On this Best of Italy tour, visit some of Italy’s most popular cities, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Capri, and Assisi. Visit the must-see sights, including the Vatican Museums, Colosseum, and Roman Forum in Rome; St. Mark’s Square and Basilica in Venice; Michelangelo’s David in Florence; and the church where St. Francis is buried—St. Francis’ Basilica—in Assisi. In Orvieto, situated high atop a volcanic rock, visit the gothic cathedral, dating to the 13th century and home to one of the best examples of Italian Renaissance painting.One tour highlight is Pompeii, which was completely buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Imagine what life was like 2,000 years ago; this preserved town gives you an amazingly detailed look into life at the peak of the Roman Empire. Admire the paintings still on the walls, and look for the early fast-food restaurants beloved by ancient Romans. Another highlight on this Italy tour is the picturesque Isle of Capri, where you’ll ride the funicular to Capri village and have time to shop at its designer shops, savor the sumptuous cuisine at a bistro, and enjoy the amazing views of the breathtaking azure sea. Globus has even arranged a special Capri experience that includes an open taxi ride to Anacapri to visit the famous Villa San Michele, a villa with works of art from Antiquity to the early 20th century. Italy can satisfy even the most discerning traveler, and this tour allows you to experience its stunning beauty, ancient ruins, amazing sculptures, exquisite art, tasty cuisine, fine wines, and so much more. So grab your camera and leave all the details to Globus, so you can just enjoy yourself on this memorable vacation!
ROME Welcome dinner at a local restaurant; farewell dinner at a local restaurant; guided sightseeing, visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Colosseum, and Roman ForumORVIETO Visit the cathedralTUSCANY Taste the traditional Cialde di MontecatiniFLORENCE Guided walking tour, visit Michelangelo’s David, and Signoria SquarePISA Marvel at the legendary Leaning TowerVENICE Private boat rides; private water taxi ride by night; guided walking tour, visit St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs; glassblower demonstrationASSISI Guided sightseeing, visit St. Clare’s Church and St. Francis’ BasilicaPOMPEII Guided walking tour of the excavationsNAPLES–CAPRI–SORRENTO By jetfoilCAPRI Funicular ride; guided sightseeing, Capri experience: ride an open-taxi to Anacapri and visit Villa San Michele; boat cruise around the island of Capri; a special dinner with wine and sea viewHeadsets throughout the tour
DAY 1Arrive in Rome, Italy
Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and enjoy a special welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (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. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more. (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."
"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."
Following the Tiber Valley, reach Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock. Time to browse through tempting shops in the lanes off Piazza del Duomo and to visit the gothic CATHEDRAL with its San Brizio Chapel. Next, drive through the Chianti wine area to the spa resort of Montecatini in Tuscany. Here, you will of course taste the traditional Cialde di Montecatini, a local biscuit made of almonds and sugar. (Breakfast)
DAY 4Tuscany. Excursion to Florence
The whole day is dedicated to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Your guided walking tour includes a visit to Michelangelo’s David in the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. 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. (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."
"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."
DAY 5Tuscany–Pisa–Venice Island
A short drive to Pisa. Take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Next, arrive in Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the world. Board your PRIVATE BOAT to Lido Island. This evening, enjoy a ride by PRIVATE WATER-TAXI to ST. MARK'S SQUARE to discover Venice by night. (Breakfast)
St. Mark’s Square
"The best way to arrive in the Piazza San Marco, the pulsing heart of Venice lapped by the waters of the Lagoon, has always been by boat – and today, landing there by ferry is still an unforgettable experience. Despite the crowds, the vendors and the pigeons that occupy the plaza, we can easily imagine landing here in the late Renaissance, the period when Venice was at its height of imperial opulence. In the mid-1500s, the approach must have been a dazzling explosion of color: the palazzos that lined the Grand Canal were newly-crafted and gleaming with fresh paint, gilt flourishes and fine marble statuary. Travelers would step onto dry land more or less where the ferry stop is today, and first enter the Piazetta (“little square”) of San Marco. They would carefully skirt the two columns erected in the 1100s, one topped by patron saint, St. Theodore, another winged lion. (Venetians were superstitious about walking between them, since criminals had once been strung up here.) "
"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. "
DAY 6Venice Island
Highlights of your guided walking tour are visits to the byzantine ST. MARK’S BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Later, an optional gondola ride is available and why not join an optional excursion to the island of Burano? (Breakfast)
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 7Venice Island–Assisi
A scenic drive through the Apennine Mountains to peaceful Assisi, where your Local Guide will take you for a visit to ST. CLARE’S CHURCH and ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA built above the Saint’s grave. (Breakfast, Dinner)
"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."
