Custom Tours to France & Italy: Packages from Paris to Rome
Nestled on the mountainside: A Provence village
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Europe Tour Packages: Paris – Côte d'Azur – Rome

After travelling by rental car through some of the most scenic regions of France, you will switch to the rails for a trip around the Riviera to Milan, then continue on to Venice, Florence and Rome.

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

Paris

Paris

34 km | 47 minutes
A

Paris

Glamorous metropolis

Paris is more than just a city – the name itself is legend. From the late Middle Ages to the nine­teenth century the focus of the entire country was on Paris, the center of western culture and a major influ­ence on western history.

The city's layout and build­ings reflect its cultural and polit­ical signif­icance: the Champ-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame. Paris is also consid­ered by many to be the most beau­tiful city in the world. The museums of the French capital are unpar­al­leled. From the Louvre to the Orsay, from the Centre Pompidou to the Rodin to the Cité des Sciences, each museum offers a unique aesthetic expe­r­i­ence. More­over, names like Faubourg, Saint Honoré and the Avenue Montaigne are remin­ders that Paris is famous for fashion. A shopping excur­sion with a stop for pastries at a picturesque street café is a must in Paris. Whether you prefer the opera, a ballet, clas­sical music, jazz, a night club or a dance revue, the word Paris is synony­mous with night-life. In the surrounding local­i­ties you can expe­r­i­ences aristo­cratic Paris: Versailles, Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Here trav­elers are invited to escape to the glitter of the Louis XIV era.

Accommodation: A small inn near the Louvre

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This enchanting little hotel is situ­ated in the heart of Paris, in the shadow of the Louvre. It is so close to St. Germain l'Auxerrois that you can hear the hymns from the former “King's Church” and see the Gothic windows from your bedroom.

In the cellar there is an old printing press that was used to print illegal leaflets during the French Revo­lu­tion. It is said that the recep­tion area was once the Café Momus (a debating club of the revo­lu­tion­aries) and it was here that Puccini allowed parts of his opera “La Boheme” to be played. Breakfast, true to Parisian custom, is served in your suite. The hotel is air condi­tioned. Sophie Aulnette has managed the hotel for the past 10 years and person­ally attends to her guests' comfort. Tickets to local museums and other attrac­tions can be purchased at a shop near the hotel.

Louvre

From a royal palace to the most visited museum in the world

For centuries, the Louvre served as the palace of the French kings and was the largest construc­tion site in France. Almost every king made changes to it. In the 12th century it was still a proud castle but was expanded over the course of the next two centuries to become a symbolic resi­dence. The four wings around the square court­yard are what remain of the orig­inal palace. When Louis XIV moved his resi­dence to Versailles, the building was left to dete­r­i­o­rate. The Louvre did not become a museum until after the French Revo­lu­tion when the National Assembly decided to use it to collect and exhibit the artistic treasures seized from the nobility. Today, the Louvre receives around ten million visitors every year and is the largest museum in the world. Its collec­tions include over 380,000 pieces, and only about a tenth of them are on display. Its most famous painting is prob­ably the Mona Lisa, which Leon­ardo da Vinci painted around the year 1503.

Quartier Latin

From a student district to a tourist center

The tradi­tional student district in Paris is located near Sorbonne Univer­sity and is known as the Quartier Latin, because Latin had been the language of scho­l­ar­ship for many centuries. Numerous writers lived in the area, including Honoré de Balzac, Gabriel García Márquez and Klaus Mann. During the student riots in 1968, the quarter became the scene of heavy fighting in the streets. Thou­sands of students were arrested and hundreds were seri­ously injured by the police during the “Night of the Barricades.” When the trade unions called for a national strike in support of the students, Pres­i­dent de Gaulle stepped down. Not many students live here today since the rent is unafford­able and they have given way to popular restau­rants and boutiques.

Notre Dame

A French Gothic master­piece

This church for the archbishop of Paris took nearly 200 years to build. Yet when it was completed in 1345, it had become a marvel the likes of which the world had never seen. Although it is one of the earliest Gothic cathedrals, it remained the crowning achieve­ment of Gothic archi­tec­ture. Notre Dame rises over the Seine like a jewel. Its two towers are 69 meters high and its ridge turrets reach 96 meters in height. The nave, which provides room for up to 10,000 people, is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, and 35 meters high. The cathedral was unprece­dented in its day, and this was inten­tional. It was supposed to outshine the Louvre, which was the royal palace. Notre Dame is a testi­mony to the fact that Paris has not only been the center of France, but also the most important city in the Chris­tian West from the Late Middle Ages until the 19th century and has had a deci­sive impact on its history.

