Day 1: Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.
On arrival at Rome 's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. In this unique city, ancient monuments happily co-exist with some 900 churches, fine palaces, bustling piazzas, green parks and a vast urban sprawl. At 17:30, join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner, a fun evening of Italian cuisine and wine at a local restaurant.(Dinner with Wine)
Day 2: Rome with Vatican Dinner.
In the morning enjoy the very best of the city 's highlights including visiting the magnificent St. Peter 's Basilica in the Vatican with your Local Expert. With some free time, why not head to the Colosseum to learn about the city 's ancient past? In the afternoon, enjoy special fast-tracked VIP entry into the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and observe the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Enter the Sistine Chapel to marvel at Michelangelo 's masterpiece on its ceiling. After, dine in the Vatican's elegant Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, should weather permit, where you will enjoy incredible views of the cupola of St. Peter's during your private VIP Highlight Dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 3: Renaissance Florence.
Take the autostrada north to Renaissance Florence. Explore Florence with Insight Choice. Choose between a visit to the Accademia Museum with an art historian to see Michelangelo's monumental statue, David. Alternatively, wander through the market stalls on a guided shopping tour and enjoy all the treats and trinkets on show. From there, see the cathedral, campanile and the baptistery, adorned with the Gates of Paradise. Walk on to Piazza della Signoria with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculpture. There is time to shop for Florentine leather or gold before continuing to your elegant Tuscan villa near the walled town of Monteriggioni. After spending two days in the metropolis of Rome, your villa resort will be a welcome retreat. Rest in the shade of the lush, verdant gardens, swim in the pool, or participate in a variety of leisure activities.(Breakfast)
Day 4: Gelato in San Gimignano.
In the morning, visit medieval Siena where narrow cobbled streets lined with palaces and patrician mansions, lead to Piazza del Campo, scene of the Palio horse race. Explore with your Local Expert and visit the beautiful, striped cathedral. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers that scrape the azure Tuscan sky. Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli, for a taste of his finest frozen treats. On return to your hotel, stop at a local winery to sample some of the robust red wines of Tuscany and learn about their origins.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 5: The Chianti Hills to Pisa, Lucca and Santa Margherita.
Drive through the patchwork of vines, olives and cypresses that typify the Chianti hills before continuing to the delightful town of Lucca. Taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread. Head for Pisa and see the incredible Leaning Tower, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. Cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, the epitome of la dolce vita (should weather permit). Enjoy leisure time to admire the coloured houses, browse the boutiques or simply stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Continue along the coast to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 6: The Cinque Terre.
Head for the port of La Spezia for a highlight of your travels, the Cinque Terre - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. With a Local Expert, appreciate the views as you approach one of the picturesque fishing villages by boat. Enjoy a delicious Sea-to-Table lunch in Monterosso.There is time to explore the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps make the most of the hotel 's private beach.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)
Day 7: Lake Maggiore.
In the morning, head north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation.(Breakfast)
Day 8: Cortina d 'Ampezzo.
Continue through the magnificent Dolomites, to the mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 9: Experience the Dolomites.
The whole day is free for you to explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites, one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. During summer, once the snow and ice have melted away, a breathtaking landscape is revealed. There are a number of walking tracks through pristine Alpine wilderness for the adventurous to explore, or for a more relaxed pace, perhaps take a thrilling Optional Experience cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360-degree views.(Breakfast)
Day 10: Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.
Descend through the mountains to the romantic city of Venice. A private launch glides you past canals lined with ornate palaces to St Mark 's Square. See the basilica, the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs, before checking into your intimate and luxurious hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, why not cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?(Breakfast)
Day 11: Venice at Leisure.
Visit an arts centre to watch one of the few remaining craftsmen blow Venetian glass. Then there is free time to enjoy the magical atmosphere of this incredible city at your own pace. Mingle with the locals at the open air markets near the Rialto Bridge and explore the back lanes and squares where Venetians go about their day. Later, on your romantic gondola serenade, glide along the atmospheric canals exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs. This evening, stroll past the entrance doors of the famous Opera House to La Fenice restaurant for a magical Celebration Dinner. Indulge in traditional Venetian dishes that are enriched with inspiration from seasonal produce.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 12: From the lakes of Venice to mountain-ringed Innsbruck.
