Day 1 :
Depart from North America
- Flight to Milan:
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your scheduled flight to Milan.
Day 2 :
Arrive in Milan, Venture to Venice...
- Arrive in Milan:
Our 24-hour tour director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure. We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next six days.
- Travel to Verona:
On our way to Venice, we will stop in Verona. Verona is a vibrant city that has grown to be one of the most prosperous in northern Italy. Despite its magnificent Roman center and unique palazzi, the town is still primarily known as the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
- Walking Tour of Verona:
Take a guided walking tour, highlighting the city’s most important landmarks and monuments, including the Casa di Giulietta, where we will see the balcony rumored to be that of Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Also along our walk, we will view the picturesque Erbe and Lord’s Squares, the Tombs of the Scaligers, Castelvecchio, and The Scaliger Bridge.
- Roman Amphitheater:
Tour Verona’s Roman Amphitheater, the largest in the world. Completed in 30 AD, this arena has been the site of executions, fairs, bullfights, opera and theatre productions, and, of course, gladiatorial combat.
- Travel to Venice:
Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can truly be described as unique. It was known as the gateway to the Orient, and during the Middle Ages became one of the most powerful city-states in the Mediterranean. Built on a series of islands connected by bridges and canals, Venice has survived all odds to become the intriguing and iconic city it is today.
- Hotel check-in:
Our base for the next two nights will be Venice Lido, where breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
We will enjoy dinner in a local Venetian restaurant.
Day 3 :
- Meet Tour Guide:
During the course of our tour in Italy, we will gain from the knowledge and insight of five half-day local guides.
- St. Mark’s Square:
Stroll through St. Mark’s Square. Bordered by Venice’s greatest historic buildings, St. Mark’s Square is the main focal point of the city, the center of its water transportation system, as well as the most popular place for people watching and picture taking.
- St. Mark’s Basilica:
Visit St. Mark’s Basilica, featuring interior walls encrusted with spectacular gold mosaics. Our visit will also include an ascent to the Galleries to see the original bronze horses that once adorned the facade, as well as a stunning view of St. Mark’s Square.
- Grand Canal:
Take a vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal past Venice’s beautiful palaces and cathedrals. We will also see the Rialto Bridge, the oldest and most famous of the bridges that span the Grand Canal.
This evening dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.
- First Concert Performance:
We will give our first concert performance today in Venice. Venue options include the Basilica di San Marco, built from the boundless wealth that Venice attracted during its heyday. This is a unique and breathtaking setting for a concert. If the weather is kind, the piazza in front of the cathedral can be an evocative setting. Also, the Campo Santo Stefano and the Church of San Stae are wonderful venues. Situated on the Grand Canal, Chiesa dei Gesuati is a well-known concert venue that attracts good audiences; your repertoire should be predominantly sacred, but some classical pieces may be allowed at the discretion of the parish priest. Another of Venice’s famous churches, Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, is a wonderful venue for choirs with excellent acoustics and good audience potential. Lastly, Il Redentore is a magnificent basilica situated on the Grand Canal and is a prestigious venue for sacred and a capella performances.
Day 4 :
Travel to Florence
- Stop in Ravenna:
On our way to Florence, we will stop in Ravenna. With ancient streets and peaceful piazzas, there is so much more to the town of Ravenna than the superb Byzantine mosaics for which it is famous. The city rose to power in the 1st century BC and was eventually made capital of the Western Empire. Although this power has waned, the city is still of vital importance to the arts and archaeology.
- Mausoleum of Galla Placidia:
Discover the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a 5th century chapel that contains exceptional mosaics dating from antiquity. Translucent panels bring the mosaics alive in all their grace and harmony, vivid with peacock blue, moss green, Roman gold, eggplant, and burnt orange.
- Museum and Basilica of San Vitale:
Visit the octagonal-domed Museum and Basilica of San Vitale, which dates from the mid-6th century. The mosaics inside, among the most celebrated in the Western world, are done in brilliant greens and golds.
- Arrive in Florence:
Florence is so deeply connected to the Renaissance movement in art and literature that it is often called the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” A walk through the peaceful piazzas reveals the architecture and sculpture that have made this beautiful city one of the world’s greatest artistic capitals.