From Paris to Beaune

Rental car pick-up

Paris

4 km | 19 minutes

Rental car pick-up

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Alamo
Vehicle: Opel Astra or similar (CDMR)
Loca­tion: Paris City (Railway Station)

From Paris to Beaune

315 km | 4:00 h
After leaving the Isle de France you will cross the Morvan, a lush nature reserve. You will enter Burgundy near Autun. The capital of Burgundy, Dijon, with its historic townscape is defi­nitely worth visiting.

Vaux-le-Vicomte

Magnif­i­cent palace of a corrupt super­in­ten­dent of finances

This clas­sical Baroque palace is not much older than Versailles and was the most magnif­i­cent palace in Europe after its construc­tion from 1656 to 1661. Three villages had to be moved to make room for the huge building complex. The palace did not belong to the king, but rather Nicolas Fouquet, his super­in­ten­dent of finances. He made the mistake of inviting Louis XIV to his extrav­agant cele­bra­tion at the building's comple­tion. Louis himself owned nothing of comparable splendor. Fouquet was arrested three weeks after the party for embezzling state funds, meaning that the proud palace owner had little time to enjoy his luxu­rious estate. He spent the last 19 years of his life in consid­er­ably less comfort – in prison.

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau, a favou­rite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the histor­ical château de Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France and is one of the largest castles in France. The Fontainebleau style combined allegor­ical paint­ings in moulded plas­terwork where the framing was treated as if it were leather or paper, slashed and rolled into scrolls and combined with arabesques and grotesques. Fontainebleau ideals of female beauty are Mannerist: a small neat head on a long neck, exag­ger­at­edly long torso and limbs, small high breasts-almost a return to Late Gothic beau­ties. The new works at Fontainebleau were recorded in refined and detailed engrav­ings that circu­lated among connois­seurs and artists.

Forest of Fontainebleau

Deer and sand­stone rocks in a romantic oak forest

The Forêt de Fontainebleau is one of the largest contiguous forest areas of Western Europe. 3,000 fungi and 7,000 animal species – most of them insects – thrive in the more than 25,000 hectares of oak forest. During the 19th century, artists of the French romanticism discov­ered the refuge. They were partic­u­larly fascinated by rutting deer and the bizarre sand­stone rocks, which are now mainly used by climbers. Although the forest is almost entirely man-made, it has all the charm of an unspoilt natural landscape.

B

Burgundy

World-famous wines, soothing cultural landscape

Burgundy must be enjoyed with all five senses, espe­cially the eyes! In Dijon you can visit the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the museum of fine arts and the beau­tiful old town.

Other high­lights in the vicinity are the Roma­nesque Basilica of Vézelay, Beaune with its famous high peaks and brightly painted roof tiles, and Nevers with its cathedrals. Out­side the cities the beau­tiful landscape beckons. The forests in Morvan Nature Park seem to have existed since the dawn of civil­i­sa­tion. An excur­sion on foot or horseback is an unfor­gettable expe­r­i­ence. Waterways covering a distance of 1,200 km repre­sent a tranquil means of trans­port to the castles, abbeys and convents in one of the most beau­tiful regions of France. The wines of Burgundy are world famous and include Chablis, Côtes-de-Nuits, Côtes-de-Beaune, Côtes-Chalonnaises, Maconnais and Pouilly. The wines are rivalled in importance by the region's cuisine. Visitors shouldn't miss such special­i­ties as the famous vine­yard snails, eggs meurette (in delicate wine sauce), hams from the Morvan hills, Charo­lais beef and Bresse chicken.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Cep

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast | 1x Private Parking Garage

The manor house has served as an inn since the 16th century and many famous people have stayed there – including Ludwig XIV.

