Day 1 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Welcome to Rome! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with pasta and wine at Mino restaurant.
Day 2 ROME.
Guided sightseeing includes inside visits to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, and monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Then, drive to the Roman Forum and marvel at the amazing Colosseum, where gladiators once fought. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites, like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more.
Day 3 ROME–FERRARA–VENICE ISLAND.
Stop in Ferrara, and walk through the impressive Este Castle to the marble cathedral and browse through the attractive little shops. Continue to the Adriatic coast and arrive in romantic Venice. Tonight is your chance to join an optional evening featuring a private water-taxi ride along the Grand Canal, followed by a traditional Venetian dinner.
Day 4 VENICE ISLAND.
Start sightseeing in style by PRIVATE BOAT and meet your Local Guide. Highlights of your walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Later, you may wish to join an optional cruise to colorful Burano Island.
Day 5 VENICE ISLAND–FLORENCE.
Drive across the wooded Apennine Mountains into Tuscany and arrive in Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Your guided walking tour features a visit to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Enter Piazza Santa Croce and check out the enticing shops selling Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry.
Day 6 FLORENCE–PISA–CINQUE TERRE–GENOA.
In Pisa, marvel at the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Continue to La Spezia on the Mediterranean Coast and enjoy your excursion to [LF] CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including a BOAT RIDE (weather permitting) with a Local Guide. The name dates back to the 15th century and is derived from five little medieval villages standing on stony spurs along five miles of the rocky coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. From here, head for Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus.
Day 7 GENOA–ÈZE, FRANCE–FRENCH RIVIERA.
An orientation gives you a good impression of this amazing city, and there is time to explore the Porto Antico before continuing along the coast towards France. Leave the highway for the panoramic Moyenne Corniche and stop in Èze. [LF] Visit the Fragonard perfume factory, beautifully located with breathtaking views of the blue Mediterranean Sea. Hear about the fascinating tradition of the art of perfume-making, and receive a souvenir gift to take home with you. Arrive at your hotel. An optional outing is available tonight to Monte Carlo.
Day 8 FRENCH RIVIERA. EXCURSION TO ST. PAUL DE VENCE.
A highlight visit this morning to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence. Explore the many art galleries and enjoy the spectacular view, or relax at a café, where you may see the locals play pétanque (lawn bowling). Return to your hotel for a lazy afternoon.
Day 9 FRENCH RIVIERA–PARIS.
Transfer to the railway station and board the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris. This evening, [LF] a special dinner has been included at a local restaurant, where you can try out specialties like escargots (snails), soupe à l’oignon (onion soup), and boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy). Then, enjoy a drive through the “City of Light.”
Day 10 PARIS.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the most famous sites: the Opéra, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, and a SEINE CRUISE with spectacular views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. To enhance your stay, you may wish to join an optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles, built by the Sun King, Louis XIV. Tonight, dinner and a lively cabaret show at one of Paris’ nightclubs might just be the ticket!
Day 11 PARIS–LONDON, ENGLAND.
You will be transferred by EUROSTAR TRAIN to London, arriving in the afternoon. Why not take in a West End show tonight?
Day 12 LONDON.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes the most famous landmarks and a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece built between 1675 and 1708. Optional excursions are available.
Day 13 LONDON.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.