Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 light lunch in Bellinzona; 3 three-course dinners at a local restaurant in Rome, Florence and Venice
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY. Welcome to Rome! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with pasta and wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants.
ROME. 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 a visit to monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Then, enjoy views of other major sites as you drive to the Roman Forum to visit the amazing COLOSSEUM, where gladiators once fought. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites, like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more.
ROME–FLORENCE. A pleasant drive past hilltop towns and the vineyards of Chianti brings you to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Meet your Local Guide, and visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Continue your walking tour through the historic center and stand in awe in front of the magnificent cathedral, admire Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gates of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Afterwards, you may wish to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry, sold by the ounce, before joining [LF] a PIZZA PARTY at Finisterrae restaurant.
FLORENCE–VENICE.Arrive in Venice, city of romantics, and enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT to visit ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Admire the byzantine basilica, the Clock Tower, lavish Doges’ Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Time to wander through the narrow streets with their numerous shops at your own pace and you may wish to join an optional gondola ride. A PASTA DINNER has been prepared for you at a local restaurant, followed by an exciting ride by [LF] PRIVATE WATER-TAXI through the Grand Canal as a proper arrivederci on your last night in Italy.
VENICE–BELLINZONA, SWITZERLAND–LUCERNE. From the flat Po area, enter the Swiss Alps and stop in Bellinzona. [LF] Ride the elevator to the COURTYARD of Castelgrande, part of the fortifications dating back to the Middle Ages and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, enjoy a spectacular panoramic view and a light lunch to try out local specialties and the delicious Merlot wine for which the Ticino area is famous. On your way to picture-book Lucerne marvel at the towering majesty of the Swiss Alps and St. Gotthard. (B,L)
LUCERNE. Join your Tour Director for a pleasant walk and admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution. Walk along ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town, then cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church, the first large baroque church built in Switzerland on the north side of the Alps. Shop for Swiss watches or chocolates, and to make the most of your stay, choose from our optional activities: climb Mount Pilatus or take a cruise on the fjord-like lake. Why not sign up for a folklore party with yodeling and alphorn blowing for a first-hand impression of Alpine merrymaking?
LUCERNE–PARIS, FRANCE. Say auf Wiedersehen in Basel and cross the border into France. On your way to Paris, drive past the Burgundy vineyards with views of pretty châteaux and past Fontainebleau Forest. An optional excursion is available to try out local specialties in one of Paris’ lively restaurants, followed by a drive for a first impression of this magnificent city.
PARIS. In the morning, an optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles is available. Later, discover the world capital of chic and style with a Local Guide and admire its most renowned sites: the Opéra, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, and more. During your SEINE CRUISE enjoy spectacular views of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. Tonight, an optional evening out for dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge may be the best way to say au revoir, Paris.
PARIS–LONDON, ENGLAND. Board the high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN for a smooth ride to London, arriving in the afternoon. Why not take in a West End show tonight?
LONDON. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the Thames River, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and more. Highlights are a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece built between 1675 and 1708. Afternoon at leisure. Optional excursions are available to the Tower of London or to Windsor Castle, and later, maybe enjoy dinner, followed by a cruise on the Thames River.
LONDON. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.