Day 1Depart Tampa for Rome, Italy.
Day 2Arrival in Rome. After check-in at our hotel in central Rome, students visit the finest example of Roman architecture still in existence today-- the 1,893 year-old Pantheon.
Day 3Our first full day together in the Eternal City begins with a walk through the streets and alleys of our Renaissance neighborhood, exiting into the ruins of ancient Rome, the center of an empire. A stone-by-stone tour of the Roman Forum that follows the footsteps of Julius and Augustus, Cleopatra, Peter and Paul ends in a visit to the unforgettable Colosseum. Before lunch, we climb the Esquiline Hill to visit San Pietro in Vincoli to see the striking sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo. After lunch, students may wish to visit the christian catacombs and other great basilicas of Rome.
Day 4This is our opportunity to visit the seat of Catholicism when we enter Vatican City. Within, we marvel at the architecture of St. Peters Basilica and Square-- many of our students ride and climb to the top of St., Peters dome for a spectacular view of Rome. A tour of the Vatican museums includes the history of sculpture in the Western world, the School of Athens by Raphael and a prolonged visit to Michelangelo’s heavenly frescos in the Sistine Chapel. In the afternoon, we head south for the beaches of Sorrento! Sorrento has been a resort destination since the time of Caesar. Our hotel, Hotel del Corso, is located in downtown Sorrento where all the best shopping and restaurants are located.
Day 5Our first morning will be a trip back in time to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, frozen in time by the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE.
Day 6Travelers are free to explore the Bay of Naples today. Some will choose to visit the many beaches of the Bay; others will enter the famous Blue Lagoon when they visit the Isle of Capri; and, still others will want to explore and shop their way through picturesque Positano and Amalfi.
Day 7In the morning, we say “Arrivederci, Sorrento” and “buon giorno” to Florence, Italy. Our home in Florence will be with Massimo Ravalli, his wife Susanna and daughter Sara at the Hotel Albion--we have stayed with them for the last 30 years.
Day 8The Uffizi Gallery contains the most precious collection of Renaissance painting found anywhere-- the original paintings of Giotto, Uccello, Botticelli, Lippi, Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Perugino . . . After your guided tour, we turn our attention to the other treasures of Florence, gold and leather, with visits to merchants who show us the art of jewelry and leather-making. After, students make their pilgrimage to the essential viewing of Michelangelo’s David. Late into the night, we party in the Space Club discotheque!
Day 9After a brief morning visit to the Donatello's incredible Bronze David, enjoy the shops and travel adventures in-and-around Florence.
Day 10Venice is the original unique city--anywhere. Students who purchase this optional trip have time to visit the extravagant St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, shop for glass and masks before taking gondola rides through the picturesque canals.
Day 11Our day’s travels take us over the plains of Northern Italy and up through the breathtaking Alps. We arrive in the Tyrollean city of Innsbruck and are promptly taken farther up to the village of Mutters, a popular destination whether its winter or summer. The Hotel Sonnhof has wonderful amenities including an indoor pool and sauna.
Day 12If you’ve never seen snow, today’s your day! Students may choose to visit a snow-covered glacier. Since you plan your days in Austria, you may choose to take advantage of other outdoor adventures. Some choose white water rafting, hiking in the Alpine meadows or the very adventurous may ride tandem with paragliders.
Day 13Innsbruck is our neighbor, available simply by riding the alpine tram down the mountain. Visit the Altstadt or continue your mountain adventures.
Day 14Our train to Paris will begin with a layover in Zurich, Switzerland and continues through Southern France before arriving in the City of Lights. After dinner, we all visit the grand boulevards of Paris.
Day 15Our first morning in Paris begins with a visit to the Pompidou Center, a walk along the river Seine, a tour of Notre Dame cathedral and lunch in the Latin Quarter. Students may visit Napoleon’s Tomb, the Hotel des Invalides, Galleries Lafayette or spend time exploring the Left Bank. In the evening, we all ascend the Eiffel Tower to watch lights come on across the city.
Day 16The Louvre Museum is considered by many to be the world’s finest. Our studies of its collections will include the works of Rubens, Leonardo, Michelangelo and David. We will visit the first “law book” in the Mesopotamia rooms, Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo in the ancient Greece rooms and the excavations of the Medieval Louvre under the museum. In the evening, we all say goodbye to Paris by sailing on the River Seine’s Bateaux Mouches.