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The day begins with the excitement of the coming Italian discovery. You will make your way to the airport, step onto your flight, and soar over the Atlantic en route to the remarkable and unique cities that inhabit Italy. The Venetian lagoon sparkles, the Florentine streets are elegant, and the Roman ruins are stirring. Each city brings with it a new atmosphere steeped in diverse history and wrapped in classic mystique. You can dream of Doge’s Palace and the Gallerie dell’Accademia , the Colosseum and the Vatican, where canals trickle, fountains mesmerize, and rolling hills glisten. As the plane inches closer to the Italian landscape you already know that sensational and luxurious discoveries await.
Welcome to the storied city of Venice, a place easily known from its iconic canals and luxurious architecture. Venice is also associated with romance and it's the perfect place for romantic Italy tours to begin.
After being met at the airport, a private transfer will take you along the streets outside of the Grand Canal and lead you to the shores. Climb aboard the water taxi and discover the classic transportation along the waterway. You can see the Byzantine dome of St. Mark’s Basilica towering over the Venetian architecture. The sound of rushing boats and jovial people surrounds you. There is no better way to feel the palpable energy of Venice than to let yourself sink into the city by venturing along the quiet beauty of its water-based thoroughfare.
Dock and disembark your water taxi at the fabulous Palazzo Sant’Angelo, located on the Canal Grande near the celebrated Rialto Bridge. The Palazzo is a hotel that will mesmerize you; every room offers a delightful vista over the dreamy waters. Once inside the lobby you will notice the serene fantasy that embraces you, where the décor harkens back to the opulent age of divine era.
A short walk outside of the hotel will bring you to the Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge that crosses the canal, dating back to the late 16th century. Two inclined ramps give way to a lovely portico, where the colonnaded archways add luster to the stone. Standing on the bridge provides a unique opportunity to look out on the canal and watch the gondolas and boats cruise beneath you. You will be surrounded by the quintessential buildings that you have waited your entire life to see.
The dawn washes over the city bringing in a quiet light. The buildings and the water almost blend together in a splendid display of mist and shine. Enjoy a delightful breakfast with a view of the city’s emerging energy before meeting with your guide and venturing into Venice with a small group guided tour. If you prefer a private guide of the city, upgrades are available.
There is an endless amount of history and wonder that can take you magically into another world. You will discover the charm and romance, the elegance and classicism that is present with every step you take, and every place you look. It is a short distance to Piazza San Marco where the remarkable St. Mark’s Basilica and the immaculate Doge’s Palace enrapture you.
From a distance the basilica looks different than other Italian churches. The domes have more of an arched curvature and the massive archways are gilded with triumphant mosaics. Your guide explains the Byzantine influence on Venice, remarking on the dividing details of the church built in the 11th century. The palpable energy that emanates from the basilica isn’t from the curious onlookers, but from the exquisite artwork displayed before you enter the building. Two freestanding columns near the south side of the building were carved in the Byzantine style attributing them to early Syria, bringing a richer history to the already brimming site and majestic architecture.
The mosaics display various biblical stories, including The Translation of the Body of St. Mark, which is one of the oldest pieces decorating the exterior. Once inside the basilica you will be in awe. The ceiling is gilded with artwork, pieced together with ornate colors and glittery frames covering over 24,000 square-feet, proselytizing the New Testament. Soon you will continue your tour of Venice, venturing into Doge’s Palace and along the narrow, labyrinthine streets of the city, but for now you can’t help but look up and wonder.
Private Guided Walking Tour. Private Guided Tour of Venice by Classic 1950’s Riva Speed Boat.
Venice can be an exciting city hidden beneath its tranquil façade. The canals are filled with serenity and beauty, while outside of St. Mark’s Square each street can embrace you with sweet treats, delicious food, or vibrant art. Today you will move onward through Italy, ready to discover new cities and different cultures, because no matter how close a village might be in Italy, it always has its own distinct traditions.
A private transfer will take you from your hotel to the train station. You will enter the comforts and ease of the Eurostar train that will soon have you disembarking in the fabulous Tuscan city of Florence.
