• Exploring the Forum with your expert guide
• Learning to cook a four course Roman meal and then sitting down to enjoy it with your instructor and some good wine
• Enjoying dinner overlooking the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio in Venice
• Learning secrets of Tuscan cuisine at a small restaurant in Florence including lunch with wine. Walking off lunch with a private tour through the Renaissance wonders of the Uffizi.
• Preparing a meal with the executive chef at your Venice hotel with ingredients your bought with the chef at Venice’s famed Rialto Market
Day 1 Depart USA
You board your flight for the overnight journey to the Eternal City of Rome where your culinary exploration of Rome, Florence and Venice begins.
Day 2 Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City
Upon arrival in Rome you are met by your guide and taken by private car on an overview tour of the city. If this is your first time in Rome it will be like watching a movie as you first see the Colosseum or the dome of St. Peter's, if you have been before it will bring back fond memories. After this overview of the city you are delivered to your hotel where you have a chance to relax or take a stroll in the area around the hotel. Dinner is at the hotel this evening.
Day 3 Ancient, Imperial and Renaissance Rome
Today the world of Rome both as a Republic and as an Imperial Power will be brought to life with your private walking tours of the ancient Forums of Rome and the Flavian amphitheatre world renowned as the Colosseum. The site of the original forum was, in Etruscan times, a swamp but it was drained into the Tiber River and the original Forum was built. Later as Julius Caesar came to power he built a larger forum in a more "fashionable" part of town. After his death, Augustus Caesar his adopted son and successor built yet another Forum to recognize the arrival of Imperial Rome. You will also spend time at the Colosseum built to entertain the citizens of Rome through Gladiatorial contests of man against man or man against wild beast. . After your exploration of Imperial Rome, your driver will take you to a restaurant where you have lunch. After lunch, your expert guide will take you to a selection of Renaissance piazzas and fountains, many of which were the work of one man, Bernini. You will visit the Piazza Navona which still retains the shape of the Roman Stadium which previously filled this spot. Here you will see the Fontana dei Fiumi with four giants at its base representing four rivers. You visit the Piazza Barberini and the Fontana del Tritone, the Fontana della Barcaccia in the Piazza di Spagna and, of course, the Fontana di Trevi. For those who read "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown, or saw the Tom Hanks movie they will recognize these fountains and their part in the narrative. This evening have dinner at one of our favorite Trattorias within walking distance of the hotel.
Day 4 The Roman Way with Food
Any city is more than its monuments. It is made up of its people, its culture and cuisine. Today you will go to the kitchens of a noted instructor to understand what makes a Roman meal. With your instructor you will work on the creation of a four course meal with an emphasis on the ingredients and the techniques. When you have finished working on the meal you get to enjoy it along with your instructor and wines paired with each course. In mid afternoon, after your teachable and edible moment you return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 5 Goodbye Rome, Hello Florence
After breakfast you meet your driver and head for one of the world's smallest states, the Vatican. Upon arrival you will follow the walls surrounding the Vatican until you arrive at the main entrance. Here you will meet your Vatican guide whose expertise will, initially, explain the secrets behind the creation of Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. You will then visit the Painting Gallery and the Raffaello Rooms where you will see his masterpiece "The School of Athens". Your guide will then take you into the Basilica of St. Peter's, the largest church in the world, where you will span four centuries of history and art including Bernini's Baldacchino and Michelangelo's Pieta. After your tour there is time for lunch before you are taken to the station for the journey to that Renaissance gem, Florence. Upon arrival you are met by your guide who takes you to your hotel located on the banks of the Arno River. This evening you have dinner at the hotel with the Ponte Vecchio as background.
Day 6 A Walk Among the Masters of the Renaissance
After breakfast your guide will meet you at the hotel to provide a more in-depth view of the city, the buildings and what they represent to the history of the city and, indeed, mankind. You will visit the Piazza del Duomo and learn the history of the dome created by Brunelleschi and the nearby bell tower by Giotto. A visit to the Ponte Vecchio will be followed by a tour of Franciscan Santa Croce church and its masterpieces by Giotto, Donatello and Brunelleschi. Within its walls are the burial sites of the Renaissance greats, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Dante is also honored but his sarcophagus is empty. A more recent addition is the great composer Rossini. You complete your tour in the Piazza della Signoria, one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Following lunch, you visit the Accademia Gallery famous for its collection of sculptures by Michelangelo. In addition to the world-renowned "David", you will also see the four "slaves" created for Pope Julius II and the "Pieta di Palestrina". It is "David" however which is close to the hearts of the citizens of Florence since, as the young hero who is about to defeat the giant, Goliath, it symbolizes the determination of the Florentine Republic to defend its freedom no matter the size of the adversary. This evening try some Tuscan cuisine at Il Latini.
