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Duration: 13 days Visiting: Italy
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, you're welcomed and taken to your hotel with transfers departing at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. Get to know your fellow travellers as you mingle over a pleasant evening.
VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local.
A Local Expert leads you through the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry to the museums and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase. Later, continue to St. Peter’s Basilica. Embark on a leisurely walking exploration to see the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. Then there is time to relax and absorb the atmosphere of Piazza Navona.
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 marble. Continue through the cypress-clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to Florence. Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.
Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance.
Join a local art historian as you venture inside the Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo’s statue, David. Gaze up and truly appreciate the significance of Michelangelo’s work. Continue to the cathedral to see Giotto’s bell tower and the Gates of Paradise adorning the baptistery. Visit Piazza della Signoria filled with works of art and finally pause in Piazza Santa Croce, overlooked by its basilica, the final resting place of Galileo and Michelangelo. By night, don’t miss the chance to try the delicious local cuisine and sample rich Chianti wine.
Pisa and Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes.
Stop at 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. Your journey continues, 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 stroll, or passeggiata as they say in Italy?
At Leisure in the Italian Lake District.
The day is set aside for you to relax and enjoy all the fantastic sights of this beautiful lake-land area. Perhaps take a cruise over to Isola Bella, one of the picturesque Borromean Islands. For your Dine-Around Evening, choose from a selection of hand-picked restaurants for your dining pleasure.
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. Listen to passionate stories as you 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 Travel 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. Carry on to Venice. Arrive at your hotel by boat, in true Venetian style, a city of 118 islands and no motorcar traffic to mar its beauty.
Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.
Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. While here, visit a traditional arts centre on Giudecca Island where you can see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made by expert glassblowers. What better way to see Venice than from a private boat, 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 local traditional songs, as you drift along in romantic awe. 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?
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-top 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 to visit the Basilica of St. Francis.
Along the Autostrada del Sole to Sorrento.
Journey along the clifftop road to the picturesque resort of Sorrento, perched upon the southern cliffs of the Bay of Naples and looking over to Mount Vesuvius. With the evening at leisure, why not try some of the local specialties during a local dining experience?
Capri, the Isle of Dreams.
In the morning, cruise to Capri, known as the Isle of Dreams. In one of the island's iconic open-top taxis, head up the steep, winding roads while a symphony of cicadas sing 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?
The ancient cities of Pompeii and Rome.
Journey to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, eerily preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Walk with a Local Expert through cobbled streets to explore some of the shops, villas and temples. In the heart of the Eternal City, you are treated to the quintessential Italian experience – fine food, wine, music and a private performance of enchanting operetta.
Departure transfers arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 and 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.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: EUR 62.00
With our local expert, step back in time to explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Admire the Arch of Constantine and tread in the footsteps of Gladiators and Roman Soldiers. Enjoy priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds and once inside the mighty Colosseum hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat and the mighty Roman Empire. Please note: This optional is subject to availability and involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.
Adult Price: EUR 50.00
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 36.00
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the Chiantri countryside, 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
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
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 43.00
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
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
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
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
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 72.00
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
Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise to the most beautiful part of the island, the southern side. View the beautiful grottoes and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. We also enjoy a lemon granita, a specialty of this island. 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 42.00
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 44.00
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
Located in the heart of Rome, the luxurious Hotel Romanico Palace offers easy access to all the historical sites of the Eternal City.
FLORENCE (Traditional) - ITALY
Conveniently located in the centre of Florence and just a few minutes walk from the Arno River, the Michelangelo Florence is an ideal base for exploring this cultural city during your two night stay. Featuring modern, homely interiors, traditional-style rooms and free WiFi throughout the hotel, you'll be connected and comfortable during your stay.
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.
Venice (Traditional) - Italy
This hotel has guest rooms in an 18th century Venetian style with modern additions.
Assisi (Historic) - Italy
Hotel Giotto Assisi 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 (Heritage) - ITALY
The Grand Hotel Vesuvio is ideally located on the seafront, overlooking the Gulf of Naples, Isle of Capri and Mt. Vesuvius. Built in 1882 this heritage, 5-star, deluxe hotel features sophisticated and elegantly decorated rooms with modern comforts, and a fitness and relaxation centre. The Sky Lounge Cocktail Bar showcases incredible views, why not admire the beauty at sunset with a cocktail in hand?
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The 4.5-star Hotel Mediterraneo is ideally located in the heart of Rome, with easy access to all the major sights. Its elevated position atop Esquilino Hill, the highest of Rome's Seven Hills, allows panoramic views from the roof terrace. The hotel was designed by architect Mario Loreti in 1936 and its art deco interiors create an ambiance of style and elegance.