Day 1 – Rome: Arrival, VIP Assistance & Rome by night Tour with dinner
Upon arrival at Rome Airport, you will be greeted by your private English speaking assistant at the entrance of the terminal, who will assist you through immigration, security and customs and escort you to baggage delivery belt to collect your luggage and accompany you to your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to your hotel: Grand Hotel De La Minerve 5*****. We will book: 1 Double deluxe room + 1 Triple Superior Room. Check in at the hotel and time to relax. In the evening, you will meet your private English speaking driver who will take you to the restaurant we have selected just for you in the neighborhood of Trastevere, where you will sample a traditional menu carefully selected by the chef and including only the freshest ingredients. After dinner you will meet up again your private English speaking driver, who will delight you with stories and legends with some light history of the most famous Roman monuments. You will be able to admire, photograph and learn about their incomparable history by moonlight: this is a unique experience that Dragonfly Tours has reserved exclusively for you. End of the tour and transfer back to your hotel. The Grand Hotel De La Minerve is housed in a magnificent mansion dating from the 1600s. Set in Rome’s historic center, the hotel overlooks the Pantheon and is just a few minutes’ walk from Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Completely renovated to better meet the needs of its modern, sophisticated clientele, the hotel has retained its noble, elegant lines and the warmth of a comfortable, welcoming aristocratic “home”. It offers 135 rooms including Classic, Superior, Deluxe, Junior Suites and Suites. A fitness room with cardio-fitness equipment is available for exclusive guest use. All year long, the spectacular Minerva Roof Garden restaurant on the terrace offers a stunning view of Rome and an unique gourmet experience through typical Italian dishes at lunch and dinner.
Day 2 – Rome: AM Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel & PM Gourmand Tour
After breakfast, meet your private English speaking driver and guide and transfer to the world’s smallest state. Here you will tour through one of the world’s most cherished art collections. Visited by over 5 million people every year, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel play an essential part in your Roman experience. Your qualified expert guide will lead you through the centuries and highlight the masterpieces that no visitor to Rome should ever miss. The treasure trove you see today originated over five hundred years ago, as a result of the humanist popes’ passion for collecting and commissioning artwork. Nestled among several galleries of marvels lies the world-famous Sistine chapel. You will be thrilled to find yourself at the core of the Christian world as you admire Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes amongst which are two of his most well-loved masterpieces: the Last Judgement and the Creation of Adam. Finally the guided tour will lead you to St. Peter’s Basilica, where the impact of Michelangelo’s Pietà cannot fail to move you and the colossal dome, also built by Michelangelo, to impress every visitor straight to the heart inside the head of the Roman Catholic Church. End of the tour and time to relax. In the afternoon, you will meet your private English speaking guide and get ready for an amazing walking tour. It will be a combination of Rome’s highlights and food tasting according also to client’s taste and availability of shops open: you will start with an excellent coffee, espresso, then as you move around try tasting a selection of salami, the best mozzarella and burrata, the famous Jewish style artichoke, the super suppli (Roman rise balls) and last but not the least Roman style pasta, like Cacio e pepe or Amatriciana. Together with your guide, you will admire the beautiful fountains and street markets, outstanding palaces and little boutiques of the artisans, traditional Italian food, unique architectures whilst breathing in the perfume of the freshly baked white pizza, gorgeous paintings of famous artists located inside Churches that only Rome can offer, and last but not least, the best Gelato! While tasting the typical Roman specialties, you will learn about the culinary traditions walking through some beautiful famous piazzas and some off the beaten track charming districts, less known but not less important, discovering why food plays such a great role in Italy. For wine lovers we can also combine a wine tasting!! End of the tour and rest of the day at leisure.
