On Day 1 we meet in London at 18:00 and make our way by bus to Paris. Please note the trip departs London in the evening of Day 1 so it is imperative you arrive on time for departure soon after the 18:00 Welcome Meeting. Please ensure you allow plenty of time for your journey to London to allow for any possible delays.
After an orientation walk with your CEO on Day 2, we will enjoy a picnic opposite the Eiffel Tower. Then you are free to explore on your own to discover the “je ne sais quoi” of the City of Lights. Paris has something for everyone and you can use your day here to picnic under the Eiffel Tower, explore the outstanding museums and churches, float down the Seine on a river cruise or people watch at one of the charming cafés. Estimated Travel Time: 10 hours (via overnight bus with airline-style seating)
Today we head south to glorious Provence, with its beautiful scenery, hilltop towns, chic coastal resorts and sparkling blue Mediterranean waters. You will have a free day to visit your choice of the many attractions Nice and the Cote d'Azur have to offer. Estimated Travel Time Paris to Nice 4.5 Hours
We travel by train to the Ligurian coast and our base in La Spezia, handily situated just a short train ride from the five stunning villages of the Cinque Terre. The following day is free for options including hiking in Cinque Terre National Park, local wine-tasting, Ligurian cooking classes, boat trips or even a visit to Portofino, Portovenere or Genoa. Cinque Terre consists of five coastal villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is quintessential Italy- small colourful villages perched onto little outcroppings of land with sheer cliffs, blue waters and olive groves, lemon trees and colourful flowers blanketing the hills. Pick up a day pass that gets you into the National Park and unlimited train access between the towns for a full day of hiking, beaching, swimming, eating…you name it! Hiking between the villages is the best way to see all the area has to offer on the well-marked and well-maintained paths leading through olive groves and vineyards, orchards and chestnut woods, stopping in each village to grab a cappuccino, a slice of pizza, a mouthwatering plate of "spaghetti alle vongole" (spaghetti with fresh clams), or just sit and enjoy! This area really offers something for everyone- avid hikers, someone looking for an easy stroll or a sun-worshipper looking for a little downtime in the sun. At the end of a long day outdoors, head into one of the local restaurants offering up Ligurian specialties like the local recipe of pesto, unlimited seafood dishes, a litre of vino della casa (house wine) and an after dinner taste of local grappa you won’t be able to resist! Our simple hotel has some triple rooms Estimated Travel Time Provence to La Spezia: 8 hours
Today we make a short visit to Pisa, with its Field of Miracles and the must-see view of the iconic Leaning Tower, en-route for Rome. We catch an early train from La Spezia to Pisa, where we store our bags and walk to the Field of Miracles for a sight of the famous monuments.We will have a couple of hours here to take in the sights and sounds, before we continue by train to Rome. Rome is full of fabulous sites. Possibly the most recognized symbol of the city is the Colosseum, the scene of the bloody gladiator bouts for the entertainment of ancient Rome's aristocracy. Take a tour around the old venue and then head over to the Palatine hill and the Roman Forum to see where it all began. Even with the bustle of modern day Rome whizzing past on Vespas you can still lose yourself in the fragmented columns and ancient ruins, conjuring images of the rich Romans sauntering by in togas. From the Colosseum it's not too much of a hike to Piazza Navona. Known for the Baroque buildings surrounding the square, and its beautiful central fountain, it's truly a great place to walk, mingle with the Romans, and sip a cappuccino at one of the sidewalk cafés. Next stop can be the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Sit among the young Italians cuddling on the steps or watch the rich and powerful shopping in the elegant boutiques nearby. Take a short walk over to the Fontana di Trevi to throw a coin over your shoulder backwards to ensure your return to this magical city. When you’ve had enough of secular Rome, head to the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City. Located within the city of Rome, the Vatican City is a separate country ruled by the pope and the perfect place to see art and religion intertwined. Within the Vatican, you will find the famous St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church and the headquarters of Roman Catholicism. It is difficult to decide whether to look up, down, or to the side as there are treasures everywhere in the church: Bernini’s canopy, the dome, the treasury, the statue of St. Peter, the Pieta, and the grotto should all be seen, and it can be possible to attend services in the church. The Vatican Museums are near the basilica and contain priceless works of art from ancient to modern times. There are many different galleries but seeing all of them is definitely not possible in one day, so do a little research before visiting and decide what you really want to see. There are countless pieces of art, including statues, busts, Renaissance paintings, tapestries, early icons and Egyptian artifacts, just to name a few. Two of the most well-known exhibits in the Vatican Museums are the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms. Although the Sistine Chapel is always very crowded, it is a must-see for any visitor to the Vatican. The magnificent frescoed ceiling of the chapel painted by Michelangelo depicts over 300 figures from the Book of Genesis, the most well-known being “The Creation of Adam,” showing God touching the finger of Adam. “The Last Judgment” on the west wall depicts a scene from the Book of Revelations. It’s a good idea to book a ticket to the Vatican online from home or with some advice from your CEO as waiting until the day you arrive may well be too late! Ask your CEO for help booking tickets in advance. Estimated Travel Time La Spezia to Pisa 1.5 hours Estimated Travel Time Pisa to Rome: 3.5 hrs
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