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. Dinner with music on Day 8.
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.
Barcelona City Sightseeing: Local Guide
Optional Excursion to Montserrat: Round trip on the Montserrat Funicular, Visit to the Basilica of Montserrat
Optional Flamenco show
Tour director-led walking tour in Carcassonne
Tour director-led walking tour in Avignon, Visit to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct, Aix-en-Provence
Panoramic view of Monaco from Moyenne Corniche Road, Sightseeing stop in Pisa
Guided walking tour in Florence: Local guide, Visit to the Accademia, Visit to the nave of Florence's Duomo, Visit to the church of Santa Croce and its Pazzi Chapel, Stop at Leonardo's Leather Workshop
Optional Uffizi Gallery
Sightseeing stop in Siena's Piazza del Campo, Siena's Duomo and Piccolomini Library
Dinner with music
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
A dream materializes as your wide-bodied jet thunders off the airstrip, Europe-bound! Watch the sun rise up to meet your airplane, after a short night. Spain glides by beneath your airplane in shades of sienna. Land in Barcelona, the vibrant capital city of Catalonia and one of the world's cities at the forefront of commerce, fashion, technology, cuisine and the arts.
The remainder of the day is free in this Mediterranean town of parks and fountains. There's time for the beach!
A tour will introduce landmarks such as the wide avenues called Las Ramblas, the medieval Gothic Quarter around the cathedral, Modernist landmarks such as the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, and Plaça de Catalunya, the lively heart of Catalonia's capital city.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of the region, will accompany your group.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Consider a visit to the Museu Picasso, twin 15th-century palaces incongruously housing works of the artist's Blue and Cubist periods.
You may want to see the replica of Columbus' lead ship, the Santa María, in the harbor.
Enjoy a visit to Catalonia's holiest place, the Monastery of Montserrat, located amidst the serrated peaks of the Montserrat mountain range. Montserrat has served as a place of pilgrimage since the 12th century. After being destroyed by the French in 1811, the monastery complex was rebuilt and repopulated in 1844 and now includes quaint shops and cafés.
Enjoy a funicular ride for the last leg up the mountain, which affords stupendous views stretching from the Pyrénées Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea.
You will enter the Basilica to view La Moreneta (Black Virgin). This revered statue, said to have been carved out of wood by St. Luke around 50 AD, has been on the mountain since it was rediscovered in 880 AD after being hidden from the Moors.
Tonight, enjoy an evening of traditional entertainment. The poet Federico García Lorca called flamenco "the most gigantic creation of the Spanish people." You will long remember its complex and insistent rhythms, castanets, and clacking heels as the highlight of your trip to Spain.
Today's journey takes you to the other side of the Pyrénées Mountains, which mark the border with France.
Your destination is the spectacular stronghold of Carcassonne, a fortified city which goes back to Roman times but is better known for its extensive medieval ramparts.
Your tour director will take you on a walking tour within the impressive fortifications which enclose the Château Comtal and old houses piled haphazardly along winding streets.
Proceed through the Languedoc province, bedecked with vineyards, on your way to Provence. Van Gogh was lured by the luminosity of this picturesque region. Modern wanderers delight in its charming towns with winding lanes and evocative Roman remains.
Travel to Avignon, la Cité des Papes where Roman Catholic popes took up residence in the 14th century.
Enjoy a walking tour led by your courier. See the imposing fortress-like Palace of the Popes. Other landmarks include the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms, the Saint-Bénézet Bridge (le fameux Pont d'Avignon!), the central Place de l'Horloge, and the charming rue des Teinturiers.
Proceed to the vallée du Gardon, a picturesque region where a small river made its way from the Cévennes mountain range to the Rhône River by carving rows of cliffs. The Romans used two of these cliffs to build one of their best-known structures.
Marvel at the Romans' engineering genius at the Pont du Gard, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC which delivered 44 million gallons of water each day to the Roman city of Nemausus (Nîmes).
Travel toward the familiar silhouette of la Montagne Sainte-Victoire, often featured in Cezanne's paintings. It lets you know that you're arriving in Aix-en-Provence.
Enjoy a sightseeing stop in this beautiful city, where craftsmen design the terra-cotta santons that have become a trademark of Provence. See the Cours Mirabeau with its fountains and the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville.
Board your coach for a ride over the parched hills of the Massif des Maures to Nice, capital of the French Riviera. This is the Côte d'Azur, celebrated for its sunny climate, the turquoise Mediterranean, and the vedettes de cinéma who inhabit the surrounding hills.
Enjoy a ride along the N7 road, a coastal road known as the Moyenne Corniche, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and provides superb panoramic views of the French Riviera coastline and the Principality of Monaco.
Proceed along the Italian Riviera, stopping in Pisa.
This is the city whose navy once dominated the Western Mediterranean, before the Arno River silted up. Just north of the city center you'll discover the Campo dei Miracoli and its trio of remarkable Moorish-style religious buildings, the most famous of which is the Leaning Tower (now tilting nearly 13 feet from its vertical axis).
Proceed to Firenze, the "Jewel of the Renaissance." Never in the history of mankind has so much genius, in all its forms, been concentrated in one place as it was in Florence during the fifteenth century.
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 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, you will marvel at one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world, consecrated in 1436. Within its striking walls, it houses precious masterpieces, notably Domenico di Michelino's 1320 painting Dante and 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 afternoon is unscheduled.
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.
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.
Visit the Galleria degli Uffizi, which is home to the world's most impressive private collection of Italian Renaissance art. See masterpieces by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Lippi, Giotto, Raphael and Tintoretto.
Travel to the pristine provincial town of Siena.
Discover the charms of Florence's great rival. See the Piazza del Campo (where colorful horse races are held twice a year), the Palazzo Pubblico (Siena's town hall since the 1300s) and the Mangia (from mangiare, to eat), a tower that looks like a huge tooth!
Visit the Cathedral, better known as the Duomo, which presents a stunning compilation of rich tracery and sculptured facades. This visit is also includes the Piccolomini Library to view see its exquisite wall and ceiling frescoes.
A ride down the autostrada brings you to the "Eternal City."
Tonight, enjoy dinner while local singers and musicians entertain you with O Sole Mio, Volare and other favorite Italian songs.
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.
Walk through the best known monuments of Ancient Rome, the Colosseo and the Foro Romano. Once the heart of a vast empire, the Forum was filled with extravagant buildings and crowded with people from all over the known world.
Discover outstanding masterpieces collected for the Vatican Museums since the early 1500s. You will see exceptional statues from antiquity, such as Laocoön and His Sons and the Apollo Belvedere, and stunning Renaissance paintings, notably in the Raphael Rooms with The School of Athens fresco.
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.
Ciao, Europa! Statistics show that visitors do in fact return to Rome, although it may not have anything to do with coins in a fountain. Race the sun and arrive home later today, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
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