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Italian Elegance

Operated by: Insight Vacations

12 Days from $3,893 per person
Grand Canal, Venice

Countries Visited

Italy ...more Italy

Locations Visited

Rome, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, Verona, Venice ...more Rome, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, Verona, Venice
  1. Day 1 Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.

    On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 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. At 17:30, join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner, a fun evening of Italian cuisine and wine.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel dei Borgia, Rome.
  2. Day 2 Rome with Vatican Dinner.

    In the morning enjoy the very best of the city’s highlights including visiting the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican with your Local Expert. With some free time, why not head to the Colosseum to learn about the city’s ancient past? In the afternoon, enjoy special fast-tracked VIP entry into the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and observe the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Enter the Sistine Chapel to marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece on its ceiling. After, dine in the Vatican's elegant Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, should weather permit, where you will enjoy incredible views of the cupola of St. Peter's during your private VIP Highlight Dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel dei Borgia, Rome.
  3. Day 3 Renaissance Florence and on to Monteriggioni.

    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. From there, see the cathedral, campanile and the baptistery, adorned with the Gates of Paradise. Walk on to Piazza della Signoria 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, swim in the pool, or participate in a variety of leisure activities.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Borgo San Luigi/Hotel Palazzo San Lorenzo, Monteriggioni, Tuscany.
  4. Day 4 Siena and San Gimignano.

    In the morning, visit medieval Siena where narrow cobbled streets lined with palaces and patrician mansions, lead to Piazza del Campo, scene of the Palio horse race. Explore with your Local Expert and visit the beautiful, striped cathedral. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers that scrape the azure Tuscan sky. Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli, for a taste of his finest frozen treats. On return to your hotel, stop at a local winery to sample some of the robust red wines of Tuscany and learn about their origins.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Borgo San Luigi/Hotel Palazzo San Lorenzo, Monteriggioni, Tuscany.
  5. Day 5 The Chianti Hills to Pisa, Lucca, Portofino and Santa Margherita.

    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 the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble, before continuing to the delightful town of Lucca. See a traditional steam bakery and taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread. Should weather permit, cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, the epitome of la dolce vita. Enjoy leisure time to admire the coloured houses, browse the boutiques or simply stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Continue along the coast 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.
  6. Day 6 The Cinque Terre.

    Head for the port of La Spezia for a highlight of your travels, 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. There is time to explore the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps make the most of the hotel’s private beach before enjoying a delicious farm-to-table dining experience at San Siro for dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Best Western Regina Elena, Santa Margherita Ligure.
  7. Day 7 Lake Maggiore.

    In the morning, head north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Simplon, Baveno, Italian Lakes.
  8. Day 8 Verona and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

    Journey to the town of fair Verona, legendary home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy free time to admire the well-preserved Roman Arena still used for opera performances, or perhaps recite Shakespeare’s immortal words and get cozy with Juliet’s well-worn statue beneath the balcony where the Capulet family is said to have lived. Continue through the magnificent Dolomites, to the mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Ancora, Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  9. Day 9 Experience the Dolomites.

    The whole day is free for you to explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites, one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. During summer, once the snow and ice have melted away, a breathtaking landscape is revealed. There are a number of walking tracks through pristine Alpine wilderness for the adventurous to explore, or for a more relaxed pace, perhaps take a thrilling Optional Experience cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360-degree views.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Ancora, Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  10. Day 10 Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.

    Descend through the mountains to the romantic city of Venice. A private launch glides you past canals lined with ornate palaces to St Mark’s Square. See the basilica, the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs, before checking into your intimate and luxurious hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, why not cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Splendid Venice - Starhotels Collezione.
  11. Day 11 The Magic of La Serenissima

    Visit an arts centre to watch one of the few remaining craftsmen blow Venetian glass. Then there is free time 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 where Venetians go about their day. 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, toast the finale of your journey with great food, wine and company at your Celebration Dinner in a magical setting.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Splendid Venice - Starhotels Collezione.
  12. Day 12 Arrivederci Venice.

    Bid farewell to Bella Italia and your newfound friends. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 08:00 or 09:30.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
route_map
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.

Authentic Dining

  • Authentic Dining:
  • Vatican City: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and see Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Then you'll be privileged an exclusive VIP Highlight Dinner at the Vatican's Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, whilst enjoying views of the cupola of St. Peters, should weather permit.
  • San Gimignano: Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli for a taste of his finest frozen treats.
  • Tuscany: In the Tuscan countryside, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides, taste the wines of an eminent estate.
  • Lucca: Visit a traditional steam bakery and sample Buccellato, the sweet raisin bread typical of the region.
  • Cinque Terre: Savour a freshly-prepared Farm-to-Table meal, made of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients typical of the region.
  • Venice: Enjoy a special Venetian Celebration Dinner with wine in a restaurant situated in the heart of this historic city.
  • Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Vatican City: Venture inside St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Pietà, and the splendid dome.
  • 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.
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing as you watch artisans create delicate works of art.

