Rome is a city that embraces its past and looks towards the future. Remnants of Roman aqueducts run through the outskirts of the city. The cobblestone streets lead to hidden piazzas filled with charming tables and locals savoring the afternoon sunlight. Opulent fountains trickle with water adding ambiance and décor to expansive plazas.
When your plane lands at the airport, your private transfer awaits your arrival. Rome maintains a vibrant energy swirling around ancient ruins and historic churches. The kids marvel at the amount of history strewn about the city, saying it looks like a movie set. Sporadic palm trees grow throughout the city towering above the cobblestone lanes but beneath the attractive skyline of steeples and treasured cathedral domes.
As the sun begins to set, you stroll through the city finding Piazza Navona. The square was built in the 1st century AD and feels like a large stadium with several fountains on display. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, The Fountain of the Four Rivers, was erected in the 17th century representing four major rivers across four continents commemorated in marbled Greek-esque figures. The family can sit in the square indulging in some gelato from Gelateria del Teatro, and basking in the beauty of Rome.
When the sun rises over the Eternal City, you can see the light glint off of the towering frame of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The city shimmers a golden color in the soft morning light. At breakfast, you sip on a strong, freshly brewed espresso and the kids enjoy the flaky sweetness of fresh baked brioches. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you out into the fascinating streets to witness the vast extent of the city’s history. In the afternoon, you make your way to the Vatican Museum for a superb After-Hours Tour. Your guide meets you at the entrance where a stone portico leads the family into the base of the small city.
Once inside the museum, you immediately notice the polished sheen to the floor, walls, and ceiling, emanating a sense of opulence keen to the papacy. After-Hours private family tours mean that the museum is practically empty of people, except some small groups that are scattered throughout the halls and galleries at different times; it gives you the feeling you are entirely alone with the family around some of the most priceless treasures in the world. As if the gilded walls and ceilings in the map room weren’t enough to keep the kids interested, your guide does an incredible job challenging the kids to find certain types of art or images, keeping them engaged during the entire visit until you reach the end of the tour situated in the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo painted the chapel in the 16th century. The ceiling stands almost 70 feet above you, radiant with color. The images move you. Your guide explains to the family how Michelangelo spent years on his back with his brush sweeping across the ceiling, without a computer or a phone to help. The experience is breathtaking, and seeing it in a small group where you can move throughout the chapel and get close to the wall of Last Judgment makes the experience all the better.
In the morning, you savor the slightly bitter taste of an espresso before the day begins. The sunlight spreads across the cobblestone streets. The palm trees cast thin shadows over the lanes. The narrow lanes shade the hidden walkways winding around the oldest parts of the city.
After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel eager to lead the family to some of the best-known flavors of the city and region. The food and culture of Italy are inseparable. Even the kids are excited to taste the city, filled with the known flavors of pizza and pasta that they could eat all day, every day. However, there is so much more to the true tastes of Rome.
Your guide leads you to the old neighborhood of Trastevere. The narrow cobblestone streets turn into lanes bordered by historic buildings. In the morning and afternoon, the neighborhood feels like a village, separate from the city at large, filled with artisan bakeries, hidden gelaterias, and small restaurants with tables lingering on the narrow street.
The food market erupts with locals, filling the piazza with jovial laughter and vibrant produce. The aroma of fresh flowers filters through the air. The area exudes Roman tradition. Cookies linger in shop windows filled with chocolate or fruit. Wisteria dangles over the bakery entrance. Your guide gives each of you a small profiterole stuffed with zabaglione cream. The kids are thrilled for the sweet treat. You bite into the profiterole and feel the cold cream burst open.
In the morning, you make your way to the lesser-known Roman antiquity, traveling along the Appian Way and Baths of Caracalla. The unique areas of the city’s past open up in both space and understanding. For a one of a kind view of the city, your guide leads you to Aventine Hill where you find the building housing the Knights of Malta. She tells the kids to peek through the large keyhole. The view frames a lush garden in the foreground and St. Peter’s Dome in the distance.
After another full day of traveling through time, the kids are eager to bite into some pizza. There are few better ways to bring a family together than with a cooking class. You make your way to a Roman apartment where an authentic Italian nonna will help you prepare an entire meal using seasonal ingredients. The aroma of the kitchen is immediately enticing. The kids quickly dress in an apron and happily dig their hands into the flour to start making dough. You follow their lead and soon feel as though you have found a long lost Roman grandmother teaching you the secrets of traditional Roman cuisine. Your reward is delicious pizza for everyone to share.
After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the train station for your comfortable train ride to the Renaissance Tuscan city of Florence. The kids have fun on the train, looking out the window and watching the historic buildings fade to expansive landscape, shifting from golden Umbrian hillsides to large cypress trees and lush vineyards rolling to the horizon.
