Best of Italy - Insight Vacations

Best of Italy (Winter 2017-18)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: Italy

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Roman antiquities, saintly Assisi, Venetian canals, and Renaissance Florence are brought together in this superb trip of Italy, with the option to end in Naples or Rome, on autumn, winter and spring trips. In Spring, you’ll also get to enjoy Capri’s brilliant sunlight.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Rome the 'Eternal City'

    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 your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and uniquely Roman Welcome Dinner.

  3. Day 3

    Rome with a Local

    Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and your included guided walking tour in the morning 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. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to do as the Romans do, or explore more gems of the 'Eternal City'. Why not join a tour inside the mighty Colosseum?

  4. Day 4

    VIP Vatican and Renaissance Florence

    Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art treasures collected by the Popes. Insight has arranged a 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 public. Head into the Sistine Chapel, where the Popes are elected, and admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter's Basilica, marvel at another of his works, the emotive 'Pietà', and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. Journey north through glorious Tuscan landscapes to reach Renaissance Florence.

  5. Day 5

    Florence Sightseeing

    Join a local art historian for a walking tour of the historic city centre. A highlight is the visit to the Accademia Gallery to study Michelangelo's monumental statue, '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. In the evening, don't miss the chance to sample the fine Florentine cuisine - tasty starters and rich pastas, accompanied by Chianti wine.

  6. Day 6

    Pisa to Venice

    In the morning, journey to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. After, enjoy the scenery as you cross the spectacular Apennines, through the Emilia-Romagna region - one of Europe's most intensely farmed fertile planes. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian Lagoon before crossing the causeway to the unique city of Venice.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’

    (Relaxed Start) Walk to St. Mark's Square and see the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Turn the corner, and the gilded regalia of St. Mark's Basilica will come into view. A visit to an arts centre on Giudecca Island will allow you to admire the age-old skill of glassblowing. Later, board a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    The Hills of Umbria to Assisi

    (Relaxed Start) Leave Venice and continue through the Appennines to peaceful Assisi, one of Italy's most beautiful mountain towns. 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. With your Local Expert, 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.

  9. Day 9

    Cassino and Sorrento

    An early start as you travel southwards past Cassino, scene of a fierce battle in World War II. Follow the spectacular clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento.

  10. Day 10

    Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    In the morning, cruise to the Isle of Capri. Under the Mediterranean sun, take a funicular ride up to Capri town where your Local Expert will take you around the narrow alleyways, to browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Perhaps join an optional cruise around the island? Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis before returning to Sorrento for some relaxation time. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Head for Rome

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, journey to Pompeii, the opulent Roman town which was preserved by layers of ash from the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. A walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets and extensive excavations reveals the daily life of Roman civilisation. Visit the Forum and peer into ancient shops and patrician villas, decorated with colourful wall paintings. Then continue on to your hotel in Rome.

