- Explore Rome by night on a vintage Vespa
- Exclusive, behind-closed-doors visit of the Vatican Museums
- Explore the imperial highlights of Rome with a local guide
- Private behind the scenes tour of Palazzo Colonna
- Tuscany cooking class
- Private dinner admiring Florence Ponte Vecchio
Rome, Florence, Venice
Indulge in art, history and delicious cuisine
A program designed for those visiting Italy for the first time but also for those who love Italy’s great history, culture and traditions. This itinerary includes the traditional highlights but also some special and exclusive experiences such as the afterhours exclusive Vatican visit, the private visit of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, a special tasting in a private palace on the Grand Canal and a private visit of the sacristy of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence.
On arrival into Rome Airport enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the heart of the city and have some time to unwind and enjoy your property…
When the sun goes down, Rome comes alive, its monuments and palaces lit up like a theater stage. Hop on the back of a vintage Vespa and experience Rome at its most romantic, under the cover of darkness…
In her evening clothes, Rome’s charms are even more apparent. There’s no better time to buzz down her less crowded streets and no better means of transport than the vintage Vespa – the scooter the New York Times calls “the most completely Italian product since the Roman Chariot.” On the back of this iconic two-wheeler, you’ll take in Rome’s must-see sights like the Colosseum and the Trinità dei Monti dressed up in spectacular spotlights; you’ll scoot through its lively squares like the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona with their majestic monuments and burbling fountains all illuminated; and you’ll follow the Eternal City’s pleasure-seekers to trendy Trastevere to soak up the nightlife scene. In the capable hands of our expert guides and drivers, you can rest assured that everything will be done to ensure your safety and comfort from start to photo finish.
La Dolce Vita
Walking through Campo Marzio is at once a living history lesson and a celebration of Rome’s famed Dolce Vita. This morning join your local expert guide to explore the area’s rich history, cultural highlights and true Roman flair before viewing the Trevi Fountain from above…
For close to three millennia, Campo Marzio has played a vital role in Rome’s history: as the ancient city’s breadbasket and a military training ground with a flooded “naval stadium” in the Imperial Age, as a medieval slum for destitute immigrants and a trendy neighborhood for the Baroque upper class. Today, it is home to must-see sights like the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps, the power center of modern government at Palazzo Chigi and the city’s most fashionable shopping street Via del Corso. The amusing anecdotes and insider insight of your local expert guide will make Campo Marzio’s rich history come alive as we make our way from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Navona, stopping along the way to admire architectural and artistic treasures, stylish storefronts and flowing fountains. The tour culminates at Fontana di Trevi, where you will have the opportunity to escape the madding crowds and see the iconic fountain from above! Thanks to our ‘friends in high places’, you have access to a hidden terrace with the ideal vantage point to marvel at the fountain’s sculptural masterpieces, learn about the history and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee.
After the Vatican Museums close for the day and the crowds disperse, the Holy See returns to its age-old reverence and sacred silence. Enjoy an exclusive, behind-closed-doors visit of Rome’s most popular gallery…
Originally built as papal palaces for the Renaissance pontiffs, the Vatican Museums have an unparalleled collection of classical statuary, ancient Egyptian and Etruscan treasures, a hallway lined with 16th-century topographical maps of Italy and world-renowned paintings and frescos. Join your personal guide to explore the highlights and hidden corners of one of the world’s most amazing collections of art and architecture in the sacred silence that most becomes it and without its usual crowds. From Michelangelo’s masterful ceiling in the Sistine Chapel to masterpieces by da Vinci, Titian and Raphael, your guide’s entertaining and educational insight will bring the art and history of this iconic complex to life.
Highlights of Rome
From the rise of Julius Caesar to the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome became the center of its modern world. Join our expert local guide to explore the highlights of Imperial Rome on foot and by private vehicle…
Visit the best-loved sights of Rome in our highlights tour that perfectly combines walking with relaxed sightseeing in the comfort of a luxury vehicle. Follow in the footsteps of Cicero and Caesar in the valley of the Forum Romanum, as your guide recounts myths and legends that make the ruins come alive – like the Basilica of Constantine with its imposing arches. We continue down the Via Sacra to the triumphal Arch of Titus and make our way to the Colosseum. After admiring its exterior and exploring its interior, we’ll walk the Palatine Hill and visit the ruins of the imperial palaces and the small museum. The tour continues to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains to see the relics and Michelangelo’s Moses, before venturing to the Vittoriano monument, sometimes disrespectfully referred to as the “Wedding Cake”. The tour ends with a panoramic drive past Circus Maximus, where daring Romans competed in fast-paced chariot races, and the two closest of the seven Hills of Rome, Aventino and Palatino.
(Tour duration: 4 hours)
Lunch at leisure in one of the local restaurants that our trusted local guide will be delighted to show you…
This afternoon join your English-speaking guide for a leisurely stroll to the incredible Palazzo Colonna, where you will enjoy an exclusive visit behind the scenes of this noble palace that is a private home and a true gem of the Roman Baroque.
