Q: Peter, I would like to visit Italy with my wife, possibly on a bus tour. My wife and I do not drink alcohol, nor do we smoke. Are there any tours geared to folks like us?
–Everett K. Thompson, Mountain Home, Idaho
A: I'm sorry to report that there are no Italian bus tours I can find that are specifically "substance free," but all the companies listed below use smoke-free motor coaches. Most of these also exclude alcohol from the price. If there are smokers among your group, the tour companies ask that the smokers respect their fellow tour members and smoke away from the group.
As for the hotels, all of the tour companies arrange stays in hotels that have non-smoking room options. However, sometimes you may find that previous occupants of your "non-smoking" room have lit up in it, even though they were not supposed to do so. If you were to notice this, the tour company would allow you to switch rooms.
Bear in mind that Italy and Europe in general have more smokers per capita than the United States, and most Europeans have more liberal attitudes than Americans toward alcohol. So even if you didn't encounter smokers or drinkers within your tour group, you would probably be around locals partaking freely in these activities.
Having said that, I can assure you that you wouldn't be forced to mingle with locals. You could stick close to your tour group, which would be fully escorted and include between 25 and 40 people. Atlas Tours and Tours of Italy by Cosmic both exclude alcohol from the tour price. Trafalgar Tours includes dinner with wine, and Insight Vacations includes wine or champagne at a welcome dinner, but it is certainly acceptable to opt out from drinking or attending events that may involve drinking.
Certain companies also offer private-tour options. Road to Italy Tours offers English-speaking guides, luxury accommodations, flexible schedules, and escort service to and from the airport. Alcohol is not included in the tour fee. Queenslander Tours offers premium excursions with 16 guests or less, giving tour-goers a more intimate and personal experience and making it less likely that other people on the tour would smoke. A visit to a winery is included in the "Great Cities" tour, and regional wine is included in five dinners during all tours, but opting out of these activities is also an option.