Back in time to ancient Rome
Tour begins: 2:00 PM, The Westin Excelsior, Rome. A transfer is included from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport to your hotel. Welcome to Rome, where your tour of the ancient world (and beyond) begins with a drive through the heart of the city to see real-life relics of Imperial Rome, once capital of the ancient world. See the Circus Maximus and other traces of the ancient empire. Walk through one of the Colosseum's 80 entrances, imagining what it was like for ancient gladiators and the Roman crowds who piled into this famous arena to see them, and pose for pictures with Roman Centurions. Join your fellow family travelers tonight for a welcome reception and dinner featuring authentic Italian fare Join your fellow family travelers tonight for a welcome reception and dinner featuring authentic Italian fare.
St. Peter's & Vatican Museums after hours
This morning, enjoy a guided visit to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Inside this amazing church - one of the world's largest - you'll find the tombs of 91 popes, a Holy Roman Emperor, and a Swedish queen; Michelangelo's Pieta; and the soaring dome designed by Michelangelo, who did not live to see it completed. After a free afternoon, join us tonight for a Tauck Exclusive - an after-hours visit to the Vatican Museums, full of fascinating history and artistic masterpieces. View Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel - which the artist originally resisted doing because he considered himself a sculptor, not a painter - without the usual crowds! (Subject to availability and day of visit may vary.)
Through Umbria & Tuscany to Florence
Head to Orvieto, a town that rises majestically from cliffs of rock and ancient walls, where you'll first head underground with a local guide. Beneath the town you'll tour a network of caves and tunnels dug out of the rock on which the town sits; some date back to Etruscan times, many have been put to practical use for thousands of years. Back above ground, you'll have time to explore the town's gleaming duomo before continuing on to Florence. Here a guided tour of the famed Galleria dell'Accademia awaits, home to Michelangelo's David; you'll be intrigued by the power of his gaze and muscles.
Art insights in Florence & Pisa's Leaning Tower
This morning an art historian brings Florence's role in the Renaissance to life with a presentation designed for all ages before you head to Pisa for sightseeing. You'll visit Pisa's cathedral and baptistery and have time to capture the famous Leaning Tower with your camera. Designed as a bell tower for the cathedral, it wasn't too long after the start of construction in the 12th century that it began to tilt. Although work was done to keep it from falling, you won't be disappointed when you experience the famous lean for yourself and have lunch in a local restaurant. Return to Florence for a free evening.
A day at the Uffizi and a night making pizza
Joined by a local guide, you'll walk to the Galleria degli Uffizi this morning for a tour of one of the most famous museums in the world. There are masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico and many more famous artists - made approachable by your family-friendly guide. Spend the afternoon exploring Florence as you wish, before joining us for a hands-on pizza-making dinner. Make a masterpiece of your own, with a choice of melt-in-your-mouth gelato flavors to follow.
Via high-speed train to famous Venice
Leaving Florence behind, you'll travel in first class by high-speed train to Venice, a city built on water. On arrival, a private boat whisks you to your hotel's private entrance on the Grand Canal, cruising past a maze of ornate palaces. Enjoy lunch here, then go exploring with a local guide. You'll visit St. Mark's Basilica, the most famous church in Venice, and the Doge's Palace, home to the rulers of Venice during the Renaissance. You'll be amazed by the palace's collection of art, the weapons stored in the armory, and its twisting maze of prisons. Afterward, get set for a one-of-a-kind gondola ride through the city of canals - expertly guided by your striped-shirt boatman.
Mask making, a farewell party and more on a day in Venice
Wearing masks to protect one's identity is a Venetian tradition that dates back to the 14th century, when the mascherari (who created the masks) were given special status under the law. You'll learn all about this fantastical art form at today's mask-making demonstration when you join us at a workshop devoted to the tradition of this papier-mâché art. Meet artisans who are still creating masks of all kinds and shapes, some adorned with gems and feathers; they're worn in Venice today during Carnivale. Afterward you'll have time to wander along Venice's canals, squares and quaint bridges on your own. Join us tonight for a farewell reception and dinner, as we wish you and your newly made friends a fond arrivederci.
Tour ends: Venice. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice to Venice's Marco Polo Airport. You should allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in.