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Grand Italian Experience

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Portofino
Tour Style: First Class
18 Days from $3,395 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. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Unwind after your journey. Later enjoy a Welcome Reception with your companions and Travel Director. Then an orientation drive will give you a perfect introduction to the sights which await you.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. This morning your included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist begins with a visit to St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's magnificent Pietà. St. Peter's is a place of pilgrimage and is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. Your tour continues in ancient Rome. See Circus Maximus where chariot races were once held and visit the impressive Colosseum. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, or simply relax and watch the world go by.
    meal(s):BB
  4. Drive eastwards through the spectacular Campania Mountains to the Puglia region near the Adriatic coast. Enjoy dinner this evening at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Sierra Silvana
  5. See the UNESCO World Heritage listed conical limestone houses called 'trulli', during your guided tour with a Local Specialist in the town of Alberobello. This afternoon consider an Optional Experience to one of the geographical wonders that Puglia has to offer or relax at your hotel. This evening enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner in a traditional 'masseria' (farmhouse) in Alberobello.
    meal(s):BB, BG
  6. This morning travel to the gorgeous coastal town of Sorrento famous for its delicious limoncello drink. Your orientation includes views of Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia. You will then have free time to explore the town.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:La Residenza
  7. Gain a Cultural Insight at an inlaid-wood workshop, followed by a cruise to the beautiful Isle of Capri. Your guided tour of Capri Town will show you the Piazzetta where the rich and famous sip their cappuccinos, and the many attractive streets around there. Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
  8. Visit the excavations of the city of Pompeii, which lay buried for centuries after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Your Local Specialist provides insight into this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue your journey through Umbria to arrive at Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Meet your Local Specialist for a walking tour of Assisi, including a visit to St. Francis' Basilica, featuring frescoes by Giotto. Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Dei Congressi
  9. This morning visit the fair city of Verona for views of Juliet's balcony and the Roman arena. Arrive later in the magical island city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:La Gare
  10. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into the Venetian tradition of glass making this morning. View the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica during your cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square. Spend free time shopping, or perhaps enjoy a local meal on the Island of Burano.
    meal(s):BB
  11. After a relaxed start, traverse the Veneto plains to Trento nestled in the Adige River valley surrounded by the Dolomites. The architecture of this city has a unique feel with both Italian Renaissance and Germanic influences. Enjoy free time to explore around Piazza Duomo before checking in to your hotel.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand
  12. Enjoy a scenic drive through northern Italy and the Lake District. Arrive in Milan and enjoy free time after an orientation. See the Duomo, the Galleria and the famous La Scala Opera House. Later arrive on the shores of Lake Maggiore where you have free time to explore the town of Baveno. Stroll along the lake front or enjoy a drink at an outdoor café.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Simplon
  13. Today travel to the Italian Riviera.  Cruise to the port of Portofino (weather permitting) before returning to your hotel in Santa Margherita.  Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Lido Palace
  14. Relax or explore this famous Ligurian resort. Or, consider joining an Optional Experience to the beautiful Cinque Terre.
    meal(s):BB
  15. Travel south into Tuscany and stop to view the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then travel to the Renaissance city of Florence. When you arrive you might like to visit the Academy of Fine Arts and see Michelangelo's statue of David.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Mediterraneo
  16. Your walking tour with a Local Specialist includes views of the magnificent Duomo, Santa Croce Basilica, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery. You might like to shop for high-quality leather and 18-carat gold, or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore this fascinating city.
    meal(s):BB
  17. Past the sprawling vineyards of Chianti you arrive at the medieval city of Siena. See the Piazza del Campo, scene of the bi-annual Palio horse races, and the Cathedral. This afternoon return to Rome. Gain priority access to the Vatican Museums where you will meet an official representative during your 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. This will be followed by 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. After breakfast, say ‘arrivederci' to Rome and your new found friends at the end of your Grand Italian Experience. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
    meal(s):BB
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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.

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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
  • 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 Siena, Venice, Alberobello
  • 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
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
31 May 17 17 Jun 17 checkmark $4,075pp Call 1-877-622-9109
7 Jun 17 24 Jun 17 checkmark $4,075pp Call 1-877-622-9109
21 Jun 17 8 Jul 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote Book Now
28 Jun 17 15 Jul 17 checkmark $3,995$3,395pp Last Minute DealPromo Code: PPLMDE08Z Call 1-877-622-9109 Book Now
12 Jul 17 29 Jul 17 checkmark $3,995pp Request Quote Book Now
2 Aug 17 19 Aug 17 checkmark $3,895pp Request Quote Book Now
23 Aug 17 9 Sep 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote Book Now
30 Aug 17 16 Sep 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote Book Now
6 Sep 17 23 Sep 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote
13 Sep 17 30 Sep 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote
20 Sep 17 7 Oct 17 checkmark $4,075pp Request Quote Book Now
27 Sep 17 14 Oct 17 checkmark $3,995pp Request Quote Book Now
4 Oct 17 21 Oct 17 checkmark $3,995pp Request Quote

undefinedSpecial Rate Solo Rooming: Apr 29, Jul 5 & Oct 11 departures include 25-100% discount on our standard single supplement.

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 $730 p.p.

Triple Discount: $170 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $121 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.

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.

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

 

  • 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.

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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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