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Ultimate Italy

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
Sistine Chapel
Tour Style: Luxury
13 Days from $5,085 per person

A secret ingredient. An entrance open only to the privileged few. The perfect time and place to take in each authentically Italian scene from the Vatican City to the Island of Capri. Thanks to local expertise that few can match, Insight brings the secrets of Italy together to create a truly remarkable experience with our Ultimate Italy itinerary. Make the most of your out-of-hours access and be among the first to gaze upon the intricacies of the Sistine Chapel. Unlock the mysteries of exceptional Italian cuisine. Uncover the delights of Cinque Terre. See Italy as few have ever seen it before with the exceptional value, convenience and attention to detail of a Luxury Gold vacation from Insight.


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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport and transferred to your elegant 5-star hotel, facing the famous Piazza Barberini. At 18:00, meet your Travelling Concierge for a short stroll to the Trevi Fountain, enjoying the romance of the Eternal City as night falls, before an evening of authentic food and wine.
    hotel:Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome (2 nights).
  3. In the ultimate VIP experience, enter the Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a Local Expert before it is open to the public and view its majestic treasures without the crowds. Our fast-tracked entry into the Vatican Museums ensures maximum enjoyment of the priceless Papal art collection. After contemplating Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling, continue into St. Peter's Basilica, then visit the Colosseum where the gladiators prepared for battle.

    hotel:Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome.
  4. Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Explore ancient shops and patrician villas with a Local Expert. Next, board your hydrofoil bound for the sun-drenched Isle of Capri. Transfer to open-top taxis and ride up to your exclusive hotel in style. Once the day-trippers have returned to the mainland, you will be offered a selection of discerning restaurants to choose from on your Dine-Around evening.
    meal(s):BB, DA
    hotel:Capri Palace Hotel & Spa (2 nights).
  5. Relax on-board a cruise around the island. See the white grotto and spectacular cliffs, before ascending to Capri town by funicular. Cool off with a refreshing lemon granita, then walk with your Local Expert to the gardens of Caesar Augustus to view the Faraglioni Rocks. Lunch will be served at Mammà - a Michelin-starred restaurant.
    meal(s):BB, MHL
    hotel:Capri Palace Hotel & Spa.
  6. After returning to the mainland, follow the Highway-of-the-Sun north to the winding, cobbled streets of Assisi for a guided visit inside the imposing Basilica of St. Francis. Move on to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. Ascend from the lower town, through the maze of medieval streets, to your 5-star deluxe hotel. This afternoon meet your Local Expert and walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square, before spending the evening at your leisure.
    hotel:Brufani Palace, Perugia.
  7. This morning you are visiting a workshop to see how the art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers. Ascend serpentine alleyways to taste the award-winning gelato of Sergio Dondoli. Journey on through the vines, olive groves and cypresses of the Chianti hills for a delicious exploration of the regional wines.
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello (3 nights).
  8. Meet an art historian for an insider's guide to Florence. Admire Michelangelo's original ‘Statue of David' in the Academy Museum before strolling to the cathedral, ‘Gates of Paradise' and open-air gallery in Signoria Square. The afternoon is free to enjoy Florence at your own pace before a delicious dinner with wine in delightful Barberino Di Mugello.
    meal(s):BB, HD
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello.
  9. Join a qualified chef to experience authentic Italian cooking at a hands-on culinary master class with lunch. In the afternoon, head to Pisa and view the splendid Duomo, baptistery and of course, the gravity-defying bell tower!
    meal(s):BB, L, DW
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello.
  10. Journey northwest, towards the Mediterranean, and continue along the coast to the Cinque Terre. Join a Local Expert in the picturesque fishing village of Manarola. Then cruise along the rugged coast to explore Monterosso's medieval quarter and popular sandy beach. After free time for lunch, board the train bound for the resort of Rapallo. Your prestigious hotel overlooks the Portofino Promontory.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo.
  11. Cross the fertile Po Valley to Verona, home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. Stroll past the well-preserved Roman Arena and through a maze of elegant squares to stand beneath the balcony said to have belonged to the Capulet family. Head on to Venice and to your exclusive 5-star luxury hotel. In the evening, you are invited to an out of hours private visit of the magnificent Doge's Palace. As all crowds disappear, discover the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic.
    hotel:Bauer Palazzo, Venice (2 nights).
  12. A Local Expert will introduce you to the joys of Venice. Admire St. Mark's Basilica and see the Bridge of Sighs. Witness the age-old skill of glassblowing at an arts centre. Later, take your seat in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the evening, cruise to the idyllic fisherman's island of Burano for a celebratory dinner.
    meal(s):BB, CD
    hotel:Bauer Palazzo, Venice.
  13. Your Luxury Gold journey will come to an end after breakfast with a private boat transfer to Venice Airport for your onward flight.

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.

2018 Preview

Preview itineraries and content are based on selected vacations featured in our 2017 Collection, however, items such as (but not limited to), hotels, meals, sightseeing inclusions, trip destinations, transfers and transportation, are subject to change. The final composition of your trip will be published in our 2018 Collection due out in September. By paying your deposit, you are agreeing to accept the finalized version of your trip itinerary.
  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
7 Apr 18 19 Apr 18 $5,650$5,085pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
19 May 18 31 May 18 checkmark $5,725$5,153pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
2 Jun 18 14 Jun 18 checkmark $5,895$5,306pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
23 Jun 18 5 Jul 18 $5,895$5,306pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
30 Jun 18 12 Jul 18 $5,895$5,306pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
7 Jul 18 19 Jul 18 checkmark $5,895$5,306pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
21 Jul 18 2 Aug 18 $5,795$5,216pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
28 Jul 18 9 Aug 18 $6,995$6,296pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
4 Aug 18 16 Aug 18 $5,795$5,216pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
25 Aug 18 6 Sep 18 $7,125$6,413pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
1 Sep 18 13 Sep 18 $5,695$5,126pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
8 Sep 18 20 Sep 18 $5,775$5,198pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Sep 18 27 Sep 18 $5,775$5,198pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
22 Sep 18 4 Oct 18 $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Sep 18 11 Oct 18 $5,725$5,153pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
6 Oct 18 18 Oct 18 $5,725$5,153pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now


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 $1,760 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $96 per person.

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.

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
  • Michelin Dining Michelin Dining
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Delicious Dining Experiences

11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Dine-Around Evening (DA), 1 Michelin Highlight Lunch (HL), 1 Highlight Dinner (HD), 1 Highlight Lunch (HL), 2 three-course table Dinners (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences


  • In the ultimate VIP experience, enter the Sistine Chapel for a private tour, with a Local Expert, before it is open to the public. Our fast-tracked entry into the Vatican Museums ensures maximum enjoyment of the priceless Papal art collection.


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

Isle of Capri:

  • Relax aboard a cruise around this magical island.


  • Find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe with a Local Expert.


  • Visit a workshop to see how the art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations.

San Gimignano:

  • Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan ice-cream parlour of World Champion gelato Maestro, Sergio Dondoli for a taste of his finest frozen treats.


  • An insider's guide with an art historian, admire Michelangelo's masterpiece, the 17ft marble statue of David in the Academy of Fine Arts.

Cinque Terre:

  • Cruise along the rugged coast of the Cinque Terre to explore Monterosso's medieval quarter and popular sandy beach.


  • Discover the secrets of the Venetian Republic on a private evening tour of the Doge's Palace.
  • Take your seats in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic Venetian canals.


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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.  


    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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