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Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018
Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018
AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Between the major cities, you'll find little-known gems like Orvieto, Assisi and Perugia, Tuscan hill towns, gastronomic icons, a formidable abbey and Italy's finest stretch of coastline.
Rome is not only the modern capital of Italy, but also a spectacular encyclopedia of living history. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. At 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30, transfers depart for your hotel. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
In the morning, you will be joined by a Local Expert who guides you through the art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, part of the Vatican closed to the general public. There’s free time to do as the Romans do. Perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum? Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking exploration 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.
Journey to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, eerily preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Walk with a Local Expert through cobbled streets to explore some of the shops, villas and temples. Journey along the clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento, perched upon the southern cliffs of the Bay of Naples and looking over to Mount Vesuvius.
Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by funicular railway and explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis. Back in Sorrento, investigate the art of intarsio, marquetry wood inlaying.
Travel into the heart of Italy to enjoy free time in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard covered plain. Savor the distinctly medieval ambiance during your orientation and admire the richly decorated façade of the Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo. In the evening, take in the flavors of the region, learn about the ingredients and Italian food culture. Join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live cooking demonstration, followed by dinner and a glass of the Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience!
Cross the River Tiber to arrive at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Assisi. Under the dome is a small medieval chapel and the spot where St. Francis died. Continue to visit the huge Basilica of St. Francis. With a Local Expert, walk down the Via San Francesco to St. Clare’s Church and see the cathedral. Journey to beautiful Perugia - the jewel of Umbria. Your guided walking exploration begins in the main street of Perugia's Old Town. See the Collegio del Cambio, the splendid Priors' Palace, the cathedral and the finely sculptured Great Fountain in the magnificent main square. Visit an artisan workshop to meet Marta, recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Learn how Marta and her weavers are preserving the ancient craft of loom-weaving.
The entire day is at leisure for you to explore this gem of a town on your own. Perhaps visit Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. On this Optional Experience, journey to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple before a guided exploration through the town's historic center with views of Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana. In the evening there is the option to discover the edible treasures of a traditional Umbrian kitchen, accompanied with wines of the region.
Drive past Lake Trasimeno to Siena. On arrival, walk with a Local Expert through narrow cobbled streets to the Piazza del Campo, where the bi-annual Palio horse race takes place. See the superb 14th century Town Hall with its slim Mangia Tower, then climb up to the hill-top cathedral decorated with stripes of black and white marble. Later, travel through the cypress clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to your elegant hotel. On arrival, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, their robust flavors and absorbing history.
Visit the hilltop town of San Gimignano. Enjoy a tasting with award-winning, master ice-cream maker, Sergio Dondoli, whose great inventions include very innovative and mouth-watering flavour combinations. After time to explore, return to the tranquil surroundings of your hotel where you are at leisure.
Journey to Renaissance Florence where on arrival you will walk with a Local Expert to see the marble-clad cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Enjoy time at leisure to explore Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Spend time gazing at the fountains and sculptures along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Wander the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods of gold and leather. Continue to Lucca, to view its churches, squares and palaces that are perfectly preserved within encircling medieval ramparts. Pause a while and taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread, said to be a favorite of the ancient Roman army.
Visit one of Modena's top producers of authentic, traditional, artisan balsamic vinegar and take a master class to understand what makes this vinegar as expensive as top-rated wines. Move on to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, for an insight into the iconic car brand that embodies the nation itself - fashionable, feisty and a touch flashy! Continue to the beautiful university town of Parma, world-famous for its local ham and cheese. Meet one of the locals, Signora Afra at Ciaolatte Parmesan, the first organic Parmesan cheese farm in Italy. Learn about the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano as the Signoria shares with you her passions for Italian food, especially excellent quality Parmesan cheese. Taste samples of the organic cheese and other delicious local delicacies, accompanied with a glass of wine.
Journey to the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Romeo and Juliet. See the ancient Roman Arena and stand beneath Juliet's balcony in a Renaissance courtyard - can you recite Shakespeare's immortal words? Continue on through the Soave vineyards past Padua to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces.
Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. Witness the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts center on Giudecca Island and see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made. Then only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square, where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Admire also the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure. In the evening, cruise the islands of the Venetian lagoon to arrive at Burano, famous for its candy colored houses. Sit down to a sumptuous Celebration Dinner with wine, sampling the local specialties.
Alas you must bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives Venice Airport at 08:00 or 09:30.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|19 Apr 18||5 May 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Apr 18||12 May 18||$5,075pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|3 May 18||19 May 18||$5,075pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 May 18||26 May 18||$5,075pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|17 May 18||2 Jun 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|24 May 18||9 Jun 18||$5,075pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|31 May 18||16 Jun 18||$5,075pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|14 Jun 18||30 Jun 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|5 Jul 18||21 Jul 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|2 Aug 18||18 Aug 18||$4,925$4,556pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|23 Aug 18||8 Sep 18||$4,995$4,620pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|30 Aug 18||15 Sep 18||$5,050pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|6 Sep 18||22 Sep 18||$5,095pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Sep 18||29 Sep 18||$5,095$4,713pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|20 Sep 18||6 Oct 18||$5,095pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Sep 18||13 Oct 18||$5,095$4,713pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|4 Oct 18||20 Oct 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|11 Oct 18||27 Oct 18||$5,075$4,694pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||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 $1,220 p.p.
Triple Room Discount $250 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $184 per person.
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.
14 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 5 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
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 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.
Optional Experiences are subject to change and seasonal availability. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip and pricing. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can only be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!
With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the center of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive!
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Among the lemon and olive groves of Sorrento is a small farm owned by the third generation of the Marciano family. Meet Rosa and Maria and see how fresh mozzarella is made by hand. Walk through lemon groves, past the old olive mill before indulging your taste buds in a delicious meal of Italian specialties all fresh from the farm. Finish with a taste of the famous Limoncello.
A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialties. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!
Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.
Extend your day to complete the entire "World Heritage Coastline" and visit gorgeous Amalfi after which the coast is named. This is an unforgettable experience, we stop to capture the stunning panoramas, impossible sights and enjoy local refreshments en route before plenty of free time to explore the colorful village Amalfi. A thrilling excursion not to be missed!
Visit beautiful Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany and setting for Francis Mayes “Under the Tuscan Sun”. A scenic panoramic drive takes you to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple and to see Ms. Mayes’ actual creative hideaway, 'Casa Bramasole'. This is followed by a guided walk through the historic centre to soak up the history and enjoy stupendous views to Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
Umbria is not only a region which is culturally rich and full of beautiful vistas, it is also a region rich in its gastronomic offerings as well! A journey to explore the edible treasures of the traditional Umbrian kitchen and the superb wines of this region too, all served to you in a beautiful rustic restaurant!
A delightful and bucolic experience, designed to bring you in touch with the enchanting Tuscan countryside, food and wine. Settle in for an authentic Tuscan feast in a traditional setting.
A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialties awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we travel into the hills near Florence to the northernmost part of the Chianti, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. A great cooking class, superb food and wine, with genuine and warm Tuscan hospitality.
Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy colored houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialties with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!
St Mark's Square, tick, the Rialto, tick, Grand Canal, tick... To only experience Venice's big set pieces is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the center of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
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