Group ID: 237604
I have worked for ACIS since the mid-90s in just about every European country - especially France, Spain and Italy. While I continue to relish the travelling and the amazing array of culture and arts throughout Europe I have also now qualified as a professional "blue-badge" London guide in my home city. I am somewhat passionate about travel and off-season could find me anywhere from Minnesota to Mandalay. I have also worked in finance, as an English teacher and in magazine editing.
|Total Group Fees 1:
1 Valid through 12/1/18 with deposit of $495
Additional Fees (as applicable)
|Single Room Supplement:||$570|
|Double Room Supplement:||$270|
|Ultimate Protection Plan:||$240|
|Comprehensive Protection Plan:||$200|
Full Payment Deadline: 12/1/18
Carnevale, a festival that lasts ten days prior to Ash Wednesday, is marked by wild festivities and beautiful, traditional masks and costumes. Even if you’re not around to take part in the winter fun, a handcrafted, Venetian mask (which can be bought year round) can make a wonderful souvenir. Spend time looking through the shops learning about the various styles of masks and costumes, each with its own name and history, and pick your favorite!
Florence is a great place to shop for fine leather goods, jewelry, and clothing. Ponte Vecchio is where some of the best deals on gold can be found. Other nice shopping locations are Via Tornabuoni for high quality (and high fashion) leather goods, Via della Vigna Nuova, around the Duomo, the Flea Market near Santa Croce and San Lorenzo, where the open-air market is popular with visitors.
Campo de' Fiori
This piazza becomes one of Rome's liveliest outdoor food markets in the mornings. After dark however, crowds spill out of the restaurants into the square. The statue in the center is of Giordano Bruno; it’s up to you to find out why he became famous.
Borghetto Flaminio, Piazza della Marina 32
Open only on Sundays, this partly covered flea market has plenty of knick-knacks, antiques, and designer clothing. Travelers have the opportunity to rummage amongst the goods with Rome's upper class and international celebrities.
Archeoart, Via del Teatro Marcelo 12
Across the road from the Campidoglio is this workshop that sells incredible archeological reproductions of artifacts. Here you can find items from all eras of Roman history, from 10,000 BC to the times of the Roman Empire.
Chocolate & Praline Cioccolateria, Vicolo della Torretta 18
This shop has a charming interior with elegantly painted walls, but the sweetest thing is of course the chocolates. With traditional recipies and natural ingredients, this shop is an excellent place to stop for a treat after a long day of shopping.
Galleria dell'Accademia, Vaporetto: Accademia
Perhaps the greatest introduction to Venetian art in the world with paintings By Titian, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, and many others spanning five centuries of works, from medieval times to the present. The museum is housed in a former convent and Church of St. Mary of Charity. Carpaccio's Cycle of St. Ursula, and Giorgione's visually curious, The Tempest, are all on display here. Open daily.
Ca' d'Oro, Cannaregio 3933
The “Golden House,” one of the many buildings that capture your attention as you move down the Grand Canal, is so named for the gold-leaf that originally adorned its canal-side façade. Having gone through countless restorations (the most recent of which is still in progress), the palazzo currently houses the Franchetti collection, which includes Mantegna's St. Sebastian and other art and sculpture. Open daily.
Ca' Rezzonico, Vaporetto: Ca' Rezzonico
Built between 1667 and 1758, this amazing palace, one of few open to the public, retains all of its Baroque splendor. Its rooms, filled with paintings, frescoes and period furniture, now contain the museum of eighteenth century Venice. The ballroom, designed by Giorgio Massari, is a work of art! Open daily. Closed Friday.
Uffizi Gallery, Piazzale degli Uffizi
Allow plenty of time to admire the greatest collection of Florentine Renaissance art in the world. Highlights include paintings by Da Vinci (Adoration of the Magi), Botticelli (Primavera), Raphael (Madonna of the Goldfinch), and Michelangelo (Holy Family), but worth admiring also is the building itself. Inside, frescoes that are artistic enough to match the paintings hanging on the walls adorn the ceilings. Outside, the inner courtyard is filled with sculptures of famous people from Italy’s literary past. Open Tuesday through Sunday.
