DAY 1 – DEPART USA. Overnight flight to Rome.
DAY 2 – ROME AT LEISURE. Welcome to Italy! On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport shuttle service leaves for the tour hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Then this historic city is yours to discover. Tonight, join your Tour Director and fellow passengers for a Welcome Drink and dinner. (D)
DAY 3 – ROME SIGHTSEEING. A local guide introduces the grandeur of the city! Drive to the independent Vatican State, the richest community in the world, to visit the vast St Peter’s Basilica where you admire one of Michelangelo’s early works, the Pieta, as well as the splendid dome completed after his death. Now relive the glory of ancient Rome as you cross the River Tiber to visit the mighty Colosseum. You also look out over the site of the Roman Forum, once the bustling centre of commerce, law and religion. The afternoon is free to enjoy Rome at your own pace. (BB)
DAY 4 – ROME – VENICE. Depart the ‘Eternal City’ and follow the course of the River Tiber north. Traverse the wild Apennine Mountains and descend to the fertile Po Valley. Tonight stay in Venice on the fashionable Lido, a glorious city of quaint bridges, ornate palaces, and gondolas. (BB,D)
DAY 5 – VENICE SIGHTSEEING. Appreciate the splendor of Venice as you cruise by Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore to St Mark’s Square. Your Tour Director will explain the glorious history of ‘La Serenissima’, once one of the greatest trading centres of the world – its wealth and power is echoed by the riches of St Mark’s Basilica. See the Doges’ Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs, then visit one of the glass showrooms for a demonstration of traditional craftsmanship, unchanged for centuries. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere as you cruise along the Venetian canals by gondola. There is time to explore or browse through the shops on the Rialto Bridge in the afternoon. Don’t miss the chance to try the delicious seafood, freshly caught in the lagoon. (BB)
DAY 6 – VENICE – FLORENCE. Begin your day with a scenic drive along the Brenta Riviera, lined with magnificent classical villas of the Venetian nobility. Continue south, past Bologna, and follow the river Reno high into the Apennines. As you drive through the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany, there is an informative tutorial about the Chianti wines that make this region so famous. On arrival in the Renaissance city of Florence, visit the Academy Museum to see Michelangelo’s original ‘Statue of David’. Afterwards, walk with your guide to the marble clad Cathedral and Baptistery, where Ghiberti’s ‘Gates of Paradise’ have been recreated in all their glory. Next stop is Signoria Square, political heart of the city and still an open air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Finally, visit the church of Santa Croce to see the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo. Later, learn the secrets of traditional Florentine leatherwork. Tonight, enjoy a selection of local restaurants to choose from on your Dine around evening. (BB,DA)
DAY 7 – FLORENCE AT LEISURE. A whole day at leisure to shop, explore or continue sightseeing at your own pace. Consider taking an optional excursion into the undulating hills of Tuscany and medieval San Gimignano before sampling some fine Florentine cuisine and Chianti wine. (BB)
DAY 8 – FLORENCE – ROME. Take the smooth autostrada back to Rome. Your Intermezzo reaches its crescendo at the Vatican Museums. Wonder at the collection of ancient and Renaissance art gathered by Popes over the ages, before entering the Sistine Chapel, where the Popes are elected. This is where your audio headset comes into its own, providing clear, expert commentary from your local guide. Gaze up now and truly appreciate the significance of Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling. (BB)
DAY 9 – ROME. Bid farewell to the glories of Italy. Departure transfers arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 & 09:30. (BB)
Land Only. Per person, twin occupancy and includes all gratuities for specified tours, guides and drivers. Airfare to Rome is additional.