This perfect one-week vacation covers Rome, Florence, and Venice, with enough time to explore on your own. Sightseeing with a Local Guide in all cities covers the must-see sights: the Colosseum, Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome, Michelangelo’s celebrated David statue, sculpture-studded Signoria Square in Florence, as well as St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, and the Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Enjoy a special dinner with Tuscan specialties and wine in Florence, and in Venice, enjoy a glassblower’s demonstration and receive a special gift. A welcome dinner in Rome and a private boat ride in Venice are included, as well as a farewell drink at famous Florian Café on St. Mark’s Square. The full day at leisure in Venice gives you the opportunity to join an optional excursion to the island of Burano.
Day #1 Arrive in Rome, Italy. Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a special welcome dinner with wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (D)
Day #2 Rome. Sightseeing with your Local Guide this morning concentrates on religious Rome: visit the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgement. Next, visit monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA. To make the most of your stay, join our optional Roman Highlights excursion, and see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and other sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels and Demons. (B)
Day #3 Rome–Florence. A guided visit to the magnificent COLOSSEUM brings the days of the gladiators alive. Also admire the Arch of Constantine, and enter the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. In the early afternoon, drive through Umbria along the Highway of the Sun north into Tuscany and its hill-clad vineyards, which house the famous Chianti wine, to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Time to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry, sold by the ounce. A [LF] special dinner with Tuscan specialties and wine awaits you at Finisterrae restaurant. (B,D)
Day #4 Florence. During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David, admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE, and take pictures of Ponte Vecchio. This afternoon is your chance to join an optional excursion to the picturesque town of San Gimignano. (B)
Day #5 Florence–Venice Island. A spectacular drive through the wooded Apennine Hills brings you to Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT to meet your Local Guide. Highlights of your walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE, a favorite location for many movies, and the Byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch [LF] skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner, and receive a surprise glass gift, just for you! (B)
Day #6 At Leisure on Venice Island. Immerse yourself in the wonderful atmosphere of Venice. Wander through the narrow streets, discover Rialto Bridge, and top it all off by enjoying a [LF] farewell drink at famous CAFFÉ FLORIAN, while musicians entertain you. Later, why not join an optional cruise to the charming island of Burano followed by a delicious meal of local specialties to celebrate the success of your Italian vacation? (B)
Day #7 Venice Island. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)