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Duration: 16 days Visiting: Italy
Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome
Rome is not only the modern capital of Italy, but also a spectacular encyclopedia of living history. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. At 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30, transfers depart for your hotel. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local
In the morning, you will be joined by a Local Expert who guides you through the art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. There’s free time to do as the Romans do, or perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum. Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking tour this afternoon has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time in Piazza Navona.
Ill-fated Pompeii and on to Sorrento
In the morning, head to Pompeii and with your Local Expert, walk through the cobbled streets. A scenic clifftop drive leads you to the pretty resort of Sorrento.
Exploring Capri, the Isle of Dreams
Cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by funicular railway. With your Local Expert, explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis. Back in Sorrento, investigate the art of ‘intarsio' or marquetry wood inlaying.
The Picturesque Amalfi Coast
(Relaxed Start) Travel along Italy's finest coastline, the Amalfi Coast. Stop for a bird's-eye view of the terraced houses of Positano before boarding minibuses to the heart of the town. There will be time to be tempted by the boutiques.
The Umbrian Hill Town of Orvieto
Travel into the heart of Italy to enjoy free time in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard covered plain. Savour the distinctly medieval ambiance during your orientation and admire the richly decorated façade of the Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo. In the evening, take in the flavours of the region, learn about the ingredients and Italian food culture. Join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live cooking demonstration, followed by dinner and a glass of the Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience!
Umbria to Assisi and on to Perugia
(Relaxed Start) Cross the River Tiber to arrive at St. Mary of the Angels Church. Under the dome is a small medieval chapel and the spot where St. Francis died. Continue to visit the huge basilica. With a Local Expert, walk down the Via San Francesco to St. Clare's Church and see the cathedral. Move on to stay in beautiful Perugia - the jewel of Umbria.
Perugia, the Jewel of Umbria
(Relaxed Start) Your morning guided sightseeing begins on foot in the main street of Perugia's Old Town. See the Collegio del Cambio, the splendid Priors' Palace, the cathedral and the finely sculptured Great Fountain in the magnificent main square. Later, visit a workshop to see how the art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations. After, spend time at leisure in this beautiful, historic town.
Tranquil Tuscany: Siena and Radda in Chianti
(Relaxed Start) Drive past Lake Trasimeno to Siena. On arrival, walk with a Local Expert through narrow cobbled streets to the Piazza del Campo, where the bi-annual Palio horse race takes place. See the superb 14th century Town Hall with its slim Mangia Tower, then climb up to the hill-top cathedral decorated with stripes of black and white marble. Later, travel through the cypress clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to your elegant hotel. On arrival, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, their robust flavours and absorbing history.
The Towers of San Gimignano
(Relaxed Start) Visit the hilltop town of San Gimignano. Enjoy a tasting with award-winning, master ice-cream maker, Sergio Dondoli, whose great inventions include very innovative and mouth-watering flavour combinations. After time to explore, return to the tranquil surroundings of your hotel where you are at leisure.
Florence and on to Lucca
In the morning, journey to Renaissance Florence, on arrival walk with a Local Expert to see the marble clad cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. See Signoria Square, an open-air gallery of sculpture and fountains. After free time, continue on to Lucca, where you join a Local Expert to view its churches, squares and palaces perfectly preserved within encircling medieval ramparts. Pause a while and taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread, said to be a favourite of the ancient Roman army.
Exploring the Cinque Terre
Get ready to explore the ‘Cinque Terre', or ‘five villages', that for years, were only accessible by donkey. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, join a Local Expert in one of the picturesque fishing villages, before cruising along the rugged coast. Enjoy plenty of time to explore the old medieval quarter and popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel in Lucca.
Modena and on to Parma
Descend to the town of Modena – the home of balsamic vinegar. Visit a top producer of authentic traditional artisan balsamic vinegar and take a master class to understand what makes this vinegar as expensive as top-rate wines. Move on to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, for an insight into the iconic car brand that embodies the nation itself - fashionable, feisty and a touch flashy! Head on to Parma, famous for its local cheese. On arrival, learn the whole process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano at one of the local producers - the smell in the cheese cave is unforgettable!
Lake Garda, Verona and Venice
In the morning, journey via Lake Garda to reach the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Romeo and Juliet. See the ancient Roman Arena and stand beneath Juliet's balcony in a Renaissance courtyard - can you recite Shakespeare's immortal words? Continue on through the Soave vineyards, past Padua to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. Later, to the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and rococo palaces. As evening descends, enjoy a perfect tour finalé - dinner ‘alla Veneziana', with good food, wine and company in the most magical settings.
Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’
(Relaxed Start) Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. Witness the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Then only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Admire also the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Farewell Venezia and Bella Italia
Your departure transfer arrives Venice Airport at 08:00 or 09:30.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the northernmost part of the Chianti, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. This wonderful cooking demonstration, with superb food and wine, will provide warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: EUR 69.00
A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!
Adult Price: EUR 65.00
A delightful and bucolic experience, designed to bring you in touch with the enchanting Tuscan countryside, food and wine. Settle in for an authentic Tuscan feast in a traditional setting.
Adult Price: EUR 60.00
Visit beautiful Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany and setting for Francis Mayes “Under the Tuscan Sun”. A scenic panoramic drive takes you to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple and to see Ms. Mayes’ actual creative hideaway, 'Casa Bramasole'. This is followed by a guided walk through the historic centre to soak up the history and enjoy stupendous views to Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
Adult Price: EUR 33.00
Umbria is not only a region which is culturally rich and full of beautiful vistas, it is also a region rich in its gastronomic offerings as well! A journey to explore the edible treasures of the traditional Umbrian kitchen and the superb wines of this region too, all served to you in a beautiful rustic restaurant!
Adult Price: EUR 62.00
Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!
Adult Price: EUR 19.00
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced.
Adult Price: EUR 52.00
Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.
Adult Price: EUR 41.00
A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialities. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
Extend your day to complete the entire "World Heritage Coastline" and visit gorgeous Amalfi after which the coast is named. This is an unforgettable experience, we stop to capture the stunning panoramas, impossible sights and enjoy local refreshements enroute before plenty of free time to explore the colourful village Amalfi. A thrilling excursion not to be missed!
Adult Price: EUR 46.00
Among the lemon and olive groves of Sorrento is a small farm owned by the third generation of the Marciano family. Meet Rosa and Maria and see how fresh mozzarella is made by hand. Walk through lemon groves, past the old olive mill before indulging your taste buds in a delicious meal of Italian specialities all fresh from the farm. Finish with a taste of the famous Limoncello.
Adult Price: EUR 45.00
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
Adult Price: EUR 54.00
St Mark's Square, tick, the Rialto, tick, Grand Canal, tick... To only experience Venice's big set pieces is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.
Adult Price: EUR 34.00
Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!
Adult Price: EUR 70.00
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The elegant 4-star Veneto Palace hotel is located in one of the most elegant parts of the historical centre.
Sorrento (Traditional) - Italy
Orvieto (Historic) - Italy
This hotel combines renovation with original parts, along with a central location, to create a fantastic hotel in Orvieto.
Perugia (Traditional) - Italy
Located in central Perugia, the elegant Sangallo Palace Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas. The hotel offers fantastic facilities and features modern rooms with wonderful views over the town.
Radda in Chianti (Scenic) - Italy
Compagnie Des Hotels - Radda in Chianti
Lucca (Historic) - Italy
Set in a private park, the 4-star Villa La Principessa is an elegant hotel that offers a relaxed atmosphere.
Parma (Central/Scenic) - Italy
Starhotels Du Parc, Parma
07 December, 2017
Trip: everything we expected and more
Service: very professional
25 November, 2017
Trip: The only place that we did not care for was Veronna
Service: Some of the hotels were not very clean.
13 November, 2017
Trip: We wanted to visit places in Italy that were away from the major cities. This tour took us to villages and through scenic countrysides off the main highways. We were able to see the highlights of Rome and Venice, then spend most of our time in other areas. It was great!
Service: The tour was well laid out. We visited many amazing locations. Our tour director and our bus driver were excellent. We were always on time. We really enjoyed having the local experts at each location. Bags were always delivered promptly. The bus was super-comfortable with lots of leg room. We stayed at a variety of hotels, some quite modern and others with lots of character.
11 November, 2017
Trip: So glad I chose this tour. Beautiful....
Service: Very happy with the tour. Covered a lot of territory, saw many, many historic places along with gorgeous countryside. My agent was helpful, patient and encouraging.
11 November, 2017
Trip: I loved the Itinerary, as it hit almost all the spots in Italy I had wanted to visit on this first trip. There is no way you can see it all and I do realize that... this trip sure packed in tons of amazing memories.
