Tour: HF - 2013 (HF) - 2013 / 2014

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Buckingham Palace in London
Buckingham Palace in London
Visit the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Venice is world-famous for its canals
Venice Canal
Tower of London on a sunny day

Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive in Rome, Italy

Welcome to Rome! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with pasta and wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (Dinner)

Enjoy the beautiful architecture in Rome Saint Peter Enjoy the gorgeous views of Rome 
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DAY 2Rome

Morning guided sightseeing features visits to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgement, monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA, and the COLOSSEUM and ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. To make the most of your stay, join our optional Roman Highlights excursion, and see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels and Demons. (Breakfast)

Visit the ancient Roman Forum The Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph Saint Peter Visit the great Colosseum in Rome 
The statue of Laocoön and His Sons can be seen at the Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums


"In the early 1500s, Rome was full of neglected ruins from the days of the ancient Empire, which still contained artworks buried amongst the rubble. The Renaissance had seen a sudden growth of interest in all things classical, and the popes – cultivated men who were in touch with the intellectual currents of the day – were the richest art collectors in Italy. They began offering substantial cash rewards for any sculptures, until Rome was scoured by freelance treasure hunters on the hunt for pagan masterpieces. The most dramatic discovery occurred in 1506, when a Roman father-and-son team of excavators reported a promising find near the ruined Baths of Titus. The artist Michelangelo himself excitedly hurried over to help with the work, followed by the pope’s official agent, Guiliano da Sangallo. When the excavators brushed away the dirt of 1,000 years, they found an enormous marble sculpture, perfectly intact, of a muscular Trojan hero being attacked by giant snakes. Guilano cried out in amazement, “This is the very Laocoön described by (the ancient Roman author) Pliny!” The sculpture was carted off to the Vatican Museum."
Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain


"Rome is one of the most filmed cities on earth, with its signature set location being the Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi Fountain, a romantic, 85-foot-high baroque masterpiece depicting the god of the sea, Neptune, and his Tritons. Not surprisingly, the best time to visit Fontana di Trevi is late at night, when the crowds have gone, the din of Rome’s traffic has died and floodlights dance magically on the water. In fact, the whole centro storico takes on a calm, timeless aspect after dark, and it is well worth stretching your legs after dinner on your own Fellini-esque promenade."
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DAY 3Rome–Florence

Enter Tuscany and arrive in Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Follow your Local Guide for a visit of 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,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Time to check out the enticing shops with Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry on Piazza Santa Croce before joining Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite a Tuscan dinner with wine, traditional bruschette, and Tagliata Fiorentina at Finisterrae restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Florence Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio See the vineyard covered hillsides of Tuscany Admire the detailed craftsmanship of Michelangelos David 
La Piazza Della Signoria

La Piazza Della Signoria


"What’s the best vantage point to ponder the most illustrious town square in Florence, the Signoria? An outdoor table in the venerable Caffè Rivoire – preferably over a delicious, if not painfully expensive cioccolata con pane, a dark and mud-thick hot chocolate. Late at night, when the crowds have gone, you can search the long shadows and imagine that very little has changed here since the 1400s. The Signoria is the most elegant sculpture garden in Europe. Masterpieces include the splendid Neptune Fountain by Ammannati, Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli and a precise copy of Michelangelo’s David, all strategically poised in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. This grand public space has been the centerpiece of Florence since the 15th Century, the golden age when the city was established as the most beautiful in Europe. Eminent merchants in their ostentatious finery met here to discuss business in the midst of Florence’s raucous daily life."
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DAY 4Florence–Venice

In Venice, enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Admire the Byzantine basilica, the Clock Tower, lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects, then there is time to explore or to join an optional gondola ride. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite A PASTA PARTY with wine has been prepared at a local restaurant as a proper Arrivederci on your last night in Italy. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world St. Marks Square 
The Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Bridge of Sighs


"The world’s most poetically-named bridge, Il Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, was built in 1614 so that prisoners of the Venetian state could be transferred in secret from the Doge’s Palace to the so-called Nuovi Prigioni, or New Prisons. The wistful name was actually conceived by the English poet Lord Byron in the early 1800s that imagined the horror of prisoners taking their last glimpse of Venice before going underground to captivity. "
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DAY 5Venice–Lugano, Switzerland–Lucerne

Enter the Swiss Alps and stop in the subtropical town of Lugano in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Explore Piazza Riforma or stroll along spectacular Lake Lugano. Then, admire the towering majesty of the Swiss Alps and St. Gotthard on the way to picture-book Lucerne. Why not sign up for a folklore party with yodeling and alphorn blowing for a first-hand impression of Alpine merrymaking? (Breakfast)

Lucerne, Switzerland The Lion Monument or the Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland The Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland Lucerne, Switzerland at night 
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DAY 6Lucerne

During your walking tour, admire Thorwaldsen’s emotional LION MONUMENT and the ornate patrician houses lining the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. Cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite A special Swiss CHOCOLATE SURPRISE awaits to give you a real “taste” of Switzerland. Shop for Swiss watches or knives, and to make the most of your stay, choose from our optional activities: climb Mount Pilatus by cable car or take a cruise on the fjord-like lake. (Breakfast, Dinner)

