First-Timer’s Italy Tour

Can you believe I’ve never been to Italy!? How about you, have you always dreamed of traveling to Italy or has it been a long time since you’ve been there?

With so many things to do in Italy, it’s no wonder it’s the most popular travel destination in the world. We’ll visit the romantic canals and rose-hued light of Venice, see Michael Angelo’s David Statue in Florence, get enchanted in Tuscany, and explore the eternal city of Rome during Holy Week with iconic sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Become a pilgrim and experience a possible Papal Audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square and/or the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession with the Pope to the Coliseum.

We’ll also make day trips to visit the famous archeological site of Pompei, and the countryside of Umbria – including the hilltop town of Orvieto and lunch at a winery.

And in addition to all the delicious traditional Italian food, we’ll have an opportunity to taste foods in Rome that are specially made only during Holy Week.

Our Daily Itinerary:

March 18 – Day One: Venice
Ciao and welcome to Venice, a city built on more than 100 small islands and no roads! We’ll get settled into our hotel today and enjoy a welcome dinner. (D) Sleep in Venice

March 19 – Day Two: Venice Sightseeing
With its unique cityscape and rich heritage as head of the Byzantine Empire, Venice has enchanted visitors for centuries. Today we enjoy a guided tour, seeing landmarks such as St Mark’s Basilica and the dazzling Doge’s Palace. The afternoon is free for you to explore; perhaps take a tour of La Fenice Theater. This opera house, with its ornate stuccoes and furnishings, is a joy to discover. (B)  Sleep in Venice

March 20 – Day Three: Venice Sightseeing
This morning we’ll have our first real brush with the Renaissance — Venetian style — with a tour of the Accademia’s treasure trove of great Venetian art, starring Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto…and every shade of color imaginable. Tonight, we’ll regroup for a classic, romantic gondola ride through Venice’s moonlit canals. (B) (D) Sleep in Venice

March 21 – Day Four: Venice – Florence
Leaving Venice after breakfast, we join the high-speed train to Florence for three nights. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city, including the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo with its red-tiled dome. Afterward, you are free to explore the city at your leisure. Why not head to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the stunning view over the city? Later we enjoy a meal in a local restaurant. (B) (D) Sleep in Florence

March 22 – Day Five: Florence – Siena
Today we visit the typically Tuscan city of Siena. The city’s well-preserved center is interlinked by a web of narrow streets that lead to the Campo, a grand shell-shaped piazza. We take a guided tour of this charismatic city, including the Duomo, built from strips of black and white marble. (B) Sleep in Florence

March 23 – Day Six: Florence – Pisa and Lucca
We take the train (Standard Class) to Pisa today, where we have a guided tour of its sights in the Field of Miracles. Here we see the Romanesque Duomo and the world-famous Leaning Tower, one of Europe’s most iconic buildings. In the afternoon we visit Lucca – a delightful city that has escaped the tourist crowds. You are free here to explore the walled city’s medieval core and ramparts and to maybe visit the Guinigi Tower, known for the oak tree growing from its top. (B) (D) Sleep in Florence

March 24 – Day Seven: Florence – Rome
Today on Palm Sunday, after a morning at leisure in Florence, we travel by high-speed rail to the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome, Italy’s attractive capital in which we’ll be there for Holy Week. We’ll get settled into our accommodations and enjoy a group dinner. (B) (D) Sleep in Rome

March 25 – Day Eight: Exploring Rome
Today, we take a guided tour, on foot, past the landmarks that have shaped this mesmerizing city over thousands of years. We pass the Colosseum where Roman citizens would watch the brutal blood sports which often showcased gladiators and wild beasts for the joy of the crowd, and we see the Roman Forum, which played a vital role in Roman public life, which is now iconic as a monument of Imperial Rome and her once vast empire. We also take in the magnificent Baroque Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detailed sculpture set in a tiny square. (B) Sleep in Rome

