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Great Italian Cities (Winter Season)

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Leisurely
The Vatican, Rome
Tour Style: First Class
11 Days from $2,495 per person

Tread up the stone steps and down the grand boulevards of Italy's capitals – the sidewalk café culture, enchanting Renaissance frescoes and incredible feats of classic architecture all must-see highlights of this leisurely jaunt through the cities of Rome, Florence and Venice. Explore the centuries-old Rialto food market, admire the embrace of Bologna's Kissing Towers and say ‘ciao' to Marco Polo.

This page shows Winter Season departures and itinerary; click here to see the main season version of this tour!

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Relax after your journey or explore this fascinating city on your own. Later, meet your companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. It's the perfect opportunity to get to know everyone. An orientation drive will take you to view St. Peter's Basilica - a great start to your Italian vacation.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:Grand Palatino
  3. Your included sightseeing tour with a Local Expert begins at the Vatican Museums. Experience a Cultural Insight in the Vatican when you ascend the smooth and step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and then visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Later visit the impressive Colosseum, the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. See the Circus Maximus where Ben Hur-style chariot racing took place. Spend free time discovering more of the city or relax at a sidewalk café and watch the world go by.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  4. Spend today as you please. Your Travel Director will be able to help you get the most from your day at leisure. Alternatively consider joining an Optional Experience to the renowned excavations at Pompeii, in the Bay of Naples.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  5. Drive north to the mystical town of Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Visit St. Francis’ Basilica and see Giotto’s enchanting frescoes, with your Local Expert. Arrive later in Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  6. Learn about Florence's rich cultural history during your sightseeing tour with a Local Expert. Visit Piazza della Signoria with its impressive sculptures and imposing palazzi. View the multi-colored marble Duomo and Baptistery, famous for its bronze gilded doors. Enjoy scenic views of the Ponte Vecchio, one of the city's most famous landmarks. Afterwards, explore on your own or shop for souvenirs in Florence, renowned for high-quality leather and 18-carat gold jewelry.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  7. Cross the Arno Valley to Pisa, a former maritime city on the Ligurian Sea. In the Square of Miracles, home to some of the city's most famous sights, see the incredible Leaning Tower and the beautifully sculpted marble cathedral with a Local Specialist. See the Baptistery and the cemetery, built on soil brought from Calvary in the Holy Land. This evening travel to a Tuscan villa for a special Be My Guest dinner.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Be My Guest Dinner
  8. Travel through the Apennines to Bologna, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and famous for sausages and salami. Your sightseeing tour with a Local Expert includes views of the Kissing Towers which lean towards each other, seemingly poised to embrace. Later cross the Veneto plains to Venice. This sublime island city, constructed in a lagoon, has an incredibly rich cultural and artistic heritage. Later today you might like to take a gondola ride along enchanting canals - it's the perfect introduction to this magical city. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Boscolo Bellini
  9. Savor the unique sights of Venice as you cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square. See the Bridge of Sighs, Palladian Churches, Customs House, St. Mark's Basilica and the ornate Doge's Palace. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into the Venetian tradition of glass making on Giudecca Island. This afternoon you have free time to visit the Fine Arts Academy, relax at a café on St. Mark's Square or consider a boat trip to the Island of Burano for a delicious meal.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  10. Enjoy a leisurely stroll from your hotel along the canals to the famous Rialto Bridge to join your guided Small Group Sightseeing walking tour, which will reveal a centuries-old food market and narrow 'calle' or streets. Admire the beautiful architecture including Marco Polo's house. The rest of the day is free to visit the sights of your choice. Celebrate this evening with your fellow travelers at a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  11. Say ‘arrivederci' to Italy and your newfound friends at the end of your memorable Italian vacation. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast

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  • Definite Departure
  • Festive Celebrations
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
25 Oct 18 4 Nov 18 $2,625pp Request Quote Book Now
1 Nov 18 11 Nov 18 checkmark $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
8 Nov 18 18 Nov 18 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
15 Nov 18 25 Nov 18 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
22 Nov 18 2 Dec 18 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
29 Nov 18 9 Dec 18 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
6 Dec 18 16 Dec 18 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
22 Dec 18 1 Jan 19 $3,125pp Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
22 Dec 18 1 Jan 19 $3,125pp Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
25 Dec 18 4 Jan 19 $2,950pp Request Quote Book Now
3 Jan 19 13 Jan 19 $2,750pp Request Quote Book Now
17 Jan 19 27 Jan 19 $2,495pp Request Quote Book Now
24 Jan 19 3 Feb 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
31 Jan 19 10 Feb 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
7 Feb 19 17 Feb 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
21 Feb 19 3 Mar 19 $2,750pp Request Quote Book Now
28 Feb 19 10 Mar 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
7 Mar 19 17 Mar 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
14 Mar 19 24 Mar 19 $2,525pp Request Quote Book Now
21 Mar 19 31 Mar 19 $2,550pp Request Quote Book Now
28 Mar 19 7 Apr 19 $2,995pp Request Quote Book Now
4 Apr 19 14 Apr 19 $2,995pp Request Quote Book Now
  • Festive Celebrations: Christmas and/or New Year Celebrations have been arranged for these departures.

