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If Rome were a person, she would be confident, alluring and complex. You'll get to know her, and her quirks, over the next few days as she launches your unforgettable journey across Italy. 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 to see some of the city's most iconic sights followed by a dinner of light Italian specialties.
Take a moment. Standing in St. Peter's Square, you'll be in the midst of the world's holiest of Catholic shrines - 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. 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, to Napoli. Perhaps spend the afternoon taking an optional 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 spend the rest of your day rubbing shoulders with the Neapolitans in search of the city's 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 guided 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 exploring this beautiful city your way.
We take to the waters of the canal 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 creating the most exquisite works of art. 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, but we know you'll want to soak up the sophisticated lakeside atmosphere instead on your Europe value tour. Lace up your walking shoes for a stroll along a lively promenade or people-watching 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 visit 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.
Tuscany may claim to be the heart of Italy, but it is the stunning medieval city of Siena which will capture yours. The city'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 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 free airport transfer at costsavertour.com/freetransfers.
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.
Tonight, relax and enjoy typical Italian cuisine, soaking up Rome's unique atmosphere in a characteristic trattoria with drinks and music.
Adult Price: € 51
We skip the lines at the Vatican Museums for a tour with our Local Specialist that shows not just remarkable works of art collected and commissioned over the history of the Papacy, but also Michelangelo’s amazing ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Later, we hear fascinating 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 in the city with a Local Specialist. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets and beautiful squares of Rome's historic center, leading to highlights such as the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, as well as hidden corners of the Eternal City.
Adult Price: € 33
Rome comes alive this last evening of our trip as you savor her unforgettable sights! We then celebrate together with a Farewell Dinner including entertainment in one of our favorite places.
Adult Price: € 50
Come with us for a drive along the famous Amalfi Coast. You’ll have a chance to visit the exclusive artists’ paradise of Positano, which is magnificently positioned on the Mediterranean coast.
Adult Price: € 56
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: € 51
Join our Local Specialist on a tour of the excavations of Pompeii, the perfectly preserved Roman town which was engulfed by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in AD 79. This is an opportunity to go back in time and get a glimpse of everyday Roman life, frozen for almost 2,000 years.
Adult Price: € 49
Join us for a breathtaking cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal. You'll admire the magnificent palazzi, as well as catching a glimpse of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Later on, you'll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice's dreamy, narrow waterways.
Adult Price: € 70
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: € 36
Join us as we discover the Venetian Lagoon by private boat. You will enjoy a delicious meal with a selection of drinks on the fishermen's island of Burano, famous for its multi-colored houses - a real photographer's paradise.
Adult Price: € 72
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: € 55
Tonight we’ll 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
Enjoy an insight into the world of Michelangelo and his masterpiece, David. We 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. This optional is subject to availability and involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.
Adult Price: € 47
We'll travel into the Florentine hills with our Local Specialist to visit historic Villa Gamberaia today. Built in the early 1600s, this Tuscan Villa is known for its magnificent gardens, which were praised by Edith Wharton in her book Italian Villas and Their Gardens. Then, we'll take in the stunning views whilst enjoying an aperitivo!
Adult Price: € 79
Today, with our local 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 like: 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
Join us for a panoramic drive to the nearby hilltop town of San Gimignano with our Local Specialist. Magnificently preserved from the Middle Ages, this little town, known as the 'Medieval Manhattan,' is one of the most beautiful in Italy - a true gem.
Adult Price: € 36
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