A recommended itinerary from the Andrew Harper Travel Office.
Arrive in Rome and check in to the chic and contemporary Hotel de Russie, the elegant Hotel Eden or the intimate and stylish Inn at the Roman Forum. Relax before taking a short walking tour, including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
Focus on ancient Rome today, starting with a visit to the Coliseum. Explore the ruins of the adjacent Forum, the former heart of Roman civic life. Just up the hill, visit the Capitoline Museums, repositories of ancient masterpieces such as "The Dying Gaul," the "Capitoline Venus" and the "Capitoline Wolf," the symbol of Rome.
Turn your attention to papal Rome with a special visit to the Vatican Gardens, ordinarily closed to the public. Enjoy lunch nearby before visiting the Vatican Museums, where a reservation ensures easy access. View Michelangelo's famed Sistine Chapel frescoes and his moving "Pietà," located in the immense St. Peter's Basilica.
The 16th-century Villa Giulia houses an incredible array of unique Etruscan artifacts, including furniture, sarcophagi and sculptures. After visiting this uncrowded jewel of a museum, take an afternoon at your leisure, starting with a gourmet picnic lunch in the nearby Borghese Gardens.
After shopping for fresh produce, meet with a top pizzaiolo for a private pizza-making class. Once you've perfected your technique, dine on your creations for lunch. Thus fortified, view Bernini's stunning "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" before heading to the elegant Borghese Gallery. Never crowded, this museum boasts arresting masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio and Raphael.
Take a gastronomic walking tour this morning, visiting the Palazzo Spada, a local baker and the colorful market of Campo di Fiore. Finish with a wine, salumi and cheese-tasting in a gourmet salumeria. Explore the city's ancient catacombs during the afternoon.
Enjoy a leisurely morning in Rome. Check out of your hotel and transfer 45 minutes to La Posta Vecchia, a sumptuously restored 17th-century villa overlooking the Mediterranean, formerly the retreat of J. Paul Getty.
Make an excursion to nearby Cerveteri, site of a monumental Etruscan necropolis. Continue to tranquil Lake Bracciano, dotted with medieval villages and castles and perfect for canoeing (weather permitting).
Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach of Fregene, visit medieval Viterbo or tour the ruins of Ostia Antica, ancient Rome's thriving port city.
Return to Rome's Fiumicino Airport and depart.