ARRIVE ROME, ITALY
Arrive in Rome, the Eternal City, where you are met and escorted to your hotel. Tonight, gather with fellow guests for a welcome dinner. The next day, begin your journey through Roman history. Explore the colorful, noisy Campo de Fiori and the Piazza Navona with its over-the-top Fountain of the Four Rivers. Visit the Imperial Roman Forum and the Colosseum, where fierce gladiators once fought wild animals and each other. In the afternoon, complete your Cultural Connection with a visit to a Roman gladiator school, dressing in costume, taking a lesson and then engaging in mock combat. On your third day, tour the Vatican, viewing the Sistine Chapel with its jaw-dropping, frescoed ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Step inside St. Peter’s Basilica, where you marvel at Bernini’s soaring altar canopy. Tonight, experience a Culinary Connection with a lesson in Roman pizza-making and the chance to feast on your creation.
FLORENCE | From Renaissance Art to Gelato
Travel to the sprawling landscapes of Tuscany and stop in medieval Siena. Here, your local expert introduces you to the Piazza del Campo, home of the Palio di Siena horse race. Continue to Florence, where you check in to your hotel, housed in a medieval building in the heart of ancient Florence and only steps from the Duomo. The next two days are a fun lesson in Italian art. Explore the Accademia Gallery, home of Michelangelo’s David, and the Uffizi Gallery with its incredible Renaissance works. Stop for Italian ice cream at a gelateria before diving deeper into the city with your family. On the third day, visit Palazzo Vecchio to experience a family tour guided by costumed figures donning Renaissance-era dress. Later, indulge in a chocolate-making workshop in the bustling Mercato Centrale.
PISA | World-Famous Leaning Tower
Drive to Pisa, where you explore with a local guide. See the famous Leaning Tower, where children (eight years old and up) can venture inside the 14th-century bell tower. Stop in Lucca to wander its charming cobblestone streets. Continue on to the Italian Riviera, checking in to your 17th-century waterfront hotel in Porto Venere.
CINQUE TERRE | Along the Mediterranean Coast
Discover the brightly colored, coastal Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”), five scenic villages set on high cliffs along the Italian Riviera. Take a train to Vernazza with its protected harbor. Enjoy a local lunch in Manarola, a fishing village with high terraced vineyards and a deep history; dating back to 1338, it is considered the oldest village in the Cinque Terre. You also visit Riomaggiore, a secluded medieval village.
VENICE | Palaces, Gondolas & Carnival Masks
Continue on to Venice, Italy’s canal-laden wonderland. Stop en route to enjoy a private tasting of balsamic vinegar at a family-owned acetaia (vinegar factory). After lunch, travel to Verona, known to the world as the setting for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Arrive in Venice by the evening. Begin the next day with a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, with its rich decoration of marbles and golden mosaics, and the Doge’s Palace. By special arrangement, spend time at a workshop famous for crafting Venetian carnival masks, taking part in a class where you create your own to bring home. This evening, gather for a farewell dinner with the new friends you’ve made. Transfer to the airport the next day for your flight home.