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Save up to 10% - Pay in Full by Jan 11, 2018
Save up to 10% - Pay in Full by Jan 11, 2018
AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Contrast the domed cathedral of Florence with the beehive Trulli of Alberbello or Taormina's hillside location with the beautiful canals of Venice.
Rome is not only the modern capital of Italy but also a spectacular encyclopedia of living history. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. At 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30 transfers depart for your hotel. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
Enjoy a delightful drive through rolling countryside dotted with cypress trees, passing vineyards and olive groves to Pisa. With a Local Expert, view the incredible Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. Your journey continues to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
Head for the famous Cinque Terre, which translates to Five Lands, located on a gorgeously wild yet hospitable part of the coastline and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit two of the picturesque fishing villages before taking the train to Santa Margherita Ligure, and then journeying on to Portofino. There is plenty of time for you to admire the colored houses, browse the boutiques and stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbor. Should weather permit, return with a cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to your hotel in the resort of Santa Margherita.
Head north to beautiful Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lake District. On arrival, settle into your hotel and breathe in the magical scenery. In the evening, why not join in the traditional ritual of la passeggiata? It's the social tradition of taking a leisurely stroll through the public square, to see and be seen.
Follow the southern fringes of the Alps to romantic Verona, the setting of one of literature's most tragic and best known love stories between starcrossed lovers. See the ancient Roman Arena, still used for Opera performances and stand beneath Juliet's balcony in a Renaissance courtyard of the supposed Capulet home - can you recite Shakespeare's immortal words? You travels continue through the Soave vineyards, passing Padua, and on to the canals of Venice.
Even for the experienced traveller, there can be no better joy than waking up in Venice. Admire the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Then cruise by private launch along canals lined with ornate palaces. Alight at St. Mark's Square where St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs await. Later board your glossy black gondola for a serenade through the beautiful canals. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, music and songs as you drift along in romantic awe. The afternoon is entirely at leisure.
Bid farewell to Venice and begin your journey to Renaissance Florence. Join your Local Expert to see Michelangelo's David when you visit the Accademia Gallery. Walk to the cathedral and see Giotto's bell tower and the Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Wander through the open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria gazing at statues such as Neptune as well as Hercules and Cacus, along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Your exploration will finish in front of the basilica where Michelangelo lies buried in Piazza Santa Croce.
Start the day with a traditional Florentine leather-work demonstration, then there is plenty of time to shop with the rest of the day at your leisure. Perhaps join an Optional Excursion to explore the hilltop town of San Gimignano?
Journey south through the volcanic hills of Frascati to Pompeii, which was buried in A.D. 79 by Mount Vesuvius' catastrophic eruption. Walk with a Local Expert through the preserved cobbled streets for a glimpse into the daily life of civilization during the Roman Empire. Follow the clifftop road to the resort of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Meet your Local Expert and cruise to the beautiful Isle of Capri. The funicular railway takes you up to Capri town where you will explore the narrow alleyways and have time to browse exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by open-top taxi, just as the jet-set do. On return to Sorrento, investigate the art of intarsio or marquetry wood inlaying before continuing to your hotel.
After breakfast, discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First you will visit Matera for an in-depth exploration of the extraordinary Sassi which are troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock. Here is the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean and were inhabited by about 20,000 people up until 1950. Matera was also used as the setting for 'The Passion of the Christ'. Continue to Alberobello, the second UNESCO World Heritage Site and your home for the next two nights.
Admire the trulli of Alberobello - small, circular structures with conical roofs and clustered together like mushrooms. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. Venture into the surrounding region, a paradise for wine-lovers. Join an expert vintner for a tasting of Puglia's most robust and structured red wines. For your Dine-at-Home experience, you are invited to join a local and their family. See Nonna making pasta and enjoy a freshly prepared meal together, traditional of Southern Italy.
The local roads will take you south, following the shores of the Gulf of Taranto to the mountainous Calabria region. Travel along the Purple Coast to the very 'toe' of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily. According to ancient legend, it was here at the Straits of Messina where the twin whirlpools of Scylla and Charybdis carried unwary seafarers away to their doom! After you disembark, continue to the Taormina Riviera.
After breakfast, join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek theater, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll on to the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina's grandest building. Further along elegant Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile offers panoramic views. The remainder of the day is yours to take at your own pace.
