Contrasts of Italy

Realto Bridge, Venice
11 Days from $2,516 per person

Rolling hills of lush green and gold hues flash by as you travel by high-speed train from the ancient capital of Rome north to Venice, stopping in Florence to admire its historical treasures. 

Cross the Rialto Bridge in search of Marco Polo, cruise to St. Mark's Square and dine amidst three centuries of art and antiquities in the Vatican.

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Need help? call toll free 1-877-622-9109or
Make an inquiry online
  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Relax after your journey or take a stroll through the city's ancient streets. Join your companions and Travel Director this evening for a Welcome Reception and an orientation drive, which will be the perfect introduction to this magical city.
    hotel:Grand Palatino
  3. This morning your included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist begins with a visit to St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's magnificent Pietà. Your tour continues in ancient Rome with a visit to Circus Maximus, where chariot races were once held, and the impressive Colosseum. This afternoon, gain priority access to the Vatican Museums where a Local Specialist will take you on a guided tour. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel when it is less crowded and join an official representative of the Vatican Museums for a private guided tour of the Missionary Ethnological Museum, founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, with its remarkable collection of artworks and historical relics from missions all over the world. You'll also enjoy an exclusive dinner at the museum in the midst of three centuries of art, history and antiquities.
    meal(s):BB, RM
  4. Your day is free to see the sights of your choice. Consider taking an Optional Experience to Tivoli to see the house and gardens of the Villa d'Este - a marvelous example of Renaissance landscape architecture. This evening why not make a wish and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain?
  5. Take the high-speed train on a comfortable journey (1 hour 35 minutes) through scenic countryside to Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. Your Local Specialist shows you a wealth of historical treasures during your walking tour including the Ponte Vecchio. Visit the Fine Arts Academy to see one of the most famous works of the Renaissance – Michelangelo's statue of David. Finish at Piazza della Signoria, featuring wonderful sculptures and palazzi.
  6. Enjoy views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. A short drive along the Arno Valley brings you to Pisa, a former maritime city. Meet your Local Specialist and explore the Square of Miracles and see the famous Leaning Tower and the marble cathedral. See the Baptistery - the largest in Italy - and the cemetery, which is reputedly built on soil brought from the Holy Land. Relax this evening in Florence.
  7. Spend the day on your own exploring the delights of this historic and picturesque city. As well as museums and galleries there are beautiful gardens and wonderful palaces to discover such as the Boboli gardens and the Pitti Palace. There are many villages just outside the city where you can buy all manner of local specialties. Or shop for the latest fashions in Florence's elegant and sophisticated boutiques. This evening consider an Optional Experience in Chianti for dinner.
  8. All aboard the express train for Venice. Marvel at the scenery as you pass through the Apennine Mountains and across the Veneto plain. It takes just over two hours to reach Venice, its ornate Gothic and Renaissance palaces beautifully reflected in the Venetian lagoon. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into the Venetian tradition of glass making on Giudecca Island. Later consider a gondola ride along enchanting canals.
    hotel:Boscolo Bellini
  9. Savor the sights and sounds of this sublime island city as you cruise to St. Mark's Square by private launch. See the Bridge of Sighs, Palladian Churches, the Customs House, St. Mark's Basilica and Campanile as well as the Doge's Palace on your orientation of the city. Spend free time afterwards exploring on your own. Relax and experience ‘la dolce vita' at a sidewalk cafe. You might like to cruise to an island in the lagoon for a delicious meal.
  10. Your Local Specialist brings the city's rich heritage to life. Cross the Rialto Bridge and visit the ancient food market. Wander through the narrow streets and see the house of Marco Polo and other interesting and beautiful works of art. See the sights of your choice afterwards, then celebrate in the evening with your companions at a Farewell Dinner.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. Say ‘arrivederci' to Italy and your fellow travelers as this fascinating vacation comes to an end. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

Meal Summary

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 3 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Cultural Insight

