DAY 1, March 07, 2021 | ROME
Upon arrival at Rome airport, you will be welcomed to Italy by your local English-speaking tour leader and transferred by private motor-coach to your hotel where you will be assisted with check-in procedures.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure.
In the evening, meet your English-speaking tour leader who will accompany you to a nearby restaurant to indulge in Roman Cuisine.
DAY 2, March 08, 2021 | ROME
This morning, you will start the day with your English-speaking local guide and explore the labyrinth of narrow streets and wide open piazzas of central Rome. Discover a lively hub of Roman life at the Campo dei Fiori marketplace before the spectacle of the Piazza Navona opens before you. This stunning oval-shaped piazza maintains the form of its original purpose as a Roman athletics track. Today, it is flanked by cafés and restaurants enjoying the view of its centerpiece, Bernini's famous Quattro Fiumi fountain. A short stroll away is the Pantheon, the best-preserved of all Roman monuments in the city. Your guide then leads you across the Via del Corso to the world-famous Trevi Fountain. Be sure to throw in a coin to ensure your return to Rome one day! Finally, climb to the top of the famous Spanish Steps, after which you will be rewarded with stunning views over the hills of Rome and the dome of St Peter's.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, your English-speaking tour leader will accompany you to the “Community of Sant’Egidio.” This is an association whose mission is to passionately advocate for those in need, standing strong in their belief that everyone deserves the best care. During your visit, you will meet the volunteers and get in touch with this helpful community. Their main activities include setting up refuges for the old, hospices for AIDS patients, and printing a handbook titled "Where to Eat, Sleep, and Wash in Rome" as gifts to the homeless.
In the late afternoon, you will be privately transferred to the hotel.
Enjoy dinner at leisure.
DAY 3, March 09, 2021 | ROME
Today, you will have a private coach at disposal to discover two different sides of Rome’s Christian history with your English-speaking local guide.
The independent state of the Vatican City was established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 and is the smallest in the world. Cross the Tiber River into this awe-inspiring place to visit the Vatican Museums—part of the Papal Residence—which are estimated to contain 1400 rooms, chapels, and galleries. The museums contain an extraordinarily rich collection of precious arts, maps, sculptures, and antiquities; however, the most breath-taking masterpiece is Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. At the centre of the Vatican lies the vast Basilica of St. Peter; pass by the colourfully dressed Swiss Guard and step into the world's largest church. The present Cathedral is a beautiful mix of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, formed under the hands of masters such as Michelangelo. The stunning interior is an elaborate and detailed display of marble, mosaic, gilt, and bronze. The Vatican requires visitors to cover upper arms and legs to below the knee.
After free time for lunch, discover Rome’s catacombs. Contrary to the popular myth, in burying their dead in underground cemeteries outside the city walls, the early Christians were simply obeying the laws of time; they were not forced to use them because of persecution. Many saints were buried here, and the catacombs later became shrines and places of pilgrimage.
At the end of the visit, you will be transferred back to the hotel. This evening, enjoy traditional roman cuisine at a local restaurant nearby the hotel.
DAY 4, March 10, 2021 | Rome to Florence
In the morning, you will be privately transferred to Roma Termini train station with your English-speaking assistant and board a high-speed train to Florence Santa Maria Novella train station.
Upon arrival in Florence, you will meet your English-speaking assistant and you will be transferred by private mini-busses to your hotel.
Enjoy lunch at leisure.
After lunch, begin discovering Florence with your guide, who will take you to the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. Housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, this building was originally designed to hold the Uffizi (administrative offices) of the Medici Grand Duke Cosimo. Later, the Medici decided to house their art collection here and, in 1591, created what was then Europe’s first modern museum, opening it to the public. Its celebrated assembly of works includes paintings from the late Middle Ages through the early eighteenth century. Here you can admire such striking works as Caravaggio’s “Medusa”, Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Annunciation,” and “Madonna of the Goldfinch” by Raphael. Afterwards, continue on to the Church of Santa Croce, where many famous Florentines such as Michelangelo and Galileo are buried.
For dinner, enjoy the traditional Florentine cuisine at a local restaurant in the heart of Florence.
DAY 5, March 11, 2021 | Florence
Today, you will take part in a half-day tour of the world’s favorite Renaissance city in the company of an English-speaking expert guide. As you stroll through the narrow streets, take in the lovely piazzas, churches, and palaces before visiting Florence’s most famous landmark, the splendid Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). At the Galleria dell' Accademia, the world’s most celebrated statue awaits you. Marvel at Michelangelo's exquisite David; a colossal 17 foot nude inspired by the biblical hero renowned for heroically killing the giant Goliath.
After the visit at Galleria dell’Accademia, get to know Florence from a deliciously different perspective as you eat your way around the city! Enjoy an assortment of mouth-watering food tastings as you sample some of the city’s best cheeses, salami, olive oils, baked goods, sweets, wines, and more in shops chosen for their historic and culinary importance. Engage with some of the wonderful families that work hard to preserve the city’s food traditions as your expert guide takes you on an inside journey through Florence’s best food locales. All stops during the food tour will substitute lunch.
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon at leisure and dinner independently.
DAY 6, March 12, 2021 | FLORENCE
This morning, you will be transferred via private motor-coach to one of the most important Italian Children’s Hospitals, “Meyer,” and meet the enchanting world of clown therapy. Volunteers will explain to you how Clown Care, also known as hospital clowning, help in lifting patients’ moods with the positive power of hope and humor; this method is also associated with a positive benefit to the staff and families of the patients.
Enjoy a typical Tuscan lunch in a local restaurant.
