Overview

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Duration:
8 Days

On this exciting journey we’ll combine Christianity, Lutheran Fellowship, and Italy into an incredible experience. Together we’ll explore two vastly different regions of Italy…Rome and Tuscany, enjoying the differences in culture, scenery, and cuisine.

First we’ll bring our Christian perspective as we visit Rome, one of the world’s most fascinating and ancient cities, with a special charm and grandeur that has endured throughout the ages. No one can consider themselves a “world traveler” without spending time discovering the marvels of the eternal city. During our time there you’ll be guided by an expert to the best historical and religious sites Rome has to offer. We’ll even spend a day following in the footsteps of Martin Luther in Rome, as he did over 500 years go. You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore on your own and find the hidden gems Rome has to offer.

Although one of the world’s premier cities, even in the heart of Rome you’ll find delightful neighborhoods tucked away, with fountains, squares, and kids playing soccer on the cobblestones. Lesser known but intriguing historical sites abound, and Rome’s amazing shopping can easily entice you to fill an extra suitcase!

After Rome it’s on to Classic Tuscany… birthplace of the Renaissance, home to some of the world’s best cuisine, wine, and postcard landscapes. We’ll explore this magical land from the cobblestone streets and romantic squares of the historic city of Siena to the countryside dotted with ancient castles, vineyard covered hillsides, and tiny walled towns that date to Roman times.



Tour Dates & Pricing

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Rome, the Eternal City

When you arrive today you’ll make your way to your 4-star hotel located in the heart of the old city. Later this afternoon we’ll have an orientation meeting and then walk to one of our favorite nearby Roman restaurants for dinner. Roman cuisine is famous for its fresh vegetables and fruits from the nearby countryside, lamb and pork brought in daily from the farms dotting the hills around the city, and wonderful cheeses unique to the region. Of course all of these are paired with fresh pasta and the local wines from the Alban hills to the south of the city, making for some memorable meals during your stay in the Eternal City.

Day 2 - Ancient Rome

This morning after breakfast a local guide will meet you at your hotel to begin your private Rome adventure. You’ll explore the ancient quarter of the city to experience the splendor of the classic Roman Empire. First you’ll walk along the ageless pavements in the ruins of the Roman Forum, the Curia and the Reggia. You’ll wander among the some of Rome’s most important and impressive monuments, like the Temple of Vesta, the Arch of Titus and the Arch of Constantine. At the south end of the Forum lies the massive structure of the Coliseum, the giant amphitheater used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. Your guide will lead you through the walkways and corridors of this fantastic site, explaining how events were held here nearly 2000 years ago! Lastly, your excursion will bring you to Palatine Hill, the ancient historical residence of the Caesars, which was the official seat of world power for hundreds of years.

This afternoon is free to wander Rome and get lost, but remember to keep an eye out for that “perfect” place for dinner tonight! Evening in Rome is magical, and something not to be missed. The piazzas and squares are alive with people, the fountains are illuminated beautifully, the sidewalk cafes and ristorante are bustling, and couples stroll arm in arm along the cobblestones. Relax, wander, and enjoy the unique spirit of Rome, where the ancient blends with the modern.

Day 3 - Monuments of Rome

Your adventure in Rome begins today in Piazza San Bernardo. Here you’ll admire the Fountain of Moses before heading to the famous Piazza della Repubblica. A short stroll will take you to St. Peters Square to begin your visit to the massive and grandiose Basilica of St. Peter, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel (skipping the long entrance lines!).

After being amazed and astonished by the treasures of St. Peters, you’ll continue on through the city center and the gorgeous Piazza Navona, built on the ruins of Domitian’s chariot racing track. Navona has one of the most famous fountains in the world, Berninis’ masterpiece Fountain of the Four Rivers, built in 1651.

After Navona you’ll make your way to the Pantheon, (Temple of All the Gods), originally built as a temple to the seven dieties of the seven planets in the state religion of ancient Rome. If you haven’t yet been overwhelmed by the wonders of Rome, your guide will now walk with you to the famed Trevi Fountain, where you can toss a coin to insure your return to the Eternal City.

