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Italian Elegance

Grand Canal, Venice
13 Days from $3,803 per person

Experience the epitome of picture-postcard Italy's historic cities, exquisite resorts, rustic towns and idyllic fishing villages. All evening dining and featured sightseeing experiences are included in this tour.

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. In this unique city, ancient monuments happily co-exist with some 900 churches, fine palaces, bustling piazzas, green parks and a vast urban sprawl. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception, a fun evening of pizza and wine.
    meal(s):WD
    hotel:Mercure Roma Centro Colosseo, Rome (2 nights).
  3. In the morning enjoy the very best of the city's highlights including a tour of the magnificent St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican with our Local Expert. Head to the Colosseum where we embark on an included sightseeing tour to learn about the city's ancient past. Then, you are fast-tracked through our special VIP entrance of the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and enter the Sistine Chapel and admire Michelangelo's masterpiece on its ceiling. After the museums close their doors to the public, our tour culminates with a special invitation from a curator of the Ethnological Museum to share their immense knowledge of the collection. Dine in the Vatican in refined elegance among its priceless treasures at a private VIP Signature Evening.
    meal(s):BB, SE
    hotel:Mercure Roma Centro Colosseo, Rome.
  4. Take the autostrada north to Renaissance Florence. Accompanied by an art expert, venture inside the famous Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo's original statue, David. Back outside, see the cathedral, campanile and the baptistery, adorned with the ‘Gates of Paradise'. Walk on to Signoria Square with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculpture. There is time to shop for Florentine leather or gold before continuing to your elegant Tuscan villa near the walled town of Monteriggioni. After spending two days in the metropolis of Rome, your villa resort will be a welcome retreat. Rest in the shade of the lush, verdant gardens, take a swim in the pool, or participate in a variety of leisure activities.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Borgo San Luigi, Monteriggioni (2 nights).
  5. In the morning, visit hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers that scrape the azure Tuscan sky. Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan ice-cream parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli, for a taste of his finest frozen treats. On route back to your hotel, stop at a local winery to sample some of the robust red wines of Tuscany and learn about their origins. Continue on to medieval Siena, where narrow cobbled streets lined with palaces and patrician mansions, lead to Piazza del Campo, scene of the Palio horse race. With your Local Expert, visit the beautiful-striped cathedral before enjoying dinner.
    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Borgo San Luigi, Monteriggioni.
  6. Drive through the patchwork of vines, olives and cypresses that typify the Chianti hills. Head for Pisa and see the incredible Leaning Tower, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See also the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble, before continuing to the delightful town of Lucca. At a traditional steam bakery, taste the history in the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread. Continue along the coast to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Best Western Hotel Regina Elena, Santa Margherita Ligure (2 nights).
  7. Head for the port of La Spezia and a highlight of your tour, the Cinque Terre. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. With a Local Expert appreciate the views as you approach one of the picturesque fishing villages by boat. Spend some time exploring the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach before continuing along to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, epitome of La Dolce Vita. Admire the coloured houses, browse the boutiques, stay a while in the café bars on the piazzetta and watch the yachts moored in the harbour. Weather permitting, return along the rugged Ligurian coast by boat to your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Best Western Hotel Regina Elena, Santa Margherita Ligure.
  8. Head north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with luxuriant subtropical vegetation. Take a private boat over to Isola Bella, one of the largest and most famous of the Borromean Islands. Enjoy a guided tour, with a Local Expert of the incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens (weather dependent). In the evening, choose from a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening.
    meal(s):BB, DA
    hotel:Grand Hotel Dino/Simplon Hotel, Baveno, Italian Lakes.
  9. Drive to the town of Verona, legendary home of Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy free time to admire the well-preserved Roman Arena and Juliet's Balcony. Continue through the rose-coloured peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites, some of the most spectacular and dramatic scenery that Europe has to offer, to the mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Your hotel is located right across from the church tower.
    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Ancora, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2 nights).
  10. Explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites – one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. Your full-day of discovery includes a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360 degree views. Later, your Freestyle Evening offers you the ultimate in dining choices.
    meal(s):BB, FSD
    hotel:Ancora, Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  11. Descend through the mountains to the romantic city of Venice. A private launch ferries you past canals lined with ornate palaces to St. Mark's Square. See the basilica, the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs. Visit a Venetian Arts centre to learn about hand-crafted glass, gondolas and lace, before checking into your intimate luxurious hotel, which is only steps away from St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge.
    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Starhotels Splendid, Venice (2 nights).
  12. Your final day is free to enjoy the magical atmosphere of this incredible city at your own pace. Mingle with the locals at the open air markets near the Rialto Bridge and explore the back lanes and squares. Later, on your romantic gondola serenade, glide along the atmospheric canals exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs. In the evening, celebrate your tour finalé with good food, good wine and good company in a magical setting.
    meal(s):BB, CD
    hotel:Starhotels Splendid, Venice.
  13. Bid farewell to Bella Italia and your new-found friends. Your departure transfer arrives Venice Airport at 08:00 & 09:30.
    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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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
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Included Quality Dining

