ITALIAN VISTAS: FROM TUSCANY TO THE DOLOMITES

Day1 - THU I FLORENCE I PISTOIA
Arrive at Florence airport and transfer to your hotel located in the Tuscan countryside just outside of Florence. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for our welcome dinner. (D)
Day2 - FRI I PISTOIA I SIENA I CHIANTI CLASSICO I SAN GIMIGNANO I PISTOIA
This morning we travel to Siena through Tuscany’s rolling hills and Chianti’s Vineyards. Explore the maze of narrow streets and alleys around the Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s oldest and most spectacular public squares that is famous for the Palio bareback horse race. Lunch today in the Chianti territory gives you the opportunity to learn about local wines and culinary specialties during a wine tasting session followed by lunch. In the afternoon visit medieval San Gimignano known for its soaring towers. Delve into town’s center, called “Medieval Manhattan;” stroll the quaint alleyways and its colorful pottery shops and small museums; and sample one of the best Italian gelato’s on the triangular-shaped Piazza della Cisterna. Return to your hotel late in the afternoon. (B,L)
Day3 - SAT I PISTOIA I FLORENCE I PISTOIA
This morning, depart for a full day excursion to Florence. The tour begins at Michelangelo square with its breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Your walking tour takes you to Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery, Piazza della Signoria, and the church of Santa Croce. You will also visit the Accademia Gallery to view Michelangelo’s world-famous “David” statue. The tour concludes with a visit to a leather shop where you will learn about traditional leather gilding. Lunch at leisure gives you the opportunity to delve into Florence’s Tuscan food scene. In the afternoon, take time to enjoy the city center, Ponte Vecchio and opportunities for shopping in the abundant Florentine boutiques and shops. This evening you will share in a splendid included dinner at your villa in Pistoia. (B,D)
Day 4 - SUN I PISTOIA I CINQUE TERRE I SANTA MARGHERITA
Depart Pistoia this morning and drive through the Tuscan Apennine hills towards the Italian Riviera’s rugged coastline. Revel in the day of exploring Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Starting in La Spezia, you will visit the most picturesque villages along the coast. See Riomaggiore, where the famous “Love Trail” (La via dell'Amore) begins; Vernazza, referred to as the most beautiful of these villages; and Monterosso, known for its well-developed fishing and cultivating on terraces. The area is acclaimed for the production of its light and refreshing white wines and fresh basil used in authentic green pesto sauce. Opt to try some of these local specialities as you venture off for lunch on your own. In the afternoon, journey north and check in at your hotel on the Italian Riviera. (B)
Day5 - MON I SANTA MARGHERITA I PORTOFINO I SANTA MARGHERITA
After breakfast, head to the port and board your vessel to the spectacular resort town of Portofino. Once a simple fishing village, Portofino today is a trendy vacation hot-spot, brimming with countless sleek and palatial mega-yachts. Enjoy free time to explore this breathtaking coastal gem and savor lunch on your own. Return to your hotel in the afternoon. (B)
Day 6 - TUE I SANTA MARGHERITA I MILAN I STRESA
Check-out of your Italian Riviera hotel and embark on today’s adventure, stopping first in Milan. Depart on an insightful city tour, starting at the 15th century Sforza Castle where you can admire the frescoes painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. Continue along to the world famous Opera House La Scala, founded by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1778. Take time to explore this vibrant cosmopolitan city at leisure and enjoy lunch on your own. Later in the afternoon, head to Stresa in the Italian Lakes District and check in to your hotel. (B)
Day7 - WED I STRESA I LAKE MAGGIORE I STRESA
Today’s exciting activities are truly a feast for the eyes, sure to include unforgettable moments that will be etched in your memory for a lifetime! Enjoy the day cruising and taking in the views of Lake Maggiore. Visit the Borromean island of Isola Bella where you will tour its stunning 17thcentury palazzo and extravagantly landscaped gardens, then savor a special lunch there. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore at your own pace. (B,L)
Day 8 - THU I STRESA I LAKE ORTA I STRESA
Rise and shine to a oneof- a-kind opportunity to explore the off-the-beaten path village of Orta. Often referred to by Milan's locals as “La Cenerentola” or Cinderella, it is perceived by many to be the secret but superior sibling of the wellknown and larger lakes of Como and Maggiore. Explore Orta San Giulio, taking in the center's beautiful architecture, village vistas along its steep slopes, and lush wooded area that set it apart from many of the area's other islands. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, and tonight join us for dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day9 - FRI I STRESA I BRESCIA I BOLZANO
After breakfast depart Stresa for Bolzano. Along the way, visit Cantine Al Rocola, a countryside estate in Franciacorta, for wine sampling and delicious lunch. After lunch enjoy the spectacular views as you journey along the shores of Lake Garda towards Bolzano, a city that is more Teutonic than Italian, with parks that line the towns’ two rivers, Tyrolean-style houses and preference for Germanic dialect. Remainder of the day and evening are at leisure. (B,L)
Day 10 - SAT I BOLZANO
After breakfast, take a cable car to view the 19-peak Dolomites. Join in a walking tour of the historic center of Bolzano. A highlight of the tour is a visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano to see the remarkably preserved remains of the “Otzi Iceman” glacial mummy, a man who lived around 5,300 years ago and whose body was preserved in glacial ice until it was discovered by hikers in 1991 at an elevation of over 10,000 feet in the Ötzal Alps. Take time to explore with an afternoon at leisure. Tonight’s included dinner will give you another amazing opportunity to enjoy a culinary treat at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day11 - SUN I BOLZANO I VERONA I VENICE
Today we explore Verona, a medieval gem dotted with ornate palazzi renowned as the setting for three of Shakespeare plays. It truly seems impossible to separate Verona from the Romeo and Juliet love story. Your tour takes you to see the house believed to be Juliet's, thought to have inspired the famed balcony scene, and to see Baroque buildings, Renaissance palaces, and beautiful churches. After free time to delve into the city on your own, we drive to Venice and check in at your hotel. (B)
Day 12 - MON I VENICE
The excitment continues today with a morning tour of Venice, the city of magnificent marble palaces on a lagoon. Just like its world-famous Carnevale, Venice thrives on mystery and awe, from the secret passageways that riddle Gothic Palazzo Ducale, to the esoteric powers of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and to Saint Mark's Basilica, recognized as one of the most refined and accomplished works of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world. Afternoon is at leisure with enough time for more sightseeing, shopping, and exploring. Gather tonight to share a special farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day13 - TUE I VENICE TO USA (OR EXTEND YOUR STAY)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home with thrilling and inspired new experiences to share and remember of your time enjoying the treasures of Italy. (B)