Italian Espresso (Winter)
Depart for Europe
Jet off to the trip of a lifetime awaiting you in Europe!
Check-in to your hotel, drop off your stuff, meet your Tour Manager and travel buddies at 4:00pm and head out into the streets of Italy to get a sneak peek at vibrant Rome. Stylish Rome oozes energy and overflows with relics from another age. Get into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Tour Manager shows you the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia and Piazza Navona. Honour tradition at the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin in the fountain’s waters (it’s meant to improve your chances of returning to Rome!). Tonight will be one to remember. At a popular pizzeria, you’ll enjoy pizza as it was meant to be (with a thin crispy crust, fresh tomato and loaded with delicious mozzarella). Learn a thing or two about making them as you watch a professional piazzolo demonstrate how it’s done!
This morning, make the most of our Local Guide’s inside knowledge and uncover the remains of an ancient empire with a fantastic optional tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Then check-out the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope, the Vatican City. There’s included entry and our Local Guide to show you St Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do. Before you hit the shops, let your Tour Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys. Tonight, hook up with your new friends and dive into Rome’s night action with your buddies and start your travels off with a night to remember.
Rome to Florence
Cruise through rural Umbria and terraced vineyards to breathtaking Renaissance Florence. Jump start your time here uncovering this open-air museum. Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence’s cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Tonight, we eat in a humming local restaurant, right in the heart of Florence. After dinner, sit back and relax Tuscan style with a glass of Chianti wine.
The scene-stealing Duomo Cathedral rises above the city centre, which serves up frescoes, markets and priceless art. With a free day, you’ve got plenty of time to get a feel for Florence. Take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making with the group and understand this region’s traditional art. Get inspired at the famous Uffizi Gallery and see paintings from the masters like da Vinci and Raphael. Wander along the pretty Ponte Vecchio for some boutique shopping or rummage through the city’s local markets. With bargains and bustle, they are a great place to hang out, so grab a gelato and enjoy this gorgeous city. Tonight, there’s a optional group dinner - an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in the pretty Tuscan country setting and kick back Tuscan style with a glass of Chianti wine. Then with a night out and get your groove on at Florence’s biggest club.
Today, we get out into the fantastic Tuscan countryside, known for its iconic cypress trees and delicious olive oil. Spend the morning in San Gimignano, the stunning hill-top town that is often dubbed “Medieval Manhattan”. Dotted with ancient towers, San Gimignano serves up sweeping views over the region’s rolling hills. Explore the village and pick up some local specialties like wild-boar salami or percorino cheese. Then, we stop off for our included wine tasting. In an historic villa, the group will see a working winery, complete with its old cellar and vats. Here you can learn more about the region’s wines as you taste a glass or two of the local wine.
Florence to Venice
This morning, we stop by Pisa and get up close to the famous Leaning Tower. Then it’s your chance to splash some cash, with our stop at Barberino Designer Outlet mall for our exclusive Italian fashion experience. You can use this opportunity to get some gear to show off to your friends at home. This outlet mall is amazing, with your chance to pick up some designer fashion at incredible prices. With between 30%-70% off regular retail, the savings are epic, and because you’re with Contiki you’ll get up to an additional 10% off! From labels like Missoni, Bose, Dolce & Gabbana to name a few – there’s going to be plenty to tempt you today. Criss-cross the Apennine Mountains past wildflower fields, quaint hill-top villages and the rolling hills of Umbria. This evening, we stop in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona for dinner. Get romantic and stand under one of the world’s most famous shrines to love, Juliet’s balcony. Check out the main shopping street and the Roman arena, before we hit the road to the “floating city” of Venice. During your time in this special city, you’ll get a good look into the Venetian way of life.
Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. The group travels on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge’s Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice’s unique beauty and way of life. Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You’ll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market – a local favourite for food shopping. Maybe grab a table on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share this amazing experience with your friends – seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!
Depart Venice / Rome
The tour ends after breakfast in Venice and it’s time to say "arrivederci" to your new friends. Or if you prefer, catch a free transfer back to Rome where your tour ends when you arrive.