The Colonnas are one of Italy’s oldest and most celebrated family, counting among its numbers cardinals, saints and a pope, sea captains, generals and diplomats, authors, intellectuals and close confidants of Michelangelo and Petrarch. Palazzo Colonna has evolved into a lavish 15-acre estate in the heart of Rome since ground was broken in the 14th century and has served as the private residence for 30 generations of Colonna princes. Current owner Don Prospero takes very seriously his role in preserving the family’s cultural heritage and opens his home to select visitors only. Your guide will provide insight into the adventures and accomplishments of the family as well as the museum-worthy art and lavish decorations of this elegant residence. You will visit the celebrated Colonna Gallery, commissioned in the mid-1600s by Cardinal Girolamo I and home to 270 important works of art, as well as the private apartment of Princess Isabelle, preserved exactly as she left it upon her death in 1984. Both heads of state and lively grandchildren have visited these stately rooms, where the Princess’ family photos and famous collection of Gasparo Vanvitelli’s “vedute” paintings are on display.
From Rome to Florence
Today’s transfer takes you from Rome to Florence, stopping off to visit two of Tuscany’s greatest treasures enroute: Siena and San Gimignano…
On your leisurely transfer from Rome to Florence join your expert driver and proud Toscano to travel through some of the most quintessentially Italian countryside. As you make your way past stately cypress trees, vine-covered hills and tiny towns perched on every hilltop, you’ll have the chance to visit Tuscany’s must-see cities Siena and San Gimignano. The trip continues along winding roads through vineyards and farms to Siena, where you can stroll the Piazza del Campo (site of the annual Palio races!), climb the Torre del Mangia for the panoramic views and visit the striking striped 13th-century cathedral with its soaring ceilings, extravagant marble pulpit and vibrant frescoes.
Today’s tour gives you all the highlights of Florence, taking in the art and architecture of the Birthplace of the Renaissance and experiencing its enviable way of life with your expert local guide…
This highlights tour of Florence is a fantastic way to learn the lay of the land in the Tuscan capital and watch the city’s art and architecture come alive with your guide’s facts and folklore. Our luxury vehicle will accompany you on the first few hours of the tour. Stop at the Accademia to gaze in awe at Michelangelo’s majestic David. In Piazza del Duomo, we stop to marvel at Giotto’s graceful bell-tower, the impressive bronze doors on the baptistery and Brunelleschi’s ingenious cupola. A drive into the hills just above Florence gives you a chance to take in the panoramic views, before you and your guide continue on foot from Piazza della Signoria. After a short break, you’ll have fast-track entrance into the Uffizi Gallery. Explore the Renaissance masterpieces from such luminaries as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raphael and learn of the building’s exciting past as the 16th century HQ of the Granduchi de Medici.
Late this afternoon expect a warm welcome in Stefania’s kitchen for her master cooking class in all things Tuscany, where the main ingredients are the freshest local produce, time-honored traditions and a dash of storytelling…
One of the brightest ambassadors of her native Tuscany, Stefania welcomes you into her family home near the Porta Romana for a master class in cooking that goes beyond simply following recipes. Sharing culinary history, igniting passion for traditional recipes and creating inviting table settings are just as important to Tuscan cooking as relying on the finest in zero-kilometer produce. You’ll discuss the day’s menu over an aperitivo and then get down to the business of cooking a five-course meal including such traditional Italian fare as schiacciata bread, homemade ravioli with pesto and a cake made with chocolate and red wine. Stefania’s enthusiasm is contagious, her tips and tricks are fool-proof and her recipes are all destined to become part of your regular meal rotation at home. As you take your place at her lovely table to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you’ll raise your glass of wine and toast to your new-found friend.
This morning explore the neighborhoods of Florence’s artisans with your local expert English-speaking guide, visit their workshops and experience firsthand the city’s renowned “artigiani”…
What better way to explore the lives of Florence’s artisans than this unique ‘off-the-beaten track’ experience? Your local expert guide will take you through medieval backstreets to learn about the tricks of these traditional trades. Florence’s rich artisanal culture dates back to the middle ages, but – as you will see – it is still very much alive today. Connoisseurs of famous Florentine crafts like wrought ironwork, leather gilding, woodworking, shoemaking and jewelry will delight in this behind-the-scenes tour – and may find a trinket or two to bring home!
This afternoon, step into one of the close-to-the-public sacristy of the Duomo Cathedral and admire the landscape of the Birthplace of the Renaissance..
The North Sacristy is a true gem of the Cathedral and a masterpiece of early Renaissance art and artistry. Its walls, which are entirely decorated with illusionistic wood inlay, embody one of the great innovations of the fifteenth century: the application of the new science of linear perspective for the creation of imaginary architectural spaces and their population with noble compositions of sacred history. This achievement endowed the art of intarsia with a status that rivaled the arts of painting and sculpture during its golden age in fifteenth century. Then came the pièce de la résistance: the exclusive rooftop terrace of the Duomo. The terrace is the perfect distance up for those who balk at doing all 463 steps to the top of the Dome in one go (as opposed to the 414 to the top of the Bell Tower). Not only did we have a panoramic visual of Florence, Fiesole and the mountains beyond but it was an intriguing new perspective of the exterior of the cathedral, the closeness of the cupola and the Baptistery out front.
