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With an exciting history; Roman heroes and gladiators, a natural beauty ranging from snow covered Alps to soaring sea cliffs to rolling, vine covered hills and a culture that’s as rich as the creamiest of cream sauces, Italy is a place that has something for everyone in the family. Its pizza and gelato on every street corner!  In the north is the Italian Riviera, the Alps and one of the world’s most exquisite cities, Venice.  The north central area produces some of the world’s most popular wines. But Tuscany’s rolling green hills dotted with medieval fortress cities is a fantastical place for kids as well.  Central to Italy is the town that started one of the world’s largest empires, Rome! And today it is filled with world history, attractions and activities that will bring that history to life for kids.

More information on Italy with Kids http://www.travelwithkids.tv/destinations/italy/

TWK Italy: Gondoliers to Gladiators
June 15 – 25, 2018
Mama mia…journey through the sights, smells and tastes of incredible Italy! Start with a visit to one of the most unique city’s in the world, Venice. Stay on island, so that you can wander the quieter back alleys once the day tourists depart. Learn the art of Venetian mask making and how to row a gondola. Spend the afternoon in true local style during Cicchetti tasting – sampling local finger foods and wine (juice or Italian sodas for the kids). Next, head to the art capital of Italy, Florence, for a day tour of the famous art pieces, including Michelangelo’s David. After our tour, head south to our base for the next few days, a restored farm house in the hills of Tuscany. From there, we will take day trips to medieval towns like Siena, visit local farms and wineries, go horseback riding, and learn to make pizza the Italian way and more. Next, we head to Rome where a unique tour gives us exclusive access to some of Rome’s most famous spots: floor access at the Coliseum, early entry at the Vatican Museum for a peaceful visit to the Sistine Chapel before the crowds. Plus, learn to fight like a gladiator and more!

Day 1:
Arrive in Venice. Transfer with group to hotel via water taxi basking in the beautiful architecture along the canals in Venice.

In the afternoon, join us for a welcome feast of cicchetti, little snacks the locals devour at sunset, and wine tasting (water or juice for the kids). We will visit three Bacari, local places that serve cicchetti and wine.

Overnight in a palace dating back to the 16 th century. (Cicchetti Tour included)

Day 2:
After breakfast, stroll through the back alleys of Venice to a local art studio where you will learn about Venetian masks – what they were and why they were used – and try your hand at making your own.

In the afternoon, take to the water for some Gondolier Training. Learn about gondolas and their gondoliers and then try your hand steering these long boats down the narrow canals of Venice.

Overnight in a palace dating back to the 16 th century. (B)

Day 3:
After breakfast, transfer by water taxi to meet our luxury bus to Florence, the breathtaking Renaissance capital of Italy. Our private guided tour of the city includes stops at the Duomo, Accademia (home to Michelangelo’s David) and many local workshops and hidden spots.
After the tour, we will depart the city for the quiet, rolling hills of Tuscany where we will stay in a restored 1700s farmhouse. En route to our farmhouse, we will stop for snacks and to taste some of Tuscany’s famous wine.

Overnight restored farmhouse or similar. (B)

Day 4:
After a simple continental breakfast, head to the medieval town of Siena where we will explore with a family scavenger hunt to keep the kids engaged and learning about the history of this magnificent city. Stops include the tomb of St. Catherine and the Piazza del Campo, where the famous Palio (horse race) takes place every year with an option to climb to Torre del Mangia for amazing views over the city.
In the afternoon, we will visit a local organic farm where the kids can meet and pet farm animals while the adults get a taste of the local wine. Then, it’s all hands-on deck for a pizza making class. Learn the secrets to making true Italian pizza and then devour your scrumptious creation!

Overnight restored farmhouse or similar. (B, D)

Day 5:
After a simple continental breakfast, we will head north to Pisa, made famous for its leaning tower. Take a one-hour boat ride on the Arno River and then visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Adults and older kids can climb the tower while younger kids can unlock the secrets of the Baptistry. Next, it’s on to Lucca where we can ride bikes along the Medieval walls, which are over 500 years old and optionally have a picnic along the walls the way the locals do.

Overnight restored farmhouse or similar. (B)

Day 6:
This morning we head out to San Gimignano, the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” to explore its winding, narrow streets and tall towers. Spend a half-day on a guided tour or stroll the streets on your own visiting Medieval attractions and shops. On the way back from San Gimignano, we will make a short stop at another winery…it’s Tuscany after all!

In the afternoon, relax by the pool at the farmhouse, take a stroll through the surrounding countryside, or optionally go horseback riding through the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Overnight restored farmhouse or similar. (B)

Day 7:
Today, we say goodbye to Tuscany and head south to the center of the Roman Empire, Rome! En route, we will stop at Bomarzo Park. Designed in the 16 th century and only re-discovered in the 1950s, this park is filled with statues and art ranging from mythology to fantasy and is great fun for kids of all ages.

After checking in to our hotel, Casa San Giuseppe, a convent that has been converted into a hotel, you can spend time at leisure exploring one of Rome’s best neighborhoods, Trastevere and join us for pizza at one of Rome’s most famous pizzerias!

