~Rome  Tuscany & Venice Tours~

Classic Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice

8 days, 7 nights

This year we are happy to offer two dates for our “Classic Italy Tour” . June 3rd to June 10th or June 24th to July 1st.

 

Day One, Saturday June 3rd  (or 24th) Rome

We will meet you at Rome Fiumicino airport and drive you in a comfortable Mercedes vehicle to Hotel della Conciliazione in central Rome, near St Peter’s  Square, where we will spend the first 3 nights. In the afternoon  we will visit Saint Peter's Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel. Walking tour at 5.30 (two hours). Dinner at 8,00 pm.

Meals include: breakfast and evening meal.

 

Day Two, Sunday June 4th (or 25th) Rome

Walking tour around St. Peters, Mass with the Pope at 10 am. Walking tour around Piazza Navona and the Trevi fountain, the Parliament, via Condotti and Piazza del Popolo. Lunch at Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Return to the hotel at 6pm and relax until dinner at 8 pm. Rome by night. Drive around the Coliseum, the Jewish Getto, Trajan Markets, “Bocca della Verita” and Aventino Hill.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch and evening meal.

 

Day Three, Monday June 5th (or 26th) Rome

The Colosseum and Roman Forum, Palatine hill and Capitoline hill, from 9,30 am to lunch (at Altare della Patria). Return to the hotel at 6 pm or free time for shopping/tea etc. Optional Dinner at 8 pm in Trastevere.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

 

Day Four, Tuesday June 6th (or 27th) Florence

Transfer to Florence by fast train, first class, (approx. 2 hours). Check in at Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci or Grand Hotel Baglioni.  Lunch at Torcicoda.  In the afternoon we will visit the Uffizi and Accademia gallery (Michelangelo works only), the architecture of the Palazzo Rucellai, the Bargello museum (Donatello's David) and the church of Santa Croce (Pazzi chapel).  Then free time for shopping etc. Optional dinner in central Florence at 8 pm.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

 

Day Five, Wednesday June 7th (or 28th ) Siena and San Gimignano

This morning, depart for a full-day excursion to the charming countryside of Tuscany. This region is justly  famous for its natural beauty, magnificent wine, and fabulous food. We will drive towards the hills of Siena for a visit to the picturesque towns of Siena and San Gimignano known as the “Town of Towers.” With its narrow streets and picturesque houses, San Gimignano will leave a lasting impression of the richness of Tuscan and Italian culture. Cap the day with a visit to one of Chianti’s famous wineries. Lunch will be served during the tour. Return to Florence in the late afternoon.

 Meals included: breakfast and lunch

 

 Day Six, Thursday June 8th (or 29th) Travel to Venice

We will take a fast train to Venice and take in spectacular scenic views of the lagoon as we approach Venice by train. Later a memorable tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, led by an expert local guide. Examples of the many artworks on display include the dazzling golden altarpiece known as the Pala d’Oro and the life-size bronze Horses of St. Marks. We will stay at Hotel ai Due Principi for 2 nights.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch


Day 7. Friday June 9th (or 30th ) Marvels of Venice

Begin your day with a cruise down the Grand Canal to visit the city’s former Jewish Ghetto. Afterwards set out on a walking tour of the narrow streets around St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal. Visit the lavish Doge’s Palace, the seat of government here for centuries and the former residence of the rulers of the Venetian Republic. Take a moment to marvel at the lavish frescoes, graceful staircases and gilded stuccowork that reveal the glory and opulence of earlier times. Next, embark on a romantic gondola ride, before an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner with your fellow guests.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner


Day 8, Saturday June 10th (or July 1st  ) Depart Venice

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.


Classic Tour of Italy, 8 days, 7 nights. Price per person, double occupancy 2350 Euros. Single supplement 850 Euros.

What is included:

·Seven-night’s stay in selected 4-Star Hotels in Venice, Florence & Rome with full American-style buffet breakfasts.

·Six lunches and three dinners at upscale restaurants.