The prop­erty was fully reno­vated in 1986 and turned into a modern hotel. One of the towers contains a glass elevator which offers nice views of the old town. The rooms are deco­rated with price­less antiques. The hotel has a first-class restau­rant with an excel­lent wine cellar. The old wine cellar, a cosy room with a low, arched stone ceiling, is used as a Breakfast room when the court­yard cannot be used due to incle­ment weather.

Beaune

The wine capital of Burgundy

With its medieval build­ings in the historic city center, its magnif­i­cent loca­tion in the heart of the Cote d'Or wine region, and its numerous restau­rants and wine cellars, this city with a popu­la­tion of 23,000 is one of the most rewarding destina­tions in Burgundy. The best sight to see is the Hotel de Dieue, a splendid 15th century hospital. The Office de Tourisme and the Bureau Interpro­fes­sionell des Vins will tell you where to find vine­yards, wine tast­ings and wine seminars.

Dijon

City of the Dukes of Burgundy

This city's histor­ical appear­ance with its magnif­i­cent palaces and numerous artistic treasures testify to its past importance. As early as Roman times, there was a settle­ment here called Divio, which was located on the major road from Lyon to Mainz. Yet the city's heyday came a thou­sand years later when Dijon became part of the Duchy of Burgundy and, in 1477, the capital of the royal province of Burgundy. The focal point of the beau­tiful old town is the Place de la Libéra­tion with the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Its east wing houses one of the most distin­guished art museums in France, the Musée des Beaux Arts. The city's most famous son is Gustave Eiffel, who designed the city's market hall. Today, Dijon has a popu­la­tion of around 150,000 and a large univer­sity with 30,000 students.

Tournus

Romantic wine villages, palaces and castle ruins

The town of Tournus is situ­ated on the right bank of the Saône surrounded by the idyllic wine-growing region of southern Burgundy. Its cathedral, St. Philibert, is among the most signif­icant Roma­nesque build­ings in France. It houses relics of Saint Philibert that were brought here for safe­keeping during the Norman inva­sions. To the southwest of the town lies the charming Mâconnais hill country with its ancient wine villages, palaces, castle ruins and Roma­nesque churches. The region's mystical and peaceful atmo­sphere seems to have espe­cially appealed to the monastic orders drawn to the area.

From Beaune to Lagnes

398 km | 4:30 h

Commu­nauté de Taizé

Mystical church services and meeting point for young people

The history of this ecumenical monastic order began in 1940 when Roger Schütz, a Reformed theolo­gian from Geneva, bought a house in Taizé for helping war refugees on their way to Marseille. He fled from the gestapo in 1942, but returned with the first monks after the being freed in 1944. The modern Church of Recon­cil­ia­tion was built in the early 1960s by German youths from the Action Recon­cil­ia­tion move­ment. Students from Paris, Frankfurt and Berlin were soon coming to discuss justice and spir­itu­ality with the monks. Today, thou­sands of young people meet here every week to partake in the simple lifestyle of the commu­nity. The church services are very impres­sive with their dim candle­light and simple poly­phonic singing, which combines modern and Grego­rian elements. They are held every day at 8:15 am and 8:30 pm and are open to the public.

Mâconnais

Vine­yards, ancient villages and monastery ruins

This charming hill country in southern Burgundy is one of the largest wine-producing regions in France. Grapevines cover around 25 percent of the land, or just under 17,500 acres. The region borders the Massif Central to the west and the river Saône to the east. Between these two landmarks lie ancient wine villages where time seems to stand still. The ruins in the monastic city of Cluny are a witness to the region's importance to the entire Chris­tian West. Before the construc­tion of St. Peters in Rome, this was the site of the largest church in Europe.

Cluny

Most important monastery in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, Cluny Abbey was the most influ­en­tial monastery in the West. It owed this status to its first six abbots, who were advisers and friends of emperors, popes and princes. They were the intel­lectual stars of their day and turned Cluny into the center of a radical monastic reform. The reform was based on a strict interpreta­tion of the Bene­dic­tine Rule, involving poverty, chastity and obedi­ence. The liturgy was dominated by the concept of “momento mori” (remember that you are mortal). Practical living empha­sized caring for the poor. The abbey came under the control of the French kings starting in the 13th century and the abbey began its spir­itual and intel­lectual decline when the monks lost their right to choose their own abbot. The abbey's enor­mous church was demol­ished during Napoleon's reign and used as a quarry for the construc­tion of a horse farm. Unfortunately, the remaining build­ings are not very impres­sive and now serve as an engi­neering school.

