Pre-Cruise Tour Program – The Best of Croatia
DATES: 2020 – AUG 22-28 | AUG 25-28
DURATION: 7-DAYS/6-NIGHTS | 4-DAYS/3-NIGHTS
EMBARK: FLORENCE / VENICE
DISEMBARK: VENICE, ITALY
Hosted by Dick and Leslie West
Join us for a wonderful, custom planned program in Florence and Venice before boarding our ship for the Best of Croatia cruise on August 28. We will stay in deluxe hotels, hand-picked for their quality and character.
We offer two programs, which converge in Venice. For those with more time and interest, we will begin August 22 in Florence, known as the cradle of Italian art, science and culture. We will spend three nights in Florence, before taking a First Class, high-speed train to Venice on August 25, where we will join with those who have chosen to begin in the city of canals. We will have three nights in a beautiful canal-front hotel and explore the city and surroundings, including visit to prosecco vineyard.
- All accommodations, meals, and excursion described in 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
Florence is a relatively small city located along the borders of the Arno river, in the middle of the Tuscan hills.
It really deserves the nickname of City of the Renaissance: during that period, when the city was at the height of its powers, talented artists such as Brunelleschi and Michelangelo left their mark with magnificent buildings and artworks, thanks also to the influence and patronage of the powerful Medici family. The city boasts an impressive number of museums and landmarks, such as Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo that hosts the incomparable Giotto’s Bell Tower.
You will be met at the Florence airport and provided a private transfer to your deluxe hotel. Remainder of day is free.
Join us tonight for a Welcome Dinner.
CHIANTI AREA PRIVATE EXCURSION WITH TASTING EXPERIENCE – 7 HOURS
Enjoy a day out of Florence discovering the Chianti countryside with private transport at your complete disposal.
Chianti area is famous all over the world for the prize-winning wines and you will stop at a vineyard in Chianti area, 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.
Your driver will bring you back to the hotel after a memorable day in Tuscany, a land of boundless beauty with hundreds of years of art and history to discover. Evening Free.
- Private transportation with driver and tour leader
- Wine cellar guided tour
- Wine tasting
- Light lunch with local products
COOKING CLASS EXPERIENCE and WALKING TOUR IN FLORENCE
Today you will enjoy a cooking experience in the heart of Florence.
You will learn authentic cooking techniques and have fun with an expert chef at your disposal who will help you with the preparation of a full course menu and pairing each course with the perfect wine.
Will follow the lunch with the dishes you prepared with your own hands, including:
- First course with fresh pasta and sauce
- Main course and side dish
- Water, coffee and wine included
Enjoy a fascinating walking tour through the historical center of Florence with a private guide who will unveil history and art of the City of the Renaissance.
You will start the journey admiring Florence cathedral, one of the landmarks of the city crowned by the giant Brunelleschi’s dome that keeps 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.
Arriving to the famous Leather market of the city don’t forget to rub the boar’s snout of the statue Il Porcellino to ensure your return to Florence! Finally you will step on Ponte Vecchio, the stone covered bridge nowadays renowned for the many jewelers.
Included: Private official guide
Dinner at local restaurant
FLORENCE TO VENICE
Morning free. Private transfer from your hotel in Florence to Florence rail station. High Speed train to Venice (2 Hrs). Transfer by water taxi from Venice rail station to our hotel.
JOIN TOUR 2 GUESTS FOR WELCOME DINNER.
ST. MARK AND VENICE HIGHLIGHTS WALKING TOUR
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.
Enjoy this 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.
Let the St. Mark’s Basilica astonish you for the richness of the gold ground mosaics, the statues and the altarpiece Pala d’Oro made by Byzantine craftsmen, an outstanding artefact 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.
- Private official guide
- Skip-the-line tickets to St. Mark’s basilica
LUNCH AT LOCAL RESTAURANT
Remainder of day is free to explore on your own.
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 is produced 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.
There will be time for a good lunch at a 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 (Mercedes Minivans)
- Wine cellar tours and wine tastings
- Light Lunch
This evening, enjoy our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
TRANSFER TO LE LYRIAL – EMBARKATION
Private transfer from your hotel in Venice to the Venice cruise terminal. Board Le Lyrial.
Included: Private transportation with water taxi
(n.2 luggage per person included and allowed on the boat). Private assistant at disposal
We are choosing boutique hotels that exude the style and culture of Florence and Venice.