Day 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Day 2 Rome the 'Eternal City'
Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for the tour hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and uniquely Roman Welcome Dinner.(WD)
Day 3 VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local
The day is devoted to the ‘Eternal City'. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art treasures collected by the Popes. Insight has arranged special VIP entrance to avoid the crowds, together with behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase - a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally off-limits to the general public. Now into the Sistine Chapel, where the Popes are elected to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter's Basilica, wonder at another of his works, the emotive ‘Pietà', and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. There's free time to do as the Romans do, or perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum? Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking tour this afternoon has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time for dinner in Piazza Navona.(BB)
Day 4 Renaissance Florence
Travel north through glorious Tuscan landscapes to reach renaissance Florence. On arrival, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, their robust flavours and absorbing history.(BB / DW)
Day 5 Florence Sightseeing
Join an art historian for a walking tour of the historic city centre. A highlight is the visit to the Accademia Gallery to study Michelangelo's monumental statue, David. Continue to the multi-coloured marble cathedral to admire Giotto's bell tower and ‘Gates of Paradise'. Visit the Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and the area around Santa Croce Basilica - famous for the quality of its luxury goods. After a demonstration of leather-work, there's free time to shop or continue sightseeing. In the evening, don't miss the chance to sample the fine Florentine cuisine - tasty starters and rich pastas accompanied by Chianti wine.(BB)
Day 6 Pisa to Venice, the 'Queen of the Adriatic'
Journey to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian Lagoon and across the causeway to the unique city of Venice.(BB / DW)
Day 7 Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’.
(Relaxed Start) Your private launch awaits you in the morning, ready to cruise past Palladian churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark's Square. The first sight is the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Turn the corner, and the gilded regalia of St. Mark's Basilica comes into view. A visit to an arts centre on Giudecca Island will allow you to admire the age-old skill of glassblowing. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals.(BB)
Day 8 Into the Hills of Umbria to Assisi
(Relaxed Start) Leave Venice and continue through the Appennines to peaceful Assisi, one of Italy's most beautiful mountain towns. In the valley, see the famous Church of St. Mary of the Angels, much venerated as the place of St. Francis' death, then continue up Mount Subasio to the upper town. With your Local Expert, step inside the huge Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century, where the frescoes by Giotto heralded a new era in Italian art.(BB / DW)
Day 9 Cassino and Sorrento
An early start today as you travel southwards past Cassino, scene of a fierce battle in World War II. Follow the spectacular clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento. On arrival, investigate the art of ‘intarsio' or marquetry wood inlaying before continuing to your hotel.(BB)
Day 10 Capri, the Isle of Dreams
In the morning, cruise to Isle of Capri. Under the Mediterranean sun, take a funicular ride up to Capri town where your Local Expert will take you around the narrow alleyways, to browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Perhaps join an optional cruise around the Island of Capri? Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine.(BB / CD)
Day 11 Head for Rome
In the morning, journey to Pompeii, the opulent Roman town which was preserved by layers of ash from the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. A walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets and extensive excavations reveals the daily life of Roman civilisation. Visit the Forum and peer into ancient shops and patrician villas, decorated with colourful wall paintings. Then continue on to your hotel in Rome.(BB)
Day 12 Arrivederci Rome
Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at approximately 07:00 & 09:30.(BB)