Day 1 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a special welcome dinner at one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (D)
Day 2 ROME.
Guided sightseeing includes inside visits to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, and monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Then, drive to the Roman Forum and see the amazing Colosseum, where gladiators once fought. An optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites for those who wish to see it all. (B)
Day 3 ROME–ORVIETO–ASSISI.
Stop in Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock. Access, denied to many a would-be conqueror through the ages, is easy for you. Time to browse through tempting shops in the lanes off Piazza del Duomo, and to admire the fabulous gothic cathedral. [LF] Taste local pastries at Caffè Montanucci, a historic pasticceria (bakery) for more than 100 years, before continuing to Assisi for your overnight stay. On your walking tour see St. Francis’ Basilica, the hub of a religious order devoted to the ideals of humility, forgiveness, simplicity, and love for all God’s creatures. (B)
Day 4 ASSISI–FLORENCE–PADUA.
In Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance,” follow your Local Guide on a walking tour. See the magnificent marble cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and a visit to sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Continue through the Apennine Mountains and the flat Po area to Padua for an orientation of St. Anthony’s city and your overnight stay. (B)
Day 5 PADUA. EXCURSION TO VENICE.
A short drive brings you to Venice. Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT and meet your Local Guide. Highlights of your walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Afterwards, enjoy Venice at your own pace or join an optional cruise to the charming island of Burano. (B)
Day 6 PADUA–VERONA–MILAN.
Arrive in Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Take pictures of Juliet’s balcony and rub the shining breast of her statue for good luck. Continue to the Arena, an incredibly well-preserved pink marble Roman amphitheater, where gladiators once fought. Built in the 1st century AD, it is now the magical venue for world-famous opera performances. Then, on to the dynamic city of Milan. Follow your Tour Director for a pleasant walk to see La Scala Opera House, the glass-domed GALLERIA, and the magnificent gothic Duomo. (B)
Day 7 MILAN. EXCURSION TO LAKE COMO.
Lake Como is regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes and has attracted many aristocrats and famous people to come and live there in one of the many villas that line the lakeshore. Enjoy [LF] a PRIVATE BOAT RIDE and visit picturesque Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como” and already popular as a destination in Roman times. This evening, back in Milan, [LF] a special farewell risotto dinner awaits at Calafuria Unione restaurant. (B,D)
Day 8 MILAN
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)