Arrive Venice, Italy
Welcome to Italy. You are met on arrival at Venice airport, and taken on a private boat trip down the Grand Canal en route to your hotel.
Relax and enjoy the remainder of your day in this “City of Canals.”
Experience the ebb and flow of life in the lagoon city on a full-day walking tour. Begin in the heart of Venice, at the Piazza San Marco, crowned at its eastern end by the golden splendor of Saint Mark’s Basilica, also known as the “Church of Gold.” Visit this symbol of Venetian wealth and power, embellished with marble, glittering Byzantine mosaics, gold, and priceless works of art. Also on the Piazza is the most impressive building in Venice, the Doge’s Palace, a gothic palace constructed in the 14th century. In addition to being the Ducal residence, it housed the Grand Chamber Council, where the ruling elite of Venice governed the daily affairs of the Republic. Next, stroll past the Clock Tower, and Santa Maria Formosa on the way to the Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo the second largest square in Venice. The Campo is home to one of the largest Italian Gothic-style Basilicas, where 25 doges are interred, and is often referred to as the Pantheon of Venice for its famous statuary.
Watch the menagerie vessels navigate along the Grand Canal, and then cross over the canal via the 400 year-old Rialto Bridge. Return to the Piazza San Marco, and enjoy time to explore this large and lively market square, visiting its chic shops, trattorias and cafes invigorated with the hypnotic aroma of rich Italian espresso. Your tour ends with a private boat ride down the canals of Venice. The rest of the day and evening is at leisure to enjoy this hypnotically beautiful city. ?(B)
Venice to Florence
Say arrivederci to Venice this morning as you are escorted on a scenic drive to Florence.
Florence is the hub of Renaissance art, science and architecture. Beginning in the late 14th century, the city was controlled by the House of Medici, a banking family which later created the largest bank in Europe. The Medici’s and other elite families inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement. The era is best known for promoting creativity in art, philosophy, society, science and architecture. Enjoy the remainder of your day at your leisure in this artistic provincial capital. ?(B)
Your full-day Florence sightseeing starts at Pitti Palace to wander through the formal Italian-style Boboli Gardens. Then continue with walking tour through the heart of the city. Tour the famous Piazza della Signoria, the main square fronting the Palazzo Vecchio, a massive decorated palace and one of the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. The Piazza della Signoria is also the gateway to the world-renown Uffizi Gallery. A great architectural work, this famous and celebrated art museum houses one of the best masterpiece art collections in the world. Enjoy a privately guided tour to view the works of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
The afternoon is free for you to pursue your own interests. (B)
This morning begins with a visit to the Church of Santa Croce, a Gothic church containing tombs of many famous artists including Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Machiavelli and Galileo. The interior is enhanced by the radiant frescoes of Giotto, and Brunelleschi's classical Cappella de' Pazzi is a masterpiece of the Renaissance architecture.
Next, explore the Duomo, one of the largest churches in the Catholic world. First designed in 1294, it is still the highest building in Florence, with a warm exterior adorned with pink, white, red and green marble.
Continue to the Then stroll across the famed Ponte Vecchio with its countless craft vendors, and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure in this beautiful city. ?(B)
Florence to Tuscany
Admire the romantic scenery as you travel through the sun-kissed Tuscan landscape to Montalcino.
Tonight, regale over a traditional Tuscan five-course wine pairing dinner. ?(B,D)
Enjoy a guided tour of Castello Banfi, a medieval fortress turned luxury estate. Explore its towering castle that sits high on a hill in the center of 7,000 acres. Visit the vineyards, tour the wine cellars, and enjoy tasting three premier Sangiovese wines. Visit the property’s Museum of Glass, featuring the most important private collection of Roman glassware in the world, with pieces dating back to the 5th century B.C.
Relish the rest of your day at leisure, with time to relax at this beautiful estate. (B)
Tuscany to Rome
This morning, drive through the lush rolling hills of Tuscany as you travel south to magnificent Rome.
Spanning over 2,500 years, Rome’s history covers the brutal early days of the Roman Empire through the capricious birth of Christianity, then later the Italian Renaissance and finally what is now modern times.
Arrive at your hotel and enjoy the afternoon at leisure in this fascinating and historic city. ?(B)
This morning, experience and explore the exciting streets and ancient ruins of Italy’s capital on a private full-day tour. View the massive Coliseum, where 50,000 spectators would witness grandiose public spectacles. Recently opened to the public, you can now explore the subterranean passageways used by the wild animals and gladiators. In the Middle Ages, the Coliseum was transformed into a marble, lead and iron quarry to build Piazza Venezia and St. Peter’s Basilica, your next stop. A glorious example of High Renaissance and Baroque architecture, St. Peter’s Basilica is also the largest church in the world. Enter to examine Michelangelo’s dome and his exquisite Pieta, as well as Bernini's bronze baldachin that sits above the papal altar.
Continue through the complex of the Vatican Museums, to visit the stunning Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's masterpiece. Commissioned in 1508, his fresco covers more than 10,000 square feet of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.
Enjoy the rest of your day and evening is at your leisure discovering the Eternal City. ?(B)
Rome & Depart
Enjoy time at leisure until your transfer to the Rome airport for your flight home or onwards to your next destination. (B)
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