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There will be time to relax or take a stroll this afternoon before a dinner at our hotel. D
DAY 3 - SATURDAY - ROME - VATICAN MUSEUM - SISTINE CHAPEL - ST. PETER’S BASILICA
This morning, it’s a 10 minute bus ride over to another country – Vatican City. With our expert local guide we’ll tour the Vatican Museums - a massive collection of ancient Greek sculptures, medieval tapestries and Renaissance paintings.
Our visit culminates in the Sistine Chapel, renowned for its Renaissance art, especially the ceiling which was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. This room, which attracts more than 5 million visitors each year, is also where the Pope is elected.
Next we visit St. Peter’s Basilica, by far the largest church in Christendom. We’ll see Michelangelo’s Pieta’, sculpted when he was just 24 years old, as well as Bernini’s seven story bronze canopy located above the main altar.
Tonight, we thought you’d enjoy a dinner on your own. Ask your tour guide for a recommendation, or venture out and explore the lively restaurants in Rome! Be sure to try Pasta cacio e pepe – pasta in a creamy olive oil, pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce – a specialty of Rome. BB
(Please note that the visit of St. Peter’s Basilica is subject to availability based on any events planned by the Pope.)
DAY 4 - SUNDAY - ROME - COLOSSEUM - JEWISH GHETTO - DINNER OUT IN TRASTEVERE
Hail Caesar! All aboard our chariot for a panoramic tour of Imperial Rome including the Roman Forum, Largo Argentina (where Caesar was stabbed by Brutus) and the Circus Maximus.
Then we’ll enter the Colosseum, reliving the brutal entertainment of the gladiators and the lions, refereed by the Emperor himself.
Later this afternoon we’ll explore some of the oldest areas of Rome – the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.
There’s been a Jewish community in Rome since the 2nd Century BC. It was Pope Paul IV who ordered them into a walled-off section of town in 1555. But in 1870, the Papal States lost control of the area and the Jews were free to leave the Ghetto!
All this walking will make us hungry . . . Si mangia! You’ll get a taste of real Italian cuisine and fine wines in a family-style restaurant in the characteristic district of Trastevere. This lively area is just what one imagines Italy to be like, with tiny cobblestone streets and music-filled trattorias on every corner. BB,D
DAY 5 - MONDAY- ROME - FLORENCE - DINNER IN HOTEL
After a hearty breakfast, we enjoy a ride through the Tuscan countryside on our way to Florence. Our deluxe motorcoach navigates the rolling hills, scenic vineyards and postcard-perfect vistas of Tuscany. Your tour leader will give you some useful information about the region while you relax and enjoy the scenery.
We check in to our beautiful hotel, Villa Olmi. This villa, located just 15 minutes from the historic center of Florence, is a peaceful oasis of Tuscan tranquility. Tonight, we enjoy a Florentine dinner with local wines at our hotel. BB, D
DAY 6 - TUESDAY - FLORENCE CITY TOUR, THE DAVID
Florence – the fountainhead of the Renaissance, awaits our inspection! Our day of sightseeing includes the majestic Duomo built in 1296, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery with its renowned “Gates of Paradise” doors.
We follow the medieval streets to the most striking square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria, home of the Santa Croce Church where Michelangelo is buried.
“Breathtaking” is the only word to describe one’s first view of Michelangelo’s David. Yes, it’s quite large and detailed. But the real magic is in how Michelangelo transformed a lifeless rock into a man – full of pride, wary of his adversary, yet quietly confident. All with just a hammer and chisel!
Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own at a local Florentine restaurant. Be sure to try Ribollita, one of Florence’s most delicious specialties. This hearty soup is made from cannellini beans, vegetables, red cabbage and chunks of pane (bread). BB
DAY 7 - WEDNESDAY - FLORENCE - LUCCA - PISA - DINNER OUT TONIGHT
After breakfast (colazione) we drive to Lucca, also known as “the city of 100 churches”. The churches are protected against Medieval invasions with huge, fortified walls. We visit the famous Duomo, the Amphitheater and the impressive Church of San Frediano.
This afternoon we visit Pisa! The “Piazza dei Miracoli” (Square of Miracles) is recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world, with 4 great religious edifices: the Cathedral, the Campanile (the famous leaning Tower), the Baptistery and the Camposanto.
We’ll enter the Cathedral dedicated to St. Mary of the Assumption. The big candelabrum near the altar is where Galileo Galilei tested his laws of pendulum physics!
Next we enter the marble Baptistery, the largest in all of Italy. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the building took 211 years to construct. The acoustics are amazing . . . you can whisper to a person 30 feet away and they’ll hear you clearly.
Tonight, we enjoy dinner-out with a typical Tuscan meal including Bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine steak)! BB, D
DAY 8 - THURSDAY - FLORENCE - SIENA - SAN GIMIGNANO - CHIANTI - FLORENCE
Today we travel back in time to medieval Siena - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit the famous Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares and the site of the famous Palio horse race.
We’ll visit Siena’s town hall, Palazzo Pubblico, and the enchanting Duomo (cathedral) featuring the most ornate mosaic floor in all Italy.
Next, we drive through the beautiful rolling hills of Chianti, and then to medieval San Gimignano, a hill town in Tuscany, encircled by 13th-century walls.
Finally, a most unique winery visit! Meet our dear friend, Pierluigi Giachi, the world’s most enchanting and hilarious sommelier. Enjoy a wine tasting and dinner at the Tenuta Torciano. Salute! BB,D
DAY 9 - FRIDAY - FLORENCE, SIENA, SAN GIMIGNANO, CHIANTI, FLORENCE
This morning you board your flight home arriving in the USA the same day. Grazie mille for traveling with the Perillo family! BB
DAY 10 - WEDNESDAY - FLIGHT HOME TO USA
This morning you board your flight home, arriving in the USA the same day. While we say “arrivederci” to Italy, we realize we’re taking a little piece of it back home with us.
Thanks for traveling with the Perillo family, and please return soon. BB
ROME - Ambasciatori Palace
FLORENCE - Villa Olmi
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