Wonders of Italy Escorted Tour
Tour Operator: Trafalgar Tours
Group Size: Large Group
Tour Type: General
Physical Demands: Low
Departure date: 07/21/2019
Return date: 07/31/2019
Pay tribute to the extraordinary masterpieces of Italy’s greats – the captivating arias of Puccini and splendor of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli’s talents in their full glory throughout this enduring exploration of Italy’s alluring art, architecture and old-world charm. See the city of one hundred churches, the imposing towers of picturesque San Gimignano and the seas of pastel pinks, yellows and blues that cling dramatically to the Cinque Terre’s Ligurian cliffs.
Day 1-2 : Rome
Benvenuto a Roma! Open your heart to a whirlwind of fiery passion, fascinating antiquities and hearty flavors crafted by Italian mammas over centuries. Spend your first day meandering through the Eternal City before joining your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive to see St. Peter's Basilica and the bustling cityscape by night.
Cross the Tiber to the Vatican for an included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist at the Vatican Museum. Admire the works of great masters - the smooth, step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante and the magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and sorrowful Pietà inside of St. Peter's Basilica. In Ancient Rome, we remember the brave gladiators who fought for supremacy at the Colosseum during our included visit, and see the Circus Maximus where chariots thundered to the applause of thousands. This afternoon we have time to explore more of the city's sights, or relax in the Piazza Navona sipping cappuccinos and watching the world go by.
Day 3 : Rome – Pisa – Lucca
We leave Rome this morning and travel north to the city of Pisa, visiting its Square of Miracles to view the architectural feat of the Leaning Tower and picturesque UNESCO designated Piazza del Duomo with Italy's largest Baptistery. Venture past Renaissance walls to Lucca, the city of one hundred churches, embarking on an orientation tour past the 14th century San Martino Cathedral, Piazza San Michele with Archangel Michael standing watch and the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, built on the site of the Roman amphitheater. Meander along the medieval streets to the dramatic aria sounds of Puccini, one of Lucca's most famous sons, or ascent one of the city's ancient towers for panoramic views.
Day 4 : Cinque Terre Excursion
A sea of pastel pinks, yellows and blues cling dramatically to the Ligurian cliffs in the charming Cinque Terre (Five Lands) UNESCO World Heritage Site which we will have an opportunity to explore today on our included excursion. Join a Local Specialist and travel by boat and train to experience unforgettable old-world charm in two of the five picturesque fishing villages that have enchanted visitors who have made the winding journey to these hidden treasures over centuries. This magnificent coastline can now only be reached by boat or train from La Spezia.
Day 5 : Lucca – San Gimignano – Florence
The gentle Tuscan landscape gives way to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, famed for its stunning medieval architecture and 72 historic towers which stand today as a testament to the wealth and power of aristocratic families that lived here centuries ago. We enjoy a Be My Guest lunch with wine in a beautiful family owned vineyard overlooking the rolling Chianti Hills, before arriving in Florence, our home for the next two nights.
Day 6 : Florence
Discover Renaissance treasures, extraordinary art and exquisite architecture in one of the cultural capitals of the world. We join a Local Specialist who will bring the legacy of the influential Medici family to life. Walk along the cobblestone lanes into expansive piazze, viewing the magnificent marble Duomo and the replica of the David statue in Piazza della Signoria. View the 400-year-old Ponte Vecchio and admire spectacular panoramic views from Piazzale Michelangelo. Learn about the quality and workmanship of two of this city’s historic industries at demonstrations of Florentine leathercraft and 18-carat gold. The rest of the day is yours to explore the Cradle of the Renaissance on your terms. Visit the masterpieces of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Da Vinci at Uffizi Gallery, wander through the architectural wonder of Palazzo Pitti or shop for high-quality leather and gold.
Day 7 : Florence – Verona – Venice
Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers are remembered today during our jaunt to the romantic city of Verona where we will view Juliet's Balcony and the 1st century Roman Arena, still used today to host spectacular operatic performances. We venture to Venice next, our home for the next two nights, spending the rest of the afternoon at leisure to meander through the city's labyrinthine calle in search of hidden treasures. Wander along the Grand Canal, watch the sun set over St. Mark's Square or take an Optional Experience to discover this beguiling city.
Day 8 : Venice
Breathe in the salty smell of the Adriatic and cruise by private launch to visit the city's most spectacular attractions. We cruise by private launch to the island of Giudecca to enjoy a unique Cultural Insight into the centuries-old tradition of Venetian glassblowing before seeing St. Mark's Basilica, the ornate Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, so named for the sound that prisoners being led to their fate would make upon seeing beautiful Venice for the very last time. This afternoon, sit back and relax at a cozy bacaro sipping the spicy citrus flavors of Spriz Veneziano or perhaps take a cruise across the lagoon to the colourful fishing island of Burano for delicious meal.
Day 9 : Venice – Bologna – Assisi
Travel through scenic countryside to the mystical town of Assisi, stopping en route in the city of Bologna to view its Kissing Towers that lean towards each other, seemingly poised to embrace. We continue to our hotel in Assisi where we will dine this evening.
Day 10 : Assisi – Tivoli Gardens
Discover the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi in his home town on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Ambling Assisi's charming streets, we join a Local Specialist who will take us on a fascinating walking tour to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, renowned for its beautiful frescoes depicting the life of this much-loved saint. We continue to Tivoli for a guided visit with a Local Specialist of the UNESCO World Heritage terraced hillside Renaissance gardens of Villa d'Este. Wander past bubbling fountains, manicured hedges and ornate statues as you soak up the tranquil atmosphere against the panoramic views of this historic hill town. This evening we enjoy an early special Farewell Dinner with our fellow travelers and Travel Director before returning to Rome.
Day 11 : Rome
It's time to say a fond saluto to Italy and our newfound friends after a memorable journey.