Italy, Vatican City
Rome, Florence, orvieto, Ostia Antica, Siena, Chianti, Assisi, Vatican City
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
From imperial streets to lavish church naves, opulent Baroque palaces to elegant representations of biblical history, Rome and Florence exhibit their past both in the open streets and within the lavish museum galleries. Your custom tailored tour will bring the past to life and immerse you in the majesty and history of Italy as you discover hidden crypts beneath the streets of Rome and the secret walkways that amble above Florence. Embark on a journey that spans the ages to witness the layers of...
Rome – Arrive in the Heart of the City and Explore the Historic Lanes
Rome is a city that overflows with icons, from structures of antiquity to palaces of the Renaissance. Statues adorn open squares and turn public spaces into works of art. Your flight will land at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, and your private transfer will meet you at the baggage claim and bring you into the bustle of Rome’s grandeur as it emanates from the historical city center. Your hotel will overlook the cobblestone tree-lined boulevard for incredible views. Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby the next day ready to embark on a fascinating introductory tour of Rome through the winding lanes and hidden piazzas that turn the bustling city streets into village-like districts.
You will turn the corner off a small avenue to an open square crowned by the classic façade of the Pantheon. Corinthian capitals adorn the 16 granite columns that support the portico. The structure was reconstructed in the 1st-century AD and once inside the Pantheon, the dimensions of the magnificent dome become more prominent than they appear upon approach. The ceiling rises to a height of 142 feet above the marble floor and has inspired similar structures throughout history including the United States Capital building and St. Peter’s Basilica. The only light that enters the space pours through the hole at the center of the dome. When it rains, water dribbles in through the opening and drains in the large bronze grate at the center of the floor. Your guide will point out the tomb of Renaissance painter Raphael to provide the perfect connection between the artistry of the ancient architecture and the masterful techniques of the Italian Renaissance.
Rome – Discover the Ancient Past of Rome on a Full Day Guided Tour
The history of a city informs its future, but the history of the Roman Empire informed the Western World. In the morning, Rome returns to its daily bustle, and the former empire soon returns to life, even if just for the day. After your breakfast, your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby lead you to the ancient heart of the city at the Colosseum. The four-story walls maintain their imposing dominance over the neighborhood and reach a height of more than 150 feet. The stadium could hold up to 50,000 spectators and once contained upwards of 240 masts connected by a huge canvas to shield the stadium from the sunlight. Continue next to Palatine Hill where the first inhabitants of Rome settled.
Trees frame the alluring remains of Rome’s ancient landmarks to provide a fantastic view of the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine. The scent of oak trees carries across the hillside as your guide will lead you to the Cryptoporticus, a partially buried barrel-vaulted corridor. The hall stretched for more than 425 feet to link imperial palaces, including those of Emperor Tiberius and his wife, Livia. Legend states that conspirators in the imperial guard murdered Emperor Caligula in the corridor in the 1st-century AD. The staggering rosy stone construction of the Domus Flavia will also draw your eye as the Flavians patronized the palace in the 1st-century with the design meant to showcase the splendor of the emperor.
Vatican City – Relish the Architecture, Art, and Culture
One of the little-known secrets of Rome is that none of the stones taken from the ancient monuments have left the city. Instead, rulers of Rome and the church used the ancient structures to help support new building projects, from the elaborate palaces to the elegant Cathedrals in the city, including the edifices of Vatican City. Your guide will escort you to the remarkable independent principality after breakfast eager to show you the highlights of the Jewel of Catholicism beginning with St. Peter’s Square. The Basilica adorns the top of the piazza, framed by an arcade of graceful pillars.
Michelangelo designed the stellar dome atop the Cathedral, which stands at nearly 450 feet above the cobblestone square. Emperor Constantine erected the original church in the 4th-century AD and St. Peter’s Basilica in its current form began in the 15th-century under Pope Nicholas V. The interior of St. Peter’s maintains the sweet aroma of myrrh as the polished gallery glints in the natural light that spills through the windows.
