Italian Escapade - Insight Vacations

Italian Escapade (Summer 2017)

Duration: 13 days Visiting: Italy

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  • Itinerary
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  • Optional experiences
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Revel in the riches of Rome and Florence, observe the beauty of the Italian Lakes and mix with the fashionable crowd on sun-kissed Capri during this adventure.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome

    Welcome to Rome, once the hub of a vast empire that spread from Britain to the Persian gulf and from Africa to Germany. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Relax and settle in. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

  2. Day 2

    Rome Sightseeing with a Local

    In the morning, enjoy the very best of the city's highlights including a tour of the magnificent St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican with our Local Expert. 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 in the 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 for dinner in Piazza Navona.

  3. Day 3

    Medieval Siena and on to Florence

    Travel north to medieval Siena and stroll through the winding stone-paved streets to the vast Piazza del Campo, where the Palio horse race takes place amid great festivities. See the ‘Fountain of Joy' and then walk up to the hilltop cathedral, striped with black and white marble. Continue through the cypress clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to Florence, jewel of the Renaissance.

  4. Day 4

    Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance

    Join a resident expert inside the Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo's statue, David. Gaze up and truly appreciate the significance of Michelangelo's work. Then continue to the cathedral to see Giotto's bell tower and the ‘Gates of Paradise' adorning the Baptistery. Visit Signoria Square, filled with works of art and finally pause in Santa Croce Square, overlooked by its basilica, the final resting place of Galileo and Michelangelo. After a demonstration of leather-work, you will have spare time to shop or perhaps visit San Gimignano. By night, don't miss the chance to try the delicious local cuisine and sample rich Chianti wine.

  5. Day 5

    Pisa and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes

    Your first stop is in Pisa, to see the incredible Leaning Tower, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity, as well as the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. Head onwards, past the marble quarries at Carrara, used since the time of Ancient Rome, through the dramatic Apennine Mountains to the fertile valley of the River Po. Continue to your lakeside resort on beautiful Lake Maggiore. As night time draws in, why not work up an appetite before dinner with a traditional evening passeggiata/stroll.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    At Leisure in the Italian Lake District

    (Relaxed Start) The day is set aside for you to relax and enjoy all the fantastic sights of this beautiful lakeland area. Perhaps take a cruise over to Isola Bella, one of the picturesque Borromean Islands? As the evening draws in, choose from a selection of restaurants for your dining pleasure.

  7. Day 7

    Venice with Wine and Verona along the way

    Follow the southern fringes of the European Alps to the vineyards, close to the shores of Lake Iseo. You will see that winemaking traditions run deep here when you visit a family-owned estate that goes back generations. In an arcaded building dating back to the 13th century, with 16th century frescoes in the cellars, taste the delicious vintages together with a master vintner. Continue to Verona, the setting for one of literature's saddest love stories. Walk with your Tour Director to Juliet's balcony in the reputed courtyard of the Capulet home and see the well-preserved Roman Arena, still used for open-air opera performances. Next, on to your hotel in Venice, a city of 118 islands, with no motor car traffic to mar its beauty.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’

    (Relaxed Start) Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. What better way to see Venice than from a private launch, cruising past palazzos and churches to St. Mark's Square. See the gilded basilica, the Doge's Palace and Lord Byron's Bridge of Sighs. No visit to Venice would be complete without a gondola serenade through the myriad of beautiful canals. Relax and enjoy the atmospheric songs, as you drift along in romantic awe. While here, you also visit a traditional arts centre on Giudecca Island where you can see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made. Spend the afternoon as you wish. As night falls, why not savour the magic of St. Mark's square with its orchestras and al-fresco cafes?

  9. Day 9

    Hilltop Assisi

    Skirt the Venetian Lagoon and cross two of Italy's most important rivers, the Adige and Po. The scenery will then change dramatically as you drive through the wild Apennines. Your destination is the stone-built, hill-town of Assisi, home of St. Francis. See the Church of St. Mary of the Angels before continuing up Mount Subasio, with a Local Expert visit the Basilica of St. Francis.

  10. Day 10

    Along the Autostrada del Sole to Sorrento

    Drive to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, eerily preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Walk with a Local Expert through cobbled streets to explore some of the shops, villas and temples. Continue along the clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento, which bustles with life until late each night.

  11. Day 11

    Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    In the morning, cruise to Capri - the Isle of Dreams. In one of the island's iconic open-top taxis, head up the steep, windy roads while a symphony of cicadas chirp away in the pines. With your Local Expert, explore the narrow alleyways of Capri town, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. Perhaps join an optional visit to Positano and the Amalfi Coast?

