Cruise the canals of the fabled city of Venice and roam the fanciful streets of Verona. Revel in the grand St. Mark’s Square and visit its Basilica. Take a Gondola through the 150 canals or ride the local water bus under the famous Rialto Bride. Soak in the romance of the city of Romeo and Juliet's love and visit her balcony, then let yourself be blown away by the striking Roman Arena. Italian architecture and culture are perfectly reflected in these picturesque cities.
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The trip departs Florence from the Santa Maria Novella train station Friday morning. The meeting point is in the International Ticketing Hall opposite tracks 8 and 9. Please meet your guide 20 minutes prior to departure. Travel to Venice is by private luxury coach with A/C, DVD, and toilet. We will make one 30 minute stop. Upon arrival in Venice, we will immediately check into our accommodation.
After checking into the accommodation we will get lunch on the way to the famous Rialto Bridge, one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal of Venice. Right by the Rialto Bridge are the well-known Rialto Markets. These centuries-old markets are busy with local Venetians shopping for fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables.
Exploring the intricate arrangement of canals, buildings, shops, and churches we will eventually make our way to St. Mark’s Square. As the main public square of Venice, Piazza San Marco is home to many important sites. These include the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Piazzetta, and the Campanile (bell tower). A view of the Piazza and the city of Venice from atop the Campanile is breathtaking and highly recommended. Ask your tour leader for more information about the different sites in the square. After taking in the beautiful St. Mark's Square, your guide will take you to an included glass blowing show at one of the glass factories, Vecchia Murano. You will have a chance to purchase hand made glass souvenirs after the show.
At this time you will have some free time to experience the old Venetian tradition of riding in a gondola or strolling through the winding canals of the island. After a relaxing boat ride around the island (hopefully as the sun is setting), you will end right back where you started. If you’re lucky enough, your gondolier will sing to you and your friends!
The night will start when we head to Campo Margherita, Venice’s lively nightspot for local students and Venetians. Your Trip Leader will organize an aperitivo or you will have the choice to dine in one of the many restaurants/pizzerias lining the square. Afterwards, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the Venetian nightlife as Campo Margherita stays alive until as late as 2 AM!
Saturday, you will have plenty of time to spend your day between the islands of Murano and Burano. Your trip leader will organize this island hopping day trip. The island of Murano is known for its glass-making artisans. You will have the opportunity to visit the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum), glass-making factories, or just browse along the many shops lining the canal streets.
After Murano, we will make our way to the picturesque island of Burano for lunch. The island of Burano is known for its colorful houses and lace-making artisans.
We will arrive back in St. Mark’s Square at approximately 16:00*.
The rest of the day and night is yours to see the rest of Venice, get a seafood dinner, or just relax by the canals with some gelato! Ask your Trip Leader for suggestions of things to do in the many different districts on the main island. Some suggestions are listed below.
Sunday morning we will depart Venice and head to the “City of Love,” Verona.
Upon arrival in Verona, your Trip Leader will walk you over to Piazza Bra, a huge piazza right inside the main gate entering the city. The Piazza is home to Verona’s Roman Arena, the third largest in Italy (1st being The Colosseum, 2nd being the arena in Capua). The arena holds over 25,000 spectators and is still used today for festivals, operas, and other theatrical performances.
Verona was made famous by the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. The House of Juliet is a popular attraction, where the real-life Capulet family once lived. You’ll have the opportunity to pose on Juliet’s balcony and take pictures with the statue of Juliet in the courtyard (rubbing the bronze breast of Juliet is supposed to bring luck finding love).
Walking down Corso Porta Borsari is a wonderfully unique mixture of old Roman columns, reliefs, old building facades, and modern-day fancy shops. We will end up in Piazza Erbe, which is Verona’s main market square. The square is a trendy scene full of Verona locals and tourists enjoying a refreshing afternoon spritz with their aperitivo. Your Trip Leader will suggest some options for lunch at this time.
To end the day your Trip Leader will walk you along the Adige River from the Garibaldi Bridge to catch the sunset over the Castel Vecchio.
We will depart Verona for Florence.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Modern Art: Located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, right on the Grand Canal. The museum is home to some important European and American art from the 20th century.
Galleria dell’Accademia: Museum that is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
Lido Beach (Seasonal): Venetian beach that is the site of the world’s oldest film festival, the Biennale International Film Festival.
Teatro La Fenice: Venice’s famous opera house, dating back to 1789.
Campanile: The bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city and is the highest point of the city as well.
Venice Ghost Tour: The ghost walking tour tells several intriguing ghost stories, legends, and facts and takes you off the beaten path to experience the romance and mystery of Venice by night.