Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 lunch with wine, at Verrazzano Castle; 2 three-course dinners with wine, a special welcome dinner in Rome and a special farewell dinner in Milan
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Arrive 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 the rooftop restaurant of your hotel overlooking Rome.
Day 2 Rome
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 Judgment. Continue to monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA and admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. 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.
Day 3 Rome
This morning, your Local Guide will take you first to ST. PETER IN CHAINS to see Michelangelo’s famous Moses, followed by visits to the magnificent COLOSSEUM and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. Then, time to savor la dolce vita or join an optional excursion.
Day 4 Rome–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.
Day 5 Florence
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. And tonight is your chance to try out the culinary delights of a fine Tuscan restaurant.
Day 6 Florence. Excursion to Pisa & Verrazzano 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.
Day 7 Florence–Venice Island. Excursion to Burano
A spectacular drive through the wooded Apennine Mountains brings you to Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Join an unforgettable Venetian LAGOON CRUISE 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. Continue to the island of Murano. This evening, transfer to ST. MARK’S SQUARE by PRIVATE WATER TAXI to discover Venice by night. Exciting optional excursions are available: dinner in one of Venice’s excellent restaurants and a gondola ride through its canals.
Day 8 Venice Island
This morning, watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner before boarding your PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Meet your Local Guide for a walking tour including visits to the byzantine ST. MARK’S BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Then, enjoy Venice at your own pace.
Day 9 Venice 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. Visit the MUSEUM of the famous La Scala Opera House, the glass-domed GALLERIA, and admire the magnificent gothic Duomo. A special farewell dinner with wine at Calafuria Unione restaurant has been prepared as a proper way to say arrivederci, Italia!
Day 10 Milan–Lake Maggiore
Transfer to beautiful Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Your Local Host can help you make the most of your stay.
Day 11 Lake Maggiore
Morning guided sightseeing includes a boat ride to ISOLA BELLA for a visit to its opulent PALACE and GARDENS.
Day 12 Lake Maggiore
Your Local Host will have many suggestions for your day at leisure.
Day 13 Lake Maggiore
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Milan Malpensa).