Overnight flight to Venice.
Day 2- Arrival and Tour Venice
Upon arrival in Venice, meet your professional Program Manager
who will be with you to coordinate the details throughout your entire Italian
Your bus will pick you up at the airport and take you to your
hotel in Venice Mestre.
Upon arrival at your hotel, store your bags with the bellman or,
if your rooms are ready, you will check in.
Join the locals as you take the public bus for a brief 10-minute
ride into Venice.
Your Italian Renaissance experience will begin in the heart of
Venice, with a visit and stroll across the Ponte di Rialto. The oldest bridge
spanning the Grand Canal, the current stone arch structure was completed in
1591. It replaced a series of wooden bridges which had collapsed multiple times
over the previous centuries. The Rialto Bridge consists mostly of steps and is
comprised of two inclined ramps covered by a portico with shops featuring
Murano glass, linens, and jewelry on each side. For nearly 300 years, the
Rialto was the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot.
Learn about the history of this unique city from your
professional guide as you enjoy a walking tour of the hidden squares and
neighborhoods of Venice.
Relax and enjoy your included welcome dinner
at a local restaurant tonight.
Enjoy your breakfast which is included at the hotel this
Following breakfast, you'll embark on a one
hour train ride to Verona, home of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. You'll take
a guided tour of "fair Verona" and see the presumed home of Juliet.
The courtyard includes a statue that brings good luck and a wall of love
features notes and good wishes from around the world. You'll also see the home
of the Montegue's, Romeo's medieval home. Your professional guide will share
the history of the city that resulted in epic battles between powerful families
and served as inspiration for the play. You'll see the many Renaissance squares
and buildings and one of the oldest arena's still in use in Italy, a mini
Return to Venice, by train, this evening.
Start your day with breakfast at the hotel.
Today you will head back into the heart of Venice. Your first
stop is a visit to Doge's Palace, also known as Palazzo Ducale. This imposing
structure, formerly the seat of power in the Venetian Republic, has both Gothic
and Renaissance features and is now a museum.
Next, visit the Museo Correr, located in St. Mark’s Square. The
museum offers a fascinating insight into the art and history of Venice and
offers essential viewing for anyone interested in Renaissance Venetian
After the museums, you'll have time to experience St. Mark's
Square, known locally as Piazza San Marco. The Piazza, considered one of the
most beautiful in the world, is the largest square in the city and is the main
symbol of Venice. The centerpiece of the Piazza is St. Mark's Church built in
Venetian-Byzantine style. The Piazza is lined with cafes where you can sit and
enjoy a coffee al fresco while you appreciate the architecture and beauty of the
You'll have the afternoon free to explore
Venice . Use your 24-hour water taxi pass to take a ride on the Grand Canal,
visit the outer islands, Murano or Burano... or explore the labyrinth of back
alleys and sleeping canals on foot.
Day 5- Venice to Florence
Following breakfast at the hotel, experience European rail
travel as you take the high speed train from Venice to Florence.
Upon arrival at your hotel, store your baggage with the bellman,
or, if your rooms are ready, you will check in.
A professional local guide will lead your walking tour of
Florence today. Learn about this fantastic Renaissance mecca as you admire the
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its impressive pink, green and white
marble facade and dome by Brunelleschi. You'll learn about the bronze doors of
the Baptistry which represent an early use of perspective. You'll continue on
to Piazza della Signoria, the seat of Florentine power both past and present
and admire the statues under the Loggia del Lanzi in the square. Retrace
history as you walk towards the Ponte Vecchio, taking the same route via the
Vasari corridor which was built to take the Medici family from their the
municipality in Palazzo Vecchio to their to their home in Palazzo Pitti without
ever touching the ground. You'll see the jewelry and goldsmith shops that
replaced the butcher shops on the covered bridge in the 16th century. Your
walking tour culminates outside of Santa Croce, the final resting place of
Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei.
You'll visit the Duomo, a Florentine cathedral known for it's
distinctive Renaissance dome.This magnificent gothic structure built in the
1300’s includes art work by Giotto and engineering by Brunelleschi.
Your ticket will allow you entrance to the newly renovated Duomo
Museum (which includes art and statues from the facade of the Duomo), admission
to climb to the top of the Giotto tower and Brunelleschi dome, and entrance
into the duomo and crypt.
You'll visit Basilica di Santa Croce which
houses extraordinary works of art as well as the tombs of some of Italy's most
elite citizens such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.
You'll have breakfast.
You'll visit Piazza della Signora, Florence's main square and
the original location for Michelangelo's David (which was replaced by a replica
in 1873 when the original was moved to the Accademia). The Piazza gets it's
name from the Palazzo della Signora also known as Palazzo Vecchio or Old
Palace, which is the city's town hall.
