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Take time to embrace the Italian passion for life on this grand adventure that starts and ends in the 'Eternal City' of Rome. You'll see reminders of an ancient world, a holy empire and the Renaissance around every turn should you wish to spend the day exploring on your own, after checking in to your hotel. Meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a glimpse of what's in store. You could continue your independent exploration of Rome later this evening or join your travel group for an Optional Experience featuring typical Italian cuisine with music.
Take a moment. Standing in St. Peter's Square, you'll be in the midst of the world's holiest Catholic shrine – where people have worshipped since the fourth century. This expansive place of pilgrimage and prayer gives way to the lofty vaults of one of the greatest churches in the world, St. Peter's Basilica. Your Local Specialist will reveal the treasures and talents of Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini who all had a hand in the construction. Continue your guided sightseeing tour across the Tiber River to Ancient Rome and imagine a time when soldiers and senators built a city that became the centre of the world. Its foundations still stand today as a tribute to its former might and you'll have the opportunity to view its iconic ancient ruins before spending time on your own exploring the ruins or joining your fellow travellers on an Optional Experience through Rome's beautiful piazzas.
This morning, consider joining an Optional Experience to the Vatican Museums, home to an impressive collection of art and antiquities. Then the Bay of Naples beckons and you'll head south past the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the site of fierce battles during World War II. Perhaps spend the afternoon taking an Optional Experience drive along the picture-perfect Amalfi Coast, with a visit to the artistic hub of Positano and its pastel-hued houses that seem to tumble into the Tyrrhenian Sea, or else spend the rest of your day in search of the best Margherita pizza. Its ingredients reflect the red, white and green of Italy's flag – could there be anything more patriotic?
Today you'll take a scenic journey along the craggy Mediterranean coast, tracing the footsteps of artists, writers and high society who have long revered the sweet shores of Sorrento. Centuries on, there are no signs of the hypnotic sirens that once tempted soldiers to run their ships into the deadly rocks. Instead, fresh scents of citrus are likely to accompany your every step as you explore this beautiful resort town with plenty of time to explore on your own. Don't leave the town's historic harbour without sampling some local specialties. Then say salute to a swift and zesty limoncello – it's the perfect after-dinner digestivo.
Enjoy a relaxing morning, unless you choose to join an Optional Experience to see the excavations of Pompeii in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Buried under ash when Vesuvius blew her top, Pompeii remains frozen in time and your Local Specialist will reveal what life was like as a local resident of the time. Later, we journey to the heart of Italy, through the rolling hills of Umbria, to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Your orientation tour around this medieval hill-top town will include views of the Basilica of St. Francis, the final resting place of a saint who preached obedience, chastity and poverty.
We cross the dramatic Apennine Mountains, bound for the charismatic calle of Venice, once a maritime powerhouse whose influences can be seen across the Eastern Mediterranean. The winged lion of Venice remains an enduring symbol of the city and one you'll see often as you explore the city over the next few days. You'll arrive just in time for an optional Gondola and Grand Canal cruise – grand palazzi, churches and ornate bridges lining your journey. Enjoy dinner at your hotel, then spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
We take to the waters of the lagoon and cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square, the gateway to the city. Admire the ornate Doge's Palace, the Basilica of St. Mark and the Bridge of Sighs, whose bitter-sweet views once elicited sighs from prisoners who were unlikely to see their beloved city ever again. There's time on your own to explore before we visit a glassblowing workshop to see the talents of master craftsmen at work at a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. This afternoon, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the vibrant rainbow-coloured façades of Burano Island, which beckon to resident fishermen seeking a safe beacon for their return journey home through the lagoon's thick fog.
From Roman ruins to Romeo and Juliet, Verona certainly is the stuff of legends. Our first stop today is the city that served as the backdrop for Shakespeare's famous love story and you'll have an opportunity to view the very balcony where the fictional Juliet once called for her Romeo. Admire the Roman Arena where thrilling performances are held to this day, then continue across the Swiss border and visit the pretty lakeside resort of Lugano. Your brief brush with Switzerland provides a beautiful introduction to the shimmering allure of the Italian Lakes, which you'll explore over the coming days. Return to Italy this evening where tonight you'll dine in your hotel.