Day 3 – Rome: AM Ancient Rome & PM Vespa Sidecar Tour
After breakfast, meet your private English speaking driver and guide, make you way to the Ancient part of town: the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Specially designed to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience and in-depth understanding of the splendors of Ancient Rome, this tour will lead you to the most significant monuments and sights of this spectacular open-air museum. Your visit begins as you access the Colosseum, Rome’s most stunning landmark and one of Ancient Rome’s most vital social centers. Once inside the amphitheater, you will tread the same ground as the gladiators and where the ferocious beasts once fought. Where the emperors, with a mere gesture of the thumb, decided the fate of slaves and prisoners. Your professional guide will lead you through the ruins and bring to life the dramas that unfolded within these ancient walls. You will climb the Palatine Hill, the legendary birthplace of Rome where Romulus and Remus are said to have been raised by the she-wolf. From here, enjoy a breathtaking view of the Fora and the Circus Maximus where chariots once raced round the 620 meter track, first built in VI century BC. The tour will end with a stroll along the Via Sacra which is the main route through the Roman Forum. End of the tour and rest of the day will be at leisure. In the afternoon, you will meet your private English speaking driver-guide and your sidecars and be ready for this great fun drive, you will meet in Quirinale Square, see the Palace, the Obelisk and Fountain that are all protagonists along with the Panoramic view towards San Pietro. Riding down the Quirinal Hill, you will reach Fontana di Trevi. With no effort, you will park the Sidecars and walk to the Fountain. You will proceed towards Trinità dei Monti. This stop gives you another beautiful panoramic view over Rome, from a different perspective. Your guide will tell you all about the Church’s history along with the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna on which you can look down upon. The next stop will be in Piazza del Popolo, the main northern entrance way into Rome since Roman times and then you will have the opportunity to walk through the incredible travertine colonnade of St. Peter square. Then, you will make your way up the windy hill for another ‘must see’ of Rome, for its unique view, the Gianicolo, a highlight on the Vespa Sidecar tour but remember to hold on tight! Time for sightseeing and taking some unforgettable pictures. On the way to the next stop you will drive you through Trastevere and Jewish ghetto two important areas of Rome. Trastevere’s narrow streets colored by the bright boutiques & trattorias, the lively squares with markets & cafés, allows you to sense Rome’s authentic soul, going beyond the usual tourist attractions. The Jewish ghetto besides its beauty, is imbued in tangible main historical facts. The last stop will be at the Pantheon, where you will do a complete visit of the inside. For afternoon riders this stop also combines a happy Gelato. You will not miss driving through the central hub of the Capital, Piazza Venezia, where you can get an idea of where to shop , as it intersects via del Corso one of the main shopping streets and via dei Fori Imperiali, which will lead you to the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill for another stop and time to take fotos. Due to its strategic position, you will then make you way to circumnavigate the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, listening to the stories of the miracles & legends of this important Church. End of the tour and rest of the day at leisure.
Breakfast and check out from your hotel in Rome and, meet your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to the Railway Station where you will take a fast train to Florence. Just 1 hour and a half, you will arrive in Florence, where you will be met by your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to your beautiful hotel: Hotel Relais Santa Croce 5*****. We will book 1 Double Grand Deluxe Room + 1 Junior Suite Triple. Check in and rest of the of the day at leisure.
Day 5 – Florence: Walking Tour with Food tour & Accademia Gallery
Breakfast at your hotel and meet your private English speaking guide in the hotel lobby for your walking tour of Florence. You will have the opportunity to admire the priceless Duomo with its incredible dome built by Brunelleschi, in the 1400’s, the largest brick dome in the world, stretching protectively over the Florentine Cathedral. Next stop will be the political center of the city that will open its doors to us, offering you the chance to visit the Palazzo della Signoria, seat of the secularists' power and home to the Medici ruling family, later known as Palazzo Vecchio, today seat of the municipality, as well as the oldest "piazza" (square) in Florence, Piazza della Repubblica, built of top of the Ancient Roman Forum, today surrounded by historic cultural cafès, where young intellectual Florentines like to gather. Your tour will bring you to the nearby San Lorenzo Market, where you will have a taste of Tuscany’s “green gold”, its renowned olive oil, as well as a variety of cheeses, salami and prosciutto, truffle sauces and balsamic vinegar. You will also have a wine tasting where you will enjoy some of the region’s finest wines. Still not full yet? Next stop will be at a local “fiaschetteria” where you will have a tasting of some of the city’s