Italian Elegance

Italy

Country Roads

Italian Elegance (Summer 2019)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: Italy

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

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

Experience the epitome of Italy’s historic cities, exquisite resorts, rustic towns and idyllic fishing villages.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.

    On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. In this unique city, ancient monuments happily co-exist with some 900 churches, fine palaces, bustling piazzas, green parks and a vast urban sprawl. At 17:30, join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner, a fun evening of Italian cuisine and wine.

  2. Day 2

    Rome with Vatican Dinner.

    In the morning enjoy the very best of the city’s highlights including visiting the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican with your Local Expert. With some free time, why not head to the Colosseum to learn about the city’s ancient past? In the afternoon, enjoy special fast-tracked VIP entry into the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert. Admire the Papal art collection and observe the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Enter the Sistine Chapel to marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece on its ceiling. After, dine in the Vatican's elegant Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, should weather permit, where you will enjoy incredible views of the cupola of St. Peter's during your private VIP Highlight Dinner.

  3. Day 3

    Renaissance Florence and on to Monteriggioni.

    Take the autostrada north to Renaissance Florence. Accompanied by an art expert, venture inside the famous Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo’s original statue, David. From there, see the cathedral, campanile and the baptistery, adorned with the Gates of Paradise. Walk on to Piazza della Signoria with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculpture. There is time to shop for Florentine leather or gold before continuing to your elegant Tuscan villa near the walled town of Monteriggioni. After spending two days in the metropolis of Rome, your villa resort will be a welcome retreat. Rest in the shade of the lush, verdant gardens, swim in the pool, or participate in a variety of leisure activities.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Siena and San Gimignano.

    In the morning, visit medieval Siena where narrow cobbled streets lined with palaces and patrician mansions, lead to Piazza del Campo, scene of the Palio horse race. Explore with your Local Expert and visit the beautiful, striped cathedral. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers that scrape the azure Tuscan sky. Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli, for a taste of his finest frozen treats. On return to your hotel, stop at a local winery to sample some of the robust red wines of Tuscany and learn about their origins.

  5. Day 5

    The Chianti Hills to Pisa, Lucca and Santa Margherita.

    Drive through the patchwork of vines, olives and cypresses that typify the Chianti hills. Head for Pisa and see the incredible Leaning Tower, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble, before continuing to the delightful town of Lucca. At a traditional steam bakery, taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread. Continue along the coast to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.

  6. Day 6

    The Cinque Terre.

    Head for the port of La Spezia for a highlight of your travels, the Cinque Terre - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. With a Local Expert, appreciate the views as you approach one of the picturesque fishing villages by boat. There is time to explore the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps make the most of the hotel’s private beach before enjoying a delicious farm-to-table dining experience for dinner.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Portofino and Lake Maggiore.

    In the morning, should weather permit, cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to the elegant seaside village of Portofino, the epitome of la dolce vita. Enjoy leisure time to admire the coloured houses, browse the boutiques or simply stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Next, return to the mainland and head north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation.

  8. Day 8

    Verona and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

    Journey to the town of fair Verona, legendary home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy free time to admire the well-preserved Roman Arena still used for opera performances, or perhaps recite Shakespeare’s immortal words and get cozy with Juliet’s well-worn statue beneath the balcony where the Capulet family is said to have lived. Continue through the magnificent Dolomites, to the mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Experience the Dolomites.

    The whole day is free for you to explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites, one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. During summer, once the snow and ice have melted away, a breathtaking landscape is revealed. There are a number of walking tracks through pristine Alpine wilderness for the adventurous to explore, or for a more relaxed pace, perhaps take a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360-degree views.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.

    Descend through the mountains to the romantic city of Venice. A private launch ferries you past canals lined with ornate palaces to St Mark’s Square. See the basilica, the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs, before checking into your intimate and luxurious hotel. With the afternoon at leisure, why not cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    The Magic of La Serenissima

    Visit an arts centre to watch one of the few remaining craftsmen blow Venetian glass. Then there is free time to enjoy the magical atmosphere of this incredible city at your own pace. Mingle with the locals at the open air markets near the Rialto Bridge and explore the back lanes and squares where Venetians go about their day. Later, on your romantic gondola serenade, glide along the atmospheric canals exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs. In the evening, toast the finale of your journey with great food, wine and company at your Celebration Dinner in a magical setting.