  12. Day 12

    Arrivederci Rome

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

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Rome: Sightsee the local way with a leisurely walk through the backstreets, where our friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.
  • Rome: With a Local Expert, gain VIP fast-track entrance into the Vatican Museums and enjoy a special private viewing of the Bramante Stairs, before witnessing the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Florence: Gain a fascinating insight into the work of Michelangelo's masterpiece statue, 'David', with a Renaissance art expert during your visit to the Accademia Museum.
  • Assisi: With your Local Expert, find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to the famous island and explore the narrow alleyways with a Local Expert.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pisa: See the famous Leaning Tower, baptistery and cathedral as you explore this historic town.
  • Venice: Enjoy a traditional gondola ride, as you are serenaded through the romantic canals.
  • Isle of Capri: In unique style, enjoy a ride on one of the island's iconic open-top taxis.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rome: Enjoy a private guided visit to St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Assisi: See the Church of St. Mary of the Angels.
  • Venice: Walk to St. Mark's Square to see St. Mark's Basilica, bell tower, clock tower, Doges' Palace and Bridge of Sighs.
  • 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.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Autumn: Learn about olive oil pressing and have a taste; Take in the stunning autumn colours of the fields of Tuscany.
  • Winter: With a vintner, learn about the origins of Italian mulled wine - Vin Brulé, and enjoy a tasting of this soul-soothing, aromatic drink.
  • Spring: Admire the fields of wild flowers and delight in a tasting of the region's famous wines.
  • Sorrento: Savour a glorious Celebration Dinner of fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine.
  • Included Quality Dining: 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 Three-course table d'hôte Dinners (DW), 1 Restaurant Dinner (RD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve will enjoy festive Highlight Dinners which will replace an included meal.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Rome: The central Romanico Palace, located near Via Veneto, boasts a spectacular roof garden affording incredible views.
  • Florence: The Athenaeum Personal is a 4-star modern hotel conveniently located minutes away from central Florence. The hotel showcases a unique exhibition venue for up and coming artists.
  • Venice: The Starhotels Spendid is an outstanding luxury boutique hotel resting in the centre of Venice, a stone's throw away from all the sights and infused with Italian hospitality.
  • Assisi: The Giotto is located in the centre of the medieval village of Assisi with beautiful views over the Umbrian countryside. Guest rooms are decorated in local Umbrian style.
  • Sorrento: The Regina Hotel is located on the sea front, surrounded by trees and splendid scenery on all sides. Enjoy the spectacular views while relaxing away from the crowds.

OUR FIVE-STAR SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Insight Tour Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend in a foreign land.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat touring coach, with extended Business Class legroom and on-board restroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are 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.
  • From time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish - a local tidbit representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Complimentary transfers from/to Rome Fiumicino Airport are available at scheduled times only on arrival and departure days. Should your flights not coincide with complimentary transfers, charged transfers are available on arrival and departure days, or when additional accommodation is booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

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.

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.

Atheneaum Personal Hotel Florence

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

A modern hotel which is fantastically-located for Florence’s highlights, especially the David.

Starhotels Splendid Venice

Venice (Central) - Italy

The outstanding Starhotels Splendid Venice, is perfectly positioned in the centre of Venice Island - only a stone's throw away from all the sights and walking distance to St. Mark's Square.

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 7369 reviews received during the past year.

  • 07 December, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Our tour director is always on point. She is very funny, knowledgeable and always available she needed.

    Service: Customer service is always excellent. This is the third time I travelled with insight.

  • 07 December, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Tour guide, Deb, was excellent

    Service: Your people were always on top of everything. Everything went over and above what we were expecting except for one of the retail locations we visited on the tour. We are having some serious problems with Arti Veneziane alla Giudecca. We purchased an expensive picture frame and the sales person dropped the package when it was handed to us. He assured us everything is fine but when we got home it was severely damaged. We're triyng to get them to resole the problem but they are not responding...very disappointing.

  • 05 December, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Hit on most of Italy’s highlites.

    Service: Tour guide was well educated with Italy and shared lots of info.

  • 23 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Third time coming to italy and illuminated more each time. It was special and fascinating each time especially this time the tour director is amazing inside out.

    Service: Professional and warm

  • 23 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Best way to explore italy for the first time. Sample the best of the country and left us feeling to come back and see more!

    Service: The most perfect organized trip

  • 21 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Optional tours really added to the total package.

    Service: I would definitely recommend them and I plan on using them in the future.

  • 21 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very good itinerary, albeit busy. I do have some concerns about alcohol. There was wine and some aperitifs available at all provided meals, especially the last celebration dinner, where champagne and multiple bottles of wine and after-dinner drinks were provided. The alcohol bill had to be well into 4 digits. As a non-drinker, I feel I helped foot the bill for all drinkers.

    Service: Had a question about flights set up by Insight, which customer service cleared up right away.

  • 21 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: All the places I wanted to see we're on the Itinerary and our guides were extremely knowledgeable.

    Service: Customer service was fantastic. Our tour guide went out of her way to accommodate our needs. As this was our honeymoon, Insight and our tour director Debra DeAngelo made sure our trip was extra special

  • 21 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We felt like we got to see so much.

    Service: Deborah was absolutely amazing. Her customer service was a 12 out of 10. She went above and beyond.

*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.