This exciting vacation covers Italy’s main sites, but with a special focus on the green, hilly landscapes of Tuscany and the romantic Gulf of Naples. Begin with an overnight in Rome, then stop in Orvieto, an Umbrian town with a beautiful cathedral, and reach Poggibonsi, your base for exploring Tuscany. Join the included excursions to Renaissance Florence to experience Signoria Square, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Duomo complex, and to Pisa to see its famed Leaning Tower. Experience the lesser-known but equally interesting city of Verona, as well as magnificent Venice with its maze of canals. Stop in Ravenna, known for its Byzantine mosaics, and overnight in San Marino, one of the smallest countries of the world. Dedicate a day to Italy’s Umbria region with visits to Urbino, Gubbio, and Assisi. Cross the Apennines, see the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino, and spend three nights in Naples. Enjoy included excursions to the beautiful Isle of Capri, the fascinating archaeological site of Pompeii, and the lively resort of Sorrento. Return to Rome for two more nights and guided sightseeing of the “Eternal City” that features the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Day #1 Arrive in Rome, Italy. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Italy’s ancient capital. This evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Rome–Orvieto–Tuscany. This morning, start your journey northwards to Orvieto in the province of Umbria to visit its black basalt and yellow limestone cathedral. Next, enjoy the beauty of the Tuscan countryside with its hillside towns and villages that skirt the Chianti wine-growing region of Castellina. Overnight in Poggibonsi, situated in the heart of Tuscany almost halfway between Pisa and Siena and next door to San Gimignano. No better place than this to easily get around in Tuscany. (B,D)
Day #3 Tuscany. Take advantage of today’s optional excursion to San Gimignano, one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns. Admire its 14 towers and the countryside dotted with vineyards and olive trees. Next is Siena, rightly considered the jewel of Tuscany. The Piazza del Campo is quite unique in shape and setting, and famous the world over for the Palio horse racing event. (B,D)
Day #4 Tuscany. Excursion to Florence. A full day is dedicated to the city that’s known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Wander at leisure and admire the city’s timeless beauty. The included walking tour with a Local Guide will introduce you to most of the city’s highlights. (B,D)
Day #5 Tuscany. Excursion to Pisa. This morning, enjoy the short drive to Pisa to see its world-famous Square of Miracles and Leaning Tower. Take a stroll down the busy Via Santa Maria, perhaps Pisa’s most typical street. Plenty of time this afternoon at leisure or join one of the optional excursions available. Tonight, join the optional Tuscan dinner. (B)
Day #6 Tuscany–Verona–Venice Area. A comfortable drive north today, first through more of Tuscany, then into the flatlands of the Po Valley and across its river to Verona on the banks of the Adige River. Get to know more about this enchanting city on your included sightseeing tour that will take in all the highlights and, of course, the famous balcony from Romeo and Juliet. Later, continue to your overnight hotel in the Venice area. (B)
Day #7 Venice. Venice is a city of unparalleled beauty and a feast of wonderful sights. View the delightful criss-crossing canals, the gondolas, water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and piazzas. Enjoy the included orientation, which starts with a boat ride and is followed by time at leisure and a visit to a typical Venetian glassblowing workshop. In the afternoon, join one of the many optional excursions. (B,D)
Day #8 Venice Area–Ravenna–San Marino. South today to Ravenna, at one time an imperial city known as the “Byzantium of the West.” After a short stop here, continue to the tiny hilltop Republic of San Marino, one of the smallest in the world. (B,D)
Day #9 San Marino–Urbino–Gubbio–Assisi Area. First to Urbino with its magnificent Ducal Palace towering over the town. Then, on to medieval Gubbio, where a superb view of the rooftops of the town from the Consul’s Palace is a must. Continue on to Foligno in the Assisi area for an overnight. (B,D)
Day #10 Assisi Area–Naples. Start the day in Assisi by visiting the Basilica of St. Francis with its famous paintings by Giotto dating back to the 1300s. Travel south across the Apennines to the shores of the Mediterranean for three overnights in Naples, rightly known as Italy’s most colorful city. (B)
Day #11 Naples. Excursion to Capri. Cross the blue sea to Capri. This legendary island, surrounded by rose-tinted rocks, has incredibly beautiful coves of translucent blues and greens. The town, with its pretty piazzetta, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and smart restaurants, is a mecca for the jet set. An optional tour takes you round the island with its steep roads and panoramic views. (B,D)
Day #12 Naples. Excursion to Pompeii & Sorrento. This morning, get to know more about lively, bustling, and mind-boggling Naples on the included orientation drive. Next, Pompeii, where time stopped for the rich, aristocratic town with the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Continue to Sorrento to spend a leisurely afternoon in this laid-back town with views over the Gulf of Naples. Return to Naples for an overnight. (B)
Day #13 Naples–Montecassino–Rome. North this morning through the province of Latium for a stop in Montecassino, known for its Benedictine Abbey. Back to the “Eternal City,” with plenty of time to enjoy one of the optional excursions, to do last-minute shopping, or maybe sip a drink on Piazza Navona and watch the world go by. (B)
Day #14 Rome. This city is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique. Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a visit to the Roman Forum and the mighty Colosseum. Then, some more time to do just as you please. (B)
Day #15 Rome. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)