Admire Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling, the beauty of Lake Como and Juliet's balcony in Verona. You'll also savour the tastes of Bologna and wander through the home town of St. Francis.
VIP ADMISSION to the Vatican Museums
ORIENTATION of Turin and Venice
VISIT St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum in Rome, the medieval city of Ferrara and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi
VIEW the ancient sites of Rome, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Lake Como, the Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Roman Arena and Juliet's Balcony in Verona, St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Kissing Towers in Bologna
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
VIP entry to many sights
Arrive Rome (2 Nights)
Tread in the footsteps of emperors and slaves - your first encounter with intoxicating Italy is the 'Eternal City' and its glorious past which you will have an opportunity to explore on your own before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception. This evening, we enjoy an enchanting antipasto of our Italian Discovery during an orientation drive past some of the city's most famous sights.
Rome Sightseeing and Free Time
Our exploration of Rome begins at the Vatican Museums where we have priority admission, allowing entry to view the masterpieces collected by Popes throughout the centuries. 'Dive Into Culture' during an included sightseeing tour with a 'Local Specialist', admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Crossing the Tiber, we venture to Ancient Rome to see where hundreds of thousands of spectators would cheer chariot riders to victory at Circus Maximus followed by a visit to the imposing Colosseum. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the magnificent sites of what was once the capital of the world, or kick back in a piazza soaking up the aromas of fine coffee while you watch the world go by.
Rome – Florence
Today we drive north through rolling Tuscan landscapes to the Renaissance city of Florence. Beauty and artistry seep through the walls of the city's exquisite palazzi, churches and bridges. Embark on a walking tour with your 'Local Specialist'. Visit the Piazza della Signoria, which once lay at the heart of the flourishing Florentine Republic, then admire the exquisite marble Duomo and famous Baptistery renowned for its bronze doors with relief sculptures. Learn about the quality and workmanship of one of this city's historic industries at a demonstration of Florentine leathercraft. Later, enjoy some free time on your own before this evening, we 'Connect With Locals' over a 'Be My Guest' dinner set against the backdrop of Tuscan vineyards and olive groves.
Florence – Pisa – Turin
A short journey brings us to Pisa and its Square of Miracles, home to the famous Leaning Tower, ornate Baptistery and Cathedral. We continue northwards, past the marble quarries of Carrara and the resort hubs of Portofino, Rapallo and Genoa in Liguria before arriving in sophisticated Turin. This afternoon, we venture through the grand boulevards of this aristocratic city during an orientation drive which will reveal the impressive Castello del Valentino and Po River, the longest in Italy.
Turin – Lake Como – Milan
We leave Turin and continue to the Italian lakes for a stop at Lake Como. Then it's on to the economic powerhouse that is Milan, where we'll enjoy a walking tour with a 'Local Specialist' to explore the city's spectacular sights. We view the ornate Duomo, one of the grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world, the ancient Galleria shopping arcade and the celebrated La Scala Opera House. This evening, join your companions for a delicious Regional Dinner at a local restaurant.
Milan – Verona – Venice (2 Nights)
Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers feature on our stop in Verona where we'll view Juliet's Balcony and the first-century ancient Roman arena still in use today. Crossing the Veneto plains, we arrive in what was once the haunt of Casanova and Marco Polo, enchanting Venice.
Venice Orientation and Free Time
'Dive Into Culture' and witness first-hand the exquisite tradition of Venetian glassblowing - a tradition that spans centuries. Board a private launch and cruise to the gateway of Venice, St. Mark's Square - our introduction to such sights as the Doge's Palace and the Byzantine Basilica. Enjoy free time to explore Venice. Wander through the labyrinthine alleys, over its bridges and into quiet squares.
Venice – Ferrara – Bologna
Visit the Renaissance city of Ferrara, before arriving in Bologna - perhaps more famous for its gourmet achievements than being the site of the oldest university in Europe. Join a 'Local Specialist' to explore the sights, including Neptune's fountain, the Kissing Towers and Piazza Maggiore. Of course, a visit to the home of tortellini, mortadella, tagliatelle and ragù would be incomplete without taking time to sample its delicious cuisine. Buon appetito!
Bologna – Assisi – Rome
Today, we cross the dramatic Apennine Mountains to the mystical town of Assisi. Come face-to-face with the legacy of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order, during a walking tour of his home town with a 'Local Specialist'. Visit the Basilica of St. Francis and see his tomb, before returning to Rome past the scenic hill-town of Orte. Tonight, we celebrate a journey of discovery through Italy during a Farewell Dinner with our companions and Travel Director.
Our journey together has come to an end so for now it's a fond arrivederci to your newfound friends at the end of your memorable Italian holiday. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.