Full buffet breakfast daily; 5 three-course dinners including dinners, at a local restaurant in Rome and at Lake Maggiore
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY. Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at one of Rome’s lively restaurants.
ROME.Guided sightseeing of the ‟Eternal Cityˮ 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 and visit the ancient COLOSSEUM, where gladiators once fought. Afterward time at leisure; optional excursions are available.
ROME–PISA–FLORENCE. Travel to Pisa and take the traditional picture pushing back the legendary Leaning Tower, then on to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner to try out Tuscan specialties.
FLORENCE. 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 the magnificent cathedral, admire Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gates of Paradise,” sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE, and take pictures of Ponte Vecchio. Afterward, you may wish to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry, sold by the ounce. To enhance your stay, consider an optional excursion to San Gimignano, Italy’s most picturesque medieval town.
FLORENCE–CINQUE TERRE–LAKE MAGGIORE. Prepare for an exciting day: drive to La Spezia on the Mediterranean Coast and [LF] start your excursion to CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including a BOAT RIDE (weather permitting) with a Local Guide. The name dates back to the 15th century and is derived from five little medieval villages standing on stony spurs along five miles of the rocky coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. From here, continue by TRAIN and coach to your hotel at beautiful Lake Maggiore, the largest of the three lakes in the popular Swiss-Italian Lake District.
LAKE MAGGIORE. BOAT RIDE TO ISOLA DEI PESCATORI. A leisurely day gives you the chance to join an optional excursion to the baroque palace and peacock gardens of enchanting Isola Bella and to relax or to spend some time at the pool. Later, join a scenic BOAT RIDE to [LF] ISOLA DEI PESCATORI, where dinner with local specialties awaits.
LAKE MAGGIORE–LUGANO, SWITZERLAND–VENICE ISLAND. Cross the nearby Swiss border and stop in Lugano, also beautifully located by its own lake. You have ample time to stroll along the pretty promenade and Via Nassa, or to sip an espresso on Piazza Riforma. Return to Italy and catch glimpses of Lake Como, the third lake of the Lake District on your way to romantic Venice. Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT. Later, you may wish to join an optional gondola ride through the canals, a nice introduction to this amazing city that has always been a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe.
VENICE ISLAND. Highlights of your guided walking tour are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE, and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Then, watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old tradition. For those who wish, a wonderful optional excursion to colorful Burano Island is available.
VENICE ISLAND–ASSISI. Arrive in peaceful Assisi, where your Local Guide takes you for a visit to ST. CLARE’S CHURCH and ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA, built on top of his tomb and the hub of a religious order devoted to the ideals of humility, forgiveness, simplicity, and love for all God’s creatures. Hear about monastic life and admire the priceless frescoes adorning the walls of the church.
ASSISI–SORRENTO. Leave the region of Umbria and turn south to lovely Sorrento. Don’t miss the optional excursion to the Amalfi Coast and Positano!
SORRENTO. EXCURSION TO CAPRI. Speed across the bay by JETFOIL to the Isle of Capri. Ride the FUNICULAR to Capri village for a guided visit. Walk through [LF] the splendid GARDENS OF AUGUSTUS, terraces overlooking the sea, offering a spectacular panoramic view, and taste a granita (semi-frozen drink). Free time to browse through the little shops on the piazzetta before returning to Sorrento. Time to explore the charming, bayside resort at your own pace.
SORRENTO–POMPEII–ROME. In nearby POMPEII, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, join your Local Guide for an fascinating visit of the excavations. See a patrician home, public baths, and shops that give a striking picture of what day-to-day life was like in Rome at its apex of power. This evening, back in Rome, a farewell dinner at a local restaurant is the proper way to say arrivederci Italia.
ROME. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.