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Classic Italy by Rail

Day 3 – Fairytale Venice, The City of Canals

Day 4 – Florence, Cradle of the Renaissance

This morning you depart Venice and take a high-speed train to Florence. What a great way to travel as you watch picturesque hill towns, lush vineyards and beautiful wineries pass by. Upon arrival, walk in the footsteps of great rulers, artists and philosophers as you explore Florence, the breathtaking capital of the Italian Renaissance, on the included walking tour. The city is steeped in the achievements of great minds who found inspiration here. A visit to the famous Academia Gallery is included where you’ll get an up-close view of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, ‘David’. Undoubtedly the world’s most famous sculpture, the museum also houses five other Michelangelo sculptures the four unfinished Prisoners and St. Matthew and a collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings that were once in the Medici collections. After the tour, enjoy your free time shopping for Italian leather goods, art and crystal as lovely reminders of your journey through Italy. This afternoon, continue on to Montecatini, home for the next three nights. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening. (B, D)

Day 5 – Montecatini and Siena

After breakfast enjoy an included excursion to Siena. This is one of Italy’s most popular destinations, known for its fine cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year in the Piazza del Campo. Your local guide will walk with you through this beautiful Tuscan town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you discover the highlights of the city, including the Duomo of Siena, the 12th-century cathedral that serves as a splendid example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. See the Palazzo Pubblico, once City Hall, now an art museum, showcasing its famous frescoes or climb the “Torre del Mangia”, the tall bell tower overlooking the Piazza del Campo. Siena is also known for its glazed terracotta pottery as well as locally produced wines and olive oil. Be sure to taste the delicious gelato and panforte, a cake made with honey and candied fruits. You’ll have free time for lunch on your own and shopping for local specialities before returning to Montecatini this evening. (B)

Day 6 – Pisa, The Leaning Tower

This morning, depart on an included excursion to Pisa, best known for the bell tower of the cathedral, the “leaning Tower of Pisa”. Your local guide will explain the history of this beautiful town as you walk around the Piazza dei Miracoli and see the architecture and historic walls of this medieval city.

Return to Montecatini for an afternoon at leisure. It’s the perfect time to stroll through the city center or visit a spa with the curative water and healing springs for which the town is famous. (B)

Upon arrival, enjoy a panoramic tour of the city and a guided visit to the Coliseum. Built between 70-80 AD, the Coliseum is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering and remains the largest amphitheater in the world. The tour ends at the hotel. (B)

Day 8 – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

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