This afternoon and evening is free to explore on your own. Perhaps people-watching on the Spanish Steps or a visit to the fashion and shopping district along the Via Veneto! Like Caesar, all of Rome lies at your feet!

Tonight we’ll have a special treat as we roll up our sleeves and learn from one of the masters of Roman cooking. You’ll make homemade pasta such as ravioli or fettuccine and prepare other dishes under the guidance of your personal chef. At the end of the course, enjoy the dishes you’ve created accompanied by the perfect wine your chef has selected to complement your lunch. Real food and pure indulgence! In this way, you become not a tourist, but a true traveler immersed in authentic Roman culture.

Day 4 - Luther in Rome

During Martin Luther’s trip to Rome in 1510 he visited many of Rome’s holiest sites. The experience changed him profoundly, and thereby changed the world. Today we’ll walk in his footsteps as we, too, visit the very places that so dramatically shaped his Roman experience.

There are a staggering amount of places that Luther visited during his time in Rome, and as time permits today our local guide will take us to explore as many as possible. Among the amazing sites we’ll visit are the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome. We’ll also spend time in the fascinating churches of Sant’Agostino and Santa Maria dell’Anima. Of course we’ll go to the Scala Santa, the 28 marble steps where Luther had his vision that launched the Reformation. Among the other intriguing sites we’ll visit are the iconic church of St. Peter in Chains, Mamertine Prison, and of course the day won’t be complete without experiencing the Catacombs of Rome, where Jewish, pagan and early Christian roman citizens were entombed between the second and fifth centuries.

Tonight is your last night in Rome, you’re free to wander on your own to find a special place for dinner.

Day 5 - Orvieto, Pienza and Siena

Today we bid Rome Arrivederci, board our private coach and head north, out of the region of Lazio and into the hilly landscape of Umbria. Our first stop will be the ancient city of Orvieto, founded by the Etruscans and later annexed by the Romans about 300 bc. The cobblestone streets and medieval buildings make it a perfect place to stop for a stroll and an espresso.

Later we’ll continue on, leaving the rugged Umbrian landscape behind and entering the classic Tuscan countryside of the Val D’Orcia. Here we’ll stop for visit of the compact Renaissance town of Pienza.

Originally named Corsignano, Pienza had the good fortune to be the hometown of Pope Pius II in the 15th century. Pius renamed the town and proceeded with a grandiose rebuilding scheme to transform the humble village into his ideal Renaissance city. Unfortunately Pius died before his plans were completed, but enough magnificent buildings were erected to give Pienza a place in history.

Among Italians, though, Pienza is most famous for producing some of the best hard cheeses in Italy, called pecorino. An abundance of winding cobblestone streets, a picturesque square and numerous cheese shops makes Pienza an ideal place to explore and have lunch.

After our midday stop, we'll resume our scenic southward ride to Italy's most enchanting medieval city, Siena, our base for the remainder of our stay. With and endless supply of winding cobblestone streets and squares, soaring medieval towers and one of the loveliest squares in all of Italy, Siena is arguably the most beautiful city in all of Tuscany. This afternoon a local guide will lead us on a fascinating walk through some of the 17 contrade (neighborhoods) of Siena while explaining the rich history and magic of this ancient city. We will also learn the history of the spectacular Palio horserace, held every summer since 1310. The “Days of the Palio” is the religious/cultural/political event that truly defines Sienese life. To understand the Palio is to understand Siena.

When you combine the history of Siena with the current traditions of its inhabitants, you'll find that Siena is arguably one of the most fascinating, one of the most unique, and one of the most vibrant cultures in all of Europe! The Sienese have kept alive the customs of their ancestors, and in fact live it every day. As you explore the city you'll marvel at the huge span of history represented in its architecture, from the Romans to the Renaissance to the Goths, Siena is a landscape of all the civilizations that have dominated here.