During your visit to Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of Florentine
politics from the Renaissance times to the present, you'll tour the main hall
used for political meetings and the private apartments of the former
inhabitants, the Medici family. Your guided tour of the secret rooms of the palace
include Francesco de Medici's studio, a testament to Renaissance learning, and
the maps room.
No trip to Florence is complete without a visit to the Uffizi
Gallery. Although not originally intended to be a museum, the Uffizi is one of
the oldest and most popular art museums in Europe. The Uffizi is home to some
of the world's most famous masterpieces and features the great Italian artists
such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and
You'll visit Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. The
bridge was built during medieval times. Ponte Vecchio's current appearance
dates back to 1345 when it was rebuilt after a flood. The bridge contains many
houses originally used as butchers and tanners but the amount of refuse
produced by these shops caused Duke Ferdinand I to replace them with goldsmiths
in 1593. Many of the shops are now jewelry stores and souvenir shops.
Your afternoon is free to explore the
monuments, churches, gardens, shops, and markets of Florence! Take a walk to
Piazzale Michelangelo or Forte Belvedere for a view of the city, or take the
city bus to Fiesole to view the city from a different perspective, or simply
stroll along the main streets and enjoy the open air museum that is Florence.
Enjoy your breakfast as you prepare to bid farewell to Florence.
Take the high-speed train from Florence to Rome.
After a five minute walk from the train station, arrive at your
Upon arrival at your hotel, you'll store your luggage with the
bellman, or, if your rooms are ready, you will check in.
You'll enjoy a half day of exploring Ancient Rome with a
professional and knowledgeable guide.
You will see the Roman Coliseum, the largest amphitheater in the
world. Emperor Vespasian began construction in 70 AD and it was finished in 80
AD by his son, Titus. Emperor Domitian (81-96) made further modifications.
These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty and the Coliseum is also
known as the Flavian amphitheater and is one of the greatest works of Roman
engineering and architecture that the world still enjoys today. Crowds between
50,000 and 80,000, and even the emperor himself, attended gladiatorial
contests, animal hunts, mock sea skirmishes, mythological dramas and famous
battles. You'll continue on to the Roman Forum, the epicenter of the Roman
Empire and the heart of public life. You'll see the remnants of Roman public
buildings and squares where parades, elections and commerce took place.
Marvel at the 16th century Baroque Chiesa del Gesu, a Jesuit
order institution that served as the model for Jesuit churches around the
Enjoy some free time in the late afternoon.
Your breakfast is included at the hotel.
You'll enjoy a half day of exploring Vatican City.
Your guided tour includes St. Peter's Basilica and Square as
well as the Vatican Museums. Marvel at the works of Leonardo da Vinci,
Caravaggio and Raphael. You'll have an up close look at masterpieces like the
Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the collection in
the Raphael Rooms and Loggia and the Borgia Apartments.
You'll have free time in the afternoon to
visit the trendy neighborhood of Trastevere that lets you experience a unique
center of Roman life. It is one of Rome’s most popular districts where many
artists and writers created their master works.
Enjoy your breakfast this morning.
Today, you'll visit the Pantheon, the design of which gave
Michelangelo his inspiration for St. Peter’s Basilica. Experts see the Pantheon
as an icon of Roman architectural perfection. It was built as a Roman temple
and later converted into a church when Christendom entered Italy. Marvel at the
bronze doors, each weighing 20 tons. They were once covered in gold! Look up to
see a perfectly round oculus, in the dome’s center. Brilliant Roman architects
gently sloped the floor to allow for convenient drainage when it rained. The
Pantheon is an important burial place for several noted figures including
artist Raphael. Still an active church, the Pantheon is a popular place for
weddings. If you close your eyes, you might just be able to imagine an ancient
Roman wedding in this wonder of ancient and modern civilization.
You'll visit the popular Piazza Navona. It is built on the
ancient Stadium of Domitian, built in 85 AD. This square could hold up to
30,000 spectators watching the contests just a few feet in front of them. Today
Piazza Navona is a charming place with shops, restaurants and vendors.
Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers sits in the center of the Piazza.
Live like a true Italian as you visit the Spanish Steps. These
135 steps connect the Trinità dei Monti church atop and the Piazza di Spagna
below. During Renaissance times, these steps attracted Italy’s best artists and
writers who created some of the world’s most beloved masterpieces. Today, the
Spanish Steps are still a center for both locals and visitors as it is one of
Italy’s favorite attractions.
The Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous places in ancient and
modern history, is a breathtaking wonder to behold. Experience the “scenes of
Italy” as locals and tourists mix where legend indicates that a young maiden
revealed the secret water’s source to a group of Roman soldiers. Test the
legend by throwing two coins in the fountain, one ensures a return trip to Rome
while the other promises new romance.
You'll have the afternoon free.
Enjoy an included farewell dinner tonight.
Day 10- Return to the U.S.
Enjoy your final breakfast at your hotel.
Transfer to the airport, via bus, for your
flight home. Arrivederci!