Day 1: 8:30 am Flight number FCO airport pick up.
Day 2: 2:00 am Vatican Museum walking tour - The service includes: Papal Galleries, Sisitine Chapel, St. Peter's, Basilica, St. Peter's Square.
Day 3: 9:00 am Rome full day private tour by van and driver-guide/the city highlights - 8 hours. The driving tour includes the following sites: Gianoculum Hill, Trastevere area, Jewish Ghetto, St. Peter Cathedral, Jewish Ghetto, Tiberina Island, Aventine Hill, Marcello Theatre, Capitol Hill, The Circus Maximus, The Key Hole, Piazza Venezia, Villa Adriana, St, Peter's Basilica (externally) Trastevere area, Roman Forum Views, Coliseum (externally), The Catacombs, Quirinal Hill and the President of Repubblic Seat, Via Veneto, Villa Borghese, Villa Adriana, The Appian Way, The Phanteon, Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Campo dè Fiori, Piazza del Popolo, Via Veneto and Castel Gandolfo known as the summer residence of Pope Ratzinger.
Day 4: 9:00 am Etruscan tour: Tarquinia and Tuscania - 6 hours (A 3-hour local walking tour guide included). We'll drive towards Tarquinia, a necropolis that extends 5 km in length and 1 km in width. It contains thousands of tombs dating from the 6th century BC through the 1st century BC. Although there aren't any architectural features here, there is an extraordinary assemblage of paintings that decorate the walls in the underground funerary rooms.
You will see scenes of everyday life such as dining, dancing, hunting and fishing. There are pictures of horse races, games and spectacles. Additionally, you will see images of the afterlife including divinities, funerary rites and religious symbols. The main attraction of the town is one of the most interesting museums of central Italy, the Museo Nazionale Tarquinese. There, you will see mainly Etruscan exhibits and sarcophagi that have been excavated from the necropolis a few miles away. Tuscania will be visited on the way back to Rome Lunch will be available upon request at a typical, local restaurant. Sightseeing will continue on the way back to your hotel.
Day 5: 9:30 am Rome by night - 2 hours the city highlights by night among fountains Piazzas and ice cream stop!
Day 6: 9:00 am Tivoli full day tour: Villa Adriana and Villa D'Este 7-hours (A 7-hour licensed guide included). This is a 7-hour driving tour. You'll be visiting two remarkable Roman archaeological sites, the Villa Adriana and the Renaissance Villa D'Este. Since they were built during two different historical periods, it will be interesting to note their similarities and differences. Your English speaking tour-manager will pick you up at your hotel. Villa Adriana is located in Tivoli, about 19 miles northeast of Rome, at the foot of the Tiburtini Hills. In ancient times, beginning in the 2nd century BC, this little town was a favorite summer residence of Roman nobility. Here lies what remains of the imperial residence of the Emperor Hadrian, the Villa Adriana. He had this huge and luxurious country estate built on an area of 120 square hectares.
Its size made it the largest of all the imperial villa complexes at that time. Its scale reveals that it was constructed at the height of the Roman Empire's power. After visiting this amazing archaeological complex, we'll stop for lunch* in a typical, local restaurant. You'll be able to indulge in tasting handmade pastas, mixed appetizers and excellent house wines. Our next stop will be at the Renaissance complex known as Villa D'Este. It was conceived and commissioned by the Cardinal of Ferrera, Ippolito D'Este while he was governor of Tivoli. The entire complex is a highly structured geometric system of paths, ramps and steps. They are interrupted by alternating fountains, grottoes and arched walks. This was considered to be an excellent example of the concept of European gardens.
Day 7: 8:30 am Pompeii and Positano full day trip 10 hours - (A 2-hour licensed walking tour guide in Pompeii included). The car will pick you up at your hotel in Rome and drive you to Pompeii, the most important archaeological site in the world. Pompeii is located on the southwest side of Mt. Vesuvius and close to the Gulf of Naples. It is known throughout the world because of the violent eruption of the mighty volcano in 79 AD. As a result, the city was destroyed by this tragic event that literally sucked the life out of its citizens in a very short period of time.
The entire site was entombed by 30 feet of ash and wasn't discovered until the end of the 18th century. Once excavation began, it was as if the city miraculously came to life again. Your glimpse into the magic and mystery of every day life can be witnessed while walking through the site. There is a bakery, theater, gymnasium and public bath, to name but a few areas. They all stand as a sentinel to a time and lifestyle long gone. There, you will learn about daily life, religious beliefs and government organization. Your trip will continue along the most stunning of Europe's seascapes. As the road twists and turns, each view is a new and unique sight to behold as you gaze down to the beautiful sea.
The Amalfi Drive is, in fact, a truly amazing construction. You will then arrive at the picturesque and peaceful Amalfi Home. The trip will continue to follow the picturesque Drive along the the Sorrentina and Amalfi Coasts. You will enjoy your lunch in the marvelous fishing village of Positano, famed as Europe's most beautiful seascape. During your fine walk down to the beach along a pedestrian-only area, you'll notice that it's virtually a vertical town filled with terraced and colorful houses. Many shops are filled with items designed and fabricated by local artisans, including clothing and ceramics. We'll then be returning to home base, Rome.
