Masterpieces of Italy Tour: From David to The Last Supper

A 10 day trip to Italy 
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Italy is like a treasure chest brimming with art, architecture, and innovation. Experience artistic brilliance with insightful guides accompanying you on an Italy tour personalized to your favorite inspirational masterpieces. Medieval villages overtake hillsides. Ancient arenas continue to permeate the skyline. Frescoes and mosaics retain their bright colors and continue to tell stories through the ages. From Rome to Milan, Florence to Venice, the masters of Italy crafted detailed works that have withstood the tests of time, filling every moment of your luxury Italian tour with a wealth of excellence, wonder, charm, and prestige. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Assisi, Padua, Venice, Milan 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Rome – Arrive the Eternal City with a Fascinating Walking Tour and Dinner

Rome represents the brilliance of the classical era and the importance of artistry to daily life beyond the emperors and senators of the empire. Delicate and dramatic frescoes decorate churches. The Spanish Steps shimmer with opulent marble and elegant design. The dome of the Pantheon has inspired architects and artists for two millennia, including the legendary Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. Your flight lands at Rome Fiumicino Airport. Your private transfer greets you upon your arrival and escorts you to a gorgeous hotel in the historical city center. Locals and visitors wander along the designer shops along Via del Corso.

The scent of strawberries drifts out of a gelaterie, emanating from the fruity gelato. You take a moment to settle into the comforts of your luxury hotel set inside a former magnificent palace. Your guide greets you in the lobby, eager to introduce you to the masterful works of Rome on a walking tour through the city center. Consider learning more about the top Italy travel agents who will help design, create, and guide your dream Italy vacation. You can see the golden façade of Castel Sant’Angelo across the bridge over the Tiber River. The structure began as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and was converted into a papal fortress centuries later. The 10 angelic statues line the cobblestone bridge, each designed with a careful eye to detail by master sculptor Bernini. His work guides your exploration of the city center, as you make your way to Piazza Navona to view the elaborate Fountain of the Four Rivers, which Bernini also designed.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Rome – Enjoy the Rich History of Rome on a Private Guided Full Day Tour

The morning light washes over the Colosseum, an iconic image of Rome and its former empire. The outer wall reaches a height beyond 150 feet tall, casting a shadow over the cobbled lanes in the foreground. Your guide leads you through the halls of the ancient arena to view the interior where gladiators fought battles of epic proportions. An aroma of sunbaked stone fills the air. You look down into the Hypogeum and imagine the sound of 50,000 spectators cheering or jeering those on stage. After exploring the preserved walls and avenues of ancient Rome, you continue to the gorgeous grounds of the Villa Borghese.

The palace displays the grandeur of one of the world’s most elaborate private art collections. Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese established the villa in the 17th century with extensive garden pavilions and artificial lakes on the outside. The interior creates a regal ambiance with stunning halls and gorgeous galleries. Five fragments of a mosaic depicting gladiators and hunting scenes welcome you at the entrance. Ceiling frescoes add a layer of opulence to the atmosphere. You discover more Bernini statues decorating the galleries, including Apollo and Daphne. The graceful movement of the two characters looks frozen in time as Daphne reaches away and Apollo moves towards her.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Rome – Visit Vatican City and the Remarkable Churches Decorating Rome

In the morning, locals venture to a popular cafe to enjoy a fresh espresso in the celebrated shop opened in the 1930s, which produces elaborate blends with secret ingredients. The captivating aroma of roasted coffee beans and charred wood drifts out of the café from the wood-roasting technique the baristas use to heat the beans. The mastery of the coffee trade intrigues you as much as the historical masterworks decorating the city. After breakfast, your guide leads you on a private tour of the elaborate churches of the city, some with foundations more than 1,500 years old.

