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Italian Discovery

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Active
Assisi
Tour Style: First Class
11 Days from $2,453 per person

Landmarks of Italy – the Vatican, marble Duomo and Doge's Palace – are the highlights of this journey through the birthplace of culture. Admire Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling, the idyllic beauty of Lake Como and stop in Verona to see Shakespeare's Juliet balcony and the 2,000-year-old Roman arena. You'll also savor the tastes of Bologna and wander through St. Francis' hometown, Assisi.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. 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. Tread in the footsteps of emperors and slaves, through the annuls of history that span millennia – your first encounter with intoxicating Italy is the Eternal City and its glorious past which you will have an opportunity to explore on your own terms before joining your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception. This evening, we enjoy an enchanting antipasto of our Italian Discovery during an orientation drive past some of the city's most famous sights.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Cicerone
  3. Our exploration of Rome begins at the Vatican Museums where we have priority access allowing entry to view the masterpieces collected by Popes throughout the centuries. During our included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist, gaze in wonder at Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Crossing the Tiber, we venture to Ancient Rome to see where hundreds of thousands of spectators would cheer chariot riders to victory at Circus Maximus and visit where brave gladiators met their fate in the imposing Colosseum. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the magnificent sites of what was once the capital of the world, or kick back in a piazza soaking up the aromas of fine coffee while you watch the world go by.
    meal(s):BB
  4. Today we drive north through rolling Tuscan landscapes to the Renaissance city of Florence. Beauty and artistry seep through the walls of exquisite palazzi, churches and bridges, the most famous of which is the Ponte Vecchio which we will view during a walking tour with our Local Specialist. Visit the expansive Piazza della Signoria, which once lay at the heart of the flourishing Florentine Republic and view the exquisite marble Duomo and famous Baptistery renowned for its bronze doors with relief sculptures. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the fine art and architecture of this beautiful city on your own terms. This evening, we gather at a Tuscan castle set within a celebrated wine and olive oil estate for an unforgettable Be My Guest dining experience.
    meal(s):BB, BG
    hotel:Grand Mediterraneo
  5. A short journey brings us to Pisa and its Square of Miracles, home to the famous Leaning Tower, ornate Baptistery and the Cathedral del Duomo. We continue northwards, past the marble quarries of Carrara and the charming resort hubs of Portofino, Rapallo and Genoa in Liguria before arriving in sophisticated Turin. This afternoon, we venture through the grand boulevards of this aristocratic city during an orientation drive which will unveil the majestic Piazza Vittorio Veneto and River Po, Italy's largest river.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Concord
  6. We leave Turin and travel to the exquisite Italian lakes for a stop at Lake Como. Then on to the economic powerhouse of Milan, where we'll enjoy a walking tour with a Local Specialist to explore the city's spectacular sights. We view the ornate Duomo, one of the grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world, the ancient Galleria shopping arcade and the celebrated La Scala opera house. This evening, join your companions for a delicious Regional Meal at a local restaurant.
    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Starhotels Business Palace
  7. Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers are remembered during our stop in Verona where we'll view Juliet's Balcony and the first-century ancient Roman arena still in use today. Crossing the Veneto Plains, we arrive in what was once the haunt of Casanova and Marco Polo, the magical city of Venice.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Viktoria Palace
  8. We board a private launch to the gateway of Venice, St. Mark's Square – our introduction to such sights as the Doge's Palace and the Byzantine Basilica. Witness first-hand the fine glassblowing tradition that spans centuries during a Cultural Insight on Giudecca Island before enjoying free time to explore Venice on your terms. Wander through the labyrinthine alleys, over ornate bridges and into quiet piazze as you get lost in this enchanting city.
    meal(s):BB
  9. Go off the beaten track and into the medieval city of Ferrara, revealing its fascinating northern Italian culture, before arriving in Bologna – perhaps more famous for its gourmet achievements than being the site of the oldest university in Europe. Join a Local Specialist to explore the sights, including Neptune's fountain, the Kissing Towers and Piazza Maggiore. Of course, a visit to the home of tortellini, mortadella, tagliatelli and ragù, would be incomplete without taking the time out to sample its delicious cuisine. Buon appetito!
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Flyon
  10. Today, we cross the dramatic Apennine Mountains to the mystical town of Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Come face-to-face with the legacy of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order in 1208, during a walking tour of his hometown with a Local Specialist. Visit the magnificent Basilica that bears his name and see his tomb, before traveling back to Rome past the scenic hilltop town of Orte. Tonight, we celebrate a journey of discovery through Italy during a Farewell Dinner with our companions and Travel Director.
    meal(s):BB, FD
    hotel:Sheraton Parco De Medici
  11. Our journey together has come to an end so for now it's a fond arrivederci to your newfound friends at the end of your memorable Italian vacation. 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.
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19 Apr 18 29 Apr 18 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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19 Jul 18 29 Jul 18 $2,750$2,475pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 Jul 18 5 Aug 18 $2,750$2,475pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
2 Aug 18 12 Aug 18 $2,725$2,453pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
9 Aug 18 19 Aug 18 $2,775$2,498pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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30 Aug 18 9 Sep 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
6 Sep 18 16 Sep 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Sep 18 23 Sep 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
20 Sep 18 30 Sep 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
27 Sep 18 7 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 Oct 18 14 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
11 Oct 18 21 Oct 18 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
18 Oct 18 28 Oct 18 $2,795$2,516pp 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 $620 p.p.

Triple Room Discount: $90 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $97 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, and can be combined with 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
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Meal Summary

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 5 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • The Pazzi and de Medici feud is brought to light in this visit to the 12th century Castle of Trebbio where you will enjoy a traditional Tuscan buffet, explore the castle dungeons, and indulge in olive oil and wine tasting

Cultural Insight

  • Gain early access to the Vatican Museums to marvel at the magnificent work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Witness the exquisite craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Milan, Bologna and Assisi

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Milan, Bologna, Assisi
  • Orientation of Turin, Venice
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Roman Colosseum, the medieval city of Ferrara, St. Francis Basilica in Assisi
  • Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, beautiful Lake Como, the Gothic Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Roman Arena and Juliet's Balcony in Verona, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Kissing Towers in Bologna

Reviews

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  • 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.

Bologna

Bologna Gourmet Dinner

Adult Price: € 62

Drive with us through the Bolognese countryside to reach our restaurant in a popular local winery. We will enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner of seasonal local specialties and a selection of wines from the Emilia-Romagna region, known as the gastronomic centre of Italy.

Florence

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 Lake Como

Adult Price: € 38

Enjoy views of elegant villas and gardens as you cruise with your Local Specialist along Lake Como, one of the most beautiful spots in the Italian Lake District.

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.

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.

Turin

Italy's Unknown Capital

Adult Price: € 31

From its elegant cafes to its royal palaces and baroque churches, Italy's first capital has endless treasures waiting to be discovered. Your Local Specialist will reveal the secrets of its Savoy past on a passeggiata with a special surprise treat.

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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