Rome, Florence & Venice Carnival 12 days / Special Event Tours
About This Experience
Just before Lent, the city nicknamed La Serenissima (most serene) opens up into a wild world of luxury, indulgence and merriment. Discover Venice at its most vibrant during the city’s annual Carnival. There, you’ll don a traditional masquerade mask and take to the streets with thousands of revelers from near and far. But, before the festivities begin, your Italian adventure starts in Eternal Rome and makes its way to Renaissance Florence.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Carnival is one of Italy’s liveliest traditions
You’ll party like a Venetian, mask & all
Renaissance art at every turn in Florence
History feels tangible in ancient Rome
Locals give you the low-down in each city
You’ll find out what it truly means to eat
Overnight Flight1 night
Rome4 nights - hotel info
Benvenuto to Rome, your new home away from home
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. If you have taken our pre-tour extension to Rome, join the rest of your tour today. The rest of the day is free to begin your explorations of Rome. At tonight’s included dinner, meet your fellow travelers.
Discover how one city’s ruins became the world’s treasures
Follow in the footsteps of Caesar during your guided sightseeing tour of Rome. Highlights include the Colosseum, where 50,000 spectators cheered their favorite gladiators to victory, and the ruins of the Forum Romanum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire. This afternoon is free to further your explorations of ancient Rome. Visit the Pantheon, or tour one of Rome’s many important churches.
Explore the Eternal City or venture to a city eternally frozen in time
Enjoy another free day in Rome or join an optional excursion to excavated Pompeii, an ancient Roman city buried in volcanic ash in A.D. 79.
Pompeii with Lunch $165* pp
Travel to Pompeii for a guided tour of the famous ruins. Discover how Roman citizens lived 2,000 years ago, before Mount Vesuvius erupted in and smothered the town of Pompeii in a flood of volcanic ash. Visit the excavated ruins of theaters, villas, temples and baths. Lunch is included. Please note: Travel time to Pompeii is approximately 2.5 hours each way.
Do Rome your way (and toss a coin into the Trevi to do it over again)
Spend a free day in Rome however you choose. Take in all the art and architecture that greet the eye at every turn—from relics of Caesar’s reign to treasures of Renaissance and Baroque art. Stroll across the Spanish Steps. See Bernini’s captivating Fountain of the Four Rivers and stop at the legendary Trevi Fountain, into which centuries of visitors have tossed coins to ensure their eventual return to Rome. You might also wish to join an optional excursion to Vatican City, featuring visits to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Opt to end the day at a Dinner with Tenors, an evening of food and live music.
Vatican City $85* pp
This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sunday. Advanced reservation and booking is required prior to your final payment deadline.
Dinner with Tenors $79* pp
End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!
Florence3 nights - hotel info
Perched on a pedestal of volcanic rock, sits a colossal cathedral
As you journey to Florence, stop at the ancient Etruscan stronghold of Orvieto. Situated on a pedestal of volcanic rock, the lovely town of Orvieto boasts one of the finest Italian Gothic cathedrals in the country. Travel to this impressive medieval city by funicular and take in views of the surrounding Volscian Mountains. Continue on to the timeless city of Florence, birthplace of the Italian language, the Renaissance and opera. Dinner is included tonight.
Birthplace of the Renaissance, Italian language and your next epiphany
Church of Santa Croce
This morning’s guided sightseeing of Florence introduces you to the city’s Renaissance splendor. Marvel at Brunelleschi’s masterpiece—Florence’s massive pink, white and green Duomo, complemented by Giotto’s Campanile. Then discover the church of Santa Croce, where the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo, as well as the Dante Memorial are displayed. You’ll also see the Palazzo Signoria, which serves as an open-air gallery of ancient and Renaissance statues. During free time in Florence, choose to admire the world’s finest collection of Renaissance art at the Uffizi Gallery. Stroll along the romantic Arno River or visit the Accademia Galleria to view Michelangelo’s early masterpiece, the sublime statue of David, sculpted when the artist was 26 years old. This afternoon join an optional excursion to Pisa, where you’ll see the 12th-century Leaning Tower and visit both the adjacent cathedral and the Baptistery. Tonight, opt to travel to the hilltop village of Fiesole for a drive through town, dinner at a local restaurant and views of Florence.
Pisa $69* pp
Travel through the Tuscan countryside for a visit to Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). You'll see the famed Leaning Tower and enjoy a tour of the adjacent cathedral and the Baptistery of St. John.
Dinner in Fiesole $65* pp
Take a scenic ride to the town of Fiesole, where you'll be treated to some of the region's best cuisine over a relaxing three-course dinner. Unmatched views of nearby Florence serve as the perfect complement to your indulgent meal. Fiesole sits on a hill overlooking Florence, and its views of the city have been prized since pre-Roman times.
Go with the flow in Florence or escape to the Tuscan hills
Enjoy another free day in Florence. Alternatively, you could also join an optional excursion to Siena & San Gimignano in the Tuscan countryside. You’ll begin in Siena, where you’ll enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Siena’s glorious scenery and landmarks, including the cathedral and the famed Campo. Continue on to San Gimignano, where you might choose to visit the Palazzo del Popolo or the Citadel. On your way back to Florence, stop to sample some of the region’s finest wines.
Siena & San Gimignano $105* pp
Discover the essence of Tuscany on a full-day excursion. In Siena, a local guide introduces you to the town and its black-and-white marble duomo, where you'll find brilliantly colored 16th-century frescoes in the Piccolomini Library. You'll have some free time to explore the Campo, the square that serves as the center of civic life in Siena. Then, journey through the countryside to the town of San Gimignano, where you'll have some free time to explore the city's medieval towers or simply admire the Tuscan hills. As the sun begins to set, you'll head to a nearby vineyard, where an included wine tasting awaits. Please note: This excursion involves moderate walking.
