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Off the beaten path... Venice is around the corner, over the bridge, another island... Hidden places that most visitors miss. Like secluded vineyards outside Florence or the rare skill of classical art restoration... maze-like medieval streets... learning the secrets of Italian wine pairing... art... music... Explore the new, and see the old, in a whole new light on this decidedly different twist on three of Italy's most popular cities.

Experience an Italy most visitors seldom see, daily life behind the scenes in three of its most beguiling cities... in Venice, find masterpieces in the bohemian backstreets of San Polo... in Florence, get a behind-the-scenes look at Renaissance art restoration, wine and dine at a hilltop fortress that shelters the wine cellars of the Frescobaldi family (vintners since the 14th century), visit the palazzo of a concert pianist in the heart of the city for an intimate evening of music, aperitifs, and an insider's look at local history and politics... and in Rome, tour the Vatican Museums, after hours, including halls and rooms seldom open to the public; and visit Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Pope. Discover Rome, Florence and Venice exploring the new, and seeing the old, in a whole new light.

Highlights:

  • Travel by high-speed train in First Class – Padua to Florence , Florence to Rome
  • A visit to the Pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, for lunch and a guided tour of the palace and gardens
  • A private visit, piano recital and an aperitivo with pianist Gregorio Nardi and his wife Annagret at the Palazzo Bargellini in Florenc
  • Guided tour of the National Museum of Bargello in Florence
  • A private wine tasting dinner at the Frescobaldi vineyards in Chianti Rufina
  • 14 meals, service charges, airport transfers as noted, gratuities to local guides and drivers, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Day 1: Arrive Venice
Tour begins: 3:00 PM, Grand Hotel dei Dogi. A transfer from Marco Polo Airport or the Santa Lucia Train Station brings you to Grand Hotel dei Dogi. Board a boat from your hotel, a canalside palazzo built in the 16th century, and cruise to San Giorgio Island for a visit to its church and tower. From this vantage oint, the views of St. Mark's Square are gorgeous. Join a welcome reception at your hotel and walk to dinner at a local restaurant!
Lodging: Grand Hotel dei Dogi
Meal: Dinner

Day 2: Living like a local and Basilica dei Frari
Enjoy a private talk for the inside scoop on daily life in Venice by an American professor who has lived in the city for more than twenty years. A walking tour takes you to the Canareggio district, through the Jewish Ghetto, to the bohemian San Polo neighborhood for a guided visit to Basilica dei Frari (known locally as the Frari); inside, you’ll see numerous Renaissance masterpieces – especially works by Titian, including his Madonna di ca’ Pesaro, modeled after his wife, who died in childbirth shortly thereafter; his breathtaking, brazenly colored altarpiece, Assumption of the Virgin, unveiled in 1518; and the artist’s own monumental tomb.
Lodging: Grand Hotel dei Dogi
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua
Say good-bye to Venice and drive to Padua for lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a short walk to the Scrovegni Chapel, home of Giotto’s precious early 14th-century frescoes. Considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western art, they tell the story of the lives of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. After your guided visit, take a high-speed train to Florence in First Class seats. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local osteria.
Lodging: Hotel Santa Maria Novella
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Florence’s Bargello Museum & a Chianti castle
On a guided walk this morning, discover the green-and-white marble Renaissance façade of Basilica Santa Maria Novella, just outside your hotel, and stroll up the street to the cathedral, il Duomo. Continue through Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria to the National Museum of Bargello for a guided visit. You’ll discover sculptures and paintings by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Luca della Robbia. Late afternoon takes you to Castello di Nipozzano, a hilltop castle fortress nestled among the vineyards of the Chianti Rufina region, for an exclusive visit to the wine cellars of the Frescobaldi family – vintners whose client-list over the centuries included Michelangelo and Henry VIII. Enjoy an aperitivo followed by dinner paired with Frescobaldi wines.
Lodging: Hotel Santa Maria Novella
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Insider art, politics and music in Firenze
Open to our guests only, Opificio delle Pietre Dure is a prestigious institute specializing in art restoration; during your exclusive visit, a former student provides insights into the work they do here. After a free afternoon, join us at Palazzo Bargellini for a visit with concert pianist Gregorio Nardi and his wife Annagret; they welcome you to their home with a tour of the Renaissance palazzo (once the home of Nardi’s grandfather, a beloved author and former mayor of the city), a piano recital, conversation, and an aperitivo.
Lodging: Hotel Santa Maria Novella
Meal: Breakfast

Day 6: Rome... and the Vatican seldom seen
Travel in First Class aboard a high-speed train to Rome for a two-night stay. A walking tour introduces you to historic Via Giulia and the cobblestoned Trastevere district, along with the market of Campo dei Fiori, a neighborhood of narrow streets, small piazzas, and ancient churches. Have lunch at a local restaurant not far from your hotel. This evening enjoy the experience of a lifetime – Tauck’s special after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums (subject to availability; day of tour may vary). View rooms not often open to the public – the Gallery of Statues and the Cabinet of Masks – all without crowds and with time to linger to take it all in.
Lodging: Hotel Indigo Rome® - St. George
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence
With a local guide, head to Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, for a guided visit to the palace and gardens, where you’ll have lunch. Enjoy free time in the town of Castel Gandolfo. Afterwards (and weather permitting), join us for a reception in your hotel’s garden followed by our farewell dinner on the hotel rooftop, overlooking the “Eternal City” of Rome... you are now an Italy “insider."
Lodging: Hotel Indigo Rome®- St. George
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Journey Home
Tour ends: Rome. A transfer is included from Hotel Indigo Rome®- St. George to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino. You should allow three hours for check-in.
Meal: Breakfast

Contact us for the latest price and availability.

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and vary by date. Airfare is additional.

TOUR CODE: TK

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