Day 1 - Depart USA - Rome
Today we’re off to bella Italia, ‘the old country’, but still very much a part of the 21st century.
Day 2 - Arrive in Rome - Afternoon at Leisure - Dinner in Hotel
Your flight arrives into Fiumicino Airport… Benvenuti a Roma! Your Perillo representative will be at the airport to greet you. We are pleased to offer a complimentary transfer from the Rome airport to your hotel at scheduled times. You’ll have some time to settle into your hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure to discover this magical city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy on your own… do some shopping on Via Condotti and maybe grab a gelato and people watch! After a free afternoon, we enjoy a relaxing dinner in our hotel.
Day 3 - Rome - Vatican Museum - Sistine Chapel - St. Peter's Basilica - Cooking Class - Early Dinner
This morning, it’s a ten minute drive to another country – Vatican City! With our expert local guide, we’ll tour the Vatican Museums, a massive collection of ancient Greek sculptures, medieval tapestries and Renaissance paintings. Our visit starts in the Sistine Chapel, the room where the Pope is elected. Next we visit St. Peter’s Basilica, by far the largest church in Christendom. We’ll see Michelangelo’s Pieta`, sculpted when he was just 24 years old, as well as Bernini’s seven-story bronze canopy located above the main altar. (Please note that the visit of St. Peter’s Basilica is subject to availability based on the events planned by the Pope.) This afternoon, you’ll learn the secrets of some traditional Italian dishes. In a way, the simplicity of Italian cooking makes it a special challenge because there are few rich sauces to hide behind!Our test kitchen is in a centuries-old brick vaulted underground cavern. The perfect atmosphere to drink, eat and learn the secrets of la cucina romana! Learn to prepare fresh pasta dough, “al dente”, along with various sauces and wine pairings. At the end of class, you’ll get to enjoy your homemade meal! Tonight, you’re free for a night out in Rome, on your own. Be sure to have a gelato at one of the best shops close to the Trevi Fountain, “Il Gelato di San Crispino.” Try the nocciola – you won’t regret it!
Day 4 - Rome - Rome Sightseeing - Afternoon at Leisure
Hail Caesar! All aboard our chariot for an exciting, panoramic driving tour of Imperial Rome including the Roman Forum, ancient Rome, the Circus Maximus and the great Synagogue, built in the heart of the Jewish quarter. As you enter the Colosseum, you’ll relive the brutal entertainment of the gladiators and the lions, refereed by the Emperor himself. (Discover the true meaning of thumbs-up and thumbs down.) Tonight you’ll have a chance to explore the lively streets of Rome on your own. Be sure to try some Fiori di Zucca, a specialty of Rome: Zucchini flowers, deep-fried and filled with mozzarella, and sometimes anchovies.
Day 5 - Rome - Spoleto City Tour - Perugia City Tour - Dinner in Hotel
This morning we’re off to Spoleto, in the region of Umbria also known as Italy’s “Green Heart”. Spoleto is a walled medieval hill town that has been inhabited since prehistoric times; the lower parts of its wall are from the 6th century BC! We’ll visit the Cathedral of Spoleto, the Palazzo della Signoria and the octagonal Church of Santa Maria della Manna. After our city tour, you will have some free time to enjoy lunch on your own. Next, we drive to Perugia, a city famous for its chocolate, filled with historic buildings, people-filled squares and modern shops. Perugia is the home of the largest international university in Italy with over 8000 students. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner in our hotel. Un brindisi (a toast) to our newfound friends!
Day 6 - Perugia - Assisi City Tour - Perugia
This morning, we will visit the Perugina factory, where visitors can revel in all of the pleasures of chocolate! We’ll start with a tour of the Perugina Museum, where you’ll learn how one simple cocoa bean can be magically transformed into rich chocolate. Our tasting will highlight the importance of freshness in chocolate, without preservatives. Next, we proceed to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis and namesake of our Pope. We visit the Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the main church of the Franciscan order. We’ll also visit the crypt where the remains of St. Francis are interred. Dinner is on your own tonight. Be sure to ask your tour leader for some suggestions!