Bargello, Via del Proconsolo 4
The Bargello houses some of the greatest Renaissance sculptures, including masterworks by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Cellini, wonderfully displayed in what was once a prison in medieval Florence. Upstairs in the lavish General Council Hall, you can admire the panels by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi that were submitted in competition for the assignment to design the Baptistry doors, as well as a youthful David by Donatello. Open daily.
Galleria dell'Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58-60
The Accademia is the place to see one of Michelangelo’s most recognized works—the towering, spectacular, white marble David, which became the symbol of Renaissance Florence. Just like David who took on the giant Goliath and defeated him, Florence saw itself as being capable of taking on any challenge. Also of interest are the Four Slaves; being left in a rough, unfinished state, Michelangelo’s figures seem to be struggling to break free from the stone. Open Tuesday through Sunday.
Castel Sant'Angelo, Lungotevere Castello, 50
Just down Via della Conciliazione from St. Peter's, the massive fortress known as Castel Sant'Angelo, first built by Emperor Hadrian and later used as a papal residence, holds an interesting artillery and arms museum where you can see old battle garb. The papal rooms are ornately decorated, and the views of Rome, especially of St. Peter's, from the top of the castle are breathtaking. Outside, stroll past Bernini’s angels on Ponte Sant’Angelo as you cross the Tiber towards the historic center. Open daily, closed Monday.
The National Museum of Rome
The massive collection of the Museum of Rome is truly unparalleled, for this institution holds some of the most important artifacts of Western History in the world. The collection is contained in three separate facilities: the Baths of Diocletian, which include the Octagonal Hall, the Palazzo Massimo, and the Palazzo Altemps.
The Museums of the Vatican
Within the Vatican there are dozens of museums to be explored. Some of the higlights include: The Egyptian Museum, The Gallery of the Maps, and the Chiaramonti Museum.
Campanile, Piazza San Marco, Vaporetto: San Marco
The 323 foot bell tower, in front of St. Mark’s Cathedral, offers wonderful views of the lagoon and the city. The tower was first built in the twelfth century and stood until 1902, when it mysteriously collapsed. Ten years later the city's efforts to reconstruct the campanile in its original form were completed. It was here that in 1609 Galileo showed his telescope to Venice’s doge. Listen for the five bells that toll each day. Open daily.
Cappelle Medicee, Piazza San Lorenzo
The tomb within these chapels that Michelangelo designed for Cardinal Giulio de Medici, a member of Florence’s most powerful family, houses a magnificent sculpture group by the artist featuring Day and Night on one side, and on the other, Dawn and Dusk. The chapels themselves were constructed in honor of four members of the Medici family. The Cappelle Medicee is located within the San Lorenzo Church complex but has a separate entrance. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Duomo, Piazza Duomo
Brunelleschi’s dome is as awe-inspiring today as when his revolutionary feat of engineering was built in 1420. Brush up on the history of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, and the cupola, its characteristic feature, then see it up close and personal by climbing the stairs to the top of the dome for a 360 degree view of Florence and the countryside. Bring an extra roll of film! Open daily.
Boboli Gardens, Piazza Pitti 1
Located behind Palazzo Pitti across the River Arno, wandering the Boboli Gardens is a relaxing way to spend an hour or two in the afternoon after a morning of visiting museums. Laid out by the Medici family, it offers a panoramic view of Florence and the Tuscan hills, as well as many statues, grottoes and fountains. Open daily.
Spanish Steps & Piazza di Spagna, Metro: Spagna
Spend an afternoon wandering the shopping area around the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti, or watch the local artists paint the surrounding scenes. The church at the top of these magnificent steps is the Trinita' de' Monti.
