Treasures of Italy: A Family Adventure

Grab your family for a fun-filled journey to Florence and Rome! Attend a session of gladiator school, make gelato and stay at a 12th-century Tuscan villa. For families with children ages 8 and older

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 The legendary Roman Colosseum  The Roman Forum  St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City  Interior of St. Peter's Basilica with Bernini's Baldocchio  Michelangelo's ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel  Florence with its iconic Duomo  Michelangelo's <i>David</i>, the centerpiece of the Accademia. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Girls enjoying gelato in Florence   Traditional foods of Italy  Freshly made pasta  The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers  The Etruscan town of Orvieto, sitting high above the Umbrian plain  The Campo, or main square, in Siena

Bring your family to Florence and Rome and go off
the beaten path to smaller towns along the way! Walk through a medieval hill town, stay at a 12th-century Tuscan villa, and see masterpieces of art and architecture. Plus, attend a session of gladiator school, make gelato and toss a pizza, and learn some Italian! For families with children 8 and older.


Days 1 & 2 — Depart U.S. / Arrive in Rome

Welcome to Italia! Arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and meet your Italian Tour Manager and transfer to your city center hotel.  To help you with your time in Italy, enjoy a one hour language lesson and a festive welcome dinner with music. Enjoy an Illuminated guided Tour of Rome.  Overnight in Rome. (D)

Day 3 — Rome

Devote the day to exposing your children or grandchildren to the sites and stories of ancient Rome. Begin at the iconic Colosseum, where your guide describes the dramatic history of the amphitheater, home to gladiators, mock sea-battles, and executions. Then walk along the “Sacred Way” through the Roman Forum, the epicenter of public life, where renowned orators gave speeches, festivals welcomed armies returning from war, and citizens visited marketplaces and public baths. Finally, on the Palatine Hill (the most famous of the Seven Hills of Rome), admire the panoramic view of the Roman Forum and Nero’s Circus Maximus, where chariot races were once held.

As a fitting finale to the day, attend a session of gladiator school where you’ll learn more about ancient Roman history, discover the secrets of Imperial Rome's gladiator games, and learn some of the hands-on techniques of these ancient warriors. (B) 

Day 4 — Rome (Vatican City) 

Begin your exploration of historic Rome, a World Heritage site, with a guided tour of the Vatican Museums—a treasure trove of ancient Greek sculptures, medieval tapestries, and Renaissance paintings—and the Sistine Chapel, world-renowned for Michelangelo’s ceiling frescos and “The Last Judgment.” Your tour of Vatican City concludes at St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in Christendom, where your guide provides insight into its many treasures, including Michelangelo’s Pieta (sculpted when the artist was just 24 years old), and Bernini’s seven-story bronze canopy located above the main altar.

Finish the day by learning how to make gelato! Your chef will explain why gelato remains Italy's favorite dessert and gives insight into the “gelato culture” as well as principles for making this delicious dessert. Following your gelato-making demonstration, enjoy tasting some of the traditional flavors! (B)

Day 5 — Tuscany

Depart Rome for Tuscany , stopping in Orvieto en route. Most people know Orvieto for its dramatic hilltop setting with sheer cliffs, which protected its citizens throughout many eras. The cathedral is also renowned for its iconic façade and impressive frescos within, which you will see during your visit. You’ll also go off the beaten path to explore another ancient system of protection—a well-developed labyrinth of passageways, rooms, and cisterns dug deep into the hill’s volcanic rock. As you explore this amazing site, your guide will tell you about the many archeological finds and the system of escape for the noble families. Continue to Tuscany and arrive at your villa.  Relax over dinner at the villa. (B,D) 

Day 6 — Florence

Florence is a historic jewel and World Heritage site—where the Renaissance spirit and genius flourished and famous figures such as Dante, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo walked the cobblestone streets. During a morning walking tour, learn about its history as you view many of its main piazzas, streets, churches, and palaces. Your local guide provides additional insight as you visit the Duomo and its Campanile and Baptistry, the Church of Santa Croce with the tomb of Michelangelo, and the Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s famous David.

In the afternoon, enjoy some independent family time to explore Florence. You may wish to visit the small, but exceptional Bargello Museum, the science museum with Galileo’s instruments, or the larger, world-renowned Uffizi Gallery. Or you may just want to discover the small treasures of the city, including the gelato shops! Return to your villa in the afternoon to enjoy a pizza making lesson and dinner (prepared during the lesson). (B,D) 

Day 7 — Modena  

Today enjoy a trip to Modena to explore the world of Italy’s famous car, the Ferrari. Visit the brand-new museum dedicated to Enzo Ferrari, built around the house where he was born, which features unique exhibitions on the father of the Italian sportscar. Then travel to nearby Maranello for more Ferrari excitement as you spend time at the Galleria Ferrari museum, which is also home to the Ferrari factory and test track. Here you can explore the history of the car in a variety of museum exhibitions and enjoy optional activities such as a tour of the factory and driving a Formula 1 car on the Monza race circuit via a simulator. Return to the villa for the evening. (B)

Day 8 — San Gimignano

Today, head out to the Tuscan countryside to explore the magical small town of San Gimignano, another World Heritage site. Adults and children alike will easily imagine life in the Middle Ages, when such fortified hill towns also served as fortresses. During a walking tour, examine the thick protective city walls and view the remaining 13 watchtowers (from the original 76 towers!), which reflect the power and prosperity of the city’s families. Enjoy a light lunch at a local farm before continuing to Siena, where you’ll enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Siena’s glorious scenery and landmarks, including the cathedral and the famed Campo. Return for a Farewell Dinner. (B,D) 

Day 9 — Depart Florence / U.S.   

Transfer to Florence Airport for your flight home or continue on for an optional extension to Venice. (B)