Our tour will end at one of our favorite local trattorias, where you will
experience yet another side to the food and wine culture of the region.
Siena has strived with Florence for dominance for hundreds of years, and they have made sure that their cuisine rivals their larger neighbor to the north!

Tuscan cuisine, like all Italian regions, reflects the best of the local area. Fresh pasta is prevalent, along with salami, prosciutto, chicken, beef, and pork, with nearly everything organic and free-range, which has always been the natural way for Italians. Of course you'll find some of the world's best olive oils here, along with tomatoes, peppers and melanzane that are bursting with flavor. And the cheeses of this region are legendary, with literally dozens of varieties running the gamut from fresh and creamy to aged and robust...truly an epicurean's heaven! The wines of Tuscany need no introduction...during your time here with us you'll be introduced to some exquisite wines that can be found nowhere else, from marvelous honest farmhouse productions to wines from some of the top estates in the world, and everything in between.

Day 6 - Volterra and San Gimignano

After breakfast this morning we head north to one of the most ancient cities in Italy, Volterra. Perched on a lofty rock platform, Volterra is an imposing fortified hill city with a dramatic, dominating view of the rugged countryside below. Built by the Etruscan civilization that pre- dated the Romans, Volterra in fact claims a history that goes back at least 3000 years. In Etruscan times it was Velithri, one of the twelve great cities of the Etruscan Confederation, with a domain that reached from the seacoast to the mountains.

Volterra still retains much of its ancient flavor, and of particular interest are the many alabaster workshops where local artisans can often be seen carefully working the delicate translucent stone into vases and ornaments. Mined in the area since Etruscan times, Volterran alabaster has been prized by the nobility for nearly 3000 years. We'll have the opportunity to tour one of the shops and learn how the ancient art is still alive.

During your free time here you'll have the chance to tour the world famous Etruscan Museum with the largest collection of Etruscan artifacts in the world. After having spent the morning getting lost in Volterra, we'll depart and wander east to stop at one of our favorite local family farms to have a visit of their operation and a tasting, followed by lunch. The farm covers ample acres of olive groves, vineyards, fields and forest. The farm's vineyards produce delicate white Vernaccia wine, a local specialty, along with several styles of robust Chianti. They also produce one of our favorite Tuscan olive oils, which along with the other farm products will figure prominently in our meal. The rule at their kitchen is you eat as much as you want, and then a little more!

After lunch we'll have the afternoon free for exploring the wonderfully bizarre town of San Gimignano. The high walls and narrow streets of this imposing fortress are typical of Tuscan hill towns, but the 14 medieval towers that dominate San Gimignano's skyline set it apart from all the rest. Here you can "get lost" in the maze of streets, shops, and cafes. San Gimignano is rumored to have one of the best gelato shops in all of Italy...may be worth a visit? For the not-so faint-of-heart, a tour of the fascinating (and gruesome) Museum of Medieval Justice will provide an interesting yet terrifying glimpse of the past.

Tonight you’re free for dinner, but to start the night off right we’ll take you to the abode of one of our favorite Tuscan wine sommeliers for a pre-dinner tasting of some amazing vintages! Then you’re off on your own…the bustling and vibrant nightlife of Siena's streets and squares invites you to find a cozy ristorante and laugh about the day's adventures with your friends over a bottle of the local vino and a plate of pasta. Finish your day with a late night gelato and a romantic stroll through Siena’s magnificent square, IL Campo.

Day 7 - The Chianti Region

This morning after breakfast we’ll meet our private guide, then depart for a day of exploring the renowned Chianti region and its quaint villages. Famous for its scenic beauty and wine production, Chianti typifies the perfect balance of cultivated vineyards, forested hills, and quaint medieval towns. Our first stop is one of the most historic castles in all of Italy, Castello di Brolio. The original formula for Chianti Classico wine was developed here by the "Iron Baron" Bettino Ricasoli in 1872, and in fact the Ricasoli family still lives in part of the castle! Our friend and local sommelier will accompany us today to explain grape and olive cultivation and harvesting, all while strolling on a picturesque country lane and admiring the stunning Chianti views.

