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Italian Escapade

Operated by: Insight Vacations

13 Days from $3,760 per person
Piazza Navona, Rome

Countries Visited

Italy

Locations Visited

Rome, Lake Maggiore, Venice, Sorrento
  1. Day 1 Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.

    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, you're welcomed and taken to your hotel with transfers departing at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. Get to know your fellow travellers as you mingle over a pleasant evening.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  2. Day 2 VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local.

    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.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  3. Day 3 Medieval Siena and on to Florence.

    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 marble. Continue through the cypress-clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to Florence. Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Michelangelo Florence.
  4. Day 4 Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance.

    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.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Michelangelo Florence.
  5. Day 5 Pisa and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes.

    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?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Simplon, Baveno, Italian Lakes.
  6. Day 6 At Leisure in the Italian Lake District.

    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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Simplon, Baveno, Italian Lakes.
  7. Day 7 Venice with Wine and Verona along the way.

    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. Listen to passionate stories as you 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 Travel 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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice.
  8. Day 8 Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.

    Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. While here, visit a traditional arts centre on Giudecca Island where you can see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made by expert glassblowers. What better way to see Venice than from a private boat, 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 local traditional songs, as you drift along in romantic awe. Spend the afternoon as you wish. As night falls, why not savour the magic of St. Mark’s square with its orchestras and al-fresco cafes?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice.
  9. Day 9 Hilltop Assisi.

    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-top 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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Giotto Assisi.
  10. Day 10 Along the Autostrada del Sole to Sorrento.

    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?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento.
  11. Day 11 Capri, the Isle of Dreams.

    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 sing 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?(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento.
  12. Day 12 The ancient cities of Pompeii and Rome.

    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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome.
  13. Day 13 Arrivederci Roma!

    Departure transfers arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 and 09:30.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
E937-italian-escapade-map-new-iv-19.jpg

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

  • Florence: Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.
  • Lake Maggiore: For your Dine-Around Evening, choose from a selection of hand-picked restaurants for your dining pleasure.
  • Lake Iseo: Learn about this historic winery, passed down through the generations, and taste its latest vintages.
  • Rome: Enjoy a Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine, accompanied by the rich tremolo of some of Italy's best loved songs.
  • Dining Summary: 12 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Vatican City: Gain VIP access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Be among the select few to admire the Bramante Staircase, a dizzying spiral of carved stone. Venture inside St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pietà, and the splendid dome.
  • Rome: Explore the backstreets of Rome and experience local life, alongside a passionate Roman who will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the Living Room of Rome.
  • Florence: Visit the Accademia Museum with a local art historian to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David.
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing while watching artisans create delicate works of art.

Stay in Style

  • Assisi: Hotel Giotto Assisi is located in the centre of the medieval village of Assisi with beautiful views over the Umbrian countryside. All guest rooms are decorated in local Umbrian style.

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.
  • Siena: See the Fountain of Joy, striped cathedral and vast Piazza del Campo.
  • Florence: See the cathedral, Giotto's bell tower, the Gates of Paradise on the baptistery and visit Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Santa Croce during your guided exploration.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Delight your senses as you are serenaded through the canals by gondola, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces.
  • Assisi: With you Local Expert, visit this hill-town with its stone-built structures. See Mount Subasio and the Church of St. Mary of the Angels.
  • Assisi: With a Local Expert, find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of Europe.
  • Sorrento: Perched upon the cliffs, lookout to see the mighty Mount Vesuvious across the Bay of Naples.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle through beautiful blue Mediterranean waters to meet your Local Expert.
  • Isle of Capri: Wander through the narrow streets led by your Local Expert and see all the boutiques as you enjoy captivating sea views.
  • Isle of Capri: In unique style, ascend by open-top taxi and return to the port by funicular.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.
  • Scenic Drives: Admire the beautiful passing scenery as you travel through the regions of Umbria, Chianti, Tuscany, past the Apennine Mountains, through the Italian Lake District and to Bay of Naples.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
  • Definite Departure
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Start Date: Tue, Jul 9, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Jul 21, 2019
$4,550$3,999pp SAVE: $551Promo Code: LMD418AARP members save an additional $100 checkmark Call 1-877-622-9109 Book Now
Start Date: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Jul 28, 2019
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Start Date: Tue, Jul 30, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Aug 11, 2019
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Start Date: Tue, Aug 6, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Aug 18, 2019
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Start Date: Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Sep 1, 2019
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Start Date: Tue, Sep 3, 2019
Return Date: Sun, Sep 15, 2019
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Optional Add-Ons

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

Join your Travel 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!
Adult Price: €19

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

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! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced. Please note: This optional is subject to availability and involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.
Adult Price: €54

Roman Dinner Party

Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: €62

Florence

Dinner In The Tuscan Hills

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!
Adult Price: €65

Tuscan Dinner & Cooking Demonstration

Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the Chiantri countryside, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. This wonderful cooking demonstration, with superb food and wine, will provide warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: €69

San Gimignano Excursion

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.
Adult Price: €36

Italian Lakes

Dinner on Isola dei Pescatori

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.
Adult Price: €68

Isola Bella

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.
Adult Price: €43

Lake Como and Bellagio Visit

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.
Adult Price: €44

Three Lakes Experience

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!
Adult Price: €51

Venice

Hidden Venice

To only experience Venice's big set pieces -- St Mark's Square; the Rialto; the Grand Canal -- 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.
Adult Price: €34

Magical Venice

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.
Adult Price: €55

Burano Excursion & Meal

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!
Adult Price: €71

Sorrento

Sorrento Evening

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!
Adult Price: €61

Amalfi Coast Drive & Positano Visit

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.
Adult Price: €44

Island Tour of Capri

Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise to the most beautiful part of the island, the southern side. View the beautiful grottoes 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.
Adult Price: €42

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Trusted Customer
Travel date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Service
As a return customer, I have always had a very good experience with Grand European Travel.
Vacation
Great itinerary, some of the "included dinners" were a bit below my expectations.
Trusted Customer
Travel date: Friday, October 7, 2016
Service
Our Tour Director was exceptional! She was extremely knowledgeable in every aspect of our tour. She was able to relate the history of every area in great detail.
Vacation
The overall experience exceeded our expectations in every way.
Trusted Customer
Travel date: Thursday, July 21, 2016
Service
I was so glad you include Insight travel- they are the best without a doubt!!!!
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your comments. Our sister company Insight Vacations does do a wonderful job and we are very proud to be able to partner with them this year. We're so glad to see that you enjoyed this trip. Grand European Travel
Friday, July 22, 2016
Vacation
The trip of a lifetime- absolutely incredible and our guide Gi Gi was the reason why! She ran everything so smoothly and with touching thoughtfulness, each one of us enyoyed the entire two weeks!
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