- Hotel check-in:
Our base for the next two nights will be Florence, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
Day 5 :
Flow Through Florence
- Piazza del Duomo:
Enjoy the Piazza del Duomo, where the cathedral, tower, and baptistery exhibit the traditions of Florentine art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We will observe the massive and detailed facade of the Duomo before viewing the baptistery’s bronze doors, designed by Ghiberti and which Michelangelo commented were worthy to be the “Gates of Paradise.” After a brief visit inside the Duomo, we will have the opportunity to do either ascend the Bell Tower, climb the narrow steps to the top of the Red Dome, or visit the spectacular interior of the Baptistery. (One admission included.)
- Piazza della Signoria:
Spend time in the Piazza della Signoria, the political stage of Renaissance Florence and an open-air museum of sculpture.
- Ponte Vecchio:
Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence’s six bridges and one of the best-loved sites of Florence. Lined with numerous shops, visitors often do not realize they are on a bridge until they reach the center arches that look out over the Arno.
- Second Concert Performance:
We will give our second concert performance today in Florence. Sacred venue options include the great Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo of Florence), the Church of Santi Apostoli, San Miniato al Ricci, the Tempio Maggiore (the great Orthodox Jewish Temple), the Convent of Montedomini, and San Miniato al Monte. The American International School and St. James Church would serve as ideal joint performance venues, while secular venues include the U.S. Consulate General and the Tuscan American Association’s elegant senior home, the Casa Di Riposo.
Day 6 :
Travel to Rome
- Roam into Rome:
Known to many as the "Eternal City", Rome is the capital of Italy, with an uninterrupted history spanning two and a half thousand years. As one of the founding cities of Western civilization, Rome is filled with incredible historical sites. It is a city with many faces, encompassing medieval, renaissance, and modern eras. To define Rome is an impossible task, but to enjoy Rome is a wondrous experience.
In Rome, the cost of public transport is included for all group sightseeing. Escorted by our tour director, we will be able to experience the city in the same manner as the local people.
- Guided Tour through Rome:
Enjoy a guided tour through the spectacular remains of the Roman Empire. On our tour we will see:
- The Colosseum:
Considered to be the greatest symbol of Ancient Rome’s power and glory, The Colosseum was completed under Titus in 80 A.D. The Colosseum could hold 55,000 spectators, on par with many of today’s modern sports stadiums.
- Arch of Constantine:
Among the sites included is the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch finished in 315 A.D., commemorating the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius in the year 312 A.D.
- Roman Forum:
We will also tour the ruins and excavations of the Roman Forum, which features the remains of magnificent temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches that once formed the heart of the Empire.
Visit the Pantheon, one of the grandest and best-preserved Roman monuments, and the oldest large-scale dome in Rome. The Pantheon has been in continuous use throughout its history and today houses many tombs, including those of Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I, and painters Caracci and Raphael.
This evening we will dine in the Piazza Navona area. Built on the foundations of Domitian's Circus, this magnificent square was designed by Borromini in 17th century. It is full of life and is highlighted by one of Rome's most spectacular fountains, the Four Rivers designed by Bernini. The square is often filled with local artists. The surrounding neighborhood is also one of the best places in Rome to get a tasty tartufo or gelato ice cream.
Day 7 :
- Vatican Museums:
Experience a specialist-guided tour of the Vatican Museums, home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of art. Our tour includes the map tapestry rooms, the magnificent Raphael Rooms, and the spectacular Sistine Chapel, highlighted by Michelangelo’s ceiling and his Last Judgment. We will continue into St. Peter’s Square to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the western world and the center of Catholicism. Highlights of our visit include Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s magnificent Baldacchino Over the High Altar.
- Dinner near the Trevi Fountains:
This evening we will dine near the spectacular Trevi Fountain where it is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a safe return to The Eternal City.
- Piazza di Spagna:
Spend time at Rome’s meeting place, the Piazza di Spagna, home of the famous Spanish Steps. The piazza and steps are both named in reference to a 16th century Spanish ambassador who lived here. English poet John Keats lived and died in the house to the right of the steps, which is now a memorial.
- Third Concert Performance:
Our concert performance in Rome will be today. Venues options include singing Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, which is the ultimate experience for many groups. Other sacred settings include the Trinità dei Monti, which sits atop the Spanish Steps, the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, San Lorenzo in Damaso, the Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the Basilica di San Nicola in Carcere. Sant’Anselmo is a smaller setting that allows groups to attend Gregorian Vespers, have supper with the monks in their refectory, and give a concert in the late evening with full repertoire.
We may also perform in the Monastery Chapel of the American University of Rome. Secular venues include the American Overseas School, where you can interact with the students, the U.S. Embassy in the Vatican City, and the Piazza Navona.
Day 8 :
- Departure from Rome:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our Tour Director accompanies us to the airport on our final day.