Slideshow: Rick Steves' Venice, Florence & Rome Tour, Day by Day
Italy's three greatest cities are like fine gelato — why settle for just one flavor if you can get three scoops at once? This tour takes you from Venice's timeless St. Mark's Square and Basilica to Florence's stunning Renaissance art to the Rome's Colosseum, Pantheon, and Vatican Museums, with plenty of neighborhood walks, memorable meals, and full-bodied Italian wines along the way. Here's a colorful preview...
Day 1: Welcome to Venice
We'll meet at 4 p.m. at our Venice hotel, deeply nestled amidst the canals, bridges, and alleyways of this magical, preserved-in-amber city. After introductions, we'll set off on an orientation walk and then enjoy getting acquainted over a traditional Venetian dinner together.
Day 2: Historic Venice
Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour — with a modern Venetian's-eye view — through the backstreets of Venice, ending in St. Mark's square and the shimmering, mosaic-filled Basilica. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. The afternoon and evening are free to explore the imposing Doge's Palace, maybe take in a church concert, waltz on St. Mark's Square, or pub-crawl your way through this unique city.
Day 3: Venice's Accademia Gallery and Lagoon
This morning we'll have our first real brush with the Renaissance — Venetian style — with a tour of the Accademia's treasure trove of great Venetian art, starring Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto…and every shade of color imaginable. Then it's all aboard for a cruise into Venice's lagoon on our private boat. We'll visit your guide's favorite island, where you'll have free time to explore and enjoy lunch on your own. After returning, we'll set you free to discover Venice's other famous sights and find dinner on your own in the tangled maze of alleys and trattorias. Tonight, we'll regroup for a classic, romantic gondola ride through Venice's moonlit canals.
Day 4: Wonders of Renaissance Florence
We'll drive straight to Florence this morning and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. Tonight we'll share a hearty Tuscan dinner together.
Day 5: The Backstreets of Florence
A local scholar will join us this morning as we take a walking tour of the backstreets of Florence, with some fascinating peeks into Roman, medieval, and 19th-century Florentine life along the way. After exploring the highlights of the Bargello Museum, we'll continue our tour across the river, where we'll create today's tasty lunch during a fun and informative cooking class. Your afternoon will be free to see more of the city's museums.
Day 6: The Uffizi and David
This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more. After some free time to make your own Florentine discoveries, we'll gather again this evening at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at the power of Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David.
Day 7: Wine Tasting, Rome at Night
This morning we'll drive into the rolling hills of Umbria, stopping for a wine tasting lunch at a family-run winery. We'll then make a bee-line for Rome, where we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk on our way to tonight's dinner together. We'll end our day as any good Roman would — with a stroll through the historic heart of the city, lacing together the classy Piazza Navona, splashy Trevi Fountain, and the remarkably preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon.
Day 8: The Vatican Museums and St. Peter's
Today we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome. At the sprawling Vatican Museums, we'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. We'll then be introduced to the greatest church in Christendom: the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Your afternoon is free to wander through this immense church and explore more of the Eternal City on your own.
Day 9: Monuments of Ancient Rome
We'll spend our morning uncovering ancient Rome, starting with a tour of multi-layered San Clemente — a 12th-century church sitting atop a fourth-century basilica and a previous Roman temple. Then we'll tour and hear vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and the birthplace of ancient Rome: the Forum. You'll be free this afternoon to wander through the nearby Palatine ruins, visit St. Peter-in-Chains Church (home to Michelangelo's Moses), or climb to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument to enjoy a panoramic city view. Tonight we'll feast together at our farewell dinner, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Salute!
Day 10: Tour Over After Breakfast
Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Rome's airports by taxie or train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well-prepared for the road ahead. Arrivederci!
Learn more about our Best of Venice, Florence & Rome in 10 Days tour!