This fascinating vacation focuses on Italy’s most celebrated treasures: the “Eternal City” of Rome, home of the “dolce vita,” and the verdant hilly landscape of Tuscany with its medieval and Renaissance heritage. Your vacation begins with two overnights in Rome and guided sightseeing that introduces you to the city’s highlights. Traveling northward, your base in Tuscany is the spa town of Montecatini, where you’ll spend four nights. It is ideally situated for discovering Florence with its Renaissance masterpieces, Pisa with its Leaning Tower, Siena and San Gimignano with their medieval castles and towers, and olive groves and vineyards from which celebrated olive oil and Chianti wines are produced. Returning south, stop at St. Francis’ Assisi before spending a final night back in Rome. This is an unforgettable journey to please the eyes and taste buds!
Day #1 Arrival 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” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive, 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. Time, too, for your own exploring, shopping, or just relaxing at a sidewalk café. (B)
Day #3 Rome–Greve–Pisa–Montecatini. Today, leave Rome, heading north through the famous Chianti vineyards. Stop in the village of Greve to visit the Vicchiomaggio wine cellars, where a renowned Chianti wine is made. Indulge in an included typical Tuscan lunch, before heading to Pisa to visit the famous Square of Miracles with the Leaning Tower. Continue to Montecatini, an idyllic spa town conveniently located to explore the best of Tuscany. You will be staying at the Grand Hotel Bellavista (F) for the next four nights. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Montecatini. Excursion to Siena & San Gimignano. A day of leisure or an opportunity to join an included excursion to visit Siena and San Gimignano. Siena, without a doubt, is Tuscany’s most beloved and inviting city. A walk through its narrow streets lined with medieval palaces into the Piazza del Campo, which is shaped like a fan, is truly a memorable experience. San Gimignano, a hilltop town with more towers than churches, is uniquely situated among vineyards, olive groves, and the delightful Tuscan countryside. (B)
Day #5 Montecatini. Excursion to Florence. Enjoy a full-day excursion to the city known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Traffic is banned in part of the historic center, so visitors can wander at leisure and admire Florence’s timeless beauty. The included walking tour with a Local Guide will introduce you to the city’s highlights. (B)
Day #6 Montecatini. A day to do as you please or to join an optional half-day excursion to two of Tuscany’s best-known cities. First to Lucca, renowned for its narrow streets, quaint shops, and magnificent palaces and churches. Next, to Vinci, the birthplace of that true Renaissance genious, Leonardo. (B,D)
Day #7 Montecatini–Assisi–Rome. Travel south today for a first stop in the walled city of Assisi, home of the mystical St. Francis. Marvel at the remarkable treasures of the magnificent basilica, then, leave this peaceful old town to head across the Apennines to Rome. Celebrate your last evening in Rome by joining the optional farewell dinner. (B)
Day #8 Rome. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)