The iconic Chapel Bridge in Lucerne is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe 
Lion Monument

Lion Monument


“The Lion of Lucerne” (Lowendenkmal) is a compelling statue in the north section of Old Town dedicated to the 42 members of the Swiss Guard who were assigned to protect Louis the XVI, Maria Antoinette and their family at the Royal Palace. When the Tuileries was stormed on August 10, 1792 by rioting Parisians at the start of the French Revolution, the king ordered the soldiers to lay down their arms. They were subsequently slaughtered by the crowd and the royal family was captured. Louis had made a big mistake. In 1821 Danish sculpture Berthel Thorwaldsen finished the sculpture, a 30-foot likeness of a wounded and dying lion with a broken lance in its heart and his paw resting atop the fleur-de-lys shield of the Bourbon king. The Latin inscription translated “To the bravery and fidelity of the Swiss.”
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DAY 7Lucerne–Paris, France

Say Auf Wiedersehen in Basel and cross the border into France. On your way to Paris, drive past the vineyards of Burgundy with views of beautiful castles and past Fontainebleau Forest. An optional excursion is available to try out local specialties in one of Paris’ lively restaurants followed by a drive through the “City of Light.” (Breakfast)

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DAY 8Paris

Discover the world capital of chic and style with a Local Guide and admire its most famous sights: the Opéra, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, and more. For a bird’s-eye view, take the elevator to the second floor of Paris’ most famous landmark: the EIFFEL TOWER. An optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles is available. Tonight, an optional evening out for dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge may be the best way to say, “Au revoir, Paris.” (Breakfast)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris The Arc de Triomphe standing in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle 
French Fashion

French Fashion


There’s more than one way to conquer the world. The flabby, charismatic “Sun King,” Louis XIV, knew that he could impress the French people with his insanely lavish royal lifestyle, but he also wanted to make his mark on Europe. Throughout his 55 year rule in the 17th Century, he campaigned vigorously to establish Paris as the continent’s capital of style, promoting its gourmet food and wine, haute couture, cutting-edge perfumes, opulent furnishings and exquisite jewelry. Every new innovation required Louis’ personal imprimatur, making him the world’s first fashion dictator. Author Joan DeJean claimed in “The Essence of Style” that Louis’ devotion to elegance has shaped the culture of indulgence today – “Without the Sun King’s program for defining France as the land of luxury in glamour, there would never have been a Stork Club, a Bergdorf Goodman, a Chez Panisse or a Christophe of Beverly Hills.”
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DAY 9Paris–London, England

Board the high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN for a smooth ride to London, arriving in the afternoon. Meet your local host, who will assist you during your stay in London. Why not take in a West End show tonight? (Breakfast)

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel Marvel at the architecture on Londons infamous Big Ben Ride the iconic double decker bus in London London’s Tower Bridge over the River Thames 
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DAY 10London

Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and more. Highlights are a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held. Afternoon at leisure. Optional excursions are available to the Tower of London or to Windsor Castle, and later, maybe enjoy dinner, followed by a cruise on the River Thames. (Breakfast)

Westminster Abbey – the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs Overlooking The Houses of Parliament along the north bank of the Thames River 
Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard


"Changing the Guard dates to Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) and was designed to show military discipline as well as ceremony. The tall bearskin hats were introduced in the 18th century to make the soldiers look taller and thus more frightening, and they were adopted for ceremonial use in 1832. The ceremony we know today started in the late 1800s and involves real soldiers who fulfill all military duties, guarding the Queen being just part of their service."
Tower of London

Tower of London


"Since its founding in the 11th century, the Tower of London has served many roles: impregnable fortress, royal residence, armory, treasury, home of the famed Crown Jewels, and a prison for those who offended the monarchy. To this day it is guarded by the “Beefeaters,” a name that likely originates from when Tower guards were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef, a practice that continued until the 1800s."
Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament


"Big Ben may be the most famous feature of the Houses of Parliament, but equally impressive is the hammerbeam ceiling of Westminster Hall. The Hall dates back to 1097 and, at that time, the roof was supported by pillars. During the reign of King Richard II (14th century), however, it was replaced by the hammerbeam roof seen today. This roof – its beauty and sustainability – is even more impressive when you know its history. It was built with beams made from trees that were ancient at the time, reputedly acorns, dating back to the 6th century (or earlier). If only these walls (beams, rather) could talk!"
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace


"Amid the splendor of modern cities it’s hard to imagine what places looked like before they became what we know today. In a previous incarnation, the ground where Buckingham Palace now stands was a mulberry garden cultivated by King James I as food for silkworms. The silk industry he hoped to nurture never materialized, and eventually a roadhouse was built there, followed in due course by the Blake House, Goring House and Arlington House.Originally known as the Buckingham House, built as a townhouse by the Duke of Buckingham in 1709, the estate was acquired by King George III in 1762."
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DAY 11London

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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