Upon landing at Rome Fiumicino airport, you will be met by your private English speaking driver for a direct transfer to your hotel: Grand Hotel De La Minerve 5*****. We will book: 1 double superior room + 1 triple superior room. Check in at the hotel and the rest of the day will be at leisure.
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: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
After breakfast, meet your private English speaking driver and guide for a transfer to the world’s smallest state. Here tour through one of the world’s most cherished art collections. Visited by over 5 million people per 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 artworks. Nestled among these incredible collections lies the world-famous Sistine chapel. You will be awestruck to find yourself in the core of the Christian world as you admire Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes among 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 designed by Michelangelo, that impresses all those that stand underneath it, right in the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. End of the tour and the rest of the day will be at leisure.
Day 3 – Rome: Vespa Sidecar Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your private English speaking guide and your sidecars and will be ready waiting for you to drive through Quirinale Square. The tour will start with the Quirinale Square: the Palace, the Obelisk and Fountain are protagonists along with the Panoramic view towards St. Peters. Riding down the Quirinal Hill, you will reach Fontana di Trevi, where you will park the Sidecars and walk to the Fountain. You will proceed towards Trinità dei Monti. This stop also provides a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Learn about the Church’s history, the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna .The next stop will be in Piazza del Popolo and then, you will have the opportunity to walk through the colonnade of Saint Peter’s square. Then, you will reach one of the highlights of Rome for its view, the Gianicolo, discover Rome’s skyline and time for taking pictures. On the way to the next stop, you will drive across Trastevere and Jewish ghetto, two important areas of Rome. Trastevere’s narrow streets and 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 historical facts. The last stop will be at the Pantheon, where you will visit the inside, the most incredible building in Rome dating back to before Christ. For afternoon riders this stop also combines a happy Gelato. You will not miss driving through the central hub of the Capital, Piazza Venezia, which intersects via del Corso, famous shopping area and via dei Fori Imperiali. Finally, you will briefly stop your vehicles between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill and from this strategic position, you will make your way to circumnavigate the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and discover miracles & legends of this important Church. End of the tour and rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 4 – Rome: Ancient Rome
After breakfast, meet your private English speaking driver guide and reach 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, nearly 2000 years old. Once inside the amphitheater, you will tread the same ground where gladiators and ferocious beasts once fought and the emperors, whom 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 Circus Maximus where chariots once raced around the 620 meter track, dating back to 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 the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 5 – Rome: Free Day & Christmas Dinner - Christmas Eve
Breakfast at your hotel and free day to relax and enjoy the city on your own.
In the evening, you will meet your private English speaking driver and reach the restaurant we have selected for you in the friendly 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 with your driver and transfer back to your hotel.
Day 6 – Rome to Florence & Christmas Lunch – Christmas Day
After breakfast, meet your private English speaking driver and direct transfer to the railway station. Here, you will take your fast train to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will meet your private English speaking driver and transfer to your hotel in Florence: Grand Hotel Minerva 4****. We will book: 1 Deluxe Junior Suite Double + 1 Junior Suite Triple. Check in at the hotel.
The Grand Hotel Minerva is a prestigious 4-star hotel, located in the heart of Florence, just a few steps from many highlights and shopping streets of the city. The hotel renovated by architect Piera Benelli and embellished by design works. The hotel offers 102 rooms with city view decorated in contemporary style and embellished with exquisite finishings and details. The panoramic terrace, on the rooftop, boasts a swimming pool, open from May to September, and Three-Sixty, Rooftop Pool bar, where guests can sample cocktails and delicious snacks. The restaurant La Buona Novella, open for both lunch and dinner, serves the finest dishes of the Tuscan and Mediterranean tradition, an added personal touch is given by the hotel's chef. From June to October the restaurant extends outdoors onto an elegant, inviting terrace with view over the Santa Maria Novella Square.
You will reach on your own, the restaurant we have specially selected and reserved for your Christmas Lunch: served in a beautiful atmosphere. Here, you will sample a menu carefully selected by the chef and prepared, as always in Italy, with the freshest ingredients. At the end of lunch, you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 7 – Florence: Tour of Siena & Lunch with wine experience – Boxing Day
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 be met by your private English speaking guide who will accompany you for a pleasant walking tour around this beautiful Medieval city. You will discover the Magnificent Piazza del Campo where twice a year (July 2nd and August 16th) a very special event takes place, that every citizen of Siena looks forward to, called: the Palio di Siena. You will learn about the history of the Contrade (ancient Sienese name for neighborhood) as there are 17 different neighborhoods and all with very unusual names, the bear, the dolphin, the woodland, the wild boar, the giraffe etc. All this dates as far back as the 1200’s. Visit the famous Cathedral of Siena, that houses some of the most important monuments of the European artistic panorama.
