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Splendours of Northern Italy, Venice, Florence & Rome

Venice to Rome | 13 Days
Date: Sunday, November 02, 2014Ship: River Countess

Venice to Rome | 13 Days

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Program offerings are subject to change.
Day 1:
Venice (embark) MotorcoachEmbark/Disembark
Arrive at Venice Marco Polo International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship. After you’ve settled into your floating hotel, consider jumping right into Venetian culture with a private boat ride to a nearby arts center where you’ll see the fine arts of glassblowing and lace-making on display. (D)
Day 2:
Venice UNESCOUniworld Exclusive
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Walking discovery of Venice and exclusive special evening opening of St. Mark’s Basilica

Venice, which was founded in the sixth century, controlled all European trade with the East during the Middle Ages. Local guides will lead you through hidden alleys where tourists rarely go to the Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace, which is brimming with artistic treasures. The tour concludes at Rialto Bridge; stay in the city and explore on your own, or return to the ship. Cap off your day with a most memorable experience: an exclusive, crowd-free visit to spectacular St. Mark’s Basilica. In the evening enjoy a Captains Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, WD)

Note: It is not always possible to arrange after-hour visits to St. Mark’s Basilica. If religious functions or festivities are taking place in the evening, we will visit during regular hours.

Day 3:
Venice, Chioggia (Padua), Taglio di Po, Polesella Motorcoach
FEATURED EXCURSION: Half-day excursion to Padua

Enjoy magnificent farewell views of “The Floating City’s” grandest sites as your ship departs Venice for Chioggia. In the afternoon, you will be driven to the Medieval walled city of Padua, one of Italy’s oldest towns and home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Here, many notable scholars sought academic freedom, including Galileo and Copernicus, and two of Italy’s most famous writers, Dante and Petrarch, were students. Join your local guide on a walking tour of Padua through ancient arcades and porticos to Palazzo della Ragione, Padua’s historic city center, and then visit the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. Later in the evening, reboard your ship and sail to Polesella. (BB, L, D)
Day 4:
Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara) UNESCOChoice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachDining Out
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of full-day excursion to Bologna with exclusive pasta-making workshop with lunch or half-day excursion to Ferrara with lunch

Spend the whole day in Bologna, called la grassa, meaning bountiful. Its portico-lined streets are home to the oldest university in Europe. But does it really have the best food in Northern Italy? You be the judge. There’s more to the city than Bolognese sauce, that’s for sure—there’s Parma ham, parmesan cheese, and perhaps the best tortellini in the world, all on lavish display in the amazing food markets. Join a pasta-making workshop and learn how to create your own fabulous pasta. Or spend a half day in Ferrara, one of Italy’s best-kept secrets, where you’ll discover how the city became an artistic hub for the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Petrarch, among others. (BB, L, D)
Day 5:
Polesella, Taglio di Po (Ravenna or Po Delta Area), Chioggia, Venice Choice Is YoursMotorcoachDining OutUNESCO
FEATURED EXCURSION: Choice of full-day excursion to Ravenna OR half-day excursion to Porto Levante with lunch

Ravenna, a vital seaport and Italian capital of the Byzantine Empire, is celebrated for the fifth- and sixth-century mosaics that adorn its churches. You will see the UNESCO-designated Basilica di Sant’Apollinare and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The buildings are sheathed in spectacular mosaics. Spend the afternoon rambling through the lovely historic downtown on your own and enjoy an artisinal foods tasting, or enjoy the morning at leisure onboard your floating hotel as your ship sails from Polesella to Taglio di Po. Today, you’ll visit Porto Levante, which is located south of Venice on the Northern Adriatic Sea. This is the perfect place to relax and unwind as you take in the beauty of the Po Delta Nature Reserve with 2 million trees of 150 different species. Be treated to a delicious seafood lunch. Later in the afternoon, reboard your ship in Chioggia and sail to Venice. (BB, L, D)
Day 6:
Venice (Verona) UNESCOMotorcoach
FEATURED EXCURSION: Full-day excursion to Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare endowed Verona with enduring fame when he wrote of two star-crossed lovers, but Verona has been an important city in Northern Italy for 2,000 years. Though Juliette and her Romeo are Verona’s best-known pair, Verona’s best-known landmark is the pink-marble-sheathed Roman arena, where many of today’s famous composers, musicians, and opera singers still perform. Savor the magic of Verona and get swept away in its romance. (BB, D)

Day 7:
Venice Choice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveInsider
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Venice walking tour or visit a local arts center

See Venice like a local during a walking tour of the Dorsoduro district and the Rialto, the city’s historic core. Visit the markets and indulge in a Venetian aperitivo. Or, if you didn’t join the arts center visit on day one, you can do so today. See master glassblowers and lace makers, arts for which Venice is renowned. During the afternoon, sail through the scenic Venice Lagoon. In the evening enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, FD)
Day 8:
Venice, transfer to Florence Embark/DisembarkMotorcoachMuseumDining Out
FEATURED EXCURSION: Guided visit to the Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s David

Today you travel to Florence; en route, enjoy lunch in the Tuscan countryside. The birthplace of Italy’s national poet, Dante Alighieri, and of the Renaissance, Florence offers innumerable artistic treasures. The city rose to prominence under the Medici family in the 14th century. The Medicis were the greatest patrons of art in Europe, employing Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Titian, and Fra Angelico, many of whose works you’ll see today. (BB, L)

Day 9:
Florence UNESCODining Out
FEATURED EXCURSION: Walking tour of Florence, the Renaissance city

Travel by foot to get a close-up view of some of the city’s most glorious sights: Florence Cathedral, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Piazza della Repubblica. From the banks of the Arno, take in views of Pitti Palace and the Ponte Vecchio. (BB, D)

Day 10:
Florence, transfer to Rome MotorcoachDining OutWinetasting
FEATURED EXCURSION: Wine tasting and lunch at Castello di Verrazzano wine estate in Chianti

Travel via motor coach through the breathtaking Tuscan countryside to Rome. Stop en route for a homemade lunch and wine tasting at Castello di Verrazzano, a gorgeous estate in Chianti country. (BB, L)

Day 11:
Rome UNESCOChoice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachDining OutInsider
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of guided tour of imperial Rome with Coliseum visit or exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour through the heart of Rome

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Rome in European history, a historical fact you’ll discover on today’s tour which includes: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Arch of Titus, the Villa Borghese, and the Coliseum. Or “Do as the Locals Do” and walk the heart of Rome, seeing the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and the Trevi Fountain. (BB, D)
Day 12:
Rome UNESCOMotorcoachMuseumDining Out
FEATURED EXCURSION: Guided tour of Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel

Spend the morning on a tour of the Vatican museums, ending at the Sistine Chapel, with its spectacular ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo. (BB, L)
Day 13:
Transfer to Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your flight home. (CB/BB)
Note: Order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary.  Substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water levels or other uncontrollable factors.