Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $320 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.
All breakfasts. All dinners. Stadtkeller Swiss folklore dinner and show on Day 9.
Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
Rome City Sightseeing: Local Guide, Visits to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, Visit to the Vatican Museums, Headset receiver for the Vatican sites, Visit to the Sistine Chapel, Visit to St. Peter's Basilica, Stroll on Piazza Navona, Visit to the Pantheon
Optional Dinner with music
Local Guide, Visit to the Basilica of St. Francis
Guided walking tour in Florence: Local guide, Visit to the Accademia, Visit to the nave of Florence's Duomo (time permitting), Visit to the church of Santa Croce and its Pazzi Chapel, Stop at Leonardo's Leather Workshop (time permitting)
Optional Excursion to Pisa: Photo stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Visit to Pisa's Duomo
Venice Guided Walking Tour: Round-trip water bus to St. Mark's Square, Local Guide, Glassblowing demonstration
Water bus, Sightseeing stop in Verona, View Verona's Roman amphitheater
Tour director-led walking tour in Milan: Visit to the nave of Milan's Duomo
The scenic Italian lake district, Travel through the St. Gotthard Base Tunnel
Optional Excursion to Mt. Pilatus: Cable car and cog railway ascent to summit, Lake cruise to Lucerne
Tour director-led walking tour in Lucerne
Stadtkeller Swiss folklore dinner and show
Rome is your destination; a wide-bodied jet is your vehicle. Swoop down over the Alps and touch down on the wide concrete runway at Fiumicino Airport. You've arrived in Italy!
Proceed to your centrally-located hotel, settle in and get ready to explore your surroundings.
You may be tempted to walk across the River Tiber on the Ponte Sisto footbridge, which leads, logically enough, to the medieval district called Trastevere ("across the Tiber"). There, visitors stroll at leisure along picturesque streets, past typical restaurants and small shops, on their way to the central piazza.
If your schedule allows, consider a visit to the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome's most celebrated sights, which was the terminus of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. Throw a coin over your right shoulder and into the spray to ensure your return to this wonderful city!
Set out on a sightseeing tour of Rome.
A full-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Rome, will accompany your group.
Discover outstanding masterpieces collected for the Vatican Museums since the early 1500s. See exceptional statues from antiquity, such as Laocoön and His Son and the Apollo Belvedere, as well as stunning Renaissance paintings, notably the The School of Athens fresco in the Raphael Rooms.
Marvel at Michelangelo's Last Judgment and brightly-colored ceiling frescoes in the Cappella Sistina.
Enter the sanctuary recognized as the world's largest church. The Basilica di San Pietro also houses priceless works of art, in particular Michelangelo's Pietà and Bernini's Dove of the Holy Spirit.
Walk through the plaza built on the site of Domitian's Stadium. Lined with grand buildings and trendy cafes, this oblong square is adorned with statues and fountains, notably Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers.
Inside the "Temple to All the Gods," you will understand why it has been called one of the better-preserved and most harmonious monuments of antiquity.
Tonight, enjoy dinner while local singers and musicians entertain you with O Sole Mio, Volare and other favorite Italian songs.
Your coach takes you north to Assisi, where flowers overflow the window boxes that adorn the pink stone buildings typical of the town.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Assisi, will accompany your group.
Step into the basilica built on the Hill of Paradise. It consists of two superimposed churches resting on a series of arches: the Lower Basilica, built over the crypt which contains the tomb of St. Francis, and the Upper Basilica, decorated with frescoes by 13th-century masters Giotto and Cimabue.
Travel up and over the rolling hills of Tuscany, to Firenze, the "Jewel of the Renaissance."
If time allows, stroll along the River Arno, or over it, using the shop-lined Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. This medieval bridge (built in 1345) is especially attractive at sunset, when it reflects the warm Italian light.
Get acquainted with the Medici family and the art of politics!
A local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Florence, will accompany your group.
View a wealth of artwork from the 15th and 16th centuries at the Galleria dell'Accademia, including the best known of all Florentine treasures, Michelangelo's monumental David.
In the nave of the Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, visitors marvel at a cathedral begun in 1296 and consecrated in 1436 that remains one of the largest in Christendom. It houses precious masterpieces, notably Domenico di Michelino's 1320 painting titled Dante holding the Divine Comedy.
Next on your program: the church that's the final resting place of luminaries such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo. Santa Croce is also famous for its art treasures, notably the Cappella dei Pazzi, a chapel attributed to Brunelleschi that's hailed as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.
Watch a craftsman demonstrate steps used in the manufacture of the world-renowned Florentine leather goods.
The remainder of the day is free to plan as you wish.
