural Science and Territory of the University of Pisa.

 

Pompeii and Coast. Positano, Sorrento and the Amalfi Drive.

I'll meet you at the port. The car will be right on the pier where the ship docks and your name will be posted right on its windshield.

When parking next to the gangplank isn't possible, I stand near it holding the sign in my hands.

Shore excursion to Rome Shore excursion to Rome
 
Positano

We'll meet you at the port of Naples and take you out for a lovely day along the coast. You can visit the ruins of Pompeii and the lovely towns of Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. You'll drive along the beautiful coastline to the lovely town of Sorrento first. While driving along the coast, on top of spectacular cliffs, you'll be making frequent stops to admire the panorama and take pictures.

In Sorrento, home of the famous "Limoncello" liquor,  you can stroll through and enjoy its peculiar atmosphere. You'll fall in love with Positano, perched on a cliff ending onto a little bay. You'll have look around the famous Amalfi and then climb up to Ravello on a beautiful road offering wonderful panoramas.

You can have your lunch in Ravello or somewhere along the coast, it can be just a snack or you may want to use the opportunity to have an authentic lunch and enjoy some of the local white whine.

You'll then descend from the mountain and drive to Pompeii where you'll tour the excavations before returning to the port.

We like to leave Pompeii for last because it's only half an hour from the port, but if you like to go there in the morning, the tour can be reversed.

 

Driving guides provide you with all the information you need during the tour, but they aren't allowed to tour you inside the excavations of Pompeii. For a guided tour of the place you'll have to hire a local guide. Price for the guided tour, 100 Euros.

Shore excursion to Rome Shore excursion to Rome
 
 
 
 
 
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