Day 7 Artists of the Florentine Kitchen
While Florence is justifiably noted for its past geniuses and artisans, they still exist today in the kitchen. To validate this, your first stop will be Il Canapone a 40 seat restaurant famous for its authentic and innovative cuisine. You will spend the morning learning the basics of Tuscan cooking and then, with your chef as the instructor, prepare a typical Tuscan lunch which you then enjoy with some fine Tuscan wine. In the afternoon you have a private tour of the Uffizi Gallery. Designed by Vasari as an administrative office for the Medici's, it was, in 1591, turned into an art gallery to make available to the public the great works of art acquired or commissioned by the Medici family. It is a treasure trove of Renaissance art including notable works by DaVinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raffaello and after viewing and studying the art you take a coffee break at the Loggia della Signoria which offers superb views of the Palazzo Vecchio where the Medicis would sit and listen to music. We have left this evening open for you to try one of the many unique restaurants in this city.
Day 8 Journey to Venice
This morning is at leisure, allowing the opportunity for more sightseeing or perhaps a little shopping. Your guide will pick you up and take you for a light lunch before you board the train. After enjoying the countryside from your 1st Class seat, you cross the causeway and arrive at the train station in Venice where your guide meets you and takes you to the water taxi which will take you to your hotel. Since it is located on the canal the taxi drops you off right at the hotel. After freshening up you enjoy a glass of Prosecco as a precursor to dinner which can be enjoyed on a terrace by the side of the Grand Canal.
Day 9 Cooking and Walking in Venice
This morning you will meet the hotel's chef and head across the Grand Canal on a "gondola shuttle" where you actually stand up for the short journey across. Directly across from the hotel is the renowned Rialto Market with areas dedicated to fresh fish, meat and vegetables. Along with the chef you select ingredients for a special lunch which you are going to help prepare. After completing the shopping you return to the hotel and its spotless kitchen where you work with the chef and staff in creating a three course lunch. Once completed you have the opportunity to enjoy the lunch you helped create. This afternoon your guide who will take you on a walking tour of the key highlights of classical Venice. You will start in St. Mark's Square. Your first stop will be the Doges Palace where you will learn about the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic. This former seat of government is richly decorated by some of the most important artists of the 16th Century and this is especially so in the Doge's private apartments which you will also visit. You cross the Bridge of Sighs to see the old prison of the republic before returning to St Mark's square where you enter Saint Mark's Church. This was originally the Doge's private chapel but is now the Venetian cathedral and is a rare example of Byzantine Art with its golden mosaics and the "Pala d'Oro" (Golden Altar), rich in enamels, precious stones and jewels. After your tour you return to the hotel. This evening you have the option of selecting among the numerous restaurants in close proximity to the hotel.
Day 10 Your Own Personal Venice and a Gondola Serenade
By now you will have become familiar with the key sights of Venice and so we have left the day open for you to create your own private memories of the city. In the early evening, you will board a gondola for a trip through some of the back canals accompanied by a musician and a singer. It is a bit touristy but hearing Santa Lucia from the seat of a gondola makes Venice come alive. After your gondola ride you return to the hotel for a farewell dinner overlooking the Grand Canal and enhanced by a bottle of wine with our compliments
Day 11 Return to USA
After breakfast your guide picks you up for the boat ride to the mainland and the trip to airport where your return flight to the USA awaits. You arrive back in the USA later the same afternoon.
Available Year Round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Rome, Florence, Venice
•1st Class rail travel as indicated on the itinerary
•Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
•Private Transfers to and from the airport or rail station at destination
•All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
•Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
•Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
•Baggage handling at all hotels
•All applicable taxes and service fees
Service Not Included
•International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
•Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
•Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
•Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
•Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
•Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest information regarding passports and visa requirements)