Around Chateau de Nobles

Burgun­dian meadows from the picture book

The trail starts at the Chateau de Nobles, a private country castle from the 16th century and takes you through an idyllic Burgun­dian landscape up to the historic village of Vieux Brancion, where you can take a break at a sandwich shop. From above you have a wide view of the gentle picture book landscape (there and back: 2:15 hours, 8.2 kilome­tres, up and down: 160 metres).

C

Provence

Eldorado for painters and artists

The center of the former Roman “Provincia Fallia Narboniensis” forms the Bas Provence around the city of Avignon. It is one of the oldest cultural landscapes of Europe and has written world history more than once.

During the schism of the medieval church, along­side the Pope in Rome there was another one, residing in Avignon and shaping the city and region. Ancient towns nestle in the mountain wilder­ness, deserted villages are being reclaimed by nature. In addi­tion to cities such as Arles, Nimes or Aix visitors can find almost untouched landscapes: Mont Ventoux, the highest massif of the Provence or the endless oak forests of the Luberon. Consid­ering the pleasant Mediterranean climate, it is under­stand­able that this land has always attracted trav­elers, painters and artists.

Accommodation: An inn in Lagnes

3 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

This country inn is located in the regional park of Luberon in the heart of Provence. The 200-year-old building, which is typical of Provence, has been metic­u­lously restored.

It exudes joie de vivre and comfort. Each of the 14 rooms has unique furnish­ings with tradi­tional furni­ture, colorful tiles, local fabrics and warm colors. Most of the rooms are large enough for fami­lies. The sizable park shaded by sycamores offers a refreshing pool for hot days. The food is a daily high­light here. An ample Breakfast is served with homemade jams, fresh fruit from the market and figs from the inn's own garden. In the even­ings, your host, Thierry, will conjure up a tasty seasonal meal made with local ingre­di­ents. If you are inter­ested, you can even take a cooking course delving into the secrets of Mediterranean cuisine.

Luberon

The beau­tiful country­side of Provence

The beau­tiful country­side of Provence was declared a biosphere reserve (Réserve de la Biosphère) by UNESCO. The landscape is char­ac­ter­ized by jagged rocks, wild gorges, deso­late peaks, pine forests and fields covered with lavender and grape vines. Gorgeous villages cling to the edges of cliffs. The 60 kilometer long mountain ridge that points from east to west is a paradise for hikers, bikers and nature lovers. The gorge of Lourmarin sepa­rates the Lesser Luberon in the west from the Greater Luberon in the east. The Greater Luberon reaches its highest eleva­tion at the Mourre Nègre (1,124 meters).

Avignon

City of Popes

Today, the city east of the Rhone has less than 100,000 inhab­i­tants. In the Middle Ages Avignon was a city of interna­tional standing. From here seven popes have reigned the Occi­dent during the schism from 1309-1376. At that time the town was a brilliant art center. The “City of Popes” was able to keep its city walls around the old town, the Palace of the Popes, the Bishops' complex and the bridge of Avignon undam­aged to the present day. The old town of Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was Euro­pean Capital of Culture in 2000.

Sénanque

Cister­cian monastery in fields of lavender

This monastery is among the most famous in Provence. It is also a popular backdrop for photos owing to the fields of lavender that unveil their splendor every year between July and the beginning of August. Sénanque was founded in 1148 by Cister­cian monks known for their strict asceticism. The monastic rules were the strictest of their day. The plain build­ings are devoid of orna­menta­tion. The cloister is the only building with arches (48 of them) with short pillars. The monastery was disbanded during the French Revo­lu­tion, but was revived 40 years later.

From Lagnes to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

118 km | 2:30 h
D

Grand Canyon du Verdon

Mighty canyon in the Alpes Provençal

The River Verdon is a trib­utary of the River Durance. Along its 175 kilometer route it has dug a huge canyon into the Alps which is the deepest valley in Europe and one of its most impres­sive natural wonders.

The canyon is 21 km long, 700 m high and only 6 m wide in some places. It repre­sents a constant chal­lenge for climbers, white water rafters and well-equipped hikers. There is a road around the edge of the gorge which leads to splendid view­points.

