Best of Italy - Insight Vacations

Best of Italy (Summer 2017)

Duration: 11 days Visiting: Italy

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
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Roman antiquities, saintly Assisi, Venetian canals, Renaissance Florence and Capri's brilliant sunlight are brought together in this superb tour of Italy, with the option to end in Naples or Rome.

  1. Day 1

    Rome the 'Eternal City'

    Enjoy your complimentary private VIP door-to-door transfer to your UK departure airport. 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. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and uniquely Roman Welcome Dinner.

  2. Day 2

    VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local

    The day is devoted to the ‘Eternal City'. 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 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 to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter's Basilica, wonder at another of his works, the emotive ‘Pietà', and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. 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 for dinner in Piazza Navona.

  3. Day 3

    Renaissance Florence

    Travel north through glorious Tuscan landscapes to reach renaissance Florence. On arrival, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, their robust flavours and absorbing history.

  4. Day 4

    Florence Sightseeing

    Join an 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.

  5. Day 5

    Pisa to Venice, the 'Queen of the Adriatic'

    Journey to the coastal town of Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. Continue through the marshes of the Venetian Lagoon and across the causeway to the unique city of Venice.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’.

    (Relaxed Start) Your private launch awaits you in the morning, ready to cruise past Palladian churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark's Square. The first sight is 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 comes 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.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Into 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.

  8. Day 8

    Cassino and Sorrento

    An early start today 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. On arrival, investigate the art of ‘intarsio' or marquetry wood inlaying before continuing to your hotel.

  9. Day 9

    Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    In the morning, cruise to 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 of Capri? Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and return to Sorrento for some relaxation time. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious Italian cuisine and wine.

  10. Day 10

    Head for Rome

    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 AD79. 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.

  11. Day 11

    Arrivederci Rome

    Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at approximately 07:00 & 09:30. On arrival at your UK airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your return private VIP transfer home.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Rome: Gain VIP fast-track entrance into the Vatican Museums and enjoy a special private viewing of the Bramante Stairs before being confronted by the genius of Michelangelo 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: 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.
  • Venice: Enjoy a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals.
  • Assisi: Find out why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe with a Local Expert.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle to meet your Local Expert. In unique style, ascend by open-top taxi and return to the port by funicular.
  • 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 visit to St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Assisi: See the Church of St. Mary of the Angels.
  • 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.
  • Pisa: See the Cathedral, Baptistery and ‘Leaning Tower'.
  • 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.
  • Sorrento: Demonstration of ‘Intarsio' inlay woodworking.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Florence: With a Local Expert, learn what to look for in a local vino rosso and what foods to pair it with - useful information when ordering Florentine cuisine.
  • Sorrento: Enjoy a glorious Celebration Dinner of fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine.
  • 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 three-course table d’hôte Dinner (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • 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: Even though it is situated in the centre of the city, Hotel Michelangel is a tranquil oasis. The hotel structure has been developed around an ancient tower, dating back to the seventh century.

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 tours 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 Tour Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your tour. 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.

Piazzas & Fountains

With our local expert, let's take a “passeggiata” (stroll) to enjoy the backstreets and secrets of pedestrian Rome. Be amazed at sights such as the fascinating Pantheon and the beauty of 17th-century fountains and beautiful Piazzas. Come and enjoy the Rome of the Romans.

Adult Price: EUR 33.00

Code: ROM0004

Rome Of The Ancient Christians

Outside the ancient Roman city walls we visit the early Christian Catacombs, underground cemetries carved out of soft Tufa Stone. Nearby we also visit one of the major basilicas of Rome, St Pauls Outside the Walls. The burial place of St Paul the Apostle, famous for its Byzantine Mosaics. On some departures the Christian Catacombs are offered with a visit to St Peter in Chains to view the magnificent 'Moses' sculpture by Michelangelo, (instead of St Pauls).

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: ROM0006

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

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: 35.00

Code: FLO0002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delights of Rome with Dinner

Spend an evening getting to know Rome. We’ll take you via coach where you’ll have the chance to see some of the city’s much-loved sights. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a delicious light dinner of Italian specialities, alongside local music and drinks.

Adult Price: EUR 49.00

Code: ROM0017

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!