traditional recipes. The tour will finish in grand style with one of the finest gelato parlors of the city where you can pick your favorite flavor made with genuine and fresh products. After this culinary experience, you will discover the Accademia Gallery Museum where the most symbolic work of Michelangelo is housed: Il David, an expression of beauty and physical perfection. It also has other sculptures by Michelangelo and an incredible collection of Renaissance paintings: you will admire also the plaster cast of “Il Ratto delle Sabine” by Giambologna (The Rape of the Sabine Women), and discover why all artists made a cast first but not Michelangelo. Enjoy the masterpieces of “La Madonna ed il Bambino” (Madonna and Child) and “la Madonna del Mare” (Madonna of the Sea) by Botticelli. End of the tour and free afternoon at leisure. In the heart of Florence, an 18th-century palazzo is home to the exclusive and elegant hotel Relais Santa Croce. You will be enchanted by this truly extraordinary setting with sumptuous furnishings and frescoed ceilings while being assisted by the highly professional staff. The 24 rooms are all thoughtfully furnished: period furniture combined with design elements, elegant upholstery and luxury finishings like the wood-paneled walls. The bigger suites, with a view of the namesake cathedral, are on the main floor of the Ciofi-Jacometti Palace. The “Guelfi e Ghibellini” restaurant stands out for its Mediterranean character and strong inclination for Tuscan specialties, a perfect combination of traditional flavors and the rebirth of the local cuisine. Drinks and snacks are served at the bar and in the impressive Music Room.
Day 6 – Florence: Siena & San Gimignano with lunch
After breakfast at your hotel, meet your private English speaking driver and discover the Tuscan towns of Siena and San Gimignano. Upon arrival in Siena, you will meet your private English speaking guide who will accompany you for a pleasant walking tour of the city. You will discover the Magnificent Piazza del Campo where twice a year (2 July and 16 August) a very important event takes place, that every citizen of Siena looks forward to: the Palio di Siena. You will learn about the history of the 17 Contrade (ancient Sienese name for neighborhoods) and visit the famous Cathedral of Siena, that houses some of the most important monuments of the European artistic panorama. During your tour, you will discover also “gastronomic” Siena with a tasting of the locally produced “Panforte of Siena” and of “Ricciarelli biscuits” recipes handed down from the Middle Ages. At the end of the tour, you will reach your restaurant in Siena, where you will sample a menu carefully selected by the chef and comprising several courses made with the freshest local traditional ingredients. After lunch, meet up again with your private English speaking driver and together you will make your way to San Gimignano, the Medieval village that has been declared a World Heritage Site. Even with its 19th and 20th century renovations, its 13th and 14th century appearance has remained intact and is one of the finest examples of Medieval town organization in the whole of Europe. The main attractions of San Gimignano are the 14 Medieval Towers that still stand today. The oldest is the Torre Rognosa, 51 meters tall, while the tallest is the Torre del Podestà, also known as the Torre Grossa (Big Tower), standing 54 meters. In AD 1255 a law was passed that prohibited the building of any tower any taller than the Torre Rognosa which was the tallest at that time. So the two most important families – Ardinghelli and Salvucci - in order to show both their wealth and power, had two towers built just 50 cm under the 54 meter limit! Together with your private English speaking guide, you will walk around the city and discover the unknown corners. At the end of the tour, your driver will accompany you back to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Day 7 – Florence: Cooking class in the Chianti Area
After breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your private English speaking driver and travel to the Tuscan Countryside. You will discover one of the most beautiful places on earth - the Chianti region, in the heart of Tuscany! You will begin your day with a scenic drive through the rolling vineyards and olive groves before reaching a well-known winery of the area, where we will reserve just for you a unique experience: a cooking class that will increase your natural love for food and provide you with the skills you need to translate this love into beautiful and imaginative cuisine. This experience will add a pinch of Tuscan life style to your vacation working with the chef! You will discover the secrets of the true Tuscan cuisine: you will prepare homemade pasta, desserts and many other dishes, before sitting down to enjoy the result of your fun work. After lunch, you will meet up again with your private driver for a direct transfer to your hotel and the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 8 – Florence: Departure
After breakfast and check out from your hotel, meet your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to the airport in Florence. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your private English speaking assistant and porter. Your assistant will help you through check-in, security and passport control, escort you to the lounge or shopping area and to your gate. Depending upon where the aircraft is parked she will accompany you to the aircraft.