You begin the tour at Vatican City to wander amongst the galleries showcasing the marvelous collection obtained by popes and church patrons through the powerful influence of the Vatican over the millennium. The large, golden cross crowning St. Peter’s Basilica glints in the sunlight. Follow your guide along the marble halls and through the stunning display of topographical charts painted onto the ceilings and walls in the Map Room before reaching the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous of Michelangelo’s artistic creations. The 16th-century frescoes on the wall and ceiling draw your attention. The roof stands nearly 70 feet tall and glows with images divided into nine sections, retelling the story of Genesis. You can follow the stories linearly by tracing them from the altar to the entrance, finding the Creation of Adam.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Florence – Wander Historic of Assisi and Enjoy a Fabulous Tour of Florence

In the morning, the staff at a café established in 1900 opens its doors to the city. The scent of espresso and cappuccino with a layer of delectable foam drifts from the tables overlooking Uffici del Vicario. Your private transfer greets you in the lobby and escorts you north towards Florence, stopping in the enchanting town of Assisi, the home of St. Francis. The golden hill rises above the plain leading towards the rival city of Perugia. The dramatic walls and towers of the 14th-century Rocca Maggiore fortress crowns the summit and offers a view of the verdant valleys and the walls of Perugia in the distance.

Your guide leads you into the remarkable basilica of San Francisco, which has a bi-level design. The lower church was erected in the early 13th century with the upper level crafted in the late-13th century. You enter into the main church, following the colonnade leading to the portals. The herbaceous aroma of frankincense lingers in the nave. An elegant rose window allows for natural light to spill through the gallery, drawing the eye to the vaulted ceilings with turquoise and golden colors. Frescoes depicting the legend of the saint decorate the upper church. You follow the narrow stairwell down into the lower church to visit the tomb of St. Francis in the crypt uncovered in the 19th century.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Florence – Explore the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and Hidden Artisan Workshops

The new-age coffee shop of Ditta Artiginale offers a local, new brand of coffee to locals happy to indulge in the mixture of decadent cappuccinos and sweet brioches before work. The traditional jewelers on the Ponte Vecchio open their doors to the passersby, showcasing the glistening treasures of their shop within the medieval doorways on the oldest bridge in the city. Your guide leads you through Piazza Signoria to view the remarkable shape of the 16th-century palace home to the Uffizi Gallery, which once housed the magistrate’s office. The polished marble floors on the upper level shine in the light pouring through the upper windows.

The galleries present work featuring the styles and trends of the 13th to the 17th centuries, with tremendous focus on the brilliance of the Renaissance. You step in front of La Primavera by Botticelli, which takes your breath away. The masterpiece stretches nearly 80 inches by 123 inches and depicts an allegory of spring. The 15th-century work feature six female figures and two male characters in an orange grove. The graceful and delicate characteristics draw you closer to the painting, softening the gaze on the central figure of spring. Continue through the Vasari Corridor, a hidden passageway erected under the patronage of the Medici family, leading you over the Arno River and to the Pitti Palace. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Florence – Discover the Accademia, San Marco Church, and Central

Market

The aroma of sweet and buttery pastries emanates from the hidden doors of a hidden bakery that works overnight to create the delicious pastries that fill the window displays of the cafes across the city. The delicious scent of a cornetto stuffed with nutella complements the returning aroma of espressos to the city streets. You begin your day after breakfast at the Galleria dell’Accademia. The neutral tone of the walls allows the magnificent paintings and sculptures to stand out. The 16th-century work of Giambologna known as the Rape of the Sabines, features three figures connected in a movement similar to a serpent.

The magnificent and elegant sculpture was carved from a single block of marble with meticulous detail paid to every angle of the statue. You continue down the hall lined by Michelangelo’s unfinished works of slaves breaking free from the marble. You can see how the master artist envisioned each piece, which now resembles people emerging from the stone. The famous work of Michelangelo’s David crowns the end of the hall. The masterpiece stands 14 feet tall and depicts the biblical figure before battle with Goliath. The intricate details of the sculpture make the figure look as human as possible, down to the curls and wave in his hair and resting in the classical pose of contrapposto.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Venice – Relish the Churches and Cuisine of Bologna and Art of Padua

After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and leads you out of Florence. You travel through Tuscany and pass the iconic rolling hills, cypress trees, and vineyards. The ridges of the Apennines rise over the landscape in Emilia Romagna as you stop in the medieval city of Bologna, capital of the region. The city is known for its cuisine, along with housing one of the oldest universities in Europe, which opened in the 11th century. The aroma of handmade pasta accompanies the scent of simmering meat sauce. Arcades lead to public piazzas and markets brim with fresh, colorful produce.

