Join us for wonderful, custom planned programs in Venice and Florence before and after boarding our Best of Croatia cruise on June 17-24, 2022. We will stay in deluxe hotels, hand-picked for their quality and character.
We offer two programs, one before the cruise in Venice, and another after the cruise, from Venice to Florence. We will begin June 14 in Venice, where we will begin with a Welcome Dinner. We will have three nights in a beautiful canal-front hotel and explore the city and surroundings, including a visit to t the Prosecco wine region, and visits to a vineyard.
After the cruise, we will leave the ship in Venice and make our way to Florence, known as the cradle of Italian art, science and culture. On the way we will visit the birthplace of Balsamic Vinegar in Modena. After a tour or a production facility, tastings and lunch, we will continue to a charming Tuscan villa high above Florence. The next morning, we will tour the Chianti region of Tuscany, with some tastings and lunch, before continuing to our 5-Star hotel in the center of the city. We will spend two nights in Florence, with guided tours to some of the highlights, before returning home – or staying longer!
- All accommodations, meals, and excursion as described in the program
- Gratuities to included restaurants, guides and drivers
- Meals as indicated
- Meals and beverages other than those specified above
- Optional excursions
- Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, Internet, etc.)
- Travel Insurance
Day 1 - June 14
PRE-TOUR: ARRIVE VENICE
Transfer by private water taxi to your luxury hotel. Venice is located in the middle of the Venetian Lagoon and it is crossed by about 150 channels, which make it one of the most romantic and evocative places in the world. The city’s architecture is also a unique mixture of Gothic and Byzantine styles; the magnificent palaces and churches of the Serenissima overlooking the Canal Grande still reflect the former power of the maritime empire, represented by the imposing complex of Saint Mark’s square, with the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge and of course the Basilica, formerly the private church of the Doge’s family. Tonight, we will all gather for a Welcome Dinner.
We recommend arriving at least one day earlier if you are arriving from the States in order to avoid complications associated with air travel delays, and to acclimate to the time zone a bit.
Day 2 - June 15
ST. MARK'S AND VENICE HIGHLIGHTS WALKING TOUR
Enjoy a private tour that will introduce you to the main sites of Venice with priority entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica, the original chapel of the Doge.
St. Mark’s Basilica will astound you with the richness of the gold floor mosaics, the statues and the altarpiece Pala d’Oro made by Byzantine craftsmen, an outstanding artifact of St. Mark’s treasure. Piazza San Marco was the very heart of the city and your guide will give you a vivid portrait of the Doge’s times through the main buildings of the square: the Doge’s Palace, the Clock Tower built in the 15th century and the elegant arcades that host Caffè shops and restaurants.
Proceeding to Castello district you will pass through intricate alleys admiring the Santa Maria Formosa Church in one of the biggest squares of the city, the house of Marco Polo, the great traveler of the 13th century author of Il Milione, the Campo of St. John and Paul with the medieval Basilica, considered the Pantheon of Venice due to the twenty-five Doges buried in the church.
Finally, you will reach the Rialto Bridge, another landmark in the commercial and financial district of the city, from which you will enjoy a preferential view of Venice and the Grand Canal.
Remainder of day is free to explore on your own.
- Private official guide
- Skip-the-line tickets to St. Mark’s basilica
- Lunch at local restaurant
Day 3 - June 16
PROSECCO TOUR FROM VENICE WITH WINE TASTING
Enjoy a day out of Venice discovering the Prosecco wine region, in Treviso area. Prosecco is the region in northern Italy where the delicious sparking Italian wine, perfect for aperitif with appetizers! During the tour you will stop by a local winery, where you will discover the secrets of the production of Prosecco DOCG, followed by the tasting.
Enjoy lunch at a local Trattoria with a traditional menu from the Veneto region cuisine. Afterwards you will be ready for a visit to another vineyard, where an expert will unveil the method of Prosecco making, from grape picking to bottling.
