15 Day Treasures of Italy Tour
DAY 1 - Overnight flight to Italy. Refer to "Preparing for your Departure" in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
DAY 2 - Arrival at Milan's Malpensa Airport - Italian Lake District. Upon arrival, clear passport control and collect your luggage. Refer to your "Arrival Instructions" page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Transfer to your hotel in the Italian Lake District to check in and freshen up. Get to know your fellow tour members at the "Welcome to Italy/Get-acquainted" dinner at the hotel. (Dinner)
DAY 3 - Italian Lake District - Milan. This morning begins with a visit to Milan's center. The Galleria (world's oldest shopping mall) and the Duomo dominate the main square. Following an interior visit of Milan's Duomo, your tour manager will direct you toward high-fashion shops and noteworthy sights such as La Scala Opera House. Along the way, a gelateria will tempt you with Italian ice cream. This afternoon, return to your Lake District hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 4 - Lake Garda - Verona. Your first destination is Lake Garda. Stroll along the lakefront, browse the quaint markets, and enjoy an independent lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafés. From Garda, it’s a short ride to Verona, famous for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Following check-in at your hotel, your tour manager will offer a walking tour through the city. The focal point of Verona is the Arena, which is still used for outdoor opera performances every summer. Sample authentic Italian dishes during your independent dinner in Verona. (Breakfast)
DAY 5 - Venice. Today features a full day visit to the romantic city of Venice, famous for its canals and bridges, colorful gondoliers, and the magnificent St. Mark’s Square. All transportation is done exclusively over water. Like the Venetians, you will take a boat ride to the center of Venice. A guided walking tour follows, ending with a visit to a glass-blowing workshop where highly-skilled artisans craft anything from delicate figurines to grand chandeliers. If you have your heart set on gliding through the canals, the cost is about $45 per person based on six people per gondola. The day provides ample time to marvel at the architecture of the San Marco Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Clock Tower. Have dinner at a pizzeria or join your tour manager at a typical Venetian restaurant for the optional Venice Dinner excursion. After a memorable day of sightseeing, return to your Verona hotel. (Breakfast)
DAY 6 - Lucca - Pisa - Montecatini-Terme. A morning drive will take you south, through the Apennine Mountains, into Tuscany. Stop in the medieval center of Lucca before continuing to Pisa and its Leaning Tower. Work on the structure began in 1174, and the tower already started to tilt while constructing the second floor. The cathedral complex consists of the Duomo, Baptistery, and the bell tower. The three white marble buildings set against the Field of Miracles (an expansive green lawn) is an impressive sight. This evening, pastel-tinted buildings on palm tree-lined streets welcome you to the spa resort town of Montecatini-Terme, your home for the next three nights. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 7 - Florence - Montecatini-Terme. This day is devoted to the art and architecture of Florence. The first masterpieces you will notice during the guided walking tour are the Duomo (cathedral), the Baptistery (with its renowned bronze doors by Ghiberti), and Giotto’s campanile (bell tower). The rest of the day is yours to explore Florence at your own pace. Admire the piazzas, each with its own distinct character, shop the open-air markets, visit an art gallery, or enjoy gathering with Florentines and visitors alike on the Ponte Vecchio. Subject to availability at the time of your visit, your tour manager may be able to arrange for an optional Accademia Gallery excursion to admire Michelangelo's 'David'. Return to your hotel this evening where you can dine "al fresco" at one of the sidewalk terraces in Montecatini-Terme. (Breakfast)
DAY 8 - Montecatini-Terme. Spend a leisurely day enjoying the shops, cafés, spas, and parks of Montecatini-Terme. Take the funicular up to the old town of Montecatini Alte and sip a cappuccino as you take in the panoramic view of the Tuscan countryside. Consider using the convenient and reasonably-priced train service to return to Florence for further exploration. Another choice for today is the optional Siena & Vineyard Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
DAY 9 - Tuscan Countryside - Pompeii. Your final impressions of Tuscany take you past olive groves and rolling hills to a morning stop in one of the charming provincial villages of the region. This afternoon, continue south towards your hotel in the area of Pompeii. Dinner will be served upon arrival. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 10 - Sorrento. Transfer to nearby Sorrento for a full day to spend at your leisure. Wander through the narrow streets and alleyways in Old Sorrento, sit at a sidewalk café at the Piazza Tasso, and walk among the frescoes in the Sorrento Duomo. Another option is to board a 25 minute ferry to spend the day exploring the Island of Capri. Your tour manager will also offer an optional Amalfi Coast & Dinner excursion (Note: this excursion must be reserved prior to and paid with your final tour payment). (Breakfast)
DAY 11 - Pompeii - Rome. A local guide will join you for an informative visit to sections of the excavated ruins of Pompeii. Buried under ash and lava after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was discovered during an excavation in 1748. Since then, large sections have been unearthed providing extraordinary insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Leave Pompeii to travel in the direction of Rome. Along the way, stop for an included dinner of homemade specialties at a countryside farm before arriving at your Rome area hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner).
DAY 12 - Rome. Today is devoted to the wonders of Rome. This energetic and modern metropolis is proudly protective of its abundant historical sites, crowned by the Colosseum (Roman Arena) which dates back to 80 A.D. A local guide will introduce you to some of Rome’s most famous landmarks via a morning panoramic tour. The afternoon continues with a walking tour including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and more. Top off the day with an independent dinner at one of Rome’s many restaurants and sidewalk café’s before returning to your hotel this evening. (Breakfast)
DAY 13 - Rome. This morning, transfer to the "Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls." A guided visit provides insight into the history of Christianity in Rome. The Basilica is built upon the grave of the Apostle Paul who came to Rome in 61AD for his trial by the Roman court which condemned him to death as a Christian. His tomb immediately became a place of veneration for the faithful and in the third century the simple memorial chamber was enhanced into a modest basilica. Throughout the centuries, the basilica has been enhanced, embellished and expanded. This afternoon, continue your guided experience by joining the optional Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel excursion or spend the afternoon at your leisure around Vatican City. Return to your hotel this evening for a farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 14 - Rome. Your final day in Rome provides the opportunity for independent exploration. Transfer to the area around the Colosseum where you can wander the shops, visit the Capitoline Museums and admire artwork and artifacts from the ancient Roman world. Or, simply relax with a cappuccino at a sidewalk café. This afternoon, your tour manager will offer the optional Colosseum excursion for a guided tour through the interior of this colossal structure and the Roman Forum. This evening, savor your last Italian meal of the tour during an independent dinner or the optional Rome Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
DAY 15 - Daytime flight back to U.S.A. Transfer to the Rome Fiumicino Airport for the return flight home (Breakfast)