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Flavors of Italy

Bologna Food Market
11 Days from $2,426 per person

Let Italy feed your senses – savor the aromas of oregano, garlic and parmesan, journeying from the frenetic avenues of Rome to romantic Venice. 

Sip a chilled Chianti and sample the buttery flavors of olive oil against the lush golden, green backdrop of Tuscany. You'll learn how to buy fresh local produce in Florence and prepare your own pasta for lunch.

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Tour Pace: Leisurely
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, the capital of Italy. Relax after your journey and meet your Travel Director and companions this evening for a Welcome Reception. Discover the beauty of this city during an evening orientation drive. Pause to enjoy the atmosphere at the buzzing Piazza Navona where you will indulge in a delicious gelato.
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. View the impressive Colosseum and see the Circus Maximus where the chariot races were held during your sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist. Visit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City and view Michelangelo's Pietà. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own or simply relax and watch the world go by.
  4. This morning consider an Optional Experience inside the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel to see the breathtaking ceiling. Later drive through Lazio and the provinces of Umbria and Tuscany. Visit a wine tasting and olive oil outlet and taste excellent Chiantis and extra virgin olive oils just outside the small town of Greve. Travel through picturesque scenery and stop in San Gimignano for a walk in the UNESCO World Heritage walled medieval town. Perhaps try a delicious gelato from the famous Gelateria Dondoli. A short drive brings you to your beautiful historic hotel near San Gimignano. Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Relais La Cappuccina Authentic Accommodations
  5. Your Local Specialist takes you on a walking tour to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Visit Piazza della Signoria and later view the colored marble Duomo. Tonight enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner with wine in a family-owned vineyard overlooking the rolling Chianti Hills.
    meal(s):BB, BG
  6. Begin your day at a fruit and vegetable market in Florence, meet our Local Specialist and gain an insight into Italian cuisine from a professional chef. Here you will participate in purchases of the fresh produce for your cooking lesson. Take your fresh produce to the restaurant and spend time together preparing your delicious luncheon with a glass of wine. After enjoying a relaxing and memorable Regional Meal return to your hotel in the Tuscan hills for the night. Your evening is free to do as you please.
    meal(s):BB, RM
  7. This morning meet your Local Specialist in Pisa to view the amazing Leaning Tower and the majestic cathedral and baptistery set in the Square of Miracles. Travel to Parma where a memorable Regional Meal of local specialties awaits you.
    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Parma and Congressi
  8. A short drive will bring you to Bologna. This city is renowned for its culinary tradition and cured meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salami. It has also given its name to the well-known meat-based pasta sauce called ragù alla bolognese. Here you will enjoy a walking tour with a Local Specialist who will enlighten you further on local delicacies. Stop to take in views of the famous Kissing Towers. This afternoon cross the Veneto plains and arrive in Venice.
  9. Savor the unique sights and sounds of Venice as you cruise by private launch to visit some of the attractions of this unique city. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into the Venetian tradition of glass making before seeing the sights including the Bridge of Sighs, St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica and the ornate Doge's Palace. Spend time exploring the labyrinth of streets and canals on your own or perhaps consider an Optional Experience to Burano for a delicious meal.
  10. A short walk along the canals leads you to the famous Rialto Bridge. Join a Local Specialist for a walking tour which will reveal a centuries-old food market and narrow ‘calle' or streets. Discover how the locals shop for food and learn more about the regional cuisine here including the delicious seafood. Admire the beautiful architecture including Marco Polo's house. The rest of the day is free to visit the sights of your choice. Celebrate this evening with your fellow travelers at a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. This morning, say ‘arrivederci' to your fellow travelers at the end of your wonderful Flavors of Italy vacation. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.

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.

  • 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
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

Meal Summary

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • The Lenzi family invites you to join them for dinner and a Chianti and olive oil tasting on their Tuscan wine farm which is located on the ancient road between Siena and Florence

Authentic Accommodations

  • Built on the site of a Capuchin Monastery, Relais La Cappuccina in Tuscany's San Gimignano was built in an Art Nouveau-style by a local nobleman

Cultural Insight

  • 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, Bologna and Venice

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice
  • Orientation of Parma
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Chianti wine region, the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, the famous food markets in Venice
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice
  • View the ancient sites of Rome and the Colosseum, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Kissing Towers in Bologna, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica, the Rialto Bridge in Venice
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
21 Apr 17 1 May 17 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
28 Apr 17 8 May 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
5 May 17 15 May 17 $3,075$2,768pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,075 $2,768 pp
12 May 17 22 May 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
19 May 17 29 May 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
26 May 17 5 Jun 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
2 Jun 17 12 Jun 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
9 Jun 17 19 Jun 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
16 Jun 17 26 Jun 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
23 Jun 17 3 Jul 17 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,795 $2,516 pp
30 Jun 17 10 Jul 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
7 Jul 17 17 Jul 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
14 Jul 17 24 Jul 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
21 Jul 17 31 Jul 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
28 Jul 17 7 Aug 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
4 Aug 17 14 Aug 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
11 Aug 17 21 Aug 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
18 Aug 17 28 Aug 17 $2,695$2,426pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,695 $2,426 pp
25 Aug 17 4 Sep 17 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,825 $2,543 pp
1 Sep 17 11 Sep 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
8 Sep 17 18 Sep 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
15 Sep 17 25 Sep 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
22 Sep 17 2 Oct 17 $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,895 $2,606 pp
29 Sep 17 9 Oct 17 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,850 $2,565 pp
6 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,850 $2,565 pp
13 Oct 17 23 Oct 17 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$2,850 $2,565 pp


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 $580 p.p.

Triple Discount: $110 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $63 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 Venice Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 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 SAVE $100 per person on any guided vacation or river cruise!

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • Yes, 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.


    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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