Upon arrival at Venice airport, you will be met by your private English-speaking assistant who will take you to your private water taxi with English speaking driver who will transfer you to your hotel in Venice: Hotel Ruzzini Palace 4****. We will book 1 double deluxe room. Check in and the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Venice.
Ruzzini Palace Hotel is set in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, one of Venice's largest and oldest squares. This enchanting 18th century historic building has beautiful décor and is a 10-minute walk from Rialto. The Hotel has been completely renovated and conserves the fascinating spirit of the Venice of times gone by and offers all the modern services of this elegant 4-star hotel, spacious halls and splendid suites with typical Venetian décor, flat-screen satellite TV and minibars. The staff is friendly and professional.
Day 2 – Venice: Walking Tour & Private Gondola Ride with Cicchetti tasting
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met by your private English-speaking guide and begin an enchanting tour of Venice, starting in the incredibly beautiful Saint Mark’s Square. The tour consists of a visit of Saint Mark’s Square with an explanation of its main monuments: Saint Mark’s Basilica (from the outside), Doge’s Palace ( from the outside), Bridge of Sighs, Clock Tower and the Bell Tower. After this historical tour, your guide will accompany you to the meeting point with your gondolier: we will book a unique Gondola Ride with a Venetian food experience.
The tour will start in Rio di San Polo and from here, you will discover the hidden jewels of Venice, with its numerous Palazzi and aristocratic homes built in various different architectural styles. During this pleasant ride, you will have a quick stop in front of a typical “Bacaro” where you can taste the Italian Prosecco white sparkling wine with some appetizers, the Venetian Cicchetti (typical only to Venice) made with the best fresh local ingredients. Enjoy sailing the hidden canals of Venice, with the magical views and perspectives which only a gondola can give you. After the tour, you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 3 – Venice to Florence
After breakfast and check out from the hotel, you will be met by your private English-speaking assistant and private water taxi for a transfer to the station, where you will take the fast train to Florence. Here, you will be met by your private driver and transfer to your hotel: Hotel Antica Torre Tornabuoni 4****. We will book 1 double deluxe room. Check in at the hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Florence.
The Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni is a historic residence located right in the heart of Florence, only a stone’s throw away from the city's famous attractions and historical sites and for those who wish there are some incredible shopping streets. The hotel is housed in a-12th century tower-house. Thanks to an attentive restoration, it is now an exclusive location with 24 rooms, decorated in Renaissance classic style with frescoes, exquisite Florentine fabrics and furniture, canopy beds with luxurious en suite bathrooms. Almost all the rooms enjoy an enchanting view of the Arno River. Breakfast is served on fine Richard Ginori porcelain at the Salotto Sonoro in a refined ambience. The hotel also features panoramic terraces where guests can enjoy cocktails, excellent wines and culinary delights. You will have a unique view of Florence: The Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore with its famous dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower right next door, the hills of Fiesole and Settignano, the Arno River home to the first Roman settlement 59 BC.
Day 4 – Tuscany: Visit a farm and picnic in Pienza
Breakfast at your hotel. Then you will be met by your private English speaking driver. Together you will reach the small and charming village of Pienza, a small town in the center of Tuscany. One of the seven UNESCO sites in Tuscany, declared as a World Heritage Site for its artistic beauty and historical importance. This town is all in Renaissance style : it was built by order of the Pope Pio II – Enea Silvio Piccolomini – who transformed his home town into a beautiful place for him and his court to be protected and to relax near the water risings of Valdorcia. Pienza is also the capital city of the “Pecorino” – sheep cheese - every year on the second Sunday of September, they hold the “Fiera del Cacio” literally the Festival of the local sheep cheese. The milk is particularly aromatic because the vegetation is rich with many aromatic herbs due to the clayey land where the sheep all freely graze hence producing an almost perfumed milk . Pienza Pecorino cheese has the D.O.P. European label (which means a Protected Origin Denomination). You will visit a cheese factory, located on these beautiful hills hidden between art and nature; over a hundred and ninety hectares of olive groves, vineyards and emerald green pastures, food for the flock of over a thousand sheep, who give us the Pecorino cheese, a unique delicate flavor, distinctive and pleasant. We will arrange a picnic especially for you whilst surrounded by stunning views, you will finally savor these delicious home made products. Enjoy some free time at leisure then you will meet up again with your private driver for a transfer back to your hotel in Florence.
