Day 1: US > Rome
Depart from your 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 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.
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 out into the city 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 about 10 am, returning to Rome by about noon and we offer several options today:
- Biking or walking the Borghese Gardens, a contemplative place to enjoy some nature, Roman-style, take up some great views of the city, and perhaps head into the amazing Galleria Borghese which contains a significant quantity of Renaissance masters’ artwork.
- Checking out some of the cathedrals that are in abundance in the city. Creed will lead this tour as we wonder at sculptures and paintings from Renaissance masters some of which are available to get up close and personal with. I also have a few interesting tidbits that I’ll leave for those who go on this tour . . .
- Wander the Trastevere district with Laura to soak up the charming atmosphere of this non-touristy district filled with shops, cafés, restaurants lining squares, the inevitable cathedrals and frequented by university students and musicians.
- The first evening option, one that could be combined with any of the above options: a pasta making class – learn how to make your own delicious and authentic Italian pasta. And drink wine while you do!
- The second evening option, which could also be combined with any of the day time options: Music in Bernini’s Rome with the performance at the Chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone, on the Piazza Navona at 6:30pm. The music varies but it is always amazing and works perfectly with the architectural environment of the cathedral.
Daily walking total varies depending upon chosen activities, but a minimum of 3 miles regardless, unless you completely rely on mechanized transportation.
Day 8: Rome > Pompeii > Naples > Rome
Wake up and sip a cappuccino in preparation for a day of walking amidst the ruins of Pompeii! We will depart our hotel at 7:30 am for the train to Naples, followed by a local train out to the ruined city. There are some places to grab some lunch before we head in to Pompeii. 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 the delicious memory. We will get back to Rome around 9 pm.
Day 9: Rome
The center of the Catholic world is on the agenda today as we visit one of the world’s smallest independent nation-states: Vatican City. Our tour will lead us through magnificent gardens and hallways towards the Sistine Chapel ending with the ineffable St. Peter’s Basilica. Prepare to be humbled and awed. A climb to the top of St. Peter’s Dome is optional but offers spectacular views of the city and is something you really should not miss.
Daily walking total: 5 miles, city streets, museum, the optional stairs to the of the dome are arduous!
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 . . . the how is a surprise . . .
Day 10: Rome/Vatican City
There are two early morning options: the first is a visit to the Porta Portese Market, which is billed as the best flea market in Rome. You will need to be there by 6 am to seize the best deals! The second option is to attend Mass at the Vatican for which an 8 am arrival time is recommended. You will likely see Pope Francis relatively up close, though no guarantees. You can do both if you plan appropriately.
Today we will explore the outskirts of Rome as we head out by 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 pagan, and later Christian, burial site.
This evening, about 11 pm, we will make our last stop: a visit to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin into the splashing waters to ensure our future return to the Eternal City.
Daily walking total: 5 miles, city streets, ancient (uneven) roads, catacombs; higher totals if taking up the optional activities.
Day 11: Rome > US
Our last sunrise in Rome and we will need to be up early for a quick cappuccino before boarding our transportation to the airport.
Pricing: $3400 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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.