Michelangelo’s famous first Pieta stands behind a layer of protected glass as it once caused controversy due to its youthful depiction of Mary. The statue was completed in the 16th-century when the master sculptor was just 24 years old, and it will take your breath away. You will venture next to the top of the cupola by way of the elevator for a fantastic panorama of Rome as you circle the outside of the cupola, and then a view of the nave as you explore the inside. If you prefer, you can climb the 320 steps to the top as the natural sunlight beams down from above. Mosaics of heavenly figures adorn the metope and outside the rosy rooftops of the city contrast with the lush trees to offer pockets of the countryside.
Ostia Antica – Wander through Rome’s Catacombs and the City of Ostia Antica
The inhabitants of Rome have built over ancient ruins and burial grounds for more than a millennium. The splendor of the past will be evident during your private tour of the hidden culture set beneath Rome’s contemporary streets. Your guide will meet you after breakfast eager to show you a portion of the Appian Way. The old Roman road connected the imperial city to Brindisi in the south. The stone gateway rises above the curvature of the street now used for modern day traffic. You will follow your guide into the Catacombs of Callixtus, named for the Pope buried within its chambers as the burial grounds encompass more than 35 acres and include sacred crypts that touch the beginning of Christianity.
The deeper your travel in the catacombs the cooler the air will turn. You will want to touch your fingers to the earthen walls and feel how the subterranean tunnels protect the crypts from the heat. In total, the catacombs contain 16 popes and numerous Christian martyrs in a network of tunnels that crisscross over 12 miles. The Crypt of Saint Cecilia features early 9th-century frescoes that decorate the walls as the artwork depicts the saint in contemplative prayer. The most ancient artwork in the catacombs was painted in the 2nd-century AD, and these frescoes drape across the ceiling to depict the Roman symbols as they blend with Christian allegory, including a basket of bread loaves and an ornament of fish.
Orvieto – Full Day Tour of the Fabulous Medieval City
The cliffs of Umbria contain traces of history that date back to the beginning of the landscape’s formation. The terraces watch over the golden rolling hills of the countryside and lead to stunning medieval towns positioned atop the tufa stone. After breakfast, you will venture outside Rome to the Umbrian town of Orvieto that is set atop the volcanic rock. Cypress trees rise above the emerald plains below, and the city radiates color, from the gilded frescoes on the Cathedral façade to the bright homes that line the narrow lanes. A collection of cobblestone squares and stained glass windows decorate the numerous churches, and the history emanates from the Gothic cathedral to lend a picturesque charm.
The former Papal Palace complex found nearby strikes an imposing figure with its medieval architecture and devotion to art. The nearby museum contains artifacts from early Etruscan settlers, which combine with Roman artwork and tradition to shape the unique culture of the hilltop town. Wander along the main street of Corso Cavour to the stunning façade of Sant’Andrea Church. The tower was erected in the 11th-century and contains 12 sides. The tower looks down onto the Piazza della Repubblica, which was once the home of the Roman Forum. Quiet cafes border the square and offer parasols to shade their outdoor tables. The building walls embody the heart of the Middle Ages inside the center of the medieval city.
Florence - Venture to Florence for a Walking Tour of the Renaissance City
Florence is a city that embodies the history, mystery, surprise, and splendor that you have looked forward to on this itinerary. At breakfast, you can linger in the aroma of freshly baked brioche as it blends with the slow brewed espresso. Your private transfer will meet you in the lobby to escort you away from the Rome and to the Renaissance city of Florence. The historical center crosses over the banks of the Arno River as Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome of the Cathedral towers over the skyline at more than 375 feet above the church floor. Renaissance palaces line the meandering cobbled lanes that lead to the splendid churches and hidden markets. Your guide will meet you at your hotel ready to show you the marvels of Florence as embodied in the city’s open-air museum-like atmosphere.
The simple wonder of the city will set in as your guide will point out a small plaque on a building that indicates that the area was mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, which brings one of the Western World’s best-known epic poems to life. The Basilica of Santa Croce towers over the piazza of the same name as a stoic statue of the epic poet Dante watches over the open cobblestone square. The Bardi Chapel features murals painted by Giotto that depict scenes from the life of Saint Francis. The church contains the tombs of famous Florentine’s including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. In the afternoon, the scent of fresh pasta and simmering sauce emanate from the countless restaurants that open their doors for the day.
