There is no city on Earth that is quite like Rome, filled with relics and memories of one of the greatest civilizations in history, as well as the more recent reminders of its continued success. A private driver will be waiting for you at the airport, set to escort you to your luxurious accommodations at the Hotel Capo D’Africa, a four-star, Art Deco delight with recently refurbished amenities and sensational views over the city from the hotel’s terrace. With an attentive staff, modern conveniences, and the Colosseum mere minutes from your hotel room, what more could you want in your home away from home?
Spend the evening at one of the city’s great restaurants, where the best of Roman cuisine shines through: simple, fresh, and always perfectly prepared. These are the meals that earned Italy its global culinary reputation.
Set out to explore the sights of Rome on a fully guided tour of the city in the comfort and convenience of your own car. Make your way through the metropolis’ notoriously hectic streets as you hit all the highlights of this famous community. History buffs will love visiting the sprawling Roman Forum, the center of life in ancient Rome and the setting for some of classical Rome’s greatest architectural triumphs, like the Arch of Constantine and the nearby, iconic Colosseum. Those with an eye to the city’s more recent attractions are sure to love the graceful and elegant fountains, piazzas, and stairways that add a certain softness to the city’s otherwise gruff and puissant tone. The Trevi Fountain is duly renowned as one of the greatest fountains on Earth, and the Spanish Steps are certainly not to be missed.
Late afternoon is to your leisure; perhaps take the time after your excursion to relax and breathe in the spirit of the city, with a coffee drink in hand and nothing on your mind but where to eat dinner this evening.
Leave Rome, and turn south to the Mediterranean coast, where the azure blue waves pound the rocky shore, and where the rocky shores give way to peaks and valleys and spectacular scenery. Your Southern Italian expedition begins in the fearsome shadow of Mount Vesuvius and the famous ruins of Pompeii, the ancient city burned and preserved in fiery hot ash that has attracted visitors for centuries. You’ll be amazed by the remaining buildings – particularly the aristocratic House of the Faun – and moved by the plastic casts of victims still in situ that fill the “Garden of the Fugitives.”
Your day brightens with a stop along the famed Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, where you’ll find stunning natural grandeur and some of the most gorgeous and charming seaside villages you could imagine. The craggy, tree-covered bluffs frame the bright colors of the villages’ homes and churches, shops and secular structures, with the deep cerulean hue of the Mediterranean offering the perfect forefront. Whether this is your first time to the Amalfi Coast or your 51st, you’re sure to be unable to resist the area’s allure.
The evening sees you back in Rome.
This morning, hit Rome’s best-known fashion center as you make your way to the high-end fashion houses and independent labels that line the famed Via Condotti, Rome’s answer to Fifth Avenue, where everyone from Christian Dior to Salvatore Ferragamo set up shop. Should you find yourself in need of a mid-morning energy boost, you can try to grab a cappuccino at the famous Caffe Greco, one of the oldest cafés in Rome, where some of the great names of the late 19th and early 20th century could often be found, getting their caffeine fix and enjoying the passersby.
In the afternoon, you’ll be escorted to the heart of Catholicism for a private tour of the most important buildings in Vatican City. Wind your way past breathtaking artifacts and priceless works of art as you navigate the more than nine miles of the Vatican Museums. There are great sculptures here, like the Augustus of Prima Porta, and the fascinating and gorgeous Gallery of Maps as well as a room filled with frescoes by Raphael and his students, the highlight of which is the inspired The School of Athens. But there is no museum room in the world quite like the Sistine Chapel, the final exhibit of the Vatican Museums, where the color and detail and power and delicacy of Michelangelo’s finest creation will move you in a way no other work of art has before.
You’ll also get a chance to tour the famous Basilica of St. Peter, one of the largest religious buildings in the world and the home to some of the finest works of sculpture the Western World has ever known. Michelangelo’s Pieta is here – albeit protected with a pane of thick glass – as is Bernini’s soaring staggering baldachin, and the crypt below the Basilica houses the remains of some of the great popes of the past.
You’ve already made your way south from the capital; so today, you turn north into the lush and verdant farmlands of Tuscany, bound for the grandeur of fascinating Florence, the city on the Arno that was the center of the Italian Renaissance, humanism, and the republican revival. Your three-hour tour will take you to the highlights of this marvelous city, from the cavernous galleries of the famed Uffizi to the triumphant posture and confident sneer of Michelangelo’s David, one of the crowning works of Italian sculpture and, indeed, of the human spirit. After, cross the river at the Ponte Vecchio – a great place to pick up souvenirs – or survey the scene at the Piazza della Signoria, perhaps the most important city square in Italy for much of the 15th and 16th centuries.
If you would like, you can turn back to Rome early and stop at one of Tuscany’s quaint towns or excellent vineyards. Siena is perhaps the loveliest village in the entire region, the tower-dotted skyline of San Gimignano is certainly worth a stop, and some of the best and boldest wines – the so-called Super Tuscans – come right outside of Florence. However you choose to spend your afternoon, you’ll be sure to enjoy your Tuscan excursion.
Your final day in Rome – and in Italy – should be comfortable and casual while still remaining captivating, a day filled with people-watching, museum-going, or simply strolling through the one-of-a-kind streets of this bustling city. There are, of course, innumerable museums of world-class quality in Rome, offering exhibits detailing the history of the residents or filled with the best examples of modern art around. The Capitoline Museum perched on top of Capitoline Hill has one of the best collections of statuary in the city, including the famous Roman she-wolf nursing the infant Romulus and Remus that has since become a symbol of the city, while the National Gallery of Modern Art has more works by 19th- and 20th-century Italian artists than anywhere else on the globe. You can also find a number of excellent pieces by foreign masters like Cezanne, Monet, Rodin and Jackson Pollock.
Or, perhaps you’d rather take your last day and plant yourself on a street-side table at a Roman cafe, enjoying espresso – or maybe something a little bit stronger – and the city breeze as it runs past the people who walk by, telling their stories and the stories of countless others, whispering the untold secrets of this Eternal City. And with one more night to live it up Italian style, you might just find that an afternoon nap is in order.
This morning, you’ll be taken by private car from your hotel room to the airport in plenty of time to board the flight that will take you back home. From the indescribable power of the Colosseum to the opulence of the Trevi Fountain, from the stories of Pompeii to the surf off Amalfi to the streets and piazzas of Florence, this Italian vacation is sure to inspire, enchant, and enthrall you.
Why limit yourself to one part of Italy when you could explore all of it? Why restrict yourself to adventures in one half of the peninsula while completely ignoring the other? With this weeklong trip spread throughout this captivating country, you won’t have to choose between two extremes anymore because now you can have both.
Begin in Rome in the heart of the nation, the city that has been the political, cultural, and social capital off-and-on for more than 2,000 years. It’s the home to great works of art and stirring moments of history. Make your way south to the famed Amalfi Coast, passing by the fascinating remains of celebrated Pompeii and cruising along this pristine and phenomenal stretch of Mediterranean coast. Then, turn north into the scintillating countryside of Tuscany, hitting many of the highlights of Florence and experiencing some of the smaller towns of the region.
These are the places that inspired poems and changed history, the cities and towns and undulating countryside that has made Italy one of the most popular destinations in the world. Be you art enthusiast or wine connoisseur, history buff or beach bum, gourmand or adventure junkie, this trip will let you experience it all.
$1920 per person (excluding international flights)
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