Best of Italy (Premium) (Winter Season)

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Tour Pace: Active
The Vatican
Tour Style: Premium
12 Days from $3,048 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.

    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?

  4. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art treasures collected by the Popes. Insight has arranged special VIP entry to avoid the crowds and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally off-limits to visitors. Visit the Sistine Chapel where the Popes are elected to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Continue to St. Peter's Basilica, to wonder at another of his works, the emotive ‘Pietà,' and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. Travel through picturesque Tuscany, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides. Visit a local estate to learn about the product of their delicious wines as you savor a tasting. Your journey then continues on to Renaissance Florence where dinner is served at your hotel.

    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.

  6. In the morning, journey to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles as well as the baptistery, with its intricately detailed marble facade, and the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the cathedral. Then relax and enjoy the scenery as you cross the spectacular Apennine Mountains, through the Emilia-Romagna region - one of Europe's most intensely farmed fertile plains. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian Lagoon before crossing the causeway into the floating city of Venice. In the evening, venture to a local restaurant for a delightful night of dinner and wine.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    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.

  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. Travel south passing Cassino, the scene of a fierce battle during World War II. Follow the spectacular clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples to Mount Vesuvious. On arrival, investigate the art of intarsio, beautiful marquetry wood inlaying, before checking in to your hotel to spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

    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, DW
  11. Continue to Pompeii, the opulent Roman town which was preserved by layers of ash from the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. A walk with your Local Expert through the cobbled streets and extensive excavations reveals the daily life of ancient Roman civilization. Visit the Forum and peer into shops and patrician villas, decorated with colorful wall paintings. Then continue north as you travel to your hotel in Rome.

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


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  • Definite Departure
  • Christmas Markets
  • Alternative Hotel
  • Venice Carnival
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
Christmas Markets
30 Nov 18 11 Dec 18 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
Christmas Markets
7 Dec 18 18 Dec 18 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
18 Dec 18 29 Dec 18 $3,425$3,168pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
18 Dec 18 29 Dec 18 $3,425$3,168pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
27 Dec 18 7 Jan 19 $3,725$3,446pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
Alternative Hotel
27 Dec 18 7 Jan 19 $3,725$3,446pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
18 Jan 19 29 Jan 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
1 Feb 19 12 Feb 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
15 Feb 19 26 Feb 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
Venice Carnival
22 Feb 19 5 Mar 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
1 Mar 19 12 Mar 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
8 Mar 19 19 Mar 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
15 Mar 19 26 Mar 19 $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
22 Mar 19 2 Apr 19 $3,325$3,076pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
29 Mar 19 9 Apr 19 $3,425$3,168pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 30 Request Quote Book Now
  • Christmas Markets: This departure contains visits to select Christmas Markets
  • Alternative Hotel: This departure may include alternate hotels in select cities.
  • Venice Carnival: This departure will be staying in Venice during the Carnival.


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) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

Signature Experience


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


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


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

Top Rated Highlights


  • See the famous Leaning Tower.


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


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


Friday, November 3, 2017
Service rating : GREAT TRIP - Tour Director Phillip was awesome. Got us everywhere on time - no stress. Additional experts were wonderful ! Many praises to GET and Insider. PS lived the up grade in Perugia and the Chocolate Festival that was going on.
Vacation : Awesome - We got our money's worth and more - will highly recommend both GET and Insider to friends and family. When we plan our next trip overseas you will hear from us !
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your review. We are delighted to know you enjoyed our Best of Italy guided vacation and the service you received from our staff. We hope to see you and your friends again soon!
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Service rating : Excellent tour guide!!!
Vacation : The accommodations in Florence and our Room in Asassi were old and run down. Great location in VENICE AND ROME. Our dinner in Sorrento was amazing. Loved Margaret our tour guide.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
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 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.


    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.

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