Florence – Traverse the Stunning Museums and Palaces of Florence
In the morning you can find members of the private rowing club taking their boats out onto the Arno River. They will paddle their boats between the bridges in the early hours of the morning as the city fills with the scent of freshly baked brioche drifting from the numerous hidden bakeries that send their goods to the cafes of the city. Today you will enjoy the marvels of the museums on a private tour of the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, and San Lorenzo. Cosimo I de’ Medici patronized the structure in the 16th-century as the offices of the Florence magistrates. The gallery first opened to the public in the 1760s to display a portion of its vast collection.
An arcade forms a rectangular piazza that leads from Piazza Signoria to the riverbank. Once inside, the natural sunlight beams through the open windows and shines off of the polished marble-lined halls. The opulent interior sets the tone of your tour, as the structure emits as much awe as the artwork. Your guide will lead you to Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi, which the artist created in the 1470s. The artwork depicts a colorful scene in which several of the Medici family makes an appearance. A secret passage known as the Vasari Corridor connected the Gallery to the Pitti Palace across the water and was built as an accessible route for the Grand Duke to move between his residence and office at leisure. After you explore the depths of the Uffizi, your guide will lead you to the bustling local market place at San Lorenzo to enjoy traditional artisan goods of local vendors, including the delicious panini made fresh to order.
Florence – Visit the Tuscan Countryside and Enjoy the Charming Towns
The Tuscan hills reveal a welcoming emerald glow in the morning light as cypress trees line the country roads, and vineyards rush along the foothills that lead to the stunning olive groves. The traditional landscape of Tuscany has enticed visitors from around the world eager to visit the medieval towns and enjoy the delicious cultural flavors. Your guide will escort you into the Tuscan countryside in the morning before the streets of Florence return to their normal fast pace. Venture to the Casentino Valley located less than 30 miles east of the city.
The town of Poppi invites you into a fairytale filled with medieval castles and local legend. Trails lead from the edge of town into the depths of the nearby forest. The town stands atop a hill that overlooks the crest of the Apennines. The outline of the castle remains prominent above the homes of Poppi, as it has stood overlooking the town for more than 700 years. The main fortification known as the Devil’s Tower statue rises above a local café with a view of the valley below.
Locals continue to tell the tale of a local noblewoman with an appetite for handsome young men who was eventually locked in the tower after a tryst with a local. The castle was erected in the 13th-century and has remained occupied ever since. The structure contains numerous floors, including the elegant ballroom and subterranean dungeon. The courtyard arcade provides a view into the serene greenery of the garden as the scent of honey and local cheese emanates from those enjoying a midmorning snack underneath the portico.
Assisi – Venture to the Hillside Town of Assisi before Returning to Rome
All roads once led to Rome, including the streets of Florence as defined by their grid on the southern banks of the Arno River. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you away from the beacon of the Cathedral’s soaring dome. You will travel southbound towards Rome, and venture through the region of Umbria once more, this time with a stop at the hillside town of Assisi, birthplace of Saint Francis. The sunlight will cast a glow upon the marble facades and medieval structures that ascend Monte Subasio in a rosy hue. Cobblestone lanes meander along the sloped hill to the woodlands that carpet the opposite gradient.
The 13th-century Basilica stands atop a plateau that is separated from the rest of the town. The Late Romanesque church contains celebrated frescoes in the upper and lower churches painted by Giotto. A narrow stairwell leads to the lower, earlier church as the dimmer light creates an ethereal ambiance. The modest architecture embodies the piety of Saint Francis as the frescoes in the lower church depict the saint’s life in 28 elaborate scenes. A stone sarcophagus contains remains of Saint Francis, which were rediscovered in the 19th-century.
Follow the lanes deeper into the heart of town to experience the relaxed pace of Assisi and the province of Perugia. A local artisan store offers olive oil tastings and boasts a rich selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegar produced by local mills. The Piazza del Comune once held the Roman Forum and now claims the center of Assisi life as the main square. The ancient Tempio di Minerva, a temple from the 1st-century AD, continues to border the piazza as the original Roman façade frames the 17th-century refurbished interior.
