Gladiators, Gondolas & Gold

Colosseum Gladiators
11 Days from $2,273 per person

Hold on to your helmet for this family expedition marching through the Eternal City of Rome, illustrious Florence and the historic lagoon of Venice. 

Experience life as a Roman gladiator and learn the basics of sword-fighting, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and create your own Venetian Carnival mask before devouring the pizza you've just learnt to make.

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Italy. After check-in take a wander through the city's ancient streets and soak up the amazing atmosphere. This afternoon meet with your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Kick-off Party.
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. Your Local Specialist takes you on a sightseeing tour starting with a guided visit of the Vatican Museums featuring Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Explore St. Peter's Basilica, one of the holiest sites in the world. Across the Tiber in ancient Rome, visit the Colosseum, former site of gladiatorial combat, and see the other ancient sites of Rome.
  4. Today experience life as a Roman gladiator. After a short introduction to Roman history from your Local Specialist, you will learn the basics of gladiatorial sword fighting - an experience to remember forever. This afternoon explore the city on your own. Rome's rich history is apparent everywhere you look and there is so much to see and do. Perhaps take a trip to the Castel Sant'Angelo, relax in the Villa Borghese or throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain. This evening gain a Cultural Insight during an authentic Italian pizza cooking demonstration and enjoy a slice or two.
    meal(s):BB, RM
  5. After a leisurely start this morning drive north through picturesque scenery to the Renaissance city of Florence for a three-night stay.
    hotel:Grand Hotel Mediterraneo
  6. See the sights of Florence during your walking tour with a Local Specialist including the magnificent Duomo and the famous Baptistery. Marvel at Michelangelo's statue of David at the Academy of Fine Arts. Afterwards your Travel Director will take you to indulge in a refreshing gelato in the city where it was invented. This evening join your companions for a special Be My Guest dinner at a magnificent Tuscan villa with beautiful views across olive groves and vineyards. The villa has featured as a film location in numerous films including 'A Room with a View' by James Ivory. You will be hosted by the family and enjoy local specialties.
    meal(s):BB, BG
  7. Cross the Arno Valley to Pisa. In the UNESCO World Heritage Site Piazza del Duomo see the famous Leaning Tower as well as the beautiful sculpted marble cathedral. See the Baptistery and the cemetery built on soil from Calvary in the Holy Land. Later arrive back to Florence to enjoy free time exploring the city.
  8. Cross the dramatic Apennine Mountains and stop in Bologna – the home of ‘Bolognese Sauce' – for a wonderful sightseeing tour with your Local Specialist. Arrive later this afternoon in the magical island city of Venice – Queen of the Adriatic.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Novotel Venezia Mestre Castellana
  9. Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square and view the Bridge of Sighs where condemned prisoners caught their last glimpse of the city. View the exquisite Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica and the Campanile. Experience a Cultural Insight first hand during a glassblowing demonstration and learn about the Venetian tradition of Carnival masks with the chance to paint and decorate your own. Later perhaps take a ride on a gondola – it's a great way to see the city in all its glory.
  10. Glide along the canals to the Rialto Bridge. Gain a Cultural Insight on your visit to an ancient food market and see the hidden parts of Venice during your Small Group Sightseeing walking tour. Later join your fellow travelers for a delicious Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant in Mestre.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. Say ‘ciao Italia' at the end of your successful Italian adventure as you prepare to return home with fantastic memories of your family vacation. Airport 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
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Meal Summary

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 5 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Enjoy local Tuscan cuisine with Count Miari Fulcis on his 15th century organic olive oil estate in the Tuscan hills, used as a location for many famous films like ‘Room with a View' and ‘Tea with Mussolini'

Cultural Insight

  • Experience life as a gladiator with an included visit to a Gladiator School in Rome. Learn how to make authentic pizza in Rome and then savor the taste of your creation. Indulge in an Italian gelato at a local ‘gelateria' in Florence. Learn about the Venetian tradition of carnival masks and paint your own to take home and visit a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island

Small Group Sightseeing

  • A guided walking tour of 'Secret Venice' to the Rialto food market with a group size of no more than 25 guests

Local Specialist

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

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice
  • Orientation of Pisa
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the amazing Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa on Piazza del Duomo, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
1 Jun 17 11 Jun 17 $2,595$2,336pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,595 $2,336 pp
8 Jun 17 18 Jun 17 checkmark $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
15 Jun 17 25 Jun 17 checkmark $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
22 Jun 17 2 Jul 17 checkmark $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
29 Jun 17 9 Jul 17 checkmark $2,575$2,318pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,575 $2,318 pp
6 Jul 17 16 Jul 17 checkmark $2,575$2,318pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,575 $2,318 pp
13 Jul 17 23 Jul 17 $2,575$2,318pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,575 $2,318 pp
20 Jul 17 30 Jul 17 $2,575$2,318pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,575 $2,318 pp
27 Jul 17 6 Aug 17 checkmark $2,550$2,295pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,550 $2,295 pp
3 Aug 17 13 Aug 17 $2,525$2,273pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,525 $2,273 pp
10 Aug 17 20 Aug 17 $2,525$2,273pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,525 $2,273 pp
17 Aug 17 27 Aug 17 $2,525$2,273pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,525 $2,273 pp
24 Aug 17 3 Sep 17 $2,525$2,273pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,525 $2,273 pp
31 Aug 17 10 Sep 17 $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
7 Sep 17 17 Sep 17 $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
14 Sep 17 24 Sep 17 $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp
21 Sep 17 1 Oct 17 $2,650$2,385pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,650 $2,385 pp

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

Young Traveller Discount: $250

Single Room Supplement: from $420 p.p.

Triple Discount: $285 p.p.

Quad Discount: $425 p.p.

Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $71 per person.

Shared Rooming: Room Share is not available on this trip. Single rooms are not available unless traveling as part of a family group.

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’s Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 am and 9:30 am.

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

AARP members SAVE $100 per person on any guided vacation or river cruise!

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only 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.


Sunday, July 3, 2016
Gladiators, Gondola's and Gold
Service rating : Our Italy trip exceeded our expectations.
Product : Our tour manager, Dominic, was terrific.

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