An auberge near Manosque

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The auberge is situ­ated in a huge garden just one kilometre from Moustiers, a charming little village on the backdrop of high mountains.

Breakfast is excel­lent – and not just compared to the standard French Breakfast. The host is a passionate collector of antiques, old watches, and historic home appliances, so you will find such items all around the premises. The tranquil atmo­sphere is remark­able at this hotel, which is an ideal starting point for excur­sions to the Grand Canyon.

From Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Vence

127 km | 3:00 h
Take D71 to Comps, D21 east­wards to T-junc­tion, turn left, then right on D2211. Cont­inue for 2 km, then turn right on D2 to Vence.
E

Vence

Prealpine Town behind the coast

Tucked away in the mountains between Nice and Antibes is the charming town­ship of Vence. Its splendid loca­tion and medieval city center attracted many artists in the 19th century.

There is a lot to discover in the surrounding mountains: St-Paul-de-Vence with its old city wall, Haute-de-Cagnes, a picturesque village, and Tourettes sur Loup. Although the Côte d'Azur is one of the most popular tourist destina­tions worldwide, there are still plenty of places off the beaten track where you can enjoy the beauty of this unique region.

Accommodation: A residence in downtown Vence

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This guest­house in downtown Vence was a pharmacy in the 18th century – the oldest pharmacy in the French Riviera.

The building subsequently served as the resi­dence of a wealthy family and was later used as a small hotel before being acquired by its current owners, who converted it into the elegant guest­house it is today. The innin­te­rior reflects Venceim­portance as a city of artists: the recep­tion area is deco­rated with modern sculp­tures and orig­inal paint­ings, while the living room contains a large library. The guest rooms are all air condi­tioned. A garden with a swimming pool is avai­l­able to guests.

Antibes

French flair and luxury yachts in Port Vauban

The port city with 75,000 inhab­i­tants is one of the oldest on the Côte d'Azur. “Antipolis” was founded around 340 by Greek merchants and became a bishop's seat in late antiq­uity. The seaside resort Juan-les-Pins was opened in 1882 and has since been incor­po­rated. At the beginning of the 20th century, writers and artists settled there, including Picasso, to whom a museum is dedicated at Château Grimaldi. Port Vauban is now one of the largest marinas in Europe, with up to 1700 luxury yachts anchoring here. The best view is from the fortress Fort Carré.

From Vence to Milano

Rental car drop-off

From Vence to Nice

17 km | 24 minutes
A short drive to Nice.

Rental car drop-off

Loca­tion: Nice Airport (Desk at Airport)

From Nice to Milano by rail

309 km | 6:30 h

Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. You have several options to book them online. The two offi­cial websites of the local providers are www.italotreno.it and www.trenitalia.com.

Alterna­tively you can book on www.ital­iarail.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

F

Milano

Soccer, fashion and opera at its best

This city at the foot of the Alps, which was founded by Etruscans in 600 B.C. and conquered by the Romans in 222 A.D., is more than just the main city of Lombardy.

The second largest city in Italy after Rome is one of the world's leading commer­cial and finan­cial centers. The AC Milan and FC Internazionale play in the first divi­sion and at times in the Euro­pean Cham­pions League. The Milan opera, La Scala, is located in a clas­sical 18th century building and enjoys worldwide renown. Several histor­ical build­ings can be found in the city center. The most important of these is the Italy's largest Gothic cathedral, which took nearly 200 years to build starting in 1375 and holds 40,000 people. Close by is Milan's shopping district with its famous fashion designers and cozy cafés.

Downtown hotel in Milan

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This small, attrac­tive inn is located in an 18th century building in the heart of Milan, within walking distance of the opera and the famous Milan Cathedral.

All rooms in the 4 star hotel are air-condi­tioned and furnished with en-suite marble tile bath­rooms.

From Milano to Venezia by rail

269 km | 3:00 h

Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. You have several options to book them online. The two offi­cial websites of the local providers are www.italotreno.it and www.trenitalia.com.

Alterna­tively you can book on www.ital­iarail.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

G

Venezia

Inspiration for artists, musicians and writers

This centuries-old city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Count­less churches and palaces bear witness to the power and unsurpassed wealth of this small republic.