Day 8: 9:00 am Assisi and Orvieto full day trip - 8 hours. Your car will pick you up at the hotel in Rome and drive to Assisi. This is a well preserved Medieval town in Umbria and home to Italy's patron saint, St. Francis. This town also maintains frescoes by Giotto and Cimabue. Assisi is beautifully situated on a fertile hill and brightened up by olive groves and cypress trees. It stretches out along the slopes of Mount Subasio, in a lovely spot along the Valle Umbra. As you walk through the old fashioned St. Francis Basilica, you will come upon its beautiful and quaint chapels. There are also many narrow streets you'll want to discover that are filled with artisans, shops and fine art galleries.
Upon entering the town, one inevitably experiences a Franciscan atmosphere. There are fine pieces of literature about this area that speak of its panoramic views and expanses of wild poppies dotted by fields of sunflowers. After lunch in an authentic Umbrian restaurant, we will drive to Orvieto. Visitors have always appreciated this city for its many cultural and artistic sites as well as its monuments. All of this is complemented by the delicious specialties of the local cuisine which can be accompanied by Orvieto Bianco, one of the finest of the Umbrian wines. You can discuss your personal opinions when your driver takes you on this fine tour.
Day 9: 8:00 am Florence full day tour - 10 hours (A 3-hour licensed
guide included). Your car will pick you up at your hotel in Rome. After a pleasant drive through the marvelous, hilly landscapes of Umbria and Tuscany, you'll reach the regional capital. Florence lies on both banks of the Arno River. The larger and busier section lies on the right bank, and spreads out to the base of the hills of Fiesole.
You will meet your knowledgeable guide to Piazza della Repubblica and begin your visit at the most prestigious and important museum in Florence: the Accademia to admire the renowned masterpiece of Michelangelo's David. Museum The marvellous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore will be the next interesting stop. It is situated in the religious center of the city. The elegant Baptistry is noteworthy because of its exterior revestment. The white marble is from Carrara and the green marble is from Prato. It is, therefore, a typical example of Romanesque architecture in Tuscany. You'll then reach the Palazzo della Signoria.
The oldest portion was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, and dates back to the beginning of the 13th century. The construction of the building was protracted for more than two centuries, with a series of additions. Your next stop will be the Church of Santa Croce and the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge is the most famous in the world and the most There, on both sides, you will find a vast array of fine jewelry. Piazzale Michelangelo will be our final stop with the most breathtaking and unforgettable panoramic view of Florence.
Day 10: 8:00 am Siena and San Gimignano full day trip (Tucany region) - 11 hours (wine testing). Your car will pick you up at the hotel in Rome and transfer you to Siena, the hypnotic hill town. It is steeped in history and culture as proven by its monuments, churches and palazzos. The glorious city of Siena probably had its origin as a Roman military colony. One of the many points of interest is the Piazza del Campo. This is the location where the great horse race, the Palio, has been held since Medieval time.
Also, the lovely Dome was designed and constructed in the Romantic-Gothic style between the 12th and 13th centuries. The stop for lunch will be arranged to an authentic Sienese trattoria highly recommended for its past culinary experiences. We'll then drive to the Chianti region with its great climate, finest wines, flavorful olive oils and spectacular panoramas. Once you arrive at the hilltop towns, you'll take in each one's lovely views over the wine estates and wooded hills. Of course, we'll stop to one of the most popular wine factory and sample the fine wines produced in this section of the Chianti region. We'll drive to San Gimignano which is a high rise hamlet of the Dark Ages with more than a dozen stone towers.
When you arrive in this citadel and walk through the ancient gates, you'll suddenly think that time has stood still for many centuries. Inside the town walls, everything has preserved its Medieval nature. An exception is the area's hotels, where you will find all the modern comforts. Of course there are fine restaurants where you can taste the best Tuscan cuisine and excellent wines. The narrow streets, charming churches and captivating shops make this visit a memorable one.
Day 11: 9:00am Montepulciano and Pienza full day trip (Tuscany) - 10 hours (wine testing). The car will pick you up at your hotel in Rome and transfer you to the small town of Pienza. It is one of the most interesting in Tuscany from an urbanistic and historical point of view. It was designed and built in a remarkable three years by the Renaissance architect, Bernardo Rossellino. It was under the commission of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who in 1458, became known in the ecclesiastical state as Pope Pius II. Today, the village of Pienza is considered to be a rare example of town planning.
This concept was in accordance with the Renaissance philosophy and it is magnificently located on a silent hilltop with spectacular views. After wandering in this charming village, would be highly recommended to experience a characteristic local trattoria "Da Fiorella" for a once in a life time Tuscan food experience. Keep in mind that Pienza is renowned in Italy for its vast production of Goat cheese so that the local trattorias use to spend good part of their time creating magic and miraculous recipes for their visitors! Next stop will be Montepulciano, only thirty minutes away.
This village is a delightful little walled town, beautifully situated above vines and olive groves. It is famed for its noble wine, "Vino nobile", one of the choicest in Tuscany. Your driver will spend the rest of the day showing you stunning scenery, quaint settings and breathtaking vistas. You will come to understand that these are all part of what make Tuscany one of Europe's premiere destinations.
Day 12: 9:00 am Villa Borghese walking tour and shopping time - (A 2-hour licensed guide included)
Day 13: 9:00 am Villa Borghese by a 2-hour licensed guide and shopping time - 6 hours
Day 14: 8:00 am Departure time - transfer to FCO airport.
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