Enjoy a fast-paced trip to some of Europe’s most popular cities. Start in London and ride the high-speed Eurostar train to Paris. Here, enjoy guided sightseeing including a ride up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower for a spectacular view over this fascinating city. Continue to the Alps and stay in picture-book Lucerne, Switzerland, with a chance to join an optional ride by cable car to Mount Pilatus. Arrive in Milan, Italy’s commercial capital, admire the gothic Duomo and word-famous La Scala Theater, and enjoy a traditional Milanese risotto dinner. Continue to romantic Venice and enter the city in the most exclusive way possible: by private water taxi. Admire St. Mark’s Square, enjoy a glassblower’s demonstration, and a pizza party at a local restaurant. Via Florence, where a guided walking tour shows you the city’s highlights, arrive in Rome, where dinner at a local restaurant is included to try out local specialties, as well as visits to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. Transfer by high-speed Eurostar train to Sorrento, where three overnights, a guided walking tour of the Old Town, and plenty of leisure time make for the perfect ending to your adventure.
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DAY 1Arrive in London, England
Welcome to London! Uniformed Globus Hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
DAY 2London–Paris, France
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and head for the railway station to board the high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to Paris. Time to start exploring this magnificent city, and later, you may wish to join an optional dinner at one of Paris’ lively restaurants followed by an illumination drive through the “City of Light.” (Breakfast)
Morning guided sightseeing of the world capital of chic and style features 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 magnificent Louvre Museum with the famous Mona Lisa is available, and tonight, a cabaret show may just be the ticket! (Breakfast)
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.”
Today, a thick pane of bullet-proof security glass keeps artlovers a safe distance from the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Giacondo,” known in French as “La Joconde” and English as the “Mona Lisa.” But back in 1911, it was simply hung on the walls of the Musée du Louvre like any other canvas. That was until a former museum employee named Vincenzo Perrugia strolled into the gallery before opening hours on August 21, noticed the room was empty, took down the Mona Lisa and walked out of the Louvre with it under a painting smock. When the loss was finally noticed, the police were mystified. For two years, the whereabouts of the masterpiece was unknown, while French detectives made various wild guesses. (It had been stolen by the Germans. By anarchists. By evil geniuses. By lunatics.) They actually arrested the country’s top art critic, Guillame Apollinaire, then let him free. Then, out of the blue in 1913, an Italian art dealer in Florence was contacted by a man calling himself “Leonardo” who claimed to have the Mona Lisa and wanted to see it hang in the Uffizi, Italy’s top art museum. Although he found it hard to believe that the thief could be so reckless, the dealer tipped off the police and agreed to meet the strange Leonardo in a Milan hotel room. There, the nondescript fellow opened his suitcase, emptied out his socks and underwear, opened up a false bottom in the case to reveal the Mona Lisa – and was immediately arrested.
DAY 4Paris–Lucerne, Switzerland
Leave Paris, drive past Fontainebleau Forest and enter Burgundy. Enjoy views of a few castles and the vineyards on your way to the Swiss Alps and to picture-book Lucerne. Orientation includes Thorwaldsen’s emotional LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the fallen Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution. Walk through the Old Town and cross the CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Tonight is your chance to yodel and blow an alphorn during an optional Swiss Folklore dinner party. (Breakfast)
“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.”
DAY 5Lucerne–Milan, Italy
In the morning, you may wish to climb Mount Pilatus by cable car and shop for Swiss watches and chocolate. Then, have your cameras ready during an exciting drive along the St. Gotthard highway, which leads straight through the Swiss Alps and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Enter Italy and arrive in Milan. Walk through Milan’s center admire the gothic Duomo, the Gallery, and famous La Scala Theater. Arrive at your restaurant, where a traditional Milanese risotto dinner with wine awaits you. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Prepare for a VIP entrance to Venice, city of romantics. Board your private WATER TAXI for an exciting ride on the Grand Canal to ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Enjoy a GLASSBLOWER demonstration, then time to further explore this fascinating city on your own. A PIZZA PARTY with wine at a local restaurant has been included. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Cross the Apennine Mountains on your way to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” A guided walking tour features the cathedral and its baptistry, the “Gate of Paradise,” and a visit to sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Then, continue through the Chianti vineyards and olive-clad Tuscan Hills to Rome, the “Eternal City.” Upon arrival, enjoy a special pasta dinner with wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (Breakfast, Dinner)
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."
Sightseeing with your Local Guide starts with a visit to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings. Continue to monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA. Cross the Tiber and visit the COLOSSEUM and the 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)
The Roman Forum
"Visitors can be a little confused by the Roman Forum; at first glance, it is a rather lifeless array of marble fragments. But we must remember that in ancient times, this space was far more than the temples and monuments whose ruins we can explore today. It was filled with bustling, noisy life as the popular crossroads of the city – the predecessor, in fact, of the modern Italian piazza. Every morning at dawn, average Romans would escape their cramped, dark apartment blocks (called insulae, or “islands”) and spent their days outdoors. "
"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."
"Thanks to Hollywood recreations such as Gladiator, nothing symbolizes the cruelty of Imperial Rome as much as the Colosseum. In truth, the games held there were even more extreme and theatrical than modern film directors dare to suggest. A day at the Empire’s most famous arena was a total entertainment package, mixing bouts of savage violence with solemn religious pageantry, sexual titillation, slapstick comedy and kitschy stage shows."
"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."
You will be transferred by high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to Sorrento. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)
Morning guided walking tour through the OLD TOWN. (Breakfast)
Full day at leisure. Ask your local host for suggestions. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Naples). (Breakfast)
High-speed Eurostar train; motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; private water taxi and boat ride in Venice; Italian high-speed first-class Eurostar train.
LONDON Hilton London Metropole (SF)PARIS Marriott Paris Rive Gauche (SF)LUCERNE Royal (F)MILAN Marriott (SF)VENICE Delfino (F) at MestreROME NH Midas (F)SORRENTO Hilton Sorrento Palace (SF) Rooms include sea view
Full buffet breakfast daily; 3 three-course dinners, including special dinners with wine in Milan, Venice, and Rome
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