One of the best things about a Globus Escorted vacation is that you don’t have to spend days, hours and weeks planning every detail of your trip. You don’t have to figure out how to navigate a foreign country, what to do and where to go.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot of fun to look ahead at what you’ll be experiencing! When selecting your Italy vacation here are some of the top sites that other guests have said were favorites.
Begin your trip to Italy with the countless canals, palaces and Vivaldi concerts of Venice, then embrace your inner art historian in Florence. After a daytrip to the medieval Tuscan hilltop town of Siena and some wine tasting and fresco viewing in Orvieto, end your trip to Italy with the beautiful Baroque art, fountains and piazzas of Rome.
Consisting of 117 islands connected by 400 bridges that traverse 150 canals, everything from gondolas to palaces seems to float in this fragile watery city. Before sightseeing, meander over the many bridges and along the canals, while getting lost in the labyrinthine magic of this ancient city.
Eventually, you will probably find yourself drawn towards one of the most impressive squares in Venice: Piazza San Marco. The sight of the stunning facade of St. Mark’s Basilica in person will forever remain in your memory.
Another must-see in Venice: Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace), which was the government seat and residence of the doge for over 1,000 years. This pink-and-white marble Gothic-Renaissance structure also houses many great works of art by Venetian masters. In the Great Council Chamber, see the world’s largest oil painting, Il Paradiso by Tintoretto, together with Veronese’s gorgeous Trionfo di Venezia on the ceiling. Here, you’ll also see the infamous Bridge of Sighs, which once connected the palace to its prisons.For cocktail hour, head to another palazzo: Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, and the former doge’s residence. Order the Aperol spritz, a famous Venetian aperitif, at Bar Longhi, which was once frequented by Ernest Hemingway. Grab a seat on the terrace for stellar views of the Grand Canal.
The birthplace of Vivaldi, Venice is the place to hear baroque music. Catch a concert at Chiesa San Vidal or at a variety of other venues such as the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where you can listen to Vivaldi while surrounded by Tintoretto masterpieces. Before heading back to your hotel, hire a private gondola and glide down the moonlit waters of the Grand Canal while being serenaded by a gondolier.
From 7-9 p.m. in the lobby of Hotel Danieli, another former residential palazzo-turned-five-star hotel, you can bask in the splendor of this beautiful palace while listening live piano music. Enjoy a late-night dinner without leaving your hotel at Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, where you can enjoy fresh fish caught from the lagoon while you dine alfresco amid classic views of San Giorgio Maggiore Island and Il Redentore church.
The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is revered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, oozing with art and culture at every turn. Begin your exploration with a visit to the statue-laden Piazza della Signoria. Resembling a museum turned inside out, it features an exceptional collection of classic outdoor statues, including the Fountain of Neptune, Hercules and Cacus and the famous copy of the David, which lords over the square. There is also the outdoor museum, Loggia dei Lanzi, which abounds with more classic statues, including the Rape of Sabine Women, Ercole and Centaur and Perseus with the Head of Medusa, among many others—all a stone’s throw from the Palazzo Vecchio.
Not only does this square house one of the finest collections of outdoor statues, but it is home to one of Europe’s best and oldest art museums—the Uffizi Gallery, where you’ll find works by Giotto, Michelangelo, Botticelli and da Vinci, among countless other artistic geniuses of the Renaissance.After experiencing the delights of the Piazza dell Signoria, if you’re not satisfied with the facsimile of the statue of David, head over to see the original at Galleria dell’Accademia, Europe’s oldest drawing school. From there, it’s an easy walk to Piazza del Duomo, where you can see Florence’s famous cathedral, the Duomo, named for its magnificent dome by Brunelleschi—the largest masonry dome ever built—that dominates the city’s horizon. You’ll also see Giotto’s glorious bell tower and Ghiberti’s bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery, recognized as a crowning achievement of the early Renaissance.
Catch the sunset at one of the most iconic places in Florence—an arched bridge that spans the Arno river that houses leather and jewelry shops and is enlivened by musicians and street performers.
At the end of a full day, be sure to have a drink at Westin Excelsior’s newly reopened glass-encased rooftop bar and enjoy panoramic views of this beautiful city. This 15th-century palace, once home to a noble Florentine family, has views of neighboring Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace as well as of the Tuscan countryside, the Duomo and other notable landmarks.
Known for its shell-shaped Piazza del Campo and famous horse races, this medieval hilltop town is an easy daytrip from Florence. The Il Palio horse race is held twice every summer, on July 2 and August 16. Liberamente Osteria is a great place to relax over an evening aperitivo while taking in the piazza scene.The magnificent inlaid marble floors of Siena’s Duomo are covered most of the year to guard against foot traffic. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there for the unveiling of the floors. Regardless of when you go, be sure to stop in Il Magnifico to sample the region’s sweet panforte, which the Sienese have been making since the 12th century.
This Umbrian medieval hilltop town, dramatically situated atop a butte of volcanic tufa, is famous for its wine, duomo and frescoes, and is an ideal way to break up your trip from Florence to Rome. Ride the funicular up to see the Orvieto Cathedral, which is striped with black-and-white marble. With its facade stretching seven stories high, the duomo is an idiosyncratic masterpiece of Italian architecture. Luca Signorelli’s frescoes depicting the end of the world in the Brizio Chapel are worth the trip alone.
Steep yourself in classic luxury in the heart of Rome while staying at the St. Regis. This grand dame of hotels is within walking distance of most major points of interest.
Baroque art blossomed in Rome during the 17th century, and the whole city is imbued with the drama, ornate detail and exuberance of the period. Witness the birth of Baroque art at Galleria Borghese, a 17-century villa-turned-museum where you will be surrounded by Caravaggio’s oil paintings and Bernini’s exquisite statues. In keeping with the same theme, you will want to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Featured in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” this fountain is said to be able to grant wishes.
Afterward, pay a visit to the Spanish Steps. This iconic grand staircase connects two piazzas—the Piazza della Trinità dei Monti at the top and the Piazza di Spagna at the base, in the center of which sits another Baroque masterpiece: Bernini’s spectacular Fountain of the Old Boat. This square also houses the Keats-Shelley House where English poet John Keats died in 1821.
Even if you’ve already been to the Sistine Chapel, it’s worth revisiting. Michelangelo’s’ multihued frescoed ceiling has been illuminated by recently installed LED lighting, so you will see more details than ever before.
And, of course, no trip to Rome is complete without seeing the magnificent Colosseum. Dating back to the first century AD, the 50,000-seat area once staged gladiatorial games in front of the masses.
A timeless destination, Italy is a perennial favorite for travelers. No matter how many times you return, it’s hard to get enough of these greatest hits.
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