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

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Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive 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. (Dinner)

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

Sightseeing with your Local Guide starts with a visit to the fascinating VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgement. 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 sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels and Demons. (Breakfast)

Vatican City in Italy St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City The Vatican City in Italy The Sistine Chapel is world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings 
The Roman Forum

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. "
The Colosseum

The Colosseum


"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."
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DAY 3Rome–Pisa–Florence

Follow the Aurelian Way along the Tyrrhenian coast and enter Tuscany. In Pisa, take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, then continue to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Tonight is your chance to try out local specialties on an optional dinner outing to a fine Tuscan restaurant. (Breakfast)

Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio The Ponte Vecchio at night See the vineyard covered hillsides of Tuscany Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy 
Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa


"It was the most perfect experiment in the history of science. Holding both a cannon ball and a small musket ball, the 30-something Pisa native Galileo Galilei scaled the steps of his city’s famous Leaning Tower, and held them dramatically over the edge. Eight stories below, the town’s most learned scholars and priests were gathered as observers. They watched as the two balls dropped to the ground at the same speed – disproving, with a single stroke, the ancient idea that objects fall at different rates depending on their weight and size. This archaic concept, which had been espoused by the ancient Greek author Aristotle, had been accepted without question for more than 2,000 years, Galileo’s great innovation was to put it to a practical test of observation. Unfortunately, this famous story is probably not true. Galileo never wrote about it himself – it was recounted in a late biography penned by his secretary, Vincenzo Viviani. Most historians now believe that it was Galileo’s imaginative disciples who invented the Leaning Tower tale in order to make the theory so clear that even a child could understand it. "
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DAY 4Florence

Guided sightseeing features a visit to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS to see Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent marble cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. The afternoon is free. Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce are attractive buys. (Breakfast)

Admire the detailed craftsmanship of Michelangelos David Florence 
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 5Florence–Verona–Venice Island

A special visit to Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Take pictures of Juliet’s balcony and rub the shining breast on her statue for good luck. Next, admire the Arena, an incredibly well-preserved pink marble Roman amphitheater, where gladiators used to fight. Built in the 1st century AD, it is now the magical venue for world-famous opera performances. A highlight is a Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite tortelllini lunch in one of the attractive restaurants, with a chance to try out typical local candy, like baci di Giulietta or Nadalin, and top it off with a glass of the local grappa or prosecco. Arrive in Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. A romantic Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite GONDOLA SERENADE has been arranged for you as a proper welcome to this fascinating city. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world 
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DAY 6Venice Island

Start the day in style by PRIVATE BOAT and meet your Local Guide. Highlights of your walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the Byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Afterwards, enjoy Venice at your own pace or join an optional cruise to the charming island of Burano. (Breakfast)

St. Marks Square 
Venice

Venice


"It is no accident that one of history’s greatest explorers, Marco Polo, came from Venice. His hometown had been Europe’s gateway to the East long before he set sail in 1271; the influence of the Orient could be seen in its art, its fashion and its architecture, creating, in the words of one historian, “the most colorful, sumptuous, and sensually bewitching civilization that history has ever known.” Thanks to Venetian conquests in the eastern Mediterranean, the 17-year-old Marco had the first leg of his travel route mapped out for him – he was able to island-hop through friendly territory as far as Constantinople, from there he was seduced by China for more than 20 years. When Polo returned to Venice in 1295 as a bearded and vaguely Eastern middle aged man, even his relatives did not believe he had been in China the entire time."
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 7Venice Island–Ferrara–Rome

A scenic drive today through the lush plains of the mighty River Po to Ferrara. Stroll past imposing Este Castle to the marble cathedral before continuing to Rome across the wooded Apennine mountain range, past the vine- and olive-clad Tuscan Hills, home of the popular Chianti wine. This evening, a special farewell dinner with wine awaits you as a proper “Arrivederci, Roma!” (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 8Rome

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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