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Duration: 11 days Visiting: Italy
Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome
Rome is one of the world’s most historic cities, filled with classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers to your hotel depart Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Then this historic city is yours to discover. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a relaxed evening of dinner and wine.
Exploring The Vatican City
A Local Expert will introduce you to the grandeur of the city. Start off in the Vatican State, the richest community in the world. While others wait in line, you will be fast-tracked through the VIP entrance into the Vatican Museums. Admire the collection of priceless art, gathered by Popes over the ages. Your visit also includes behind-the-scenes access to parts of the Vatican denied to the general public - the famous Bramante Staircase. Then enter the sublime Sistine Chapel where you can gaze up to admire Michelangelo's famous painted ceiling. Next door, in St. Peter's Basilica, see one of Michelangelo's early works, the Pietà, and the splendid dome completed after his death. For the rest of the day, enjoy free time.
Rome at Leisure
(Relaxed Start) Explore Rome at your own pace. Perhaps take an optional experience to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD? Alternatively, why not spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores near the Spanish Steps? As night falls, perhaps sip a glass of prosecco at a sidewalk cafe in the Piazza Navona (the 'Living Room of Rome') and enjoy life's pageantry pass by?
Under the Tuscan sun to Florence
Journey through the picture-perfect scenery of the Tuscan hills, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides. Then, head for Renaissance Florence. Join a local art historian to meet Michelangelo's ‘David' in the Accademia Museum. Next, walk on to the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's ‘Gates of Paradise'. You will also visit the open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces in Signoria Square, the political heart of the city.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a day to explore at your own pace, wander through the museums or treat yourself to some shopping. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Tuscany’s most famous hilltop town - UNESCO listed, San Gimignano?
Pisa and the Tuscan Countryside
(Relaxed Start) After a leisurely morning in Florence, explore the nearby town of Pisa with a Local Expert and see the baptistery, bristling with marble spines, and the colonnaded bell tower behind the cathedral. In the evening, enjoy an authentic dinner of delicious Tuscan specialities.
Verona and Venice
Passing the city of Bologna, a highlight stop is the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers. Walk with your Tour Director past the Roman Arena to the reputed famous balcony in the courtyard of the Capulet home. After free time to explore, take the autostrada east to Venice, ‘Queen of the Adriatic’. Your luxurious hotel gazes out over the Giudecca Canal and a romantically unforgettable city skyline.
Venice, 'Queen of the Adriatic'
(Relaxed Start) Wake up ready to embrace the most sensuous of cities. Admire the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Then board your private launch, sit back and enjoy your introduction to this unique city of ornate palaces, bridges and gondolas. Disembark a short stroll from the Bridge of Sighs before turning the corner to stand in awe at the marble arcades of Piazza San Marco. St. Mark's Basilica, with its dazzling domes, occupies the corner next to the clock tower. Beside it stands the pink and white marbled Doge's Palace. In the afternoon, there will be plenty of time to explore the museums, galleries and churches or browse through the shops on the Rialto Bridge. Perhaps cruise out to some of the other islands in the lagoon to experience the age-old lifestyle of Venetian fishermen and lace-makers?
The magic of 'La Serenissima'
(Relaxed Start) Who could refuse another day to take in the unique atmosphere of this wonderful city? Lose yourself in the back lanes and ‘campi' (small squares), where tourists seldom tread and the Venetians go about their daily lives. Maybe visit some of the 90 churches that house masterpieces of Venetian art or explore the modern artworks in the Guggenheim? Relax a while at a canal-side cafe and sip the local wine or sample delicious lagoon-fresh fish. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the evening, celebrate your tour finalé with fantastic food, great wine and wonderful company in this magical setting.
Bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Airport at 08:00 and 09:30.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The elegant 4-star Veneto Palace hotel is located in one of the most elegant parts of the historical centre.
Florence (Contemporary) - Italy
An elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.