Your journey continues north through spectacular scenery as you follow the Adige River. Travel via the Brenner Pass through the magnificent Dolomites and cross the impressive Europa Bridge to arrive at wonderful Innsbruck. Your orientation will show you the 14th century houses of Old Town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the Golden Roof.(Breakfast)
Day 13: Innsbruck to Oberammergau.
Plenty of time this morning to explore the alpine town of Innsbruck. A short journey north, cross the German border and you arrive at Oberammergau in the heart of the Bavarian Alps and home of the Passion Play since 1634.(Breakfast / Dinner)
Day 14: The Passion Play.
After a morning at leisure in charming Oberammergau, take your premium reserved seats to witness the world famous Passion Play, re-enacting the last days of Christ on earth. After a break for dinner in a local restaurant, the captivating performance continues into the evening.(Breakfast / Dinner)
Day 15: Depart Oberammergau.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast. Transfers arrive at Munich Airport at 09:30.(Breakfast)
Vatican City: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and see Michelangelo 's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Then you'll be privileged an exclusive VIP Highlight Dinner at the Vatican's Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, whilst enjoying views of the cupola of St. Peters, should weather permit.
San Gimignano: Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli for a taste of his finest frozen treats.
Tuscany: In the Tuscan countryside, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides, taste the wines of an eminent estate.
Lucca: Visit a traditional steam bakery and sample Buccellato, the sweet raisin bread typical of the region.
Cinque Terre: Savour a freshly-prepared Farm-to-Table meal, made of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients typical of the region.
Venice: Enjoy a special Venetian Celebration Dinner with wine in a restaurant situated in the heart of this historic city.
Oberammergau: Dine in a local restaurant amid the buzz of excitement from Passion Play goers and enjoy local hospitality before the second half commences.
Dining Summary: 14 Breakfasts (B) 1 Lunch (L) and 8 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
Vatican City: Gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums to see the Sistine Chapel and the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano. Experience an exclusive Highlight Dinner at the Vatican's Cortile del Giardino.
Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing as you watch artisans create delicate works of art.
Top Rated Highlights:
Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum. You will also see other medieval buildings, including Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered throughout the city.
Florence: During your guided walk see the cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Visit the political heart of the city, Piazza della Signoria, and the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods.
Siena: With your Local Expert explore the cobbles streets of Siena. Learn about the Palio horse race while standing in Piazza del Campo. See the 14th century Town Hall and its Mangia Tower. Wander your way through the medieval streets to visit the black-and-white striped marble cathedral.
San Gimignano: Visit the medieval Manhattan of Italy!
Pisa: During your orientation, your Travel Director will show you the baptistery bristling with marble spines, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the 11th century cathedral and of course, the famous Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles.
Lucca: Your orientation with your Travel Director will show you the churches, squares and palaces within the medieval ramparts.
Cinque Terre: With your Local Expert, cruise to and explore two of the villages of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Portofino: Cruise from Santa Margherita and get a taste of the sweet life in this elegant fishing village.
Italian Lake District: Experience the social ritual of la passeggiata.
Cortina: Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Cortina, a small town framed by magnificent alps as your Travel Director conducts an orientation.
Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
Venice: To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces where once the likes of Casanova would have come calling.
Oberammergau: Experience the spectacular Passion Play that has made this town famous. Watch from your premium seat as local villagers perform as they have since 1634 in this once in a decade event. An emotive and critically acclaimed performance depicting Christ 's last days, this is an event not to be missed.
Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the iconic scenery of the rolling Tuscan Hills, the Apennines and Dolomites mountain ranges and the Italian Lake District.
Included Insight Services:
Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
Note: Rows highlighted in green below are guaranteed departures
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