Christmas & New Year's Eve Highlights: The December 22nd 2017 departure will celebrate Christmas in Rome and New Year's Eve in Venice. The December 26th 2017 departure will toast New Year's Eve in Florence. Each of these specially arranged festive meal celebrations will replace one of the included meals features in the itinerary.

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 $470 p.p.

Triple Room Discount: $63 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $78 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 Venice Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 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 more in-depth 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
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips

Meal Summary

13 meals, 9 breakfasts, 4 dinners.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Eight generations and plenty of stories to tell. Enjoy a traditional dinner with the Landi family at their home near Siena, set within a garden of oak trees against the backdrop of Tuscan vineyards and olive groves

Cultural Insight

  • Be inspired by the magnificence of Michelangelo and da Vinci at the Vatican Museums and enjoy an exclusive visit up the spiral staircase designed by the famous architect Donato Bramante in a part of the Vatican not open to the public. Witness the exquisite craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries

Small Group Sightseeing

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

Local Experts

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, Assisi, Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Venice

Sightseeing Highlights

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


Thursday, October 26, 2017
Service rating : This was not a leisurely paced tour as advertised.By the end of the tour we would have climbed literally thousands of steps. Some people skipped a couple of events because they were exhausted.My wife had to spend a day to recover during the trip. On one option excursion the instruction whether to return to the hotel and assemble there was not clear. I ended up in an event thinking it was part of the planned tour. I had not signed up for the excursion.I was of the impression that the bus would take me to the hotel so that I could have joined my wife and did our own thing. Because of this confusion I ended up paying 42 Euros.The rear steps to get into and out of the bus are very steep.The last step in the front of the bus is too high off the sidewalk. One literally had to jump to get outside.
Response from Grand European Travel:
All of our trips require a great deal of walking.  The Leisurely Paced category refers to the number of stays in each city, usually 2-3 night stays versus 1-2 night stays.  We're very sorry if this was not made clear to you when you booked with us.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Vacation : Don’t understand question
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Service rating : guide and director of tour, hotel selection and very good meals, sites visited and excellent local experts, attempts to handle all our needs. WE just had a ball! Terrific bus driver and baggage handling. It was everything we expected..
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your review. We are delighted you enjoyed our Great Italian Cities guided vacation and the service you received from your Travel Director and Driver.  
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Vacation : See my prior comments on excellent meals, guides, tour director especially, hotels, baggage handling, sites and tours selected.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Service rating : Muris our gu ide made sure we were well informed where ever we went. He was kind ,funny and made our trip what it was. BRAVO!!!!
Vacation : Beautiful experience hope to do it again
Monday, October 16, 2017
Service rating : Very good experience. Great communication.
Vacation : Very good value for what we did
Friday, October 13, 2017
Service rating : I would definitely recommend & travel with Grand European again. Our guides were very knowledgeable & the accommodations were very nice. The places that we saw were magnificent. The coach driver was very courteous & patiently waited for everyone.
Vacation : Our tour specialist was very knowledgeable
Monday, October 9, 2017
Service rating : The trip was wonderful, our tour director Muris K was fabulous, just the best and would love to take another trip with him as the director again. Our drivers were excellent, felt very safe. Our hotels both in Rome and Florence at the Grand Palatino were also excellent. Our hotel in Venice could have been better. The hotel staff was a bit rude, both behind the desk and wait staff in the dining area. The hotel room itself was large and beds comfortable but the lighting was very poor, very dark. One corner where the suitcases went and the clothing was hung up had no lighting in the area at all. It was if they were trying to save on electricity. Aside from the hotel in Venice the trip was the best. I have taken other tours with other travel companies and I must say this was a 5 star! I'm so glad I went with GET!
Vacation : Great trip, great sites to see and people were wonderful to share the trip with.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Service rating : The trip was wonderful. The tour director was knowledgible and very patient.
Vacation : Great trip, great value!!
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Service rating : Trafalgar gave us an excellent tour guide. He made us feel well cared for and was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his country.
Vacation : I loved that we didn't have to pack up and move to a new hotel every day. Yet we took side trips and saw quite a lot.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Service rating : The tours that were included and the optional tours were excellent. Saw so much & learned so much. Specialists were all so nice and funny and well informed.