Venice3 nights - hotel info
A weeklong celebration of indulgence—sounds too good, but it’s true
Cross the sprawling plains of the Po Valley to the city of Venice. Your introduction to Carnival begins with a course on the history of the famous Carnival masks followed by a workshop during which you’ll create your own mask. Then, take to the streets and join the revelry! Since the Middle Ages, Venice has celebrated the coming holy season of Lent with a bacchanal featuring fantastical masks, lavish galas and a citywide sense of merriment. This is Carnival, an annual jubilee in which Venetians take to the streets in Renaissance costumes to dance, laugh and perhaps eat and drink a bit more than is sensible. How you spend the rest of the day is up to you, but whatever you choose to do, you’ll always remember your Carnival in Venice.
La Serenissima springs to life along its winding canals and piazzas
Experience the romance of La Serenissima during a guided sightseeing tour. Visit the Gothic Doge’s Palace, once the political heart of this powerful maritime empire. Wind through the maze-like streets and view several important churches. Afterwards, consider joining an optional gondola tour with music.
Gondola Ride With Music $65* pp
More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, join your fellow travelers for a tour through the canals of Venice. A musician serenades you as your gondola cruises through the city. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits. A private two-person gondola ride is available for an additional $100 per person.
Gondola Ride for Two $165* pp
More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, you'll enjoy a private, serenaded gondola cruise through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.
Don your mask, join the party and get a taste of the sweet life
You’ll have free time today to explore the city on your own. Find a hidden trattoria and enjoy a delicious Venetian lunch. Stroll across the Rialto Bridge or follow alleyways lined with boutiques of handblown glass treasures. Or simply don a mask and join in with the throngs of partygoers all around you. Alternatively, enjoy an optional tour of the beautiful islands of Burano and Torcello. Tonight, don your Carnival mask and join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner followed by a tasting of Carnival sweets, including fritelle, chiacchere and castagnole.
Burano & Torcello $65* pp
Visit the islands of the Venetian lagoon, a favorite day trip for locals and travelers alike. First travel by water taxi to Torcello, where the story of Venice began. It was here that mainlanders sought a safe haven from invading barbarians. Step inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, whose famous mosaics depict The Last Judgement. The next stop is the tiny fishing village of Burano, where brightly colored homes greet visitors. Wander as you please throughout Burano, and be sure to stop in at the island's bakeries.
Extend Your Stay
Add Rome $299*
Only in Rome could you sip cappuccino at a café in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market and see the Pope at his window—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.
Overnight Flight1 night - hotel info
Rome2 nights - hotel info
Rise and shine (we hear gelato makes for an amazing breakfast)
Breakfast (in flight)
Arrive this morning in Rome. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Rome’s plethora of piazzas and cafés. You might search for the city’s best gelato or people-watch at the Trevi Fountain. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to the Catacombs and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Catacombs & St. Paul's $65* pp
Descend into Rome’s ancient catacombs, where early Christians buried saints and popes alongside commoners. A local guide will lead you through burial chambers before your visit to the Basilica of St. Paul, one of the four most important basilicas of Rome, originally founded by Constantine the Great. The Basilica also houses the tomb of St. Paul. Please note: Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted within the basilica. Also, this excursion involves extensive walking and may be inadvisable for claustrophobic travelers.
Eat, explore, indulge in a little more of la dolce vita
Enjoy another free day in Rome. You might choose to get to know some of the city’s districts, such as Trastevere, a charming neighborhood known for its winding cobblestone streets and collection of quaint shops and restaurants. Or, spend the morning at the Villa Borghese on our optional excursion.
Borghese Gallery & Museum $69* pp
Today, take a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery, home to one of Italy's finest art collections. Situated in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, the gallery consists of 20 rooms spanning two floors and features major works by Bernini, Raphael, Canova, Titian and Caravaggio. Please note: This excursion requires advanced booking at least 30 days before your departure.
Passport & Visa
In order to enter Italy, U.S. citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return to the United States. No visa is required for U.S. citizens. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks when traveling to Italy. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Venice and depart from Rome. When you first arrive in Venice, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation on “Rome, Florence & Venice Carnival” is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the three cities on foot or by public transportation. In Venice, each section of the city is connected by water bus (least expensive), water taxi or gondola. You can purchase discounted bulk passes from vendors or purchase single tickets at each dock. Florence is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available. Purchase tickets at tobacconists or at vending machines. Rome offers both underground transportation and bus service to the city’s major attractions. Subway and bus tickets may be purchased separately or in bulk. “Rome, Florence & Venice Carnival” does involve a moderate amount of walking.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
The euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy rather than in the United States, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Go Ahead Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
Visiting Venice (Venezia) Italy for Carnevale 2012
Words simply cannot describe the experience of being a part of the world famous Carnevale 2012 in Venice, Italy as part of Go Ahead Tours "Rome, Florence and Venice with Carnevale" Tour. From the excellent hotels which were perfectly located in each city (within walking distance of all ot the sights and festivities), free WI-FI in each of the hotels, delicious meals and the rewarding optional excursions...this tour was truly outstanding from beginning to end. GoAhead you are truly to be commended for doing such a great job in putting this tour together!!! I am encouraging all of my friends to consider this tour for or another Go Ahead Tour for 2013. Thanks!!!!