Best of Italy (Premium) (Winter Season)

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Tour Pace: Active
The Vatican
Tour Style: Premium
12 Days from $2,708 per person

Roman antiquities, saintly Assisi, Venetian canals, Renaissance Florence and Capri's brilliant sunlight are brought together in this superb tour of Italy, with the option to end in Naples or Rome, on autumn, winter or spring tours. In spring, you'll also get to enjoy Capri's brilliant sunlight.

This page shows Winter Season departures and itinerary; click here to see the main season version of this tour!

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and uniquely Roman Welcome Dinner.

    meal(s):WD
    hotel:Romanico Palace, Rome
  3. Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included guided walking tour in the morning has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon - the best preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time in Piazza Navona. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to do as the Romans do, or explore more gems of the 'Eternal City'. Why not join a tour inside the mighty Colosseum?

    meal(s):BB
  4. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums with our special VIP entrance to avoid the crowds and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase. Head into the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter's Basilica, marvel at another of his works, the emotive 'Pieta', and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. Journey north through glorious Tuscan landscapes to reach Renaissance Florence.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Athenaeum Personal Hotel, Florence
  5. Join a local art historian for a walking tour of the historic city center. A highlight is the visit to the Accademia Gallery to study Michelangelo's monumental statue, ‘David’. Continue to the multi-colored marble cathedral to admire Giotto's bell tower and ‘Gates of Paradise'. Visit the Piazza della Signoria and the area around Santa Croce Basilica. After a demonstration of leather-work, there's free time to shop or continue sightseeing. In the evening, don't miss the chance to sample the fine Florentine cuisine - tasty starters and rich pastas accompanied by Chianti wine.

    meal(s):BB
  6. In the morning, journey to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. After, enjoy the scenery as you cross the spectacular Apennines, through the Emilia-Romagna region. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian Lagoon before crossing the causeway to the unique city of Venice.

    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Starhotels Splendid, Venice
  7. Walk to St. Mark's Square and see the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. Turn the corner, and the gilded regalia of St. Mark's Basilica will come into view. A visit to an arts center on Giudecca Island will allow you to admire the age-old skill of glassblowing. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals.

    meal(s):BB
  8. Leave Venice and continue through the Appennines to peaceful Assisi, one of Italy's most beautiful mountain towns. See the famous Church of St. Mary of the Angels, much venerated as the place of St. Francis' death, then continue up Mount Subasio to the upper town. With your Local Expert, step inside the huge Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century, where the frescoes by Giotto heralded a new era in Italian art.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Giotto Hotel & Spa, Assisi
  9. An early start as you travel southwards past Cassino, scene of a fierce battle in World War II. Follow the spectacular clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Regina, Sorrento
  10. In the morning, cruise to the Isle of Capri. Take a funicular ride up to Capri town where your Local Expert will take you around the narrow alleyways and you can enjoy views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine.

    meal(s):BB, CD
  11. Journey to Pompeii for a walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets and the Forum, before continuing to your hotel in Rome. 

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Romanico Palace, Rome
  12. Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 7:00 am and 9:30 am.

    meal(s):BB
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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.

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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.
  • Definite Departure
  • Christmas Markets
  • Festive Celebrations
  • Alternative Hotel
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
3 Nov 17 14 Nov 17 checkmark $2,850pp Call 1-877-622-9109
Christmas Markets
1 Dec 17 12 Dec 17 checkmark $2,850$2,708pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 26 Request Quote Book Now
Christmas Markets
8 Dec 17 19 Dec 17 checkmark $2,850pp Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
18 Dec 17 29 Dec 17 checkmark $2,875pp Request Quote Book Now
18 Dec 17 29 Dec 17 checkmark $2,875pp Call 1-877-622-9109
Alternative Hotel
27 Dec 17 7 Jan 18 checkmark $3,150$2,993pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 26 Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
27 Dec 17 7 Jan 18 checkmark $3,150$2,993pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 26 Call 1-877-622-9109
9 Mar 18 20 Mar 18 checkmark $2,850$2,708pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 26 Request Quote Book Now
16 Mar 18 27 Mar 18 checkmark $2,850pp Call 1-877-622-9109
  • Christmas Markets: This departure contains visits to select Christmas Markets
  • Festive Celebrations: Christmas and/or New Year Celebrations have been arranged for these departures.
  • Alternative Hotel: This departure may include alternate hotels in select cities.

 

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 $140 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $97 per person.

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.

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

  • 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
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Included Quality Dining

10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

Signature Experience

ROME:

  • Sightsee the local way with a leisurely walk through the backstreets, where our friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.
  • With a Local Expert, gain VIP fast-track entrance into the Vatican Museums and enjoy a special private viewing of the Bramante Stairs, before witnessing the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

FLORENCE:

  • Gain a fascinating insight into the work of Michelangelo's masterpiece statue, David, with a Renaissance art expert during your visit to the Accademia Museum.

ASSISI:

  • With your Local Expert, find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe.

ISLE OF CAPRI:

  • Cruise to the famous island of Capri and explore the narrow alleyways with a Local Expert.

POMPEII:

  • Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.

Top Rated Highlights

PISA:

  • See the famous Leaning Tower.

VENICE:

  • Enjoy a traditional gondola ride with a serenade through the romantic canals.

ISLE OF CAPRI:

  • In unique style, enjoy a ride on one of the island’s iconic open-top taxis.

Reviews

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Great guide , Margaret was wonderful and patient.
Vacation : Hotels were to be four star, but two were very sub par I would rate maybe two star. The Antheneum Hotel in Florence had the toilet partially under the sink ,so you had to sit sideways to use it. The room was small and tight. Picture is included. In Assisi we stayed at the Giotto hotel,even though some Insight guests had good rooms with a view. My wife and I had a tiny room with a view of the alley. This might have been better if we had a marginal bed . The mattress was about 4 inches thick and felt straw filled. It might have been St Francis` original bed from 700 years ago. Good accomodations make a good touring trip. When 30% of your hotel picks are terrible it wrecks the trip for me. Danny Rioux/Users/dannyrioux/Desktop/IMG_0319.jpg
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are sorry to hear about your disappointment with some of the hotels on this trip.  We will share your comments with Trafalgar's Quality Control team for immediate review.  Thank you for bring this to our attention.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Very organized and well planned itinerary. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about each place we visited.
Vacation : Was worth paying a bit extra to have all details taken care of. No waiting in lines, comfortable transportation.
  • 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. 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.

    Florence

    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.

    Venice

    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.  

    Rome

    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.

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