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.
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.
Day 3 ROME–PISA–FLORENCE.
Enter Tuscany and arrive in Pisa to marvel at the legendary Leaning Tower. Take your pictures pushing back the tower before continuing to Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” This evening, you may wish to try out Tuscan specialties.
Day 4 FLORENCE–VENICE ISLAND.
This morning, focus on Florence. A highlight is a visit to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS to admire Michelangelo’s David. Your walking tour with a Local Guide features the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Time to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce, for which the city is famous. Cross the wooded Apennine Mountains and arrive in Venice. Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT and arrive on the island of Murano. This evening, enjoy [LF] a ride by PRIVATE WATER-TAXI to ST. MARK'S SQUARE to discover Venice by night. Exciting optional excursions are available: dinner in one of Venice's excellent restaurants and a gondola ride through its canals.
Day 5 VENICE ISLAND.
This morning, watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner, before boarding your 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. Then, enjoy Venice at your own pace or join an exciting optional lagoon cruise to the colorful island of Burano.
Day 6 VENICE ISLAND–RAVENNA–ASSISI.
Follow the Adriatic coastline to Ravenna. Here, see the famous mosaics in the 6th-century BASILICA OF ST. APOLLINARIS IN CLASSE. In the afternoon, arrive in peaceful Assisi and visit the massive 13th-century BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS built above the Saint’s grave.
Day 7 ASSISI–POMPEII–NAPLES. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PALERMO.
Arrive in POMPEII, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. A guided walking tour through the excavations features patrician houses, public baths, and commercial districts that strikingly recall day-to-day life when Rome was at the apex of her power. In nearby Naples, [LF] a cappuccino and sfogliatella await you at the famous Gran Caffè Gambrinus before boarding your FERRY in Naples for the overnight cruise to Sicily.
Day 8 PALERMO.
After disembarkation, start your sightseeing with a Local Guide. Visit the ornate Piazza Bellini, Capo Market, the baroque Church of Immacolata, and the CATHEDRAL. Drive up to Monreale for a panoramic view of the Conca d’Oro and a visit to the 12th-century NORMAN CATHEDRAL, famous for its 50,000 square feet of precious byzantine mosaics.
Day 9 PALERMO–MARSALA–AGRIGENTO.
In Marsala, visit a SALT MILL, then a true highlight: a [LF] WINE TASTING at the famous Florio wine cellar to sample and learn about Marsala wines. Next, drive along the western coast to Agrigento. Here, your Local Guide will take you for a spectacular walk through the magnificent VALLEY OF TEMPLES. Even travelers who have visited Athens and Delphi are awed by the gigantic yet graceful Greek structures that miraculously survived 24 centuries of tormented history.
Day 10 AGRIGENTO–PIAZZA ARMERINA–TAORMINA RIVIERA.
Enjoy the scenic beauty and treasures of the island’s heart on your way to Piazza Armerina, where you will visit the impressive VILLA ROMANA DEL CASALE with its mosaics. Next is Taormina. Enjoy a pleasant walk along the Corso Umberto before arriving at your comfortable hotel.
Day 11 AT LEISURE IN TAORMINA RIVIERA.
Today is your chance to join the exciting half-day optional excursion to Mount Etna. Afternoon is at leisure to relax or for individual activities.
Day 12 TAORMINA RIVIERA–SORRENTO COAST.
Board your FERRY and cross the Strait of Messina to land at the toe of the Italian boot in Calabria. Continue to the delightful coast of Sorrento, and spend time in the town.
Day 13 SORRENTO COAST. EXCURSION TO CAPRI.
Speed across the Bay of Naples by JETFOIL to the Isle of Capri, an ancient retreat for Roman emperors and renowned ever since that time for its beauty. Ride the FUNICULAR to Capri village for a guided visit of this pretty town. Free time to explore the little shops on the charming piazzetta. Then, enjoy [LF] an exciting BOAT CRUISE (weather permitting) around the island before leaving Capri.
Day 14 SORRENTO COAST–ROME.
Back to Rome, the “Eternal City.” A special farewell dinner and opera entertainment awaits at La Carovana restaurant as a proper way to say arrivederci, Roma!
Day 15 ROME
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.