Day 1: US > Rome
Depart from our US gateway airport bound for Rome.
You must arrive at the airport no later than 3 hours prior to departure time.
*All airfare is based on departure from New York City or neighboring airports*
Day 2: Rome
Arrive in Rome, transfer to our accommodations. If you are arriving separately you will meet either Creed or Laura at the airport. lunch in the local area and then check-in at 2 pm.
After getting settled, 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. 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 90 minutes) you are on your own for dinner in one of the wonderful restaurants in the historic Campo d’Fiore, approximately a 5-10 minute walk from our hotel.
Day 3: Rome
Our first day in the Eternal City will immerse us in the height of Empire with a visit to the Flavian Amphitheater, more colloquially known as the Coliseum, which could seat sixty thousand and yet could be emptied in seven minutes. We will then visit one of the Seven Hills of Rome, the Palatine Hill where the wealthy and the nobility resided. Thereafter we will descend into the most famous of public spaces, the Foro Romano. The ruins require significant imagination to envisage the riot of markets, temples, business and politics that occurred daily in Ancient Rome. We will then visit another famous marketplace, Trajan’s Market and the attached baths where Romans met daily to bathe and conduct business. Finally, we will visit the Circus Maximus where 300,000 spectators wildly cheered horse and chariot races under the auspices (and watchful eye) of the Emperor.
Option: Try an Italian cooking class where you will learn to make two different types of pasta then cook them while sampling wine and appetizers with a local chef, and conversing with new, or perhaps old friends. If you dream of being a master in your own kitchen, this is a great way to start or to extend your culinary skills! Please note this course is limited to 12 people so first come, first served. . . literally. ($100)
Day 4: Rome > Florence
This morning we will depart our hotel for 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 the hotel 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 for a tour of the astounding art in the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria della’Academia which is home to Michelangelo’s David. We will then climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome for a spectacular view of Florence – a city largely unchanged since the Renaissance. Thereafter we will check into our hotel. The rest of the evening will be yours to head up to the rooftop bar at our hotel overlooking the city before heading out for dinner.
Day 5: Florence > Cinque Terre > Florence
Today we will head to Cinque Terre, a Unesco World Heritage site. Cinque Terre consists of five charming little villages perched on cliffs about the Mediterranean Sea featuring stunning views, intriguing shops and friendly people. We will hike between Vernazza and Monterosso, a hike which could take about 2 hours if you choose to stop along the way to experience the downright incredible views of the sea and the coast. You may hike among all 5 villages in a single day (about 6 total miles) if you’d like to, or you may choose to take a train ride among the towns, spend time in any of them that you wish, or enjoy the beach.
Day 6: Florence
Rise and shine with Florence today! You will board a bus that will whisk you away to the Tuscan countryside. It is here that we will visit a local vineyard where a wine sommelier will describe their wine and olive oil-making process, as well as chronicle a brief history of the culture in the Chianti region. Our tour will include a delicious meal of pasta, charcuterie, cheeses, olives, bread —essentially anything you can think of— and of course a tasting of the wine and olive oil fresh from the vineyard.
Day 7: Florence > Rome
We will depart our Florentine hotel this morning returning to Rome, where we will explore its outskirts 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. Along the way we will visit the Catacombs of San Callisto to explore this early Christian burial site.
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.
Day 8: Rome > Pompeii > Naples > Rome
Wake up and sip a cappuccino in preparation for a day of walking amidst the ruins of Pompeii caused by the cataclysmic Mount Vesuvius. After visiting the homes, fast-food stalls and brothels of this ancient port city, we will head back to Napoli to dine on the best pizza you will ever have for the rest of your life on Earth. The pizza is unrivaled and, if you are a pizza-lover, will forever after be haunted by its delicious memory. We will return to Rome around that evening.
Day 9: Rome
Today we will explore only a handful of the more than 900 cathedrals Rome has to offer. Our selections represent an eclectic and educational set of (mostly Renaissance) art and architecture. We have selected two for the stunning relics and metaphysical messages.
Churches – selected as educational examples of architecture, art and/or relics.
1. Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi
2. Chiesa di Sant’Agostino
3. Chiesa del Gesu
5. Santa Croce en Gerusalemme
6. Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione 3-6pm
Well-traveled, creative thinkers require time to meditate on their experiences which have been newly seasoned by the phenomenal history of Italian culture. There is no better way to philosophize about those experiences than with new friends, exquisite food, and purely seraphic wine. We would like to facilitate this meeting of the minds by treating all Educated Wanderers to a truly beautiful evening for dinner, and a surprise…
Day 10: Rome/Vatican City
There is an option is to attend mass at the Vatican for which an 8am arrival time is recommended, but mass itself begins at 10:30am, 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! Mass at the Vatican is free.
The center of the Catholic world is on 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 for spectacular views of the city! Our last stop will be a visit to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin into the splashing waters to ensure our future return to the Eternal City.
Day 11: Rome > US
Our last sunrise in Rome and we will need to be up early for a quick cappuccino before boarding our shuttle bus to the airport.