Arrive Milan and on to Bellagio
Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. A transfer is included from Milan's Malpensa or Linate Airport to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Your hotel is one of the oldest and most elegant hotels in the Lake Como area and enjoys a spectacular garden-graced setting close to the beautiful town of Bellagio in the Centro Lago region of Italy. Join us this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel.
A Villa on Fashionable Lake Como
Often considered one of the most alluring of the Italian lakes with the Alps as a backdrop, begin a full day's discovery of Lake Como's gems with a cruise aboard a private boat to 16th-century Villa Balbianello, famous for its scene-stealing setting in the James Bond film Casino Royale and Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. Lunch on wooded Isola Comacina whets your appetite for daily life in the Italian Lakes region!
From the lakes to Venice - St. Mark's Basilica and more
More waterfront delights await in the extraordinary canal city of Venice, poetically described by Lord Byron as "a fairy city of the heart." Discover its charms on a walking tour with a local guide who shares insights about Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), dramatic St. Mark's Basilica, and the pink-and-white marble Doge's Palace, an iconic symbol of power and prosperity built in Gothic-Renaissance style for the "dukes," elected for life, who resided there. Dine this evening at a popular Venetian restaurant.
Venice as you please
Spend the entire day exploring Venice at your leisure - your Tauck Director can offer recommendations. You may wish to explore the small islands of the Venetian Lagoon, including the lace-making island of Burano or Murano where skilled artisans still make glass in the ways of their forefathers. Possibilities on your day in Venice include a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia, boasting one of the world's largest collections of Venetian art, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a head-turning display of modern art housed in Guggenheim's former home on the Grand Canal, the 18th-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Late afternoon, join us for a gondola cruise through the canals, complete with a serenade... the perfect ending to a perfect day.
High-speed rail to Florence
First class seats on a high-speed train take you across the plains to Florence, renowned as the "birthplace of the Renaissance" for the architecture and art that flourished here between the 13th and 16th centuries. A lecture by an art historian enhances your discoveries of the treasures you will view during a guided visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Michelangelo's masterpiece, David, among them. Suitably inspired, join us for a walking tour through the historic center of Florence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where art comes to life all around you. Enjoy an à la carte dinner tonight at leisure at your hotel.
The Uffizi & time at leisure in Florence
Tauck has made reservations for you today at the Uffizi Gallery to view its works of art with a local guide; works collected by the Medici were first displayed here in the 1580s, making the Uffizi the oldest art gallery in the world. The remainder of the day is free to sightsee as you wish; you may want to see Michelangelo's marble creations in the Medici Chapel, stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, or visit the beautiful Boboli Gardens; many sights are located close to each other.
Through Tuscany & Umbria via Siena to Rome
Journey to Siena through Chianti country, abundant with locally produced red wine, timeless art and classic architecture, as well as landscapes rich in vineyards, olive groves, and cypresses. In medieval Siena, walk to the Piazza del Campo, where the Palio, Siena's world-famous bareback horse race, has been run twice a year for centuries. Wander through narrow streets to visit the black-and-white Duomo, then continue on through the green countryside of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio to Rome for a three-night stay at one of Europe's premier hotels. Tonight's dinner is à la carte at a neighborhood restaurant celebrated for its regional cuisine. Buon appetito!
St. Peter's & after-hours at the Vatican Museums
This morning's guided visit to St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square is an illuminating preview to your special after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums (subject to availability; day of the tour may vary), where you will have privileged access inside the Vatican Museums without the day's crowds. See the Candelabra Gallery, the Map Gallery and the Tapestries, dressed in riches beyond compare, and pause in the Sistine Chapel to gaze up at Michelangelo's famous ceiling; the frescoes were refurbished several years ago to reflect their original vibrant colors. Be sure to look down at the floor, equally stunning!
The Colosseum and glories of Imperial Rome
Our local guide shows you some of the most important sights of Imperial Rome today on an orientation drive that includes the Circus Maximus and a view of the Roman Forum from above. Avoid long ticket lines with Tauck's pre-arranged reservations on an informative visit to the world-renowned Colosseum. Spend the afternoon exploring as you please and join us this evening for a cocktail reception and farewell dinner at the hotel.
Tour ends: Rome. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The St. Regis Rome to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino; allow a minimum of three hours for check-in.