Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Luna Hotel Baglioni. A transfer is included from Marco Polo Airport in Venice to the Luna Hotel Baglioni, set right in the heart of the city. Your palatial five-star hotel, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has its own private jetty and is only steps away from Piazza San Marco. Join us for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner at a local Venetian restaurant.
St. Mark's & more in Venice
Feel the energy and synergy of St. Mark's Basilica on a guided tour, with its sunburst of Byzantine domes and spires, and gilded walls of mosaics and relics. A guided tour also takes you to the marble arcades of the Doge's Palace, a seat of power for centuries, now a museum housing art treasures. Embark on a serenaded gondola ride through the city's maze of water-lanes. For the remainder of the day, explore on your own.
First Class high-speed train to Florence
Travel to Florence by high-speed rail, First Class. A transfer is included from Santa Maria Novella Train Station to your stylish hotel in the center of the city, just a short walk to Galleria degli Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria as well as popular streets like Via Tornabuoni. Upon arrival, a private talk by an art historian sets the stage for your exploration of the "birthplace of the Renaissance." After lunch at the hotel, take a walking tour of Florence's historic center, followed by a guided visit to the fabulous Galleria dell'Accademia, home to artistic treasures such as Michelangelo's David. You have a choice of an included dinner at a local restaurant tonight or tomorrow night, with wine included. Buon appetito!
Culture & the art of the Uffizi in Florence
The power of art and wealth are alternating currents in the city where the Medici crest still adorns public buildings. Your day begins with an art lecture at the hotel, followed by a walk through the Piazza della Signoria with a local guide en route to one of the oldest, most famous art galleries in the world. The Uffizi ("the offices"), conceived in 1581 as a massive government facility, was converted ten years later to a public museum which today holds some of the most important artworks of all time. Your guided visit to this remarkable institution, with its 45 exhibition halls and thousands of masterpieces, it is an art immersion unlikely to be experienced anywhere else. The afternoon is yours to explore the city's contemporary culture. Besides Michelangelo and Boticelli, Florence is also the home of Gucci and Ferragamo, and a wealth of shops and galleries on the edge of modern culture.
A taste of Tuscany in the Chianti Classico
Journey outside the city to Badia di Passignano - a monastery in the Chianti Classico region, where the monks are known for their love of learning (Galileo taught here in 1587) and winemaking - for a Tauck Exclusive. After touring the wine cellar with a sommelier, you'll lunch at the osteria... a celebration of Tuscan cuisine, paired with locally produced wines... and do a little olive oil tasting with the chef. Return to Florence where the evening is free.
Rome via First Class high-speed rail
A First Class high-speed train spirits you from Florence; you'll get a good view of the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside en route to Rome, where ancient monumental art provides a backdrop for everyday life. Following lunch at a charming local restaurant, take a guided sightseeing tour to view many of the iconic sights of the Eternal City, including the Roman Forum, plus a visit to the Colosseum. Our special visit to the Vatican is scheduled for tomorrow night - which means our farewell cocktail reception and dinner is this evening at Regina Hotel Baglioni - set on one of Rome's most popular streets, the famed Via Veneto.
St. Peter's & the Vatican Museums after hours in Rome
Stand in awe of Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City; set on a vast piazza surrounded by colonnades, the basilica was designed by some of Italy's greatest architects. The great dome, designed by Michelangelo, houses an ornate cathedral, the tombs of popes, and galleries of ancient masterpieces, including the Pieta. An afternoon as you please in Rome is followed by a return to Vatican City, when the crowds are gone, for an after-hours guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel - without the crowds, you'll have an amazing view of the unparalleled collections of archaeological treasures, relics, paintings, sculptures, and tapestries (subject to availability and day of the tour may vary).
Tour ends: Rome. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Regina Hotel Baglioni to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino. You should allow 3 hours for check-in.