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Grand Italy and Sicily

Operated by: Insight Vacations

17 Days from $4,946 per person
View of Isle of Capri with flowers in foreground, Italy

Countries Visited

Italy ...more Italy

Locations Visited

Palermo ...more Palermo
  1. Day 1 Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome

    Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30.Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30, before getting to know your fellow travellers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  2. Day 2 VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local

    In the morning, you will be joined by a Local Expert to guide you through the art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican usually closed to visitors. More of Michelangelo’s genius is on display next door in St. Peter’s Basilica. Cross the Tiber river to enjoy ancient Rome. See the incredible Circus Maximus. Come up close and personal with the beautifully preserved Arch of Constantine, walking on the ancient pavement. Discover the history, the construction and the legends of the iconic Colosseum as you stroll around the exterior of this amazing structure(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  3. Day 3 Pisa and Santa Margherita Ligure

    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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Best Western Regina Elena, Santa Margherita Ligure.
  4. Day 4 The Charms of the Cinque Terre

    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 coloured houses, browse the boutiques and stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Should weather permit, return with a cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to your hotel in the resort of Santa Margherita.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Best Western Regina Elena, Santa Margherita Ligure.
  5. Day 5 Lake Maggiore

    Head north to the beautiful Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes District and the town of Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century square. On arrival, settle into your hotel and take in the magical scenery. In the afternoon, why not join an optional cruise to Isola Bella to explore the palace and admire the stunning and immaculate Italian style gardens.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Simplon/Hotel Dino, Baveno, Italian Lakes.
  6. Day 6 Onto Venice

    Your travels continue through the Soave vineyards, passing Padua and on to the canals of Venice.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Bellini Venezia, Venice.
  7. Day 7 Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima

    In the morning, a visit to an arts centre on Murano Island will allow you to admire the age-old skill of glassblowing by skilled artisans.In the afternoon, your private boat takes you past historic churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark's Square. The first sight is the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Turn the corner, and the gilded regalia of St. Mark's Basilica comes into view.Afterwards, board a traditional gondola for a serenade along the romantic canals.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Bellini Venezia, Venice.
  8. Day 8 A Scenic Journey to Florence

    Bid farewell to Venice and begin your journey to Renaissance Florence.Explore Florence with Insight Choice. Choose between a visit to the Accademia Museum with an art historian to see Michelangelo's David or alternatively, wander through the market stalls on a guided shopping tour.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, 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, famous for its quality goods.Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli.
  9. Day 9 Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance

    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 Experience to explore the hilltop town of San Gimignano?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli.
  10. Day 10 Ill-fated Pompeii and on to Sorrento

    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 civilisation during the Roman Empire. Follow the clifftop road to the resort town of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Isabella, Sorrento.
  11. Day 11 Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento, where you are at leisure for the rest of the day.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Isabella, Sorrento.
  12. Day 12 Sassi di Matera and Alberobello

    After breakfast, discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First, visit Matera for an in-depth guided exploration of the extraordinary Sassi, ancient troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock. These are 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 film 'The Passion of the Christ'. Continue to Alberobello, the second UNESCO World Heritage Site and your home for the next two nights.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello.
  13. Day 13 The Trulli of Alberobello

    Admire another of Italy's record number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a Local Expert. The Trulli of Alberobello are circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. In the evening, meet Alessandro, the founder of Trattoria Terra Madre, who will share his philosophy of using only organic, seasonal produce that he grows himself. See Nonna making orecchiette pasta, before savouring the fresh flavours of your Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello.
  14. Day 14 Sicily and the Taormina Riviera

    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 disembarking, continue to the Taormina Riviera.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel RG Naxos Hotel, Taormina.
  15. Day 15 Taormina and the Dawn Coast of Europe

    Join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek theatre, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll onto the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina’s grandest building. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace. Perhaps join an optional experience to Mt. Etna?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel RG Naxos Hotel, Taormina.
  16. Day 16 Palermo, Capital of Sicily

    Head to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.On arrival, your Local Expert will show you the highlights of the capital such as Pretoria Square and the 16th century fountain. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years and a venture inside will help you to appreciate the composite architectural styles. Next, head to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. With the outside completely covered in glittering 12th century mosaics, it provides an insight to what's within.Join your travelling companions and Travel Director at a local restaurant for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine and wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Palazzo Sitano, Palermo.
  17. Day 17 Depart Palermo

    Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
Price Includes

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency
  • We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available)
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times
  • If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport

Top Rated Highlights

  • Rome: Sightsee the local way, with a leisurely passeggiata through the backstreets, where a friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place, around ancient treasures like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.
  • Pisa: Your Local Expert will show you the baptistery bristling with marble spines, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the 11th century cathedral and of course, the famous Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles.
  • Cinque Terre: Led by your Local Expert, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site with dedicated time to explore two of the five charming fishing villages.
  • Portofino: Get a taste of the 'sweet life' when you visit this elegant fishing village.
  • Italian Lake District: Experience the social ritual of la passeggiata.
  • Venice: Delight in the magic of this charming city as you are serenaded, travelling through the atmospheric canals by gondola.
  • Florence: See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods and witness a gold and leather-work demonstration.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.
  • Sorrento: Perched upon the cliffs, lookout to see the mighty Mount Vesuvious across the Bay of Naples.
  • Isle of Capri: Relax and enjoy the views as you are driven in an iconic open-top taxi.
  • Matera: With your Local Expert explore this town that Mel Gibson chose as the setting for his film 'The Passion of the Christ.'
  • Alberobello: Led by a Local Expert, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar.
  • Straits of Messina: Cross to Sicily by ferry.
  • Taormina Riviera: During your orientation with your Travel Director, visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.
  • Palermo: Discover the Sicilian capital with your Local Expert. See Pretoria Square and the 16th century fountain. View the composite architectural styles of the Palermo Cathedral and visit the Cathedral of Monreale.

