The name “Italy” conjures up images of ancient ruins , Ben Hur, Mount Vesuvius and the buried city of Pompeii. It is a country with diverse landscape and perseverance. Walk narrow paths overlooking seaside cliffs, taste the fruits of the land and learn Italian cooking firsthand from Mamma Agata. Explore the Blue Grotto in Capri and the haunt of the famous, Amalfi. Visit charming towns in the hills of Tuscany, explore the renaissance in Florence and the waterways of Venice. Discover Italy gives you the chance to revel in Italy’s antiquity which makes it the country it is today.
Day 1 – Rome
Arrive in Rome where you will be met and driven to your hotel. Visit Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world, has a legend that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. The Pantheon building was built as a temple to all the gods in ancient Rome and the Pazza Navona a public square Baroque style.
Day 2 – Rome/Vatican City/Rome
Early morning you embark on a tour of the Vatican which starts in the galleries of the Vatican Museum, home to the most celebrated art collection in Europe. The museum tour ends in the spectacular Sistine Chapel, the extreme expression of Michelangelo’s genius. Last you will visit the largest sanctuary of Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica, where proportions appear to have been forgotten in an amazing triumph of marble, bronze and mosaic works. Afternoon explore Circus Maximus, the first and largest Chariot Racing Stadium of ancient Rome and sight of Ben Hur style races, and the Roman Forum, surrounded by ruins if ancient government buildings. See the Colosseum, the amphitheatre which is considered which is considered to be one of the greatest examples of roman architecture and Roman engineering.
Day 3 – Rome/Pompeii/Sorrento
After breakfast, enjoy a pleasant day drive to Sorrento visiting the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. See this city which was buried under a thick layer of ash and pumice after the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., a disaster that preserved the contents of Pompeii with fascinating precision. Continue onward to Sorrento and check in to your hotel.
Day 4 – Sorrento
Walk the narrow paths around Sorrento early morning and enjoy the slow pace of this small town located over white steep cliffs and the fantastic view over the Bay of Naples. Enjoy a drive around the Sorrento hillside visiting a local farm to see how olive oil is made and also how mozzarella cheese is processed. Visit a local shop to taste Limoncella and other Italian liqueurs.
Day 5 – Sorrento/Capri/Sorrento
Today you explore the paradise island of Capri. Visit by boat the various caverns so characteristic to Capri, such as the Blue Grotto. Combine a boat tour with a walking tour through Capri and Anacapri which includes a leisurely walk to the Gardens of Augustus and then continues onward to the fabulous Villa San Michele.
Day 6 – Sorrento/Positano/Amafi/Sorrento
Drive along the breathtaking Amalfi coastline stopping in the delightful towns nestled in its bays: Positano, an elegant and colorful town with a history of attracting celebrities and artists and Amalfi, a picturesque seaside resort.
Day 7 – Sorrento/Ravello/Sorrento
Visit Mamma Agata’s Cooking School in Ravello as she unveils her culinary secrets and recipes that have pleased the pallets of some of the world’s most noted celebrities through the years – from Humphrey Bogart, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor in years past to Woody Harrelson and Pierce Brosnan in more recent years. See a cooking demonstration by Mamma Agata and her daughter Chiara, choose vegetables from the garden and cook a meal with culinary assistance from the master chefs–boun appetito!
Day 8 – Sorrento/Orvieto/Arezzo (Cortona)
Early morning drive to Tuscany. On the way to Arezzo, you will stop in the charming town of Orvieto, famous for its Etruscan ruins as well as its Gothic cathedral and the excellent wines preserved in its underground cellars. Drive onward to Arezzo and check in to your accommodations.
Day 9 – Arezzo/Montepulciano/Pienza/Montalcino/Arezzo
Full day excursion in the beautiful Val D’Orcia will be a feast of superb wines, cheese and beautiful scenery. Visit the exquisite town of Montepulciano renowned for is Vino Nobile and Rosso di Montepulciano. Its narrow streets and beautiful piazzas are lined with distinguished Italian Renaissance palazzos, wine cellars with 13th century grottos, gastronomy shops, cafes and wine stores. Enjoy a wine tasting. Pienza sits on a hill with sweeping views over the vast Val D’Orcia with undulating fields dotted with olive groves and farmhouses leading up to Monte Amiata. Pienza is famous for its pecorino “sheep” cheese. You will visit a local cheese shop and a taste this delicious cheese. Explore the medieval hill town of Montalcino, famous for Brunello wine. You can stroll the narrow streets, stop at an Italian wine shop, honey and gastronomy stores, outdoor cafes, or sip some Brunello at the medieval fortress before returning to Arezzo.
Day 10 – Arezzo/Siena/Florence
Today, drive to Florence stopping in Siena, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Tuscany, where you will tour the main sights including the famous Piazza del Campo, sight of the Palio horse race. After lunch there is time for shopping or independent sightseeing before continuing on to Florence and your lovely accommodations.
Day 11 – Florence
Explore Florence’s rich past as the cultural center of the Italian Renaissance which can still be seen today in the wealth of art gathered here and in the preservation of its splendid architecture. Your tour includes visits of the Duomo and the Baptistry, the Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, and the famous Accademia Gallery. (Uffizi tour may be seen on request) The rest of your day is free to explore as you wish.
Day 12 – Florence/Venice
You will be driven to the rail station by our local representative who will assist you to your train bound for Venice. The journey will take two hours on the comfortable Eurostar train. Upon arrival in Venice, you will be met and taken by private boat to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish.
Day 13 – Venice
Your city tour includes some of the major sights that define the look and history of Venice: Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Square. Venice’s charm lies both in its unique civil engineering achievements and in the harmony of Eastern and Western artistic styles that have flourished here over the centuries.
Day 14 – Venice/Verona/Padua/Venice
Explore the surrounding area, Veneto, driving to Verona and Padua. Verona is best known for its wealth of roman ruins and amphitheater. This town has been an important crossroads for 2,000 years and has colorful history. Verona can be referred to as “the hometown of Romeo and Juliet” because two real feuding families, the Montecchi and the Capellos, were the models for Shakespeare’s Montagues and Capulets. Padua (Padova) is a walled city east of Venice. It has Europe’s oldest Botanical Gardens, the Basilica di Sant’Antonio and Scrovegni Chapel with frescoes by Giotto.
Day 15 – Depart Venice
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.