Venice — The Adventure Begins
DAY 1: WELCOME TO VENICE – Arrive on our Private Boat
Journey's Italy Family Adventure begins upon arrival to Marco Polo Airport in Venice. After clearing customs you will be met by our Airport Arrivals Team and transported via private water taxi to our hotel on San Marco island. Check-in, drop luggage and then relax until our Discovery Walk later this afternoon.
Discovery Walk: Venice
You will enjoy our get-to-know-Venice Discovery Walk — a hallmark of the Journey style of traveling and exploring new destinations hosted by your Journey Tour Captain. We will take in the beautiful sights of Piazza San Marco, the "Campanile" or clock tower, the Grand Canal and learn some secrets of Venice.
Enjoy some time at leisure before meeting tonight for a special 'Welcome to Venice' evening from one of our exclusive perspectives to see Venice.
Welcome to Venice Dinner: A Special Dining Event Tonight
Tonight we make our way to our favorite restaurant in all of Venice where we will be delighted with cuisine from several regions throughout Italy including the Veneto, Lazio and Campania (all paired with delicious wines and premium beverages - and all included with Journey — no hidden charges like most tour companies). And, of course, Gelato will cap the evening!
Accommodation in Venice, 2 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: Hotel Saturnia & International
Classic: Hotel Bonvecchiati or Similar
What's the difference between Deluxe and Classic?
Deluxe package includes a full, hot daily breakfast (table service or buffet), 5 of the 9 dinners and 4+ to 5 Star hotel properties featuring large, air-conditioned guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Classic package includes a daily breakfast, Venice Welcome Dinner (guests may upgrade to the total 5 dinners included for $390 per person), and 3 to 4 Star hotel properties featuring air-conditioned guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms.
DAY 2: ADVENTURING IN VENICE
Today's Adventure: Venice Secrets & Treasures
We begin our experience exploring this dramatic and historic port city with our Local Expert Guide and learn of Venice's fascinating and colorful past, including everything from French Emperor Napoleon, to a mysterious exploration of her many back alleys and streets (called calles). Venice's appeal springs to life as we make our way through the nooks and crannies of this amazing island city.
Journey's professional local guide provides expert commentary as we enter the fascinating and colorful Basilica San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica). Then we go back in time with our visit to the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison (and yes, you will learn about the gentleman Casanova), and the famous Bridge of Sighs.
Special sightseeing today includes:
- Doge's Palace: Skip-the-Line Entrance to the Doge's Palace (meaning Duke or Governor's Palace), the seat of the Republic of Venice's historic power.
- Venice's Old Prison: The Prisons of Venice: Found inside the Doge's Palace, are the older and new prisons.
- Bridge of Sighs: The bridge made famous for its window and last view of blue sky and freedom as prisoners are marched to their sentence.
- Basilica San Marco: Enjoy the beautiful mosaics and how they reflect and dance in the light. Your Tour Captain "paints the picture" of the history and opulence that is the Basilica San Marco prior to entering. Once inside, enjoy 'silence' as you observe its beauty encased in Byzantine architecture.
- Piazza San Marco: and our "Secret Treasures of Venice"
- Walking Delights: Learn about the Clock Tower (Campanile), Caffé Florian, Napoleon and the Winged Lion
- Enjoy admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.
Special Adventure: Venetian Gondola
Our trip to Venice is made complete with our Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with our own musicians to make the ambiance perfect. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner after the Gondola ride, and they can also help you with dining reservations if you choose to explore lovely Venice on your own.
Florence – City of Shadows & Light
DAY 3: WELCOME TO FLORENCE
This morning after breakfast join your Journey Tour Captain as we transfer by boat to the Venice Train Station for the included Fast-train passage to Florence. Your bags are portaged separately so you can enjoy the ride.
We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence and deboard the train for our Discovery Walk in the very heart of Florence.
Discovery Walk: Florence Shadows & Light
On the Discovery Walk we will orient you to the very heart of historic Florence. In addition to seeing many of the major sites including Giotto's Campanile (Bell Tower) and the Baptistery, the Florence Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, we will enjoy entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari.
