Italy, a country filled with history, amazing art, delicious cuisine, remarkable architecture, and splendid beauty—you’ll see and feel it all on this affordable tour through Italy. Explore the maze of streets in Venice, and discover hidden treasures and restaurants in their back alleys. Stand in awe as you admire the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a must-see sight in Italy. Did you know the tower was constructed in three stages over the course of 177 years, starting in 1173? Even though it was obvious in 1178 that it leaned, construction continued. You’ll see this architectural wonder as well as many other famous Italian sites. Have your camera ready as you explore the historical sites of Rome, including the Colosseum, the amphitheater used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles during the Roman Empire. Sit in a café as you admire one of Italy’s most unique squares in Siena. Enjoy wine tasting in Italy’s Chianti wine region, and shop for local goods in Italy’s Tuscany region. What do you want from your Italian vacation—amazing architecture, sumptuous food, delicious wine, breathtaking art, historical treasures, or scenic beauty? Whatever it is, this Italy vacation offers it to you!
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 evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Rome. The ?Eternal City,“Rome is 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–Orvieto–Siena. Journey northwest to the charmingly located city of Orvieto in the Umbria region to visit its black basalt and yellow limestone cathedral, an excellent example of Italian Gothic architecture. By early evening you’ll be in Siena with time to visit this jewel of Tuscany. Sit in one of the cafés surrounding the Campo and admire one of Italy’s most unique squares, famed the world over for its Palio horse race. (B)
Day #4 Siena–San Gimignano–Greve–Montecatini. Drive this morning to San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s greatest attractions. Its medieval squares, town walls, streets, alleyways, and 14 towers make it unique. Next, into the very heart of the Chianti vineyards; watch out for names such as Castellina in Chianti, Badia, Gaiole, and Brolio, where classical Chianti wines are produced. Stop in Greve for some wine tasting at a local wine producer. Arrive in Montecatini in time to join the outing for an optional Tuscan dinner. (B)
Day #5 Montecatini–Excursion to Florence. This Renaissance gem and city of the Medicis will keep you enthralled the entire day. Traffic is banned in part of the historic center so visitors can wander at leisure and admire the city’s timeless beauty in relative peace and quiet. Don’t miss out on the included walking tour with a Local Guide, which features 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 #6 Montecatini–Pisa–Venice Area. This morning, drive to Pisa for a visit to its Square of Miracles and the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 16 feet out of the perpendicular. Later, head across the wooded Apennine Hills into the farmlands of the Po Valley for two overnights in the Venice area. (B)
Day #7 Venice Area. 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 little quiet 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 #8 Venice Area–Assisi–Rome. An interesting drive southward, cutting across the Po Delta, then crossing the Apennines. Stop in Assisi, where St. Francis was born in 1182. Visit the world-famous basilica with its beautiful frescoes by Giotto, then head for Rome. (B)
Day #9 Rome. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)