Italy


History, Culture, Scenery, and Cuisine

Italy

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have a certain amount of time to do so, we've compiled itineraries with some of the best spots to see. These itineraries focus on two major tourism cities, Rome and Florence. Florence does have a small airport, but you may have to go back to Rome to fly out of Italy. If you are looking for flights, be sure to also check flights out of Pisa, which has a slightly larger airport than Florence. Plane tickets to Italy are often expensive during the high season (summer), while there are usually 50% fewer intercontinental flights in the winter. Either way, once you arrive, prepare to be wowed by the scenery, history, flavors, and warmth of Italy. Learn more below!

7 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 7 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the trip...

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Italy

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7 Day Destination Guide

10 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 10 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the tri...

Read more

Italy

Download

10 Day Destination Guide

14 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 14 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the tri...

Read more

Italy

Download

14 Day Destination Guide

arrow_backBack

7 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 7 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the trip for you. It focuses on Italy's two major tourism cities, Rome and Florence. Florence does have a small airport, but you may have to go back to Rome to fly out of Italy. If you are looking for flights, be sure to also check flights out of Pisa, which has a slightly larger airport than Florence. Plane tickets to Italy are often expensive during the high season (summer), while there are usually 50% fewer intercontinental flights in the winter. Either way, once you arrive, prepare to be wowed by the scenery, history, flavors, and warmth of Italy.

day
1

Ancient Rome

arrow_forward Tour the Forum

arrow_forward Marvel at the Colosseum

<p>Set the tone for your entire trip with a tour around ancient Rome. Start at the Colosseum, on the east side of the Forum. Take a walk around the interior of the Colosseum, pausing for a moment to imagine what it must have been like to walk onto the floor of the arena, surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming Romans. Once you leave the Colosseum, pass by the Constantine Arch and into the ancient Forum. Get lost in the labyrinth of ruins until you are ready to head back into the bustle of modern Rome. Leaving the Forum, head back towards Piazza Venezia, where you can feel free to climb the steps of the white marble Altar of the Fatherland monument or the Campidoglio. From there, explore the Roman Jewish Quarter, one of the oldest in Europe and sample the local specialty, deep fried artichoke. Also be sure to check out the grand synagogue. Enjoy a taste of gelato on the Isola di Tiberina before ducking into Trastevere for the evening. You can&#39;t go wrong with any trattoria in the area. If you have time, climb the hill be hind Trastevere up to San Pietro in Montorio,</p>

Ancient Rome
day
2

Highlights of Central Rome

arrow_forward Visit an Italian Market

arrow_forward Stroll the old Roman estates

<p>Start your day at Largo Argentina (an easy starting point, especially if you are taking the tram in from Trastevere. Spend the day exploring central Rome. Start at the market in Campo Di Fiori where you can buy fruit from local merchants, or event have a fresh prosciutto and mozzerella sandwich. Sit in Piazza Farnese, in front of the opulent Palazzo Farnese (which is now the French embassy) before heading to Piazza Navona, one of the most recognizable sites of Rome. Formerly the venue for ancient games the Piazza now is a tourist hub, filled with restaurants, gelataria, and shops. Be sure to explore the Fontana dei Quattro Firumi, the fountain in the middle of the piazza. Designed by Bernini, it is a prime example of Italian Braoque sculpture. Follow the throngs of tourists from there to the perfect symmetry of the Pantheon and then on to Trevi Fountain for another taste of Baroque aesthetic. Be sure to bring a couple of small coins with you so you can flip them over your shoulder as you make a wish! From there it Is a short walk to the Spanish Steps. Take in the view of Rome from the top and pick your next destination. From the steps, it is a short walk to Villa Borghese&#39;s lush gardens and imposing Palazzo. Another option is to stay in town and head to the shopping streets below the steps, heading towards Piazza del Popolo. For dinner, check out Gusto, just off Piazza del Popolo by the Ara Pacis.</p>

Highlights of Central Rome
Highlights of Central Rome
Highlights of Central Rome
day
3

