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Real Italy (Winter Season)

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Tour Pace: Active
Florence
Tour Style: First Class
11 Days from $2,030 per person

Wander through the ruins and beautifully maintained monuments of yesteryear, exploring the captivating art, history and culture that has shaped Italy's centuries-old story - across vineyards and olive groves, quaint clifftop seaside villages and grand cities, like Sorrento, Venice and Rome.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).

  2. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Unwind or take a stroll through ancient streets and soak up the ambiance. This evening, meet for a Welcome Reception with your fellow travelers and Travel Director, followed by an orientation drive to see some of Rome's famous sights.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  3. Your included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist begins at the Vatican Museums. Experience a Cultural Insight in the Vatican when you ascend the smooth and step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and then visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Your tour continues in ancient Rome. See the Circus Maximus where chariot races were held and visit the impressive Colosseum. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, or simply relax and watch the world go by.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  4. Admire the scenery as you drive north from Rome past the hilltop towns of Orte and Orvieto into Tuscany. See the Chianti vineyards and the extensive olive groves before crossing through the Apennine Mountains and eventually reach the flat plains of the Veneto region and magical Venice. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Grande Albergo Ausonia and Hungaria
  5. This morning watch the Venetian craftsmen during a Cultural Insight demonstration at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island. Venice − Queen of the Adriatic − was a maritime power and staging post for the Holy Crusades, and played a significant part in the Renaissance. The history and culture of this unique city is revealed as you cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square. See the Byzantine Basilica, Bridge of Sighs and Doges' Palace. Your afternoon is free to discover the delights of Venice or perhaps consider dinner at a local restaurant.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  6. A leisurely drive brings you to Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. See the impressive Roman arena, the third largest in Italy, and Juliet's balcony, close to Piazza della Erbe. To the south, through the beautiful landscape of Tuscany lies Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a memorable dinner of delicious local ingredients prepared by a local family.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Be My Guest Dining
    hotel:Grand Hotel Mediterraneo
  7. This morning explore Piazza della Signoria and see the Ponte Vecchio during your walking tour with your Local Specialist. See the multi-colored marble Cathedral with its impressive dome engineered by Brunelleschi and admire the inspiring gilded bronze doors of the Baptistery. Free time this afternoon allows you to discover what this fascinating city has to offer including the Academy of Fine Arts featuring Michelangelo's statue of David. Florence is also renowned for luxury leather goods and 18 carat gold jewelry. You may also consider taking an Optional Experience to San Gimignano, whose tall medieval towers can be seen from miles around.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
  8. Visit the Commonwealth Cemetery in Cassino which lies below the famous Montecassino Abbey that was the site of a fierce battle in May 1944. Continue south through the fertile Campania region to the Bay of Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, and along the coast to Sorrento. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Johanna Park
  9. Accompanied by a Local Specialist, cross the Bay of Naples by ferry to the Isle of Capri, where Emperor Tiberius built a series of villas and governed the Roman Empire for the last ten years of his life. Spend some time sightseeing or consider an Optional Experience to Anacapri which features magnificent views. Later in Sorrento, visit an inlaid woodwork factory for a Cultural Insight into the production of this local craft. Tonight enjoy a Regional Meal in a local restaurant.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  10. Explore the excavations at Pompeii which was preserved by volcanic ash when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Your Local Specialist gives a historical commentary of day-to-day life in the city on your Small Group Sightseeing tour. Your Italian odyssey ends in Rome where you enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and companions.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
    hotel:Sheraton Parco De Medici
  11. Say ‘arrivederci Roma' at the end of your memorable vacation in Italy. Transfers are available to Rome Fiumicino Airport. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
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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.

Add air to your reservation

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.

Meal Summary

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 6 dinners (including Be My Guest), On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Cultural Insight

  • Be inspired by the magnificence of Michelangelo and da Vinci at the Vatican Museums and enjoy an exclusive visit up the spiral staircase designed by the famous architect Donato Bramante in a part of the Vatican not open to the public. Witness the exquisite craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries. Admire the exquisite craft of inlaid wood at a workshop in Sorrento

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, Florence and the Isle of Capri

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Capri and Pompeii
  • Orientation of Venice and Verona
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum and Vatican Museums in Rome and the Commonwealth Cemetery in Cassino
    Cruise to the beautiful Isle of Capri
  • View St. Mark's Basilica and the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Juliet's Balcony in Verona, the Duomo in Florence and the Abbey of Monte Cassino
  • See the canals of Venice and Mount Vesuvius
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
2 Nov 17 12 Nov 17 checkmark $2,195$2,030pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
23 Nov 17 3 Dec 17 $2,195$2,030pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
13 Dec 17 23 Dec 17 $2,195$2,030pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
asteriskhashtag 22 Dec 17 1 Jan 18 $2,495$2,308pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
hashtag 28 Dec 17 7 Jan 18 checkmark $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
15 Mar 18 25 Mar 18 $2,195$2,030pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
22 Mar 18 1 Apr 18 $2,195$2,030pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
29 Mar 18 8 Apr 18 $2,495$2,308pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now
5 Apr 18 15 Apr 18 checkmark $2,295$2,123pp Early PaymentPay by Aug 31 Request Quote Book Now

* Vatican Museum: Visit will take place on Day 10 instead of Day 3 on this departure.

# Christmas & New Year’s Eve Highlights: The December 23rd 2017 departure will celebrate Christmas in Venice. The December 29th 2017 departure will toast New Year’s Eve in Venice. Each of these specially arranged festive meal celebrations will replace one of the included meals featured in the itinerary.

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 $390 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $88 per person.

Shared Rooming: Room Share is not available on this trip.

Airport Transfers: Transfers on arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport will operate at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the first hotel. Return transfers to Rome Fiumicino Airport will operate at 7:00 am and 9:30 am.

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.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the 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. 

    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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