Days 1-2: ARRIVE ROME, ITALY
Arrive in awe-inspiring Rome, where you are met and escorted to your hotel. Tonight, gather with fellow guests for a welcome dinner. Vibrant and treasure-filled, this ancient city begs to be explored, which you do the next day with your local guide. On your tour, discover the glories of the ancient city, taking in sites that include the Roman Forum, the thrilling Colosseum and the Palatino (Palatine Hill), where the city was founded and its emperors dwelled in luxury. Afterward, visit the Borghese Gardens and enjoy a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery, home to an incredible private art collection. Enjoy the rest of your day to explore more of the Eternal City.
Day 3: UMBRIA / The Green Heart of Italy
Rise early to avoid the crowds and visit the Vatican Museums with their lavishly displayed art collections, including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Leave the city for the pastoral hills of Umbria. Stop in the small town of Deruta, famous for its production of fresco-inspired majolica pottery. Enjoy an Artisan Connection when you pay a visit to a local ceramics maker. Later, arrive at your charming boutique hotel housed in two historic villas.
Day 4: UMBRIA / The Spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi
Drive to picturesque Assisi for a tour of its Franciscan treasures. Visit the imposing Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi and see the frescoes of the Saint’s life by Giotto, which mark a turning point in the development of art. Later, unwind at a local winery with samples of their vintages and a picnic in the vineyard.
Day 5: TUSCANY / Medieval Fortress of Montepulciano
Travel to storied Tuscany, where you explore the hilltop town of Montepulciano and quench your thirst with its renowned wines, such as Vino Nobile. Visit a nearby farm where Pecorino di Pienza is produced. Meet the owners, who reveal the traditions behind making this cheese, and enjoy a farmhouse lunch featuring their produce. Arrive at your inspiring 14th-century estate in the Tuscan hills.
Day 6: TUSCANY / Soaring Gothic Style in Siena
Set off to explore San Gimignano, finding spectacular vistas and the home of some of Italy’s best gelato makers. Continue to Siena. Once rivaling Florence in importance, Siena is Italy before the Renaissance. Discover its spellbinding Gothic architecture on a walking tour and learn about its Palio horse race, held in the main town square twice yearly. Afterward, experience the diverse, contemporary artworks at the Chianti Sculpture Park, before returning to your hotel nearby. Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own schedule.
Day 7: CHIANTI / Sun-drenched Hillsides of Chianti Classico
Journey overland to the Chianti region, where timeless vineyards spill down hillsides dotted with Renaissance villas. Spend the day at Badia di Passignano, an ancient monastery and winery whose vineyards belong to the Antinori family. Tour its cellars and participate in a cooking class, enjoying a Culinary Connection as you prepare and then dine on Tuscan specialties for lunch. Continue to Florence and check in to your boutique hotel in the center of the city.
Days 8-9: FLORENCE / Cradle of the Renaissance
A walking tour this morning introduces you to the history of Renaissance society in endlessly absorbing Florence. Visit Palazzo Davanzati, one of the most well-preserved noble residences in the city, and then the Bargello Museum, built in a former city prison and now home to one of the best collections of Renaissance sculpture in the world. The next day, depart for the airport and board your flight home.