Arrive independently in Italy’s capital city, and spend the night in a hotel.
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your guide at the entrance to the Vatican City for a small-group tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. This is a fantastic opportunity to get any questions answered about the collection in the museum, or about Rome’s independent city-state itself.
Inside the Vatican Museums, you will pass through the Raphael Rooms and the Pineyard Courtyard, before getting the chance to see the incredible Sistine Chapel and pass underneath Michelangelo’s Dome. The tour also includes a visit to the incredible St. Peter’s Basilica, ending outside in the famous St. Peter’s Square
The rest of the day will be yours to enjoy, and after all that history we recommend a gentle stroll around the streets of Rome, a visit to a coffee shop or a spot more sightseeing outdoors. You will choose your location for dinner, and spend another night in your hotel.
As well as the guided aspects of this tour, we also believe in letting you explore Italy at your own pace, and today allows you to do just that. One of the best ways to soak up the mix of historic and modern culture in Rome is just to explore it on foot, and come across ancient ruins one moment and then modern shops the next.
Neighbourhoods that are worth a visit include Monti or Trastevere, where you can discover unique little bakeries or cafes, people-watch in small plazas, or browse boutique shops. Rome is more than just its famous attractions like the Colosseum, and you won’t regret taking the time to find some of the city’s hidden gems.
If you want to travel further afield however, we can arrange a day trip from Rome to a nearby vineyard or country villa where you can relax in the countryside away from the city’s noise. A popular location for an excursion is Tivoli, where you can visit the famous Renaissance gardens at the Villa d’Este.
You will have another evening to enjoy Rome’s restaurants and nightlife, before your final night in your first hotel.
After breakfast in Rome, your private driver-guide will meet you and transfer you to the city of Florence. The Chianti hills make up the countryside on your drive to Florence, and you will be able to sit back and enjoy views of vineyards and olive groves, as well as tiny historic hamlets dotted around the landscape.
En route, you will get the chance to visit Siena, which is one of Italy’s prettiest cities. One of the most famous sights in Siena is the central piazza which is known as ‘Il Campo’, which film fans may recognise from the James Bond movie ‘The Quantum of Solace’. Il Campo is also the location of the annual Palio horse race in Siena that takes place every summer, and is a stunning location that is well worth a visit.
For lunch, you will stop at a traditional Tuscan villa for a delicious lunch and signature wine tasting session. If there is time during the day, you will also have the chance to stop and explore the small town of Monteriggioni on your journey.
You will arrive in Florence in the late afternoon, and spend the night right in the centre of the city.
After breakfast in your hotel in Florence, you will join a small group tour to explore the city of Florence and learn about the 2000 years of history that make it such a famous location.
Florence is known for its art and culture and is home to works by masters of painting and sculpture such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, Lippi, Botticelli and Brunelleschi. The city is filled with frescos, statues and paintings which you will pass during the tour, and which can be found in the three churches you will visit in the morning; the Duomo, Santa Trinità and Orsanmichele.
Medieval architecture is abundant across the city, with elaborate towers adorning many buildings and several stunning Renaissance palaces. Your tour will take you past some of the most iconic spots in Florence, including Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Gates of Paradise, the Baptistery, the Bell Tower and the Ponte Vecchio.
After choosing somewhere to have lunch, you will have the opportunity to continue exploring Florence under your own steam, perhaps returning to some of the sights you passed on your tour or visiting an art gallery. You will have the evening to yourself to enjoy a meal in one of the city’s fine restaurants, and spend another night in your hotel.
After breakfast in Florence, you will travel to Venice by high-speed train and arrive on the edge of the city in two hours. You will be met by a driver on arrival at the station, and transferred to your hotel in the middle of Venice.
After settling into your hotel you have the rest of the day to explore Venice, which has to be done on foot as there are no roads in Italy’s floating city, only canals and narrow, winding streets. You can just wander the streets and let the sights and sounds of Venice come to you as you walk, or take this opportunity to visit an art gallery such as the Peggy Guggenheim museum or the Palazzo Grassi.
You can find somewhere to eat in the evening, sampling some of the delicious seafood that is outstanding in Venice, and then return to your hotel for the night.
Your last full day of this trip will consist of another small group tour, this time exploring Venice by boat. As you travel along the Grand Canal, Venice’ central highway, and then zip around the small side streets of the city, your guides will be able to tell you local and historical stories relating to every area you visit, from iconic bridges to crumbling palaces.
This tour will offer insight into which famous areas of Venice have made it into films and television shows, and which hotspots are known to be frequented by celebrities. You can also learn more about the foundations of the city, and how its original inhabitants built a prosperous trading port centuries ago from nothing but a boggy marsh.
Your day will end with a classic gondola ride as the sun starts to set, which is a perfect finish to your final day in Italy. Enjoy dinner at a canalside restaurant before visiting the Piazza San Marco in the dark, and say goodbye to Venice.
After breakfast, you will depart Venice independently and return to either the airport or the train station to leave Italy or travel somewhere else.