The Vatican

arrow_forward Vatican City and St. Peter's

arrow_forward The Rome for locals

<p>Start your day off early today with a trip to the Vatican Museum as it opens (be sure to buy tickets in advance). There is too much to see in the museum for one trip, but be sure to see Laoco&ouml;n and Sons, Apollo Belvedere, the Raphael Rooms, and of course the venerable Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is used infrequently used, but its most notable modern purpose is as the location of the conclave, the selection of a new pope. No photos are allowed, which might be a good thing. Mental images will serve you far better than any picture could. Take your time to marvel at Michelangelo&#39;s ceiling work as well as his later work, the Last Judgment. You will notice subtle differences in the way characters are portrayed in both, as Michelangelo aged and began to confront his own mortality. Think about what must go through a Cardinal&#39;s mind as he looks at the Last Judgment and contemplates the next leader of over 1 billion Catholics around the world. After leaving the chapel, exit out into Piazza San Pietro and enter the main basilica for the Catholic Church, St. Peter&#39;s. As you walk around, be sure to stop for a moment to see La Pieta, the Michelangelo sculpture that commemorates the moment when the Virgin Mary takes Jesus down from the cross. The statue is actually not perfectly upright, but was built tilted to the viewer, almost as an offering. After leaving the Basilica, walk straight out of Vatican City to Castello St. Angelo and then across the Ponte St. Angelo back towards the center of Rome. The afternoon is yours, if it is the weekend head towards Porta Portese, the giant flea market in Trastevere. You can get there easily by taking the #8 tram from Largo Argentina. If it is Wednesday, stay at the Vatican for the Pope&#39;s regular Papal Audience. There is no shortage of weekly rituals in Rome, be sure to plan your stay (and the ordering of these days accordingly).</p>

The Vatican
The Vatican
The Vatican
day
4

Into the Countryside

arrow_forward The Italian Countryside

arrow_forward Explore the medieval town of Orvieto

<p>Start your day early and head to Termini Station in Rome. If time is your biggest factor, hop on one of the Frecciarossa high-speed trains to Florence. If you are light on luggage or light on money, opt instead for a regional train making its way towards Florence and stop in the town of Orvieto. Perched high atop a hill, visitors have to take a funicular to the old city. There, you will find a classic Italian Gothic Cathedral in the center square, narrow pedestrian streets, and the old Roman well from its days as a walled fortress town. The well is so deep, that there is a pathway descending down that is wide enough to accommodate a horse and cart. Orvieto also affords spectacular views of the Umbrian landscape and will give you a good taste of Italy outside the big cities. But time is of the essence, and Florence does require time, so hop back on the train and continue on to Florence. There is no better place to start your time in Florence than at the Duomo. Tour inside, and if available, climb to the top of the dome for a view of the whole city (if the line is too long, climb the adjacent Campanile instead). On your way out, take some time to admire Ghiberti&#39;s Baptistry Doors. For dinner tonight, find a restaurant that focuses on local Florentine cuisine. Gone is the Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana of Rome. Instead, feast on Wild Boar Ragu and Ribolitta, a hearty Tuscan soup.</p>

Into the Countryside
Into the Countryside
Into the Countryside
day
5

Wining and Dining

arrow_forward Find your new favorite wine

arrow_forward Get lost in Tuscany

<p>Wake up early to beat the crowds and head over to the Galleria dellx9;Accademia, home to Michelangelo&#39;s most famous statue, David. When looking at David, remember that the statue was built to be placed atop the Duomo. David&#39;s head is larger proportionally to his body because Michelangelo considered his viewer looking up from a distance at David, altering their perception. When the statue was completed, the city deemed it too important to place so far away from viewers and kept it on the ground. It stands as a symbol of Florence, the small city that could compete with the likes of Rome. On your way out of L&#39;Accademia, stop by L&#39;Ospedale Degli Innocenti, Europe&#39;s oldest hospital. Continue walking east to explore the areas around Santa Croce, an enormous cathedral on the east side of town. This area is littered with wine bars and small bistros so feel free to hang around for a bite to eat. As the sun sets, head to the city&#39;s bridges, namely the Ponte Vecchio to shop with the jewelry merchants, watch the crew teams row on the Arno, or simply watch the sun&#39;s rays touch the peaks of the surrounding hills. For dinner, stay in town or grab a cab or bus up to Fiesole, one of those towns overlooking Florence. Enjoy dinner overlooking the Duomo down in the valley.</p>

Wining and Dining
Wining and Dining
Wining and Dining
day
6

Siena and San Gimignano

arrow_forward The towers of San Gimignano

arrow_forward Siena: One of the pillars of Italian culture

<p>Today, start on the south side of the Arno River. Cross Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, home to one of the grand families of the Florentine Renaissance. The art collection inside is staggering and certainly demands time to get through it all. Afterwards, take a well earned walk in fresh air through the Giardino di Boboli, located behind the palace. Afterwards, explore the Basilica de Santo Spirito, a prime example of Florentine Renaissance architecture and design. Grab lunch in the square outside the church, before making your way across the river to the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi is one of the most important art museums and has no shortage of classics. Be sure to find Primavera by Botticelli, Venus of Urbino by Titian, and Self Portrait by Raphael. Of course, no trip to Florence would be complete without seeing a work by Leonardo da Vinci. Uffizi has his original work Adoration of the Magi. After a long day of art, it is probably time for a drink so walk towards Piazza della Signoria and grab a glass of wine and enjoy the people watching in front of Florence&#39;s town hall. While Rome was dominated by the Pope, Florence centered around the Palazzo Vecchio and its city government. This is the center of town.</p>

Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
day
7

Introduction to Florence

arrow_forward See the Baptistry doors

arrow_forward Indulge in Florentine cuisine

<p>Today take a day trip out to Pisa. It takes about an hour to get to Pisa by both train and car, so choose the option that best suits your needs and budget. Once you arrive in Pisa, the main site to see of course is its basilica and the famous (or infamous) Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you came by car, leave Pisa behind for the sea and grab lunch in Marina di Pisa or venture further afield to the popular beach resort of Forte Dei Marmi. If you wish to head back towards Florence, stop by Lucca or San Gimignano on your way back. Lucca, a famous walled city known for its fully enclosed citadel is just north of Pisa while San Gimignano and its dozen towers, can be found a 45-minute drive southeast. End you evening back in Florence for one last Tuscan meal.</p>

Introduction to Florence
Introduction to Florence
Introduction to Florence

Italy

Download

7 Day Destination Guide

arrow_backBack

10 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 10 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the trip for you. It focuses on Italy&apos;s two major tourism cities, Rome and Florence. Florence does have a small airport, but you may have to go back to Rome to fly out of Italy. If you are looking for flights, be sure to also check flights out of Pisa, which has a slightly larger airport than Florence. Plane tickets to Italy are often expensive during the high season (summer), while there are usually 50% fewer intercontinental flights in the winter. Either way, once you arrive, prepare to be wowed by the scenery, history, flavors, and warmth of Italy.

day
1

Ancient Rome

arrow_forward Tour the Forum

arrow_forward Marvel at the Colosseum

<p>Set the tone for your entire trip with a tour around ancient Rome. Start at the Colosseum, on the east side of the Forum. Take a walk around the interior of the Colosseum, pausing for a moment to imagine what it must have been like to walk onto the floor of the arena, surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming Romans. Once you leave the Colosseum, pass by the Constantine Arch and into the ancient Forum. Get lost in the labyrinth of ruins until you are ready to head back into the bustle of modern Rome. Leaving the Forum, head back towards Piazza Venezia, where you can feel free to climb the steps of the white marble Altar of the Fatherland monument or the Campidoglio. From there, explore the Roman Jewish Quarter, one of the oldest in Europe and sample the local specialty, deep fried artichoke. Also be sure to check out the grand synagogue. Enjoy a taste of gelato on the Isola di Tiberina before ducking into Trastevere for the evening. You can&#39;t go wrong with any trattoria in the area. If you have time, climb the hill behind Trastevere up to San Pietro in Montorio.</p>

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
day
2

Highlights of Central Rome

arrow_forward Visit an Italian Market

arrow_forward Stroll the old Roman estates

<p>Start your day at Largo Argentina (an easy starting point especially if you are taking the tram in from Trastevere. Spend the day exploring central Rome. Start at the market in Campo Di Fiori where you can buy fruit from local merchants, or event have a fresh prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich. Sit in Piazza Farnese, in front of the opulent Palazzo Farnese (which is now the French embassy) before heading to Piazza Navona, one of the most recognizable sites of Rome. Formerly the venue for ancient games the Piazza now is a tourist hub, filled with restaurants, gelataria, and shops. Be sure to explore the Fontana dei Quattro Firumi, the fountain in the middle of the piazza. Designed by Bernini, it is a prime example of Italian Baroque sculpture. Follow the throngs of tourists from there to the perfect symmetry of the Pantheon and then on to Trevi Fountain for another taste of Baroque aesthetic. Be sure to bring a couple of small coins with you so you can flip them over your shoulder as you make a wish! From there it is a short walk to the Spanish Steps. Take in the view of Rome from the top and pick your next destination. From the steps, it is a short walk to Villa Borghese&#39;s lush gardens and imposing Palazzo. Another option is to stay in town and head to the shopping streets below the steps, heading towards Piazza del Popolo. For dinner, check out Gusto, just off Piazza del Popolo by the Ara Pacis.</p>

