Suggested Trip Itinerary
Day 1 : UK - Florence
Once you've checked into your hotel, explore some of the architectural masterpieces of Florence. Start at the Duomo, Florence's famous cathedral. Its dome is the biggest in Italy, and you can climb its 463 steep steps to catch panoramic views across the city. Then, go into the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, which has over 750 works of art, including Michelangelo's last sculpture, Pietà. Next on your tour is the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's oldest bridge, where you can take in views of the line of higgledy-piggledy shops sitting on top of its arches.
In the evening, head to one of the traditional Italian trattorias and order Florence's most famous dish. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a large T-Bone steak smoked over roasted chestnuts, served pink in the middle.
Day 2 : Florence
Spend today on the other side of the Arno River where there are fewer tourists. Begin at the Basilica de Santo Spirito. In contrast with Florence's more ornate churches, the Basilica has a plain exterior, giving it a celestial feel. Inside you can find Michelangelo’s wooden crucifix, and frescos and artwork by Perugino and Andrea Orcagna.
Tour the Palazzo Pitti, and the Boboli Gardens behind it. The Palazzo incorporates a palace, art gallery, museums and the not to be missed Royal Apartments. Hanging in the apartments are priceless pictures by Italian masters like Rubens and Raphael. Wander around the beautiful Boboli Gardens and admire the maze, fountains and the terraces which offer fantastic views over Florence.
Day 3 : Pisa
Spend today visiting the nearby city of Pisa, famous for its architectural marvel – the iconic Leaning Tower. Marvel at the other sights of the Piazza dei Miracoli, candling the Baptistery, before heading into the city’s heart to experience its more authentic side with tree-line avenues and local trattorie.
Day 4 : Florence
Today, visit Florence's magnificent artworks. The Bargello is the oldest public building in the city. Once a prison, it became an art museum in 1859. Now, it is home to world famous sculptures and statues such as Donatello's David and Michelangelo's Bacchus. You'll struggle to get around all 45 halls of the Uffizi Gallery, but in it, you'll find some of the most prized paintings of the Renaissance period. The works of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli adorn the walls, and you can see statues of them and other Italian masters outside the gallery itself.
Finally, head towards the Basilica of Santa Croce, the biggest Franciscan church in the world. It has 16 chapels and contains memorials to many prominent Florentines, including Dante and Machiavelli.
Day 5 : Florence - Venice
Time to board a train and depart for romantic Venice. It's fitting you will travel to your hotel in the floating city by water taxi, and why stop there? Once you've checked in, spend some time seeing some of the 400 bridges on a gondola ride. As you cruise along narrow canals, your gondolier will regale you with the history of Venice and its 118 islands. If you're feeling hungry, get some Cicchetti, the Italian equivalent of Tapas, in a bar along the Grand Canal. Sip on a glass of local merlot while nibbling on crostini topped with tuna or pork, or a Polpette al Carne (crispy meatballs).
Day 6 : Venice
Spend the day visiting Venice's top attractions, starting with St Mark's Square, the city's largest piazza. Around the square, you'll find cafés, shops and Venice's most important historical buildings. The Basilica San Marco is one of the most spectacular cathedrals in Italy, with glittering mosaics inside its five domes. The cathedral is full of famous artwork and relics, and a golden jeweled altarpiece. When you get outside again, look up and admire the Campanile di San Marco, the cathedral's impressive bell tower, and the Torre dell'Orologio (the clock tower). Enter the Doge's Palace and lose yourself in the opulent rooms lined with priceless Venetian art.
End your visit sipping a Bellini outside one of the square’s fashionable cafés.
Day 7 : Venice
Your last full day in Venice includes a tour of some of the city's famous islands, starting with Murano. Famous for its glassware and exquisite jewellery, you can visit a factory and see a glass blowing demonstration, then head to the Museo del Vetro, the glass museum, to learn about the history of glass production.
The second island on your itinerary is Burano. Brightly coloured fishermen's cottages line the town's canals, while the world famous Burano lace is handmade by women sitting in the streets. Torcello is your last stop. Venice's first cathedral sits peacefully among small vineyards on this sparsely populated island.
Day 8 : Venice - UK
It’s time to bid a fond farewell to Italy and its unforgettable cities. But before you do why not pop out for breakfast at a local pasticceria (pastry shop)? Enjoy a Bignè al Cioccolato (Choux pastry with chocolate cream) and a cappuccino before departing on your private water taxi (approx. 20 minutes) for Marco Polo Airport and your flight home.