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 Globus’ unique guided sightseeing, including inside visits to all highlights of religious and ancient Rome: the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà, the amazing COLOSSEUM, and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. To make the most of your stay, join our optional walking tour to see the Spanish Steps, and the sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels & 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."
A pleasant drive through the Tuscan hills brings you to 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 a PIZZA PARTY with wine at Finisterrae restaurant. (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."
Arrive in Venice, city of romantics, and visit ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Admire the byzantine basilica, the Clock Tower, lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Then, you may wish to join an optional gondola ride. A PASTA DINNER with wine has been prepared for you at Rossopomodoro restaurant, followed by an exciting ride by PRIVATE WATER-TAXI through the Grand Canal as a proper “Arrivederci” on your last night in Italy. (Breakfast, Dinner)
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. "
DAY 5Venice–Lugano, Switzerland–Lucerne
Leave the flat Po area and enter the Swiss Alps. 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)
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. Of course, you will taste CHOCOLATE PRALINES at Läderach Chocolatier Suisse, one of Switzerland’s most famous chocolate makers. 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 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 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)
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 is available to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles. Tonight, an optional evening out for dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge may be the best way to say, “Au revoir, Paris.” (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.”
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)
Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the Thames River, 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 Thames River. (Breakfast)
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
"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
"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!"
"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."
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach; private boat ride in Venice; high-speed Eurostar train. Free Wi-Fi available on your motorcoach and in most hotel lobbies.
Full buffet breakfast daily; 4 three-course dinners with wine, including special dinners in Rome, Florence, and Venice
With Globus, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
BRIGITTE MAIER KARALL
Years of Experience: 30 years
Traveling is my passion, and I see Europe as my doorstep. I get the opportunity to help you experience different cultures, languages, and various lifestyles on one vacation. My goal is to ensure each person has a unique and personal experience.