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Italian Escapade

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Active
Piazza Navona, Rome
Tour Style: Premium
14 Days from $3,866 per person

Revel in the riches of Rome and Florence, observe the beauty of the Italian Lakes and mix with the fashionable crowd on sun-kissed Capri during this adventure.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, once the hub of a vast empire that spread from Britain to the Persian gulf and from Africa to Germany. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Relax and settle in. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception at a local restaurant. Get to know your fellow travelers as you mingle over a pleasant evening.

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome (2 nights).
  3. A Local Expert leads you through the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry to the museums and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase. Later, continue to St. Peter's Basilica. Embark on a leisurely walking exploration to see the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. Then there is time to relax and absorb the atmosphere of Piazza Navona.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  4. Travel north to medieval Siena and stroll through the winding stone-paved streets to the vast Piazza del Campo, where the Palio horse race takes place amid great festivities. See the Fountain of Joy and then walk up to the hilltop cathedral, striped with black and white marble. Continue through the cypress-clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to Montecatini. For your Dine-at-Home experience, a local invites you to dine in their Medicean villa. Visit the vineyard, taste the olive oil and hear tales of the local life while savoring a freshly-prepared traditional Italian meal.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Croce di Malta, Montecatini
  5. Join a local art historian as you venture inside the Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo's statue, David. Gaze up and truly appreciate the significance of Michelangelo's work. Continue to the cathedral to see Giotto's bell tower and the Gates of Paradise adorning the baptistery. Visit Piazza della Signoria filled with works of art and finally pause in Piazza Santa Croce, overlooked by its basilica, the final resting place of Galileo and Michelangelo. By night, don't miss the chance to try the delicious local cuisine and sample rich Chianti wine.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Croce di Malta, Montecatini
  6. Stop at Pisa, to see the incredible Leaning Tower from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity, as well as the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. Your journey continues, past the marble quarries at Carrara, used since the time of Ancient Rome, through the dramatic Apennine Mountains to the fertile valley of the River Po. Continue to your lakeside resort on beautiful Lake Maggiore. As night time draws in, why not work up an appetite before dinner with a traditional evening stroll, or passeggiata as they say in Italy?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Simplon Hotel, Baveno, Lake Maggiore.
  7. The day is set aside for you to relax and enjoy all the fantastic sights of this beautiful lake-land area. Perhaps take a cruise over to Isola Bella, one of the picturesque Borromean Islands.For your Dine-Around Evening, choose from a selection of hand-picked restaurants for your dining pleasure. 

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Simplon Hotel, Baveno, Lake Maggiore.
  8. Follow the southern fringes of the European Alps to the vineyards, close to the shores of Lake Iseo. You will see that winemaking traditions run deep here when you visit a family-owned estate that goes back generations. In an arcaded building dating back to the 13th century, with 16th century frescoes in the cellars, taste the delicious vintages together with a master vintner. Continue to Verona, the setting for one of literature's saddest love stories. Walk with your Tour Director to Juliet's balcony in the reputed courtyard of the Capulet home and see the well-preserved Roman Arena, still used for open-air opera performances. Carry on to Venice. Arrive at your hotel by boat, in true Venetian style, a city of 118 islands and no motorcar traffic to mar its beauty.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice.
  9. Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. What better way to see Venice than from a private launch, cruising past palazzos and churches to St. Mark's Square. See the gilded basilica, the Doge's Palace and Lord Byron's Bridge of Sighs. No visit to Venice would be complete without a gondola serenade through the myriad of beautiful canals. Relax and enjoy the atmospheric songs, as you drift along in romantic awe. While here, you also visit a traditional arts center on Giudecca Island where you can see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made. Spend the afternoon as you wish. As night falls, why not savor the magic of St. Mark's square with its orchestras and al-fresco cafes?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice.
  10. Skirt the Venetian Lagoon and cross two of Italy's most important rivers, the Adige and Po. The scenery will then change dramatically as you drive through the wild Apennines. Your destination is the stone-built, hill-town of Assisi, home of St. Francis. See the Church of St. Mary of the Angels before continuing up Mount Subasio, with a Local Expert to visit the Basilica of St. Francis.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Giotto, Assisi.
  11. Journey along the clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento, perched upon the southern cliffs of the Bay of Naples and looking over to Mount Vesuvius. With the evening at leisure, why not try some of the local specialties during a local dining experience?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Regina, Sorrento.
  12. In the morning, cruise to Capri, known as the Isle of Dreams. In one of the island's iconic open-top taxis, head up the steep, winding roads while a symphony of cicadas chirp away in the pines. With your Local Expert, explore the narrow alleyways of Capri town, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. Perhaps join an optional visit to Positano and the Amalfi Coast?