The Asinelli Tower climbs to a height of nearly 320 feet tall and lists with age near the center of the town. After enjoying the beauty and flavor of the city, you continue to Padua. The historical architecture and artistry of the city contrasts the youthful ambiance deriving from the ancient university. Your guide leads you directly to the Scrovegni Chapel to view the unprecedented frescoes painted by Giotto. The master artist has been credited with ending the Dark Ages and bringing in the Renaissance with his portrayal of biblical figures with human characteristics. Your guide points to the image of Jesus staring down at Judas who begins to pucker for a kiss.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Venice – Absorb the Art and Architecture on a Full Day Tour of Venice

The city of Venice is a work of art accentuated by the Grand Canal. In the morning, the sunlight washes over the regal mansions and glints onto the bustling waterway. Gondolas return to the smaller canals winding between the nearly 120 islands creating the greater city. The Rialto Market brims with vendors offering peaches and plums, eggplants and zucchinis, alongside fishmongers with fresh wares caught in the dark hours of the early morning. You follow your guide through the bustle of central Venice to view the shimmering golden arches and bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica.

The gilded weathervane of archangel Gabriel glistens atop the campanile, the nearly 325-foot tall bell tower soaring above the piazza. The Gallerie dell’Accademia was established in the 19th century inside a mid-18th century mansion, housing the oldest of the six grand schools of Venetian art. Masters such as Titian and Tintoretto learned within the serene and graceful halls of the palazzo. The artwork around the galleries is displayed in chronological order, following in the traditions of the former school. Your footsteps echo off the marble. The vibrant paintings bring life to the large walls. Your guide leads you to Tintoretto’s The Stealing of St. Mark, which represents the 9th-century Venetian merchants who spirited away the saint’s body from Alexandria.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Milan – Venture to Milan to View the Duomo and Santa Maria delle

Grazie

The morning light washes over the city but misses the Old World bookshop tucked into the narrow bridge at the heart of the historic Jewish Ghetto. The rare books feature little known histories and vibrant telling of life in Venice and greater Italy often sought after by local poets and contemporary artists. After breakfast, you take a private vaporetto to the edges of the canal and travel to the contemporary corners of Milan. The city embodies modern fashion in clothing and architectural design, inspired by bursts of preserved history, featured in the city’s heart.

The city broke ground on the cathedral in the 14th century, completing the unique edifice in the 1960s. Over 135 spires and 3,400 statues compile a storybook structure accented by the largest stained-glass windows of any cathedral in Christendom. The aroma of fresh espresso drifts from the cafes surrounding the piazza. Your guide leads you away from the fabulous embellishments of the Duomo, through the complexities of the captivating works inside the Pinacoteca de Brera, to arrive at the rosy brick façade of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The structure houses the most famous mural of Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, hidden on the wall of the refectory adjacent to the basilica. Hints of frankincense and myrrh linger in the nave. You notice flecks on the wall where the paint has chipped over the centuries. You have seen the mural in countless photographs, however, seeing the work up close stirs emotions of grandeur and wonder, allowing you to discover the specific details absent in endless reproductions, down to the bright light spreading across the faces of each Apostle. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Milan – Depart for Home

The golden edges of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II glints in the returning sunlight with graceful domes and a stunning mosaic floor. The 19th-century edifice features industrial iron and large glass windows framing prestigious and boutique shops. Cafes fill the air with the scent of Italian roast and freshly baked brioche. The preserved historical arcade adds another layer of luster to the fashionable artistry of Milan. At breakfast, you recall your favorite works from the galleries inside the Pinacoteca di Brera, home of the Accademia di Belle Arti, remembering the 15th-century Madonna in a Ring of Angels’ Heads and Lamentation by Mantegna. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after the meal and escorts you to Malpensa Airport when you are ready, bringing an end to your Italy tour with the masters.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.