March 26 – Day Nine: Rome – The Vatican
Begin your Vatican experience a little differently with a climb up the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica with a guide (elevator available). After getting sweeping views of Vatican City and Rome beyond, proceed inside for a guided tour of the church itself, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. (B) Sleep in Rome


March 27 – Day Ten: Rome – Jewish Ghetto – Trastevere
Hidden in the heart of the city, Rome’s Jewish Ghetto is one of the best attractions in Rome and also one of its least-known. As the oldest Jewish community in all of Europe, this beautiful, thriving neighborhood is as central to the history of the city as it is to the Jewish faith. We’ll walk around the Jewish Ghetto in Rome to see how Jews have shaped the Eternal City. Then,we’ll exploreTrastevere, a beautiful neighborhood in Rome worth visiting for its cobbled streets, medieval churches and delicious restaurants. Unlike Rome city center proper, Trastevere is not grand and monumental but rather romantic and charming. (B) Sleep in Rome


March 28 – Day Eleven: Rome – Pompeii
Explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii and ramble around the ruins and discover what life was like before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Discover the western part of the town and see important buildings and structures such as the Basilica, the Forum, the thermal baths, a brothel, some residential homes, and more. (B) Sleep in Rome

March 29 – Day Twelve: Rome – Orvieto Today we’ll visit the countryside of Umbria, first stop in Orvieto, a hilltop town which sits majestically high above the valley floor and is known for its Gothic masterpiece, Orvieto Cathedral. Then we explore wine country, learn about its culture, view stunning scenery, and enjoy a delicious lunch at a local winery. (B) (L) Sleep in Rome


March 30 – Day Thirteen: Rome at our Own Pace
Today, we’ll take it slow in the eternal city of Rome and be on our own schedule to do what we want. Perhaps some souvenir shopping, a massage at a spa (not included), be devoted and climb the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) to the “true cross” on your knees, or simply stroll through some off the beating path neighborhoods we haven’t discovered yet. This evening we’ll have our farewell dinner in a lively restaurant where perhaps we can try the famous Easter foods Abbacchio (milk-fed-lamb) and La Colomba di Pasqua (sweet Italian cake) and reminisce about all the highlights of our time together in Italy. (B) (D) Sleep in Rome


March 31 – Day Fourteen: Depart Rome Back home
Happy Easter! This morning after a joyful breakfast we check-out of our accommodations and go to Rome’s International Airport (Leonardo de Vinci) for our flights back home or onward in our journeys. Arrivederci! (B)

Cost: $6,000 per person double occupancy
          $1,300 single supplement

Payment Due: Now

Cancel Policy:

  • Up to 71 days prior to arrival: no fee
  • From 70 days to 45 days prior to arrival: 30% fee
  • From 44 days to 20 days prior to arrival: 50% fee
  • From 19 days to 10 days prior to arrival: 75% fee
  • From 9 days prior to arrival: no refund  

Included

  • Thirteen nights double occupancy accommodations (single supplement available)
  • All ground transportation and water taxis
  • Breakfast every morning, one lunch, and six dinners
  • All tours mentioned and entrance fees listed in the itinerary
  • Local guides

Not Included

  • Flights 
  • Business Class upgrade on trains: Venice – Florence / Florence – Rome 
    Rome – Naples ($120)
  • Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa ($25)
  • Elevator to top of St. Peter’s Dome ($25)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guides and drivers and porters

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Fitness

  • Be physically able to walk 2-8 miles on any given day with hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.
  • Be physically able to carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement.
  • Be physically able to be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, in all weather conditions.
  • Be mentally capable and willing to sleep with some street noise.

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Other

  • Itinerary subject to change
  • Minimum group size 5 people, maximum group size 15 people
  • While in Rome for Holy Week, while we can’t guarantee it, every attempt will be made to attend a Papal Audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, which may mean adjusting the tour schedule to accommodate.

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Jack Witt