Don't miss a visit to Vivoli, the best place to purchase a cone of genuine gelato. See if this isn't the richest, creamiest and most flavorful ice cream you have ever tasted.
You may want to check out Florence's leather and jewelry shops, or the boutiques where you can acquire beautiful reproductions of Florentine artwork at reasonable prices.
An excursion takes you to Pisa, the city whose navy once dominated the Western Mediterranean, before the Arno River silted up.
Just north of the city center, discover the Campo dei Miracoli and its trio of remarkable Moorish-style religious buildings. The most famous of the three is the Leaning Tower, now tilting nearly 13 feet from its vertical axis. Hear about the various solutions proposed to counteract the sinking of its foundation.
Enter the sumptuous Romanesque Duomo, a 900-year-old sanctuary consecrated in 1118 that remained Europe's largest cathedral for nearly 100 years. Inside, art treasures include notably 14th-century mosaics, the 17th-century wooden ceiling decorated with gold leaf, and Giovanni Pisano's outstanding 13th-century marble pulpit.
Travel by coach across the rolling hills of Italy's hinterland on your way to the "Pearl of the Adriatic."
Remember Marco Polo, who set out from this magnificent harbor in 1271, at the age of 18, on a fantastic journey to Asia.
After a water bus ride to the greatest square in the West, Piazza San Marco, enjoy a walking tour led by a local guide. You will see the Doges' Palace and St. Mark's Basilica.
Head to the Rialto area to visit the nooks and crannies of Old Venice and the lively Rialto Market.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Venice, will accompany your group.
Visit a glass workshop, where a skilled glassblower will demonstrate the techniques and artistic sense required to produce the world-renowned Venetian glass.
Enjoy some free time in Venice today.
Use your vaporetto ticket to ride along the Grand Canal aboard a water bus: take either the #1 water bus, which makes every stop along the way, or #82, which travels along the same route with fewer stops. You will pass under the Rialto Bridge, which was once the only link between the two sides of the Grand Canal. Completed in 1591, this shop-lined stone bridge is a lively gathering place for visitors and locals alike.
If the weather is favorable, you may want to arrange a gondola ride along the canals, past stately palaces. This is a uniquely Venetian experience, as extravagant and as unforgettable as the city itself.
Head west along the valley of the Po River.
Have a look at the city immortalized by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Verona's 16th-century walls still surround the Centro della Città, full of narrow alleys and arcaded passageways.
See Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's House) and its courtyard with the famous balcony and a bronze statue of Juliet.
On Piazza Bra, the vast square where the Arena di Verona is located, you will see this splendid Roman amphitheater, which dates back to the 1st century AD. It's one of the largest in the Roman world with its 44 tiers of seats.
Proceed to the economic hub of northern Italy, which was once the ancient capital city of Lombardy, ruled for centuries by the powerful Visconti and Sforza families.
On a walking tour, your tour director will introduce the city's famous landmarks: the Piazza della Scala, with its world-famous Opera House and the extravagant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, built in the 19th century as one of the world's first shopping malls.
A visit is included to the extraordinarily-adorned Duomo, the third-largest church in the world and Italy's largest Gothic building, sometimes called the "porcupine cathedral" for its 135 spires and myriad of statues, a forest of pinnacles best viewed from its roof.
Today's journey takes you past Lake Lugano, a gem of the Italian lake district.
Travel across the Alps by way of the tunnel that was bored through the St. Gotthard mountain range. It was inaugurated in 2016 as the world's longest rail tunnel.
Drive into the heart of Switzerland. Your destination is the peaceful lakeside city of Lucerne, located in a region that is the homeland of William Tell.
This excursion takes you to the top of the world with the ascent to the summit of Mt. Pilatus, nearly 7,000 feet high. Up one side of this towering peak by cable car; down the other side, through mists and tinkling cowbells, by a narrow-gauge cog railway train (the steepest in the world for this form of traction).
Enjoy a 60 minute lake cruise across the "Lake of the Four Forest Cantons" from Alpnachstad to Lucerne.
Explore Lucerne's Old Town. You may want to feed the ducks from the ancient wooden Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge). Pause at Thorvaldsen's Löwendenkmal (or Lion of Lucerne), near the remarkable Glacier Gardens. See the large and noble Jesuitenkirche, one of the landmarks that show that the rural alpine areas in central and southern Switzerland remained Roman Catholic following the Reformation.
A fondue dinner and folklore performance are included tonight at the Stadtkeller. Brightly colored skirts, yodeling, and ten-foot mountain horns set a joyous context you'll long remember.
Depart Lucerne for Zurich.
Board your jet bound for the United States. Your suitcase filled with memorabilia, you will arrive home later today, with tales to tell.
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