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Best of Italy & Sicily

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Mt. Etna, Castelmola, Sicily
Tour Style: First Class
16 Days from $3,308 per person

A full odyssey of Italy and Sicily, from the meandering ‘calli' of Venice to the Grecian remains of Agrigento. 

See the imperial monuments of Rome, the Romanesque architecture of Pisa and Venetian glassblowing on Giudecca Island. Travel through the heart of Italy to Pompeii, Naples and Sorrento before your Sicilian hop to Palermo, Taormina and the Valley of the Temples.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Spend the day relaxing. Join your fellow travelers and Travel Director this evening for a Welcome Reception. Then an orientation drive will give you a perfect introduction to the sights which await you.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Villafranca
  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. St. Peter's is a place of pilgrimage and is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. Your tour continues in ancient Rome. See Circus Maximus where chariot races were once held and visit the impressive Colosseum. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, or simply relax and watch the world go by.

    meal(s):BB
  4. This morning, travel to the town of Pisa and visit the Square of Miracles, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the incredible Leaning Tower and see the medieval Cathedral and Romanesque Baptistery. You will arrive later in the Renaissance city of Florence.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Mediterraneo
  5. Experience the incredible sights on your walking tour with a Local Specialist. View the magnificent Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce Basilica and visit Piazza della Signoria. Enjoy some free time before driving to the floating city of Venice. This evening, why not appreciate this elegant city from the comfort of a gondola?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Best Western Biasutti
  6. Your cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square is spectacular. View the Bridge of Sighs and the ornate Doge's Palace. Gain a Cultural Insight when you watch Venetian craftsmen at work creating masterpieces at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island. Spend free time shopping or relaxing. Consider a boat trip to the colorful island of Burano for a delicious meal.

    meal(s):BB
  7. Drive south from Venice to Umbria, the green heart of Italy. Later, in the spiritual city of Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio, visit St. Francis’ Basilica on your walking tour with a Local Specialist.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Dei Congressi
  8. This morning, stop at Cassino to visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery and view the Benedictine Abbey. Arrive later at the ancient city of Pompeii which was buried beneath volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, and lay undiscovered for centuries. Your Local Specialist gives a fascinating account of the excavations during your walking tour. A short journey brings you to Naples for your overnight cruise to Palermo; you will be staying in an air-conditioned cabin with en-suite bathroom as you journey under the stars on your way to the capital of Sicily.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grandi Navi Veloci ferry
  9. Arrive this morning in the Sicilian capital, Palermo. Meet your Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the city which includes the honey-coloured cathedral and Piazza Bellini. Travel to the town of Monreale and visit the magnificent 12th century Norman Cathedral. Admire views of the Conca d'Oro before continuing your journey to visit the beautiful fishing village of Mondello. Return to Palermo this afternoon.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Mercure Centro
  10. In Agrigento, your Local Specialist takes you on a tour of the Valley of the Temples. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to five ancient Greek temples dating from the 6th century BC. These are some of the grandest Grecian remains outside Athens. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Dioscuri Bay Palace
  11. Travel through the vineyards of the southern hills towards the seaside resort of Taormina, your home for the next two nights. On arrival enjoy free time to explore the sights.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Sant Alphio Garden
  12. Spend the day relaxing in this fun Sicilian resort. Perhaps swim and sunbathe or shop for handmade lace on the Corso. Consider joining an Optional Experience to Savoca, the village made famous by ‘The Godfather', and the crater of Sicily's active volcano, Mount Etna, widely regarded as one of the most impressive in the world. This evening, join your companions for a special dinner in a vineyard close to Mount Etna.

    meal(s):BB, BG
  13. Cross the Straits of Messina to mainland Italy by ferry, driving north through rustic Calabria via Salerno to your hotel in Sorrento. Tonight, relax at your hotel and take in the scenery.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:La Residenza
  14. Visit an inlaid-wood workshop for a cultural insight into a local specialty craft. Take a short cruise to the charming Isle of Capri, and enjoy a guided walking tour of Capri Town with a Local Specialist. Appreciate views across the sea and Marina Piccola. Spend free time afterwards exploring this charming island on your own. Later return to Sorrento – famous for the alcoholic digestive Limoncello. Visit Piazza Tasso, with its many cafés, and shop in boutiques on the Corso Italia.

    meal(s):BB
  15. Admire the spectacular coastline as you drive north from Sorrento. 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 Farewell Dinner at the museum in the midst of three centuries of art, history and antiquities.

    meal(s):BB, FD
    hotel:Sheraton Parco De Medici
  16. Say ‘arrivederci Roma' as you prepare for your journey home with wonderful memories of your vacation. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
    meal(s):BB
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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.

