From the ancient capital of Rome to Venice, this journey connects two Italian masterpieces with a stop in Florence. Cruise the soul-stirring Croatian coastline from Opatija to Dubrovnik, delving behind the ancient walls of fortified towns and into a tranquil retreat that has attracted royalty over the centuries.
VIP Admission to the Vatican Museums
Explore Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Korčula Old Town, Split, Rab and Opatija with a Local Specialist
Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum in Rome, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Zadar, Šibenik, Skradinski Buk, Krka Waterfalls National Park, Bibich winery, Skradin, Split Market, the Narona Archaeological Museum, Metković and Dubrovnik
See the Zadar Sea Organ and the Augusteum Roman Temple in Metković
View the ancient sites in Rome, the Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
Scenic Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice
First Class Travel Highlights:
Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Daily breakfast and up to half your evening meals
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
Optional Experiences and free time
All porterage and restaurant gratuities
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
High-speed train from Rome to Florence in standard class
High-speed train from Florence to Venice in standard class
Welcome to Rome
Benvenuti a Roma where we begin our exciting journey through some of Italy's most beautiful cities. Spend time relaxing after your travels or take a walk down memory lane, tracing centuries of art, antiquities and culture before joining your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive through Rome's intoxicating cityscape.
Explore Ancient Rome and the Vatican City
We visit the centre of Christianity this morning, joining a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour which includes a visit to the imposing St. Peter's Basilica to see the Pietà, Michelangelo's masterpiece carved from the most 'perfect' block of marble. Our next stop is in Ancient Rome where we'll visit the Colosseum. Here gladiators and slaves met their end in a blaze of glory. See the Circus Maximus before returning to the Holy See this afternoon. Dive Into Culture and gain priority admission to the Vatican Museums where a Local Specialist will take us on a guided tour. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel when it is less crowded and observe the array of incredible artefacts at the Museo Gregoriano Profano, founded in the Lateran Apostolic Palace at the behest of Gregory XVI Cappellari in 1844. We will also enjoy an al fresco dinner against the spectacular backdrop of St. Peter's. Should there be adverse weather, a contingency is provided in a newly-created dining space within the Ethnological Museum.
Rome Your Way
Enjoy a full free day in Rome or consider spending the day in beautiful Tivoli. Join an Optional Experience to see the exquisite house and gardens of the 16th-century Villa d'Este - a marvellous example of Renaissance landscape architecture. As the sun sets over the seven hills of Rome, watch the beautiful people at the Spanish Steps, or admire the Trevi Fountain, tossing a coin to secure your return to Rome.
Journey By High-Speed Train to Florence
Sit back on the high-speed train and watch the Tuscan landscape go by, bound for Florence. Join a Local Specialist on a walking tour to gain insights into the city's Renaissance treasures. View the Ponte Vecchio, almost 700 years old and lined with goldsmiths, then visit the Fine Arts Academy to see one of Michelangelo's masterpieces, the statue of David. Our love affair with Florence continues as we stroll to the Piazza della Signoria, featuring Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery.
Cross the Arno River and see the enchanting skyline of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo before driving to Pisa through the Arno Valley. Meet your Local Specialist to explore the Square of Miracles and see the famous Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, Baptistery and Camposanto, built on soil brought back from the Holy Land during the Crusades. Over lunch, Connect With Locals at the Agriturismo Borgo Vigna Vecchia where you'll enjoy an exclusive Be My Guest experience surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. This evening, stroll along the Arno River in search of the perfect gelato, see the beautifully lit Duomo or visit a cosy enoteca for some wine tasting.
Discover Renaissance Florence
Today is yours to discover the beauty and elegance of Florence - a city filled with exquisite galleries, lush gardens and opulent palaces. Consider a visit to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, the 'medieval Manhattan' of Tuscany. Venture outside the city to see Tuscan villages and taste rich panforte and tortas, or shop for the latest fashions in Florence's sophisticated boutiques. This evening, consider joining an Optional Experience in Chianti for a delicious Tuscan dinner.
Travel By High-Speed Train to Venice
All aboard the express train for Venice. We cross the spectacular Appenines and fertile Veneto plain before arriving in this island city. Get lost this afternoon, wandering its narrow lanes in search of a cosy bacaro, people-watch in St. Mark's Square, the gateway to Venice, or take an unforgettable gondola ride along the city's enchanting canals.
