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Duration: 13 days Visiting: Italy
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. At 17:30, 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.
In the morning, venture to Castel Gandolfo to explore the artistic treasure of the Villa Barberini Gardens. Ride an electric train along the pathways to marvel at the intricately designed mosaic flower beds and fountains. In the afternoon, enjoy special fast-tracked VIP entry into the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and enter the Sistine Chapel to marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece on its ceiling. Observe the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. After, dine in the Vatican's elegant Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, should weather permit, where you will enjoy incredible views of the cupola of St. Peter's during your private VIP Highlight Dinner.
Rome at Leisure.
In the morning enjoy the very best of the city’s highlights including visiting the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican with your Local Expert. Spend the rest of the day enjoying Rome at your own pace. Perhaps take a stroll to the boutiques of the Via del Corso and Via Nazionale or visit the elegant designer stores near the Spanish Steps. As night falls, why not 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 Assisi.
Journey through Umbria and up the foothills of the Apennine Mountains to reach delightful Assisi, a stone-built town spilling over the steep hillside. With a Local Expert, visit the tomb of St. Francis and see the beautiful frescoes by Giotto in the great basilica. Continue through the picture-perfect scenery of the Tuscan hills, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides to reach Renaissance Florence.
Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance.
Walk on to the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, where Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise have been recreated in all their glory. Visit Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Spend time gazing at statues such as Neptune as well as Hercules and Cacus, along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The area around Santa Croce Basilica is famous for the quality of its luxury goods of gold and leather and there's free time to shop or continue exploring. Later, join a local historian to see Michelangelo's David in the Accademia Museum.
Pisa and the Tuscan Countryside.
After a leisurely morning in Florence, explore the nearby town of Pisa with a Local Expert and see the baptistery with its intricate marble facade, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the cathedral and of course the famous Leaning Tower. On returning to Florence, stop at il Poggio organic farm for a guided walk through the vineyards and olive trees, learning about the production of olive oil and wine. On the veranda, take in beautiful views of the rolling Tuscan hills as you enjoy tasting the farm's freshly-produced wines and olive oil, in addition to an authentic Italian meal prepared with locally-sourced ingredients.
Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.
Passing the city of Bologna, 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 and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’.
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 and stroll to 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.
Venice at Leisure.
Who could refuse another day to take in the unique atmosphere of this wonderful city? Lose yourself in the back lanes and campi, the 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. Toast to your travels with fantastic food, great wine and wonderful company during your Celebration Dinner in this magical setting.
From the lakes of Venice to mountain-ringed Innsbruck.
Your journey continues north through spectacular scenery as you follow the Adige River. Travel via the Brenner Pass through the magnificent Dolomites and cross the impressive Europa Bridge to arrive at wonderful Innsbruck. Your orientation will show you the 14th century houses of Old Town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the Golden Roof.
Innsbruck to Oberammergau.
Plenty of time this morning to explore the alpine town of Innsbruck. A short journey north, cross the German border and you arrive at Oberammergau in the heart of the Bavarian Alps and home of the Passion Play since 1634.
The Passion Play.
After a morning at leisure in charming Oberammergau, take your premium reserved seats to witness the world famous Passion Play, re-enacting the last days of Christ on earth. After a break for dinner in a local restaurant, the captivating performance continues into the evening.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast. Transfers arrive at Munich Airport at 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.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The Veneto Palace Hotel is located in the monumental and unique scenery of ancient Rome, not far from Piazza di Spagna, the Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese, which is the largest park in central Rome. The guest rooms offer a classic style that blends in perfect harmony with the style of the building.
Florence (Traditional) - ITALY
A modern hotel which is fantastically-located for Florence’s highlights, especially the David.
Venice (Historic) - Italy