At the end of the tour, your private driver will bring you to a Tuscan Estate where you will be greeted by the owner. Here, you will spend a pleasant and beautiful relaxing time, enjoy the fine wines along with other farm products, but mainly, you will live a unique experience in contact with the warming and welcoming Italians and their way of life. Unforgettable moments, in a refined atmosphere, where you can savor their wines served together with salami and cheese, bruschette and their high quality produce. After lunch, you will meet up again your private English speaking driver and make your way to San Gimignano, the small village with so many ancient towers that it is known as Medieval Manhattan and has been declared a World Heritage Site, one of the 54 Unesco sites in Italy, the largest number in one country in the whole world. You will have free time to enjoy the town, walk in the city and discover the unknown corners and if you wish climb one of the towers. End of the tour, your driver will accompany you back to your hotel in Florence.
Day 8 – Florence: Walking Tour with Food tour & Accademia Gallery
Breakfast at your hotel and you will be met by your private English speaking guide in the hotel lobby ready for a guided walking tour of Florence. You will have the opportunity to observe close up the priceless Duomo with the famous dome done by Brunelleschi, the largest brick dome in the world, stretching protectively over the Florentine Cathedral. You will also see its splendid bell tower: the famous Campanile of Giotto. Next stop will be the political center of the city that will open its doors to us , offering you the chance to visit Palazzo della Signoria, also known as Palazzo Vecchio home to the Medici family and seat of the secularists' power, today seat of the municipality, as well as the oldest "piazza" (square) in Florence, Piazza della Repubblica, built on top of Ancient Roman ruins of the original Roman Forum, today the square is surrounded by historic cultural cafès, where young intellectual Florentines have always liked to gather. Your walking will lead 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 have also a wine tasting and 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 end in grand style with one of the finest gelato’s of the city where you can pick your flavor made, as always, with genuine and fresh products. After this culinary experience, discover the Accademia Gallery Museum where the most symbolic work of Michelangelo is housed: Il David, an expression of beauty and physical perfection. You will also admire other sculptures by Michelangelo and the original plaster cast of: “Il Ratto delle Sabine” by Giambologna (The Rape of the Sabine Women), discover why and how all artists made life size plaster casts before the actual sculpture, except for Michelangelo. Enjoy the incredible collection of Renaissance paintings , including “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 your leisure.
Day 9 – Florence: Artisan Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met by your private English speaking guide for a tour which will lead you to an artisans workshop in the heart of Florence where you will admire the masters at work continuing the tradition of mosaic stones started during the Renaissance. An art gallery with works entirely created by the ruling family with their expert hands. Your second stop will be a company that produces items in hand decorated paper with techniques inspired by the tradition of Old Tuscany. Items produced following methods and procedures in the best tradition of Italian craftsmanship. The marbleized papers are hand decorated using the XVII century technique "a la cuve". The books and other products are made with the papers produced by the company itself with the best traditional raw materials. Stationery and cards are all printed with great care using different techniques, on watermarked papers and traditional papers. The high level artisan production covers a variety of items: from the Mosaico Fiorentino to the art of perfumery starting in the 13th century. The owners were born and bred in Florence and have always been in touch with the artisan world in this city producing items with inspiration from Medeival traditions, it is for this reason that their articles never go out of style, but maintain their long lasting charm throughout the years. During your tour, we will also include a stop in a jewellers workhouse, where you can admire the craftmanship.
End of the tour and the rest of the day will be at leisure.
Day 10 – Florence to Venice & PM Walking Tour with Private Gondola Ride & Cicchetti Tasting
After breakfast and check out from the hotel. You will meet your private English speaking driver and transfer to the railway station in Florence, where you will take your fast train to Venice. Upon arrival, you will be met by your private English speaking assistant and driver with his water taxi for a direct transfer to your hotel: Hotel Liassidi Palace 4****. We will book: 1 Double Junior Suite + 1 Triple Junior Suite. Check in at the hotel and time to relax, settle in and enjoy free time for lunch.