The journey is a pleasant and beautiful one, where the Venetian lagoon fades away. You are surrounded by mountains and valleys that open up to the famous Tuscan countryside. The Tuscan scenery is overtaken by the grand history of Florence, where inside the vast city walls you can find fabled artwork, unbelievable legends, and literature literally written on the walls.
Your private transfer will take you to the luxuries of the Hotel Rapallo or Palazzo Ruspoli Bed and Breakfast. The hotels are situated in the heart of the city, yards away from the celebrated and inspiring Duomo, built by Brunelleschi and an enduring symbol of Tuscany an Italy alike. As the evening settles over the exciting city, you can venture across the Arno River, over the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, to taste the exquisite flavor of Quattro Leoni, known for the sumptuous pear and cheese tortellini.
Hotel Upgrade Option:
4-star Hotel Brunelleschi
The Florentine morning brings in the expressive flavors of cappuccino along Via dei Martelli. The fast pace brims with locals rushing to work and excited visitors ready to traverse the streets. Delight in the cool, refreshing morning air before meeting your guide to experience the tremendous sights of the city on a small group tour.
There is always so much to see and do in Florence; it can all seem like a whirlwind or an impossible dream that came and went too quickly because every step is overflowing with a glorious past and exceptional beauty. Several buildings in the heart of ancient Florence were mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, as the city was once his home before his expulsion. You can locate plaques that mark the line, canto, and book for which the building or area was mentioned, bringing the past to the present and you into a work of celebrated literature.
The Renaissance is inescapable throughout the city, where cobblestone streets are the norm and the elegant design and façade of the Duomo sparkle vibrantly in the midday sun. Soon you will find yourself at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, where some of the finest Italian artists continue to study. The museum is of immaculate quality, with open space and artistic opulence. Walls are covered with fine examples of Italian masters, and exhibits range from artistry to sculpture. There is also a section on pristine musical instruments.
The biggest draw for people comes when you enter the doors and step through the hallway on your left. The long stretch of red marble floors guides you to the large, classic, breathtaking figure of Michelangelo’s David. It isn’t just a discovery; it is ethereal. Various David’s can be seen throughout the city, decorating a variety of piazzas in celebration of the Michelangelo. However, after seeing the original you will understand the intricacies of the masterpiece, including the detail of the face, musculature, and its physical enormity.
Private Guided Walking Tour of Florence, VIP Uffizi Entrance and VisitPodere La Capella Private Lunch with Wine Tasting and Vineyard Visit (we can structure this as a private guided cycle tour with van support)Private Transfer to Il Colombaio (Michelin 1 star) for Private Cooking Course and Hands on Instruction from one of Italy’s Top Chefs
The morning blankets the city casting light onto the shimmering dome of the Duomo and gilded doors of the Baptistery. You can step outside and see the coming bustle of the city, where people are ready to walk along the winding streets, their hair blowing in the wind as they bicycle over the cobblestones. You can spend some time strolling through the charming walkways and hidden niches of the city, even enjoying a delectable, one of a kind panino from the Oil Shoppe.
Your private transfer will take you from your hotel to the train station where you will once again enter the Eurostar, gliding through the countryside and arriving in Rome. Rome is large with its modernity present in the streets, but hidden in the antiquity that seems endless. The buildings are gracefully seasoned, while ruins come from nowhere and everywhere.
You will arrive at either Hotel Mario dei Fiorio, 37, or Hotel Caravita. Both boutique hotels are located in the city center. The bustle of the city seems to fade away in the plush comforts of your room, but it will never go too far, giving you the ease of vicinity, and the wonder of a fantastical getaway within the heart of Rome.
Private Transfer to Rome with Sightseeing and Lunch Stop in Vino Nobile-Brunello (Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano). Full Day Tour with Private Driver and Lunch Stop.
Hotel Upgrade Options:
Hotel Campo dei Fiori, Wonderful 4-star Hotel in the CenterHotel Residenza di Ripetta, 4-star Superior in the Center.