You'll have the whole day free to relax at the hotel pool. Perhaps lace up your walking shoes for a stroll or people-watch with an Aperol Spritz in hand. Alternatively, consider an Optional Experience to Lake Como and Italy's fashion capital. You'll board a boat and enjoy a leisurely cruise on its glacial waters before heading to Milan to see the glass-roofed Galleria, La Scala and the spectacular Duomo.
You’ve always wanted to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and now you’re here! We’ll take you to snap a few strategic photos featuring you and the famous leaning tower. Admire Pisa's Romanesque Square of Miracles in all its striped marble glory. Its structures are said to symbolise the three main stages of human life – the Baptistery (birth), the Cathedral (life) and the Camposanto (death). Then continue towards Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. For a taste of Tuscany, consider joining an Optional Experience in the Tuscan hills with regional favourites, live music and a glass or two of crisp Chianti.
No expense was spared to glorify the city of Florence through art and architecture and you'll see first-hand how this city paved its way to a modern age. Join a Local Specialist this morning for an enthralling account of the city's history during a walking tour of its historic centre, including views of Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery. Visit Piazza della Signoria, the city's main square where many of the political and artistic treasures of the city can be seen, then witness a leatherwork demonstration and browse the centuries-old trades of gold and leathercraft. This afternoon, perhaps head up to Piazzale Michelangelo and admire the views over Florence's signature skyline.
Siena's fortified walls, towers and palaces emerge from the rolling countryside on your journey through the beautiful Chianti region. This former economic and military power today hosts the Palio horse race, injecting a shot of colour amidst the burnt sienna façades of the city's Il Campo. Your visit will reveal the city's rich heritage, architecture and cuisine, most notably why Siena is renowned for its signature panforte fruit cake, which you have to sample during a visit to a pasticceria. Leaving Tuscany behind, we return to Rome for one final encounter with the Eternal City, or join your fellow travellers for an Optional Experience Farewell Dinner to end your holiday on a high note.
The Italian dream of eating well, laughing often and loving much will linger long after your Splendours of Italy tour comes to an end this morning. Say a fond arrivederci to your travel companions and Travel Director, reminiscing over epic shared memories along this unforgettable journey through Italy. Find out more about your available transfers at costsavertour.com/transfers.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Available on Day 1
Make the most of your Roman holiday, living la dolce vita as the locals do with a relaxed dinner in a characteristic trattoria. Soak up the atmosphere of the charming city as you dine, sampling typical Italian cuisine and drinks as you enjoy live music. This is the Italian experience you've been dreaming of!
Adult Price: € 51
Available on Day 2
We skip the lines at the Vatican Museums for an enlightening tour led by our Local Specialist, which shows not just the remarkable works of art collected and commissioned over the history of the Papacy, but also Michelangelo’s renowned ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Later, we'll hear tales of gladiatorial combat and more on our visit to the Colosseum, again with time-saving VIP entrance.
Adult Price: € 87
Discover the most charming areas of the city as you explore quintessential Italian piazzas and fountains with a Local Specialist. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets and beautiful squares in Rome’s historic center, stopping to marvel at highlights such as the Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon and hidden corners of the Eternal City.
Adult Price: € 33
Available on Day 3
Join us for an unforgettable drive along the picturesque Amalfi Coast, the jewel of Italy's southern coastline. Visit the world-famous paradise of Positano, with eye-catching colorful homes scattered along the cliffside village and rows of striking beach umbrellas set up alongside vivid blue waters. This is the Mediterranean encounter you've been dreaming of.
Adult Price: € 56
Available on Day 4
Enjoy a beautiful drive into the Sorrentino countryside, where you'll explore the gardens of a traditional local farm. During a tour of its lemon, orange and olive groves, your hosts will show you how mozzarella and other cheeses of the region are made. And then you'll get to try cheeses, salamis and marinated vegetables, washed down with local wine and homemade bread.
Adult Price: € 53
Available on Day 5
Join our Local Specialist on a tour of the excavations of Pompeii - the perfectly preserved Roman town that was engulfed by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD. This is an opportunity to travel back in time and catch a glimpse of ancient Roman life and architecture, frozen for almost 2,000 years.
