First stop – Venice. You’d better get used to being on the water because other than walking, that’s the only way to get to the major attractions. Spend a day with an expert Tauck Tour guide exploring the Byzantine grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Of course, a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely gondola cruise through the famous Venetian canals (complete with a singing gondolier!). Don’t forget to relax and do some serious people-watching in the Piazza San Marco. Take a water taxi to the world-famous Murano Glass Factory. You might want to bring along a suitcase for all the gorgeous pieces you’ll want to buy. But if you forget, don’t worry… they’ll ship your purchases back home.
Then travel by first-class rail to Florence. Over three days, English-speaking guides will escort you through this historic city, once the center of the Renaissance universe. You’ll view Michelangelo’s “David.” Pay close attention to your guide and try not to be distracted by the statue’s magnificence. Take a guided tour through the Uffizi Gallery which houses some of history’s most important paintings. On your off-time, climb the 463 steps of the Duomo for a breathtaking view of the artwork on the inside and the panorama of the city outside. Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio. Don’t think the shops on this historic bridge are merely touristy commercialism; vendors and merchants have been on the Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century!
While in Florence, you’ll enjoy a lunch with wine and olive oil tastings at a monastery in the Chianti Classico region. This is a Tauck Exclusive you’ll not get anywhere else.
Then you’re on to Rome, where you’ll visit the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Imagine being face to face with structures that stood thousands of years ago. Or standing in the very spot where gladiators and lions fought to the death. It’s obvious why Rome is called “The Eternal City.” Be sure to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain; legend says you are guaranteed to return to Rome if you do. And don’t forget to sample a gelato (or two… or three!) from the many booths in the city. Try unusual flavors like chocolate infused with hot pepper, or fig, or cinnamon. Molto delizioso!!
In Rome you’ll be treated to another Tauck Exclusive: an after-hours guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel – no crowds, no lines, no harried docents rushing you through so that the next group can get in. The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling panel illustrating God’s creation of Adam is arguably the most famous piece of art in the world, and seeing it in person is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Whether you’re an art historian or someone who knows just a little bit about art through the ages, this private excursion is remarkable.
They say all roads lead to Rome. Perhaps all roads lead to Italy, because you’ll surely want to return again after experiencing a Tauck Tour.