·Five Private Transfers ( see itinerary below for details )

·1st-Class reserved seating on Hi- Speed Euro-Star Trains between Rome, Florence & Venice

·4-hr Small Group Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour

·3-hr Small Group Colosseum & Ancient Rome Tour


Rome: Art & Archeology

 6 days, 5 nights


DAY 1


 We will meet you at Rome Fiumicino airport and transfer to a five star hotel where you will enjoy an evening meal.

DAY 2


 We begin our day at the iconic Colosseum, the Flavian amphitheatre. Here we have a specially arranged visit to the underground service tunnels and the upper levels. An afternoon walk through the heart of ancient Rome, including the Forum and Palatine, the venues of profound historical events such as the Gracchi riots, Caesar’s funeral, and triumph of Alaric the Goth. It was here that the major public institutions of the state existed, the senate, the popular assembly, the chief temples and the imperial palaces. We end the day by walking along the later imperial fora ending at the incomparable Trajan’s column.

DAY 3,


The  morning begins with a guided visit around the vast collections of the Vatican Museum. After lunch we enjoy some free time to explore St. Peter’s Basilica. You could choose to ascend the great dome, or visit the burial place of Popes in St. Peter’s crypt. We will return to the Vatican Museum for a private viewing of the masterly Raphael rooms and the Sistine Chapel, the heart of Renaissance art.

DAY 4,

We visit the Villa Borghese Museum where the  17th century Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the great art collection assembled by the Borghese family, one of Rome’s most illustrious princely families. Work by Bernini, Titian, and Canova are among the incredible assemblage of art to be discovered. On to the innovative Montemartini Museum and the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius. Tucked inside the Aurelian wall, and right beside the impressive funeral pyramid of Gaius Cestius is the ‘non-catholic’ cemetery of Rome. The burial site of many illustrious and creative people, including John Keats and Shelley’s ashes and heart.

DAY 5

We walk through the winding lanes and alleys of medieval Rome, through the region known as the Field of Mars. Visit the Pantheon just around the corner from our hotel, the inspirational building built by Emperor Hadrian to be a shrine for all the Roman Gods. Its roof is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. On to the Piazza Navona, the former stadium of emperor Domitian, and the Column of Marcus Aurelius celebrating his victories. We end at the Ara Pacis, the great altar of peace built by Augustus with its famous frieze of the imperial family and Senators in procession. A free afternoon to explore this fascinating city.

DAY 6

A chance to spend the  morning  exploring  Ostia Antica the original port of ancient Rome before your return home. In places this sprawling city is as well preserved as Pompei. It has all the features expected of urban life: a forum, baths, temples, private houses and tenements, and of course warehouses and wharves for collecting and storing the supplies to keep the imperial capital fed. Transfer to the airport. 


Six days/five nights. Price per person 1,950 Euros (double occupancy) single supplement 650 Euros. What's included:

Five nights in selected 4 star hotels in Rome with full American-style buffet breakfasts. Five lunches and two dinners at upscale restaurants. Private transfers and tickets to museums.



Rome and Naples Art & Archeology Itinerary 2017

DAY


We will meet you at Rome Fiumicino airport and drive you to your hotel



DAY 2


Our busy day begins at the Church of San Clemente, before we move on to the famous Colosseum where up to 50,000 spectators would come to watch the gladiatorial contests. We spend our afternoon in an area which was the heart of Roman power.  The Roman Forum, the political and commercial hub of the city. We visit the Via Sacra, and the beautifully situated palaces of the Emperor on the Palatine Hill. We continue to Trajan’s column, built to celebrate his military prowess.


DAY 3

 

We go beyond the usual tourist trail to the ornately decorated Baths of Emperor Caracalla. Built as an act of “public relations”, they provided the city with a public library, shopping centre and bathing facilities. We pass through the great walls of the city, and travel down to the coast, to visit the port city of Ostia, where the riches of the Empire were transported to Rome.


