Sorrento Capri and Renaissance Cities Escorted Group Tour
7 Days/6 Nights
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Assisi, Siena, Florence, Padua, Venice, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri
DAY 01 - Monday: ROME - ASSISI - SIENA - FLORENCE
At 7:30 a.m. the members of the tour will meet at a designated point within the center of Rome. Depending on the location, guests staying at select hotels may have a pickup between 6:45 and 7:15 a.m.
The deluxe motor coach will have the comforts of heat and air conditioning in the appropriate season. Travel north into the cherished town of Assisi, home of one of the two patron Saints of Italy, St. Francis. Assisi, where ancient walls once protected the town but were later overcome in several battles and severe earthquakes, is the destination of millions of tourists who have made the pilgrimage to this ancient commune. Frescos of the life of St. Francis by great masters such as Giotto and Cimabue can be relished as the group visits the Basilica of St. Francis. You will also see the two medieval castles that also dominate this beautiful landscape.
From this wonderful visit to Assisi, relax as the journey continues on toward the beautiful Tuscan city of Siena. Siena is known for its fine art and museums and is said to have ties to the legend of Romulus and Remus of which Rome was founded.
The Siena Cathedral is one of the main sights of Siena, and was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in the world.
Each ward of the city is represented by an animal or mascot, and at the famous annual horse race, the Palio, the ward rivalries are most noticeable.
Another pleasant ride on the coach will take you into the city of Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region.
Refresh from this active first day during a pleasant dinner and get a peaceful night’s sleep at the hotel.
DAY 2 - Tuesday: FLORENCE
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel and be prepared to see why Florence has such a reputation for the arts and culture worldwide. The guided sightseeing tour of the city will include a stop at the beautiful Piazza del Duomo or Cathedral Square. This is one of the most visited places in Europe and is the home of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, which displays wondrous statues and beautiful mosaics. The Piazza is also home to Giotto’s Bell Tower, often referred to as the “Lily of Florence,” and the octagonal wonder known as the Baptistry of St. John. Also included on this unforgettable tour is a stop in Santa Croce to see Cimabue’s famous crucifix in this 13th century Franciscan Church. This crucifix had been badly damaged, but was restored as much as possible without losing its original style and complexity.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to do as you wish. Whether you choose to stroll through Florence, visit its famous museums, or take the half day tour of Pisa (Optional, activity not included), you will be sure to enjoy whatever it is that piques your interest.
Enjoy a relaxing dinner and get a good night’s rest at the hotel.
DAY 3 – Wednesday: FLORENCE - PADUA - VENICE
After a tasty buffet breakfast at the hotel, prepare to depart for Venice by coach via Padua, home of the 800 year old University of Padua that had Galileo as one of its lecturers. Padua is also the setting for Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew.” Here you will visit the famous Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua (Cathedral of St. Anthony), guarded by the stoic depiction of Donatello’s majestic “Gattamelata,”an equestrian statue dating back to 1453.
Continue east to Venice, an island city in the marshy Venetian Lagoon, between the Po and Piave Rivers. Now it’s time to embark on a panoramic guided walking tour of the Canal city. You will see the St. Mark’s Square, the main public square of Venice that was once called the “Drawing room of Europe” by Napoleon. At the eastern end of the square, the Basilica of St. Mark, with its breathtaking domes is one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture worldwide. The next site on the tour is one of the main landmarks of Venice, the Doge’s Palace (External Visit). This amazing Gothic structure was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority in this city. Today it is a favorite museum and visited by over one million annually.
Next, see the Bridge of Sighs, so called because it was the last view of Venice that prisoners would have before being taken to their cells.
Relax and enjoy dinner included with the package, and sleep overnight at the hotel in Venice Island.
DAY 4 – Thursday: VENICE - ROME
Refresh after your Venetian hotel rest with a buffet breakfast at the hotel. Next, enjoy a morning tour via the canals by boat. You will cross the lagoon – just a short ride of about a mile or one kilometer to Murano, a series of islands that are linked by bridges. This area was once an independent commune (or municipality) but now is a frazione (subdivision) of Venice, which is famous for its artisan glass works and lamp making. There, you will have the opportunity to partake in a demonstration of glass blowing, a truly astounding art. You will also have some time for shopping.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the rail station or the Tronchetto (an artificial island west of Venice that is used as the main transportation center for cars and buses.) There, you will board your transfer back to Rome, which will either be via motor coach or rail. You will find out which mode of transportation will be provided a day or two earlier from your tour escort. Enjoy the relaxing trip back to Rome.
