Winter in Italy with Venice Carnival
Day 1 Rome
Arrive to Rome at any time. Unquestionably Rome exudes history: from its Catacombs that entombed early Christians, to the Colosseum where gladiators battled to the death and on up to the Palatine Hill, the traditional site of Rome’s founding. It is also home to the Vatican City, the home of the Pope, and St Peter's Basilica. The city is enthralling, with perhaps more to see than any other place in the world. Eating in Italy is deeply embedded in the country’s culture, and dining in Rome can seem to last forever and consist of many courses. The city offers a vibrant cafe culture and nightlife, as well as the many iconic sights. We recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully explore this magnificent city. Please note that if you wish to visit popular museums such as the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) and Villa Borghese in Rome, to avoid waiting in line for a long time it is advisable to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets can be reserved online at www.vatican.va and www.tickititaly.com. Please make your reservations for the afternoon of Day 2. As your fellow travellers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities until your Group Meeting this evening, so check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx 3pm) and enjoy the city. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting. After the meeting, you can head out for a meal at a local restaurant with the group (optional). Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Tour Leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
Day 2 Rome (1B,1D)
Spend a full day wandering the streets of the "Eternal City'. Opt to visit Vatican City, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum or Rome's famous squares and fountains like Piazza Navona and Fontana di Trevi. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Roman meal.
Days 3-5 Florence (3B)
Travel into Tuscany and settle into Florence for three days of exploring. Florence personifies all that is beautiful in Italian civilization. It is the capital of the Tuscany region with a population of approximately half a million people. The fathers of Italian painting, Cimabue and Giotto lived here, along with many other prominent artists. It is the birthplace of the Italian language (Dante Alighieri) and Europe’s richest cultural period, The Italian Renaissance. Florence’s cultural and historical impact attracts thousands of international travellers each year. Fill your days with a visit to the marvellous multi-coloured Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the medieval Ponte Vecchio or the Medici Chapels. Take a break at Piazza della Signoria with a gelato or an espresso before hitting the vivacious Piazza San Lorenzo to bargain for discounted woollen and leather goods. Florence has much to offer. Opt to catch a local bus or train to nearby Siena to see more of what this province has to offer. Tuscany is also famous for its food and wine, and there are many regional specialities to tempt you in Florence. The world-famous Chianti wine comes from this area and matches the local steak excellently. Or you could try the excellent and very filling Tuscan vegetable and bean soup. On one of the evenings in Florence, we will walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset for the famous view over the River Arno and the city.
Days 6-8 Venice (3B)
Continue on to Venice, a unique and magical city that comes alive during carnevale. Put on a traditional mask and join the other revelers in wandering the labyrinthine streets. Drink mulled wine and weave over bridges and canals until you reach the big party in St Mark's Square. With gondolas bobbing in the Grand Canal and the spires of the Basilica looming over the festivities, there's no better stage for a festival than ancient Venice. It all culminates on Martedí Grasso, Fat Tuesday, and you'll be right there for all the fun.
Day 9 Venice (1B)
Depart at anytime.