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Discover three of Italy's most cultural cities on this enriching tour that is suitable for traveling in autumn, winter or spring. Savor Rome's rich heritage, soak up the Renaissance atmosphere of Florence, and look beyond the canals and gondolas to gain a deeper understanding of Venice.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
Rome is one of the world's most historic cities, filled with classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers to your hotel depart Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a relaxed evening of dinner and wine.
A Local Expert will introduce the grandeur of the city. Start off in the Vatican State. While others wait in line, you will be fast-tracked through the VIP entrance into the Vatican Museums. Admire the collection of priceless art gathered by Popes over the ages. Your visit also includes behind-thescenes access to parts of the Vatican denied to the general public - the famous Bramante Staircase. Then enter the sublime Sistine Chapel - gaze up and admire Michelangelo's famous painted ceiling. Next door, in St. Peter's Basilica, see one of Michelangelo's early works, the Pieta, and the splendid dome completed after his death. For the rest of the day, enjoy free time.
Explore Rome at your own pace. Perhaps take an optional experience to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time since 79AD? Alternatively, why not spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores near the Spanish Steps?
Journey to Florence through the picture-perfect scenery of the Tuscan hills, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides. Join a local art historian to meet Michelangelo's ‘David' in the Accademia Museum. Next, walk on to the multi-colored marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's ‘Gates of Paradise'. You will also visit the open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces in Signoria Square, the political heart of the city.
Enjoy a day to explore at your own pace, wander through the museums or treat yourself to some shopping. Perhaps visit Tuscany's most famous hilltop town - UNESCO listed, San Gimignano?
Explore the nearby town of Pisa with a Local Expert and see the baptistery, bristling with marble spines, and the colonnaded bell tower behind the cathedral. In the evening, enjoy an authentic dinner of delicious Tuscan specialties.
Passing the city of Bologna, a highlight stop is the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. Walk with your Tour Director past the Roman Arena to the reputed famous balcony in the courtyard of the Capulet home. After free time to explore, take the autostrada east to Venice, ‘Queen of the Adriatic'. Your luxurious hotel gazes out over the Giudecca Canal.
Admire the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts center. Then board your private launch, sit back and enjoy your introduction to this unique city of ornate palaces, bridges and gondolas. Disembark near the Bridge of Sighs before turning the corner to stand in awe at the marble arcades of Piazza San Marco. St. Mark's Basilica, with its dazzling domes, occupies the corner next to the clock tower. Beside it stands the pink and white marbled Doge's Palace. In the afternoon, perhaps cruise out to some of the other islands in the lagoon to experience the ageold lifestyle of Venetian fishermen and lace-makers?
Who could refuse another day to take in the unique atmosphere of this wonderful city? Lose yourself in the back lanes and ‘campi' (small squares), where tourists seldom tread and the Venetians go about their daily lives. Maybe visit some of the 90 churches that house masterpieces of Venetian art or explore the modern artworks in the Guggenheim? Relax a while at a canal-side cafe and sip the local wine or sample delicious lagoon-fresh fish. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the evening, celebrate your tour finale with fantastic food, great wine and wonderful company in this magical setting.
Bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Airport at 8:00 am and 9:30 am.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|4 Nov 17||14 Nov 17||$2,450pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|2 Dec 17||12 Dec 17||$2,450pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|26 Dec 17||5 Jan 18||$2,695$2,560pp||Early PaymentPay by Oct 26||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Dec 17||5 Jan 18||$2,695$2,560pp||Early PaymentPay by Oct 26||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 Mar 18||20 Mar 18||$2,450$2,328pp||Early PaymentPay by Oct 26||Request Quote Book Now|
|30 Mar 18||9 Apr 18||$2,775$2,636pp||Early PaymentPay by Oct 26||Request Quote Book Now|
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.
Inclusion Change : One of the scheduled inclusions on this tour has been modified or scheduled for a different day.
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 $300 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $78 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.
9 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.
Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year’s Eve will enjoy festive Highlight Dinners which will replace an included meal.
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 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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