Highlights of Central Rome
Highlights of Central Rome
day
3

The Vatican

arrow_forward Vatican City and St. Peter's

arrow_forward The Rome for locals

<p>Start your day off early today with a trip to the Vatican Museum as it opens early (be sure to buy tickets in advance). There is too much to see in the museum for one trip, but be sure to see Laoco&ouml;n and Sons, Apollo Belvedere, the Raphael Rooms, and of course the venerable Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is used infrequently, but its most notable modern purpose is as the location of the conclave, the selection of a new pope. No photos are allowed, which might be a good thing as mental images will serve you far better than any picture could. Take your time to marvel at Michelangelo&#39;s ceiling work as well as his later work, The Last Judgment. You will notice subtle differences in the way characters are portrayed in both, as Michelangelo aged and began to confront his own mortality. Think about what must go through a Cardinal&#39;s mind as he looks at the Last Judgment and contemplates the next leader of over 1 billion Catholics around the world. After leaving the chapel, exit out into Piazza San Pietro and enter the main basilica for the Catholic Church, St. Peters. As you walk around, be sure to stop for a moment to see La Pieta, the Michelangelo sculpture that commemorates the moment when the Virgin Mary took Jesus down from the cross. The statue is actually not perfectly upright, but was built tilted to the viewer, almost as an offering. After leaving the Basilica, walk straight out of Vatican City to Castello St. Angelo and then across the Ponte St. Angelo back towards the center of Rome. The afternoon is yours, if it is the weekend head towards Porta Portese, the giant flea market in Trastevere. You can get there easily by taking the #8 tram from Largo Argentina. If it is Wednesday, stay at the Vatican for the Pope&#39;s regular Papal Audience. There is no shortage of weekly rituals in Rome, so be sure to plan your stay (and the ordering of these days accordingly)</p>

The Vatican
The Vatican
The Vatican
day
4

Into the Countryside

arrow_forward The Italian Countryside

arrow_forward Explore the medieval town of Orvieto

<p>Start your day early and head to Termini Station in Rome. If time is your biggest factor, hop on one of the Frecciarossa high-speed trains to Florence. If you are light on luggage or light on money, opt instead for a regional train making its way towards Florence and stop in the town of Orvieto. Perched high atop a hill, visitors have to take a funicular to the old city. There, you will find a classic Italian Gothic Cathedral in the center square, narrow pedestrian streets, and the old Roman well from its days as a walled fortress town. The well is so deep that there is a pathway descending down that is wide enough to accommodate a horse and cart. Orvieto also affords spectacular views of the Umbrian landscape and will give you a good taste of Italy outside the big cities. Consider spending the night in any of the beautiful Umbrian or Tuscan towns. Montepulciano, Cortona, and Gubbio are all great</p>

Into the Countryside
Into the Countryside
day
5

Wining and Dining

arrow_forward Find your new favorite wine

arrow_forward Get lost in Tuscany

<p>Spend the day cruising the Italian countryside. If you are into wine, there is no better place on Earth. Drive from Montepulciano to Siena, stopping in as many vineyards and enotecas as you can. If you are feeling a bit more active, rent a bike and travel through vineyards from town to town. If you are in the mood for a more culturally immersive day, drive over to Assisi to see the home of famous St. Francis of Assisi. The Duomo is beautifully restored after being almost destroyed in an earthquake. Stop by Deruta on the way back to your hotel to shop for ceramics.</p>

Wining and Dining
day
6

Siena and San Gimignano

arrow_forward The towers of San Gimignano

arrow_forward Siena: One of the pillars of Italian culture

<p>Today focuses on two of the more famous Tuscan towns. Start in Siena, one of the great cities of the Italian Renaissance. Everything emanates from Piazza del Campo, the center of town and the home to the Palio, a medieval horse race in the town square held twice a year. (check online for official dates). Afterwards, travel north to San Gimignano, known as the The Town of Fine Towers. The towers looming over the city are striking from afar while also providing stunning views from the top of their steep staircases. If you are really feeling like a glutton for punishment, check out the torture museum while in town.</p>

Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
day
7

Introduction to Florence

arrow_forward See the Baptistry doors

arrow_forward Indulge in Florentine cuisine

<p>Wake up early to enjoy the sights and sounds of early morning in Tuscany. Watch as people flock to the local market for produce or head to local farms for work. But time is of the essence and Florence does require time, so hop back on the train (or car) and continue on to Florence. There is no better place to start your time in Florence than at the Duomo. Tour inside, and if available, climb to the top of the dome for a view of the whole city (if the line is too long, climb the adjacent Campanile instead). On your way out, take some time to admire Ghiberti&#39;s Baptistry Doors. For dinner tonight, find a restaurant that focuses on local Florentine cuisine. Gone is the Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana of Rome. Instead, feast on Wild Boar Ragu and Ribolitta, a hearty Tuscan soup.</p>

