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Grand Italian Experience

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Portofino
Tour Style: First Class
18 Days from $3,776 per person

A leisurely viaggio sees you traversing the length and breadth of Italy from the Italian Lakes in the north to the Amalfi Coast and trulli limestone houses of Alberobello in the south. Travel to the Italian Riviera and explore the yachting lifestyle of Portofino, relax in Sorrento with a refreshing ‘Limoncello' and see the sights in Venice, Florence and Rome.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Blaze a trail through la bella Italia. 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. Your epic journey begins in Rome, once the powerful capital of the world that is yours to explore before meeting your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. This morning we embark on an included sightseeing tour in the company of a Local Specialist, where we will see Michelangelo's magnificent Pietà. We venture into Ancient Rome to see Circus Maximus and visit the imposing Colosseum.
    meal(s):BB
  4. We meander east through the spectacular Campania Mountains and the orange and olive groves of the charming Puglia region near the Adriatic coast, our home for the next two nights. This evening, we enjoy a delicious local dinner at our hotel. 
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Sierra Silvana
  5. Fairy-tale conical limestone houses take center stage during our guided tour with a Local Specialist in the town of Alberobello, with its unique collection of almost 1,500 trulli dating back to the 14th century. This afternoon is yours to explore magical Puglia. This evening, we enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner in a traditional masseria (farmhouse).
    meal(s):BB, BG
  6. The fresh aroma of lemons is your constant companion in the stunning coastal town of Sorrento. View the bustling Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia before spending the rest of the day exploring this magical town.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:La Residenza
  7. The exquisite craft of inlaid wood is explored this morning during a Cultural Insight at a local Sorrento workshop before cruising the deep blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the beautiful Isle of Capri. We enjoy a guided tour of Capri Town. Tonight we dine at our hotel in Sorrento.
    meal(s):BB, DW
  8. Explore the tragic history of the ancient city of Pompeii. We wander through the lost city in the company of a Local Specialist. Continue your journey through the beautiful rolling green and golden fields of Umbria, arriving at the mystical hilltop town of Assisi. Meet your Local Specialist for a captivating walking tour of Assisi. Tonight, we dine in our hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Assisi
  9. Celebrate the epic tale of Romeo and Juliet during this morning's visit to the fair city of Verona where you will view Juliet's Balcony and the Roman Arena. We venture north to the Adriatic coast this afternoon to the intoxicating city of Venice.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:LaGare Venezia MGallery
  10. The delicate craft of Venetian glassblowing is celebrated during a Cultural Insight this morning. Glide by private launch to view the Bridge of Sighs, ornate Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica before spending free time.
    meal(s):BB
  11. This morning, we traverse the pastoral Veneto plains to the sophisticated town of Trento which exudes both classical Italian elegance and cultural influences from the north. Wander around the magnificent Piazza Duomo before checking in to your hotel for the night.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Trento
  12. Traveling north, we arrive in the sophisticated powerhouse of Milan and enjoy some free time after an orientation of the city's key sights. See the exquisite Gothic Duomo, La Scala Opera House and the Galleria. We spend this afternoon on the quiet shores of Lake Maggiore.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Simplon
  13. Today travel to the Ligurian Riviera. We cruise to the quaint fishing village of Portofino (weather permitting) before returning to our seaside retreat in Santa Margherita. Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Lido Palace
  14. Spend the day on your terms, walking along the picturesque promenade, wandering through the Old Town shopping for souvenirs or consider joining an Optional Experience to beautiful Porto Venere and the Bay of Poets where we'll admire the seductive UNESCO-protected Cinque Terre. 
    meal(s):BB
  15. Traveling south through the unforgettable scenery of Tuscany, we arrive in Pisa to view its famous Leaning Tower before traveling onwards to the Renaissance city of Florence. This afternoon is yours at leisure.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Mediterraneo
  16. Join a Local Specialist this morning to view the city's finest masterpieces – the magnificent Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower and the 13th century Santa Croce Basilica. We spend the rest of our afternoon at leisure. 
    meal(s):BB
  17. We meander through the sprawling vineyards of Chianti, past the hill-top towns of Umbria before arriving in Rome. This afternoon, we gain priority access to the Vatican Museums where we will meet an official representative during our private guided tour of the Missionary Ethnological Museum. Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, this museum has a remarkable collection of artworks and historical relics from missions all over the world. Enjoy an exclusive Farewell Dinner at the museum amidst three centuries of Vatican art, history and antiquities. Our fascinating encounter with the center of Christianity continues with a guided evening tour of the Vatican Museums with a Local Specialist, including a visit to view Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel when it is less crowded.
    meal(s):BB, FD
    hotel:Sheraton Parco De Medici
  18. We say arrivederci to Rome and our newfound friends at the end of our Grand Italian Experience. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7am and 9.30am. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):BB
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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.
  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
28 Mar 18 14 Apr 18 $4,395$3,956pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 Apr 18 21 Apr 18 checkmark $4,395$3,956pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
11 Apr 18 28 Apr 18 $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
18 Apr 18 5 May 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
25 Apr 18 12 May 18 $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
2 May 18 19 May 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
9 May 18 26 May 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
16 May 18 2 Jun 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
23 May 18 9 Jun 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
30 May 18 16 Jun 18 $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
6 Jun 18 23 Jun 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Jun 18 30 Jun 18 $4,495$4,046pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
20 Jun 18 7 Jul 18 $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
27 Jun 18 14 Jul 18 checkmark $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 Jul 18 21 Jul 18 $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
11 Jul 18 28 Jul 18 $4,195$3,776pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
18 Jul 18 4 Aug 18 $4,195$3,776pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
25 Jul 18 11 Aug 18 checkmark $4,195$3,776pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
1 Aug 18 18 Aug 18 $4,195$3,776pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
8 Aug 18 25 Aug 18 $4,195$3,776pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Aug 18 1 Sep 18 $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
22 Aug 18 8 Sep 18 $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Aug 18 15 Sep 18 checkmark $4,525$4,073pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
5 Sep 18 22 Sep 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
12 Sep 18 29 Sep 18 checkmark $4,550pp Request Quote Book Now
19 Sep 18 6 Oct 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 Sep 18 13 Oct 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
3 Oct 18 20 Oct 18 checkmark $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
10 Oct 18 27 Oct 18 $4,550$4,095pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 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 $740 p.p.

