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"Everything was first rate"
Everything was first rate- from the hotels, to the local tour guides to the meals. The fact that our luggage was transported every day for was a real bonus. Thanks for a truly lovely trip.
Rome is the former religious, political and commercial heart of a vast empire. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport with transfers departing for your hotel at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Join your Travel Director at 5:30 pm, before getting to know your fellow travelers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
In the morning, you will be joined by a Local Expert who will lead you through the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry to the museums and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. More of Michelangelo's genius is on display next door in St. Peter's Basilica. Enjoy some free time, or perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum. Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking exploration has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best-preserved monument from the Roman period with a local, and enjoy free time in Piazza Navona.
Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Walk with a Local Expert through cobbled streets to learn about Roman life in the first century. Enjoy a refreshing lemon granita. Then continue to the Bay of Naples and board your hydrofoil to the Isle of Capri. In brilliant sunshine, enjoy a scenic drive by open-top taxi past orange and lemon groves to your hotel, then appreciate the glorious vistas over the rugged coastline and sparkling sea.
Wake up refreshed on this delightful island. Visit Capri town, with its whitewashed houses, winding alleyways and small cafes. A Local Expert escorts you to the luxuriant Caesar Augustus Gardens for views of the Faraglioni rocks. The afternoon is yours to devote to Capri's fashionable boutiques, craft shops and artisans studios. Alternatively, perhaps join an Optional Excursion to the Amalfi Coast and Positano? A boat delivers you to mainland Italy where you are driven along the coastline with its clear blue waters, to reach the artist's paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face. After time to explore, you are then returned to the Isle of Capri by another boat transfer. As the glow of twilight descends and the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels, the island is yours to saunter along scenic paths, gather with the locals in the piazzetta or relax with a glass of wine at an al-fresco restaurant.
Descend to the port by open-top taxi and take the hydrofoil across the bay to Naples. Follow the Autostrada del Sole north passing Rome and continuing through the Province of Umbria. Journey through idyllic Tuscan landscapes to Florence, center of art and culture, and the heart of the Italian Renaissance.
Begin the morning by joining a Local Expert for a walk through Florence's historic center. Visit the Accademia Gallery, full of priceless art treasures, to see Michelangelo's masterpiece, David. See the multi-colored marble cathedral, Giotto's bell tower and the baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Visit the Piazza della Signoria—an open-air museum and still the political heart of Florence. Stroll on to Piazza Santa Croce, famous for its basilica and the quality of its luxury goods. The joys of Florence are varied so the afternoon will be free for your own personal exploration.
The famous Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre are a highlight of your journey as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. With a Local Expert, appreciate the views as you approach one of the picturesque fishing villages by boat. Spend some time exploring the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach before continuing along to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, epitome of la dolce vita. Admire the colorful houses, browse the boutiques or stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbor.
In the morning, journey north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favorite retreat of the rich and famous where alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation. Relax and enjoy an afternoon at leisure at this popular resort and beautiful lake or perhaps take a cruise out to the lovely Borromean Islands. For your dining pleasure, you are invited to choose from a hand-picked selection of local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.
Follow the southern fringes of the European Alps to the vineyards by the shores of Lake Iseo. Here, winemaking traditions run deep. Taste the delicious vintages produced with a master vintner at a family-owned estate. Continue to Verona, the setting for one of history's most romantic love stories. Walk with your Travel Director to Juliet's balcony in the inner courtyard of the reputed Capulet home and see the well-preserved Roman Arena, still used for open-air opera performances. Continue to the unique city of Venice—a complete step back in time to the 16th century.
Cruise to a traditional arts center on Giudecca Island to delight in the skillful art of glassblowing. Visit St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica and admire the Doge's Palace with its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. The waterways of Venice are renowned for gondolas that drift by. Take your seat on a gondola and be serenaded through the myriad of beautiful canals, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces. In the evening, cruise the islands of the Venetian lagoon to arrive at Burano, famous for its candy-colored houses. Sit down to a sumptuous Celebration Dinner with wine, sampling the local specialties. Meet a local fisherman who will talk to you about his life on the canals.
Alas, you must bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 8 am and 9:30 am.
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.
Join your Travel Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!
Adult Price: €19
With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced. Please note: 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: €54
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: €62
From one paradise to another. Late this morning we take a hydrofoil across to the pristine waters from Capri to Positano. There is no better way to witness the dramatic beauty of the Amalfi Coast's gravity-defying, vertical towns and spectacular coastline. We'll disembark to explore Positano, the pearl of the Amalfi Coast, with all of its colours, wonderful aromas, local shops and a small beach on the Mediterranean sea. Later, we'll return to the Island of Capri by boat. Note: this optional is weather dependent
Adult Price: €57
Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise to the most beautiful part of the island, the southern side. You descend to the port by funicular with your local expert and board your private boat to view the beautiful grottoes and unique coastline! This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.
Adult Price: €43
A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!
Adult Price: €65
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the Chiantri countryside, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. This wonderful cooking demonstration, with superb food and wine, will provide warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: €69
A wonderful excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town! Visit San Gimignano, considered a medieval Manhattan, due to its towers which dominate the skyline. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient gem which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Adult Price: €36
The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.
Adult Price: €43
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
Adult Price: €55
To only experience Venice's big set pieces -- St Mark's Square; the Rialto; the Grand Canal -- is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.
Adult Price: €34
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