The lagoon city was founded in northern Italy during the trou­bled times of the decline of the Roman Empire. The remains of the evan­gelist Mark were trans­ferred to Venice in 829. The streams of pilgrims that followed gave the city much added importance. Since then the sacred symbol of the lion has been the city's coat of arms. Vene­tian troops later occu­pied eastern Italy and, in 1204, even Constantinople. At the height of its power Venice ruled the Mediterranean. The demise of the “serrenis­sima repub­blica” began with the fall of Constantinople and the opening of the Western Hemi­sphere by Spain, Portugal and Holland. Venice's polit­ical importance declined after the Congress of Vienna and it was given to Austria. Returned to Italy in 1866, Venice has inspired gener­a­tions of artists, writers and musi­cians. More than a city, it is a symbol of wealth and beauty as well as death and decay.

Accommodation: A friendly B&B in the heart of Venice

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The 15th century palazzo, former resi­dence of a wealthy Vene­tian family, is located in the maze of narrow streets in the heart of Venice near the Rialto Bridge.

Today it houses a B&B. Each room is tastefully deco­rated in an indi­vidual design and partly furnished with antiques. The idyllic, green inner court­yard with the ancient well was once open and led to the canal. Here you can enjoy Breakfast in the morning or the peace and quiet, reviewing the impres­sions gained after a stren­uous day of sightseeing. All major sites are within easy walking distance.

Do Mori

Venice's oldest Bacaro

Bacaro – the name is derived from the wine god Bacchus – is the name given to the simple taverns in Venice. There are few chairs, but a long bar and a large selec­tion of wines with a few snacks. Do Mori not far from the fish market is the oldest Bacaro of Venice and already over 500 years old. Count­less pots and copper kettles hang from the ceiling, more than 100 excel­lent wines await you in the bar. There are also many different tramezzini.

Ponte di Rialto

Busi­ness centre of the commer­cial metropolis

More than 400 bridges cross about 150 canals and connect 100 islands. Some are name­less or incon­spic­uous. Some are of partic­ular importance from a traffic or cultural-histor­ical point of view. The Rialto Bridge, which has connected the districts of San Marco and San Polo since the 16th century, is world-famous and most frequently photographed. Busi­ness flour­ished here for many centuries: merchants and seafarers unloaded their goods at the quay behind which the banks and trading houses were located. Bridge archi­tect was a certain Antonio da Ponte, who was able to assert himself against star archi­tect Miche­lan­gelo with his practical design because he left enough space for shipping traffic.

Frari

Outside plain and common, inside splendour and wealth

The Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is the great Gothic Franciscan church of the city. On the outside it is modest and simple, as is the mendicant order itself. Inside, however, it docu­ments the power and wealth to which the disciples of Saint Francis have come. The Frari turns out to be an art shrine of the very first order. The tomb pyramid of the sculptor Antonio Canova imme­di­ately catches the eye in the enor­mous nave. Oppo­site is the tomb of Titian with his Pesaro Madonna. Precious altar leaves by Bartolomeo Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini hang in the choir chapels. A sculp­ture of St. John by Donatello stands where the composer Claudio Monteverdi is buried. Every­thing, however, is surpassed by Assunta, the sky-driving Mary, who floats freely above the high altar. Titian created it and, at the end of the Renais­sance, already antic­ipated the Baroque era with it.

From Venezia to San Casciano by rail

Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. You have several options to book them online. The two offi­cial websites of the local providers are www.italotreno.it and www.trenitalia.com.

Alterna­tively you can book on www.ital­iarail.com or www.raileu­rope.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

H

Firenze

World capital of Renaissance

The capital of Tuscany lies on the banks of the Arno between the Adri­atic and Tyrrhe­nian seas, near the center of the Italian peninsula.

It is a city that bustles with industry and crafts, commerce and culture, art and science. The Chianti region between Florence and Siena is one of the most beau­tiful landscapes in Italy and a famous wine produc­tion area. Founded by the Romans in the first century B.C., Florence reached its pinnacle between the 11th and 15th centuries, when it was a free city balancing the authority of the Emperor with that of the Pope. In the 15th century it came under the rule of the Medici family, who later became the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The city is consid­ered the cradle of the Renais­sance and humanism and was a leading center of art, culture, politics and economic power during this period. The universal geniuses Leon­ardo da Vinci and Miche­lan­gelo thrived here. Their works, along with those of many gener­a­tions of artists up to the masters of the present century, are gathered in the city's many museums.

