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Gladiators, Gondolas & Gold

11 Days from $2,950 per person

Style: First Class | Pace: Comfortable

Family Friendly Vacation
Hold on to your helmet for this family expedition marching through the Eternal City of Rome, illustrious Florence and the historic lagoon of Venice. Experience life as a Roman gladiator and learn the basics of sword-fighting, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and devour the pizza you've just learnt to make before creating your own Venetian Carnival mask.

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Overview

Family Friendly Vacation
Hold on to your helmet for this family expedition marching through the Eternal City of Rome, illustrious Florence and the historic lagoon of Venice. Experience life as a Roman gladiator and learn the basics of sword-fighting, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and devour the pizza you've just learnt to make before creating your own Venetian Carnival mask.

  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Ciao Roma! On arrival to Rome Fiumicino Airport transfers will operate at 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Feast your eyes and your stomach on the Eternal City – the launch pad for an unforgettable adventure with la famiglia. Tread in the footsteps of the ancients before meeting with your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Kick-off Party that will rock Rome.

    meal(s):KP
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. Join a Local Specialist to delve into centuries of history and culture, including a guided tour of the Vatican Museums. Gaze up at the wonder of Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and explore the Catholic shrine of St. Peter's Basilica. Venture across the Tiber to the Colosseum imagining a time when brave warriors fought to their death amidst the thunderous roar of thousands.
    meal(s):BB
  4. Book your spot on the podium. It's time to become a gladiator for the day. You'll learn how to wield a gladiator's sword and gain insights into Roman history with a Local Specialist. This afternoon, the cobblestone streets of Rome are yours to explore. Count the Spanish Steps or toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to secure your speedy return to Rome. Then it's time for a cheesy family affair as we enjoy a Cultural Insight into authentic Italian pizza making and share a tasty slice or two with our loved ones.

    meal(s):BB, RM
  5. Set your watch to Italian time and embark on a scenic drive north through Tuscany's golden fields. Stop in Pisa to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Piazza del Duomo to snap a selfie in front of the famous Leaning Tower. Carry on to the Renaissance city of Florence, our home for the next three nights.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Mediterraneo
  6. A full day at leisure to enjoy this remarkable Renaissance city. Florence is a living museum that you can explore on foot. Perhaps join an optional experience to the ‘Town of Towers’ – San Gimignano.

    meal(s):BB, BG
  7. Uno, due, tre... it's off to Pisa today, and a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Piazza del Duomo to snap a selfie in front of the famous Leaning Tower. Before venturing back to beautiful Florence, we'll see the Baptistery and Camposanto, built on sacred soil brought back by the Crusaders from the Holy Land.
    meal(s):BB
  8. Stop and smell the rich aromas of Bolognese sauce, spending the morning with a Local Specialist exploring the medieval city of Bologna. Then it's just a hop, skip and a jump to the island city of Venice. What better way of discovering the Queen of the Adriatic than from the comfort of one of its traditional gondolas? Consider spending a memorable evening gliding through its charming canals.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Novotel Venezia Mestre Castellana
  9. Admire the exquisite tradition of Venetian glassblowing during a Cultural Insight and learn about the art of crafting Carnival masks, before cruising to bustling St. Mark's Square on a private launch. View the famous Bridge of Sighs, so named for the sound condemned prisoners made at catching their last glimpse of beautiful Venice, the exquisite Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica and the Campanile. The evening is yours to explore the tiny calle in search of the coziest trattoria in town.

    meal(s):BB
  10. Navigating the bustling canals to the Rialto Bridge, embrace the sights and sounds of Venice from the water, before enjoying a Cultural Insight into the flavors of Italy at an ancient food market. We delve into the hidden highlights of Venice during a Small Group Sightseeing walking tour, working up an appetite for our Farewell Lunch at a local restaurant.

    meal(s):BB, FL
  11. Our unforgettable journey together has come to an end. All that's left to say is a hearty arrivederci as you prepared to return home with fantastic shared memories. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport at 8am and 9.30am. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):BB
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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  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
13 Sep 18 23 Sep 18 checkmark $2,950pp 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. As this is a family vacation, single room request must be part of a larger family group reservation.

Young Traveller Discount: $250

Single Room Supplement: from $420 p.p.

Triple Room Discount: $285 p.p.

Quad Room Discount: $425 p.p.

Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $71 per person.

Shared Rooming: Room Share is not available on this trip. Single rooms are not available unless traveling as part of a family group.

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’s Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 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
  • 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 meals: 9 buffet breakfasts, 5 dinners, all with tea and coffee. 

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Enjoy local Tuscan cuisine with Count Miari Fulcis on his 15th century organic olive oil estate in the Tuscan hills

Cultural Insight

  • Experience life as a gladiator with an included visit to a Gladiator School in Rome. Learn how to make authentic pizza in Rome and then savor the taste of your creation. Indulge in an Italian gelato at a local ‘gelateria' in Florence. Learn about the Venetian tradition of carnival masks and paint your own to take home and visit a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island

Small Group Sightseeing

  • A guided walking tour of 'Secret Venice' to the Rialto food market with a group size of no more than 25 guests

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice
  • Orientation of Pisa
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the amazing Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa on Piazza del Duomo, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
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

Reviews

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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.

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.

Rome

Ancient And Christian Rome

Adult Price: €38.00

Join us on an exploration of Rome's past. On this trip you will visit the Catacombs, where the early Christians assembled to escape persecution and which were used as underground cemeteries. Continue on to the Pyramid of Cestius and the Baths of Caracalla.

Rome

Piazzas and Fountains of Rome

Adult Price: €33.00

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.

Florence

An Introduction To Florence

Adult Price: €34.00

Enjoy a drive up to one of the highest points that overlooks the city of Florence. Afterwards, you'll join our Local Specialist at the River Arno to take a walk over the Ponte Vecchio, see the new market, admire Piazza della Republica, the Bargello Museum and Dante's House. Then we will finish off with a Carousel Ride for the younger participants (if available).

Florence

Visit To San Gimignano

Adult Price: €36.00

Join us for a drive to the nearby hilltop town of San Gimignano, known as the ‘medieval Manhattan’ of Tuscany. Surrounded by fields of sunflowers, vineyards and olive groves, this is Italy’s best preserved medieval city and will give you a taste of day-to-day life in Italy during the Middle Ages.

Florence

Dinner, Wine And Music In The Tuscan Hills

Adult Price: €64.00

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.

Venice

Lagoon Cruise to Burano with Food and Drinks

Adult Price: €70.00

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.

Venice

Gondolas and the Grand Canal

Adult Price: €70.00

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

Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica

Adult Price: €42.00

Accompanied by a Local Specialist, you'll visit the magnificent Doge's Palace and its elegant courtyards, which were home to the rulers of the Venetian republic. Afterwards, we've booked an entrance into the Byzantine Basilica of St. Mark the Evangelist, patron saint of Venice.

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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