Discover Italy like never before on this enchanting tour fusing Italian culture, love of the arts and fantastic food all in one. Explore the city of Venice a hallmark of culture and art; become enchanted by the islands of the Venice Lagoon, where the famous Murano glass makers are found. Travel first class by train to Florence, a city that played an integral role in modern history. Drink and eat your way through the Chianti region before heading back to Rome. Venture to St. Peter’s Square, in Vatican City, where pilgrims eagerly await white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, indicating a new pope has been selected.
Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to Venice, Italy. Arrive in Venice the next morning where you will be met and transferred to your hotel by one of the city’s ubiquitous water taxis. The day is yours to enjoy at leisure and explore this enchanting city. AI MORI D’ORIENTE HOTE.
Enjoy a guided tour of classic Venice. Begin your exploration of St. Mark’s Square, known as Piazza San Marco in Italian, one of the world’s most famous squares. The square is the largest in the city and is the only one called ‘piazza’, the rest are referred to as ‘campi. Another dominating building in the square is Doge’s Palace, a palace turned into a museum in 1923. After lunch, sit back and relax in your gondola as your Gondolier takes you through some of Venice’s many canals. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a restaurant near your hotel. AI MORI D’ORIENTE HOTEL.
Today enjoy a full day tour of the islands located in the Venice Lagoon. Your first stop is the island of Murano, known for its glass blowing factories which have been found here since the 15th century. The next island you will visit is Burano. With cheery pastel-colored houses, Burano is known for its handmade lace, which once graced the décolletage and ruffs of European aristocracy. Your final stop is the island of Torcella. Largely uninhabited now (currently the island boasts 14 official residents, including a parish priest), the island was first settled in the year 452 AD and had a town and cathedral and bishops before St. Marks was built. Today, most visitors are there to take in Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Venice’s oldest mosaic-clad Byzantine church. Return to the mainland in the afternoon, where the remainder of your day is at leisure before dinner with your group. AI MORI D’ORIENTE HOTEL.
After breakfast, transfer to the Venice railway station where you will board your 1st class train. Your ride takes you through the rolling hills of Tuscany to the region’s capital, Florence. Here you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Lunch is on your own. In the afternoon, set out on a guided tour of Florence, the historical home of the infamous Medici family, the warring factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the birthplace of Dante Alighieri and home to Giorgio Vasari. Visit the Accademia Gallery, most famous for being the home of Michelangelo’s David. Carved from a single block of marble, Michelangelo’s most famous work was also his most challenging. After lunch on your own, the balance of your day is at leisure, until you rejoin the group for dinner. PALLAZO CASTRI.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel before you set off on your drive toward the Chianti trail. Chianti sits in an enclave of unsurpassed beauty between the provinces of Florence and Sienna. This area is famous for producing its namesake wine, which has been consumed in this region for over 2,700 years. Next, continue to Greve in Chianti, the capital of the region and birthplace of the 15th century explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano. Stop in Panzano in Chianti where you’ll visit the world-famous butcher Dario Cecchini, who specializes in the Tuscan style of meat preparation. Return to Florence, with a stop en route in Impruneta, the capital of Tuscan Terracotta production and a fantastic site for viewing the aesthetic qualities of this material on the buildings of the town. PALLAZO CASTRI.
This morning, transfers to the Florence train station for your 1st class train to Rome and upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. After lunch on your own, a tour of Ancient Rome awaits you. Begin at the Colosseum – you will be stepping back in time to about 80 A.D. The Colosseum was built as an amphitheater for entertainment of the masses in barbaric and brutal games. Continue to the Roman Forum, the center of political and social activity, Rome’s marketplace as well as the business district and civic center. Experience a tour to the center of Catholicism: Vatican City. Venture inside the Basilica, named after St. Peter, the first Pope. Visiting the Vatican Museums is a memorable, must see experience for visitors to Rome, culminating with the Sistine Chapel – a show stopper to end any visit to the Vatican Museums. HOTEL DELLA CONCILIAZIONE.
(Breakfast, Dinner Daily)
In the afternoon, enjoy a half day tour of the city built by Romulus and Remus. Start with the Fontana di Trevi, (the Trevi Fountain,) the largest Baroque fountain in the city. Your tour also includes the Spanish Steps which are at the eastern end of the old city center. After crossing the XIX century Galleria Colonna recently restored and opened to the public, visit Piazza Colonna, named after the Column in honor of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Walk around Piazza Montecitorio, with the 18th century old tribunal which is now the seat of Italian Parliament. Visit the Pantheon with its huge ancient Roman dome and the grave of the great Italian artist Raphael. Your tour ends at Piazza Navona and its famous fountain of the Four Rivers designed by Bernini for Pope Innocent X Pamphili. The balance of your day is at leisure. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner. Next day, transfer to the airport for your flight home. HOTEL DELLA CONCILIAZIONE.
(Breakfast, Dinner; Breakfast, Meals Aloft)
Continue your journey to Naples and venture to Pompeii, an archaeological site of a city that was nearly demolished when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The volcano buried the city in thick volcanic dust, killing 2,000 people and forcing the city to be abandoned for nearly 2,000 years until it was rediscovered in 1748. Explore the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Amalfi coast is one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Mountains plunge into the sea in a heart stopping vertical scene of precipitous crags, cliff-clinging homes and woodlands filled with lush, leafy vegetation. Continue to the Island of Capri one of the most picturesque and visited spots in all of Italy. Its unique beauties have been celebrated since ancient times and revealed to the world through Homer’s famous piece of literature, the Odyssey.
Iceland – The Northern Lights Nature’s Most Spectacular PerformanceFrom$4,295.00
European River Cruises – Germany, Austria, Slovakia & Hungary – Danube Delights & Medieval Nuremberg
Iceland – Volcanoes, Fjords, and Spas in the Land of ‘Fire & Ice’From$7,895.00
The Arctic – Svalbard Archipelago, Norway – The Wildlife Kingdom of the NorthFrom$13,250.00