Road To Rome - Start London, Small Group
Take the road to Rome from the iconic West End of London, through the cobbled streets of Paris and across the Alps of Innsbruck, to the Italian capital. Journey through the vineyards of Burgundy and slip across the Swiss border for an indulgent Dine Around meal in Lucerne. Enjoy a feast of local delicacies at a selection of hand-picked restaurants, set along the beautiful lakeside vistas. Voyage across the Dolomites to Venice and bear witness to the ancient skill of glassblowing. Practiced by precious few, this almost extinct artform is led by local craftsmen, intent on keeping the fifteenth century tradition alive. In ancient Rome, enjoy exclusive fast track access to the Vatican Museums and see Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.
Supplier: Insight Vacations
Paris, world capital of art and culture, gathers some of the most famous museums and monuments in the world. Like all the world's great capitals, Paris lives at a fast pace, by day, by night and especially at rush hours. Bear in mind that museums and monuments are often less crowded during the week. Sights that should not be missed include: The Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. Visit any of the many others according to your tastes and interests: the Musee Picasso, Musee Rodin, Musee Carnavalet, Musee Marmottan and the Arab Institute are just a few. Essential Paris monuments are the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe or the Grande Arche de la Defense.
London is undoubtedly one of the world's finest cities. In addition to numerous monuments from its more glorious past, London is equally well-known for its pageantry and tradition. London has something for everyone - wide boulevards buzzing with excitement far into the night, quiet squares and explorable alleyways. Visit this famous city's parks, museums, galleries, monuments, abbeys and churches, skyscrapers and ruins, Georgian squares. Take in such events as the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower, or the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, or even one of the many theatrical productions. Some of the most exclusive shops are found along Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets. An old favorite and one of the world's premier institutions is Harrods - offering everything from Chanel suits and sliced salmon to caviar and even pets.
Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one
of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded
in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always
been and remains the Eternal City.
Rome enjoyed its greatest splendor during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art
flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman
legions swept outward, conquering all of Italy. These victorious armies then
swept across the Mediterranean and beyond to conquer most of the known world.
With Rome's establishment as capital of the western world, a new ascent to glory
Today's Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious
parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafes and elegant shops, is
one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous
monuments is the Colosseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine
the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combats between
muscled gladiators and ferocious animals.
Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city's political and commercial
center. In later times, Rome's squares were enhanced with such imposing structures
as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and grandiose fountains like the Fontana di
Trevi. Join the millions who stand in awe of Christendom’s most magnificent
church and admire the timeless masterpieces of Michelangelo's frescoes in the
Rome jars the senses and captures the soul. Grasp all you can during the short,
precious time you have available in the Eternal City. With so much to see and
do, a day or two will only allow you a sampling of the city's marvelous treasures.
Caution: As in many big cities and tourist destinations purse snatching
and pickpocketing is common. Valuable jewelry and excess cash are best left
in a safety deposit box in your hotel.
Shopping For most visitors shopping for beautiful Italian leather articles,
designer shoes, fashions for men and women, linens, knitwear, silk scarves and
ties is a favorite pastime. Except for tourist-oriented shops, the majority
of stores are closed on Sundays. Some of the department stores, such as Rinascente,
open in the late afternoon on Sundays.
Cuisine Rome's choice of restaurants is mindboggling as is the variety
of cuisine. Whether your meal is at a top-rated restaurant or a rustic trattoria,
you can be sure that you will enjoy your food, especially when accompanied by
wines from the hill towns surrounding Rome.
Other Sights Rome's attractions are endless, and depending on how much
time you have at your disposal a careful selection has to be made about what
to see. Be aware of horrendous traffic conditions and major construction work
all around the city in preparation of Jubilee 2000, the Holy Year. Some of the
sights not to be missed:
Piazza Venezia - This busy square is easily recognized by its imposing Vittorio
Emanuele II Monument. The white marble structure was inaugurated in 1911 as
a symbol of Italy’s unification.
The Forum - Once the civic heart of ancient Rome, today the remains include
a series of ruins, marble fragments, isolated columns and some worn arches.