  12. Day 12

    VIP Vatican with Private Dinner

    In the morning, depart for Rome where on arrival you are fast-tracked through our special VIP entrance of the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and enter the Sistine Chapel and admire Michelangelo's masterpiece on its ceiling. After the museums close their doors to the public, our tour culminates with a special invitation from a curator of the Ethnological Museum to share their immense knowledge of the collection. Dine tonight in the Vatican in refined elegance among its priceless treasures at a private VIP Celebration Dinner.

  13. Day 13

    Arrivederci Roma!

    Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 & 09:30.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Rome: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Rome: Sightsee the local way with a leisurely passeggiata through the backstreets, where a friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.
  • Florence: Visit the Accademia Museum with an art expert to see Michelangelo's masterpiece, David.
  • Venice: Delight your senses as you are serenaded through the canals by gondola.
  • Assisi: With a Local Expert, find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of Europe.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle and in the style of the jet-set, ride up to town by open-top taxi. Your Local Expert will show you around the narrow alleyways and exclusive boutiques.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rome: Enjoy a private guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Siena: See the striped cathedral and vast Campo Square.
  • Florence: During your guided walking tour, see the Cathedral, belltower, ‘Gates of Paradise' on the Baptistery and visit Signoria Square. Witness a leather-work demonstration.
  • Pisa: See the Cathedral, Baptistery and ‘Leaning Tower.
  • Italian Lakes: Join us in the social ritual of ‘La Passeggiata'.
  • Verona: See the Roman Arena and Juliet's balcony.
  • Venice: Cruise to St. Mark's Square by private launch. See St. Mark's Basilica, bell tower, clock tower, Doges' Palace and Bridge of Sighs.
  • Cassino: Visit the peaceful Commonwealth War Cemetery.
  • Sorrento: witness an ‘Intarsio' demonstration.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Lake Maggiore: Enjoy a Dine-Around evening.
  • Lake Iseo: Lean about this historic winery, passed down through the generations, and taste the latest vintages.
  • Rome: Enjoy an exclusive Celebration Dinner inside the Vatican after it closes to the public. What better way to toast your tour than in true VIP style?
  • 11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE), 2 three-course table d’hôte Dinner (DW), 3 Restaurant Dinner (RD, 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Freestyle Evening (FSD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Lake Maggiore: The Grand Hotel Dino sets overlooking Lake Maggiore and combines elegance and tranquillity of life on the shores of the lake.
  • Assisi: The Giotto, is located in the centre of the medieval village of Assisi with beautiful views over the Umbrian countryside. All guest rooms are decorated in local Umbrian style.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

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.

San Gimignano Excursion

A wonderful excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town! Visit San Gimignano, considered a medieval Manhattan, due to its towers which dominate the skyline. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient gem which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Adult Price: EUR 35.00

Code: FLO0002

Tuscan Dinner & Cooking Demonstration

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

Code: FLO0003

Dinner In The Tuscan Hills

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

Code: FLO0005

Isola Bella

The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.

Adult Price: EUR 41.00

Code: ITA0001

Lake Como and Bellagio Visit

Lake Como is the most picturesque of all the great Italian lakes, deeply treasured in the hearts of all the Italians. To enjoy its beauty, a private boat is the best way! You'll cruise past the magnificent villas of the rich and famous, stopping in Bellagio where there will be time to relax and enjoy this charming “pearl of the Lake” that sits spectacularly at the centre of the three branches of Lake Como.

Adult Price: EUR 44.00

Code: ITA0002

Three Lakes Experience

See why this area has long been a favourite of film stars, writers, diplomats and royalty! Travel along Lake Maggiore past the mystical castles of Cannero, towards the peaks of the Alps. The Swiss resort of Lugano nestles between the mountains and celestial blue waters - stroll along its palm and cypress lined promenade and enjoy its restaurants. Then to Lake Como, one of Italy’s most spectacular lakes where a private cruise puts into perspective the stunning vistas and villas of the rich and famous. Later, time to hunt out some bargains; Como is famous for it's vast array of silk shops!

Adult Price: EUR 51.00

Code: ITA0003

Dinner on Isola dei Pescatori

This evening escape to the charming and tranquil island of Isola dei Pescatori. A short boat ride from the shores of Lake Maggiore, this fisherman’s Island is inhabited year round by only 50 permanent residents. Stroll through the small piazza surrounded by the tight and winding alleys to enjoy a sumptuous dinner where reservations have been booked in one of the Island's splendid restaurants.

Adult Price: EUR 68.00

Code: ITA0006

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

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

Code: ROM0001

Roman Dinner Party

Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.