Introduction to Florence
Introduction to Florence
day
8

Walking Central Florence

arrow_forward See Michelangelo's David

arrow_forward Take in the Arno at sunset

<p><span class="wysiwyg-font-size-small">Wake up early to beat the crowds and head over to the </span><span class="wysiwyg-font-size-small">Galleria dell&#39;Accademia</span><span class="wysiwyg-font-size-small">, home to Michelangelo&rsquo;s most famous statue, &ldquo;David.&rdquo; When looking at David, remember that the statue was built to be placed atop the Duomo. David&rsquo;s head is larger proportionally to his body because Michelangelo considered his viewer looking up from a distance at David, altering their perception. When the statue was completed, the city deemed it too important to place so far away from viewers and kept it on the ground. It stands as a symbol of Florence, the small city that could compete with the likes of Rome. On your way out of L&rsquo;Accademia, stop by L&rsquo;Ospedale Degli Innocenti, Europe&rsquo;s oldest hospital. Continue walking east to explore the areas around Santa Croce, an enormous cathedral on the east side of town. This area is littered with wine bars and small bistros so feel free to hang around for a bite to eat. As the sun sets, head to the city&rsquo;s bridges, namely the Ponte Vecchio to shop with the jewelry merchants, watch the crew teams row on the Arno, or simply watch the sun&rsquo;s rays touch the peaks of the surrounding hills. For dinner, stay in town or grab a cab or bus up to Fiesole, one of those towns overlooking Florence. Enjoy dinner overlooking the Duomo down in the valley. &nbsp;</span></p>

Walking Central Florence
Walking Central Florence
Walking Central Florence
day
9

The South Bank

arrow_forward Walk the Pitti Palace

arrow_forward Spend the afternoon at the Uffizi

<p>Today, start on the south side of the Arno River. Cross Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, home to one of the grand families of the Florentine Renaissance. The art collection inside is staggering and certainly demands time to get through it all. Afterwards, take a well earned stroll in fresh air through the Giardino di Boboli, located behind the palace. Afterwards, explore the Basilica de Santo Spirito, a prime example of Florentine Renaissance architecture and design. Grab lunch in the square outside the church before making your way across the river to the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi is one of the most important art museums and has no shortage of classics. Be sure to find Primavera by Botticelli, Venus of Urbino by Titian, and Self Portrait by Raphael. Of course, no trip to Florence would be complete without seeing a work by Leonardo da Vinci. Uffizi has his original work Adoration of the Magi. After a long day of art, it is probably time for a drink so walk towards Piazza della Signoria and grab a glass of wine and enjoy the people watching in front of Florence&#39;s town hall. While Rome was dominated by the Pope, Florence is centered around the Palazzo Vecchio and its city government. This is the center of town.</p>

The South Bank
The South Bank
The South Bank
day
10

Pisa and Lucca

arrow_forward Lean into the leaning tower

arrow_forward Walk Lucca's citadel

<p>Today take a day trip out to Pisa. It takes about an hour to get to Pisa by both train and car, so choose the option that best suits your needs and budget. Once you arrive in Pisa, the main site to see of course is its basilica and the famous (or infamous) Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you came by car, leave Pisa behind for the sea and grab lunch in Marina di Pisa or venture further afield to the popular beach resort of Forte Dei Marmi. If you wish to head back towards Florence, stop by Lucca or San Gimignano on your way back. Lucca, a famous walled city known for its fully enclosed citadel is just north of Pisa while San Gimignano and its dozen towers, can be found a 45 minute drive southeast. End you evening back in Florence for one last Tuscan meal.</p>

Pisa and Lucca
Pisa and Lucca
Pisa and Lucca

Italy

Download

10 Day Destination Guide

arrow_backBack

14 Day Tours

Italy is one of the most popular destinations for a reason. It is covered head to boot with natural beauty, from the majesty of the Alps to the azur waters off the Amalfi Coast, to the rolling hills covered with vineyards in Tuscany. Below is a 14 day itinerary for Italy. It focuses on the top sites. If you only have one chance to go to Italy and you only have ten days to do it, this is the trip for you. It focuses on Italy&apos;s two major tourism cities, Rome and Florence. Florence does have a small airport, but you may have to go back to Rome to fly out of Italy. If you are looking for flights, be sure to also check flights out of Pisa, which has a slightly larger airport than Florence. Plane tickets to Italy are often expensive during the high season (summer), while there are usually 50% fewer intercontinental flights in the winter. Either way, once you arrive, prepare to be wowed by the scenery, history, flavors, and warmth of Italy.