Arrive at fascinating POMPEII. Meet your Local Guide and start your highlight visit of this Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. See a patrician home, public baths, and shops that give a striking picture of what day-to-day life was like in Rome at its apex of power. Next, drive to Naples, cross the blue bay by JETFOIL to the beautiful Isle of Capri for your 2-night stay, and ride the FUNICULAR to Capri village. (Breakfast)
"Rising like a whale from the ocean, the spectacular island of Capri has held a particular attraction for celebrities trying to “get away from it all” over the centuries. In former times, it lured the writers Goethe, Oscar Wilde and Graham Greene; these days, it attracts American stars like Leonardo di Caprio, Harrison Ford and Mariah Carey. But Capri first became famous in 26 AD, when the Roman Emperor Tiberius “dropped out” here to escape the political in-fighting in Rome. For 16 years, he ruled the Empire from his luxurious cliff-side palace – flashing his orders to the mainland via a lighthouse. Protected by 500 foot cliffs, Capri had only one landing point, and his villa, located on a remote headland offered sweeping 300 degree views of the ocean. B"
"While wandering the superbly-preserved streets of Pompeii keep an eye out for the cauponae or early fast-food restaurants beloved by the ancient Romans. Located on several corners and looking like open-air bars, these one-room establishments were where busy citizens could grab a quick meal and glass of wine on the run. They were identified by colorful signs over their doors (one place excavated in Pompeii had a Phoenix, another, an elephant and pygmy). And like modern coffee bars in Italy today, customers stood at an L-shaped brick counter to order. There were jars full of hot and cold food, as well as amphorae of wine, which they could consume on the spot or take out to a few wooden seats provided on the street or, in some cases, a small back garden."
This morning, your Capri experience features: sightseeing with a Local Guide, an OPEN-TAXI RIDE to Anacapri to visit famous VILLA SAN MICHELE, and a BOAT CRUISE (weather permitting) around the island. Time to browse through the little shops on the piazzetta, and tonight, a special dinner with wine and sea view—the perfect ending to your Capri visit. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Speed across the glittering bay to the charming resort of Sorrento. Enjoy time to stroll around and check out the local shops before returning to Rome. This evening, a special farewell dinner with wine at a local restaurant has been prepared for you to say arrivederci, Roma. (Breakfast, Dinner)
"Italian movie stars and pop idols are still snapping up real estate around the seaside town of Sorrento – Siren’s Point – unaware that 2,000 years ago it was also the very heart of the ancient Romans’ favorite holiday destination. In fact, the entire sun-drenched coastline from the Bay of Naples south to the precipitous Amalfi Coast has always been lined with sumptuous luxury villas, qualifying it as the Hamptons of Antiquity. Aristocrats would flock here in summer to relax by the beach, swim in marble pools, sail to nearby islands in their silk-canopied yachts and enjoy seafood banquets al fresco beneath the stars. "
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach; private boat ride in Venice; jetfoil; funicular and boat cruise in Capri. Free Wi-Fi available on your motorcoach and in most hotel lobbies.
Full buffet breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with wine, including special welcome and farewell dinners in Rome and a special dinner in Capri
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.
ALDO MODEO PATTI
Years of Experience: 38 years
I am a proud Italian with a passion for the arts, the history, and the natural, beautiful scenery of this country. I enjoy showing everyone Italy through my eyes. After many years as a Tour Director, I have gotten the nickname "Renaissance Man" from passengers on my tours.
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UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on the The Best of Italy:
- Vatican City
- Archaeological Site of Pompeii
- Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco
- Historic Centre of Florence
- Historic Centre of Rome
- Venice and its Lagoon
- Historic Centre of Rome - various properties Vatican City