Rome – Depart for Home
The center of Rome’s historical district fills with feral cats that bask in the morning light. Red brick and fractions of former pillars rise out of the open subterranean archeological space. The cats linger around the ancient temple complex at their whim as locals leave out saucers of milk and bits of food on the edges of the square that sinks 20 feet below the contemporary city streets. The steps of the Theater of Pompey reveal themselves in the complex, upon which Julius Caesar was betrayed in the 1st-century BC, an area often overlooked by visitors when wandering Rome. The city continues to captivate you no matter how much time you spend exploring the streets or lingering in charming cafes. As your trip concludes, your guide will meet you at your hotel when you are ready to escort you to the Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
- Enjoy an olive oil and balsamic tasting in an artisan shop along the cobbled lanes of Assisi
- Venture to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome for a unique view of the Cathedral and the encircling rooftops of Rome
- Traverse the labyrinthine tunnels in the Catacombs of Callixtus during a private tour of the early Christian burial grounds
- Witness the majestic architecture and captivating artwork of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, including the secret passage that leads over the river
- Stroll along the streets of Florence for a remarkable tour of the city’s with focus on the sculptures and elaborate palaces
- Relish the picturesque landscape of Tuscany while you visit the small villages of the famous countryside
- View the gilded mosaics on the façade of Orvieto’s detailed Gothic Cathedral
- Explore the medieval castle grounds of the Tuscan village of Poppi
- Indulge in the culture of Italy’s famous markets with a visit to Florence’s Mercato Centrale for a delicious lunch
- Witness the stone tomb in which Saint Francis of Assisi was laid to rest
You can imagine the beauty of Italy without ever having stepped foot in the Tuscan hills or visited the charming fountains in the Piazza Navona, but the true thrill of Italy is in the beauty that exceeds your expectation. Your 10-day tour of the culture and history of Rome and Florence will let the grandeur of the past speak for itself as the splendors of the Vatican Museum and Uffizi Gallery will surpass your imagination. When in Italy, you will not just look at history, rather you will experience it as you touch the stone of the Colosseum to walk along a crypt of early Christianity.
Your immersive tour will begin with your arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Rome will quickly come alive in the image of the Victor Emanuel II Monument and the towering figure of the Colosseum. Your guide will meet you at your hotel for an introductory tour of the city the includes the Baroque fountains, marvelous architecture, and ancient opulence of the Pantheon. Next day, you will venture into the depths of Rome’s ancient past with a tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. Wander along to enjoy the medieval charms of the Trastevere district for insight into the contemporary lifestyle of locals. Move on the next day with a spectacular view of Vatican City on a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Delight in the visit to the top of the Basilica dome with its amazing view. Follow in the footsteps of previous popes and Roman emperors with a visit to the Castel Sant’Angelo.
Wander next beneath the contemporary streets of Rome to explore the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, which displays elements of early Christian symbolism. Follow your discovery of the catacombs with a visit to the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, a preserved archeological site on the outskirts of Rome. Marvel at the medieval architecture and tranquil atmosphere around the town of Orvieto, located in the region of Umbria the following day. From the Cathedral artistry to the flavorful wine, you will find a welcoming ambiance and a possible cooking class to learn the favorite pasta of locals before returning to Rome.
Next, travel north to Florence to partake in an in-depth introductory walking tour of the Renaissance City. In the evening, you can enjoy a quiet meal in the countless restaurants located on the Oltrarno. Following day, your guide will lead you through the Uffizi Gallery, including the secret passage that connects the historical office building to the Pitti Palace across the river. Indulge in the local flavors with a lunch at the Mercato Centrale before your tour of the renowned Galleria dell’Accademia. The next day will take you into the Tuscan countryside to experience the villages and towns known for their preserved walls and tasty cuisine.
Visit San Gimignano and Siena, along with the charming villages in the province of Casentino before your private transfer will escort you back to Rome by way of Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis. Spend time to tour the majestic Cathedral and enjoy an olive oil tasting at a local artisan shop. Once in Rome, the remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the atmosphere. You could visit the various churches or gardens around the city, including the Church of Saint Ignatius to witness the three-dimensional ceiling. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
$2,745 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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