day
1

Ancient Rome

arrow_forward Tour the Forum

arrow_forward Marvel at the Colosseum

<p>Set the tone for your entire trip with a tour around ancient Rome. Start at the Colosseum, on the east side of the Forum. Take a walk around the interior of the Colosseum, pausing for a moment to imagine what it must have been like to walk onto the floor of the arena, surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming Romans. Once you leave the Colosseum, pass by the Constantine Arch and into the ancient Forum. Get lost in the labyrinth of ruins until you are ready to head back into the bustle of modern Rome. Leaving the Forum, head back towards Piazza Venezia, where you can feel free to climb the steps of the white marble Altar of the Fatherland monument or the Campidoglio. From there, explore the Roman Jewish Quarter, one of the oldest in Europe and sample the local specialty, deep fried artichoke. Also be sure to check out the grand synagogue. Enjoy a taste of gelato on the Isola di Tiberina before ducking into Trastevere for the evening. You can&#39;t go wrong with any trattoria in the area. If you have time, climb the hill behind Trastevere up to San Pietro in Montorio.</p>

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
day
2

Highlights of Central Rome

arrow_forward Visit an Italian Market

arrow_forward Stroll the old Roman estates

<p>Start your day at Largo Argentina (an easy starting point especially if you are taking the tram in from Trastevere. Spend the day exploring central Rome. Start at the market in Campo Di Fiori where you can buy fruit from local merchants, or event have a fresh prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich. Sit in Piazza Farnese, in front of the opulent Palazzo Farnese (which is now the French embassy) before heading to Piazza Navona, one of the most recognizable sites of Rome. Formerly the venue for ancient games the Piazza now is a tourist hub, filled with restaurants, gelataria, and shops. Be sure to explore the Fontana dei Quattro Firumi, the fountain in the middle of the piazza. Designed by Bernini, it is a prime example of Italian Baroque sculpture. Follow the throngs of tourists from there to the perfect symmetry of the Pantheon and then on to Trevi Fountain for another taste of Baroque aesthetic. Be sure to bring a couple of small coins with you so you can flip them over your shoulder as you make a wish! From there it is a short walk to the Spanish Steps. Take in the view of Rome from the top and pick your next destination. From the steps, it is a short walk to Villa Borghese&#39;s lush gardens and imposing Palazzo. Another option is to stay in town and head to the shopping streets below the steps, heading towards Piazza del Popolo. For dinner, check out Gusto, just off Piazza del Popolo by the Ara Pacis.</p>

Highlights of Central Rome
Highlights of Central Rome
day
3

The Vatican

arrow_forward Vatican City and St. Peter's

arrow_forward The Rome for locals

<p>Start your day off early today with a trip to the Vatican Museum as it opens early (be sure to buy tickets in advance). There is too much to see in the museum for one trip, but be sure to see Laoco&ouml;n and Sons, Apollo Belvedere, the Raphael Rooms, and of course the venerable Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is used infrequently, but its most notable modern purpose is as the location of the conclave, the selection of a new pope. No photos are allowed, which might be a good thing as mental images will serve you far better than any picture could. Take your time to marvel at Michelangelo&#39;s ceiling work as well as his later work, The Last Judgment. You will notice subtle differences in the way characters are portrayed in both, as Michelangelo aged and began to confront his own mortality. Think about what must go through a Cardinal&#39;s mind as he looks at the Last Judgment and contemplates the next leader of over 1 billion Catholics around the world. After leaving the chapel, exit out into Piazza San Pietro and enter the main basilica for the Catholic Church, St. Peters. As you walk around, be sure to stop for a moment to see La Pieta, the Michelangelo sculpture that commemorates the moment when the Virgin Mary took Jesus down from the cross. The statue is actually not perfectly upright, but was built tilted to the viewer, almost as an offering. After leaving the Basilica, walk straight out of Vatican City to Castello St. Angelo and then across the Ponte St. Angelo back towards the center of Rome. The afternoon is yours, if it is the weekend head towards Porta Portese, the giant flea market in Trastevere. You can get there easily by taking the #8 tram from Largo Argentina. If it is Wednesday, stay at the Vatican for the Pope&#39;s regular Papal Audience. There is no shortage of weekly rituals in Rome, so be sure to plan your stay (and the ordering of these days accordingly)</p>

