Italy is home to a wealth of “magnificents,” and this vacation features them all. Overnight in Rome with its famed archaeological sites; Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance;” enchanting Lake Maggiore; the unique floating city of Venice; Perugia, capital of Umbria; and the lively resort of Sorrento. You’ll also experience Pisa’s amazing Leaning Tower; Milan, the capital of fashion; Italian-speaking Lugano, Switzerland; Romeo and Juliet’s Verona; Ravenna with its precious Byzantine mosaics; Assisi’s frescoed St. Francis Basilica; Pompeii’s remarkable archaeological site; and the jet-set Isle of Capri. Enjoy it all amid the warmth of the Italian people and the beauty of the panoramic landscapes.
Day #1 Arrive in Rome, Italy. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this ancient capital. This afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Rome. The ”Eternal City”—a city 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. (B)
Day #3 Rome–Pisa–Florence. This morning, vistas of undulating hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Stop in Pisa for a visit and see the Square of Miracles and the amazing Leaning Tower. Arrive in Florence for an overnight. (B)
Day #4 Florence. Today, enjoy the included walking tour with a Local Guide, featuring most of the city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio and its courtyard; Loggia dei Lanzi; and, to top it all, Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” (B,D)
Day #5 Florence–Milan–Lake Maggiore. This morning, leave hilly Tuscany to travel north into the plains of Lombardy, crossing the great River Po with new and quite different scenery as you approach Milan for a stop to see its great Duomo. Overnight in Baveno in the Lake Maggiore area. (B)
Day #6 Lake Maggiore. Excursion to Lugano. Time to relax and get to know the area. Lake Maggiore is one of Italy’s largest lakes and is located on the very edge of Alpine Switzerland. In fact, on clear days you can see the peaks of the Swiss Alps. Take advantage of the included excursion to visit Lugano and its lake in Switzerland. (B)
Day #7 Lake Maggiore–Verona–Venice Area. Travel across the Po River plain and stop in the romantic city of Verona to see Romeo and Juliet´s balcony, and enjoy some time at leisure before reaching the Venice area. (B)
Day #8 Venice. Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real live city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and piazzas. The included orientation starts with a boat ride and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)
Day #9 Venice Area–Ravenna–Assisi–Perugia. An interesting drive southwards right across the Po Delta to Ravenna. In the afternoon, journey to Assisi, enclosed by ramparts and little changed since the Middle Ages. This is the town of the deeply mystical and poetic St. Francis—see the Church of St. Clare, founder of the Order of Poor Clares, the medieval castle, and cathedral. Overnight in beautiful nearby Perugia, capital of Umbria. (B,D)
Day #10 Perugia–Pompeii–Sorrento. Drive south on the autostrada to Pompeii. Time stopped for the rich, aristocratic town of Pompeii with the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. On the included visit you can see the remains of luxurious villas, temples, theater, and forum. Next, Sorrento, set on a plateau above the waters of the Bay of Naples. Wander the winding streets lined with shops and stalls, and sit with a glass of wine, absorbing the easygoing life of this charming resort. (B)
Day #11 Sorrento. Boat Trip to Capri. This legendary island is surrounded by rocky coastline where the crashing sea has formed awe-inspiring caves. The town with its pretty piazza, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and smart restaurants is a mecca for the jet set. An optional island tour is available. (B,D)
Day #12 Sorrento–Rome. A comfortable drive northwards this morning for arrival in Rome, well in time to enjoy most of the afternoon and evening. (B)
Day #13 Rome. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)