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Regina, Sorrento.
  13. Journey to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, eerily preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Walk with a Local Expert through cobbled streets to explore some of the shops, villas and temples. In the heart of the Eternal City, you are treated to the quintessential Italian experience – fine food, wine, music and a private performance of enchanting operetta.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  14. Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 & 09:30.
    meal(s):BB
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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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  • Solo Traveler Discount: This departure includes a 25-100% discount on standard single supplement subject to availability.

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 $400 p.p.

Triple Room Discount $160 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $150 per person.

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.

  • 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

12 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with 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.
  • Explore the backstreets of Rome and experience local life alongside a passionate Roman local who will explain how modern life
    takes place around ancient treasures.

Florence:

  • Visit the Accademia Museum with a local art historian to see Michelangelo's masterpiece, David.

Venice:

  • Delight your senses as you are serenaded through the canals by gondola, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces.
  • Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing while watching artisans create delicate works of art.

Assisi:

  • With a Local Expert, find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of Europe.

Isle of Capri:

  • Cruise to this famous isle and in the style of the jet-set, ride up to town by open-top taxi. Your Local Expert will show you
    around the narrow alleyways and exclusive boutiques.

Pompeii:

  • Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.

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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.

Rome

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

Adult Price: € 19.00

Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

Adult Price: € 52.00

With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive!

Roman Dinner Party

Adult Price: € 61.00

Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.

Florence

Dinner In The Tuscan Hills

Adult Price: € 65.00

A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!

San Gimignano Excursion

Adult Price: € 35.00

A wonderful excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town! Visit San Gimignano, considered a medieval Manhattan, due to its towers which dominate the skyline. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient gem which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tuscan Dinner & Cooking Demonstration

Adult Price: € 69.00

Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we travel into the hills near Florence to the northernmost part of the Chianti, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. A great cooking class, superb food and wine, with genuine and warm Tuscan hospitality.

Italian Lakes

Dinner on Isola dei Pescatori

Adult Price: € 68.00

This evening escape to the charming and tranquil island of Isola dei Pescatori. A short boat ride from the shores of Lake Maggiore, this fisherman’s Island is inhabited year round by only 50 permanent residents. Stroll through the small piazza surrounded by the tight and winding alleys to enjoy a sumptuous dinner where reservations have been booked in one of the Island's splendid restaurants.

Isola Bella

Adult Price: € 41.00

The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.

Lake Como and Bellagio Visit

Adult Price: € 44.00

Lake Como is the most picturesque of all the great Italian lakes, deeply treasured in the hearts of all the Italians. To enjoy its beauty, a private boat is the best way! You'll cruise past the magnificent villas of the rich and famous, stopping in Bellagio where there will be time to relax and enjoy this charming “pearl of the Lake” that sits spectacularly at the centre of the three branches of Lake Como.

Three Lakes Experience

Adult Price: € 51.00

See why this area has long been a favourite of film stars, writers, diplomats and royalty! Travel along Lake Maggiore past the mystical castles of Cannero, towards the peaks of the Alps. The Swiss resort of Lugano nestles between the mountains and celestial blue waters - stroll along its palm and cypress lined promenade and enjoy its restaurants. Then to Lake Como, one of Italy’s most spectacular lakes where a private cruise puts into perspective the stunning vistas and villas of the rich and famous. Later, time to hunt out some bargains; Como is famous for it's vast array of silk shops!

Venice

Burano Excursion & Meal

Adult Price: € 70.00

Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!

Hidden Venice

Adult Price: € 34.00

St Mark's Square, tick, the Rialto, tick, Grand Canal, tick... To only experience Venice's big set pieces is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.

Magical Venice

Adult Price: € 54.00

Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.

Sorrento

Sorrento Evening

Adult Price: € 61.00

A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialities. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!

Amalfi Coast Drive & Positano Visit

Adult Price: € 43.00

Drive along the clear blue waters and picturesque resorts of the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most glamorous and scenic stretch of coast in Europe. Minibuses wind their way down serpentine roads to the exclusive artists' paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, as if about to cascade into the turquoise waters below. Spend time exploring the elegant shops, watching the artists at work, or enjoying an 'aperitivo' in a beach side cafe.

Island Tour of Capri

Adult Price: € 41.00

Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.

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