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Contrasts of Italy

10 Days from $2,966 per person

Style: First Class | Pace: Comfortable

From the ancient capital of Rome to Venice, this journey connects two Italian masterpieces with a stop in Florence. A highlight includes a private dinner in a Vatican courtyard.

Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

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Overview

From the ancient capital of Rome to Venice, this journey connects two Italian masterpieces with a stop in Florence. A highlight includes a private dinner in a Vatican courtyard.

Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

  1. Benvenuti a Roma where we begin our exciting journey through some of Italy's most beautiful cities. On arrival to 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. Spend time recovering from your travels or take a walk down memory lane, tracing centuries of art, antiquities and culture before joining your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive through its intoxicating cityscape.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:Grand Palatino
  2. We visit the center of Christianity this morning, joining a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour which includes a visit to the imposing St. Peter's Basilica to see the Pietà, Michelangelo's masterpiece carved from the most 'perfect' block of marble. Our next stop is in Ancient Rome where we'll visit the Colosseum. Here gladiators and slaves met their end in a blaze of glory. See the Circus Maximus before returning to the Holy See this afternoon. Dive into culture and gain priority access to the Vatican Museums where a Local Specialist will take us on a guided tour. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel when it is less crowded and observe the array of incredible artifacts at the Museo Gregoriano Profano, founded in the Lateran Apostolic Palace at the behest of Gregory XVI Cappellari in 1844. We will also enjoy exclusive al fresco dining against the spectacular backdrop of St. Peter's. Should there be adverse weather, a contingency is provided in a newly-created dining space within the Cortile della Pigna.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  3. Enjoy a full free day in Rome or consider spending the day in beautiful Tivoli. Join an Optional Experience to see the exquisite house and gardens of the 16th-century Villa d'Este—a marvelous example of Renaissance landscape architecture. As the sun sets over the seven hills of Rome, sit on the Spanish Steps and watch the beautiful people, or admire the Trevi Fountain, tossing a coin to secure your return to Rome.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  4. Sit back on the high-speed train and watch the Tuscan landscape go bound for Florence. Join a Local Specialist on a walking tour to gain insights into the city's Renaissance treasures. View the 400-year-old Ponte Vecchio, lined with goldsmiths and souvenir shops, and visit the Fine Arts Academy to see one of Michelangelo's masterpieces, the statue of David. Our love affair with Florence continues as we stroll to the Piazza della Signoria, featuring Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Ambasciatori
  5. Cross the Arno River and see the enchanting skyline of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo before driving to Pisa through the Arno Valley. Meet your Local Specialist to explore the Square of Miracles and see the famous Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, Baptistery and Camposanto, built on soil brought back from the Holy Land during the Crusades. This evening, stroll along the Arno River in search of the perfect gelato, see the beautifully lit Duomo or visit a cozy enoteca for some wine tasting and live music.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  6. Today is yours to discover the beauty and elegance of Florence—a city filled with exquisite galleries, lush gardens and opulent palaces. Consider a visit to the Boboli Gardens with its magnificent collection of sculptures and explore the galleries at the 15th-century Pitti Palace. Venture outside the city to see Tuscan villages and taste rich panforte and tortas, or shop for the latest fashions in Florence's sophisticated boutiques. This evening, consider joining an Optional Experience in Chianti for a delicious Tuscan dinner.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  7. All aboard the express train for Venice. We cross the spectacular Apennines and fertile Veneto plain before arriving in this island city. Get lost this afternoon, wandering its narrow lanes in search of a cozy bacaro, people-watch in St. Mark's Square, the gateway to Venice, or take an unforgettable gondola ride along the city's enchanting canals.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Bellini
  8. This morning, we dive into culture, witnessing first-hand the centuries-old craft of glassmaking on the island of Giudecca. Breathe in the salty sea air as you board a private launch and cruise to St. Mark's Square to see the Bridge of Sighs, Palladian Churches, the Customs House, St. Mark's Basilica and Campanile, as well as the Doge's Palace. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the city on your own terms. Find a quiet campo and sidewalk café or take a cruise to colorful Burano for a delicious meal.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  9. The sights and sounds of modern Venice come to life today as we join our Local Specialist on a tour of the vibrant Rialto Food Market, which has been feeding Venetians since the 11th century. We wander through the narrow calli, seeing the ornate façades of merchant houses that line the canals, before enjoying an afternoon at leisure for one last taste of Venice. Our adventure through Italy's charming cities is about to come to an end. We celebrate newfound friendships and an unforgettable experience at a Farewell Dinner.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  10. Say arrivederci to Italy and your fellow travelers as your fascinating vacation comes to an end. Return transfers will arrive at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport at 8 am and 9:30 am. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
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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.

