Experience the epitome of picture-postcard Italy's historic cities, exquisite resorts, rustic towns and idyllic fishing villages. Head behind the scenes in the Vatican as the Bramante staircase is opened just for you.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport transfers leave for your hotel at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. 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 5:30 pm, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception, a fun evening of pizza and wine.
A Local Expert introduces the grandeur of the city. Start off in the Vatican City, the richest community in the world. While others wait in line, you will be fast-tracked through the VIP entrance into the Vatican Museums. Admire the collection of priceless art gathered by Popes over the ages. Your visit also includes behind-the-scenes access to parts of the Vatican denied to the general public - the famous Bramante Staircase. Then enter the sublime Sistine Chapel, to gaze up and admire Michelangelo's famous painted ceiling. Next door, in St Peter's Basilica, see one of Michelangelo's early works, the Pietà, and the splendid dome completed after his death. Head to the Colosseum where we embark on an included sightseeing tour to learn about the city's ancient past. For the rest of the day, enjoy free time.
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.
(Relaxed Start) 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.
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.
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 returning to your hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, you may wish to make the most of the hotel's private beach before for dining at a local farm-to-table restaurant.
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, should weather permit, cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, epitome of La Dolce Vita. Admire the coloured houses, browse the boutiques, stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta and watch the yachts moored in the harbour. Next, return to the mainland and head north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with luxuriant subtropical vegetation.
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 Dolomites, to the mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.
(Relaxed Start) Today is yours to explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites – one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. Why not take a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360 degree views?
(Relaxed Start) 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 center 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.
(Relaxed Start) Your final day in Italy 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 with good food, good wine and good company in a magical setting.
Your journey continues north through spectacular scenery as you follow the Adige River. Travel via the Brenner Pass through the magnificent Dolomites and cross the impressive Europa Bridge to arrive at wonderful Innsbruck. Your orientation will show you the 14th century houses of Old Town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the Golden Roof.
(Relaxed Start) Plenty of time this morning to explore the alpine town of Innsbruck. A short journey north, cross the German border and you arrive at Oberammergau in the heart of the Bavarian Alps and home of the Passion Play since 1634.
(Relaxed Start) After a morning at leisure in charming Oberammergau, take your premium reserved seats to witness the world famous Passion Play, re-enacting the last days of Christ on earth. After a break for dinner in a local restaurant, the captivating performance continues into the evening.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast. Transfers arrive at Munich Airport at 9:30 am.
10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 6 Dinners (D) with wine (DW).
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|7 May 20||22 May 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|14 May 20||29 May 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|21 May 20||5 Jun 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 May 20||12 Jun 20||$4,750pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|4 Jun 20||19 Jun 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|11 Jun 20||26 Jun 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|18 Jun 20||3 Jul 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|25 Jun 20||10 Jul 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|2 Jul 20||17 Jul 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|9 Jul 20||24 Jul 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|16 Jul 20||31 Jul 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|23 Jul 20||7 Aug 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|30 Jul 20||14 Aug 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|6 Aug 20||21 Aug 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Aug 20||28 Aug 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|20 Aug 20||4 Sep 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Aug 20||11 Sep 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|3 Sep 20||18 Sep 20||$4,750pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|10 Sep 20||25 Sep 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|17 Sep 20||2 Oct 20||$4,750pp||Request Quote Book Now|
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room and is subject to change. Final pricing will be available August 31, 2019.
Single and triple rooms are not available for the Oberammergau stay. Solo travelers and triple share guests will be matched and accommodated in a twin room with a fellow solo traveler (of the same gender) for the duration of the stay.
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.
Accommodation: Hotel accommodation has been secured either in Oberammergau or close by in the picturesque villages of the Bavarian Alps. Please note that single and triple rooms are not available for the Oberammergau stay. Solo travelers and triple share guests will be accommodated in a twin room with a fellow solo traveler (of the same gender) for the duration of the stay.
Itineraries: Itinerary details such as hotels, meals, sightseeing inclusions, and price are subject to change.
Payment conditions: For bookings before September 30, 2019, on reservation an initial $350 per person, non-refundable deposit is due. On September 30, 2019, an additional $225 is due to confirm Passion Play ticket. For bookings from October 1, 2019 onwards, a non-refundable deposit of $575 per person is due on reservation. Final payment is due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings made within 90 days of departure must be paid in full when booking. No Early Payment Discounts, nor any other discounts, are applicable to the Oberammergau portion of the trip. Any fuel surcharges and/or government tax increases will still be payable by the guest.
Please note indicative prices are available on our website and final prices will be confirmed by 31 August 2019. If the overall Oberammergau & Trip price increases more than 15%, guests are eligible to cancel without penalty; if the price decreases, guests are entitled to the lower trip price.
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 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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