Day 7 - Perugia - Lake Trasimeno - Lunch - Perugia
This morning, we depart for Lake Trasimeno. We will arrive at the lakeside town of Tuoro where we will take a cruise (weather permitting) to the islands and beautiful coastal areas of the lake. We’ll navigate towards Maggiore Island for a short break and a chance to admire the Castle of Guglielmi, among other wonders. Lunch will be in a local restaurant, where we will taste the specialties of this area. Tonight, you are free to enjoy dinner on your own. Be sure to ask your tour leader for recommendations.
Day 8 - Perugia - Florence - Dinner in Hotel
This morning we drive from Perugia to Florence, often referred to as the “Cradle of the Renaissance”. You’ll have a free afternoon to enjoy as you please. Visit some leather stores or enjoy a Florentine lunch! Tonight, well enjoy dinner in our hotel with fine local wines.
Day 9 - Florence - Siena City Tour - Olive Oil & Wine Tasting with Early Dinner
While the ambitious city of Florence was launching the Renaissance, Siena was her laid back country cousin. Just 30 miles south of Florence, she is considered the best preserved medieval city in all of Italy. Our guided tour will include the elaborately carved Gothic cathedral, Town Hall and Piazza del Campo – site of the famous Palio horse race. You’ll have time for lunch on your own, shopping and a little more exploration. This afternoon we’ll visit Tenuta Torciano winery in Tuscany and meet our dear friend, Pierluigi Giachi, the world’s most entertaining sommelier. You’ll learn about the grape, the nose, food pairings and most importantly – which glass to use with each wine! You’ll also get to experience an olive oil and truffle oil tasting . . . and of course have some fresh Italian bread! This will all be followed by a fabulous dinner and wine tasting. This is an experience you will never forget . . . Cin-Cin!
Day 10 - Florence - Sightseeing Including the David - Dinner Out
Our day of sightseeing includes the majestic Duomo complex built in 1296 and Giotto’s Bell Tower and Baptistery with its astonishing Gate of Paradise doors. We follow the medieval streets to the most striking square of Florence, Piazza della Signoria, Michelangelo’s final resting place. “Breathtaking is the only way to describe one’s first view of Michelangelo’s David. Yes, it’s quite large and detailed. But the real magic is in how Michelangelo transformed a lifeless rock into a man-full of pride, wary of his adversary, yet quietly confident. All with just a hammer and a chisel! Tonight, please be our guest at a fine local Florentine restaurant with flowing wines and great food. A perfect ending to a perfect day!
Day 11 - Florence - Bologna - Dinner Out
This morning we travel to Bologna, the gastronomic capital of Italy. To Italians, Bologna is known as the city of “Two Towers”. Worldwide, it’s known as the city of lasagna, tagliatelle, tortellini and Bolognese sauce. Good food must boost brain- power because Bologna is also home to the oldest university in Europe! This afternoon, we will have a walking tour of Bologna – including Piazza Maggiore, the “Two Towers” (which also happen to lean) and the Basilica of San Petronio, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Petronius, who was the bishop of Bologna in the fifth century. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant with world-famous Bolognese delicacies.
Day 12 - Bologna - Parmigiano Factory -Modena - Balsamic Vinegar Factory - Dinner in Hotel
Today we will visit a Parmigiano factory. We’ll see how they transform fresh milk into Parmigiano cheese and then get to taste genuine Parmigiano Reggiano. We proceed to famed Modena, a city known for its balsamic vinegar and Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars. You’ll have some free time to explore and have lunch on your own. Next, we visit the Acetaia Giusti – the world's oldest balsamic vinegar producer, founded in 1605. (This acetaia is featured in the Emilia Romagna episode of Stanley Tucci’s ‘Searching for Italy’ series.) We’ll enjoy a guided tour of the museum and a tasting of the Giusti products. Tonight, we enjoy dinner in our hotel with fine local wines. Time to say ‘arrivederci’ to our new-found traveling companions as we exchange emails. No tears . . . How about a Perillo vacation to Spain or Hawaii next year!
Day 13 - Return to the USA
This morning you board your flight home arriving in the USA the same date. Grazie mille for traveling with the Perillo Family. Don’t forget to share your pictures with us too!