Day 1: VENICE.
Arrive at the Venice airport and meet your Italian tour escorts at the airport. Travel by private coach to the reserved hotel in the Venice area (Mestre/Marghera or Jesolo). Get settled in the hotel, enjoy dinner and rest overnight.
Day 2: VENICE.
After breakfast at the hotel, travel to Venice by private coach and then by private boat. Join our guide for a visit to the historical center of Venice: the golden Basilica of St. Mark, the Doge’s Palace interior decorated by 16th century artists such as Titian and Tintoretto, the Bridge of Sighs and the Piombi Prison. Enjoy lunch on your own. The entire afternoon is for your independent tour of Venice by foot and/or gondola; our tour escort is at your service for suggestions. In the late afternoon attend a performance in one of Venice’s theaters. Dine in a restaurant in the center of Venice. Return to the hotel.
Day 3: VENICE.
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer you to the harbor and depart on a private boat to the islands of the lagoon.
• Murano. Since the Middle Ages the island of Murano has been the center of the glass industry, and today the island continues to be well-known for its glass works.
• Burano, characterized by its small brightly colored houses, is famous for being one of the main centers of antique lace making, another of the arts in which Venetian craftsmen excelled.
• Torcello. The island of Torcello is located within the northern part of the lagoon. It was one of the first inhabited islands of the Venetian lagoon. Today Torcello is sparsely populated with buildings that still remain from the first settlement. Visit the Roman church of Santa Fosca and the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which date back to the 11th century.
• Take the boat back to Venice proper and have lunch on your own. After shopping and free time in Venice attend a concert in the Basilica of St. Mark. From the private boat transfer to the coach and return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: VENICE – FLORENCE - MONTECATINI
After breakfast at the hotel, travel to Florence, arriving late morning. Upon arrival, meet our local English speaking guides for a half-day tour of Florence. Visit the Piazza del Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. Florence is a treasure chest of art and architecture. Stop at Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers a magnificent view of the old city, and the famous Ponte Vecchio built in 1345. Piazza della Signoria was once the center of Florence’s political and social life. A replica of the ‘David’ statue serves as a tribute to triumph over tyranny along with other statues commemorating major historical events. Late in the afternoon take the short trip to Montecatini, your hotel and dinner.
Day 5: MONTECATINI – FLORENCE.
Following breakfast at the hotel, depart for Florence; meet with our local guide to view one of the most beautiful museums of Florence. Options include the Accademia. This is a very important museum in Florence, housing famous sculptures by Michelangelo, including the David. There are also many paintings, collected by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold to help the young artists enrolled in the Accademia d'Arte, which is still next door to the gallery. Or you can choose to visit the Uffizi: the most important art collection in Italy and one of the finest in the world. Founded in 1580 when it was part of the larger Palazzo Uffizi, the building was designed by Vasari and completed by Buontalenti. Fundamental for the Tuscan schools of art from the 13th century onwards, it includes works by Venetian, Roman, Emilian, Flemish, German, Spanish and French artists. Lunch and enjoy the city on your own in the afternoon. Attend a performance in Florence and have dinner. Return to the hotel in Montecatini and overnight.
Day 6: MONTECATINI – PISA – LUCCA.
Following breakfast at the hotel, depart for Pisa and meet our local guide to view one of the most curious landmarks of Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There will be plenty of time to inspect the impressive Cathedral of Pisa, the Baptistry, and museums. Lunch will be on your own at a Pisa restaurant. In the afternoon travel to Lucca for a guided visit – Piazza San Michele, the Cathedral of San Martino, the characteristic Guinigi Tower with its tree growing at the top, and the Roman amphitheater. There is time for a late afternoon or evening performance and dinner in Lucca or in Montecatini. Return to the hotel.
Day 7: MONTECATINI – ROME.
Following breakfast at the hotel, depart for Rome, arriving in the late morning. Lunch on your own. In the afternoon meet our local guide for a half-day tour of ancient Rome. See the Capitoline Hill with the Cordonata. See the Tarpeian Rock, from which traitors in ancient Rome are believed to have been thrown to their death. Visit the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum. You’ll have reservations at a Rome hotel. As a special first night, a pizza dinner is planned at a charming pizzeria. Overnight.
Day 8: ROME.
Following breakfast at the hotel, meet our local guide for a half-day tour of the monuments of Rome. See the Circus Maximus, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna and the small and beautiful piazza in the historical center of Rome. Lunch on your own. The afternoon is on your own with time for getting ready for the concert. Performance in a Rome venue. Dinner and overnight.
Day 9: ROME.
Following breakfast at the hotel, meet our local guide for a half-day tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, with its breathtaking frescoes by Michelangelo, and the Raphael Rooms, which established Raphael’s reputation in Rome. See St. Peter’s Square and discover the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica, Christendom’s most sacred shrine. Here you’ll see the ‘Pieta’ by Michelangelo and the breathtaking interior work by Bernini. The choir will perform in the basilica for the afternoon Mass (pending confirmation). The afternoon is free for your individual touring. Farewell dinner and overnight.
Day 10: DEPARTURE.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel, and go to the airport in Rome for the return flight.