2018 Preview

Preview itineraries and content are based on selected vacations featured in our 2017 Collection, however, items such as (but not limited to), hotels, meals, sightseeing inclusions, trip destinations, transfers and transportation, are subject to change. The final composition of your trip will be published in our 2018 Collection due out in September. By paying your deposit, you are agreeing to accept the finalized version of your trip itinerary.

  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • 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

14 nights, 14 hot buffet breakfasts, 6 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Visit Maria Marano's wine farm at the foot of Mount Etna for a walking tour through the estate and cellars, and enjoy home-made appetizers accompanied by the local wine

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 crafts of inlaid wood in Sorrento and 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, Assisi, Pompeii, Palermo, Agrigento and Capri

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Palermo, Agrigento, Assisi, Capri
  • Orientation of Venice, Taormina, Sorrento
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Roman Colosseum, St. Francis Basilica, the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cassino, the excavations at Pompeii, the Norman Cathedral at Monreale, the fishing village of Mondello, the Valley of the Temples, the Isle of Capri, the amazing Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice, sail to the Isle of Capri
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Palermo Cathedral and the fortress town of Enna, Benedictine Abbey in Monte Cassino
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
10 Aug 17 25 Aug 17 checkmark $3,675pp Call 1-877-622-9109
31 Aug 17 15 Sep 17 checkmark $3,775pp Request Quote Book Now
7 Sep 17 22 Sep 17 checkmark $3,775pp Call 1-877-622-9109
14 Sep 17 29 Sep 17 checkmark $3,775pp Call 1-877-622-9109
21 Sep 17 6 Oct 17 checkmark $3,775pp Call 1-877-622-9109
28 Sep 17 13 Oct 17 checkmark $3,675pp Call 1-877-622-9109
5 Oct 17 20 Oct 17 checkmark $3,675pp Call 1-877-622-9109
19 Apr 18 4 May 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 Apr 18 11 May 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
3 May 18 18 May 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
10 May 18 25 May 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
17 May 18 1 Jun 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
24 May 18 8 Jun 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
31 May 18 15 Jun 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
7 Jun 18 22 Jun 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
14 Jun 18 29 Jun 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
21 Jun 18 6 Jul 18 $3,750$3,375pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
28 Jun 18 13 Jul 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
5 Jul 18 20 Jul 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
19 Jul 18 3 Aug 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
2 Aug 18 17 Aug 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
16 Aug 18 31 Aug 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
30 Aug 18 14 Sep 18 $3,775$3,398pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
6 Sep 18 21 Sep 18 $3,775$3,398pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Sep 18 28 Sep 18 $3,775$3,398pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
20 Sep 18 5 Oct 18 $3,775$3,398pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
27 Sep 18 12 Oct 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 Oct 18 19 Oct 18 $3,675$3,308pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now

 

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 $700 p.p.

Triple Discount: $80 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $107 per person.

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 Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7:00 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.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. While pizza and pasta are national favorites, few travelers understand just how varied Italy’s cuisine actually is. In fact, each of the country’s 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine.  Lunch (pranzo) is traditionally 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 fruit.  Finish with espresso and maybe a splash of liqueur.  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.

    Throughout Southern Italy, you can enjoy a variety of fresh and dried pasta with tomato sauce, vegetables marinated in olive oil, seafood, limoncello (lemon liqueur), and  a selection of delicious desserts. In Rome, you can try humble pasta dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and cacio e peppe (pecorino cheese and pepper). Other foods to try include pizza, a variety fried foods called fritti  that come stuffed with everything from salted cod to zucchini flours, and and a selection of cheeses including the popular pecorino Romano. You’ll also find traditional desserts such as Rome’s crostata di ricotta, Italy’s version of cheesecake, deep-fried zeppole rolled in sugar, as well as Sicily’s famous cannoli.

  • 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. 

Reviews

Trip not yet reviewed

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Florence

Dinner, Wine And Music In The Tuscan Hills

Adult Price: € 64

Join us for a scenic drive through the beautiful Tuscan countryside. We will enjoy a meal at a charming restaurant where a selection of regional favourites is served, accompanied by a selection of local wines and live music. A truly unforgettable experience, with an atmosphere that is the essence of all things Tuscan.