- Transportation with English speaking driver and water-taxi
- Wine cellar tours and wine tastings
- Light Lunch
Day 4 - June 17
TRANSFER TO LE LYRIAL – EMBARKATION
Your morning is free to relax or explore more of this wonderful city. Perhaps a lunch at the Piazza San Marco. This afternoon, we will have a Private transfer from your hotel in Venice to the Venice cruise terminal. Board Le Lyrial.
Included: Private transportation with water taxi
(2 pieces of luggage per person included and allowed on the boat). Private assistant at your disposal.
Day 1 - June 24
POST TOUR: DISEMBARK IN VENICE – TOUR TO MODENA, AND TUSCAN VILLA
Depart Venice for Modena, the capital of Balsamic Vinegar production, to enjoy a delicious treat for your palate. You will stop at a local farmhouse to learn the secrets of the so-called “Black Gold” of the area: Balsamic Vinegar. This ancient condiment has been produced here since the 18th century thanks to the special climate of this region that enables grapes to ferment in the best conditions. Crown your visit to the local cellar with the tasting of this gastronomic excellence accompanied by Parmesan Cheese and a traditional Modena lunch.
After lunch continue the drive to your beautiful Tuscan villa in Fiesole, with a grand view of Florence below. After settling in join your friends for a delicious dinner before retiring for the night. Fiesole’s ancient walls, more than 2000 meters long, were raised around the 4th -3rd centuries B.C. It was an important defensive bastion against the incursions of the Gauls and of other populations coming from the north of Italy.
Since the Renaissance, Fiesole started to be renowned as a holiday place for aristocratic and wealthy families. At that time, illustrious Florentine personalities such as Lorenzo the Magnificent, Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni Boccaccio and Poliziano attended this place.
Day 2 - June 25
TUSCANY, CHIANTI WINE REGION, AND FLORENCE
After breakfast, discover the Chianti countryside of Tuscany. The Chianti area is famous all over the world for the prize-winning wines and the astonishing villages preserved over the centuries. Visit a local vineyard, where you will enjoy the wine cellar visit and a taste of the inimitable wines, together with cheeses and other products of the local cuisine, surrounded by the unparalleled beauty of the Tuscany countryside!
After a light lunch, proceed to the heart of Florence and your elegant 5-Star hotel.
Settle in after a memorable day in Tuscany, a land of boundless beauty with hundreds of years of art and history to discover.
Day 3 - June 26
FLORENCE HIGHLIGHTS AND UFFIZI GALLERY
The influence of the Renaissance culture is everywhere in Florence and your private guide will introduce you to the main sites of the city and the Uffizi Gallery masterpieces. You will see the Florence Cathedral, one of the landmarks of the city crowned by the giant Brunellschi’s dome that holds a secret to reveal. The religious center is a few meters away from the political center represented by Piazza della Signoria, where you will admire Palazzo Vecchio and the other symbols of the civic life since Medieval times. Continue to Ponte Vecchio bridge, the oldest bridge of Florence built over the Arno River in the 14th century. In the past it hosted butcher, greengrocer and fishmonger shops, then replaced by goldsmiths, and today jewelry stores.
With more than two thousand artworks, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most complete art collections of Italian artists, such as Botticelli, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Canaletto, Michelangelo and many others. Your guide will help you discover the main pieces of this impressive museum and you will also enjoy a breathtaking view if the city and the Arno River from the rooftop terrace.
Tonight is our Farewell Dinner!
Day 4 - June 27
TRANSFER TO AIRPORT - OR STAY LONGER!
Sadly, today marks the end of our arrangements – but it doesn’t mean you have to leave! There is still so much more to see and explore in this incredible Renaissance city. We are happy to arrange longer stays, and any other arrangements you would like – guided museum or architectural tours, cooking classes where you get to eat your creations, or explorations to nearby site such as Pisa, Siena, Livorno or Cinque Terre.
We are choosing boutique 5-Star hotels that exude the style and culture of Florence and Venice.