Extended Itinerary — Days 1-5
Itinerary items in ALL CAPS identify inside visits. Admission is included in tour price.
May 27- (Tues) — Departure for Europe
Board overnight flight from Atlanta to Rome
Day 1 — Wed/May 28: Arrival in Rome, Italy
On arrival in Rome today, you are met by your Cosmos Tour Director for a Group Transfer to the hotel. This afternoon a Local Guide will introduce you to some of the incomparable monuments of this glorious city. Among the sites: the COLOSSEUM, the site of gladiatorial combats, chariot races and early Christian martyrdom; the Arch of Constantine and a walk through the ROMAN FORUM. Also visit the MAMERTINE PRISON. Before dinner, enjoy a short visit to the PANTHEON. Enjoy a special welcome dinner at a ROMAN RESTAURANT.
Day 2 — Thu/May 29: Rome
The full day will be spent exploring Rome with a Local Guide. The morning will be devoted to an in-depth look at the Vatican — the seat of the Papacy and a “city within a city.” Visit the BASILICA OF ST. PETER, designed by some of the most celebrated architects of the Renaissance. Among the various buildings that comprise the Vatican is the SISTINE CHAPEL, where Michelangelo painted his greatest masterpieces — “The Last Judgment” and “The Creation” on the altar wall and the ceiling. In the VATICAN MUSEUMS, you will visit the TAPESTRY GALLERY and the MAPS GALLERY.
This afternoon’s tour will include visits to the CATACOMBS, burial places of the early Christians, and the SCALA SANTA, the steps traditionally believed to have been ascended by Christ during his trial that Luther visited during his trip to Rome. You will also drive by the Circus Maximus and the Appian Way and visit the BASILICA OF ST. PAUL OUTSIDE-THE-WALLS, the site of the tomb of Paul.
Day 3 — Fri/May 30: Rome — Assisi — Florence
A scenic drive today takes you to Assisi where you will visit the BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS. The basilica, consecrated in 1253, consists of two churches surmounting a crypt. In the upper basilica are the noted Giotto frescoes, 28 scenes from the life of St. Francis, and Cimabue’s superb painting of the Crucifixion. The tomb of St. Francis, in the crypt, was not discovered until 1818. Then move on to magnificent Florence and the beginnings of the Renaissance. For about three centuries the great masters, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Machiavelli and Boccaccio (to name a few), created memorable paintings, sculpture, literature and architecture, under the patronage of the Medici family.
Day 4 — Sat/May 31: Florence
A whole day of sightseeing in Florence with a Local Guide includes visits to the GALLERIA DELL’ACADEMIA to view Michelangelo’s incomparable “David” and the CONVENT AND MUSEUM OF ST. MARK, a former Dominican monastery which contains important frescoes by Fra Angelico and the cells of Savonarola, who was prior of St. Mark’s. Visit the interior of the CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE, and see the outside of the Baptistery, the Bell Tower, and Dante’s House.
This afternoon, visit SANTA CROCE CHURCH, burial place of Michelangelo and Galileo. Also seen this afternoon will be Piazza Signoria and Ponte Vecchio, the first bridge built over the Arno. There will be time on your own for shopping or gallery visits. End the afternoon by enjoying a panoramic view of Florence at the Piazzale Michelangelo.
Day 5 — Sun/June 1: Florence — Pisa — Venice Area
Following a Sunday worship service, you will depart Florence this morning and head first to Pisa, situated on the Arno River. Here, with a Local Guide, visit the CATHEDRAL AND BAPTISTRY and take your pictures of the Leaning Tower in the Piazza del Duomo. The “Leaning Tower” was begun in 1174 as a bell tower for the cathedral. Drive across the Apennine Hills and through the plains of the mighty River Po to Venice. Overnight on the mainland near Venice.