Service: Customer service was top notch on this Country Roads of Italy tour... could not have asked for more. Well orchestrated and moved along without incident, which was so appreciated.
11 November, 2017
Trip: Went to cities I've not been before.
Service: Made our trip memorable.
08 November, 2017
Trip: The Itinerary represented the less traveled areas of Italy which enabled me to enjoy and see the local artisans and unique and special places of Italy.
Service: The Itinerary was ideal to see Italy and meet the local people. We stayed at hotels that reflected the vast history of Italy from those built in 1200 to within the last 20 year. Each hotel was unique and charming. Our tour director, Brad, was a wealth of knowledge and expertise about local specialties and artisans. I especially enjoyed the Optional dinners which featured local chefs.
08 November, 2017
Trip: Ok, I have to be up front from the beginning. I didn't think a coach tour would be for me. I'm not too keen on lengthy bus travel and had grave concerns that I would be restless and sore after hours in the seat. Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. What a time we have had!!! Rome, Sorrento, Orvieto, Perugia, Radda in Chianti, Lucca, Parma and Venice. Phew, sounds exhausting right? Nope, it was exhilarating. To be fair, it's a busy pace and we did have quite a few "sparrow-fart" starts but once on the road Brad, our fabulous Tour Director, kept us entertained with his extraordinary knowledge of the history and nuances of the places we visited. He had so many interesting facts and figures in his head we decided that next quiz night any of us had, he was on our table. We had people of varying degrees of fitness and walkability and Brad was across things for everyone, at times suggesting alternative routes and at others ensuring that the complexity of the stroll was explained so informed decisions could be made. He did somewhat underestimate the length of stroll from time to time but we just smiled and started joking with him about whether it was a normal Block or a Brad Block. The hotels were all excellent quality although it appears that European bathrooms aren't required to adhere to the same standards as those we enjoy at home. In fact, I think European baths are preposterous in their economy of width. At least they have an emergency cord which can be used when suction gets the better of you 😊. Given that most of the showers were over a bath, the lack of handrails was also problematic as was the slippery surface of the bath. Easy does it getting in and out folks. The breakfasts were all tasty and plentiful with enough choice to fill the tummy before heading off each morning. The included tours are great and it's really worthwhile doing the extra paid tours to really get a feel for the place. Our tour included 5 evening meals and we took the opportunity to pay for 2 of the extra six meal options, both of which were most enjoyable. We chose not to do the other 4 as I am a non drinker and my husband has only one glass of wine and a great part of the evening is centred around wines. We heard from those who went that they were good but some people felt there were just too many courses and it was quite rushed at times. The social aspect of the dinners is fantastic but for the occasional drinker who doesn't normally eat five courses, it's hard to get the full value out of them. There are always other options available to you for the evening meal and Brad was only too happy to point them out. As to the touring itself, we never spent more than 2 hours on the coach before a refresher stop at a local Auto-Grill where we could use the facilities and grab a quick coffee or bite to eat if it was nearing lunchtime. No doubt this was also to look after Domenico, our fabulous driver, who must have been exhausted negotiating all those Italian country roads. His skill behind the wheel left us gasping at times, especially along the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terra. One other thing we loved were the "Flourishes" Insight provides. No more on that though as I don't want to spoil the surprise 😉 So, would we do another Insight Vacation? Absolutely. Have I already ordered the brochure for next year?? Maybe............but don't tell hubby!!!
Service: Everything was taken care of during our Insight Vacation, down the the smallest detail.
07 November, 2017
Trip: EXCELLENT ITINERARY WITH WONDERFUL OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS THAT ARE ALL WORTH TAKING PART IN.
Service: EXCELLENT ORGANIZING OF ARRANGEMENTS PRE-TRIP, AS WELL AS DURING THE TRIP.
06 November, 2017
Trip: I loved the tour but would exclude our day in Parma. The cheese factory, Ferrari Museum and Balsamic Vinegar tour were my least favorite. Preferred the beautiful old towns and stunning views of the Almafi Coast and Cinque Terre.
Service: Our tour was beyond expectations. We had a wonderful tour guide who was so well versed in the history and traditions of Italy. I would definitely recommend Insight Vacations to my family and friends.
05 November, 2017
Trip: We saw alot of Italy on this itinerary included some uncrowded areas.
Service: trip was well organized. We would travel again with Insight
04 November, 2017
Trip: Needed more free time. Verona was not necessary.
Service: Very organized and informative.
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