Cruise the Canals of Venice
This morning, we Dive Into Culture, witnessing first-hand the centuries-old craft of glassmaking on the island of Giudecca. Breathe in the salty sea air as you board a private launch and cruise to St. Mark's Square to see the Bridge of Sighs, Palladian Churches, the Customs House, St. Mark's Basilica and Campanile, as well as the Doge's Palace. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the city on your own terms. Find a quiet campo and pavement café or take a cruise to colourful Burano for a delicious meal.
Experience Venice’s Food Market
The sights and sounds of modern Venice come to life today as we join our Local Specialist for a walking tour and explore the vibrant Rialto Food Market, which has been feeding Venetians since the 11th century. We wander through the narrow calli - seeing the ornate façades of merchant houses that line the canals, before enjoying an afternoon at leisure for one last taste of Venice. Our adventure through Italy's charming cities is about to come to an end. We celebrate newfound friendships and an unforgettable experience at a Farewell Dinner.
Embark and Cruise to Rab Island
Prime your sea legs this morning as you transfer to Opatija port and board the MV Aquamarin to meet your onboard team. This afternoon, you'll set sail for the 'island of love'. A guided tour of Rab will reveal its highlights, including its ancient walls, church bell towers and the monastery at the 16th-century Church of St. Justine. Sample Rab cake and enjoy a presentation of how this local delight is made. Rub shoulders with local artists who add a splash of colour to the streets of the town, then retire to the comfort of your cruise ship for the night.
Off to Stunning Zadar
Cruise to Zadar, Croatia's oldest university town. From the 1st-century Roman forum to the 9th-century St. Donat Church, there's history around every turn. After exploring the wealth of museums, churches and palaces, you'll make your way to Zadar's Riva to see (and hear) the mesmerising Sea Organ, comprising several stairs that descend into the sea.
Admire the Krka Waterfalls and on to Šibenik
Arrive in Skradin and travel to Bibich winery where you'll get to sample some of the indigenous varietals produced by this boutique family-owned winery. Next up is a visit to Krka Waterfalls National Park, where you'll visit 'Skradinski Buk', a spectacular vantage point from which to view 17 separate falls cascading 45 metres down to the pools below. Refreshed after taking a dip in the crystal waters, you'll have the afternoon off to explore the cultural monuments and waterfront attractions of Šibenik.
Continue to Historic Split
Your cruise continues towards the capital of Dalmatia and home to the UNESCO-listed Diocletian's palace. Explore Split's buzzing historical town centre on foot with your Local Specialist who'll share all the iconic and unexpected highlights with you as you wind your way towards Split Market.
Onwards to Picturesque Metković
Follow in the footsteps of ancient Illyrian, Greek and Roman sailors as you cruise to Metković. It's here, on the banks of the Neretva, that you'll find one of the last remaining wetland deltas in Europe. A barge ride into the groves provides the perfect opportunity to view the local flora, fauna and birdlife. Next, visit the Narona Archaeological Museum, where you'll see the remains of the Augusteum Roman temple, at the heart of what was once a major Roman stronghold. Tonight, you'll be hosted by the Captain for dinner.
A Day Exploring Korčula
Set sail for Korčula, most famously the birthplace of Marco Polo. You'll discover why the locals call it 'The Black Island' and see how its towering walls have shielded its capital for centuries. After a tour through the Old Town's narrow streets, you'll have time to soak up the local atmosphere in one of the many konobas, restaurants or cocktail bars.
Cruise to Dubrovnik
Approaching Dubrovnik from the sea is a sight to behold. As you sail past its imposing walls, you'll get a glimpse of why George Bernard Shaw described the city as 'heaven on earth'. Lunch is served on deck as the ship moors in Gruz harbour. You'll be treated to a guided tour of the Old Town before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring on your own. You could choose to walk the ramparts, ascend Srđ mountain by cable car for spectacular views, or take a step back in time in its labyrinthine lanes.
Disembark and Journey Home
Say a fond farewell to your newfound friends and take your airport transfer for your return flight.