Settle into your luxurious accommodation in the historic city center, inside the medieval walls that continue to line the northern edge of Florence. The city is majestic from the moment you arrive. Cobblestone streets meander around the strong stone buildings. You can see the dome of the Florence Cathedral from almost any direction towering over the rest of the city.
You venture to Palazzo Davanzati, a Renaissance structure erected in the latter half of the 14th century belonging to a wealthy merchant family. The coat of arms continues to adorn the façade of the palace. The kids are enthusiastic about visiting a real palace. Pillars decorate the inner courtyard, each carved with the likeness of the palace’s original owner. The Room of the Parrots has wall paintings designed to look like dangling drapery with parrots adding to the motif in paint and embroidery. You find a unique look into the Renaissance and the kids have an easy introduction to the lavish history around them in the city.
In the morning, you can see the sunlight wash over the emerald rolling Tuscan hills. The bells from Giotto’s bell tower chime against the backdrop of Renaissance spires and marbled cathedral façade. After breakfast, you make your way to the medieval town of Siena. The cobblestone streets rise and fall against the hillside location. The rustic buildings widen and narrow until opening up to Piazza del Camp. Twice a year the large square is filled with sand, creating a safe space for the horserace known as the Palio, when riders are chosen to represent their respective neighborhoods, riding their horse without a saddle around the square.
During the year, the open, slanting square is quiet. People linger along the colonnade where cafes set out tables. The large spire of the Palazzo Comunale casts a shadow over the old Roman marketplace on which the piazza now sits. The palace was erected near the end of the 13th century and maintains its Gothic influences. The kids recognize the palace from its appearance in the beginning scene of the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. You watch younger children chase after the pigeons in the square. Older kids enjoy the exhilaration of climbing the bell tower for a view of the ramparts and medieval edifices of the city.
After breakfast, the city of Florence is yours and the family’s to discover. Your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you along Via Calzuaiuoli, which connects the Duomo to Piazza Signoria, where Palazzo Vecchio crowns the historic square. When you reach the Uffizi Gallery, the kids stop to look at a collection of statues standing outside of the museum. Other people have gathered to look at the different poses these statues have captured. Then, the statues begin to move surprising people trying to take pictures with them. The kids find it hilarious. Your guide continues to lead you into the Uffizi, an opulent palace-like structure created under that patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici in the 16th century to house the judiciary and administrative offices of the city.
When you enter the second-floor hall, you find ornate décor encompassing the entire museum, from crown molding to marble tiled floors. Your guide does a great job keeping the kids engaged, having them search for objects and themes in the art. When you reach Primavera by Botticelli, you find a world of color expressing the vibrancy the images. The painting dates back to 1482 and is an allegory for spring. The orange groves create sporadic light in the background, with Venus at the center standing in an arch. The family listens to the guide, stunned with wonderment at the masterpiece in front of them.
In the morning, the Ponte Vecchio is clear of passersby. The gold and silversmiths open for business like they have for two millennia since the Romans first constructed the bridge. The Arno River flitters past bisecting the city. The magnetic and romantic ambiance of Florence continues to drift through the streets.
At breakfast, the kids eagerly share their favorite moments of the vacation, from the castles to the paintings, and especially the gelato. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts the family to the Peretola International Airport for your flight home.
Italy is known as a world of food and ancient ruins, home to Rome and Leonardo da Vinci, the Vatican and Michelangelo. It is a country filled with romance and wonder, where even kids can enjoy the majesty of the past and the splendor of art history rising all around them. Family has been and remains an important part of the culture. On your 8-day kid friendly vacation to Rome, Tuscany, and the Vatican, you will find every moment bringing your family closer together, whether strolling in a museum on a private tour or eating gelato in a quiet square. Children chase pigeons and teenagers lounge on benches near tranquil fountains with the aroma of homemade cuisine emanating from the buildings.
Your family vacation begins with your arrival in Rome. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to a luxurious hotel in the heart of the city. Take time to stroll along the cobblestone streets and absorb the enticing aromas drifting from restaurants and gelaterias. Tour the famous, and even infamous, ruins including a VIP tour of the Colosseum.
Later in the day, you will have an After-Hours Tour of the Vatican Museum, home to Rafael’s School of Athens and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. Next, tour the neighborhood of Trastevere with your food guide, an area known for its delightful flavors and traditional Roman cuisine. With your guide, visit the less explored regions of ancient Rome where you will see a series of exquisite ruins obscured by history. You continue your exploration of the culture with a cooking course taught by a chef and traditional Italian grandmother who will pass down her secret recipes.
Then, travel northbound to Tuscany, settling in the Renaissance city of Florence, and visit two distinct palaces that will inspire the whole family. The following day, travel into the Tuscan countryside and visit the medieval town of Siena. Travel back to Florence where it is once again yours to enjoy. Visit the splendid masterworks of the Uffizi Gallery, and offer the kids a place to roam in the exquisite Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace. On your final morning, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts the family to the Peretola Airport for your flight home.
$2195 per person (excluding international flights)
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