Day 5 – Florence, walking tour including Accademia Gallery
After breakfast you will be met by your private guide in the hotel lobby and you can enjoy a walking tour of the city including a visit to the Accademia Gallery. Together you will walk to the Accademia, where the most symbolic work of Michelangelo is housed: The David, an expression of beauty and physical perfection. The Accademia houses other less famous sculptures by Michelangelo and a collection of Renaissance paintings, including Botticelli. You can admire the plaster cast of “Il Ratto delle Sabine” by Giambologna (The Rape of the Sabine Women- the original is in the main Signoria Square), and discover why Michelangelo never made a plaster cast as opposed to all his contemporaries.
At the end of the tour, you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast and check out from the hotel you will have a private transfer by luxury car, to the station where you will get a fast train to Rome. Upon arrival, you will be met by your private English-speaking driver who will transfer you to Hotel degli Artisti 4****. We will book 1 double superior room. Check in and time to relax.
Degli Artisti Hotel is a cozy, elegant 4-star hotel in the heart of Rome, in the elegant residential area of the Ludovisi district on top of the Pincian Hill, a stone’s throw from the city’s main attractions. It has 35 spacious rooms and suites all featuring classic furnishing, exquisite fabrics and modern technologies. The Terrace Bar, on the rooftop, serves drinks, aperitivo’s, cocktails and delicious dinners in an exclusive location overlooking the beautiful garden of Saint Isidores College. Highly-qualified staff is always ready to assist with anything guests might need, including tickets and reservations for shows, events or restaurants.
After lunch you will be met your English speaking driver in the lobby for a direct transfer to the Ancient part of the Eternal city: Colosseum and Roman Forum. Here, you will be met by your private English speaking guide, with direct access to this remarkable landmark and no waiting in long lines, you will be awestruck even before entering by the size of this Roman amphitheater nearly 2000 years old. Once inside, your private guide will bring the ancient world to life, with the various emperors, aristocrats, gladiators and slaves and the wild beasts that once populated this building. You will then be accompanied to the nearby Roman Forum, known as the "heart" of Ancient Rome, and the commercial, political and religious center. At the end of the tour you will be free to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Rome.
Day 7 – Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be met by your English speaking guide and your private driver in the hotel lobby for a direct transfer to the Vatican Museums. Once there, your specialist guide will introduce you to the masterpieces of such great painters as Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. This is one of the greatest art collections ever, a collection gathered through the centuries by the Popes. You will see the wonderful Cortile della Pigna ("Pinecone Courtyard"), followed by one of the finest collections of antique Greek and Roman statues in the world. Be enchanted by the stunning vision of the Sistine Chapel and also direct access into Saint Peter's Basilica; a sacred place designed and executed by some of the greatest architects of the XVI century, from Bramante to Michelangelo and from Raphael to Bernini.
After the tour time at leisure for lunch. In the afternoon, your private English speaking guide with the Vespa sidecar will be waiting for you in the Quirinale Square for you to enjoy a unique tour of Rome, and live just like a Roman. You can reach the square by taxi at your own expense and the tour will begin: the Quirinal Palace, the Obelisk and the Fountain are absolute protagonists together with the panoramic view. Ride down the Quirinal Hill and reach the Fontana di Trevi, where you will park the Sidecars and walk to the Fountain, in order to admire it and remember the legend says to toss a coin to come back to Rome. Back on your Vespas you will proceed towards Trinità dei Monti: this stop also provides yet another beautiful panorama over Rome. All this will be enrichened by your guide who will tell you all about the history of what you are looking at, see the famous Spanish Steps from where you can have an inspiring foto shoot. Next stop will be in Piazza del Popolo, the people’s square and from here make your way to Saint Peter’s square where you can walk through the colonnade designed to perfection by Bernini. Next stop will be on top of the Gianicolo Hill, a highlight giving you the chance to look at Rome as an outsider, you are outside the 3rd century walls built by Emperor Aurelius to protect the city. Get your cameras ready for this unique view. Here, you will enjoy a quick aperitivo then you can carry on downhill making your way to Trastevere, the Bohemian part of Rome, followed by the Jewish ghetto, two very important areas of Rome. Trastevere’s narrow streets colored by boutiques & trattorias, with lively squares, street markets & cafés, it allows you to sense Rome’s authentic soul. The Jewish ghetto, with one of the entrances built onto an Ancient Roman Temple’s façade is overflowing with important and still tangible main historical facts. The last stop will be at the Pantheon, where you will have a complete visit inside to understand this incredible and unique piece of architecture, still standing perfect and started in year 27 BC. You will not miss driving through the central hub of the Capital, Piazza Venezia, and via dei Fori Imperiali- the Ancient Roman Forum. Last and certainly not least you will briefly stop between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill and make your way to Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four Constatinian Baslica’s of Rome, founded in the 4th century AD. Learn about all the miracles & legends linked to this important Church. End of the tour and rest of the day is at leisure.
After breakfast and check out from your hotel, you will be met by your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to Rome airport.