Day 1 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY
. Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and enjoy [LF] a special welcome dinner with wine at the rooftop restaurant of your hotel overlooking Rome. (D)
Day 2 ROME. EXCURSION TO CASTEL GANDOLFO
. Look forward to a unique experience: [LF] enjoy a guided visit of the impressive PAPAL PALACE in Castel Gandolfo, former summer residence of the popes and since October 2016 a museum that is open to the public. Also visit the magnificent BARBERINI GARDENS, where ruins of the residence of Roman Emperor Domitian are still visible. Then, return to Rome, where a Local Guide will take you for a visit 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. (B)
Day 3 ROME
. This morning, your Local Guide will take you first to [LF] ST. PETER IN CHAINS to see Michelangelo’s famous Moses, followed by visits to the magnificent COLOSSEUM and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. 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 4 ROME–PISA–FLORENCE
. A fast journey will bring you to Pisa. Here, take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Continue to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” (B)
Day 5 FLORENCE
. During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS to see Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE, and visit SANTA CROCE BASILICA with the tomb of Michelangelo. The afternoon is free to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce, which are attractive buys. And tonight is your chance to try out the culinary delights of a fine Tuscan restaurant. (B)
Day 6 FLORENCE. EXCURSION TO SIENA, SAN GIMIGNANO & VERRAZZANO CASTLE.
In Siena, admire the impressive medieval walls and walk through ancient, narrow lanes to the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, site of the biannual Palio, Siena’s spectacular medieval-style horse race. Continue through vine-clad hills to hilltop San Gimignano with its medieval houses with towers, visible from far away. Then, the highlight of today: enjoy a wine tasting of the famous Chianti wine and dinner at Verrazzano Castle before returning to Florence. (B,D)
Day 7 FLORENCE–VENICE ISLAND. EXCURSION TO BURANO.
A spectacular drive through the wooded Apennine Mountains brings you to Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Join an unforgettable Venetian LAGOON CRUISE to the picturesque fishing village of Burano, renowned for its bright pastel-colored houses and for its lace-making. Take pictures of traditional fishing boats, still used by the island’s inhabitants. Tonight, you may wish to try out local specialties in one of Venice’s excellent restaurants. (B)
Day 8 VENICE ISLAND.
Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Meet your Local Guide for a walking tour including visits to the byzantine ST. MARK’S BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. An optional gondola ride is available. (B)
Day 9 VENICE ISLAND–VERONA–MILAN
. In Verona, the medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, take pictures of Juliet’s balcony and rub the shining breast on her statue for good luck. Next, admire 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, Italy’s financial hub. Visit the MUSEUM of the famous La Scala Opera House, the glass-domed GALLERIA, and admire the magnificent gothic Duomo. A special farewell dinner at a local restaurant has been prepared as a proper way to say arrivederci, Italia! (B,D)
Day 10 MILAN
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)