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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.
A Local Expert introduces 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, to gaze up and 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.
Spend another day enjoying 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 A.D 79. Alternatively, 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?
Assisi to Florence.
Climb into the foothills of the Apennine Mountains to 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. 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 on your way to Renaissance Florence.
Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance.
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, 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. Enjoy the afternoon 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 lurching behind the cathedral. In the evening, enjoy an authentic dinner with a delicious wine tasting.
Verona and Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.
Passing the city of Bologna, a highlight stop is the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. Walk 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 and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’.
(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?
Venice at Leisure.
(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 finale with fantastic food, great wine and wonderful company 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.
(Relaxed Start) 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.
(Relaxed Start) 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.