Itinerary: (Subject to change due to local conditions, unforeseen events, or more interesting, as-yet unplanned awesome experiences that become available)
Thursday May 14
Depart from Newark International Airport bound for Rome at 11:00 pm
You must arrive at the airport no later than 3 hours prior to departure time – so 8 pm, without exception.
Friday May 15
Arrive at Fiumicino International Airport at 1:40 pm, transfer to our hotel, lunch in the local area and then check-in at 3 pm.
After check-in and perhaps a short nap, we will gather in the hotel lobby at 5 pm where we lead you on a neighborhood walking tour to orient you to the spectacular environs surrounding our hotel where you can take in the sights, sounds, tastes of the neighborhood that you can only experience with being out amongst it. We’ll show you where to grab an espresso, a gelato, great pizza, the Pantheon, where Julius Caesar was assassinated and a few of the 900 churches in the city of Rome. After the walking tour (approximately an hour) you are on your own for dinner to explore your favorite place in one of the wonderful authentic restaurants in the historic Campo d’Fiore, approximately a 10-minute walk from our hotel. Make sure to say a toast to your first night in Rome and indulge in the superb Italian house wine available in carafes at restaurants everywhere!
Daily walking total (all totals are approximate!): 4 miles, city streets.
Saturday May 16
Our first day in the Eternal City will immerse us in ancient secrets and mysteries of the Empire with a visit to the infamous Coliseum, which could seat sixty thousand and yet magically could be emptied in seven minutes. We will then wander over to one of the Seven Hills of Rome, the Palatine Hill where the wealthy and the nobility resided. From this peaceful place, enjoy panoramic views to help gain perspective on the history surrounding you. Thereafter we will descend into the most famous of public spaces, the Foro Romano. Let your imagination run wild in envisioning the present ruins as the once majestic markets and temples and visualizing the business and politics that occurred daily in Ancient Rome. We will then make our way over to explore Trajan’s Market, thought to be the worlds oldest shopping plaza built with some amazing architecture which includes attached baths where Roman businessmen hung out and bathed together. Quite an interesting way to conduct business! Finally, we will check out the Circus Maximus where 300,000 spectators wildly cheered horse and chariot races and delve into the secret subterranean temple sanctuary of a mysterious cult.
Daily walking total: 7 miles, city streets, parks
Sunday May 17
This morning we will depart our hotel for the dazzling city of Florence at 8 am. Please note: we will spend 3 nights in Florence, but you should plan to leave the majority of your belongings at Hotel Mimosa in Rome. It is advisable to bring a smaller bag with you so that you may bring just a few days of clothes for our Florence excursion.
Upon our arrival in Florence we will meet our local tour guide where we will immerse ourselves in the astounding art in the Ufizzi Gallery and the Galleria della’Academia which is home to Michelangelo’s David.
Thereafter we will check you into your accommodations. The rest of the evening will be yours to check out this charming city and find a great spot for dinner and some more delicious Italian wine, toasting to your first night in Florence!
Daily walking total: 5 miles, city streets, museum, the stairs to the top of the dome will be arduous as well.
Monday May 18
Today we will visit magnificent Cinque Terre, five charming little villages perched on cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea featuring stunning views, intriguing shops and friendly people. We will take in the spectacular vistas as we hike between Vernazza and Corniglia, only a few miles, with a picturesque place to stop along the way for a refreshment, perhaps even some wine. If feeling adventurous and desiring to connect more with nature, you may hike among all 5 towns in a single day (about 6 total miles) or you may prefer the shorter group hike with a train ride among the towns, exploring any of them that you wish, or even enjoy the beach and if you’re brave enough, take a chilly swim in the soothing Ligurian Sea.
Daily walking total: 5-10 miles over city street and unpaved trails.
Tuesday May 19
Today is all about wine, a necessity for traveling in Italy! We will be whisked away to the Tuscan countryside where we will enjoy our day visiting a local vineyard. A wine sommelier will share the secrets contained in the grapes grown under the Tuscan sun by illustrating the wine-making process before our very eyes. Afterwards we will taste the secrets and further be educated in wine through sampling a fair amount of it, along with a delicious lunch!
Daily walking total: 4 miles, city streets, countryside
Wednesday May 20
This is the day to do some independent exploration, to consider your place in the grand flow of human history from the vantage point of the Renaissance, a period whose impact on the Western world, really every single aspect of it, is without measure. Consider, as you wander the city, how and why you are the person you are because of the ideas that flowed from this period, indeed from this very city some five centuries ago. Your connection to history, to generations past will be inescapable.