Arrive in Rome and transfer to the hotel for the night. Dinner for this evening is not included.
Day 5 – Friday: ROME - NAPLES - POMPEII - SORRENTO
After the included buffet breakfast, prepare for another big day of travel and adventure!
Pickup is at 7:00 a.m. at the hotel with a multilingual tour leader. You will head to Naples via coach. The meaning of the name Naples is “new city,” but Naples is actually one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is also the 9th most populated city in the European Union. Naples was the most bombed Italian City during World War II and is full of history.
Upon arrival in Naples, you will head out on a walking tour of its historical center with a local guide. Here, you will see and admire the city landmarks of the Piazza del Plebiscito, one of the largest public squares in Naples and the impressive Royal Palace on the east of the square, showing fantastic frescoes. On site is also the Galleria Umberto I which houses the Coral Jewelry Museum. The theaters of Naples are among the oldest in Europe, and the Teatro di San Carlo opera house which dates back to the 1700s will also be shown on the walking tour.
You will board a coach and depart for Pompeii. The route will travel alongside the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is the part of the Mediterranean Sea that is off the west coast of Italy. To the northeast, Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on mainland Europe, will be quite a sight. Pompeii is famous for several things, most notably when it was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The city was rediscovered 1,500 years later. Pompeii has been a major tourist destination for the past 250 years with over 2.5 million visitors each year. On this tour there will be a short visit to a coral and cameo factory, which is a specialty of the artisans of the area with similar artifacts dating back 4,000 years.
Enjoy lunch in a typical restaurant, experiencing the local cuisine. Lunch is followed by a visit to the excavations of this ancient Roman city related to the famous volcanic eruption. After the careful unearthing of the 4-6 meters of ash and stone, an entire civilization was uncovered that would never have been otherwise preserved. When the eruption occurred, and later when the artifacts were found under the layers of ash, the entire civilization and people were stopped where they were and preserved.
After the tour of Pompeii, you will travel by coach to the beautiful Sorrentine Peninsula, which has a unique landscape that alternates from deep valleys to magnificent mountains. It is also famous for the cultivation of orange, lemon and olive trees. The city of Sorrentine is the key place in this peninsula and overlooks the Bay of Naples. The sea cliffs, spectacular views, and luxury hotels have attracted many notable people, including the opera singers Luciano Pavarotti and Enrico Caruso.
After this eventful day, you will enjoy dinner at the hotel and settle in for the night.
DAY 6 – Saturday: SORRENTO - CAPRI - SORRENTO
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel to start your day off right. Then be ready for a departure at 9:15 a.m. to the beautiful island of Capri. Capri is just south of the Gulf of Naples and has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic over 2000 years ago.
You will board the ferry and arrive in Marina Grande, which is the same port that Augustus and Tiberius used in the days of old.
If the weather permits, you will have the opportunity to see the mysterious Blue Grotto, a sea cave where sunlight shines through the seawater and illuminates a blue reflection on the cavern.
Augustus Gardens will be visited next. These lush gardens have amazing views of the island and contain curious roads that wind back and forth up the sides of cliffs by the sea, proving that even roads can be works of art. There will be a chance to stop at the famous Piazzetta, commonly referred to as the little square – and considered the meeting place of the island and the center of town. From here, a Minibus will take you up to Anacapri to have lunch.
The prefix Ana means above, and shows that this city has a higher elevation than the rest of the island. The composer Claude Debussy was a regular visitor here, and named one of his creations after Anacapri. The views of the coastline are truly spectacular.
After lunch in Anacapri, you will return to Marina Grande where you will board the ferry for your relaxing trip back to Sorrento. Enjoy dinner and a comfortable nights rest at the hotel.
Day 7 – Sunday: SORRENTO - ROME
For your final day, enjoy a buffet breakfast at your Hotel, take the rest of the morning to explore the popular and attractive town of Sorrento on your own. Consider leisurely shopping along Via San Cesareo, Sorrento's main shopping street, or visit the Museum Correale, which is surrounded by a grove of lush citrus trees. You may also choose to visit the nearby coastal towns of Ravello, Positano or Amalfi.
Be prepared to meet at the hotel at 3:30 p.m. You will meet your tour leader and return to Rome via motor coach. Depending on traffic, your arrival in Rome will be around 9:00 p.m.