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Ultimate Italy

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Sistine Chapel
Tour Style: Luxury
13 Days from $6,116 per person

This magnificent journey showcases Italy's grand past, romantic cities and exquisite natural wonders. Step into the ancient world, as a Local Expert shows you the cobblestone alleyways of Pompeii, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in VIP style, and marvel at the gravity defying Tower of Pisa. Along the way, you'll discover how medieval trades are being kept alive, participate in a Tuscan cooking masterclass and cruise along the canals of Venice aboard a traditional gondola. From iconic capitals to the charming fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, uncover the full grandeur of Italy.

 

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, you are met and transferred to your elegant five-star hotel, facing the famous Piazza Barberini. Later meet your Travelling Concierge and fellow travelers for a short stroll to the Trevi Fountain, enjoying the romance of the Eternal City as night falls, before gathering for a spectacular Welcome Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine at a local restaurant. 

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome.
  3. Our fast-tracked entry into the Vatican Museums is the best way to enjoy the timeless Papal art collection. In the ultimate VIP experience, enter Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a Local Expert before it opens to the public. Continue into St. Peter's Basilica, before seeing the Roman Forum and visiting the grand Colosseum. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon, perhaps relishing an espresso at a piazza cafe or walking along the romantic Tiber River. In the evening meet Debora, your local VizEat host, for a home-cooked Italian meal served at her wonderful city-center home.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome.
  4. Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time since A.D. 79 when it was violently engulfed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Join your Local Expert to learn about the lifestyles of the people who once lived here and explore the remnants of ancient shops, baths and patrician villas. Journey on to the Bay of Naples where you'll board your hydrofoil bound for the sun-drenched Isle of Capri. On arrival, enjoy an escorted ride in an open-top taxi to your exclusive hotel. Settle in and appreciate the splendors of Capri at your leisure, long after the day-trippers have returned to the mainland.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Capri Palace Hotel & Spa
  5. Embark on a dazzling cruise to see the white grotto and spectacular cliffs of the island, before arriving in Capri town to cool off with a refreshing lemon granita. Walk with your Local Expert to the gardens of Caesar Augustus to view the legendary Faraglioni Rocks, jutting out of the water. Prepare for a highlight lunch at Ristorante L'Olivo, the only eatery on the island boasting two Michelin stars. Savor Chef Andrea Migliaccio's culinary masterpieces of traditional dishes inspired by modern interpretations, as you drink wine from carefully-crafted handmade glassware. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps treating yourself to a pampering massage at your hotel's day spa?

    meal(s):BB, LW
    hotel:Capri Palace Hotel & Spa.
  6. Return to the mainland and travel north along the Highway of the Sun to the winding, cobbled streets of Assisi for a guided visit to the imposing Basilica of St. Francis with your Local Expert. Continue on to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. Ascend from the lower town, through the maze of medieval streets, to your five-star deluxe hotel. In the afternoon, meet your Local Expert for a walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square where you'll see the Great Fountain, Collegio del Cambio and the splendid Prior's Palace. Spend the evening at your leisure; perhaps soaking up the vibrancy of this historic university town from a local cafe? (

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Brufani Palace, Perugia.
  7. Discover the preserved heritage of textile loom-weaving at the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti, a weaver's workshop situated inside a 13th century Franciscan church. Meet Marta, the workshop director and recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and learn how this medieval craft has been kept alive over the generations. Continue your journey north through glorious Tuscan landscapes. On arrival, meet your Local Expert for a guided tour through the former house and Mediterranean gardens of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Nicolo Machiavelli. You're invited to join a special opening of his private office where he famously wrote 'The Prince' and then to enjoy an exclusive wine tasting in his original cellar. Taste a variety of wines from his cellar including a rare Super Tuscan, one of the world's most renowned wines. Conclude your visit with a light lunch of Farm-to-Table Tuscan snacks. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano and stroll through its serpentine alleyways to taste the award-winning gelato of Sergio Dondoli.

    Chairman's Collection
    If you are travelling on a Chiarman's Collection departure, you are invited to an exclusive lunch and wine tasting with Count Francesco Mazzei at his centuries-old Tuscan estate. This experience will replace the lunch and wine tasting at the home of Nicolo Machiavelli.

    meal(s):BB, LW
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello.
  8. For a relatively small city, Florence boasts an abundance of art and architectural masterpieces, chic boutiques and fabulous restaurants. Join an art historian for an insider's guide to cultural Florence. Admire Michelangelo's original statue of David in the Accademia Museum, before strolling to the cathedral, the baptistery with its Gates of Paradise and the open-air gallery in Piazza della Signoria. Enjoy Florence in the afternoon at your own pace or return to your renaissance hotel for a relaxing afternoon spent in its tranquil Tuscan gardens. In the evening, gather for a delicious dinner with wine, served at a local restaurant in delightful Barberino Di Mugello.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello.
  9. Join a professional chef and uncover the secrets of Tuscan cooking during an authentic culinary masterclass. Complete your cooking experience by savoring the fruits of your labor with a lovely lunch. In the afternoon, travel to Pisa and with your Local Expert view the splendid Duomo, baptistery and, of course, the famous gravity-defying Leaning Tower of Pisa!

    meal(s):BB, L, DW
    hotel:Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello.
  10. Journey northwest towards the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join your 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. Enjoy lunch at leisure, then journey by train to the resort of Rapallo. Your prestigious hotel offers striking vistas of 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. Continue on to your five-star luxury hotel in Venice. In the evening, you are invited to an after-hours private visit of the magnificent Doge's Palace. As all crowds disappear, discover the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic with your Local Expert.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Bauer Palazzo, Venice.
  12. Discover the majestic wonders of Venice on a guided walk with your Local Expert. Admire St. Mark's Basilica and see the Bridge of Sighs, witness the age-old skill of glassblowing at an arts center and finally take your seat in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the afternoon, cruise to the idyllic fisherman's island of Burano and arrive just in time for a spectacular Celebration Dinner. Raise a glass of local Italian wine, as you toast to new friendships and memories.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Bauer Palazzo, Venice.
  13. After breakfast, bid farewell to you travel companions and transfer by with a private boat to Venice Airport for your onward flight.