  12. Day 12

    Arrivederci Venice.

    Bid farewell to Bella Italia and your newfound friends. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 08:00 or 09:30.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Vatican City: Venture inside St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Pietà, and the splendid dome.
  • Florence: Stand beside Michelangelo’s monumental statue, David, in the Accademia Gallery, while an art expert explains the exquisite technique and absorbing history behind the world's most famous sculpture.
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing as you watch artisans create delicate works of art.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum. You will also see other medieval buildings, including Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered throughout the city.
  • Florence: During your guided walk see the cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Visit the political heart of the city, Piazza della Signoria, and the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods.
  • Siena: With your Local Expert explore the cobbles streets of Siena. Learn about the Palio horse race while standing in Piazza del Campo. See the 14th century Town Hall and its Mangia Tower.
  • Siena: Led by your Local Expert, wander your way through the medieval streets to visit the black-and-white striped marble cathedral.
  • San Gimignano: Visit the medieval Manhattan of Italy!
  • Pisa: During your orientation, your Travel Director will show you the baptistery bristling with marble spines, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the 11th century cathedral and of course, the famous Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles.
  • Lucca: Your orientation with your Travel Director will show you the churches, squares and palaces within the medieval ramparts.
  • Cinque Terre: With your Local Expert, cruise to and explore two of the villages of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Portofino: Cruise from Santa Margherita and get a taste of the sweet life in this elegant fishing village.
  • Italian Lake District: Experience the social ritual of la passeggiata.
  • Verona: During your orientation, walk past the well preserved Roman Arena to Juliet's balcony in the courtyard of a Renaissance villa.
  • Cortina: Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Cortina, a small town framed by magnificent alps as your Travel Director conducts an orientation.
  • Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Venice: To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, passing water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces where once the likes of Casanova would have come calling.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the iconic scenery of the rolling Tuscan Hills, the Apennines and Dolomites mountain ranges and the Italian Lake District.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Vatican City: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and see Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the stunning Museo Gregoriano Profano which documents various moments and themes in classical art, from Ancient Greece through to the late Imperial Roman age. Then you'll be privileged an exclusive VIP Highlight Dinner at the Vatican's Cortile del Giardino Quadrato, whilst enjoying views of the cupola of St. Peters, should weather permit.
  • San Gimignano: Ascend serpentine alleyways to the artisan gelato parlour of world champion gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli for a taste of his finest frozen treats.
  • Tuscany: In the Tuscan countryside, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides, taste the wines of an eminent estate.
  • Lucca: Visit a traditional steam bakery and sample Buccellato, the sweet raisin bread typical of the region.
  • Cinque Terre: Savour a freshly-prepared Farm-to-Table meal, made of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients typical of the region.
  • Venice: Enjoy a special Venetian Celebration Dinner with wine in a restaurant situated in the heart of this historic city.
  • Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Tuscany: The Borgo San Luigi is a restored 17th century country palazzo, once owned by the Duchy of Tuscany, offering high-quality service in a peaceful setting in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo Encircled by the beautiful Dolomite Alps, Cortina's delightful Hotel Ancora is built in the characteristic Ampezzano style with wooden balconies and intricately carved and painted interior details.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • 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. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or 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.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

Join your Travel 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

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. Please note: This optional is subject to availability

Adult Price: EUR 54.00

Code: ROM0003

Local Tuscan Dinner

The secret to dining well in Tuscany is knowing where to go, picking the small towns and restaurants where locals dine. Exploiting our countryside location, this evening we'll dine locally, keeping away from the big-city crowds. We'll enjoy classic Tuscan specialties, the favourites of the Sienese province, utilising the fresh territorial produce that makes this region so well known.

