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

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Visit the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Visit the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Pisa at sunset
Venice is world-famous for its canals
Venice Canal
Delightful Tuscan countryside

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)

Enjoy the beautiful architecture in Rome Enjoy the gorgeous views of Rome Saint Peter 
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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, to see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and other sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels and Demons. (Breakfast)

The Vatican City in Italy The Sistine Chapel is world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings Vatican City in Italy The Baroque inspired Spanish Steps connect the Trinita dei Monti church to the square below 
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."
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–Pisa–Lucca

Head north along the Tyrrhenian coastline through an area where many a town was founded at the very beginning of recorded history by the mysterious, highly civilized Etruscans. Stop in Pisa for lunch and take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, continue to medieval Lucca, completely surrounded by the original, medieval wall. An optional dinner to a local agriturismo farm is available. (Breakfast)

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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 4Lucca. Excursion to Cinque Terre

Drive to La Spezia on the Mediterranean coast and Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite enjoy your excursion (including a BOAT RIDE, weather permitting) to CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name dates back to the 15th century and is derived from five medieval little villages standing on stony spurs along five miles of the rocky coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. From here, a TRAIN RIDE brings you to Rapallo. Back in Lucca, enjoy an orientation walk through the town. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy 
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The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significance.

DAY 5Lucca–Siena–San Gimignano–Florence

A scenic day in Tuscany. This morning, visit Siena and walk through ancient narrow lanes to beautiful PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, theater of the biannual Palio, Siena’s spectacular medieval-style horse race, Next is hilltop San Gimignano, the most picturesque of Italy’s perfectly preserved medieval towns. In the afternoon, drive along the Chianti Road leading north to Florence. Next is the highlight of the day: stop at Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite splendid VERRAZZANO CASTLE to hear about the fine art of blending four types of grapes to obtain the famous Chianti. Enjoy a WINE TASTING with an early dinner of local specialties. (Breakfast, Dinner)

See the vineyard covered hillsides of Tuscany The Ponte Vecchio at night San Gimignano is a small walled hill town in the province of Siena Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy 
Siena

Siena


"Siena’s Piazza del Campo is a town square shaped like an oval slopping gently down to the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, it is divided into sections representing the city’s nine rulers in the 1400s, known (bluntly enough) as the Council of Nine. But the Piazza’s striking medieval ambiance is not only due to the surrounding architecture – but for a race. For most of June, July and August, the entire city is devoted to Il Palio, a series of horse races held in the Piazza whose ancient passions makes the Kentucky Derby seem like a fly-by-night event. The festival’s contours have not changed since the 1100s, when members of the city’s 17 contrade, or town districts, began to compete with one another in track events. The two central races are held every July 2 and August 16, but the pageantry and excitement dominate Siena for the entire summer. "
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DAY 6Florence

During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit 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. Time to explore this fascinating city so beautifully filmed in movies like Room with a View and Tea with Mussolini, and to browse through the shops. Leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce are attractive buys. To make the most of your stay, join our optional excursions to the magnificent Uffizi Gallery or a dinner outing to try out the culinary delights of a fine Tuscan restaurant. (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."
Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Uffizi


"While the Uffizi Museum is world famous, few of the millions of visitors wandering its luminous corridors realize how much we really owe to its architect, Giorgio Vasari – a figure who defined our very notion of the Renaissance. A true Renaissance man in our modern definition of the term, Vasari was an accomplished painter and an inspired designer, but his true genius was actually as a writer. In 1550, he published Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects of Italy, a classic of biography from which much of our knowledge of the Renaissance artists is drawn."
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DAY 7Florence–Verona–Venice Island

Stop in Verona, 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. Arrive in Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Tonight is your chance to join an optional gondola ride and to sample the city’s fine restaurants. (Breakfast)

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world 
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DAY 8Venice Island

Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT and enjoy morning sightseeing with your Local Guide. Visit ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the Byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the world famous BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. An optional boat ride to the picturesque island of Burano is available. (Breakfast)

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 9Venice Island–Ravenna–Assisi

Along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea to Ravenna. Here, see the famous mosaics in the 6th-century BASILICA of ST. APOLLINARIS IN CLASSE. Next is peacefull Assisi. During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit ST. CLARE’S CHURCH and ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA, the hub of a religious order devoted to the ideals of humility, forgiveness, simplicity, and love for all God’s creatures. Hear about monastic life and admire the priceless frescoes adorning the walls of the church. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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Assisi is a town in the province of Perugia, Italy

Assisi


"Saint Francis may be Assisi’s most internationally famous son, the charismatic preacher who has been the subject of numerous bio-pics. But his female counterpart, Saint Clare, evokes almost as much devotion amongst Italians. Her life story reads like a medieval inversion of The Sound of Music: A beautiful young woman born into a wealthy family, she was betrothed at an early age to a dashing local noble and seemed destined for a conventional life of luxury and pleasure. But her future was transformed in 1210, when she saw the handsome young Francis, espousing the sacred virtues of poverty in the streets of Assisi. Clare immediately cut off her long golden hair, took a vow of celibacy, gave away all her fine clothes and began to dress in a simple cassock. She soon founded her own religious order for women, the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare, which demonstrated a devotion to good works that matches the all-male Franciscan order of monks. In fact, she is often known to Catholics as alter Franciscus, another Francis."
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DAY 10Assisi–Orvieto–Rome

Following the Tiber Valley, reach Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock. Access, denied to many a would-be conqueror through the ages, is easy for you. Ride a modern FUNICULAR right through the forbidding ramparts. Here, you have a chance to Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite taste local pastries at a traditional PASTICCERIA. Time to browse through tempting shops in the lanes off Piazza del Duomo, and to visit the fabulous gothic CATHEDRAL with its San Brizio Chapel. In the late afternoon, return to Rome. This evening, a special farewell dinner with wine awaits you at a local restaurant to say, “Arrivederci, Roma!” (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 11Rome

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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