Welcome to Rome - once the capital of the world and today the vibrant Italian capital, which you'll have an opportunity to explore before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception this evening. Your introduction to Rome will see you embark on an orientation drive to admire some of the city highlights.
We visit the Vatican City this morning, joining an included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist to see Michelangelo's magnificent Pietà inside St. Peter's Basilica. Walk in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims to St. Peters Square before continuing to Ancient Rome. Imagine the exhilarating cries of thousands of spectators cheering their favourites to victory at Circus Maximus and visit the impressive Colosseum where gladiators and slaves once fought to their deaths. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore the city on your own, or simply relax on the Spanish Steps watching the world go by.
We venture north to Pisa and visit the Square of Miracles with its medieval Cathedral, Romanesque Baptistery and see the Leaning Tower. A short drive takes us to Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance, once a vibrant republic under the rule of the dynamic Medici family whose love for art and antiquities created one of the world's most cultural cities.
The magnificent marble Duomo, Santa Croce Basilica, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria feature on our walking tour with a Local Specialist through Florence's streets. Learn about the quality and workmanship of one of this city's historic industries at a demonstration of Florentine leathercraft. Then, enjoy a leisurely evening soaking up the atmosphere of the Queen of the Adriatic or consider an Optional Experience, navigating the city's elegant canals from the comfort of a traditional gondola.
'Dive Into Culture' and witness the centuries-old craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island. Embark on an orientation cruise by private launch to the gateway of Venice, St. Mark's Square. See the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Cathedral and the Bridge of Sighs. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore more of the city's sights.
We drive south through the golden fields of Umbria to the green heart of Italy, stopping at the mystical medieval hilltop town of Assisi, most famous for being the birthplace of St. Francis. Join a Local Specialist for a walking tour of the town, which includes a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis to view its magnificent frescoes and carvings.
We pay homage to the thousands of brave souls who lost their lives during the Battle of Monte Cassino, stopping at the Commonwealth War Cemetery en route to the tragic city of Pompeii, which was engulfed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. For centuries, the city was lost to the world - its rediscovery in the 18th-century revealing a time capsule of well-preserved ruins that provides insights into the day-to-day life of a Roman city centuries ago. Join a Local Specialist to delve into the city's history before travelling to Naples for your overnight cruise to Palermo, Sicily's fiery capital.
We arrive this morning in Palermo, known for its lavish architecture and gardens. We join our Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour, which includes the Teatro Massimo and Piazza Bellini, located in the heart of the city. We continue to the town of Monreale on the slopes of Monte Caputo overlooking the orange, olive and almond groves of La Conca d'Oro, where we'll visit the magnificent 12th-century Norman Cathedral before returning to Palermo this afternoon.
Visit the lively seaside town of Mondello before continuing your journey to Agrigento. Join a Local Specialist to tour the impressive Greek Valley of Temples dating back to 6th-century BC. This evening we dine in our hotel.
We travel through the vineyards of the southern hills towards the seaside resort of Taormina, your home for the next two nights. Enjoy spectacular vistas and a taste of la dolce vita in this hillside town, enjoying free time on arrival.
Spend the day relaxing at your chic Sicilian resort. Dive into the warm Mediterranean waters, shop for exquisite handmade lace on Via Corso or indulge in a mulberry granita. Consider joining an Optional Experience to Savoca, the village made famous by 'The Godfather', and Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna. This evening, 'Connect With Locals' during a Be My Guest dinner hosted at a vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna.
Today we cross the Straits of Messina to mainland Italy by ferry, driving north through rustic Calabria via Salerno to our hotel in Sorrento where we'll spend the next two nights.
We cruise to the Isle of Capri where we'll enjoy a guided walking tour of Capri Town with a Local Specialist. Stroll through its stylish lanes, window shop along Via Camerelle and watch the beautiful people in the Piazzetta, before returning to Sorrento, where you will have the evening at leisure to indulge in a little limoncello at Piazza Tasso, with its many cafés.
Admire the dramatic coastline, driving north from Sorrento to the Eternal City of Rome. This afternoon, we 'Dive Into Culture' gaining priority access to the Vatican Museums where a Local Specialist will take us on a guided tour. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent 16th century frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and see the array of exquisite artefacts at the Museo Gregoriano Profano, founded in the Lateran Apostolic Palace at the behest of Gregory XVI Cappellari in 1844. You'll also enjoy an exclusive al fresco Farewell Dinner against the spectacular backdrop of St. Peter's.
For now it's a fond Ciao Roma as we prepare to depart for our journey home. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.