The Vatican
The Vatican
The Vatican
day
4

Into the Countryside

arrow_forward The Italian Countryside

arrow_forward Explore the medieval town of Orvieto

<p>Start your day early and head to Termini Station in Rome. If time is your biggest factor, hop on one of the Frecciarossa high-speed trains to Florence. If you are light on luggage or light on money, opt instead for a regional train making its way towards Florence and stop in the town of Orvieto. Perched high atop a hill, visitors have to take a funicular to the old city. There, you will find a classic Italian Gothic Cathedral in the center square, narrow pedestrian streets, and the old Roman well from its days as a walled fortress town. The well is so deep that there is a pathway descending down that is wide enough to accommodate a horse and cart. Orvieto also affords spectacular views of the Umbrian landscape and will give you a good taste of Italy outside the big cities. Consider spending the night in any of the beautiful Umbrian or Tuscan towns. Montepulciano, Cortona, and Gubbio are all great</p>

Into the Countryside
Into the Countryside
day
5

Wining and Dining

arrow_forward Find your new favorite wine

arrow_forward Get lost in Tuscany

<p>Spend the day cruising the Italian countryside. If you are into wine, there is no better place on Earth. Drive from Montepulciano to Siena, stopping in as many vineyards and enotecas as you can. If you are feeling a bit more active, rent a bike and travel through vineyards from town to town. If you are in the mood for a more culturally immersive day, drive over to Assisi to see the home of famous St. Francis of Assisi. The Duomo is beautifully restored after being almost destroyed in an earthquake. Stop by Deruta on the way back to your hotel to shop for ceramics.</p>

Wining and Dining
day
6

Siena and San Gimignano

arrow_forward The towers of San Gimignano

arrow_forward Siena: One of the pillars of Italian culture

<p>Today focuses on two of the more famous Tuscan towns. Start in Siena, one of the great cities of the Italian Renaissance. Everything emanates from Piazza del Campo, the center of town and the home to the Palio, a medieval horse race in the town square held twice a year. (check online for official dates). Afterwards, travel north to San Gimignano, known as the The Town of Fine Towers. The towers looming over the city are striking from afar while also providing stunning views from the top of their steep staircases. If you are really feeling like a glutton for punishment, check out the torture museum while in town.</p>

Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
Siena and San Gimignano
day
7

Introduction to Florence

arrow_forward See the Baptistry doors

arrow_forward Indulge in Florentine cuisine

<p>Wake up early to enjoy the sights and sounds of early morning in Tuscany. Watch as people flock to the local market for produce or head to local farms for work. But time is of the essence and Florence does require time, so hop back on the train (or car) and continue on to Florence. There is no better place to start your time in Florence than at the Duomo. Tour inside, and if available, climb to the top of the dome for a view of the whole city (if the line is too long, climb the adjacent Campanile instead). On your way out, take some time to admire Ghiberti&#39;s Baptistry Doors. For dinner tonight, find a restaurant that focuses on local Florentine cuisine. Gone is the Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana of Rome. Instead, feast on Wild Boar Ragu and Ribolitta, a hearty Tuscan soup.</p>

Introduction to Florence
Introduction to Florence
day
8

Walking Central Florence

arrow_forward See Michelangelo's David

arrow_forward Take in the Arno at sunset

<p>Wake up early to beat the crowds and head over to the Galleria dellx9;Accademia, home to Michelangelo&#39;s most famous statue, David. When looking at David, remember that the statue was built to be placed atop the Duomo. David&#39;s head is larger proportionally to his body because Michelangelo considered his viewer looking up from a distance at David, altering their perception. When the statue was completed, the city deemed it too important to place so far away from viewers and kept it on the ground. It stands as a symbol of Florence, the small city that could compete with the likes of Rome. On your way out of L&#39;Accademia, stop by L&#39;Ospedale Degli Innocenti, Europe&#39;s oldest hospital. Continue walking east to explore the areas around Santa Croce, an enormous cathedral on the east side of town. This area is littered with wine bars and small bistros so feel free to hang around for a bite to eat. As the sun sets, head to the city&#39;s bridges, namely the Ponte Vecchio to shop with the jewelry merchants, watch the crew teams row on the Arno, or simply watch the sun&#39;s rays touch the peaks of the surrounding hills. For dinner, stay in town or grab a cab or bus up to Fiesole, one of those towns overlooking Florence. Enjoy dinner overlooking the Duomo down in the valley.</p>

