Cost $2995 per person ($1000 deposit)
airfare not included
5 couples (or pairs of friends) max
Agenda: Subject to slight changes
Days 1-2 Rome
We will be picked up at the airport by Shuttle and driven to our beautiful and spacious home which is 5 minutes walk from the Colosseum. The home has a common area and kitchen as well as 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.
What we will see in Rome:
Guided tour of Colosseum and Roman Forum
Guided tour of the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel) and St. Peters Basilica
It goes without saying that apart from all the amazing history and architecture we will be eating well. Gelato is a must pretty much every day. Rome has some wonderful gelato and some wonderful places to eat.
Days 3-4 Umbria
Assisi, Cortona and Foiana della Chiana
We will be staying in the small town of Foiana della Chiana for two nights in a beautiful farm house villa. There is a swimming pool here if anyone wants to swim. From here we will take a day trip out to Cortona and Assisi. Assisi is the birthplace of one of Italy’s most famous saints, St. Francis from whom the current pope takes his name. This is a pilgrimage site and worth studying up about.
Days 5-8 Tuscany
Stay in Florence. Day visits to Lucca and possibly San Gimignano (you might like Lucca too much to leave) These day trips may change slightly.
There is more art concentrated in Florence than any other city in the world. It might be my favorite city ever. Our accommodations will be within 2 minutes walk of David and 5 minutes to what I consider to be Italy’s most incredible duomo and cathedral. It's an absolute marvel. I secured an entire home that is not easy to come by. It is huge and has 7 bedrooms and is 2 minutes walk from the Academia where the statue of David resides. My first time seeing David I wasn’t sure I would be impressed but I was dead wrong. We will have a guided tour take us through and allow us to “skip the line”. We will have time to do a free day in Florence for those who want to explore on their own. There is so much to see in Florence.
In Lucca we will rent bicycles and ride around the city wall. Its super fun.
Day 9 Orvieto or San Gimignano (either one is awesome. Waiting on a couple details)
Orvieto is a hilltop city just an hour and a half north or Rome. It is a beautiful little city. San Gimignano is one our favorites. We may do a day trip from Florence for this one instead of staying the night. TBD. Both are worth a trip.
Day 10 LDS Rome Temple and/or Ostia
We want to be close to the airport for the last day. For those who want to visit the Rome Temple we will spend some time at the site and you can do a session if you would like. If we have time after we can visit Ostia Antica which is comparable to the ruins of Pompeii. It was the ancient port city for all goods coming into Rome from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. It is rather large and has many areas to explore without supervision!
What to expect traveling with Casey and Melanie:
We will depart from the states Sept 8 and arrive in Rome Sept 9. I recommend subscribing to pomelotravel.com to check for flights. Also, if you log into google flights you will be able to get alerts for the best deals during your flight dates. A shuttle will pick us up at the Fiumicino airport at a predetermined time. Everyone will be expected to find their way to that location of the airport at that time. A shuttle will pick us up and drop us at our Home which is a 6 bedroom 5 bathroom apartment within 5 minutes walking distance to the Colosseum. Rome is best experienced by foot so I want to encourage you to strengthen your legs. It helps a ton to do some running, hiking or walking in the weeks leading up to the trip.
A few things you should know. There will be 10-12 people on this tour maximum. We will have two 9 passenger vans once we leave Rome so we will be able to be nimble and visit many places trains and buses will not allow us to visit. It will likely be a mostly LDS group with a final stop at the new Rome Temple on the last day. Participants on this trip are encouraged to make friendships and must be ok with sharing a large home together. Each home we have secured will have a private bedroom for each couple and usually one bathroom per couple with some exceptions. On occasion a bathroom will have to be shared with my wife and I.
In Rome and Florence the homes will place us directly in the heart of the city. Other homes we will use as a central location to explore the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. Although we will have time to sit and relax I want you to see and experience Italy and that takes a little bit of driving here and there as well as parking and walking. I will do my best to make it as seamless as possible but it’s Italy and parking and such is not always like going to Walmart. Remember how the Rome temple was supposed to be dedicated in 2014? Keep that in mind. Sometimes it requires a little patience.
Bathrooms are not as common as we have at our gas stations. I use the bathroom whether I need to or not before leaving any place with a restroom.
I speak Italian. I served an LDS mission to Southern Italy and Sicily and have a profound love for the people, the food and the culture. I am also an avid amateur historian and I will give you all I know while we are there. I want you to experience as much as possible so I am going to be throwing food at you to try constantly because there is no end to the wonder of italian cuisine. We will also stop a couple times to load up on some stuff at the grocery store. For my wife and I this is as exciting as going to the Colosseum because there is so much food, breads, cheeses and candies that we love at the grocery store. While breakfast and dinners are included in the package we love to grab some bread, cheese, salame and sun dried tomatoes and put it in the pack for lunch sometimes. It is one of our favorite lunches. We can show you this art.
Another thing to know upfront is that we will have washing machines in most of our homes. Because we will be a nimble group we ask that you bring only one piece of luggage and one personal bag. Ideally one carry-on and one personal item like a small purse or backpack would be best. Too much luggage is unnecessary and cumbersome. I will share with you Rick Steves packing list. It is perfect for a 10 day trip with washings in between. On the way home you can load up souvenirs etc.. My bag is a 46 liter Osprey Porter. It is designed to fit in an overhead compartment and has handles and straps for use as a backpack. I just want to make sure we can move quickly and fit everything in the vans.
I have discovered a formula for traveling to Italy. I like to hit a big city then go to a small town for a couple days then hit another big city. We will be hitting some more obscure places but if it is your first time especially you have to see Rome and Florence. You just have to. There is an energy that is unique to these two cities that must be experienced.
Jetlag will be a little bothersome the first day. You might hate me but the best thing to do is to get moving and stay up until the normal sleeping hours. We will be dropping our bags the first day in our apartment and then go straight to the sites in Rome. We are going to hit a lot in Rome in two days. 5 hour energy drinks are 3 ounces and last I checked can be taken on a plane.
You will get more details once you book. I just want you to know what you are getting into.
I promise this will be the trip of a lifetime. Ciao!