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On arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, transfers will operate at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Our launch pad to an epic journey through Italy begins in the Eternal City of Rome. Tread in the footsteps of gods and goddesses, emperors and gladiators as you explore its ancient streets before joining your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive past some of the city's most iconic sights.
We join a Local Specialist this morning for a tour of the Vatican Museums and a Cultural Insight. Here we'll dive into culture, ascending the spiral staircase designed by Donato Bramante and admiring Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel before visiting St. Peter's Basilica to see his sorrowful Pietà. We continue to ancient Rome, once the capital of the world, imagining the thunderous applause of spectators as they cheered brave warriors in the Colosseum and Circus Maximus centuries ago. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, or relax in one of the city's piazze watching the world go by.
Journey past the hilltop towns of Orte and Orvieto and cross the steep Apennine Mountains before arriving in Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, where tonight we enjoy a Regional Dinner.
Dive into culture and witness the delicate craft of Venetian glassblowing at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island. Then cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square, sharing the city's bustling waterways with ferries, gondolas and yachts. We'll see the Byzantine Basilica, Bridge of Sighs and ornate Doges' Palace before spending the rest of the afternoon on our own getting lost in the labyrinthine calli or enjoying a relaxing spritz.
Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers take center stage today as we take a leisurely drive to Verona, the setting for Romeo and Juliet. We'll see the impressive Roman Arena, the third largest in Italy, and Juliet's balcony. We continue south, through the rolling vineyard-clad landscapes of Tuscany to Renaissance Florence where we'll connect with locals indulging in a memorable Be My Guest dinner with the Landi family.
Join your Local Specialist for a guided walking tour through Florence, past the multi-colored Duomo with its impressive dome engineered by Brunelleschi and the Baptistery with its inspiring gilded doors. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore a city that inspired artists, poets and painters to create masterpieces. Consider a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo's statue of David, enjoy spectacular views from Piazza Michelangelo or take an Optional Experience to medieval San Gimignano, famous for its hilltop towers.
Travel through the fertile Campanian plains to the Bay of Naples which lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Our home for the next two nights is Sorrento and our introduction to the Amalfi Coast, a delicious dinner at our hotel.
Cross the Bay of Naples by ferry to the chic island playground of Capri where you'll join a Local Specialist to see its sophisticated sights. Consider an Optional Experience to Anacapri for beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and insight into a slower, more peaceful way of life. This evening, we enjoy the flavors of fresh seafood during a Regional Dinner at a local restaurant.
We explore the tragic immortalization of an ancient civilization in Pompeii today, preserved by volcanic ash when Vesuvius erupted. Here a Local Specialist will take us on a walking tour to gain insights into the day-to-day life of the city's former residents. Next, we visit the Commonwealth Cemetery in Cassino, which lies below the famous Montecassino Abbey, the site of a fierce campaign during World War II. Our Italian odyssey ends in Rome where we join our Travel Director and travel companions for a Farewell Dinner, celebrating joy in true Italian style.
It's time to bid Rome a fond arrivederci as we prepare to depart Italy. Return transfers to Rome Fiumicino Airport will operate at 7 am and 9:30 am. Conditions apply.
15 meals: 9 breakfasts, 6 dinners with local wine.
Christmas & New Year's Eve Highlights: The December 21 departure will celebrate Christmas in Florence. The December 27 departure will toast New Year's Eve in Florence. Each of these specially arranged festive meal celebrations will replace one of the included meals featured in the itinerary.
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