Walking Central Florence
Walking Central Florence
Walking Central Florence
day
9

The South Bank

arrow_forward Walk the Pitti Palace

arrow_forward Spend the afternoon at the Uffizi

<p>Today, start on the south side of the Arno River. Cross Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, home to one of the grand families of the Florentine Renaissance. The art collection inside is staggering and certainly demands time to get through it all. Afterwards, take a well earned stroll in fresh air through the Giardino di Boboli, located behind the palace. Afterwards, explore the Basilica de Santo Spirito, a prime example of Florentine Renaissance architecture and design. Grab lunch in the square outside the church before making your way across the river to the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi is one of the most important art museums and has no shortage of classics. Be sure to find Primavera by Botticelli, Venus of Urbino by Titian, and Self Portrait by Raphael. Of course, no trip to Florence would be complete without seeing a work by Leonardo da Vinci. Uffizi has his original work Adoration of the Magi. After a long day of art, it is probably time for a drink so walk towards Piazza della Signoria and grab a glass of wine and enjoy the people watching in front of Florence&#39;s town hall. While Rome was dominated by the Pope, Florence is centered around the Palazzo Vecchio and its city government. This is the center of town.</p>

The South Bank
The South Bank
The South Bank
day
10

Pisa and Lucca

arrow_forward Lean into the leaning tower

arrow_forward Walk Lucca's citadel

<p>Today take a day trip out to Pisa. It takes about an hour to get to Pisa by both train and car, so choose the option that best suits your needs and budget. Once you arrive in Pisa, the main site to see of course is its basilica and the famous (or infamous) Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you came by car, leave Pisa behind for the sea and grab lunch in Marina di Pisa or venture further afield to the popular beach resort of Forte Dei Marmi. If you wish to head back towards Florence, stop by Lucca or San Gimignano on your way back. Lucca, a famous walled city known for its fully enclosed citadel is just north of Pisa while San Gimignano and its dozen towers, can be found a 45 minute drive southeast. End you evening back in Florence for one last Tuscan meal.</p>

Pisa and Lucca
Pisa and Lucca
Pisa and Lucca
day
11

North to Milan

arrow_forward Climb the Milan Duomo

arrow_forward Shop til you drop!

<p>It is time to leave Tuscany behind. Take the train up to Milan, the modern center of Italian commerce. Make sure you get tickets to see Da Vinci&#39;s portrayal of the last supper. You will need to base your day around when you can get in to see the magnificent fresco. Spend the rest of the day exploring the area around the Duomo. When you visit the Duomo itself, use the entrance on the left so you can ascend the stairs and literally walk the Duomo&#39;s roof. Enjoy the sweeping views of the city and the Alps before climbing back down to tour the Duomo itself. Spend the rest of the day walking past fancy shops, maybe poking your head in to try on some leather shoes or this season&#39;s fancy dress. For dinner, head to the southern neighborhood around Porta Ticinese and walk the restaurant lined canals.</p>

North to Milan
North to Milan
North to Milan
day
12

From Milan to Venice

arrow_forward Cruise the Grand Canal

arrow_forward Walk the alleys of Venice

<p>Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at a Milan caf&eacute; before returning to the Centrale station for your high-speed train ride to Venice. The ride should take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. The arrival to Venice is staggering. Walking off the train feels normal, but the second you leave the station, you are on the Grand Canal. Take a moment to catch your breath and get a sense of where you are. You are at the northern end of Venice. Hop on the #1 or #2 ferry and head down the Grand Canal. For lodging, the best area would be around the Academia. As the canal weaves through town, try to find a seat outside so you can take photos of the floating buildings passing by and the Rialto Bridge that you will pass on your journey. Once settled into your hotel, get lost. Literally! Walk around and get lost in the streets of Venice but make sure you can find your way home!</p>

From Milan to Venice
From Milan to Venice
day
13

Exploring Venice

arrow_forward Piazza San Marco

arrow_forward An adventure through the Venice Renaissance

<p>Start your day by going straight to Piazza San Marco. Be sure to explore the Duomo as well as the Doge&#39;s Palace (Palazzo Ducale). The Palazzo was the home of the Venice government when it was one of the great trading ports of the world. Follow the tour as it takes you around to the Bridge of Spies, often the last piece of daylight a condemned prisoner would see before being placed in prison. Afterward, hop on the #2 ferry to San Giorgio, the island across the straight. Enter the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore and climb the Campanile. It has better views of Venice for half the price and half the line of the Campanile in Piazza San Marco. Take the #2 ferry either back to San Marco or around the west side of Venice, affording views of some of the outer islands in the archipelago.</p>

Exploring Venice
Exploring Venice
Exploring Venice
day
14

Leaving Italy Behind

arrow_forward Ciao Italia

arrow_forward

<p>Leave for the Venice Airport for your journey home.</p>

Leaving Italy Behind
Leaving Italy Behind
Leaving Italy Behind

Italy

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