This afternoon, continue discovering Florence with your guide for a half-day walking tour of the Oltrarno district – the delightful South side of the River Arno, where the medieval streets are lined with artisan workshops. From your hotel, cross over the Ponte Vecchio to the south side of the river admiring the gold and jewelry shops that line this famous bridge. Once in the Oltrarno, your guide will lead you to some of the lovely workshops and boutiques where you can admire hand-made pieces such as the bold and bright costume jewelry designs of Angela Caputi.
At the end of your tour, your guide will accompany you back to your hotel.
Enjoy dinner at leisure.
DAY 7, March 13, 2021 | Florence to Venice
In the morning, you will be privately transferred by mini-busses to Florence Santa Maria Novella train station with your English-speaking assistant and board the high-speed train to Venice Santa Lucia train station. Upon arrival in Venice, you will be privately transferred by motor launches from Venice train Station to your hotel.
Enjoy lunch at leisure.
In the afternoon, visit the Floating City’s most celebrated landmarks with your private guide. Immerse yourself in the rich past of what was once the center of political power in Venice. The Doge’s’ Palace is a triumph of Gothic architecture that boasts lavish frescoes, graceful staircases, and intricately-gilded stuccowork, which clearly reveal the glory and opulence of this period. Afterwards, continue to the stunning Byzantine-style St Mark’s Basilica with a history stretching back to the 9th century AD. Many of St. Mark’s treasures, including the beautiful bronze horses, were acquired from the Crusades and Constantinople. Astoundingly, the basilica’s awe-inspiring mosaics would be enough to cover 1.5 American football fields! As you step back into St Mark’s square, soak up the vibrant atmosphere and admire the iconic 98.6-metre (323-foot) campanile and the handsome Clock Tower by Paolo Uccello.
For dinner, indulge in traditional Venetian cuisine at a local restaurant in the center of the city.
DAY 8, March 14, 2021 | Lagoon Island Excursion
Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel, after which you will go on to discover the beauties of the Lagoon islands and the romantic, breath-taking views of the surrounding scenery.
With your private boat, sail through the Adriatic Sea to learn the history of the villages and small island that surround Venice. Venice lies in the center of a vast lagoon that stretches for about thirty miles from north to south, studded by numerous small islands, mostly deserted. This amazing environment is what drove the Venetians to establish their city here, a perfectly secure and inaccessible little world. Along with your guide, enjoy the beauty of a ride across the waters of the lagoon aboard your private motor launch. Stop off first at Murano, where glass has been made for over 700 years, and where you can see the age-old techniques of glass-blowing still in use today. For those interested in wine, continue to the island of Mazzorbo, close to Burano, where you visit a uniquely-located vineyard and have the opportunity to sample the wine.
Venice's culinary history is fascinating, as well. In the middle ages, Venice was the most important port in Europe and the key to the spice routes from the east. Many of the spices prevalent to Italian cooking (like saffron for the Risotto Milanese or Nutmeg for a Bologna Ragu), first entered Italy through Venice's waterways. Italian staples such as coffee also arrived in Venice first, along with sugarcane and rice—never before seen in Italy!
The Venissa estate in Scarpa-Volo, located on Mazzorbo, plays testimony to the cultural history of the lagoon farmer as linked to the production of wines and vegetables; it has been preserved over the centuries firstly as a convent vegetable garden, then as a domestic vineyard, and today it offers guests the chance to visit a protected area of incredible merit from the point of view of landscape, agriculture, human endeavor, and equipment.
Scarpa-Volo is a perfect example of a “walled vineyard;” in fact, the entire estate, consisting of an area of 2 hectares is enclosed in eighteenth century walls which were partly rebuilt in the following centuries. It also features classical buildings erected in the traditional rural architectural style of the lagoon: the manor house with its protruding chimney (vallesana style), the cellars, the stable, the barn and the equipment outhouses.
Enjoy your wine tasting and visit at the unique Venissa vineyard.
For lunch, you will visit a local restaurant during the excursion.
Continue on with a short walk through Burano, a quaint and colorful fisherman island famous for its lace and charming architecture.
Enjoy dinner at leisure.
DAY 9, March 15, 2021 | Venice
In the late morning, you will meet your guide and enjoy a stroll towards one of Venice’s most picturesque neighbourhoods called Dorsoduro. Hop over the Grand Canal and get a flavour of the ‘real Venice’ without the bustling crowds of San Marco. Culture is key in this unflashy neighbourhood where pretty bridges, colourful houses, and renowned temples of art reign. A kind of bohemian luxury attracts street artists, students, historians, painters, and sculptors and makes this side of Venice a real discovery.
Continue along the backstreets until you reach a Gondola Yard. Here, you will learn about the fine craft of building gondolas, which is demonstrated by one of the most traditional companies in the city. Your guide describes the history of Venetian gondolas through the centuries alongside one of Venice’s most renowned artisans.
At the end of your visit in this charming part of the town, enjoy lunch in a nice restaurant of the area.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure.
In the late afternoon, you will be accompanied by your local assistant to the nearest gondola pier to explore the hidden city’s romantic canals by this traditional boat.
After exploring the city’s streets by foot, enjoy Venice from the comfort of your own private Gondola.
Climb aboard a traditional Venetian gondola for an unforgettable ride along the city’s famous canals. Navigated by your friendly gondolier and accompanied by the renowned sound of a serenade of traditional Venetian songs, cruise by spectacular palazzi along part of the Grand Canal and be mesmerized by the beauty of Venice as you float down the city’s smaller intricate canals. The sleek black gondolas that whisper through Venice bear the hallmarks of a proud group of artisans determined to keep this wonderful tradition alive.
Enjoy the farewell dinner at a nice local restaurant in the centre of the city.
DAY 10, March 16, 2021 | Venice
Today, you will be privately transferred by private motor-coach to Venice airport.