Fly into Marco Polo International Airport and get your first glimpse of the floating city from a water taxi which will take you to your hotel. Then head to the Piazza San Marco, the vibrant main square, which is a perfect spot to see some of the most famous landmarks in Venice. The Campanile (bell tower) and the Torre dell'Orologio (clock tower) overlook the square, while tourists flock to the sculptures and mosaics found in St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. The area around St Mark's Square is teeming with restaurants.
Your first full day in Venice is the perfect time to explore some of the famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon. A boat will take you to Murano, famous for glass blowing and housing Venice’s glass factories. Tour a factory, watch a glass blowing demonstration and admire the distinctive ornaments and jewellery on display.
The picturesque island of Burano is next, with its colourful fishing cottages and boats. You may even catch some of the villagers sitting in the sun making some of Burano’s famous lace. Last stop is Torcello, an island with few inhabitants and a magnificent cathedral, the Basilica dei Santa Maria Assunta, in which you’ll find some impressive mosaics.
Combine history and modern art on day 3, with a trip down the Grand Canal to the Teatro la Fenice (the opera house), then onto the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and its unrivalled collection of modern art. The magnificence of the Gothic architecture of Venice is best admired from the water - and there’s no better way to travel than by gondola. See the city's most famous bridge, the Rialto, and its nearby market.
Day 4 of your Venice, Florence and Rome holiday sees you boarding the train to Florence. The journey takes two to three hours, so leave early and spend the afternoon unwrapping beautiful Florence. The main square, Piazza della Signoria, is the best place to start your exploration of this Renaissance city. Here, you'll admire the statues sculpted by famous Florentine artists, in particular the Neptune Fountain designed by Ammannati. On the outskirts of the square is the Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall), and the Uffizi Gallery, which contains the most important Renaissance art collection in the world.
Make sure you pack your walking shoes for the journey up to Piazzale Michelangelo in the Oltrarno district where you can take the best pictures of Florence and its landscape. While you're there, visit the Iris Garden right next door, which has 200 different varieties of fragrant irises.
Cross the river back into Florence and head for Il Duomo, Florence's cathedral. If you're feeling fit, take a walk up its 463 steps to the top of its magnificent dome. It also has 44 stained glass windows, and many important sculptures and paintings on show. Finish your day getting up close with Michelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery. The place is filled with Renaissance paintings and sculptures by famous Italian artists like Botticelli and Giambologna.
Take advantage of Florence being a mere hour and a half away from Chianti and book yourself onto a wine tour. Watch the vineyards roll by as you travel through the scenic countryside before touring a farm and its wine cellars. Enjoy inhaling the rich aromas and rolling sips of Chianti Classico, Riserva and Tuscan IGT around your mouth during the tasting session.
Next, it's onto nearby Greve, where you can stroll around this picture perfect town and buy locally cured meats and wine. The tour continues with more tastings at another winery before travelling back to Florence.
It's time to depart for Rome, the most popular tourist destination in Italy. It will only take you an hour and a half to travel from Florence to the Eternal City, and once you're checked into your hotel, make your way to the Santa Maria della Vittoria, a beautiful church famous for its appearance in Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, and its stunning baroque architecture.
From here, walk to the Borghese Gallery and view the world renowned art collection, featuring pieces by Caravaggio, Bernini and Raphael. Make sure to book in advance as the gallery has limited access. The nearby restaurants serve traditional Italian food, allowing you to try an authentic Spaghetti al Carbonara, a favourite dish in Roman cuisine.
Rome’s most famous historical sites are on the agenda today. First, the biggest amphitheatre in the world, the Colosseum, where the ancient Romans watched sports and gladiators fighting to the death. Make your way to the Trevi Fountain and throw coins at the feet of Neptune, before visiting the Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna, an area of Rome said to inspire creatives, including Byron. Your last stop is the Pantheon, a former temple now used as a church and famous for its giant dome.
When it comes to lunch or dinner, head to Forno Campo de’ Fiori, in Centro Storico, where you can try pizza Bianca. Said to be the best pizza in Rome, instead of a tomato base you can enjoy a creamy white sauce.
On your last full day in Rome, it's time to visit the Vatican City and the iconic Sistine Chapel. The Vatican City is home to the Pope, who holds a Papal Audience in St Peter's Square every Wednesday when he is in Rome.
The dome of St Peter's Basilica is instantly recognisable. Go into the Basilica and climb its 551 stairs for spectacular views of Rome. Once you've caught your breath, it's time to visit the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's famous frescos. There are so many priceless artefacts and paintings on show, taking a guided tour is advisable, so you don't miss anything important.
Once you’re packed ready for your trip home, leave your bags with the concierge in your hotel and make a last minute trip to Piazza Navona. Grab a coffee and a croissant and watch the street performers in the square. Rome Fiumicino Airport is around 45 minutes away, so make sure you leave in plenty of time for your return flight to the UK.
The price is based on 2 adults sharing, travelling in March 2024. Our Italy Experts can personalise all of our Twin and Multi-Centre holidays for a date and destination that suits you. For a bespoke quote, give one of our Personal Travel Planners a call on 01293 765055.