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Wonders of Italy

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Leisurely
Lucca, Tuscany
Tour Style: First Class
12 Days from $2,543 per person

Pay tribute to the extraordinary masterpieces of Italy's greats – the captivating arias of Puccini and splendor of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli's talents in their full glory throughout this enduring exploration of Italy's alluring art, architecture and old-world charm.

See the city of one hundred churches, the imposing towers of picturesque San Gimignano and the seas of pastel pinks, yellows and blues that cling dramatically to the Cinque Terre's Ligurian cliffs.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Open your heart to a whirlwind of fiery passion, fascinating antiquities and hearty flavors crafted by Italian mammas over centuries. On arrival to Rome Fiumicino Airport transfers will operate at 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Join your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive to see St. Peter's Basilica and the bustling cityscape by night.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Il Cantico
  3. Cross the Tiber to the Vatican for an included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist at The Vatican Museums. Admire the works of great masters – the smooth, step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante, the magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and sorrowful Pietà inside of St. Peter's Basilica. In Ancient Rome, we remember the brave gladiators who fought for supremacy at the Colosseum and see the Circus Maximus. This afternoon we have time to explore more of the city's sights.
    meal(s):BB
  4. We travel north to the city of Pisa, visiting its Square of Miracles to view the architectural feat of the Leaning Tower and picturesque UNESCO designated Piazza del Duomo with Italy's largest Baptistery. Venture past Renaissance walls to Lucca, embarking on an orientation tour past the 14th century San Martino Cathedral, Piazza San Michele and the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. Meander along the medieval streets to the dramatic aria sounds of Puccini, or ascend one of the city's ancient towers for panoramic views.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Best Western Grand Guinigi
  5. A sea of pastel pinks, yellows and blues cling dramatically to the Ligurian cliffs in the charming Cinque Terre (Five Lands) UNESCO World Heritage Site which we will have an opportunity to explore today on our included excursion. Join a Local Specialist and travel by boat and train to experience unforgettable old-world charm in two of the five picturesque fishing villages.
    meal(s):BB, DW
  6. The gentle Tuscan landscape gives way to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, famed for its stunning medieval architecture and 72 historic towers. We enjoy a Be My Guest lunch with wine in a beautiful family owned vineyard overlooking the rolling Chianti Hills, before arriving in Florence, our home for the next two nights.
    meal(s):BB, BG
    hotel:Grand Mediterraneo
  7. We join a Local Specialist who will bring the legacy of the influential de'Medici family to life. Walk along the cobblestone lanes into expansive piazze, viewing the magnificent marble Duomo and the replica of the David statue in Piazza della Signoria. View the 400-year-old Ponte Vecchio and admire spectacular panoramic views from Piazzale Michelangelo. The rest of the day is yours to explore the Cradle of the Renaissance on your terms.
    meal(s):BB
  8. Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers are remembered today during our jaunt to the romantic city of Verona where we will view Juliet's Balcony and the 1st century Roman Arena, still used today to host spectacular operatic performances. We venture to Venice next, our home for the next two nights.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Le Boulevard
  9. Cruise by private launch to visit the city's most spectacular attractions. We cruise by private launch to the island of Giudecca to enjoy a unique Cultural Insight into the centuries-old tradition of Venetian glassblowing before seeing St. Mark's Basilica, the ornate Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.
    meal(s):BB
  10. Travel through scenic countryside to the mystical town of Assisi, stopping en route in the city of Bologna to view its Kissing Towers that lean towards each other. We continue to our hotel in Assisi where we will dine this evening.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Assisi
  11. Discover the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi in his home town on the slopes of Mount Subasio. We join a Local Specialist who will take us on a fascinating walking tour to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, renowned for its beautiful frescoes depicting the life of this much-loved saint. We continue to Tivoli for a guided visit with a Local Specialist of the UNESCO World Heritage terraced hillside Renaissance gardens of Villa d'Este. This evening we enjoy an early special Farewell Dinner with our fellow travelers and Travel Director before returning to Rome.
    meal(s):BB, FD
    hotel:Sheraton Parco De Medici
  12. It's time to say a fond saluto to Italy and our newfound friends after a memorable journey. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7am and 9.30am. Conditions apply. 

    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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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.
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21 Apr 18 2 May 18 $2,865$2,579pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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28 Jul 18 8 Aug 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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25 Aug 18 5 Sep 18 checkmark $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
1 Sep 18 12 Sep 18 checkmark $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
8 Sep 18 19 Sep 18 checkmark $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Sep 18 26 Sep 18 checkmark $2,895$2,606pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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6 Oct 18 17 Oct 18 $2,925$2,633pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Oct 18 24 Oct 18 $2,865$2,579pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
20 Oct 18 31 Oct 18 $2,865$2,579pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a room. 

Single Room Supplement: from $490 p.p.

Triple Room Discount: up to $70 p.p.

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

Cruise Connection: This trip starts or ends in a popular cruise port, so you can combine a cruise with a more in-depth guided vacation in Europe.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver, $107 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.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Meal Summary

10 nights, 10 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch (Be My Guest), 4 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • The Lenzi family invites you to join them for dinner and a Chianti and olive oil tasting on their Tuscan wine farm which is located on the ancient road between Siena and Florence

Cultural Insight

  • Be inspired by the magnificence of Michelangelo 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

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rome, the Cinque Terre, Florence, Assisi and Tivoli

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rome, Florence, Assisi
  • Orientation of Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, Verona, Venice, Assisi
  • Visit The Vatican Museums, a Venetian glassblowing factory, UNESCO World Heritage Tivoli Gardens
  • Travel by boat and train to the Cinque Terre
  • View the ancient sites of Rome, Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • 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. 

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