Best of Italy (2014)

11 day tour from US$3435.00*

Day 1 - Depart USA

Board your overnight flight (not included).

Day 2 - Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome

Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with Classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, for the tour hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Later, enjoy a Welcome Reception with your Tour director and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

Hotel: NH Vittorio Veneto/Romanico Palace, Rome

Meals: Welcome Dinner

Day 3 - Papal & Imperial Rome

Today is devoted to the ‘Eternal City’. This morning, enjoy an orientation drive before joining a local expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art treasures collected by the Popes. Insight has arranged special VIP entrance to avoid the crowds, together with behind the scenes access to the Bramante Staircase - a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally off-limits to the general public. Now into the Sistine Chapel, where the Popes are elected. Enjoy clear commentary via your audio headset as you admire Michelangelo’s famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter’s Basilica, wonder at another of his works, the motive ‘Pieta’, and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. Then cross the Tiber to visit the Colosseum, scene of many gladiatorial contests. After seeing the Roman Forum, the rest of the day is yours to shop in the boutiques or relax at a sidewalk café.

Hotel: NH Vittorio Veneto/Romanico Palace, Rome

Meals: Buffet Breakfast

Day 4 - In Search of St. Francis

Leave Rome and follow the valley of the River Tiber to the hills of Umbria, which form part of the Apennines. Your destination is peaceful Assisi, one of Italy’s most beautiful mountain towns. First, in the valley, see the famous Church of St. Mary of the Angels, much venerated as the place of St. Francis’ death, then continue up Mount Subasio to the upper town. Step inside the huge Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century, where the frescoes by Giotto heralded a new era in Italian art.

Hotel: Giotto, Assisi

Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner

Day 5 - Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic

A delightful mountain drive takes you through the heart of the Apennines. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian lagoon and across the causeway to the unique city of Venice. Your hotel is housed in a former monastery in the Cannaregio neighbourhood. This area remains largely undiscovered by the city's day-trippers - its bars, restaurants and shops are great places to taste local life. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the ‘watery streets’. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, music and songs as you drift along the romantic canals.

Hotel: Residenza Canaregio, Venice

Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner

Day 6 - Venice & the Magic of La Serenissima

Your private launch awaits this morning, ready to cruise past Palladian churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark’s Square. First sight is the pink marble of the Doges’ Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Now turn the corner and the gilded regalia of St. Mark’s Basilica comes into view. A visit to an arts centre on Giudecca island has also been arranged, for you to admire the age-old skill of glassblowers and gondola builders.

Hotel: Residenza Canaregio, Venice

Meals: Buffet Breakfast

Day 7 - Pisa, the Wines of Tuscany & Florence

Back on the mainland, cross the plain of the Po River and traverse the Apennines to reach the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Follow the river to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. Time also to admire the marble cathedral and baptistery. En route to Florence, enjoy a delicious explora tion of Tusca ny’s red wines, their robust flavours and absorbing history.

Hotel: Londra, Florence

Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner

Day 8 - Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance

Join a local expert for a walking tour of the historic city centre. A highlight is the visit to the Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo’s monumental Statue of David. Continue to the multi-coloured marble Cathedral to admire Giotto’s bell tower and ‘Gates of Paradise’. Visit the Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and the area around Santa Croce Basilica - famous for the quality of its luxury goods. After a demonstration of leather work there’s free time to shop or continue sightseeing. This evening don’t miss the chance to sample the fine Florentine cuisine - tasty starters, rich pastas, accompanied by Chianti wine.

Hotel: Londra, Florence

Meals: Buffet Breakfast

Day 9 - Pompeii, Roman Ruins & Sorrento

An early start today as you travel southwards, passing Cassino, scene of a fierce battle in World War II. Skirting Naples, you soon reach Pompeii, the opulent Roman town which was preserved by layers of ash from the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. A walking tour with a local expert through the cobbled streets and extensive excavations reveals the daily life of ancient Roman civilisation. Visit the Forum and peer into ancient shops and patrician villas, decorated with colourful wall paintings. Now follow the scenic cliff top road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Cesare Augusto/Michelangelo, Sorrento

Meals: Buffet Breakfast

Day 10 - Sorrento & Capri, the Isle of Dreams

Investigate the art of ‘intarsio’ or marquetry wood inlaying before cruising to Capri - the isle of dreams. Under the Mediterranean sun, take an open top taxi up to Capri Town, where you can explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Perhaps join an optional tour to visit Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele? Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. Maybe stroll to the Piazza Tasso, where the lively cafés and bars are a constant buzz of activity and conversation. Sorrento harbour has the atmosphere of a forgotten world. Tonight, join your fellow guests at one of the restaurants that rise along the curve of the bay for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine, wine and music.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Cesare Augusto/Michelangelo, Sorrento

Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Celebration Dinner

Day 11 - Return to USA

Departure transfers arrive at Naples Airport at 06:00 & 08:00. A transfer arrives Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at approximately 10:30 and continues to the Rome hotel for those extending their stay.

Meals: Buffet Breakfast

Departures on December 19th and 26th 2013, and December 18th and 27th 2014 have Christmas/New Year’s Eve dinner included. These additional dinners will replace dinners shown in the itinerary.
Saturday departures will have the Vatican included on day 4 before departing for Assisi.

*Tour prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All tour information is correct at time of tours going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.