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When you think of the ideal vacation to Italy, what comes to mind? Savoring the local cuisine and sampling the local wine? Visiting the historical sights from the Roman Empire? Maybe it’s seeing the architectural treasures, splendid art, and ornate churches with their religious artifacts. If so, all this and more are offered on this amazing Italy tour—with overnights in Rome, Lucca, Florence, Venice Island, and Assisi.
Food and wine connoisseurs will enjoy the visit to Verrazzano Castle. Located on a hilltop in the Chianti region, you’ll learn how the famous Chianti wine is made. You’ll even get to sample some! History buffs will delight in seeing some of Italy’s ancient sights, including the Roman Forum, dating back to the 7th century BC, and the Colosseum, completed in the 1st century AD. Art fans will enjoy seeing Michelangelo’s famous works, including the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling paintings in Rome and his celebrated David in Florence. If you’re interested in magnificent churches, you’ll enjoy St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as well as St. Francis’ Basilica in Assisi, where St. Francis is buried. You’ll also get to visit the Orvieto Cathedral, a great example of gothic architecture in Italy, and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, one of the best examples of byzantine architecture.
Lark Tours has also arranged a special excursion to Cinque Terre, five small medieval villages on the Italian Riviera and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These are just a few of the many highlights on this remarkable tour to Italy’s treasures. Food, wine, history, churches, art, an expert Tour Director and knowledgeable Local Guides—what more could you ask for in an Italy tour?
DAY 1 Arrive in Rome, Italy
Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, then leave the hotel for a special welcome dinner with wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (Dinner)
DAY 2 Rome
Enjoy Lark Tours’ unique guided sightseeing, including inside visits to all highlights of religious and ancient Rome: the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà, the amazing COLOSSEUM, and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more. (Breakfast)
DAY 3 Rome–Lucca
Head north along the Tyrrhenian coastline through an area where many a town was founded at the very beginning of recorded history by the mysterious, highly civilized Etruscans. Arrive in medieval Lucca, completely surrounded by the original medieval wall, and enjoy a walk through the quaint medieval town center. An optional dinner at a local agriturismo farm is available. (Breakfast)
DAY 4 Lucca. Excursion To Cinque Terre & Pisa
Drive to La Spezia on the Mediterranean Coast and [Lark Tours Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] enjoy your excursion (including a BOAT RIDE, weather permitting. Departures March 28-October 24) to CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name dates back to the 15th century and is derived from five little medieval villages standing on stony spurs along five miles of the rocky coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Here, a light lunch consisting of the traditional focaccia di Recco and farinata, a regional snack, has been prepared for you at a local trattoria. Then, a TRAIN RIDE returns you to La Spezia. Stop in Pisa and take the traditional picture pushing back the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular, before returning to Lucca. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 5 Lucca–Siena–San Gimignano–Florence
A scenic day in Tuscany. This morning, visit Siena and walk through ancient narrow lanes to beautiful PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, theater of the biannual Palio, Siena’s spectacular medieval-style horse race. Next is hilltop San Gimignano, the most picturesque of Italy’s perfectly preserved medieval towns. In the afternoon, drive along the Chianti Road leading north to Florence. Next is the highlight of the day: stop at splendid VERRAZZANO CASTLE to hear about the fine art of blending four types of grapes to obtain the famous Chianti. Enjoy a [Globus Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] WINE TASTING and an early dinner with local specialties. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 6 Florence
During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS to see Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent marble cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Time to explore this fascinating city so beautifully filmed in movies like Room with a View and Tea with Mussolini, and to browse through the shops. Leather goods and gold jewelry sold by the ounce are attractive buys. To make the most of your stay, join our optional excursions to the magnificent Uffizi Gallery and a dinner outing to try out the culinary delights of a fine Tuscan restaurant. (Breakfast)
DAY 7 Florence–Verona–Venice Island
Stop in Verona, setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Take pictures of Juliet’s balcony and rub the shining breast on her statue for good luck. Next, admire the Arena, an incredibly well-preserved pink marble Roman amphitheater where gladiators once fought. Built in the 1st century AD, it is now the magical venue for world-famous opera performances. Arrive in Venice, a powerful magnet for romantics and art lovers from around the globe. Enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT. Tonight is your chance to join an optional gondola ride and to sample the city’s fine restaurants. (Breakfast)
DAY 8 Venice Island
Enjoy morning sightseeing with your Local Guide. Visit ST. MARK’S SQUARE and the byzantine BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the world-famous BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER fashion delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. An optional boat ride to the picturesque island of Burano is available. (Breakfast)
DAY 9 Venice Island–Ravenna–Assisi
Follow the Adriatic coastline to Ravenna. Here, see the famous mosaics in the 6th-century BASILICA of ST. APOLLINARIS IN CLASSE. Next is peaceful Assisi. During your walking tour with a Local Guide, visit ST. CLARE’S CHURCH and ST. FRANCIS’ BASILICA, the hub of a religious order devoted to the ideals of humility, forgiveness, simplicity, and love for all God’s creatures. Hear about monastic life and admire the priceless frescoes adorning the walls of the church. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 10 Assisi–Orvieto–Rome
Following the Tiber Valley, reach Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock. Here, you have a chance to [Lark Tours Local Favorite] taste local pastries at renowned Caffè Montanucci, a historic pasticceria for more than 100 years. Time to browse through tempting shops in the lanes off Piazza del Duomo, and to visit the fabulous gothic cathedral with its San Brizio Chapel. In the afternoon, return to Rome. This evening, a special farewell dinner with wine and opera entertainment awaits you at Tanagra restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 11 Rome
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach; boat and train ride at Cinque Terre; private boat ride in Venice. Free Wi-Fi available on your motorcoach and in most hotel lobbies.