Overnight at Casa San Giuseppe or similar. (B, D)

Day 8:
After breakfast, we will head to the world famous Roman Colosseum where families will take a scavenger hunt to learn the history of this iconic place. Great news: this tour includes access to the restricted arena floor so kids can retrace the last steps of a gladiator as he entered the arena. Afterwards, we will explore the Roman Forum and learn about the great philosophers of the Roman Empire.

In the afternoon, let those little gladiators loose at Gladiator School. Kids of all ages will enjoy donning gladiator robes and learning the moves on this training course. The final exam: staging a gladiator fight!

Overnight at Casa San Giuseppe or similar. (B)

Day 9:
This morning we get started early for our VIP Tour of the Vatican (we get to enter an hour earlier than the general public!) We will visit the museums and, of course, the famous Sistine Chapel where you can see the Pieta that took Michelangelo 10 years to paint. Then, it’s on to St. Peter’s Basilica, the biggest and, some say, the most beautiful church in the world.

Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring this ancient city, or optionally join a mosaic making class to see how these amazing art pieces seen all over Rome are made.

Overnight at Casa San Giuseppe or similar. (B)

Day 10:
Spend a day at leisure in the Eternal City, going to see monuments you missed, sites from your favorite movies, or more. Or, optionally join a gelato making class!

In the evening, join us for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant…where the locals go!

Overnight at Casa San Giuseppe or similar. (B)

Day 11:
Time to say Ciao! Group transfer to Rome airport for those flying out with the group.

Cicchetti Tour
Eat and drink like the locals in this 2 ½ hour tour of Venetian bacari (local establishments that service Cicchetti). What is Cicchetti? It is the finger foods Venetians indulge in around sunset. This tour will stop in three different bacari where you can taste cicchetti and a glass of wine (or water or juice for the kids).

Mask Making Class
Learn about Venetian masks – what they were and why they were used – and then get instructions on how to make your very own mask. Design, paint and decorate your mask to take home as a souvenir of your visit to this infamous city.

Gondolier Training
Board a gondola and learn about the training it takes to become a gondolier. After a few lessons on how to steer the boat, try your hand at navigating the canals and lagoons of Venice…singing optional.

Half-Day Tour Florence
Explore the Renaissance capital of Italy on a guided tour including stops at the Duomo, the beautiful church of Florence, and Accademia, a small museum that is home to Michelangelo’s David. Stroll back alleys and get off-the- beaten path with your local guide who will take you to local spots and workshops, including a chocolate making shop.

Half-Day Tour Siena
Take a guided tour of this medieval city with stops at Cathedral of Siena, where St. Catherine of Siena is buried, and Piazza del Campo, where the Palio, a famous horse race takes place each year. The whole family will enjoy a scavenger hunt that keeps the kids engaged in learning the rich history of this beautiful town!

Pizza Making Class
Visit a local organic farm where the kids can meet and pet, and possibly even feed, farm animals like rabbits, sheep, chickens and cows. Then, learn the secrets of making what some call the food of the gods, Italian pizza. Cook your creation in a wood-burning oven and then “Mangia!” The class also includes wine tasting for the adults.

Full Day Tour Pisa and Lucca
Take a one-hour boat trip on the Arno River before arriving in Pisa where you will be able to visit the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Adults and older kids can climb the tower while little ones learn the secrets of the Baptistry. Then, we head to nearby Lucca, a medieval city, where we will ride bikes along 500 year old walls and, if desired, enjoy a picnic lunch like the locals.

Half-Day Tour San Gimignano
Take a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous for its beautifully restored towers and narrow streets, this medieval hilltop town retains an atmosphere of centuries gone by. Stroll through its narrow streets learning about its rich and storied history.

Half-Day Tour Colosseum
Visit the iconic Roman Colosseum where gladiators fought for the pleasure of the Roman emperors and crowds. Learn the history of the building and the Roman Empire on a guided tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum where philosophers formed early government. This tour includes access to the restricted Colosseum floor, so kids can walk the steps of the ancient gladiators as they prepared for their show.

Gladiator Training 
After visiting the Colosseum, little gladiators will love to learn the ropes! Visit a local gladiator where guests of all ages will enjoy training like a gladiator. At the end of the afternoon, take your final test as you stage a real gladiator battle!

Half-Day VIP Vatican Tour
Enter the Vatican Museums and hour before they open to the general public on this half-day tour. Avoid the lines and crowds as you enjoy time to reflect on one of the world’s most famous murals, the Pieta by Michelangelo. This work of art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel took him 10 years to paint! Learn about some of the Vatican Museums’ most famous and historically significant pieces before heading to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world.

Optional:
Horseback Riding
Hop on a horse and explore the rolling hills of Tuscany the way the medieval Romans did winding through lush green vineyards and farmlands dotted by small villages and towns.

Mosaic Making Class
If the monumental mosaics and artwork in Rome inspire you, why not try your hand at it? In this mosaic making class you will learn the techniques of mosaic-making and make your own cherished souvenir to remember the Eternal City.

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