Italy and France—two of the most beautiful countries in the world—are waiting for you on this Best of Italy & France tour. You'll spend two nights each in Rome, Venice Island, Florence, Nice, and Paris. You’ll see the must-see attractions in each city on your guided sightseeing tours, including the Vatican, Rome’s Colosseum, built in the 1st century and famous for its gladiator fights, the Roman Forum, where you’ll see the oldest structures of the ancient city; St. Mark's Square and Basilica in Venice; the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, home to Michelangelo's celebrated David; and the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, and Eiffel Tower in Paris. You'll stop in Assisi to see the 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, built above the saint's grave; in Pisa to admire the famous Leaning Tower; in Ferrara, where you'll walk through the medieval Este Castle to the marble cathedral, built in the 1100s; and in St. Paul de Vence, a picturesque hilltop town where you can explore the art galleries and quaint streets. On this Globus Italy and France tour, you will also have special experiences that bring you inside the destinations. We've included special dinners in Florence and Paris, so you can try out local specialties, and we've included a stop in Èze, where you will visit a local perfume factory to learn about perfume making. Also enjoy an exciting high-speed train ride on the famous TGV train (first class) from Nice to Paris.From the vibrant cities to the peaceful, blue Mediterranean Sea, this vacation to Italy and France is sure to delight all of your senses!
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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 Mino 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."
DAY 3Rome–Assisi–Venice Island
Morning break in peaceful Assisi. Visit the massive 13th-century BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS built above the saint’s grave. Continue to the Adriatic coast and arrive in romantic Venice. Tonight is your chance to join an optional evening featuring a private water-taxi ride along the Grand Canal, followed by a traditional Venetian dinner. (Breakfast)
"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."
DAY 4Venice Island
Start sightseeing 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 a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Later, you may wish to join an optional cruise to colorful Burano Island. (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 5Venice Island–Ferrara–Florence
In Ferrara, walk through imposing Este Castle to the marble cathedral before continuing across the wooded Apennine Mountains into Tuscany to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Enter Piazza Santa Croce and check out the enticing shops with Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry. Then, enjoy dinner with local specialties accompanied by a selection of local wines at Casa Toscana restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Your guided walking tour features a visit to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Choose from our exciting optional excursions to enhance your stay. (Breakfast)
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."
In Pisa, marvel at the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, enjoy spectacular views of Italian and French Riviera resorts. Leave the highway for the panoramic Moyenne Corniche and stop in Èze. Visit the Fragonard perfume factory. Learn about the fascinating history of the art of perfume-making and receive a souvenir gift to take home with you. Arrive in Nice. (Breakfast)
"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 8Nice. Excursion To St. Paul De Vence
A highlight visit this morning to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence. Explore the many art galleries and enjoy the spectacular view, or relax at a café, where you may see the locals play pétanque (lawn bowling). Return to Nice for a lazy afternoon to dabble in the blue Mediterranean or to stroll along the elegant Promenade des Anglais. An optional outing is available tonight to Monte Carlo. (Breakfast)
Transfer to the railway station and board the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris. This evening, a special dinner with wine has been included at a local restaurant where you can try out specialties like escargots (snails), soupe à l’oignon (onion soup), boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy), followed by a drive through the “City of Light.” (Breakfast, Dinner)
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the 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. To enhance your stay, you may wish to join an optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles, built by the Sun King, Louis XIV. Tonight, dinner and a lively cabaret show at one of Paris’ nightclubs might just be the ticket! (Breakfast)
Imagining Paris without the Eiffel Tower is like London without Big Ben or San Francisco without the Golden Gate Bridge. But no sooner had the architect Gustav Eiffel beaten his 700 competitors in the design competition for the 1889 Centennial Exposition, celebrating a century since the French Revolution, than a vocal outcry began to halt construction of the edifice. Three hundred famous French artists and writers signed a petition in the newspaper “Le Temps” denouncing Eiffel’s radically modern design as “useless and monstrous,” a blight upon the elegant fabric of the City of Light. Others critics were even more vicious, describing the proposed tower as a “tragic street lamp,” a gymnasium apparatus…incomplete, confused and deformed,” “a giant ungainly skeleton,” “a half-built factory pipe,” “a carcass” and even “a hole-riddled suppository.” Nature-lovers argued that it would disturb the flight patterns of Parisian birds. Even as the iron lattice began to rise, Parisians continued to refer to it by the less-than-flattering nickname, “the metal asparagus.” Of course, no sooner had the tower opened in 1889 than the rabid criticism evaporated.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach; private boat ride in Venice; high-speed TGV train (first-class); high-speed Eurostar train; Free Wi-Fi available on your motorcoach and in most hotel lobbies
Full buffet breakfast daily; 3 special three-course dinners with wine in Rome, Florence, and Paris
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.
Years of Experience: 16 years
A European tour is very educational and lots of fun. It is always enjoyable to see guests return home with thousands of beautiful pictures and wonderful memories. My greatest satisfaction as a Tour Director has always been that I can let my guests not only see a city, but also feel and experience the absolute magic of a city like Paris. That cannot be found in any guidebook or on the Internet!
|Four Ways Globus Eliminates the Hassles
Skip the lines and get special treatment at the must-see attractions.
We’ve done the work to find just the right hotels in just the right locations.
Take your heads out of the guidebook and let expert guides make every destination fascinating.
Leave the navigating to us – and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Learn how Globus is reducing transportation-related energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on the The Best of Italy & France:
- Paris Banks of the Seine
- Vatican City
- Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco
- Ferrara, City of the Renaissance
- Historic Centre of Florence
- Historic Centre of Rome
- Venice and its Lagoon
- Historic Centre of Rome - various properties Vatican City