Vacation : Great vacation and a great experience.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Service rating : Nice trip, excellent guide and host. Only problem i encountered was spending one night in venice at one hotel and then changing to another hotel for 2 nights. The local guides were very good also.
Vacation : good value for the money.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Service rating : This was our first tour -- Grand European Travel and Trafalgar were excellent. The Travel Director was outstanding -- knowledgeable, enthusiastic, personal, helpful, informative, and humorous. The local specialists were good. The pace of this package was just right -- walking, time spent in each location, side trips and experiences -- all good. Grand European Travel's arrangements made it easy -- good communication, correct documents and clear instructions...all received well in advance of the trip. The website provided good travel tips, too. The only negative was the very short layover in Paris CDC (Venice to Paris to LAX) -- 1 hour and 20 minutes was barely enough time to get through customs and catch our connecting flight...not even time for a restroom stop...just running through the airport! We'll definitely consider using Grand European Travel and Trafalgar on future trips.
Vacation : Optional Experiences: Pompei/Naples - excellent tour, time for browsing and shopping San Gimignano - great Medieval city Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica - very ornate palace; St. Mark's was the best church we saw -- great mosaics
Monday, September 25, 2017
Service rating : The tour was excellent, however, the optional tours with local tour guides was not enjoyable. The tour itself was excellent, but the local tour guides were hard to understand and provide way too much information that is uninteresting. We were all interested in hearing the most important points about the location, but not the useful information they provided. Yes I would definitely book with them again, but hope they will rethink the local tour guides or at least how much time is given to them.
Vacation : Great tour. Italy was amazing.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Service rating : I would definitely travel with them again. The only complaint I had was with the information provided upon arrival at Rome airport. It was confusing.
Vacation : It was beyond my expectations
Monday, August 21, 2017
Service rating : It was an awesome experience. The tours were well organized. Our Travel Director was so well informed. Would definitely recommended this trip to anyone. Wonderful experience.
Vacation : Good priced for all that was included.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Great Italian Cities
Service rating : The trip was packed to the gills with things to do - really exhausting but very informative. What bothered me was that I was not told by Grand European that every thing we saw on the trip was considered an Option and we had to pay extra for a "Local Specialist"...even though I did not choose one of the Options, my extra cost was still $370 Euros!. This should be mentioned by your company before we decide to make the trip so that we can plan for that expense
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're very sorry about this miscommunication. All of our trips offer optional sightseeing and dining experiences which are designed to enhance the trip. We do include a list of these options in your documents packet.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Vacation : See the note I already added to this report
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Great Italian Cities
Service rating : Gary and I were amazed at how much we saw during our short stay in Italy. This was a well planned, well orchestrated excursion. Rachel White did an awesome job with the flow of the trip. We know she worked countless hours behind the scenes to make that all happen
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your feedback.   We're so pleased you enjoyed beautiful Italy.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Vacation : Each city we visited was better than the previous. Gary and I learned so much about this fabulous country. We most definitely will consider another GE package when we visit Europe again.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We look forward to helping arrange your next trip. 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Service rating : All of the advance arrangements went off very smoothly, and the staff were extremely helpful and efficient, even to the extent of working out some special arrangements for us.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Great Italian Cities
Service rating : The exceptional service and wonderful experience started with the Customer Service Rep, Rob Rainwater. He went above and beyond to ensure our trip was stress-free and an incredible experience.
Vacation : Our Travel Director, Gordon Spicer, was remarkable. Gordon had every detail under control and showed us a beautiful Italy that I don't think many people get to see. Rome, Florence and Venice were a trip of a lifetime, with incredible sites and comfortable, lovely hotels.
  • Yes, 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.


    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.


    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.  


    Roman cuisine is deeply rooted in the past. Despite the city’s imperial history, the food in Rome and the surrounding Lazio region is anything but refined.  Humble pasta dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and cacio e peppe (pecorino cheese and pepper) are local favorites served in trattorias around town. Other foods to try in Rome include pizza, a variety of fritti (fritters) made with everything from salted cod to zucchini flours, stewed oxtail, suppli (rice and Bolognese sauce croquettes) and sharp pecorino cheese. For dessert, try crostata di ricotta (Italian cheesecake) or zeppole (donuts).

  • In Italy, the weather changes very quickly, with temperatures varying from morning to night. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

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