11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE), 2 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 3 Restaurant Dinner (RD, 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Freestyle Evening (FSD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Rome:

  • Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Visit the Colosseum, still echoing with the thronging crowds and ghostly cries of gladiatorial combat.

Lake Maggiore:

  • Visit the palace and gardens on the beautiful island of Isola Bella.

Siena:

  • Explore medieval Siena with a Local Expert and visit the cathedral.

Florence:

  • Stand beside Michelangelo's monumental statue, David, in the Accademia Gallery, while an art expert explains the exquisite technique and absorbing history behind the world's most famous sculpture.

Cinque Terre:

  • Explore two of the idyllic villages of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Portofino:

  • Cruise from Santa Margherita and get a taste of the sweet life in this elegant fishing village.

The Dolomites:

  • Experience a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks.

Venice:

  • To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces where the likes of Casanova would have come calling.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price AvailabilityPrice
20 Apr 17 2 May 17 checkmark $4,250pp
$4,250 pp
27 Apr 17 9 May 17 checkmark $4,350$3,915pp
$4,350 $3,915 pp
4 May 17 16 May 17 $4,350$3,915pp
$4,350 $3,915 pp
11 May 17 23 May 17 checkmark $4,350pp
$4,350 pp
18 May 17 30 May 17 checkmark $4,350pp
$4,350 pp
1 Jun 17 13 Jun 17 $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
8 Jun 17 20 Jun 17 $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
15 Jun 17 27 Jun 17 checkmark $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
22 Jun 17 4 Jul 17 $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
29 Jun 17 11 Jul 17 $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
6 Jul 17 18 Jul 17 $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
13 Jul 17 25 Jul 17 $4,295$3,866pp
$4,295 $3,866 pp
20 Jul 17 1 Aug 17 checkmark $4,225$3,803pp
$4,225 $3,803 pp
27 Jul 17 8 Aug 17 $4,225$3,803pp
$4,225 $3,803 pp
3 Aug 17 15 Aug 17 $4,225$3,803pp
$4,225 $3,803 pp
10 Aug 17 22 Aug 17 $4,225$3,803pp
$4,225 $3,803 pp
17 Aug 17 29 Aug 17 $4,225$3,803pp
$4,225 $3,803 pp
24 Aug 17 5 Sep 17 checkmark $4,325$3,893pp
$4,325 $3,893 pp
31 Aug 17 12 Sep 17 $4,325$3,893pp
$4,325 $3,893 pp
7 Sep 17 19 Sep 17 checkmark $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
14 Sep 17 26 Sep 17 checkmark $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
21 Sep 17 3 Oct 17 checkmark $4,375$3,938pp
$4,375 $3,938 pp
28 Sep 17 10 Oct 17 checkmark $4,250$3,825pp
$4,250 $3,825 pp
5 Oct 17 17 Oct 17 $4,250$3,825pp
$4,250 $3,825 pp

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 $790 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $99 per person.

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.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only 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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