Palermo

Colours and Traditions of Palermo

Adult Price: € 30

A panoramic drive through verdant forest with spectacular views over the city of Palermo brings us to the summit of Mt. Pellegrino. Here we visit the grotto of Santa Rosalia, Palermo's patron saint. Later, with a Local Specialist, we explore and sample Palermitano street food at one of the most famous and colourful markets with its stalls of olives and spices. A wonderful opportunity to enjoy picturesque Sicilian everyday life.

Sferracavallo With Lunch Or Dinner

Adult Price: € 60

Join us for a drive to the coast of Sicily, where we’ll arrive at the quaint fishing village of Sferracavallo. You’ll have the chance to sample a delicious fishermen’s feast, accompanied by wine and soft drinks.

A Visit to Cefalu

Adult Price: € 36

Take a drive along the blue coastal highway to the quaint medieval village of Cefalu. You'll have the chance to stroll from the long golden beaches into the winding Arab streets with your Local Specialist.

Rome

Piazzas and Fountains of Rome

Adult Price: € 33

Discover the most charming areas in the city with a Local Specialist. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets and beautiful squares of Rome's historic centre, leading to highlights such as the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, as well as hidden corners of the Eternal City.

Roman Evening with Dinner

Adult Price: € 61

Spend a light-hearted evening with us in Rome. Relax and enjoy typical Italian cuisine with drinks and music. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a drive and provide a glimpse into how Romans enjoy their city.

Sorrento

Neapolitan Dinner and Dance

Adult Price: € 61

Join us for an evening of Neapolitan specialities at one of our favourite family-run restaurants. While you’re wined and dined, enjoy a cultural experience performed by local artists who'll take centre stage and demonstrate the famous Tarantella dance.

Sorrento Farmhouse Dinner

Adult Price: € 49

A scenic drive takes you through the Sorrentino countryside to an 18th century Olive Oil mill. You’ll enjoy a guided visit of the gardens, mill and wine cellar, followed by a simple meal of traditional pizza and wine. And there'll also be the chance to see how mozzarella and pizza are made.

Experience The Isle Of Capri

Adult Price: € 41

Experience Capri's spectacular cliffs, famous turquoise waters and white grotto the best way: by boat. In Capri town, enjoy a lemon granita, a specialty of the island. Or if the weather doesn't allow, we'll take you on a tour of the island to Anacapri, and a visit to Villa San Michele.

Amalfi Coast and Positano

Adult Price: € 43

Come with us for a drive along the famous Amalfi Coast. You’ll have a chance to visit the exclusive artists’ paradise of Positano, which is magnificently positioned on the Mediterranean coast.

This optional involves reservation and entrance pre-payments. Cancellation within 24 hours will incur a 50% cancellation fee.

Taormina

Sicilian Dinner and Entertainment

Adult Price: € 64

A fantastic Sicilian evening, you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner of Southern Italian specialities, with musical entertainment.

Mt Etna, Savoca And The Godfather

Adult Price: € 56

Discover rustic village life with your Local Specialist as we visit Savoca, the Sicilian setting for 'The Godfather'. Enjoy the stunning views before a visit to Vitelli's bar, featured in the film and famous for 'granita di limone'. Later, you’ll journey up Mt Etna, one of the most intriguing volcanoes in the world.

Dinner in Castelmola, the Most Dramatically Located Village in Sicily

Adult Price: € 68

Climb by minibus to the heights of Castelmola, above Taormina, to enjoy the best views of this magical part of Sicily. You'll enjoy wandering the cobbled streets with interesting shops and cafes. Then, dine in a restaurant that has the best view in Sicily, with wine included.

Venice

Gondolas and the Grand Canal

Adult Price: € 70

Join us for a scenic cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal. You’ll admire the magnificent palazzi, as well as catching a glimpse of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Later on, you'll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways.

Venice's Secrets and St. Mark's Basilica

Adult Price: € 36

Explore the hidden maze of streets which make up this unique city as your Local Specialist gives you a fascinating insight into Venice's past and present. You’ll visit the majestic Basilica of St Mark, where you’ll have a chance to view some of the prized trophies looted by the Venetians in their rise to power. Alternatively, we’ll visit the outside terrace for exceptional vistas.

Lagoon Cruise to Burano with Food and Drinks

Adult Price: € 70

Join us as we discover the Venetian Lagoon by private boat. You will enjoy a delicious meal with a selection of drinks on the fishermen's island of Burano, famous for its multi-coloured houses - a real photographer's paradise.

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