Adult Price: € 49
Available on Day 6
Join us for a breathtaking cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal, catching glimpses of impressive sights such as the Palazzi Barbaro, Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. Later on, you’ll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways, discovering the irresistible charm of the world-famous canals.
Adult Price: € 76
Available on Day 7
Discover the Venetian Lagoon by private boat, traveling to the heritage-listed fisherman’s island of Burano. Known for its picturesque, technicolor houses and restaurants serving up fresh seafood, this tour is a must for food lovers and photography buffs alike. Enjoy a delicious meal before cruising back to Venice, taking in magic views of the famous city as we return.
Adult Price: € 72
Explore the hidden maze of streets that make up this unique city as your Local Specialist gives you a fascinating insight into Venice's past and present. You’ll visit the majestic Basilica of St Mark, where you’ll have a chance to view some of the prized trophies looted by the Venetians in their rise to power.
Adult Price: € 38
Available on Day 9
We'll start with a visit to Lake Como where you'll enjoy views of the elegant villas and gardens as you cruise on the Lake, one of the most beautiful spots in Northern Italy. Later, you’ll visit Milan, the bustling fashion and financial capital of Italy. Highlights will include: views of the spectacular Duomo, the glass-roofed Galleria and the world-famous La Scala opera house.
Adult Price: € 58
Available on Day 10
Make your Florentine travel dreams a reality as we dine at a delightful regional restaurant, set among pine and cypress trees. After a scenic drive through the stunning Tuscan countryside, we’ll enjoy a meal of delicious specialties from the area, accompanied by local wines and music.
Adult Price: € 64
Available on Day 11
Join us today for a visit to the Bargello museum, housed in one of the oldest and most intriguing buildings of Florence. As you'll learn from your Local Specialist, there was rarely a dull moment in this former barracks and prison! Learn how the Bargello has witnessed crucial episodes of history including fires, sieges and political executions. This fascinating building is now home to the National Museum and boasts awe-inspiring works by Donatello, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo to name but a few.
Adult Price: € 42
Today, with our local specialist foodie, we'll explore the glories of Florence's cuisine, through market tastings and visits to select shops and cafés. On this unforgettable tour, we'll sample traditional fare: lampredotto, schiacciata, olive oils, cheeses, pane toscano, pastries, hams and salamis. For each tasting, we'll learn about the cultural and historical significance of the food's origins.
Adult Price: € 60
Enjoy an insight into the world of Michelangelo and his masterpiece, David. We'll visit the Academy of Fine Arts and its Michelangelo collection, where you'll learn all about the life and works of this immortal Renaissance genius through the expert commentary of our Local Specialist.
Adult Price: € 47
Marvel at the legacy of the Medici as you visit Palazzo Vecchio, the symbol of Florence's political power for over seven centuries. With our Local Specialist we’ll visit the wonderful "Hall of the Five Hundred", dedicated to the Medici popes. We’ll also visit rooms decorated with masterpieces by famous artists of the Renaissance like Michelangelo and Donatello.
Adult Price: € 42
Join us for a panoramic drive to the nearby hilltop town of San Gimignano, traveling with our knowledgeable Local Specialist. Known as 'Medieval Manhattan’ this magnificently preserved town from the Middle Ages is one of the most beautiful destinations to visit in Italy – a true gem to add to explore on your holiday.
Adult Price: € 36
Today we’ll enjoy a unique experience - truffle hunting. Our tour will take us on an adventure through a beautifully-wooded area, where truffles are most readily found. Throughout the hunt, we’ll be accompanied by a local farmer and his dog and will learn about the fascinating history surrounding truffle hunting, as well as the many varieties of truffle. Afterward, we’ll visit the wine cellars at the sumptuous Villa Machiavelli and be treated to a truffle tasting and a glass of wine.
Adult Price: € 73
Available on Day 12
Rome comes alive this last evening of our trip as you savor her unforgettable sights and celebrate together with a Farewell Dinner including entertainment in one of our favorite places.
Adult Price: € 50
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