    meal(s):BB
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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.
  • Definite Departure
  • Alternative Hotel
  • Special Small Group Departure
  • Chairman's Collection
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
7 Apr 18 19 Apr 18 $6,795$6,116pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
21 Apr 18 3 May 18 checkmark $6,795$6,116pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
5 May 18 17 May 18 checkmark $6,795pp Call 1-877-622-9109
12 May 18 24 May 18 checkmark $6,795$6,116pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Chairman's Collection
19 May 18 31 May 18 checkmark $6,975$6,278pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 May 18 7 Jun 18 checkmark $6,850$6,165pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
2 Jun 18 14 Jun 18 checkmark $6,995$6,296pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Alternative Hotel
Special Small Group Departure
16 Jun 18 28 Jun 18 $7,995$7,196pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
23 Jun 18 5 Jul 18 $6,995$6,296pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Alternative Hotel
30 Jun 18 12 Jul 18 $6,895$6,206pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
7 Jul 18 19 Jul 18 checkmark $6,895$6,206pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
14 Jul 18 26 Jul 18 $6,895$6,206pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
21 Jul 18 2 Aug 18 $6,895$6,206pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Special Small Group Departure
28 Jul 18 9 Aug 18 $7,875$7,088pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 Aug 18 16 Aug 18 $6,895$6,206pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Special Small Group Departure
25 Aug 18 6 Sep 18 $7,875$7,088pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
1 Sep 18 13 Sep 18 checkmark $6,850$6,165pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
8 Sep 18 20 Sep 18 checkmark $6,850$6,165pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Sep 18 27 Sep 18 checkmark $6,850$6,165pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Chairman's Collection
22 Sep 18 4 Oct 18 checkmark $7,025$6,323pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Sep 18 11 Oct 18 $6,795$6,116pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
6 Oct 18 18 Oct 18 checkmark $6,795pp Request Quote Book Now
  • Alternative Hotel: This departure may include alternate hotels in select cities.
  • Special Small Group Departure: This departure indicates a tour limited to a small number of guests.
  • Chairman's Collection: This departure includes a special royal dinner as part of Luxury Gold's Chairman Collection.

 

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.

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

Including Dining

11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 3 Lunches with Wine (LW) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea and coffee. 

Signature Experiences

Rome:

  • 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.
  • With your Local Expert, see Rome's most revered treasures, including St. Peter's Basilica, Michelangelo's ‘Pietà', the Roman Forum
    and visit the iconic Colosseum.

Pompeii:

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

Isle of Capri:

  • Travel in style to the glistening Isle of Capri by open-top taxi and enjoy a private cruise around the island to see its hidden
    coves and grottos. Back on land; admire the famous Faraglioni Rocks from the gardens of Caesar Augustus.
  • A bustling Italian experience, the Michelin-starred Ristorante L'Olivo is the fourth successful restaurant owned by husbandand-
    wife team, Sergio and Jo Perano. Their regional dishes are presented with contemporary flair and have earned them two Michelin stars, a
    rare and impressive feat.

Assisi:

  • Join your Local Expert and find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe. 

Perugia:

  • Join your Local Expert for a guided exploration through history, as you walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square
    where you'll see the Great Fountain, Collegio del Cambio and the splendid Prior's Palace.
  • Meet Marta, recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and discover how she and her weavers are preserving the medieval
    tradition of loom weaving at their artisan workshop.

Pisa:

  • Accompanied by your Local expert, marvel at the gravity-defying Leaning Tower of Pisa, alongside a Local Expert, and see the
    Duomo and baptistery.

Florence:

  • Join a local art historian for an insightful walk, as you admire Michelangelo's masterpiece, the marble statue of David, in the
    Accademia Museum.

Cinque Terre:

  • Cruise along the rugged coast of the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Sit. Explore Monterosso's medieval quarter
    and popular sandy beach and visit Manarola with your Local Expert.

Venice:

  • 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.

Reviews

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Your guide and driver were excellent. Site visits were also excellent. However "luxury was far from your hotel sites. Maybe 5 star years ago, but currently very tired (grout out and black mold in bathrooms - very small, dark rooms - not able to open suitcase). Was told that rooms were rotated like the seats on the bus and we would sometimes get the better room. Although I paid the single supplement, I got very small rooms. Capri is dead at night, would have preferred daytrip and staying in Salerno. Villa was also dead and would have like a hotel in Florence. My bad, thought trip would be less people.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are very sorry to see that your trip did not live up to your expectations. We will be sure to share your feedback regarding the hotel quality to Insight's Management team.  While we have no control over the group size, we do apologize that it had a negative impact on your ability to enjoy yourself more. We appreciate you bringing these items to our attention.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Vacation : Price high for large group and tired hotels
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Top notch service and five star hotels
Vacation : Exceeded our expectations
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Well organized, light on their feet when adjustments to itinerary were necessary, added many little perks like cookies, candy, cocktail party
Vacation : A few dinners were not top caliber.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Their helpfulness in finding the best airfare for us was most appreciated. Also, the knowledge and friendliness of the agents, especially Rob Rainwater, made our scheduling as easy as possible. Thanks, Rob!
Vacation : This had to be the best trip ever.
  • 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.  

    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. 

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