Adult Price: EUR 52.00

Code: ROM0003

Accommodation

 

Hotel Romanico Palace Dei Borgia Rome

Rome (Central) - Italy

Hotel Romanico Palace/Dei Borgia, Rome

Londra Hotel Athenaeum Hotel Florence

Florence (Central) - Italy

Londra Hotel/Athenaeum Hotel, Florence

Boscolo Hotel Bellini Venice

Venice (Central) - Italy

Boscolo Bellini, Venice

Giotto Hotel and Spa Assisi

Assisi (Central/Scenic) - Italy

Giotto Hotel & Spa, Assisi

Hotel Michelangelo Sorrento

Sorrento (Central) - Italy

Hotel Michelangelo, Sorrento

Hotel Dei Borgia Hotel Beverly Hills Rome

Rome (Central) - Italy

Hotel Dei Borgia/Hotel Beverly Hills, Rome

GUEST REVIEWS & EXPERIENCES

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7225 reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We got to see a little bit of everything

    Service: Yes we would highly recommend Insight Vacations. It was well organized and our tour guide Philip Orna was knowledgeable and very plesant

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Itinerary was well planned and covered so many beautiful cities, amazing places of interest, and exceptional side tours. The meals were all wonderful. The tour director and driver were absolutely outstanding, very knowledgeable, helpful, and always pleasant and entertaining. This tour was definitely The Best of Italy!! This was a trip of a lifetime and a celebration for 50 years of marriage even though we weren't able to book it for September 30th the actual date. Thank you so much for the fabulous memories.

    Service: Absolutely would and have recommended this tour to friends

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was fast paced but not in a rushed way. Gary our tour guide gave us explicit instructions on where and what time to meet for all of our travels.We travelled about 1,500 miles and saw so much of the country I felt like I've lived there. We learned so much of the culture because of Gary. We've been home for a week now and in my head I'm still in Italy.I almost cried when I left.

    Service: This was by far the best vacation I've ever had. I wouldn't change a thing.My wife and I got to see Italy in style and we would have never been able to see as much as we did without Insight vacations.Our tour guide was the best.He knew the history of the country,the language and arranged everything to be as stressfree as possible. We met people on our tour that we will be friends with for the rest of our lives. Thank you.

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: In a matter of 2 weeks, I got to see most of Italy and got to know more about the country that is so rich in the arts and history. Would love to go back again someday!

    Service: I had a wonderful trip to Italy! This was my first time to be there. Our tour guide Caroline was superb! She was always there whenever we needed her. She was personable, always pleasant, always had a smile on her face. Had a contagious laughter. I learned more about italy during this trip. The optional tours were great too! Only complaint I have is the hotel where we stayed in Venice. We were placed in a room where it was right by the alley where people pass by and it was too noisy. The room was hot so I was forced to open the window but I didn't get much sleep because even in the wee hours of the morning, the passersby were shouting, talking too loud.

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: This tour hit all the "must see" spots. It is definitely fast paced. Participants need to consider their ability to walk long distances over uneven routes at a fairly quick pace.

    Service: All experiences were as described, or even better. Hotel and included meal quality and locations were excellent. Tour director, bus driver, and local guides were all very knowledgable, had great people skills, and obviously took great pride in their work.

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We covered a lot of territory in the ten days that we traveled in Italy. We saw the highlights of many cities and had a wonderful time doing it.

    Service: The tour director was great; he was knowledgeable and very well organized. The itinerary was just what I wanted and I wasn't disappointed. Thanks for a wonderful trip. The size of the group was a very manageable number--not too large or not too small.

  • 14 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Sometimes, we would have liked to explore a bit more in one are, but there wasn't time.

    Service: Our tour director, Philip Orna, was very accommodating and knowledgeable throughout the trip.

  • 10 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great trip, Assisi and Piza were a waste of time

    Service: Very helpful on the phone, answered all of my concerns regarding foreign travel.

  • 09 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The most beautiful places in italy

    Service: The tour was unbelievable, and Caroline went above and beyond in attention to the details

  • 07 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Hit all the high points and never had to stand in line

    Service: Knowledgeable tour director, skilled coach driver, great list of tour stops

  • 06 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Crazy, busy.........but loving every minute of it!!

    Service: The tour director, Caroline Pugsley was amazing!!

  • 05 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: itinerary was very good. Could have done without the night in Assisi

    Service: Very helpful with all questions and concerns. There was nothing in particular, but general questions

*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 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.
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