DAY 4


We spend the morning walking between monuments designed to “shock and awe” citizens, enemies and barbarians alike. We visit the Pantheon, rebuilt by the architecturally daring Emperor Hadrian with its wonderful domed roof. We gain insight into Augustus’ political outlook by viewing Ara Pacis, the Altar of Augustan Peace. The afternoon is free to explore Rome at your own pace or take an optional visit to the Capitoline Museum with your Guide.


DAY 5


We follow in the footsteps of Emperors, fleeing the hustle and bustle of the city, to travel into the countryside to the villa of the Emperor Hadrian at Tivoli. Set in the beautiful Sabine hills, the villa’s famous fountains and gardens have their own artificial island, only part of the opulence with which this magnificent complex was constructed. We return to Rome for some free time.


   DAY 6

  

We travel along the same route that ancient pleasure seekers followed to the Roman holiday resorts of the Bay of Naples. We visit the Villa Quintilli, one of the luxury homes of the Roman elite. We visit Naples Museum in the afternoon, to meet the Roman inhabitants of Campania.


DAY 7

We enjoy a day at the exceptionally well-preserved Pompeii. The one-time seaside resort was devastated by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. After years of excavations, we can now see houses, bars and brothels that filled this town- and even ancient  graffiti scrawled on their walls.


DAY 8

We explore Herculaneum, smaller than Pompeii but much better preserved. This is one of only a few ancient cities that can be found in almost its original glory; with the burning mud of Vesuvius' preserved roof tops, building beams and even food in some areas.


DAY 9

Time for a final exploration of Naples (including a visit  to the Palazzo Zevallos and to the Capodimonte National Museum to see Caravaggio’s paintings and an amazing collection of Neopolitan art) before transfer to the airport. Rome and Naples Art and Archeology Tour: Nine Days/8 nights.

Price per person 2,650 Euros (double occupancy) single supplement 950 Euros. What's included:

Eight nights in selected 4 star hotels in Rome and Naples with full American-style buffet breakfasts. Eight lunches and two dinners at upscale restaurants. Private transfers and tickets to museums.

 


 Rome Cinque Terre and Tuscany

9 nights, 10 days

Day 1, Rome

 We will meet you at  Rome Fiumicino airport and drive you in a comfortable Mercedes vehicle to the Hotel della Conciliazione or similar On our journey to the hotel we will see various monuments from our bus.  Few cities in the 


world are as beautiful as Rome, and few are as glamorous. The Eternal City's ancient monuments and spectacular galleries are looking more magnificent than ever after an extensive restoration program. Having settled into your hotel we will enjoy a two hour walk around the sites of the city centre.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2, Rome  

We begin our guided tour of Rome at the 2,000 year old colosseum. Built to seat 55,000 spectators, this arena staged Rome's most brutal gladitorial combats. Next we walk through the Roman Forum where we will see the Curia, the Rostra, the Temple of Vesta, the Basilica of Constantine, and the Arch of Titus. Continuing onwards and upwards we reach the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), seat of the Roman Senate since the 12th century and the original citadel of the city. This beautiful square was redesigned by Michelangelo in the 16th century. We arrive at Piazza Navona where we can break for lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes on or near the square. In the square itself we can admire the impressive Fountain of the Four Rivers, with detailed figures representing the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Palata rivers. We continue to the famous Trevi Fountain, designed by Nicholas Salvi in 1732. It's water was supplied by one of Rome's earliest aquaducts. Throwing a coin into the fountain is said to ensure your safe return to Rome. We also visit the temple-turned church called the Pantheon, and have the opportunity to admire its perfect proportions on our way to the Spanish steps, where we finish our day's tour. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. 

 Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

 Day 3, Rome: The Vatican Museums & St. Peter's

Today we begin our visit to Vatican City with a guided tour through the immense Vatican Museums. This amazing collection houses some of the most important Greek and Roman sculptures, Renaissance paintings, Flemish tapestries and mosaics in the world. Understandably this collection is visited by more than 3 million people a year. We also visit Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to take in its breathtaking frescoes. Heading into the amazing interior of St. Peter's Basilica, we can appreciate it's many treasures, including Michelangelo's Pietà. At the end of the tour we visit the elegantly symmetrical Piazza St. Pietro. 

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

 Day 4, Rome, Assisi and Siena

 This morning we drive from Rome to Siena, a region famous for its wines. Our first stop will be Assisi. Despite the millions of tourists and pilgrims it attracts every year, the hometown of St Francis remains a beautiful and tranquil refuge. St Francis was born here in 1182 and his spirit hovers over every aspect of the city's life. He renounced his father's wealth in his late teens to pursue a life of chastity and poverty, founding the order of mendicant friars known as the Order of Minors (the Franciscans after his death) which attracted a huge following in Europe. St Francis' Basilica is the city's, and possibly Umbria's, primary attraction. Unfortunately, this peaceful town was hit by a strong earthquake on the morning of the September 26, 1997. During the initial shock, the Basilica of the upper church was damaged. An aftershock later that day brought the cupola down. The community of Assisi with assistance from individuals and organisations worldwide is now trying to save and restore as much of Assisi's priceless masterpieces as possible. After a guided tour of the Assisi Basilica we depart for Siena, arriving later in the afternoon. Overnight in Siena.

 Meal Plan: Breakfast and Dinner

 Day 5, Siena & San Gimignano.

Siena’s fan-shaped piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s loveliest squares. The famous “Palio of Siena”, a bareback horse race, is held here twice a year (July 2nd and August 16th).  Siena can only be  seen on foot. In fact, motor traffic is banned  from the city center. Siena today seems frozen in time. The town has traditionally been Florence's rival as the center of art and architecture in Tuscany. While Florence is known for its Renaissance art and buildings, Siena takes us straight back to the Middle Ages. Perhaps by preserving its original character more than any other city in Italy, Siena is a showcase of the Italian Gothic style. The walled city occupies three hill tops and contains a rich artistic heritage. Included on our guided walking tour of Siena's charming medieval streets and squares is a visit to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall), a famous example of Italian medieval architecture with Gothic influences built in 1297. .. Also famous for its frescoes, the best-known are a secular series on government in the Hall of the Nine (also known as Sala della Pace), by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. These frescoes are collectively known as "Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government." Our next stop is the Duomo. This huge cathedral, built in bands of black and white marble, dates from the 12th century. Built in the Romanesque and Italian Gothic styles, it has a dramatically painted façade -- partly designed by Giovanni Pisano with a soaring black and white bell tower. The inlaid marble floor depicts different Biblical scenes. The cathedral also contains a glass-enclosed box containing an arm, tradition maintains that the arm is that of John the Baptist and was used to baptize Christ.

This afternoon we drive to San Gimignano, called the Manhattan of  Tuscany because of its 13 towers built by noble families in the 12th and 13th century. The medieval town preserves its fortress-like severity,  softened by the subtlety of its quiet, harmonious squares, and many of its places and churches are enhanced by Renaissance frescoes. Our drive this afternoon back to Siena takes us through the wine growing region of Chianti. We stay overnight in Siena.

 Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6, Siena, Volterra, Pisa and Lerici