Accommodation: A Renaissance Villa

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The sixteenth century villa with a beau­tiful garden is surrounded by olive groves, vines, rows of cypress trees and ochre-coloured farm­houses – all this just twenty minutes from Florence and a little more than thirty from Siena. It is more like a private house than a hotel: a Tuscan villa with its family antiques, an elegant but very warm ambiance, spacious and quiet bedrooms, lavish breakfasts. The latter feature a large buffet that includes Tuscan special­i­ties such as fresh ricotta cheese, the local focaccia bread, prosciutto and home-made brioche. Whereas the loggia looks out onto a formal garden, the swimming pool is located in an olive grove. All the bedrooms are spacious – most are even enor­mous – some have frescoed walls and ceil­ings, and a couple of them have a fireplace. Each room has its own refrig­er­ator, computer outlet, safe, air condi­tioning, an electric kettle and a tea and coffee tray. The view is of the garden, the olive grove or the central court­yard with the old well and fragrant creeping vines. The bath­rooms have been deco­rated with thor­ough atten­tion to detail, each with handmade tiles and some with orig­inal frescoes.

Getting to Florence from the hotel is quite easy: guests can drive into the city and park at the train station, drive to a large park & ride parking lot just outside of Florence and take the tram into town, or take the bus to Florence from a stop two miles from the hotel. A visit to a working winery, including wine tast­ings and a light buffet of local prod­ucts, can be booked upon request.

Giardino di Boboli

Renais­sance park with views of Florence

The magnif­i­cent renais­sance park at Palazzo Pitti was the most famous garden in all of Italy during the 16th century. The landscape archi­tects have created it in such a way that Florence is always a focal point. Today visitors can explore grottos, fountains, an amphithe­ater and even an Egyp­tian obelisk on the nearly five-hectare site. The Boboli Gardens are open daily.

Palazzo Pitti

Palaces of the Medici

The palace from 1458, which belonged to the wealthy merchant family Pitti, is still one of the largest build­ings of Florence. However, it only took on its current appear­ance a hundred years later when an even richer family, the Medici, moved in. The Pittis had been disowned after they had allegedly taken part in a conspiracy. After the Medici had lost their power, the dukes of Tuscany and later the kings of Italy resided there. In 1565 a kilometer-long corridor between the Pitti Palace and Palazzo Vecchio was built to shield the noblemen and wealthy from the plebs when they left their resi­dence to walk to the town hall. Today dukes and kings have disap­peared, so the palace only houses a few museums and exhi­bi­tions.

San Miniato al Monte

Tension and harmony in the inte­rior

The basilica on the highest point of the city is consid­ered one of the most beau­tiful churches in Italy. Although built around 1000 the Church is neither spectac­ular nor partic­u­larly large from the outside. But the inte­rior is most convincing. The altar is in fact not on a level with the nave, but is elevated and one cannot look onto the the top of it. The unusual symbols on the portico are to this day a mystery to art histo­rians. The ceiling has a very different style and really does not match the rest of the church. However, all elements work harmo­niously with each other. There is a beau­tiful view over Florence when leaving the Basilica.

Abbey Badia a Passignano

Pleasant loop trail through vine­yards and shrub­land

This medieval abbey in the vine­yards south­east of Florence is today a renowned winery. It is also the starting point for a pleasant walk through a delightful cultural landscape that will lead you down to the Pesa River. (2 hrs, 30 min, 9.5 km, total vertical distance: 290 m)

Stroll through Florence

From the cathedral to the Centro Storico to the Giardino di Boboli

This is our suggested route if you want to get to know Florence on your own. From the train station, it will take you to the cathedral, the historic center of town and then across the Arno over the Ponte Vecchio. The Boboli Gardens on the other side of the river offer the most beau­tiful view of the city. (3 hrs, 6 km, eleva­tion change: 90 m)

From San Casciano to Roma by rail

The journey will take you through Tuscany and Lazio.
Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. You have several options to book them online.