Triple Room Discount: $180 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $165 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 Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7:00 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 guided vacation in Europe.

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.

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

 

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

Meal Summary

16 nights, 16 hot buffet breakfasts, 8 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Meet Signor Luciano on his Alberobello farm where you can taste seasonal produce, including fresh almonds, cherries, tomatoes and olive oil, as well as enjoy a local stone masonry demonstration

Cultural Insight

  • Enjoy a private guided tour and exclusive dinner in the midst of three centuries of art, history and antiquities at the Vatican's Missionary Ethnological Museum. Be inspired by the magnificence of Michelangelo and da Vinci at the Vatican Museums. Witness the exquisite crafts of inlaid wood in Sorrento and glassblowing on Murano Island, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, Alberobello, Pompeii, Capri, Assisi and Florence

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Alberobello, Capri, Pompeii, Assisi, Florence
  • Orientation of Venice
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, the Roman Colosseum, the excavations at Pompeii, St. Francis Basilica in Assisi
  • Cruise to the Isle of Capri, private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice, cruise to the exclusive resort of Portofino
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Gothic Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa Croce Basilica, the Duomo in Florence

Reviews

Saturday, October 7, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : I believe we would use them again. It was touch and go as to weather or not we were actually going this trip because of the timing of Hurricane Irma. Fortunately the Orlando Airport opened operation and Our American flight was a go. When we contacted Grand European as to if our trip was a go or not they just said we would have to contact the airlines. I always always of the mind that travel services did that for you. Bottom line we had a wonderful trip to Italy!!
Vacation : Please see the information text that I wrote above
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Everything discribed in the brochure came to life daily on the 18 day tour . Our travel specialist, Rob was extremely helpful planning our trip .
Vacation : The tour it self was exceptional and worth every penny . However the hotel breakfasts and hotel tour dinners were unacceptable. Poor quality of food in most hotels . In some instances at breakfast it was like feeding cattle with several tour groups being feed at the same time . The quality of food should be improved. The side trips were worth the extra money . In some cases the hotels should be upgraded .
  • 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 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.

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.

Bolzano

Bolzano and the Dolomite Mountains

Adult Price: € 62

Come with us and follow the Adige Valley to Bolzano, capital of the southern part of the Tyrol. Here you'll take a cable car to the top of the Renon and ride on the century-old Tramvai, where you'll enjoy incredible panoramas from this famous mountain plateau.

