Tour: LZE - 2013 (LZE) - 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 gorgeous views of Rome Enjoy the beautiful architecture in Rome 
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DAY 2Rome

Your guided tour focuses on religious Rome: visit 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. 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)

St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City The Sistine Chapel is world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings Vatican City in Italy The Vatican City in Italy 
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DAY 3Rome

This morning, your Local Guide will take you first to antique Rome: visit the magnificent COLOSSEUM and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. Next, a very special feature: drive to St. John Lateran Basilica to see the Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite HOLY STAIRS, Scala Sancta, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. As a favorite of pilgrims everywhere, these 28 marble steps may officially only be ascended on the knees. Then, time to savor la dolce vita and enjoy independent activities. (Breakfast)

Walk through the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem Visit the great Colosseum in Rome 
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. "
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DAY 4Rome–Siena–San Gimignano–Florence

In Siena, enter the impressive medieval walls and walk through ancient, narrow lanes to PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, site of the biannual Palio, Siena’s spectacular medieval-style horse race. Then, continue through unforgettable landscapes of gently rolling, vine-clad hills to hilltop San Gimignano, and walk through the most picturesque of Italy’s perfectly preserved medieval towns. Next is Florence, the splendid capital of Tuscany and birthplace of the Renaissance. (Breakfast)

See the vineyard covered hillsides of Tuscany Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio San Gimignano is a small walled hill town in the province of Siena 
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 5Florence

During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS to see 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 visit SANTA CROCE BASILICA with the tomb of Michelangelo. The afternoon is free to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce, which are attractive buys, or to join an optional excursion to the magnificent Uffizi Gallery. And tonight is your chance 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 6Florence. Excursion to Pisa & Verranzzano Castle

A fast journey will bring you to Pisa. Here, take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, the highlight of today: hear about the fine art of blending four types of grapes to obtain the famous Chianti at VERRAZZANO CASTLE; enjoy a WINE TASTING and lunch before returning to Florence. (Breakfast, Lunch)

The Ponte Vecchio at night 
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 7Florence–Venice Island

A spectacular drive through the wooded Apennine Mountains brings you to Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Enter its glittering maze of islands, canals, and bridges in style by PRIVATE BOAT to 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. Then, enjoy Venice at your own pace or join an optional gondola ride. (Breakfast)

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world 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 8Venice Island. Murano & Burano Islands Excursion

Join an unforgettable Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Venetian LAGOON CRUISE to the islands of Murano and Burano. Glide past the islands of San Giorgio and Sant’Elena, and along the banks of the famous Lido. In Murano, watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Then, continue on to the picturesque fishing village of Burano, renowned for its bright pastel-colored houses and for its lace making. Take pictures of traditional fishing boats, still used by the island inhabitants, and enjoy an included lunch with wine. Return to Venice in the early afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch)

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DAY 9Venice Island–Verona–Milan

In Verona, the 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. Then, on to the dynamic city of Milan, hub of Italy’s economic miracle with its famous La Scala Opera House, the magnificent gothic Duomo, and the glass-domed GALLERIA. Of course, you will also enjoy a Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite walk through Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, Milan’s famous fashion district. A special farewell dinner with wine at one of Milan’s elegant restaurants has been prepared as a proper way to say, “Arrivederci, Italia!” (Breakfast, Dinner)

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping Center in Milan, Italy 
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DAY 10Milan–Lake Maggiore

You will be transferred to your hotel in Stresa at Lake Maggiore. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)

Lake Maggiore Lake Maggiore Stunning view of the beautiful Lake Maggiore Lake Maggiore 
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DAY 11Lake Maggiore

Morning guided sightseeing includes a BOAT ride to ISOLA BELLA for a visit to its opulent PALACE and GARDENS. (Breakfast)

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Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore

Isola Bella


"Isola Bella. Beautiful Island. Rising out of the waters of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, a gardener’s paradise awaits. When Count Carlo Borromeo decided to give his wife, Isabella, a gift back in 1632, he was thinking big. The expansive island villa and garden he planned for her are considered the epitome of Baroque-style architecture and garden design. With terraces built straight to the water’s edge, the island appears as if it is a floating flowering ship. Many of the rooms are of notable historical interest, like the Music Room, where Mussolini hosted the Stresa Conference in 1935 that should have ensured peace in Europe, and Napoleon’s Room, where he often stayed in the company of Giuseppina Beauharnais."
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DAY 12Lake Maggiore

Full day at leisure. Ask your local host for suggestions. (Breakfast)

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DAY 13Lake Maggiore

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Milan Malpensa). (Breakfast)

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