DAY 1: ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY. (D)
Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and travelling companions, and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner at one of Rome’s lively restaurants.
DAY 2: ROME. (B)
Guided sightseeing of the Eternal City starts with a visit to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, followed by monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pieta. Then, enjoy views of other major sites as you drive to the Roman Forum to explore the ancient COLOSSEUM, where gladiators once fought. An optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore Rome’s famous landmarks.
DAY 3: ROME-ORVIETO-ASSISI. (B)
Stop in Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock. Browse through tempting shops in the lanes off Piazza del Duomo, and admire the fabulous gothic cathedral. Taste local pastries at Caffe Montanucci, a historic pasticceria (bakery) for more than 100 years, before continuing to Assisi. Walk along narrow steep lanes and visit ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA, the hub of a religious order devoted to the ideals of humility, forgiveness, simplicity, and love for all God’s creatures.
DAY 4: ASSISI-FLORENCE-PADUA. (B)
In Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance,” meet your Local Guide for a walking tour through the historic centre. Stand in awe in front of the magnificent cathedral, admire Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gates of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Afterward, you may wish to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewellery, sold by the ounce. Continue through the Apennine Mountains and the flat Po area to Padua for an orientation of St. Anthony’s city and your overnight stay.
DAY 5: PADUA. EXCURSION TO VENICE. (B)
Enter Venice in style by PRIVATE BOAT and meet your Local Guide. Highlights of your walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE, and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old tradition. Explore Venice at your own pace or join an optional cruise to the charming island of Burano.
DAY 6: PADUA-VERONA-MILAN. (B)
Arrive in Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Visit PIAZZA DELLE ERBE, once the site of the Roman Forum and now a lively square with market stalls, and PIAZZA BRA where you can admire the Arena, an incredibly well-preserved pink marble Roman amphitheatre, where gladiators once fought. Built in the 1st century AD, it is now the magical venue for world-famous opera performances. Continue to the dynamic city of Milan, where your Tour Director will take you for a pleasant walk to see La Scala Opera House, the glass-domed GALLERIA, and the magnificent gothic Duomo.
DAY 7: MILAN. EXCURSION TO LAKE COMO. (B,D)
Lake Como is regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes and has attracted many aristocrats and celebrities to make their residence in villas along the lakeshore. Enjoy a PRIVATE BOAT RIDE and visit picturesque Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como,” a popular destination since Roman times. This evening, back in Milan, a farewell risotto dinner has been prepared at one of Milan’s fine restaurants.
DAY 8: MILAN. (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning.