Garden tours in Italy seem to be particularly popular with travelers from Australia and the UK. In fact, most of the escorted garden tour packages originate in those places. But there are plenty of other opportunities to arrange a guided tour of Italy's gardens, especially if you are interested in a day tour, rather than an entire week of garden tours.
Italy is known for its beautiful formal gardens, many of which include historic villas. Tours are available at most of these places and can be done on your own, or as an escorted tour. Although I usually prefer to arrange my own excursions when I travel to Italy, an escorted tour might be the best option, if you wish to tour several Italian gardens. This way transportation is provided from one garden to the next. In addition, the tour operators are familiar with the best time of year to visit, as well as the hours and days of operation.
The most popular areas for Italy garden tours are Florence, Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, and the Lakes region. You can find tours in all of these locations.
An American tour company that offers tours is Herzerl Tours from New York. Susanne Servin, the owner, was born in Vienna and lived and traveled in Europe. Her company arranges small, intimate tours to Italy's villas and gardens on beautiful Lake Maggiore. For around $2,000 per person, six days of touring, hotel accommodations, and meals are included, based on a group of twelve. Prices can be adjusted accordingly, as she customizes the groups down to just two people. Tours are in May and June and possibly at other times of the year. This type of tour is good for anyone who wants their week completely planned, so one can enjoy visiting the gardens and villas without stress. For more information check the website. http://www.herzerltours.com/hortifr-tours.html
If you prefer to tour some of Italy's gardens for a day, then some other options are available. For a half-day tour to Rome's magnificent Villa d'Este in Tivoli and Hadrian's Villa, Viator Tours will pick you up at your Rome hotel, and you will travel by bus to each of these UNESCO World heritage sites. Your guided tour lasts approximately four hours including the round-trip transportation, and the cost is between $80 and $90 per person. For more information check the website. http://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Hadrians-Villa-and-Villa-dEste-Half-Day-Trip-from-Rome/d511-2390GRET7
In Florence, two of the best gardens to tour are the famous Boboli Gardens and Bardini Gardens. Taste of Tuscany operates all-day guided tours lasting six hours at a cost of â¬820 for groups of up to nine participants. In addition to these two gardens, the tour includes visits to the Torrigiani Garden and the Corsi Garden. For more information check the website. http://www.taste-of-tuscany.com/public/gardens.pdf
The last option is to arrive at the garden of your choice with your own transportation or by public transportation, and pay the entrance fee. I suggest booking online and avoiding the queue. For example, you can visit the Boboli Gardens on your own for â¬13.75, and if you want a guided tour, for â¬75 you can visit the Vasari Corridor as well. From the description, entrance to the Boboli Gardens is included but not as a guided tour. Due to the immense size of this park, it is suggested to allow plenty of time.
Many other gardens in Italy offer tours, depending on your location and your interest. As in all excursions in Italy, plan for more time than you might think. To fully appreciate the beauty of these gardens you will not want to feel rushed. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I have not taken any of these tours, nor am I being compensated in any way to write about these companies.