Originally where Rome's working class congregated, this area has become one of the more fashionable places to live and to visit. Wide, cobble-stoned Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere forms the heart of this vibrant area, where locals and tourists come out in the evening to stroll beneath the facade of the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is also one of Rome's more interesting churches and Piazza Sonnino provides a variety of restaurants to try.
St. Peter’s Square, Metro: Ottaviano
Although your tour manager will take you to St. Peter's Square and Basilica, another visit to ascend the dome's spiraling stairs to the top will afford one of the greatest views of Rome. Be forewarned: the stairs are not for the claustrophobic! Basilica and Dome are open daily.
Another feat by Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon stands in its glory much as it did in the ancient days. This was the largest dome ever until the creation of Brunelleschi's dome at the Florence Cathedral of 1420-36, and it's still the largest masonary dome in the world! Take time to also explore Piazza Minerva around the left side of the Pantheon and the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. This beautiful church boasts Michelangelo's Risen Christ. Pantheon: Open daily. Free admission.
Villa Borghese, Metro: Flaminia
The largest public park in Rome is the perfect place to wander or enjoy a picnic away from the bustle and noise of the city streets. Don't miss the Galleria Borghese, newly restored, filled with famous works and some of Bernini's early sculptures, such as Apollo and Daphne. The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, full of modern European art, is also in this area. Afterwards, exit by Via Veneto walk down one of Rome's most famous streets. Keep your eyes out for the American Embassy, which resides in a beautiful palazzo surrounded by palm trees. Galleria Borghese: Open daily, closed Monday.
Piazza Navona & Campo de' Fiori
The long oval shape of Piazza Navona is due to its original use as Emperor Domitian's race track 1,900 years ago! As the centuries went by, Romans used the bricks that made up the sides of the track to build homes and shops right along the edges, and today it is filled with street artists, famous cafes, and people from around the world enjoying an afternoon espresso or evening gelato. Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers graces the center of the piazza.
Caffè Del Doge, Calle dei Cinque, San Polo
Once a coffee-roasting workshop, it has now become a popular café where one can get a delicious cup of Italian coffee for a euro or two.
Ae Oche, Calle del Tentor, Santa Croce
This growing pizza chain is a popular place for students to hang out. Choose from over 90 different types of pizza, and while you wait, admire the vintage U.S. travel advertisments lining the walls.
Ai Tre Scaini, Calle Michelangelo, Giudecca
Known for being quite chaotic, this trattoria offers large traditional pasta and seafood meals. If you like, you can eat out in the garden too.
Al Vecio Penasa, Calle delle Rasse, Castello
For a wide selection of sandwhices at a reasonable price, this place is great for the tired traveler.
Il Porcospino, Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini 11/12 R
This wine bar and trattoria, situated in the S.Lorenzo neighborhood in front of Cappelle Medicee, is a perfect place to sample delicious and traditional Tuscan cuisine.
Il Gelato Vivoli, 7, via isole delle stinche
One of the most popular and delicious spots for gelato in Florence.
Insalata Ricca, near the Piazza Navona
Meaning "rich salad," this restaurant serves moderately priced, specialized salads, as well as other traditional Italian food. Like many of restaurants in the city, the hours of operation extend later into the afternoon, making a 3 p.m. lunch possible.
Giolitti's, Uffici del Vicario, 40
The oldest gelateria in Rome!
Pastarito Pizzarito, Via Veneto, 13
A refined but informal setting for true lovers of pasta and pizza. What's unique about this restaurant is that you can choose between a classical Italian pizza, or pick your own ingredients. There are numerous locations around Rome, as well as the rest of Italy!
La Pigna (Piazza della Pigna)
A real, family-run trattoria located in a quiet square just behind the Pantheon.
Da Giggetto (Jewish Ghetto)
This restaurant serves typical Jewish Italian food and has been known to have the best fried artichokes in the area. It's recommended that you make reservations early, before it fills up!
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