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon at leisure until our welcome dinner tonight.
Welcome to Florence Dinner: Cuisine from Tuscany
Your Journey Tour Captain hosts an amazing welcome dinner in Florence with authentic Tuscan cuisine served by Fiorentini who love what they do. Florence welcomes us with a variety of regional culinary tastes, premium beverages, and ample portions of fine local wines from Toscana and Chianti.
Accommodation in Florence, 2 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: Hotel Bernini Palace or Similar
Classic: Rosso 23 or Similar
DAY 4: ADVENTURING IN FLORENCE
Today's Adventure: Florence Secrets & Treasures
Journey's experience in Florence features our Secrets & Treasures tour along with an amazing climb of the Brunelleschi's Dome - the Duomo of Florence - along with Santa Maria del Fiori, the Baptistery's Bronze "Gate of
Paradise," Giotto's Bell Tower, Signoria Square, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.
We will take in the Piazza della Repubblica, the famous Piazza Signoria with its old palace, Palazzo Vecchio, and make our way through the portico of the Uffizi complex before arriving at the Arno River and a visit to the "old bridge," or Ponte Vecchio. This was the only bridge in Florence to survive the World War II bombing raids.
Special Sightseeing Includes:
- Galleria dell'Accademia: Skip-the-Line admission to experience Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery, the first art school of Europe.
- Climbing the Dome of Florence's Duomo
- Our tour includes Florence's historic city center which is a World Heritage site that comprises the Baptistery, Campanile, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo. The 14th-century dome was created by Brunelleschi.
- See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery, so called by Michelangelo. Our Local Guide will comment on these impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile whose perspective we enjoy from ground level are all part of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiori complex.
- Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.
- We explore Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.
Following our Secrets & Treasures adventure the balance of the day is at your leisure.
Interested in checking out the leather market? We can arrange visits, admissions and more for you in advance. Consider a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) or just explore at your leisure. This Basilica is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or you can explore Florence at leisure.
DAY 5: GOOD MORNING TUSCANY
Today's Adventure: Tuscany's Sunshine All Along the Way
It's a great day to explore further into the Tuscan countryside.
Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers dating back from the 11th century. San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in San Gimignano, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has several distractions for shopping - so dig in and enjoy!
We'll toast our arrival into the countryside of Tuscany with a unique perspective and our first taste of Vernaccia, a white wine that hails from San Gimignano.
Journey Exclusive: 4WD Adventure to a beautiful Winery
Enjoy our in-depth experience via a ride in four wheel-drive vehicles to our winery estate of choice in the heart of Tuscany - simply stunning. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!
Our lunch palate-pleasing appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll get your fill of classic Chianti and Super Tuscan varieties along with delicate cuisine hand-made by the chef.
Special Sightseeing today Includes:
- San Gimignano: Sightseeing and free time in the Tuscan hill town known for its towers.
- 4WD Adventure: Enjoy this comfortable and authentic 4WD Land Rover adventure through the beauty of Tuscany.
- Exclusive Winery: Admission, Tour and Wine Tasting at our Estate located in the heart of Tuscany. Beautiful Property with stunning views, delicious varieties paired with sumptuous delicacies. You won't want to leave.
- Tuscany's Wine Road: Winding through the Tuscan hills, the wine road offers remarkable beauty, characterized by vineyards, wine cellars, distant rolling landscapes, and villages up in the hills.
Mid to late-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful hill town of Cortona for our next chapter in the very heart of Tuscany. An absolutely beautiful town awaits us and an equally authentic welcome dinner is included.
In the mid to late Tuscan afternoon we will arrive at our villa hotel in Cortona. Your Journey Tour Captain checks you in and there is ample time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby tonight for a short walk to our special Apericena experience.
Discovery Walk: Cortona
On the Discovery Walk of Cortona we make our way to its very heart to learn about its fascinating past with Etruscans and Romans, as well as Hollywood. Your Journey Tour Captain welcomes you to the Tuscan countryside and tonight's special Italian experience.
