Day 1 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this ancient capital. This evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 ROME.
The “Eternal City” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Other highlights are the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built; the Roman Forum; Piazza Venezia, and Campidoglio. An optional visit is available to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s impressive fresco of The Last Judgment. (B)
Day 3 ROME–PISA–MONTECATINI.
Vistas of rolling hills, rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Stop in Pisa to visit the Square of Miracles and see the amazing Leaning Tower. Arrive in Montecatini. (B)
Day 4 MONTECATINI. EXCURSION TO FLORENCE.
Today, enjoy an included excursion to Florence. Your Local Guide will show you most of the city highlights on the walking tour. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio and its courtyard; Loggia dei Lanzi; and, to top it all, Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” (B,D)
Day 5 MONTECATINI–LA SPEZIA–CINQUE TERRE–GENOA.
Travel towards La Spezia, a province in Italy’s Liguria region. Then, hop aboard the TRAIN to discover some of the five spectacular Cinque Terre villages. Here, the beauty of the rugged cliffs and romantic fishing villages once inspired poet Lord Byron. From Levanto, head towards Genoa, birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus. (B)
Day 6 GENOA–MILAN–LAKE MAGGIORE.
Today’s included guided tour is an excellent introduction to Genoa. A maze of squares and alleys, the city grew around the port, a natural inlet, and boasts the largest medieval historical center in Europe. Some of the highlights include the remains of the city’s 17th-century fortifications. Next, head north into the plains of Lombardy, and stop in Milan to marvel at its magnificent gothic DUOMO. Then, continue to Baveno on Lake Maggiore. (B)
Day 7 LAKE MAGGIORE. EXCURSION TO LUGANO.
Time to relax and get to know Lake Maggiore, one of Italy’s largest lakes. Located on the very edge of Alpine Switzerland, on clear days you can see the peaks of the Swiss Alps. Take advantage of the included excursion to visit Lugano in Italian-speaking Canton Ticino. (B)
Day 8 LAKE MAGGIORE–VERONA–VENICE AREA.
Travel across the Po River plain and stop in the romantic city of Verona to see Romeo and Juliet´s balcony, and enjoy some time at leisure marveling at the Roman amphitheater. Carry on to the Venice area. (B)
Day 9 VENICE.
Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real-life city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and piazzas. The included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to St. Mark’s Square, and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)
Day 10 VENICE AREA–RAVENNA–ASSISI–PERUGIA.
An interesting drive southwards right across the Po Delta to Ravenna, renowned for its treasure of byzantine mosaics, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to Assisi, enclosed by ramparts and little changed since the Middle Ages. This is the town of the deeply mystical and poetic St. Francis—see the BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS with its famous frescoes by Giotto, brought back to life by a Local Guide. Overnight in beautiful nearby Perugia, capital of Umbria. (B,D)
Day 11 PERUGIA–POMPEII–NEAPOLITAN RIVIERA.
Travel to POMPEII, where time stopped for the rich, aristocratic town with the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. On the included guided visit, see the remains of luxurious villas, temples, theater, and forum. Carry on to Sorrento, set on a plateau above the waters of the Bay of Naples. Wander the winding streets lined with shops and stalls, and sit with a glass of wine, absorbing the easygoing life of this charming resort. (B)
Day 12 NEAPOLITAN RIVIERA. BOAT TRIP TO CAPRI.
Enjoy a day trip to the legendary island, surrounded by rocky coastline and where the crashing sea has formed awe-inspiring caves. The town with its pretty piazza, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and cozy restaurants is a mecca for the jet set. Explore on your own or take an optional island tour. (B,D)
Day 13 NEAPOLITAN RIVIERA–ROME
. Today, time at leisure or enjoy an optional excursion to Positano before returning to Rome. (B)
Day 14 ROME.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)