Daily walking total: very much depends upon your chosen activities
Thursday May 21
We will say farewell to Florence this morning at 10 am, returning to Rome by about noon, where we will explore a very small handful of the more than 900 cathedrals in Rome. You will discover eclectic and educational examples of Renaissance art and architecture and be intrigued by the stunning relics and metaphysical messages found within.
Daily walking total: 9 miles, city streets
There is one optional activity for this evening: Music in Bernini’s Rome at Chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone, 6:30pm ($30). Utilizing period-correct instruments, musicians and vocalists perform works from a variety of composers from Bernini’s time, creating a musical flow that mingles with the architecture to immerse your senses and transport to the Baroque era.
Friday May 22
Wake up and sip a cappuccino in preparation for a day of meandering amidst the ruins of Pompeii. We will depart our hotel at 7:30 am for the train to Naples, followed by what’s sure to be an adventure on a local train out to the ancient, well preserved city of Pompeii. We will spend the day unlocking the secrets of the ruins left from ancient homes, fast-food stalls and even brothels! Find your connection with the residents of ages past as you walk in the streets where chariot wheels once carved thru the stones. After reveling in the history of this ancient port city we will head back to Napoli to have a taste of pizza from the gods. This could most definitely be an enlightening experience for you! We will return to the Eternal City around 9 pm.
Daily walking total: 6 miles, city streets, through the train station, ancient (i.e. uneven) roads
Saturday May 23
This will be an awe inspiring day as our agenda as we visit one of the world’s smallest independent nation-states: Vatican City. Our tour will lead us through the magnificent gardens and staggering collection of the Vatican Museum towards the Sistine Chapel and ending with the ineffable St. Peter’s Basilica. A climb to the top of St. Peter’s Dome is optional but recommended for spectacular views of the city!
Daily walking total: 8 miles, city streets, museum, the optional stairs to the top of the dome are arduous but utterly worthwhile!
Sunday May 24
The is an option is to attend Mass at the Vatican for which an 8 am arrival time is recommended, but Mass itself begins at 10:30, so be prepared to wait if you wish to have a view of the Pope. Since the Vatican officials are not particularly forthcoming with the Pope’s schedule, we will keep you updated on whether he will be in town, if that affects your decision to get up early! This option is free.
Today we will explore the outskirts of Rome as we head out via bus to the Via Appia Antica which translates as the Old Appian Way. Built by the Romans to more quickly transport troops, the oldest section (which we will visit) was begun in 312 BC. Ultimately the Via Appia Antica stretched from Rome to the far southeastern port city of Brindisi, a distance of 350 miles. We will take in the immense history with every step along the perfectly cobblestoned path. Despite it’s outward beauty, this ancient road has a dark past that we will delve into. Along the way we will climb into the eerie depths of the Catacombs of San Callisto in which we will traverse the dark tunnels following the symbols to see where 500,000 Christians were buried.
Daily walking total: 7 miles, city streets, ancient (uneven) roads, catacombs
Monday May 25
Our last full day in Rome is yours to find a place to contemplate what you have experienced, what you have encountered, how you have been impacted and changed by this experience. Of course, one should never miss the opportunity to satiate the senses one last time with the incomparable Italian food, espresso and wine . . .
Our final experience will be a an evening visit to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin into the splashing waters to ensure our future return to the Eternal City . . . which means that you will eventually have to die here if you toss in a coin every time you visit. And that’s not a bad way to end one’s time on Earth!
Daily walking total: very much depends upon your chosen activities
Tuesday May 26
Our last sunrise in Rome and we will need to be up early for a quick cappuccino before boarding our bus to the airport.
Pricing: $3700 which includes airfare, accommodations, all tours, taxes and admissions fees (except where noted as optional), tour guide tips, train and bus travel within Italy. Please note that this amount is subject to change, though not drastically, until you make your deposit.
Payment Plan: You may pay for the trip either in one payment or you may pay in installments beginning with a $500/person nonrefundable deposit upon your decision to travel with us. If you would like to avail yourself of an installment plan, please send us an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide that information to you.
Methods of Payment: We accept cash, check, and credit cards, PayPal, Venmo or Apple Cash, though cash or check are preferred. The $500 deposit may be made online on our website at www.educatedwanderer.com. They may also be mailed or hand-delivered to our office at 707 N. 4th Street, #106, Allentown, PA 18102. Please contact us with any questions regarding your payment at 610.285.1775.