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Highlights

Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Departure from North America
  • Flight to Rome Sit back, relax, and enjoy your scheduled flight to Rome.
Day 2 Arrive in Rome, Travel to Florence
  • Arrive in Rome 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 seven days.
  • Head to Florence, Stop in Orvieto Set atop a high volcanic plateau, Orvieto is hidden from the rolling farmlands of southern Umbria. Believed to have originally been a large Etruscan city of many temples, Orvieto is more famous today for its impressive Duomo and for its white wine.
  • The Duomo Visit the Duomo, Orvieto’s most striking sight. With the sun glinting off the gold mosaics, pointed arches, and intricate Gothic stone detailing, the cathedral has led some to call it a precious gem, and others to dub it the world’s largest triptych. Our visit will include the Cappella Nuova, also known locally as the Capella San Brizio, featuring frescoes by Fra Angelico that influenced the works of Michelangelo. The Cappella del Corporale houses a cloth on which the blood of Christ is said to have miraculously appeared.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo Stop just outside Florence and explore the Piazzale Michelangelo. Offering a splendid panoramic view of the city's domes and towers, this is a great location to take photos and view some of the local artists at work.
  • Hotel check in Our base for the next four night(s) will be Florence (area), where breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
  • Dinner Enjoy true Italian fare at a local restaurant this evening.
Day 3 Florence: Birth of the Renaissance
  • Explore 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.
  • Santa Maria Novella Visit the church of Santa Maria Novella, one of Florence’s most distinguished churches. Begun in 278 AD for the Dominicans, the highlight of the interior is Masaccio’s masterpiece Trinità, a curious work that has the architectural form of a Renaissance stage setting, but whose figures, in the first perfect perspective, are like actors in a Greek tragedy.
  • The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine See the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, highlighted by the magnificent Cappella Brancacci, which contains frescoes by Masacchio on the Life of St. Peter.
  • 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.
  • Dinner Enjoy Florentine fare in a local restaurant this evening.
  • First Concert Performance We will give a concert performance in Florence today. 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 United States Consulate General and the Tuscan American Association’s elegant senior home, the Casa Di Riposo.
Day 4 Day Trip to Lucca & Pisa
  • Travel to Lucca Lucca’s peaceful narrow lanes wind among medieval buildings, churches, tiny piazzas, and Roman ruins, taking visitors on a true journey through the town’s long history. Founded as a Roman colony in 180 BC, the city center was shut off from traffic in the 17th century, making it a pleasant place to wander and explore.
  • Walking Tour Take a Walking Tour through the old town to view the Renaissance and Gothic palaces, and the Piazza del Anfiteatro, where the amphitheater once stood.
  • San Martino Visit San Martino, Lucca’s magnificent cathedral, and admire the magnificent green and white marble facade, as well as the Romanesque and Gothic interior.
  • San Michele in Foro Spend time in San Michele in Foro, a beautiful church with a rich mixture of twisted marble columns and mosaics on the Pisan-Romanesque facade. A highlight of the interior is Saints Helena, Jerome, Sebastian, and Roch, by Lippi. As a student of Botticelli, Lippi’s work reflects his master’s graceful style, though with a more humanistic approach. Music lovers will note that two generations of Puccinis played organ in this church.
  • Arrive in Pisa During the Middle Ages, Pisa’s powerful navy and strong trading position brought enormous wealth to the city. Following several conquests and the silting of the harbor, however, it fell into decline. Now Pisa is primarily visited for its interesting architecture.
  • Duomo di Pisa Visit the Duomo di Pisa, a masterpiece of Romaneques architecture. Begun in 1093, the cathedral is located in the heart of the Piazza del Duomo where it dominates the square. Inside are five naves and a 3-naved transept.
  • Dinner We will dine in a local restaurant this evening.
Day 5 Get to know 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 one of the following: 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.
  • Dinner Enjoy a taste of Tuscany as we dine in a local restaurant tonight.
  • Second Concert Performance We will give a concert performance in Florence today. 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 United States Consulate General and the Tuscan American Association’s elegant senior home, the Casa Di Riposo.
Day 6 Florence Area – San Gimignano – Siena – Rome
  • Journey to Rome We continue on our journey from Florence to Rome. En route we will visit San Gimignanio and Siena.
  • San Gimignano The striking skyline of San Gimignano is one of the most familiar views of Tuscany. The town is noted for its thirteen towers, built by various noble families in the 12th and 13th centuries, which dominate the scene and impart a unique character to this idyllic location.
  • Siena Once a capital to rival Florence, Siena is Italy’s prettiest medieval town, and still possesses the grandeur of the age when it was at its peak.
  • The Duomo of Siena Visit the Duomo, highlighted by distinctive striped marble columns. Our visit will include the beautiful Piccolomini Library, designed to house the cathedral’s collection of illuminated manuscripts. The magnificent room features an unrivaled ceiling and large frescoes depicting important events in the life of Pope Pius II.
  • Piazza del Campo Stroll through the narrow and winding streets of Siena to the Piazza del Campo, a vast and lively square in the heart of the city.
  • Hotel check in For the next three evening(s) we will enjoy the convenience of our centrally-located Rome hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
  • Dinner This evening we will enjoy Italian food from a local restaurant.
Day 7 Rome :The City of the Caesars
  • Roam through 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, Baroque and modern. Enjoy a specialist-guided tour, through the spectacular remains of the Roman Empire. On our tour we will see:
  • The Colosseum It is considered to be the greatest symbol of Ancient Rome’s power and glory, was completed under Titus in 80 A.D. The Colosseum could hold 55,000 spectators, on a par with many of today’s modern sports stadiums.
  • Arch of Constantine Among the sights 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.
  • Trajan’s Column and Market Completed in 113 A.D. as a monument to the Emperor Trajan, the column is most famous for its spiral bas-relief. It stands in front of the market, the ancient equivalent of a shopping center, which housed no less than 150 shops and offices. From there, stroll past the Victor Emmanuel Monument, a giant building created to honor the first king of a unified Italy.
  • Pantheon 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.
  • Dinner 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 8 Rome :The City of the Popes
  • 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 Fountain 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. 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.
  • Final 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 US Embassy in the Vatican City, and the Piazza Navona.
Day 9 Final Farewell...
  • 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.