Colosseum - No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at this awe-inspiring
theater, which is among the world’s most celebrated buildings. Here ancient
Rome flocked to see gladiatorial contests and numerous other spectacles.
Trevi Fountain - Take a stroll to Rome's famous fountain. A spectacular fantasy
of mythical sea creatures and cascades of splashing water, the fountain is one
of the city's foremost attractions. Legend has it that visitors must toss a
coin into the fountain to ensure their return to Rome.
St. Peter's Square - Part of Vatican City, this square created by Bernini
is considered one of the loveliest squares in the world. Twin Doric colonnades
topped with statues of various saints and martyrs flank either side of the square.
In the center stands an 84-foot obelisk, brought from Egypt in 37 A.D.
St. Peter's Basilica - At the head of the square stands Christendom's most
magnificent church, which was begun in 1452 on the site where St. Peter was
buried. Throughout the following 200 years, such Renaissance masters as Bramante,
Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini worked on its design and created an unparalleled
masterpiece. Of special note are Michelangelo's Pieta and the bronze canopy
over the high altar by Bernini. The immense dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Vatican Museum - To see this museum's immense collection would take days.
As you enter, there are special posters that plot a choice of four color-coded
itineraries. They are repeated throughout the museum and are easy to follow.
It is a good idea to pickup a leaflet at the main entrance and concentrate on
exhibits of major interest. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is a must. Most likely
you may have to wait in line to enter.
With a great historic past and incomparable art treasures, Venice is renowned as one of the world’s great cities. Its 118 islands are separated by more than 150 canals and spanned by 400 bridges. During Venice's artistic golden age many magnificent structures were erected to create world-famous masterpieces. One of the best sightseeing routes is along Grand Canal, with many palaces lining the famous waterway. St. Mark’s Square offers access to some of Venice’s most famed attractions - St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. From Piazza San Marco, a maze of narrow streets are lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. A popular pastime is sitting at an outdoor café facing the square while people-watching and letting the whole marvelous scenario unfold. Venice’s Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands comprise an area famous as home of Venice’s glass-blowing industry and known for their charm, skilled lace-making and medieval monuments. Relax on a gondola ride, see art treasures in museums, churches and palaces, and have a sumptuous meal - all in this incomparable city.
The creative explosion of the Italian Renaissance happened right here, leaving petite Florence more art treasures than most national capitals. View the masterworks of local heroes like Michelangelo and Botticelli, visit countless unforgettable basilicas, then climb up into Brunelleschi's soaring dome to watch the sun set among cypress-clad Tuscan hillsides.
Without a doubt one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland, Lucerne lies in the heart of the country on famous lake of Lucerne. Dotted with Renaissance and Baroque fountains, colorful paintings on the gables and commanded by the exquisite wooden bridge, the Kapellbrücke and Wasserturm, the 13th century octagonal water tower, Lucerne's character is pure charm. Spectacular views and sights abound from almost every vantage point in and around Lucerne. The Old Town Hall is a fine example of a Renaissance building while the City Wall, built between 1350 and 1405 stands proud above the city. A stroll along the quay leads past the modern health resort and onto the largest, most important Transport Museum in Europe and the only Planetarium in Switzerland. The famous Lion Monument and Glacier Garden make for remarkable viewing as do the mountain peaks surrounding the city. A short drive from town takes visitors to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth, and a short drive from Viewaldstätter Lake leads to nearby winter resorts and many more lakes.
A city of enormous historical import as well as a renowned reputation for wintersports which has earned it the title "the world's winter capital". Landmarks include the famous Golden Roof, Hofburg Palace, Triumphal Arch and St. Anne's column which celebrates the freeing of the province from the Bavarians who occupied it during the War of the Spanish Secession in the early 18th century. To most people Innsbruck is synonymous with winter sports, and indeed, it could almost be called the world's winter capital: but there is much more to this historic city than skiing. It is the last large city to the west of the country and is the major centre of the Tyrol region including East Tyrol.
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