Ciao Roma! Explore this imperial city of emperors and senators, gods and goddesses, before joining your companions and Travel Director later for a Welcome Reception. Our introduction to the Eternal City is an evening orientation drive to view some of the sights which await tomorrow.
The Holy See takes centre stage today as we join a Local Specialist for an included sightseeing tour in the Vatican Museums. 'Dive Into Culture' and admire the Bramante staircase, created for Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, and Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. See the marble masterpiece of the Pietà, housed in St. Peter's Basilica before crossing the Tiber into Ancient Rome. Visit the famous Colosseum and see Circus Maximus, once the site of celebrated chariot races. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Rome. Indulge in an espresso in the Piazza Navona, clamber up the Spanish Steps, or wander through the colourful Campo de' Fiori food market, soaking up the enthusiasm of its lively vendors.
Today we pay tribute to the brave souls of the World War II Italian Campaign whose final resting place is the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cassino. We view the Benedictine Abbey, which featured as the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, before heading south to the well-preserved ruins of Pompeii. Here we join a Local Specialist who will share details of the devastation caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius as we wander through the ancient paved roads of a city that was frozen in time. Later, we arrive at our hotel in the clifftop village of Sorrento where we'll dine tonight.
We cross the Bay of Naples today by ferry to the glamorous Isle of Capri to visit some of its landmark sights. Wander past the chic boutiques and pavement cafés in Capri Town in the company of a Local Specialist before taking your time to soak up the sophistication of this lovely island. Later, we return to the mainland.
Heading north to the slopes of Mount Subasio, we arrive in the mystical town of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, under whose protection this medieval city is said to remain. We join our Local Specialist on a walking tour to the Basilica of St. Francis, which we will have an opportunity to visit before some free time. See the remnants of Roman heritage at the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, shop on Corza Mazzini or admire the beautiful façades of San Rufino Cathedral. We'll stay at one of Trafalgar's 'Stays With Stories' - a fully renovated old Franciscan convent.
We journey through the glorious countryside and historic architecture of the Emilia Romagna region. This area is also renowned for its gastronomy and is credited with being the origin of tortellini, mortadella and parmesan cheese. Travel to Verona, the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, to admire the Roman arena and Juliet's Balcony. Arrive later in Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, where we enjoy a Regional Meal.
Note: On certain departures Verona will be visited on Day 8 instead of Day 6.
Wind your way through Venice by private launch along the city's canals to soak up the sights and sounds of what was once one of the world's greatest ports. 'Dive Into Culture' on Giudecca Island, where talented tradesmen share their centuries-old glassmaking traditions. Continue to St. Mark's Square to view the impressive square and Basilica. Our journey through Venice takes us past the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs, before an afternoon at leisure. Consider an Optional Experience to see the colourful fishermen's houses on the Island of Burano or search for a cosy bacaro and indulge in some tasty Venetian treats.
Today we cross the lush green plains of Lombardy to sophisticated Milan, Italy's capital of design and fashion. An orientation tour takes us past the intricate Gothic Duomo, La Scala Opera House and the famous Galleria, before we enjoy dinner served tonight at our hotel.
The glistening blue waters of Lake Como welcome us today. We'll enjoy some free time to explore the lakeside lifestyle and beautiful scenery which has enchanted visitors for centuries. Spend this morning exploring the little towns, indulge in the area's delicious gelato, take the funicular for spectacular views of the lake or consider a cruise on the lake. This evening we venture by private boat to a secluded island on Lake Maggiore where we'll 'Connect With Locals' over a Be My Guest dinner.
Tuscany lures us across the forested Apennine Mountains, past Genoa to the famous city of Pisa and its Square of Miracles where we will enjoy an opportunity to view the Leaning Tower. Our next stop is Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance.
Delve into the extravagant legacy of the Medici family, whose legacy of art and architecture are explored in the company of a Local Specialist. The elegant Duomo dominates the skyline as we visit Piazza della Signoria with its exquisite statues and palazzi. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Florence and 400-year-old Ponte Vecchio from Piazzale Michelangelo, perhaps stopping en route for a taste of the rich hot chocolate for which the city is so famous. Later, learn about the quality and workmanship of two of this city's historic industries at demonstrations of Florentine leathercraft and 18-carat gold.
This morning we visit the charming Tuscan hill-town of San Gimignano, within whose city walls feature extraordinary examples of medieval architecture and history. Venture to the centre of town to view its Piazza del Duomo, surrounded by thousand-year-old towers and stroll along the town's 13th-century city walls. This evening in Rome we enjoy a Farewell Dinner spent in the company of newfound friends and our Travel Director.
Our discovery of the best of Italy has sadly come to an end. Transfers are available to Rome Fiumicino Airport. Conditions apply.