The 4-star Liassidi Palace Hotel occupies a 15th century palazzo overlooking one of Venice’s finest old canals, the Rio di San Lorenzo ‘dei Greci’. A warm welcome awaits you from the staff, with a 24-hour “clef d’or” concierge service ready to respond to your every need. You will be captivated as soon as you step into the Zorzi-Liassidi Palazzo and experience the grand festival and concert hall on the upper floor, the magnificent internal courtyard and the sumptuous furnishings that hit the perfect balance between contemporary design and 18th century Venice; a fascinating blend that pervades the atmosphere throughout the hotel.
After lunch you will be met by your private English-speaking guide and start the perfect tour for those who want to discover the history of Venice starting from the most important site of the city: Saint Mark’s Square. Together with your guide, you will explore a wealth of hidden sights not normally granted to visitors in this spectacular city. Allow yourselves to be soothed by the magical imperfection of the Venetian streets and cast under the spell of its evocative atmosphere. You will visit also St. Mark's Basilica together with the Piazza and its main monuments: Basilica (inside), Doge’s Palace (outside), Bridge of Sighs, Clock Tower and the Bell Tower. After this historical tour, your guide will take you to the meeting point with your gondolier: we will book a unique Gondola Ride with a food experience. The tour will start in Rio di San Polo and from here, you will explore the jewels of the undiscovered corners, with its many Palazzi and family homes belonging to the Venetian aristocracy, built in various different architectural styles. During this pleasant ride, you will have a quick stop in front of a typical “Bacaro” and your waiter will give you a bottle of Prosecco with some appetizers, the Venetian Cicchetti (typical only to Venice) made with the best fresh local ingredients found in the city accompanied by some well-known wines. Enjoy sailing the hidden canals of Venice with this unique tasting experience, 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 11 – Venice: Dolomites & Snowmobile Tour on the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
After breakfast at your hotel, your private water taxi will transfer you to Piazzale Roma where you will meet your private English speaking driver and travel to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is located in the heart of the Veneto Dolomites, in an ample valley surrounded by the beautiful high peaks. Here, together with your private English speaking guide, you will visit the Alpine Village and taste and their hot chocolate. Then, you will reach the famous Lago Antorno where we will reserve one of our favorite restaurants in the area: famous for using the fresh, local ingredients and bringing them out to the maximum extent of their flavor. After lunch, it will be time for a bit of adventure: a snow adventure at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The Tre Cime, or Three Peaks, is a landmark destination for anyone traveling to the Dolomites: they are the most famous mountains in the entire mountain range and offer unrivaled views across of Europe. And what better way is there to experience them than on a snowmobile? You can whizz through the scenery, gliding down tall mountain peaks towards gently sloping meadows, winding through forest pathways, and enjoying the nature with a bit of excitement too. After this unique experience, you will meet up again with your private driver and transfer back to your hotel in Venice. The rest of the day will be at leisure.
Day 12 – Venice: Gran Canal boat tour, Murano & Burano - New Year’s Eve
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met by your private English speaking assistant and water taxi at your hotel and be prepared for an amazing tour. The best way to know and experience Venice is definitely by private boat and travelling around the Grand Canal that is quite rightly known as “the most beautiful avenue in the world”. From your boat, you will enjoy the most beautiful parts of the city and hear about the legends, the history; point out the monuments, architectural masterpieces, the art and be introduced to the lives of those who created it and endowed in it – artists, noblemen, courtesans and other inhabitants of the lagoon. To get a better insight of the Venetian culture, then, you will visit the island of Murano renowned world-wide for its glass. Here, you will visit a glass factory for an exclusive presentation of glass making using techniques that have been passed down through generations. Enjoy watching the masters blowing, shaping and forging the glass into spectacular objects. The factories were moved here in the 13th century and the glass masters were never allowed to leave the island in order to keep their glass ‘recipe’ secret! Next stop will be the next door island of Burano that is an array of colors of the rainbow because all their buildings are painted in bright and vivid colors. Here, you will have time to wander around, meet some locals, enjoy a cup of coffee and take some unforgettable pictures. Finally, you will meet up again with your private driver and water taxi and boat through some smaller and secret canals, while observing the most popular and lively neighborhoods, ending your tour in the beautiful - San Marco’s Square.
End of the tour and rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 13 – Venice: Free day – New Year’s Day
Breakfast at your hotel and enjoy a free day at leisure.
*We will suggest you few nice restaurants for your Lunch.
Day 14 – Venice: Departure
After breakfast and check out, meet your private English speaking assistant and private water taxi for your transfer to the Airport and your flight back home.