4 more days until Mike and I leave for Rome. It really is overwhelming to think about it. We just came home from an amazing cruise on the Disney Fantasy with family and friends and now we are preparing to head off to Italy with Adventures by Disney. Part business (We are going in a group with Disney’s EarMarked Travel Advisory Council), part leisure… there is some down time and meals that we can do on our own- but most of the time we will be with our group.
We land around 10:30am after a red-eye flight from NYC. My friend, Tracy, and her husband are landing at the same time and we will likely head for something to eat after we get settled at our hotel, Gran Melia Rome. Later that day there is a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.
After breakfast the next day, we head off to tour Rome- Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain all before lunch at Campo de Fiori. Then we head to a VIP tour of the Colosseum- which Mike is really looking forward to. The Colosseum was undergoing extensive renovations when we were there last on our honeymoon. We have dinner on our own after the tour.
After breakfast on the next day we head to the Vatican for a Private Tour at St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo. Then we have some more on your own time for lunch and shopping before meeting in the evening for a visit to the Vatican Museum on an exclusive after-hours tour. We have dinner on our own as well tonight too.
My cousin visited Rome with her family in June and had suggested trying Via della Vetrina for dinner. Her family raved about the outstanding quality and freshness. It is close to Piazza Navona.
Next we head to Tuscany, stopping at Orvieto on the way. We stop for lunch at a private estate on a olive orchard where we learn to make a traditional dessert known as Torta Della Nonna—”Grandmother’s Cake.” Once we arrive in Tuscany, we have a tasting of locally produced wines before settling down to dinner.
On Day 5, we head to a working farm where we learn to make pasta! We then tour the farm’s winery and have another tasting (tough job) with lunch. We have the afternoon free to go swimming in the farm’s pool or shopping in nearby Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. Dinner will be a Medieval-themed banquet set in a 15th-century manor.
Day 6 we spend in Florence where we have reserved entry and access to see Michelangelo’s “David”. We will also take a walking tour of the town before lunch at a local trattoria. Then we have a VIP tour of Palazzo Vecchio. We then have the rest of the day and evening on our own. We might try Tortoria Da Giorgio which is prix fix, inexpensive yet quality food (south of the train station). I am also hoping we get to see Accademia, Duomo’s Dome, San Lorenzo Market, and St. Croce Church. Our hotel also has a wine cellar store that you can eat in for dinner, which might be beautiful and it is certainly different!
Day 7 we take a train to Venice- my absolute favorite city on the planet. Once we arrive we are taken on a private gondola tour of the city- which is breath taking. The we take a walking tour of St Mark’s Square. Our hotel is the Molino Stucky, which looks incredible. Dinner is on our own and we may try Rosa Rossa or Antica Carbonara which has rooftop seating. When we were there on our honeymoon, we had dinner in the Hotel Danieli, which we loved. We are also tempted to stop by the Hotel Metropole- where we stayed during our honeymoon. The Molino Stucky also looks like it would have several different options for dinner as well.
Day 8 will be bittersweet- our last full day. After breakfast we tour the Dodge Palace and construct our own masquerade mask! We then have the rest of the day on our own until dinner onboard a Jolly Roger.
Day 9 we head back to NY on a 1pm flight after breakfast in our hotel.
As overwhelmed as I am about repacking, catching up with last week’s laundry plus the responsibilities of home and work … I am really looking forward to this trip. Who wouldn’t be?