The two offi­cial websites of the local providers are www.italotreno.it and www.trenitalia.com. Alterna­tively you can book on www.ital­iarail.com or www.raileu­rope.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

I

Rome

Contemporary life in the Eternal City

The western world was ruled from the city built on the legendary seven hills for 1,500 years. Rome was the stage for many historic events of worldwide signif­icance during that era.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire the city became the seat of the Catholic Church. During the zenith of its power (the second century A.D.) Rome's popu­la­tion numbered more than a million, making it the world's first metropolis. However, only 25,000 people lived among the city's ruins at the close of the Roman Empire. Regrowth didn't begin until the return of the Pope from Avignon in the fifteenth century. Today the Italian capital ranks amongst the premiere cities of Europe with regard to art, culture and a fast-paced lifestyle. Millions of tourists visit Rome annu­ally to take in the sights, shop and enjoy the cuisine.

Accommodation: A hotel in the heart of Old Rome

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This centuries-old building is located in the city centre, between the Spanish steps and the Via Veneto. Marco and Giulia, the enterprising propri­etors who have roots in the hotel busi­ness, have completely restored the prop­erty and now offer modern, comfort­able accommo­d­a­tion in a histor­ical building.

Marco can suggest the best sites to see – he is an accredited Rome tour guide. The building offers many practical conve­niences. An elevator takes guests to the air-condi­tioned rooms on the three upper stories. The upstairs suites have a view extending over the roofs of the old city to the dome of St Peters. You're guar­an­teed a good night's rest here (a valu­able commodity in Rome), as the guest­house is next door to a convent! The subway station Barberini is only a few steps away.

Villa Borghese

Green Lung of Rome

Villa Borghese is not a building, but a green area in the middle of Rome. It was built at the end of the 16th century on the vine­yard of the Borghese noble family. In 1901 the state bought the estate and opened it to the public. Today there are numerous museums on the site, including the Galleria Borghese and the Museum of Etruscan Art. On the north side lies Bioparco, the Roman zoo with over 200 animal species. Villa Borghese is also a popular place for joggers and walkers; on a small lake you can rent rowing boats and watch the ducks. A beau­tiful place to rest after stren­uous sightseeing.

Pantheon

Temple for all gods and archetype of all dome build­ings

The impres­sive rotunda with its columned façade was erected 25 B.C. as a temple for all gods and converted into a church over 600 years later. The dome is partic­u­larly impres­sive: it symbol­izes the sky, the opening in the middle stands for the sun and the contact with the stars. With a diam­eter of 43 metres, the dome of the Pantheon was the largest in the world for 1700 years until St Peter's Basilica was built. Visitors to the Pantheon enjoy the medi­ta­tive atmo­sphere inside and the delightful play of sunlight that falls through the open­ings in the roof and “wanders” along the floor. The Pantheon became the archi­tectural model for domed build­ings worldwide, such as the Capitol in Wash­ington DC, the Berlin Cathedral or the Invalid Cathedral in Paris.

Piazza Navona

From the arena to an urban square

A closer look at the huge square in the heart of the city reveals much about its origin: the long, almost oval surface resem­bles a track in the stadium. In fact, Piazza Navona was orig­inally an arena. Emperor Domi­tian had it built. More than 30,000 people found a place here. In the Middle Ages the spectator stands were grad­u­ally converted into houses. In the 15th century, the stadium first became a park and then a square by paving. The most important monu­ments are the church of Sant Agnese, built in honour of the martyr Agnes, and the 17th-century four-stream fountain: On it four male sculp­tures symbolize the four conti­nents known at that time in the form of the rivers Danube, Nile, Ganges and Río de la Plata.

A stroll through Rome

Discover the old city on your own

If you would like to explore Rome on your own, our recom­mended route starts at the Roma Termini train station and takes you to the key sights in the Eternal City. On your way past the opera house, you will come to the Palazzo Berberini, the Fontana di Trevi, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and finally the Colos­seum and the Forum Romanum. (4 hrs, 8 km, eleva­tion change: 70m)

Rome

Rome

32 km | 41 minutes
17 days
from € 2,599.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)



You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultants
Jessica Parkin

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23


Melissa Nußbaum

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57


Leslie Jalowiecki

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67

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