Eventually we’ll arrive at the Cantina of the Brolio Castle, where we’ll enjoy a tour of their winemaking facility. No wine tasting here, though, because we’ll save that for after the tour, when we visit the massive Brolio castle perched on top of the mountain! While you wander the grounds of the castle and take as many pictures as possible, the guides will be preparing a picnic of regional delicacies. You’ll enjoy your lunch while relaxing on the walls of the castle, overlooking the vineyards and forests of the surrounding countryside. To make our picnic even more elegant, our resident sommelier will host a wine tasting of some of the fantastic wines of Toscana.

This afternoon is free in Siena. You can shop, explore, or just relax and enjoy the ambiance of this charming city. This evening we’ll enjoy a special farewell dinner at one of our favorite Siena ristorante. Adventures, (and misadventures), from the trip are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses and e- mails are copied, and heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with.

This evening you'll want to return to your hotel, where you can refresh, relax, and get ready for your special farewell dinner at one of our favorite Sorrento ristorante. Adventures, (and misadventures), from the trip are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses and e-mails are copied, and heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with.

Day 8 - Arrivederci Siena

Your Go Get Lost tour will end this morning with a group transfer to the airport in Florence. (Please coordinate with your group leader before booking your flights.) You also have the option to extend your tour and spend a few days in Florence on our Renaissance Florence tour, or you could head to the local train station to continue your travels in Italy. Your group leader can assist you with whatever arrangements you may need.

HOTELS

Due to availability at the time of booking, hotels listed may change to similar hotels

Rome – 4 Star Hotel Traoiano The Traiano Hotel is situated in one of the most convenient areas of the Italian Capital, in the heart of the historical center. Located next to Emperor Trajan’s forum, the Traoiano is housed in a renovated 18 th century building with 41 rooms furnished in classical style. Many major sites are within walking distance, and the hotel is located near to Via Nazionale, one of the most famous shopping streets of Rome.

Siena – 4 Star Hotel Athena With a perfect location just inside the walls of Siena’s old city, the Athena is in a quiet residential neighborhood only a short walk from the center of Siena and its famous piazza, Il Campo. Modern rooms are tastefully decorated with dark woods and muted colors. With furnishings by local artisans, colors that echo the tones of the Tuscan landscape and the many comforts available, you will feel completely at home at ease, surrounded by the warmth of a welcome you will always remember.

What´s Included

  • 4 nights dbl occy accommodations in Rome, in a 4-Star Hotel
  • 3 nights dbl occy accommodations in Siena, in 4-Star Hotel
  • 7 Breakfast, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners, 3 Wine Tastings (All group meals include water and
    local wine)
  • Half-day private guided tour of Ancient Rome
  • Half-day private guided tour of the Monuments of Rome
  • Day tour of Martin Luther’s Rome
  • All entrance fees at historical sites on tour
  • Arrival dinner in Rome
  • 3 lunches in unique Roman restaurants
  • Cooking class in Rome
  • Guided tour of Siena
  • Arrival dinner in Siena
  • Lunch at a Tuscan farm
  • Wine tasting by a Tuscan Sommelier
  • Tour of Chianti vineyard and cellars
  • Picnic and wine tasting on the walls of Brolio Castle
  • Excursions to Orvieto, Pienza, Volterra, San Gimignano and the Chianti region
  • Farewell dinner at a restaurant in Siena
  • All transfers as per itinerary
  • Group departure transfer to Florence airport
  • All gratuities for meals and coach drivers (Gratuity for primary local guides not included)

What´s not Included

  • Airfare package
  • Arrival transfers (Tour begins on the afternoon of Day 1 at the hotel in Rome, and ends with the group transfer to the airport in Florence on the morning of Day 8)
  • Visa fees, if applicable
  • Meals not specified in itinerary
  • Drinks at group meals (All group meals include water and local wine, other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are not included)
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
  • Single supplement charge
  • Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Gratuity for primary local tour guides

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