Jovial and continuously bustling is an easy way to describe Rome, whether talking about its history or its modernity. Venture through the Pantheon or discover the wealth of the Trevi Fountain. The fountain’s clear water is filled with coins from visitors that have wished for a rapid return visit to the city.
Today you will join a small group tour that will take you through the majesty of the Vatican Museum, an independent principality. The museum is filled with splendor, from its pillared architecture around the façade of St. Peter’s Square, to the exceptional collection of historic antiquity within the museum itself, including the artwork of the Masters. Sculptures line the hallways and rooms glisten from gilded artwork that wrap around the walls and ceilings.
An often-overlooked piece of art is School of Athens, painted by Raphael. The colorful artwork connotes a classical time of learning within the marveled city of Athens. Each famous philosopher, Socrates to Plato, is symbolized with, at that time, famed artists, such as da Vinci and Michelangelo. The work is magnificent and large, absorbing the wall and filling it with the generous hues and interpretations of the time.
At the end of the Vatican tour, you will find yourself in the famed Sistine Chapel. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just the ceiling that is painted, but the walls as well, each depicting biblical stories and symbolism in a vivacious light. The ceiling is paneled, which allows you to witness each piece distinctly from the others. The most iconic image of the work is the birth of man, when God reaches out to Adam’s finger in a graceful moment that balances power and fragility.
Group Cooking Class with Fabio BongianniPrivate Cooking Class with Daniela Del BalzoPrivate Ancient Rome Guided Tour with Transportation
The lively sounds of Rome seem to be endless, with flower shops open around the clock and the lights eternally shining over the towering Colosseum. Whether it’s the fragrant flowers from Campo de Fiori or from the florist whose door is always open, the effervescent aroma mixes with the rich espresso and flaky brioches of the morning air.
Today you will have your final private transfer by your Italy travel agent. You will arrive at the Rome International Airport where your Discovery Italy Tour will come to an end. You have ventured through the most iconic cities, from Venetian opulence to Florentine Renaissance and Roman history. You have scoured the streets and discovered radiance.
Discover Italy on this 8-day tour through Venice, Florence and Rome that brings you to antiquity and back, through the Venetian Empire to the Roman Empire, and to where the Renaissance always shines. From the Spanish Steps in Rome to the Doge’s Palace in Venice, the celebrated dome of Florence’s Duomo to the city’s incredible collection of art in the Uffizi Gallery, you will discover never ending splendor housed within historic buildings or along legendary streets. There is more than just history and art, architecture and culture, a country where modern luxury meets renowned luster and you are there to witness it all.
Your discovery begins within the fantastic city of Venice, located on the lagoon in wondrous affluence. The buildings rise just above the waterline as you venture into the city and settle in to the comforts of Palazzo Sant’Angelo. The following day you will be guided through the city on a fabulous tour that will take you through the opulent Byzantine church of Saint Mark’s Basilica, and the almost unparalleled luxuriance of Doge’s Palace. The following day you will be taken to the train station where you will make your way to the wondrous city of Florence.
Your Italian discovery continues in Florence where you can reside in the grand Hotel Rapallo or the luxurious Palazzo Ruspoli Bed and Breakfast, both equal in comfort and brilliance. The city is elegant and compact, expansive and energetic, where there is always more majesty to experience. A tour will take you through the breathtaking art of the Uffizi Gallery where you can see the works of Michelangelo and Botticelli, and so much more.
In Rome you will settle in the Hotel Caravita or the Hotel Mario dei Fiori, 37, both offering central magnificence and relaxation. The Vatican Museum will showcase the absorbing and exorbitant past that encompasses over a millennium. The Sistine Chapel sits at the edge of the tour like a remarkable ending to a grandiose exploration.
Your discovery will come to an end in Rome where you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight home. There will always be more to see, more to do, and more to discover in Italy when you return for more.
For more itinerary options and ideas, you may want to visit the section for Italy tours on Zicasso.
$2195 per person (excluding international flights)