Stay in Style

  • Tuscany: The Borgo San Luigi is a restored 17th century country palazzo, once owned by the Duchy of Tuscany, offering high-quality service in a peaceful setting in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo Encircled by the beautiful Dolomite Alps, Cortina's delightful Hotel Ancora is built in the characteristic Ampezzano style with wooden balconies and intricately carved and painted interior details.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum. You will also see other medieval buildings, including Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered throughout the city.
  • Florence: During your guided walk see the cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Visit the political heart of the city, Piazza della Signoria, and the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods.
  • Siena: With your Local Expert explore the cobbles streets of Siena. Learn about the Palio horse race while standing in Piazza del Campo. See the 14th century Town Hall and its Mangia Tower.
  • Siena: Led by your Local Expert, wander your way through the medieval streets to visit the black-and-white striped marble cathedral.
  • San Gimignano: Visit the medieval Manhattan of Italy!
  • Pisa: During your orientation, your Travel Director 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.
  • Lucca: Your orientation with your Travel Director will show you the churches, squares and palaces within the medieval ramparts.
  • Cinque Terre: With your Local Expert, cruise to and explore two of the 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.
  • Italian Lake District: Experience the social ritual of la passeggiata.
  • Verona: During your orientation, walk past the well preserved Roman Arena to Juliet's balcony in the courtyard of a Renaissance villa.
  • Cortina: Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Cortina, a small town framed by magnificent alps as your Travel Director conducts an orientation.
  • Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Venice: To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces where once the likes of Casanova would have come calling.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the iconic scenery of the rolling Tuscan Hills, the Apennines and Dolomites mountain ranges and the Italian Lake District.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
  • Definite Departure
Price Discount Availability Price
Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Gretta Sencevicky
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Service
In-sight Vacations was absolutely "incredible"...Anne Kennedy and Carlos, bus driver, handled the itinerary, the group, and the over-touristed venues with incredible ease! Anne made the arrangements "mesh" in situations which defied control...Rome, Venice! Her persona is exquisite and made each member of our group feel important and appreciated! Anne was also enabling for those of us who wished to do the Uffizy in Florence rather than the Academia. Above all, we had several members of the group who had difficulty walking, keeping up, or climbing stairs...Anne saw too it they were accompanied and kept track of their progress as we walked long distances, stairs (elevators were identified), dark allies, and boarding/disembarking from buses, boats, trains, and gondolas. Anne Kennedy is the best tour director in my experience! Carlos handled the bus beautifully...our tour took us through the busiest streets in Rome, Florence, and Venice... The Dolomites were beautiful, but the roads were built for one vehicle, not a bus and heavy traffic! We were never frightened or nervous! So many thank you's to both Anne and Carlos for a great vacation with In-Sight Vacations! Gretta Sencevicky, 10-17-18
Response from Grand European Travel:
How wonderful to hear that you had an incredible time on your Italian vacation. We'll pass on your wonderful compliments to the Insight team, I'm sure they'll be happy to know how delighted you were with both Anne and Carlos. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Vacation
The tour was perfectly orchestrated...all the hotels were appropriate, the new bus with a highly skilled driver...the tour director was "the best I've ever encountered... Our itinerary was perfect... Will certainly use In-sight Vacations on my next bus trip!
Barbara Vosganian
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Service
Everything, from the iternary to the time planning. The tour director, Jackie was excellent and taught us so much. The local guides really knew their areas. If you’ve never been to Italy, this is the trip to take. I especially liked seeing the Dolomites.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for sharing about your experience. We're so glad you had a wonderful time on your Italy vacation.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Vacation
Well worth the price of the trip!
Trusted Customer
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Service
The itinerary was perfect! Our tour director was outstanding. He is very knowledgeable and was attentive to every detail. Our coach driver,too, did a wonderful job driving us and keeping us safe. There is so much that we would not have seen or heard if we did this trip on our own. Except for one dinner, all breakfasts and dinners were included. We enjoyed being with our fellow travelers and plan to stay in touch with them. My husband and I most definitely will seek out another Insight vacation and recommend them to our friends. M
Vacation
There were no optional tours to purchase while on Italian elegance
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Service
Our vacation planning with Rob Rainwater started August 13 2016. We had done our research and had decided what we wanted before contacting him. He was most agreeable and showed us areas where we could save a little e.g the insurance and air fare had specials. Our seating arrangements was suitable and all our documents arrived in a timely manner. The trip itself was delightful and practically stress free. It was like making a pilgrimage to what you have read or heard of all your life.
Vacation
This trip was all inclusive. You have no idea how stress free that can be. All we did was show up and enjoy.
S Gorman
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Service
Well organized tour director. Great locations. Loved Benito, our bus driver--excellent driver & extremely helpful & kind.
Vacation
I do not recommend Peruzzi leather shop. I purchased many gift items here, including a leather bag for myself, based solely on my tour company's recommendation (Insight Tours). The very day I purchased it I noticed the entire zipper had left a discoloration imprint along both sides of the leather closure. I immediately notified my tour director, who contacted Peruzzi immediately. I remained in Italy another two weeks and this company NEVER sent me an email or attempted to resolve the situation. I had to continue to reach out once I had returned home before I even received an email from this company to acknowledge the problem and flaws in the bag. Now we are in an email battle due to Peruzzi's refusal to handle the replacement of the bag in a fair manner. They clearly do not stand behind their inferior products, in spite of their stated "guarantee". I agree with the previous customer (j chiaro) -- Insight, Trafalgar and any other major tour companies who recommended this store should definitely rethink their stance until this company can learn (if ever) to appropriately resolve situations with their flawed products.
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