Florence

Dinner, Wine And Music In The Tuscan Hills

Adult Price: € 64

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.

Visit To San Gimignano

Adult Price: € 35

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.

Michelangelo's 'David' & Accademia

Adult Price: € 40

Enjoy an insight into the world of Michelangelo and his masterpiece, David. We have fast track entry to the Academy of Fine Arts and its Michelangelo collection, where you’ll learn all about the life and works of this immortal Renaissance genius through the expert commentary of our Local Specialist.

This optional involves reservation and entrance pre-payments. Cancellation within 24 hours will incur a 50% cancellation fee.

Italian Lakes

Discover The Borromean Islands

Adult Price: € 41

We've organised a private launch to take you to the beautiful islands of Lake Maggiore. Here you'll see the Isola Madre, the Isola dei Pescatori, and on the Isola Bella we visit the magnificent palace of the Borromean Princes (this optional is only operated between mid March and the end of October).

Milan

Treasures Of Milan

Adult Price: € 45

Join our Local Specialist at the impressive Castello Sforza museum, where you’ll see the 'Pieta of Rondanini' by Michelangelo, among other great works. Your tour finishes with a visit to the world renowned 'La Scala' opera house and museum.When La Scala or the Castello is unavailable, you’ll visit the Museum of Milan.

Puglia

A Guided Visit to Ostuni

Adult Price: € 26

With its stark, white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways, Ostuni is reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina. Set against three hills, 'The White Town' is a photographer's delight - and you'll get to explore it all on this optional trip.

Rome

Piazzas and Fountains of Rome

Adult Price: € 33

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.

Roman Evening with Dinner

Adult Price: € 61

Spend a light-hearted evening with us in Rome. Relax and enjoy typical Italian cuisine with drinks and music. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a drive and provide a glimpse into how Romans enjoy their city.

Tivoli And Gardens Of The Villa D’Este

Adult Price: € 45

Visit the ancient Sabine town of Tivoli to enjoy the gardens and fountains of the Villa D’Este. You’ll get to see its grottos and pavilions, the Avenue of a Hundred Fountains, and the Dragon Fountain of the Organ.

Santa Margherita

The Cinque Terre and Porto Venere

Adult Price: € 60

We’ll visit the Bay of Poets and the beautiful Porto Venere, where we can admire the UNESCO-protected Cinque Terre. Still to this day, the villages retain their charm and reputation for producing some of Italy's most exclusive wines.

Sorrento

Neapolitan Dinner and Dance

Adult Price: € 61

Join us for an evening of Neapolitan specialities at one of our favourite family-run restaurants. While you’re wined and dined, enjoy a cultural experience performed by local artists who'll take centre stage and demonstrate the famous Tarantella dance.

Sorrento Farmhouse Dinner

Adult Price: € 49

A scenic drive takes you through the Sorrentino countryside to an 18th century Olive Oil mill. You’ll enjoy a guided visit of the gardens, mill and wine cellar, followed by a simple meal of traditional pizza and wine. And there'll also be the chance to see how mozzarella and pizza are made.

Experience The Isle Of Capri

Adult Price: € 41

Experience Capri's spectacular cliffs, famous turquoise waters and white grotto the best way: by boat. In Capri town, enjoy a lemon granita, a specialty of the island. Or if the weather doesn't allow, we'll take you on a tour of the island to Anacapri, and a visit to Villa San Michele.

Amalfi Coast and Positano

Adult Price: € 43

Come with us for a drive along the famous Amalfi Coast. You’ll have a chance to visit the exclusive artists’ paradise of Positano, which is magnificently positioned on the Mediterranean coast.

This optional involves reservation and entrance pre-payments. Cancellation within 24 hours will incur a 50% cancellation fee.

Venice

Lagoon Cruise to Burano with Food and Drinks

Adult Price: € 70

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.

Gondolas and the Grand Canal

Adult Price: € 70

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's Secrets and St. Mark's Basilica

Adult Price: € 36

Explore the hidden maze of streets which make up this unique city as your Local Specialist gives you a fascinating insight into Venice's past and present. You’ll visit the majestic Basilica of St Mark, where you’ll have a chance to view some of the prized trophies looted by the Venetians in their rise to power. Alternatively, we’ll visit the outside terrace for exceptional vistas.

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