Head to the Sicilian capital of Palermo. On arrival, your Local Expert shows you the highlights of the capital. Pass the Teatro Massimo, the Baroque Quattro Canti Square and glimpse the ‘fountain of shame'. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years - go inside to appreciate the composite of architectural styles. Next, head to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. Outside there are few clues to its interior - completely covered in glittering 12th century mosaics. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine, wine and music.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|12 Apr 18||29 Apr 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|19 Apr 18||6 May 18||$5,395pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|26 Apr 18||13 May 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|3 May 18||20 May 18||$5,395pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 May 18||27 May 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|17 May 18||3 Jun 18||$5,395pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|24 May 18||10 Jun 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|31 May 18||17 Jun 18||$5,395pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|7 Jun 18||24 Jun 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|14 Jun 18||1 Jul 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|21 Jun 18||8 Jul 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 Jun 18||15 Jul 18||$5,525$4,973pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|5 Jul 18||22 Jul 18||$5,525$4,973pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Jul 18||29 Jul 18||$5,495$4,946pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|19 Jul 18||5 Aug 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Jul 18||12 Aug 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|2 Aug 18||19 Aug 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|9 Aug 18||26 Aug 18||$5,450pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|16 Aug 18||2 Sep 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|23 Aug 18||9 Sep 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|30 Aug 18||16 Sep 18||$5,450$4,905pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|6 Sep 18||23 Sep 18||$5,495$4,946pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Sep 18||30 Sep 18||$5,495$4,946pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|20 Sep 18||7 Oct 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Sep 18||14 Oct 18||$5,395$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|4 Oct 18||21 Oct 18||$5,395pp||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 $1,200 p.p.
Triple Room Discount $190 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $196 per person.
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.
16 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 7 Dinner with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
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.
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. While pizza and pasta are national favorites, few travelers understand just how varied Italy’s cuisine actually is. In fact, each of the country’s 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Lunch (pranzo) is traditionally 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 fruit. Finish with espresso and maybe a splash of liqueur. 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.
Throughout Southern Italy, you can enjoy a variety of fresh and dried pasta with tomato sauce, vegetables marinated in olive oil, seafood, limoncello (lemon liqueur), and a selection of delicious desserts. In Rome, you can try humble pasta dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and cacio e peppe (pecorino cheese and pepper). Other foods to try include pizza, a variety fried foods called fritti that come stuffed with everything from salted cod to zucchini flours, and and a selection of cheeses including the popular pecorino Romano. You’ll also find traditional desserts such as Rome’s crostata di ricotta, Italy’s version of cheesecake, deep-fried zeppole rolled in sugar, as well as Sicily’s famous cannoli.
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.
Adult Price: € 19.00
Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!
Adult Price: € 52.00
With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive!
Adult Price: € 61.00
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: € 41.00
The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.
Adult Price: € 68.00
This evening escape to the charming and tranquil island of Isola dei Pescatori. A short boat ride from the shores of Lake Maggiore, this fisherman’s Island is inhabited year round by only 50 permanent residents. Stroll through the small piazza surrounded by the tight and winding alleys to enjoy a sumptuous dinner where reservations have been booked in one of the Island's splendid restaurants.
Adult Price: € 34.00
St Mark's Square, tick, the Rialto, tick, Grand Canal, tick... To only experience Venice's big set pieces is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.
Adult Price: € 54.00
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
Adult Price: € 70.00
Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!
Adult Price: € 65.00
A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!
Adult Price: € 35.00
A wonderful excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town! Visit San Gimignano, considered a medieval Manhattan, due to its towers which dominate the skyline. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient gem which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Adult Price: € 69.00
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we travel into the hills near Florence to the northernmost part of the Chianti, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. A great cooking class, superb food and wine, with genuine and warm Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: € 43.00
Drive along the clear blue waters and picturesque resorts of the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most glamorous and scenic stretch of coast in Europe. Minibuses wind their way down serpentine roads to the exclusive artists' paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, as if about to cascade into the turquoise waters below. Spend time exploring the elegant shops, watching the artists at work, or enjoying an 'aperitivo' in a beach side cafe.
Adult Price: € 41.00
Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.
Adult Price: € 61.00
A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialities. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!
Adult Price: € 30.00
With its stark white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways, Ostuni is reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina. Perched high above the beautiful sea, the ‘White Town’ is a photographer’s delight. Then, we'll visit a Mill to taste the renowned olive oil produced in this area that incorporates olives from the ancient groves of Puglia!
Adult Price: € 54.00
Puglia is a food lovers paradise, famous for its local dishes using the freshest of ingredients! Tonight it's off to the countryside to a local 'Masseria', a typical ancient fortified 'Farmhouse' of Puglia. We enjoy an incredible, authentic Puglian style dinner in a beautiful setting! A wonderful 'country roads' experience all served up with great wines form this region!
Adult Price: € 68.00
With one of the most incredible rides of your lives, you will arrive high above the sea, a world apart from the areas that tourists tread. You'll arrive in your terraced authentic local restaurant for a truly educational meal of delicious regional specialties, with accompanying local wines.
Adult Price: € 56.00
Join a local expert to experience the unhurried pace of life in this rustic village chosen by Frances Ford Coppola for scenes in his movie “The Godfather”. Amid stunning mountain views, visit the charming wedding church and Bar Vitelli, where Al Pacino fell in love (famous for its ice cold granita di limone!) Then continue to Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Ascend through the lush fertile foothills to the craters and barren lunar landscapes nearer the top. The views over the eastern Sicilian coast and Ionian Sea are spectacular.
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