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.

Online Booking Process

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April 2021
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May 2021
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June 2021
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Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Trusted Customer
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Service
Lauren Vejar was excellent! Every detail was explained and she was available to answe any questions. The trip was smooth traveling from beginning to end.
Vacation
Sara and Claudio were the best guides ever! They took care of every detail so we could enjoy the beauty of Italy . We learned and saw so much of each area. The food was soo good!
Helen Valentinelli
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Service
The guides and bus driver were all well adapted to the job and made my learning experience about the people and places excellent.
Vacation
This trip was well planned and all the information about people and places was exceptional.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your kind words and for uploading the beautiful photo! We hope to be able to help you plan another trip very soon.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Laura Mckenna
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Service
Booking the tour was easy. The seats on the plane to Italy were poorly located and I paid $250 to upgrade. The flight schedule for our return trip was poor and I think we could have had a more direct flight. We took 2 flights to Italy and 3 flights home which didn't seem reasonable as it made for a 30 hour day at the end of a great vacation. The tour was great but the add on options cost $1500. I would have preferred to know about this expense up front or have a higher initial price with all options included. We really enjoyed our tour Director Vinenzo Tassone and our driver Mario was such a patient and skilled driver. This was a great tour to see so much of the Italian country side. We feel like we really saw much of what Italy has to offer.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Flying to the US from Palermo always requires 3 flights.  Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it.  We do book the most direct flights available at the time you make your reservation, but can always take your preferences into consideration if you have a favorite airline or departure city.  We appreciate your feedback.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Vacation
We saw so much! The tours were well orchestrated!We feel like we really got to experience a lot of Italy.
Richard Dawes Jr
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Service
We had a wonderful tour director named Francis Touchek. We arrived late on our first day and he paid for our cab. He brought in everyone's luggage and made sure that we all felt comfortable whenever we checked into a new hotel .Francis was very professional and extremely helpful. He was there to smooth the way and to make our tour as enjoyable as possible. He was very knowledgeable concerning the history of Italy. We both feel that we know so much more than we before the tour, about this beautiful country Our coach driver was a wonderful driver. We were amazed how well Benito could maneuver the coach around tight curves. He kept the coach clean and assisted us when we misplaced items. He and Francis were a great team. I was a little disappointed in some of the hotels that we stayed in. Many were far away from tourist attractions. The food on many of the optional experiences was not worth the price we paid. We did feel that the optional tours were worth the extra expense. We felt that it was a great tour and we enjoyed meeting so many nice people from other countries. We would recommend this tour to everyone. I would tell them to do a lot of walking before the tour because it was strenuous at times. One day we walked over ten miles. We climbed a lot of hills and walked down slippery steps! Get in shape before you sign up for this.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're sorry to hear that you were delayed in arriving into Rome, but glad to see that your Travel Director had the issue well in hand.    We appreciate your honesty about some of the hotel locations, quality and the food quality.  We will be sure to pass this information on to our Quality Control Team for immediate review.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Vacation
Some hotel rooms were very small. Several hotels were very far from the cities we were touring. Some optional dinners were very average and not worth what we paid for them. On the night of the Dine Around in Capri we all agreed that all three restaurants were below average choices.
Trusted Customer
Friday, October 28, 2016
Service
First time user and very likely not the last. Maybe spoiled by having Brad McEwen. The only criticism is the flight arrangements thru you could have been better scheduled. We had to wait in airport nearly 3 hours to get transferred on arrival and longer on the departure.
Vacation
Very comprehensive and like the idea that the tour director make own arrangements for optional dinners, since they were much better than the included dinners at the hotels.
Trusted Customer
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Service
This was our first organized international tour--the trip did not disappoint.
Vacation
Every day was a new wonder of scenery and experiences.
Trusted Customer
Friday, September 23, 2016
Service
Truely enjoyable and informative
Vacation
A great trip but would of enjoyed more if we had felt better. Trip was rated as comfortable and it really should be listed as strenous due to the amount of stairs and walking especially uphill.
Trusted Customer
Friday, June 10, 2016
Service
Well-planned tour...comfortable coach...nearly all hotel accommodations were of high quality.
Vacation
Incredible tour director - Francis Touschek! Amazing depth and breadth of knowledge as well as a humorous and articulate delivery.
Trusted Customer
Friday, June 3, 2016
Service
Wonderful variety of tours and vacations. Easy to book, talk with an actual person to make all arrangements including airfare and transfers. Tour guide from Insight Vacations (subcontracted company) is outstanding - very knowledgeable, educational, efficient and professional, not to mention polite, friendly and a wonderful sense of humor. This is the first time we have ever utilized a tour company and I would definitely utilize them again in the future.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We couldn't be happier to read your review. We take pride in putting all the details together for a seamless vacation. We are so pleased to see that you had a great trip to Italy and Sicily and hope to see you again very soon. Grand European Travel
Friday, June 3, 2016
Vacation
We had a great time. Traveled throughout Italy and Sicily with a knowledgeable guide who made the entire trip virtually stress free. All arrangements taken care of, “fast pass” entrance, times for tours in busy sites were scheduled early to avoid the crowds. We loved each city and village - all the foods and treats, and learned so much while having an amazing time. Once in a lifetime trip was PERFECT!!!!
Trusted Customer
Friday, May 20, 2016
Service
Super trip. Tour guide fantastic.
Vacation
Highly recommend to all my friends.
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