We continue our walk as we explore Via Nazionale up to Piazza Garibaldi and finally into Piazza della Repubblica where you will Learn about the plains of Trasimeno and of the amazing battle of the same name: The Roman-Carthaginian Battle. Soak up the afternoon sunshine as we slow down and enjoy a typical Tuscan evening.
Journey Exclusive: Special Dinner Apericena in Cortona
Tonight you will join your Journey Tour Captain for a Journey exclusive welcome "aperitivo" called Apericena by the modern Italians. It's the perfect complement for your palate after a day of great cuisine and wine. Our dinner aperitivo provides a just-right, light meal finale to our beautiful day in the Tuscan countryside and in the magical ambiance of this delightful hill town.
Afterwards, enjoy the balance of the evening at your leisure.
Accommodation in Cortona, 2 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: Villa Marsili, Monastero di Cortona Hotel & Spa, or Similar
Classic: Hotel Italia or Similar
DAY 6: EXPLORING TUSCANY AT LEISURE
Enjoy a full free day at your leisure in beautiful Cortona.
Many options are available from Cooking Classes to a day trip to Siena and more. Today, enjoy Tuscany at your leisure - perhaps it's a thorough exploration of delightful Cortona, a cooking class, horse-back riding, Vespa rental and much more.
Cortona is a small but fascinating hill town in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany. It is situated on a commanding hill that overlooks Lake Trasimeno, known for the infamous rout of the Romans by Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Its cyclopean walls, still preserved in great detail, are said to be 3000 years old. It was one of the twelve cities of Etruria.
Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.
Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or choose to enjoy your last night in Cortona at your leisure.
Rome: Heart of the Empire
DAY 7: 1000 ROADS LEAD ALWAYS TO ROME
As we make our way to Rome, we find ourselves going back in time as our surroundings begin to slowly turn into the very center of ancient Rome.
We arrive at our hotels and check in. The locations of our hotels in Rome are within a minute or so walk of the incredible Pantheon.
We check-in, freshen up and then meet for our Discovery Walk.
Discovery Walk: Rome
You will meet the Journey Tour Captain for a walk through the very heart of Old Rome. We begin our exploration of Rome beginning with an elephant and continue to immerse ourselves in over 2000 years of history of the 'Empire. We enter the amazing Pantheon and learn of its interesting history and continue our walk to soak up Piazza Navona, once a site where mock naval battles were held. We continue with our Discovery Walk as we pass through Campo de Fiore (field of flowers) - do you know the name of the figure whose likeness is crafted in the statue in this amazing campo? We walk by Largo di Torre Argentina and learn of Julius Caesar's fate. We will also see a village of modern Roman felines.
Welcome to Rome Dinner: The Cuisine of Lazio Kicks Off the Dining Experience
Tonight you will join your Journey Tour Captain for a special welcome to Rome dinner complete with premium beverages and wine from the region of Lazio, Campania and Toscana.
Accommodation in Rome, 3 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: Hotel Palazzo Navona or Similar
Classic: Hotel Navona, Antico Albergo al Sole dal Pantheon, or Similar
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DAY 8: EXPLORING THE VATICAN
Today's Adventure: Vatican City
This morning we will enter Vatican City with our Priority Early Morning Entry (ahead of regular Vatican visitors). Enjoy a visit to the Vatican museums to see the amazing tapestries, the Sistine Chapel and its iconic ceiling, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square as the majestic Vatican City comes to life.
After our experience is complete we will exit at St. Peter's Square where you see the multi-color uniformed Swiss Guard on display as they guard the Vatican and the expanse of the beautiful piazza.
Journey's transports are waiting nearby when we're ready to head back to our hotels.
Special Sightseeing Includes:
- St. Peter's Basilica and Square: Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and tour groups that arrive later in the morning. Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included.
- Sistine Chapel: Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.
- Vatican Museums: Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Journey is Different: Your Journey Tour Captain will invite you to an optional dinner tonight or you can explore Rome at your leisure.