Adult Price: EUR 65.00

Code: RAD0001

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 42.00

Code: ITA0001

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

Grand Tour Of The Dolomites

Explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites – one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. Your full-day of discovery includes a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360 degree views. In a unique combination of nature and history, learn about the incredible war waged in the mountains with a visit to a WWI museum. Complimentary coffee and strudel is included. (Weather and season dependent).

Adult Price: EUR 63.00

Code: COR0003

Dinner in the Mountains

This evening we'll drive through the countryside to the foot of the Tofane Mountain in the heart of the Dolomite Ranges, where we'll enjoy fantastic Cuisine in a superb setting. We'll soak in the atmosphere of a popular local restaurant while enjoying traditional Northern Italian hospitality and sampling delicious regional specialties and local Wine.

Adult Price: EUR 61.00

Code: COR0008

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 55.00

Code: VEN0001

Hidden Venice

To only experience Venice's big set pieces -- St Mark's Square; the Rialto; the Grand Canal -- 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: 71.00

Code: VEN0003

Accommodation

 

Hotel Dei Borgia

Rome (Contemporary) - Italy

This elegant hotel is located in in one of the most central positions in Rome, close to all the key attractions.

Best Western Regina Elena

Santa Margherita Ligure (Traditional) - Italy

A modern hotel boasting fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding coast.

Hotel Simplon

Baveno, Italian Lakes (Traditional) - Italy

Hotel Simplon is located mere minutes from the centre of Baveno which is nestled along the banks of Lake Maggiore. Its pink façade showcases the famous local marble, while the interiors provide a classic, luxurious feel. The hotel features a permanent art exhibition of famous paintings displayed along one of it's corridors.

Hotel Ancora

Cortina d'Ampezzo (Traditional) - Italy

Surrounded by the beautiful Dolomite Alps, Cortina's delightful Hotel Ancora is built in the characteristic Ampezzano style with wooden balconies and intricately carved and painted interior details.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11478 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 17 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Perfect itinerary. We had a fabulous trip!!

    Service: Actually booked thru AAA. Their association with Insight is excellent.

  • 10 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Don’t think I could have seen as many sites and learned so much about the people on my own.

    Service: Everything was well done, very organized , great hotels and skip the line tours. Tour guide and bus driver were wonderful!! Lots of little extras. I loved the trip and would definitely recommend them.

  • 10 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: We saw so much, varied scenery, wonderful food and excursions.

    Service: The tour director, Anne Kennedy was remarkable, she made the tour appear seamless, and nothing was too much trouble, we had a wonderful time.

  • 06 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: We were busy, but worth it. Saw so many great places.

    Service: Everything was top notch!! We have told everyone that if they were planning a trip check Insight out. Yes, we will be going with Insight again.

  • 06 November, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: WE saw and enjoyed everything your itinerary said it would be.

    Service: We would and have many times recommended Insight Tours to our friends. This is the fifth trip with Insight within our immediate family. Our Hostess Martina made our Italian Elegance trip perfect. Or coach driver was the best.

  • 31 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: It was excellent, just need a little more free time in some of the smaller Tuscan towns

    Service: The guide was exceptional!!

  • 30 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Great destinations and also good to have two nights in most stops

    Service: Excellent tour director, great hotels, great bus (leg room, space, smooth) and driver, great breakfasts!

  • 30 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Saw all we want d to see north of Rome

    Service: Excellent

  • 30 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Allowed the guests to see all the well know places in a very short time.

    Service: Tour guide very good. Both Ireland with Katie and Anne with Italy were exceptional. Yes I would book another trip with Insight and I would recommend them Also the bus drivers have been very good.

  • 28 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: The itinerary was excellent

    Service: Service was good

  • 26 October, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: felt the trip was alittle rushed

    Service: loved the trip, our tourguide martina was wonderful. would have liked an extra day in each location so we didn't have to rush so much.

  • 25 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Overall, the Italian Elegance itinerary was great. But I wouldn't mind an extra day in Rome.

    Service: Our tour director, Martina Musso, is excellent - she made the trip exciting, interesting and as convenient as possible. We also had Enzo, our driver, who silently let us feel safe throughout the trip.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. 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.