Adult Price: EUR 61.00

Code: ROM0002

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

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

Code: ROM0003

Island Tour of Capri

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

Code: SOR0001

Sorrento Evening

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

Code: SOR0002

Amalfi Coast Drive & Positano Visit

Drive along the clear blue waters and picturesque resorts of the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most glamorous and scenic stretch of coast in Europe. Minibuses wind their way down serpentine roads to the exclusive artists' paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, as if about to cascade into the turquoise waters below. Spend time exploring the elegant shops, watching the artists at work, or enjoying an 'aperitivo' in a beach side cafe.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: SOR0004

Magical Venice

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

Code: VEN0001

Hidden Venice

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

Code: VEN0002

Burano Excursion & Meal

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

Code: VEN0003

Accommodation

 

Hotel Romanico Palace Rome

Rome (Contemporary) - Italy

Located in the heart of Rome, the luxurious Hotel Romanico Palace offers easy access to all the historical sites of the Eternal City.

UNA Hotel Vittoria Florence

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

This hotel is located in the historic district of San Frediano.

Grand Hotel Dino Simplon Hotel Baveno Lake Maggiore

Baveno (Central) - Italy

Grand Hotel Dino/Simplon Hotel, Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Carlton on the Grand Canal Venice

Venice (Central) - Italy

Carlton on the Grand Canal, Enjoys a truly unique location on the Grand Canal. It is within walking distance to the Rialto Bridge and is perfect for exploring the San Polo district and the Jewish Ghetto. Guest rooms are in 18th century Venetian style with up to date facilities. Wi-Fi – none, FOC cable in public areas.

Giotto Hotel and Spa Assisi

Assisi (Central/Scenic) - Italy

Giotto Hotel & Spa, Assisi

Hotel Regina Sorrento

Sorrento (Contemporary) - Italy

This hotel is located in the sea front surrounded by trees and splendid scenery on all sides.

GUEST REVIEWS & EXPERIENCES

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7784 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 17 November, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very satisfied with all aspects.

    Service: I will consider booking with Insight again in the future. Insight Vacations always try its best to show us all the important highlights. Your choice of tour guides are also excellent. They are able to share everything with us, from history to local culture... etc.

  • 12 November, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Loved all the attractions we visited. The hotels were good and the tours informative.

    Service: Excellent organisation. Great tour leader. Comfortable coach.

  • 12 November, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great tour hit all of Italy highlights

    Service: They were very knowledgeable and helpful.

  • 05 November, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very well organized. Every day was a new adventure.

    Service: Tha sight seeing part of the tour was excellent. Could improve on the food and drinks.

  • 05 November, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Comprehensive tour of Italy

    Service: Margaret was knowledgable, professional, and extremely well-organized. Salvatore, Our driver, had great expertise.

  • 30 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: For amount of geography to cover, all of the experiences were amazing along with the excursions available.

    Service: The plans/itinerary was amazing. It hit all of the high points. Our tour guide was fantastic and can only hope all of them are that wonderful.

  • 30 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great trip saw lots of wonderful places. Only negative is that there was not enough time at the sights on a few occasions.

    Service: First of all I am not Benita Potter. But I did have a wonderful time on the trip. Terry our tour director was fantastic as was our Driver Benito.

  • 29 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Only bought small gifts for family and friends because of the exchange rate.

    Service: The wait at the airport to be taken to the hotel was unacceptable - 3 hours of sitting on a hard bench. Hotels and meals at the hotels could have been so much better. We had sewer smell in one hotel and another there were too many steps to get out of bed and even to leave the bedroom area. The optional tours were much better than the tours that were included and the meals were better on the optional tours than at our hotels. Breakfast was the worse. I say the trip was good only because of what we saw with the optional tours and our guide, Margaret, was terrific. Hotels and meals really need to be upgraded. Would not recommend our tour to Italy to anyone because of the lack of attention to hotels and meals.

  • 29 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great glimpse of the highlights of Italy.

    Service: Excellent tour, thoroughly enjoyed my 12 days with Anna Targett, our very knowledgeable tour guide. Made memories which will be cherished for a lifetime.

  • 29 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We saw all the highlights of well known areas, but we also got to enjoy many private spots too.

    Service: Tour director excellent in handling everything, Wonderful knowledge of all the areas we visited. Local guides were excellent also.

  • 29 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Perfect itinerary - to really see the best of Italy! Great flow and variety.

    Service: Highly recommend Insight and the Italian Escapade Tour - just brilliant!

  • 27 October, 2017

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: See all the big sights in Italy and well delivered by my tour director

    Service: I would buy them again. Enjoyed the destinations and my tour director was great

NB: Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Last Minute Deals). All trip information is correct at time of trips 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.
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