DAY 9: EXPLORING MODERN & IMPERIAL ROME
Today's Adventure: Imperial Rome
This morning we will enjoy our walking tour of Rome. You will see ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings, and discover how the modern Romans have intertwined their vast history into present-day experience.
We're making our way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the town center of the Roman Empire, for our special access, in-depth touring experience, complete with admissions.
Special Sightseeing Includes:
- Colosseo: Flavian's amphitheater known popularly as the Colosseum. Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance.
- Foro Romano: Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphal Arches.
- Capitoline Hill: We ascend this amazingly sculptured and architecturally inspirational locale.
- Walking Delights: Views of Trajan's Market, Palatine Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia known as the Senate Building, the Vittorio Emanuele II National Monument, the Jewish Ghetto, and other historic landmarks.
Farewell to Rome Dinner: A Very Special Evening
Tonight join your Journey Tour Captain for our included 'Farewell to Rome' event.
Our days have been filled with new sights, tastes and discoveries - tonight enjoy reflecting on the incredible journey we've had together. It has been a Journey of Adventure and Discovery, along with making new friends!
Tomorrow we will say, 'Arrivederci Roma!' but tonight we sing and make melody in the very heart of Rome.
Day 10: DEPARTURE DAY: Arrivederci Italy!
Breakfast is included this morning should you have time before your departure. Most of our guests seriously consider extending your vacation to the Amalfi Coast for the perfect ending — it's 2 days and nights and includes Pompeii and treasures of the Amalfi Coast. See our optional extension below for proper temptation!
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Does your Journey end in Rome?
We highly recommend the enchanted Amalfi Coast 2 day/2 night extension.
Extension to the Amalfi Coast & Sorrento Peninsula
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 10: NAPLES, POMPEII, THE SORRENTO PENINSULA & AMALFI COAST
Say goodbye to Rome as you join our extension to the amazing Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula. We make our way to Naples and the modern city of Pompei, where we find Pompeii (note the two i's) which is the ancient Roman city we will visit with our expert guide this morning.
Today's Adventure: Pompeii Ancient Site
On our tour of the World Heritage Site of Pompeii we find out the city was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Enjoy the commentary of our Local Guide as you learn of its colorful history and tragic end.
After our experience we make our way to Sorrento, our home to explore the amazing Amalfi Coast.
Welcome to Sorrento Dinner
Your Journey Tour Captain hosts an amazing welcome dinner in Sorrento. The owner, Mario, and Chef Lena and their family welcome us to dinner tonight. Get ready for a wonderful evening of Sorrentina cuisine and hospitality.
Accommodation in Sorrento, 2 Nights
Deluxe/Classic: Hotel Minerva Sorrento - Amazing Sea Views
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 11: EXPLORING THE AMALFI COAST AT LEISURE
You will have today completely at your leisure to explore Sorrento or consider one of our optional adventures.
OPTION TO THE ISLE OF CAPRI & AMALFI COAST - $525
Highly Recommended: Enjoy our optional experience departing this morning and enjoy a boat trip to the Isle of Capri to enjoy free time on the Island. We make our way to Positano for late afternoon before the amazing Amalfi Coast highway drive back to Sorrento.
Your Journey Tour Captain will give you great ideas on what to do while you're on the island. Occasionally, and weather permitting, we are able to provide an experience that includes (in addition to round-trip service to and from Capri) time on the boat around the island with stops at various Grottos for viewing and swimming if you desire. We only "stop" at the Blue Grotto, we do not go inside the Blue Grotto as this usually takes the majority of the day.
Then later, again weather and seas permitting, we continue to Positano and the Amalfi Coast. We will spend some time in Positano at leisure and then continue along the Amalfi Coast drive back to Sorrento.
Our Special Journey Finalé
After returning to our hotel, enjoy some leisure time and then meet on the terrace for our special Apericena to celebrate our time together. It has been a Journey of Adventure and Discovery, along with making new friends! Until our next Journey — Arrivederci!
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Day 12: DEPARTURE DAY: Arrivederci Italy!
Breakfast is included this morning should you have time before your departure.
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