Greek & Italian Soccer Dream

Greek & Italian Soccer Dream
Arrive at the airport of Athens, where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy free time in Athens for a firsthand look at the beauty and culture of this famous city which dates back to 1200 B.C. An orientation briefing will take place before dinner. Dinner and overnight.
After your breakfast, follow your guide to the world-renowned Acropolis to see the architectural miracles of the Golden Age of Pericles: the Propylea, the Erechtheum and, above all, the Parthenon (temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom). Take in a panoramic view of the city and observe the Agora (marketplace) where many ancient philosophers spent their time. Continue with a bus tour of the center of Athens and admire the Old Olympic Stadium, the National University, the Academy, the National Library, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square with the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and much more. You will also visit the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, one of the finest in the world. Its superb collections of sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and frescoes really stand out and are not to be missed. You can learn more about mythology, ancient religion, art and representations of divinities and various social groups like priests, soldiers or philosophers. Afterwards we will visit the soccer stadium and training ground of Panathinaikos FC. You will have the chance to visit the famous Athletic Center in Paiania. For the last 24 years, the athletic center in Paiania has been the only complete and modern athletic center in Greece and is considered to be one of the best in Europe. The building of the center was part of the vision the Vardinoyannis family had, to upgrade Greek soccer. The main functions of the center are the soccer Academy and the scientific and comfortable preparation of the professional soccer team. The environment in the Athletic Center is of high standards. For this reason, top European teams visit the center every year and many of them have conducted their preparation and training in Paiania. The Center was built in 1981 and consists of 70 acres of green land. Finally, we will visit Panathinaikos’ soccer stadium which is situated in the center of Athens. The stadium’s capacity is for about 15,000 spectators. Afterwards you will play a friendly game with a Greek soccer team. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Start your 4-day tour by traveling to scenic Delphi, one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth, according to a poet. Drive through beautiful countryside, pass the cities of Thiva (Thebes) and Livadia where we will visit the town’s soccer stadium and training ground. Levadiakos (Livadia’s soccer team) is a very famous team in the Greek Soccer League as it’s one of the oldest and wealthiest teams. We leave Livadia to drive to the town of Arachova, well-known for its local industry of rugs, carpets and leather goods. Arrive at Delphi and explore the archaeological site, which was once believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the world. Walk on the Sacred Way to see the Athenian Treasury, the Temple of Apollo where the oracle delivered her ambiguous prophecies, and the Theater. Also visit the Museum with its splendid collection of ancient works of art, including the Sphinx of the Naxians, the Silver Bull, the Column of the Dancers, the “Omphalos” and the pride of the museum, the 5 th c. B.C. bronze “Charioteer”. Dinner and overnight in Delphi.
Drive over the new “hanging” bridge, which connects the Peloponnese to the region of Continental Greece in order to reach Olympia. Spend your afternoon in Olympia, admiring the splendors of this unique place where the ancient Greek ideas of unity, peace, and fair play flourished. See the impressive ruins of Hera and Zeus’s Temples, the Leonidaion, the Workshop of the sculptor Pheidias and of course, the famous Stadium where the Olympic Games were held. Also visit the Museum with its new display of amazing pieces of sculpture, pottery and the architectural remains of the ancient edifices. Don’t miss the pride of this museum, the “Hermes” of Praxiteles, one of the most wonderful ancient statues ever made. Afterwards we go to Patras, the capital of Peloponnese, for dinner and overnight.
After your breakfast, drive to Epidaurus, the site of the most popular Sanctuary of Asclepius in ancient Greece. Nowadays it is visited by thousands of people who want to admire the spectacular Theater and test its astonishing acoustics. This amazing theater is preserved in an almost perfect condition, while the other remaining beautiful edifices of the sanctuary, where the healings used to take place in a mystical manner, lie in ruins at a small distance from the Theater. In the small Museum nearby, find a number of stelae with medical records of the sanctuary and also a collection of surgical instruments which were used by the physicians-priests of Asclepius. You then continue to Nauplion, one of the most attractive towns in the country. Get acquainted with this lovely town which was the first capital of Greece. Stroll around the promenade and explore its narrow streets and picturesque squares. Back to Patras and in the afternoon, you will play your second friendly game. Dinner and overnight.
After breakfast at the hotel you will have a city tour of Patras. First you will pass in front of the City Hall, which built in 1880 and has been used as a city hall since 1910. Its interior is decorated with the beautiful paintings of Patras' famous local painter E. Thomopoulos. (108, Mezonos & Votsi str). Then you see the impressive architecture of the Church of Agios Andreas, the largest Orthodox Church in the Balkans (capacity 5,500 people). Beautiful religious paintings and icons decorate the interior while visitors can see the saint's skull and part of the cross he was crucified on. On the exact spot where Saint Andreas died a martyr to his faith lies the old basilica, built on the ruins of the ancient temple of goddess Demeter. You will also see the Roman Odeon. Dated back to 160 A.C., the odeon was banked up through the years, was rediscovered in 1889, restored in 1952 and, since then, has been hosting the performances and concerts of the International Summer Festival (capacity 2,000 people). In its yard, you can see sarcophagi and beautiful mosaics of the Roman period. Not very far from the Roman odeon is the location of the Castle. It was constructed by the emperor Justinian over the ruins of Patras' ancient acropolis, where a variety of archaeological finds are displayed today. Through the ages, the castle was conquered and reconstructed by the Franks, Constantinos Paleologos, the Venetians and the Turks. Later you will visit Patras Soccer Stadium and training ground. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the port of Patras for our embarkation on the ferry to Bari.
Spend an exciting day at sea sailing in crystal-blue waters past beautiful islands, before docking at Bari. Dinner and overnight on board.
You arrive in Bari and you will be transferred by private coach to Rome. Arrival in Rome in the afternoon. Check-in at hotel. Dinner and overnight.
After breakfast you start with the classical tour of Rome. Crossing Piazza della Repubblica with the Fountain of the Nayads, your guide will take you on a pleasant stroll through the historical center where you can admire the Trevi Fountain, La Colonna di Marco Aurelio, the Palazzo di Montecitorio, designed by Bernini, the Pantheon (visit inside), Palazzo Madama seat of the senate, and Piazza Navona. Passing alongside Castel S. Angelo, the bus will leave you close to Vatican City. Having admired St. Peter's Square, where you can hear all the guide has to say about the Basilica, you will then have the chance to explore this magnificent church on your own and to admire masterpieces such as Michelangelo's la Pietà and Bernini's bronze canopy before rejoining the bus and returning to the vicinity of your hotel (except when there are religious celebrations). In the afternoon you will visit Rome’s sport centre Longarina where you will have the chance to play a friendly game with an Italian soccer team. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 10
This morning you start with the Imperial Rome tour. You arrive by coach at Piazza Venezia with its impressive monument dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II and the Unknown Soldier. Then continue on foot to the famous Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo and take in a fantastic view of the Roman Forum. From there, the coach will continue by the Circus Maximus and the Pyramid of Caius Cestius before arriving at the Basilica of St. Paul outside the walls (visit inside). The tour will be completed with a stop outside the imposing Colosseum. Return to the hotel. In the afternoon you will watch an Italian professional game. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 11
Fly back home full of wonderful memories of your journey and valuable soccer experiences.

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