Visitors heading to Italy for the first time will surely want to include the country’s three most famous cities on their itinerary. Often touted as “The Big Three”, Rome, Florence, and Venice each have their own unique personality while still exuding the warmth, history, and excitement of Italy in general. They provide a good overview of the country and allow first timers and repeat visitors to opportunity to cover most of Italy’s most notable attractions.
Begin with a 4-night stay in stunning Rome, the “Eternal City.” Known not only for its history but also its excellent food, vibrant nightlife, and friendly residents, Roma is the perfect place to start your tour of Italy. Commence with a walking tour of some of the city’s most lauded sites, including the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, Palantine Hill, the Forum, Circus Maximus, and more. You’ll be thrilled with a visit to the spectacular Vatican Museums, where you’ll view portions of the world’s most extensive collection of art work. Participants will also view Michelangelo’s famed ceiling at the Sistine Chapel and admire his Pieta at St. Peter’s Basilica. During free time, travel to the beautiful Villa Borghese, sit on the Spanish Steps and do some people-watching, and toss a few coins into the Trevi Fountain or any of Rome’s many beautiful water features.
Next, depart by rail for Florence, where you’ll enjoy a 3-night stay in the city that is said to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. Full of stunning architecture and world-class museums, Florence is Italy’s most cultural city and is an excellent dining and shopping destination as well. An introductory walking tour will include a visit to the famous Accademia, where you’ll view an unparalleled collection of artworks including Michelangelo’s David statue. Also included will be a chance to explore the other gems of the city centre including the Duomo, Uffizi Square, the Ponte Vecchio, the Ancient Forum, and Ghilberti’s stunning “Gates of Paradise.” During your free time, sample the exquisite cuisine of Florence, stroll the Boboli Gardens, and shop for leather goods, jewelry, handmade paper, apparel, and other local wares.
Following your time in Florence, board the train for a 3-night stay in Venice, dubbed one of the most romantic cities in the world. Famous for its canals but offering so much more, this city is graced with beautiful architecture, interesting neighborhoods, outdoor markets, and plenty of 5-star restaurants where guests can enjoy the best in food and locally-cultivated wines. Take a Grand Canal boat tour for a good introductory view of the city’s sites then explore on your own for an in depth look at the attractions that intrigue you, including perhaps the famous St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and Rialto Bridge, and the beautiful Zattere waterfront promenade. Take a side trip to Murano, where you can purchase their world-famous glass products, or to the quiet island of Torcello to visit the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
11 days featuring Rome, Florence, and Venice
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