  • 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.

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  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
22 Apr 19 1 May 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
29 Apr 19 8 May 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
6 May 19 15 May 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
13 May 19 22 May 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
20 May 19 29 May 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
27 May 19 5 Jun 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
3 Jun 19 12 Jun 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
10 Jun 19 19 Jun 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
17 Jun 19 26 Jun 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
24 Jun 19 3 Jul 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
1 Jul 19 10 Jul 19 checkmark $3,495$3,146pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
8 Jul 19 17 Jul 19 checkmark $3,495$3,146pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
15 Jul 19 24 Jul 19 $3,495$3,146pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
22 Jul 19 31 Jul 19 $3,425$3,083pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
29 Jul 19 7 Aug 19 $3,295$2,966pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
5 Aug 19 14 Aug 19 checkmark $3,295$2,966pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
12 Aug 19 21 Aug 19 $3,295$2,966pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
19 Aug 19 28 Aug 19 $3,295$2,966pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
26 Aug 19 4 Sep 19 checkmark $3,350$3,015pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
2 Sep 19 11 Sep 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
9 Sep 19 18 Sep 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
16 Sep 19 25 Sep 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
23 Sep 19 2 Oct 19 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
30 Sep 19 9 Oct 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
7 Oct 19 16 Oct 19 checkmark $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 Request Quote Book Now
14 Oct 19 23 Oct 19 $3,525$3,173pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 31 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 $800 per person

Triple Room Discount: $100 per person

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $83 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 am and 9:30 am.

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.

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  • 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

12 meals: 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 3 dinners with local wine. 

Insider Experiences

Dive into Culture

  • 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, Venice

Sightseeing Experiences

  • VIP admission to the Vatican Museums
  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Venice
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the 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, St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
  • High-speed train from Rome to Florence in standard class, from Florence to Venice in standard class
Request a Quote
  • 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.

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Reviews

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Margaret Baldwin
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Contrasts of Italy was a wonderful trip, much of it due to the expertise and personality of our guide Tony! There was a variety of excursions as well as time to explore on one's own. I highly recommend it if you want to spend time in Rome, Florence and Venice.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're so glad to hear you had such a wonderful time on your trip through Italy! Thank you for sharing and for being a part of our travel family.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Vacation : Great value for cost - I would travel again with GET.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Wallace Baldwin
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Tony Cacace, our travel director was excellent and extremely adapt at making everyone in the group feel comfortable. Our hotel in Rome was very well located making sightseeing very easy during our free time. The boat ride and lunch on the island in Venice was a huge hit with everyone.
Vacation : I think the trip was a good value. I also liked being able to prepay tips and making some side trips an optional choice rather than inclusive. We took most but not all optional trips so we could rest or do something else if we wanted. Traveling by train was a real plus also as it cut out some long bus rides and maximized our time sightseeing.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Trusted Customer
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Our tour guide Paolo was outstanding. He was personable and well organized, making sure we were on time, while personalizing our experiences. The optional tours were excellent as well.
Vacation : the only improvement would be a upgraded hotels. I would be willing to pay more for that improvement.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Julia Boylan
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Contrasts of Italy was our second tour with Trafalgar. They exceeded our expectations in Italy. All of our needs were taken care of by our wonderful director Gordon Spicer. Trafalgar handles the hassles of luggage, check in and check out of hotels, admission into touring sites, transportation and so much more. They give VIP access at touring sites. No long lines waiting. Our hotels had great locations, were comfortable, clean, and offered surprisingly great breakfasts every morning. Staying three nights in each city made the tour comfortable and more relaxing than changing hotels frequently. Taking the train to travel in between cities saved so much time. We highly recommend this tour. You will not be disappointed! If you go and are offered the optional dinner at the Machiavelli villa and vineyard, don't miss it!
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thanks for taking the time to write.  We're glad you enjoyed this unique train trip through Italy! Your review will help other customers in their search for a great experience.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Vacation : This tour offered many optional experiences, some we purchased, some we did not. We liked having free time in each city to explore on our own.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Elaine Goldberg
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : This was the most amazing vacation I've taken. The tour director, hotels, sights, local specialists, bus, train....everything was planned perfectly and I will never forget this trip. Thank you, Grand European Travel and Trafalgar Tours!
Vacation : Perfect trip; number of days, travel by high-speed train, hotels. Very good value for the price of the trip.
Request a Quote
  • 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.

Print Itinerary
  • 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.

    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 24 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.

Request a Quote
  • 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.

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