Day 1: Overnight Flight
Day 2: Florence, Italy - Tour Begins
Benvenuti a Firenze! You arrive in Florence – “Cradle of the Italian Renaissance,” home of the Medici, Gucci and il Duomo. Mangiare and mingle at one of the city’s best local restaurants this evening and settle in for a true Italian experience – the aperitivo, when you learn to craft one of Italy’s most famous cocktails, the Spritz.
Day 3: Florence
The streets and piazze of Florence await you. A walking tour through Florentine history showcases four pillars of life in this city: art, architecture, food and fashion. Then it’s off to the Chianti Rufina region and the stunning Castelo di Trebbio, a countryside retreat once owned by the wealthy Pazzi family. Feeling adventurous? Join your local expert on a Vespa tour* through Tuscany's olive groves and vineyards. Or, stay back and explore the castle’s family-run vineyard on foot. A trip to one of Italy’s best wine regions wouldn’t be complete without a tasting, so against a pastel sunset, enjoy a tasting of the very best Italy’s wine region has to offer.
Day 4: Florence - Bologna
This morning, join your fellow travelers for a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia (Gallery of the Academy). An expertly-guided journey through the museum’s halls reveals perhaps the greatest collection of Renaissance art on Earth, not to mention Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece, the David. Afterward, depart Florence on a train to Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region. Upon arrival it’s your choice! Whether you decide to join an expert-guided walk of this medieval city -OR- pedal the city streets on a bicycle tour, you will be immersed in the narrow lanes and winding alleys of this iconic market town. This evening, relax in the homey surroundings of a private apartment in Bologna’s historic center during a home-hosted cooking lesson. Learn the secrets of making three traditional pasta recipes and enjoy the fruits of your labor over dinner, replete with locally-selected wines and the requisite espresso with dessert.
Day 5: Bologna
The entire day is at your leisure to explore the region’s thriving capital city, virtually unchanged since the Renaissance. Defined by its past but very much alive in the present, Bologna is an eclectic cultural city waiting to be explored.
Day 6: Bologna – Parma Region
Bid arrivederci to Bologna and head north to Parma. Stop to experience the workings of a local cheese shop and sample the Parmigiano-Reggiano this region is famous for. Venture to the Castello di Tabiano, a medieval castle rising over rugged hills. Take time to explore the grounds on your own before embarking on a private tour. An expert guide leads you on an intimate sojourn through the castle’s elaborate stuccos, frescos, private rooms and grand reception. Gain insight to the castle’s rich history, including the role it played as one of the feudal period’s most vital defensive monuments. Overnight on the grounds of the castle this evening.
Day 7: Nice - Cannes - Antibes - St. Paul de Vence - Nice
After a leisurely morning, depart for Lake Como, the world-famous resort area that’s charmed visitors for over a hundred years with its legendary villas, monuments and Alpine vistas. At the lake, depart for an afternoon cruise to Bellagio, affectionately known as the “Pearl of the Lake.” Learn the city’s rich history during an orientation tour; then spend time independently exploring the cobbled streets, Romanesque churches, and traditional Italian trattoria. Enjoy the evening at leisure as you take in the picturesque shoreline guarded by the towering drama of the Rhaetian Alp.
Day 8: Lake Como
Relax amongst the natural beauty of Lake Como. For early risers, catch a sunrise funicular ride and watch the lake wake up. You may wish to join your guide to explore Como’s lakeside trails and frescoed hamlets on foot or remain at the hotel to enjoy the amenities. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers over a farewell dinner to say Addio Italia!
Day 9: Nice - Tour Ends
Your tour ends today.