This morning we drive through beautiful and quintessential Tuscan rolling countryside to Volterra. Situated like many Etruscan cities on a high plateau, Volterra offers uninterrupted views over the surrounding hills. In many places the town's ancient Etruscan walls still stand. The exact origins of the Etruscans and when they arrived in Italy, are unknown. Their civilisation was centred in the area between present-day Rome and Florence, and had its Golden Age from the eighth until the sixth century BC. After this period the Etruscan empire was gradually superseded by the rising power of Rome, although in the process, the Romans incorporated many aspects of Etruscan culture into their own society and beliefs. The Etruscans had their own language and alphabet but unfortunately nothing of their literature has survived. What we know of their civilisation comes mainly from their highly decorated tombs which were stocked with everything the deceased would need in the afterlife; food, drink, clothes, weapons and furniture. We visit Volterra's famous Museo Guarnacci, which contains one of Italy's best collections of Etruscan artifacts. Pride of place in the museum goes to the collection of 600 Etruscan funerary urns, depicting many aspects of Etruscan customs and beliefs. We also visit the city walls and the Etruscan Gate with its basalt heads of Etruscan gods dating back to the sixth century BC. Before leaving Volterra we view the Roman amphitheatre, dating to the first century BC. This is one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Italy and enough of the original structure has survived to allow an almost complete reconstruction. Our next stop is Pisa, where we will spend most of our time concentrating on the town's principal monuments; the Duomo, the Baptistery, and the most famous structure in Pisa, the gravity-defying "Leaning Tower." We will take ample time to view and photograph the tower from the outside (to climb the tower requires advance reservations and a considerable amount of time to queue for entry; time constraints make this impractical for our tour). We continue to Lerici, set dramatically on a beautiful bay on the Ligurian coast. We will spend the night in Lerici.

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7,  Cinque Terre and Florence

Today we leave behind Lerici and travel (weather depending) by boat along the Ligurian coast to the village of Rio Maggiore in the Cinque Terre. Here we begin our easy-paced walk between the coastal villages. This spectacular section of the Italian Riviera is considered to rival the Amalfi Coast near Naples for its stunning views and gorgeous sunsets. From Riomaggiore we take an easy half hour walk on the Via D'Amore (lover's Walk) to Manarola. The next section (about 1 hour) takes us to Corniglia. Those not wishing to continue with the next two more difficult sections, may walk up to Corniglia centre to sample the delightful town with its wonderful panoramic views. It is also possible to take a local train to the nearby town of Vernazza to enjoy this jewel of a village. Those wishing to continue may start on the 2-hour hike to Vernazza. The hills of the rugged coast are covered in vineyards which grow the grapes for the local Morasca, Chiaretto del Faro and Sciacchetra wines. We continue by train to Monterosso Al Mare, thus named for the red color of the area. Here we find a large statue carved into the cliffs and a lovely beach. We then travel to Florence where we will spend the night.

 Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8, Florence

Florence is a city steeped in history and art. Our walking tour today begins with a guided tour of the Accademia, which was Europe's first Academy of drawing and today houses a superb art collection, including Michelangelo's David, probably the most famous statue in the world. We then proceed to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo), complete with its magnificent red dome. Upon its completion in 1436, the dome was hailed as the greatest architectural achievement of its day, equaling, perhaps even surpassing, the monuments of antiquity. The cupola's diameter is greater than that of St Peter's in Rome and the nave is the third largest in Christendom. Even today its brilliant engineering is not fully understood. We continue along the pedestrian mall to the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence and the only one in the city to survive World War II. The Ponte Vecchio was built in 1345 and used to be lined with butchers' shops which have now been replaced by rows of gold and silver shops on both sides. At the Piazza Santa Croce, we stop to admire the facade of the Franciscan church of the same name. Inside we see the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei and chapels covered in frescoes by Giotto. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure. We will spend the night in Florence.

 Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9, Florence, Uffizi Gallery

This morning we visit the Uffizi Gallery, Giorgio Vasari's extraordinary administrative buildings which he designed for Cosimo I Medici in the mid-sixteenth century. The galleries here contain the greatest collection of Italian artworks, including hundreds of paintings by such great artists as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian and Caravaggio. The galleries also contain one of the most famous paintings in the world, Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus.' The afternoon is free to take in the atmosphere of this delightful city. 

Meals included:  Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10, Departure from Florence or Pisa 

According to your schedule, after breakfast we can enjoy a leisurely walk around the city before transferring to Florence train station or Pisa Airport, BUON VIAGGIO!

 Meals included : Breakfast


 
Take a look at Rick Steve's Rome video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_eKW03SC5w