This evening enjoy a fantastic private dinner in an exclusive location…taste the delicious dishes prepared by your trusted chef while admiring Florence Ponte Vecchio!
This evening you will enjoy a fantastic private dinner in an elegant and refined space, embellished by sophisticated and custom-made furniture and with an immense window that overlooks the ancient Florence. A stunning panoramic view on the Ponte Vecchio, just a few meters out of your reach, so close you will feel like you can almost touch it! Your personal chef will take care of the selection of the best seasonal local ingredients and will prepare an excellent dinner for your very special evening.
Venice at Dusk
Today enjoy your Private Transfer from the hotel to Florence Train Station…
Take the Freccia Rossa Train (First Class Tickets and Seat Reservations) which departs Florence and arrives into Venice…
On your Arrival into Venice Train Station enjoy your Private Transfer to Venice Hotel.
Time at leisure to relax and enjoy your property…
Late this afternoon experience the incomparable atmosphere of Venice at dusk from the seat of your very own gondola and enjoy a romantic dinner of traditional Venetian fare at one of the city’s most elegant bistros…
Meet your private assistant in the hotel lobby for the short walk to the gondola landing stage, where you will set off on your romantic adventure. There is no better way to experience Venice at dusk than from the iconic Venetian craft, the gondola. A tribute to Venetian craftsmanship, each element of the boat is made by hand in the squeri boatyards, from the metal ferro ornament forged by local blacksmiths to the long oars and elegant oarlocks hand-carved by local woodworkers. Your gondoliere in his classic striped shirt will take you along the minor canals of the St. Mark’s district among the twinkling lights of the ornate palazzi and romantic bridges. Once you alight, make your way to the Bistrot de Venise, a classic Venetian eatery with boudoir-red walls, romantic candlelight and the chef’s creative take on centuries-old recipes – including the Cuor di Venezia cake that comes with a red rose!
Venice Alleys & Waterways
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby to explore one of Europe’s most iconic cities and get to know Venice through the eyes of a true Veneziana. See how the city rises from the waters of the Venetian lagoon like a mirage and unfolds in a romantic maze of alleys, waterways and piazzas. Stroll through the very heart of Venice, getting to know the ornate palaces, majestic churches and romantic bridges that make the atmosphere so unique and gaining insight into how the Venetians strive to preserve their cultural landscape with an average of 30,000 visitors every day. Once on the famous Piazza San Marco, which Napoleon called the ‘most elegant drawing room in Europe’, enjoy a visit to the majestic Doge’s Palace. Your guide will help you make the most of your visit with recommendations on shopping streets, traditional trattorias and lesser-known sights to see while you are here.
Afternoon at leisure to relax and enjoy Venice on your own…
The Grand Canal
The best way to experience the “Floating City” is from the lagoon itself! Board a private water taxi with your local guide to experience the fascinating culture and craftsmen of the outer islands of Venice…
Meet your local expert guide at your hotel’s private landing stage and climb aboard a private water taxi for a tour of the city’s three principle islands – Murano, Burano and Torcello. Your guide will share anecdotes from the city’s rich history as you cruise past the low-lying islands and tidal flats. Once the area’s most populous island, Torcello is today a virtually deserted nature reserve, where the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta boasts some of the most impressive Byzantine mosaics this side of Istanbul. Burano, known for its multi-colored fisherman’s cottages and deft ladies tatting lace, shows Venice from its most photogenic side. And last but not least, Murano has been home to Venetian glass blowers since 1291, when the city moved the tradesmen to the island for fear of devastating fires. In a private, behind-the-scenes tour of one of Venice’s oldest and most renowned glass factories, you’ll learn about the time-tested techniques used to create the island’s iconic glass treasures.
This afternoon go behind closed doors of a gorgeous 18th-century Grand Canal palace to experience the ‘real’ Venice and take part in a sommelier-led tasting of award-winning wines from the Veneto…
You’ve likely always been curious what it is like behind the Gothic windows of those traditional Venetian palaces flanking the Grand Canal – well, today’s your chance to go behind closed doors of a prominent local family and live as a local in luxury. Under the soaring ceilings of the charming dining room, enjoy a tasting of four fine Italian wines led by an expert sommelier along with a mouth-watering selection of the typical Venetian finger food known as cicchetti. Your wine expert will entertain you with anecdotes from the fascinating history of this illustrious family and its charming palazzo.
Today enjoy your departure Transfer from your Hotel to Venice Airport for Departure flight.
La Dolce Vita
Highlights of Rome
From Rome to Florence
Venice at Dusk
Venice Alleys & Waterways
The Grand Canal
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