Day 1 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at one of Rome’s lively restaurants.
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 visit the amazing COLOSSEUM, where gladiators once fought. An optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites for those who wish to see it all.
Day 3 ROME–PISA–FLORENCE.
Travel to Pisa and take the traditional picture pushing back the legendary Leaning Tower, then on to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner to try out Tuscan specialties.
Day 4 FLORENCE.
Follow your Local Guide to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS and see Michelangelo’s David. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE, and see Ponte Vecchio. To enhance your stay, an optional excursion is available to San Gimignano, Italy’s most picturesque medieval town.
Day 5 FLORENCE–CINQUE TERRE–LAKE MAGGIORE.
Prepare for an exciting day: drive to La Spezia on the Mediterranean Coast and [LF] enjoy your excursion to CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including a BOAT RIDE (departures April 3 to October 23 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, continue by TRAIN and coach to beautiful Lake Maggiore. (B,D)
Departures October 23, 30, and November 13 overnight in Milan instead of Lake Maggiore. Dinner on Day 6 not included. Lugano and Lake Maggiore replaced with Verona visit on Day 7.
Day 6 LAKE MAGGIORE. BOAT TRIP TO ISOLA DEI PESCATORI.
A leisurely morning with the chance to join an optional excursion to the baroque palace and peacock gardens of enchanting Isola Bella. Later, join a scenic BOAT CRUISE to [LF] ISOLA DEI PESCATORI, where dinner with local specialties awaits you.
Day 7 LAKE MAGGIORE–LUGANO, SWITZERLAND–VENICE ISLAND.
Cross the Swiss border and stop in Lugano. Time to stroll along the spectacular lake and on Via Nassa, or sip an espresso on Piazza Riforma. Back in Italy, arrive in romantic Venice and enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT. You may wish to join an optional gondola ride through the canals.
Day 8 VENICE ISLAND.
Highlights of your guided walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Then, watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. A wonderful optional excursion is available to colorful Burano Island.
Day 9 VENICE ISLAND–ASSISI.
Arrive in peaceful Assisi, where your Local Guide takes you for a visit to ST. CLARE’S CHURCH and ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA, built on top of his tomb.
Day 10 ASSISI–SORRENTO.
Leave the province of Umbria and turn south to Sorrento. Explore the charming, bayside resort on your own.
Day 11 SORRENTO. EXCURSION TO CAPRI.
Speed across the bay by JETFOIL to the Isle of Capri. Ride the FUNICULAR to Capri village for a guided visit of this pretty town, visit [LF] the GARDENS OF AUGUSTUS, terraces overlooking the sea, offering a spectacular panoramic view, and taste a granita (semi-frozen drink). Free time to explore the little shops on the piazzetta before returning to Sorrento. Time for shopping and an optional excursion to the Amalfi Coast and Positano.
Day 12 SORRENTO–POMPEII–ROME.
Stop for a guided visit of POMPEII, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This evening, back in the “Eternal City,” a special farewell dinner and opera entertainment awaits you at restaurant Tanagra as a proper way to say arrivederci, Roma.
Day 13 ROME
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.