  • Enjoy a private guided tour and exclusive dinner in the midst of three centuries of art, history and antiquities at the Vatican's Missionary Ethnological Museum. Witness the exquisite craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Venice
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and the Roman Colosseum in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice
  • View the ancient sites in Rome, the Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
23 Apr 17 3 May 17 checkmark $3,025$2,723pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,025 $2,723 pp
30 Apr 17 10 May 17 $3,025$2,723pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,025 $2,723 pp
7 May 17 17 May 17 checkmark $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
14 May 17 24 May 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
21 May 17 31 May 17 checkmark $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
28 May 17 7 Jun 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
4 Jun 17 14 Jun 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
11 Jun 17 21 Jun 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
18 Jun 17 28 Jun 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
25 Jun 17 5 Jul 17 checkmark $3,050$2,745pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,050 $2,745 pp
2 Jul 17 12 Jul 17 $2,925$2,633pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,925 $2,633 pp
9 Jul 17 19 Jul 17 $2,925$2,633pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,925 $2,633 pp
16 Jul 17 26 Jul 17 checkmark $2,875$2,588pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,875 $2,588 pp
23 Jul 17 2 Aug 17 $2,875$2,588pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,875 $2,588 pp
30 Jul 17 9 Aug 17 checkmark $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
6 Aug 17 16 Aug 17 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
13 Aug 17 23 Aug 17 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
20 Aug 17 30 Aug 17 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
27 Aug 17 6 Sep 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
3 Sep 17 13 Sep 17 checkmark $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
10 Sep 17 20 Sep 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
17 Sep 17 27 Sep 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
24 Sep 17 4 Oct 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
24 Sep 17 4 Oct 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
1 Oct 17 11 Oct 17 checkmark $3,025$2,723pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,025 $2,723 pp
8 Oct 17 18 Oct 17 $3,025$2,723pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,025 $2,723 pp
15 Oct 17 25 Oct 17 $3,025$2,723pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,025 $2,723 pp


Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $760 p.p.

Triple Discount: $100 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $55 per person.

Shared Rooming: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Airport transfers: On arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport transfers will operate at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 am and 9:30 am.

Cruise Connection: This trip starts or ends in a popular cruise port, so you can combine a cruise with a more in-depth guided vacation in Europe.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Italy must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Italy.

  • The currency in Italy is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in Italy, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Italy. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) is the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a limoncello or grappa.  Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink.  Find out about some local specialties to try in Italy’s top destinations below.


    Food in Florence is simple and humble, and relies on the fresh ingredients of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Many of the local recipes have evolved from peasant dishes to international favorites. Bread is an important staple in Florentine cooking, and is featured in everything from antipasti (appetizers) such as bruschetta to traditional main dishes. Panzanella is a popular summer salad prepared with day old crusty bread and tomatoes.  Papa al pomodoro is a delicious soup made with bread, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs.  You’ll also find a variety of dishes featuring white beans, including the hearty ribollita soup.  But the flagship of Florentine cuisine remains the famous bistecca alla fiorentina (T-bone steak).  For a sweet finish, meals are topped off with traditional cantuccini (almond cookies) and the local vin santo dessert wine.


    A visit to Venice offers an opportunity to discover a variety of truly unique gastronomic traditions.  Venetians have a long-standing tradition of eating cicchetti, small bites similar to Spanish tapas. You can enjoy a variety of these before lunch or dinner, paired with a glass of local wine at restaurants and bars around town. Other common dishes include polenta, risotto with peas, salted cod, sardines, and local bigoli pasta.  


    Roman cuisine is deeply rooted in the past. Despite the city’s imperial history, the food in Rome and the surrounding Lazio region is anything but refined.  Humble pasta dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and cacio e peppe (pecorino cheese and pepper) are local favorites served in trattorias around town. Other foods to try in Rome include pizza, a variety of fritti (fritters) made with everything from salted cod to zucchini flours, stewed oxtail, suppli (rice and Bolognese sauce croquettes) and sharp pecorino cheese. For dessert, try crostata di ricotta (Italian cheesecake) or zeppole (donuts).

  • In Italy, the weather changes very quickly, with temperatures varying from morning to night. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


Similar Trips

Great Italian Cities
Forum, Rome

Great Italian Cities

11 Days from $2,295
Trip not yet reviewed
Easy Pace Italy
Piazza Navona, Rome

Easy Pace Italy

11 Days from $2,565
Trip not yet reviewed
Best of Italy
Ancient Pompeii

Best of Italy

14 Days from $2,925
Italy Bellissimo
Canals of Venice

Italy Bellissimo

12 Days from $2,408
Trip not yet reviewed

Sign up for Special Offerings

Receive the latest news, announcements, special offers, and more on Grand European Travel vacations! Simply fill in the form below and submit to be added to our mailing list.