DAY 2: VENICE SIGHTSEEING TOUR
Today's Adventure: Venice Sightseeing Tour
After the delicious included breakfast at your hotel, join our expert City Guide for our included walking tour.
Our Venice Walking Tour of the heart of historic Venice includes:
• The 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, is "The Leads," the prison portion of the Doges Palace, and you will learn about one occupant by the name of Casanova who, in 1756 at the age of 30, became one of the most famous occupants.
• 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 Guide "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 included admission/entrance to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure.
Special Adventure: Venetian Gondola Experience
This evening just before sunset, enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with our professional 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.
Birthplace of the Renaissance – 2 Days, 2 Nights
DAY 3: FLORENCE DISCOVERY
This morning enjoy a leisurely start with breakfast and then join your Now Journey Host as you transfer by boat to the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station for the included Fast-train passage to Florence.
We zip along the Italian countryside and arrive in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station where we deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.
Today's Adventure: Florence Sightseeing Tour
After checking in to the hotel, you will meet our Local Guide for the amazing tour of Florence.
Now Journey's Florence Sightseeing Tour boasts a variety of fine sights to see including 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.
Our Walking Tour of historic Florence features:
• Galleria dell'Accademia: Skip-the-Line admission to experience Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery, the first art school of Europe.
• Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore: 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.
• The Gates of Paradise: 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.
• Orsanmichele: 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.
• Walking Delights: 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 walking tour the balance of the day is at your leisure.
Our Hotels in Florence, 2 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Grand Hotel Cavour, Hotel Bernini Palace or Similar
Classic: Renaissance Hotel, Rosso 23 or Similar
DAY 4: FLORENCE AT LEISURE
Interested in checking out the leather market? What about a climb of the Duomo? 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) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence and a minor Basilica of the Catholic Church. Many illustrious Italians are buried there including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Marconi, Machiavelli. Thus it is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories.
Many options in the Tuscan countryside are available from Cooking Classes to a day trip to Siena and more.
Optional experiences to consider for Today:
• Cooking Class in Tuscany
— In the company of an expert chef participants learn how to make several courses including a dessert. It is a different experience where the participants learn to prepare a multiple-course meal and then partake in the sampling of the prepared dishes while enjoying the olive oils and wines of the region! -Duration 3-5 hours. $560 per person (includes round-trip transportation).
• Walking Tour of Siena with Round-trip Transportation
— Departs around 9:00am. $665 per person. The tour includes round-trip transfer from Cortona to Siena with a walking tour of Siena in the morning and some free time in the afternoon. Today's tour will walk you through the old Ghetto, the Tower District (Contrada della Torre), and through little alleys, and on to the Basilica dei Servi, from which point you can enjoy an amazing view of the old town. We will take in Orto dei Pecci; a pleasant and easily accessible garden, located just behind the main square: The serenity and tranquility of this green oasis, together with the view of the incredible Torre del Mangia will mesmerize you.
• Morning Walking Tour of Siena with Cooking Class in Afternoon
— Departs around 9:00am. $590 per person. Enjoy the morning tour (see description above) and then a special cooking class in the afternoon. Our driver then whisks you to a nearby villa where you will enjoy a tour of the vines, immersion in all things Wine, Balsamic, and Olive Oil followed by a cooking lesson. And, yes, you then enjoy the fruits of your labor. Our chef is capable and entertaining as you enjoy learning more about Tuscan cooking. We then return to the hotel in Florence for a free evening.
A 1000 Roads Lead Always to Rome — 3 Days, 3 Nights
DAY 5: DISCOVERING ROME
After breakfast, join our Now Journey Host and make your way to the Florence Train Station for the High-Speed train to Rome.
On arrival, the included transfer whisks you to our hotels which are located a short distance from the magnificent Pantheon.
After freshening up, meet our Local Guide for the amazing tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Today's Adventure: IMPERIAL ROME SIGHTSEEING TOUR
You will see ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings. Discover how modern Romans have combined their history into present-day experience. 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.
Our special sightseeing Walking Tour of the Heart of Ancient Rome Includes:
We have recommendations for dinner tonight. Inquire!
Our Hotels in Rome, 3 Nights with breakfast
Deluxe: The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, Autograph Collection, Hotel d'Inghilterra, Palazzo Navona, Antico Albergo del Sole al Pantheon, or Similar
Classic: Hotel Navona, Albergo Abruzzi, Albergo Santa Chiara or Similar
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DAY 6: VATICAN SIGHTSEEING TOUR
Today's Adventure: Vatican City Privileged Access
This morning we will enter Vatican City with our Priority Early Morning Privileged Entry (1 hour 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.
Our special sightseeing Walking Tour of Vatican City 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. *Please remember St. Peter's Basilica is an active church with celebrations and papal events that occur with short notice; Now Journey and our Guides cannot be held responsible for any cancellation or denial of entry due to last minute changes by the church leadership.
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
DAY 7: ROME AT LEISURE
Many options are available today in Rome — or just enjoy the Eternal City at your leisure.
Enjoy your last evening in Rome tonight: might we make a recommendation and/or reservation for you?
Day 8: 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!
Rome Airport Departure Transfer: $55 per person, 2 guest minimum
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Does your Journey end in Rome?
Extension to the Amalfi Coast & Sorrento Peninsula
We highly recommend the enchanted Amalfi Coast & Sorrento Peninsula 2 day/2 night extension.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 8: NAPLES, POMPEII, THE SORRENTO PENINSULA & AMALFI COAST
Say Farewell 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 discover the city that was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Our Local Expert Guide explains the fascinating history, tragic destruction and amazing preservation of artifacts under tons of volcanic ash.
Following our Pompeii experience, we continue to Sorrento,our home to explore the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
Accommodation in Sorrento, 2 Nights with Breakfast
Deluxe: Hotel Minerva Sorrento, Grand Hotel Capodimonte or Similar
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: DAY 9: EXPLORING THE AMALFI COAST AT LEISURE
You will have today completely at your leisure to explore Sorrento or consider one of our optional adventures.
Highly Recommended: Option for the Day: Private Boat Tour of Capri - $385 per person.
Enjoy our optional experience departing this morning and enjoy a boat trip to the Isle of Capri to enjoy free time on the Island.
Your Now Journey City Host 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.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Day 10: DEPARTURE DAY: Arrivederci Italy!
Breakfast is included this morning should you have time before your departure. Departure transfers are not included but we can arrange them for you. You can fly from Naples International Airport to your gateway for your international flight.
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