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Duration: 16 days Visiting: Italy
Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.
Rome is not only the modern capital of Italy, but also a spectacular encyclopedia of living history. You will be met on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. At 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30, transfers depart for your hotel. At 17:30, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Dinner with the opportunity to get to know each other over a pleasant evening.
VIP Vatican and Rome with a Local.
In the morning, you will be joined by a Local Expert who guides you through the art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, part of the Vatican closed to the general public. There’s free time to do as the Romans do. Perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum? Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking exploration 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.
Pompeii and on to Sorrento.
Journey 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. 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.
Capri, the Isle of Dreams.
Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by funicular railway and explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and return to Sorrento, where you are at leisure for the rest of the day.
The Picturesque Amalfi Coast.
(Relaxed Start) Travel along Italy's finest coastline, the Amalfi Coast. Stop to admire a view of the terraced houses of the artist's paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, before boarding minibuses to the heart of the town. Take time to be tempted by the local boutiques.
The Umbrian Town of Orvieto.
Travel into the heart of Italy to enjoy free time in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain. Savour the distinctly medieval ambiance during your orientation and admire the richly decorated facade of the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo. Take in the flavours of the region, learn about the ingredients and Italian food culture when you join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating cooking demonstration, followed by a Highlight Dinner and a glass of the Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience!
Assisi and on to Perugia.
Cross the River Tiber to arrive at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Assisi. Under the dome is a small medieval chapel and the spot where St. Francis died. Continue to visit the huge Basilica of St. Francis. With a Local Expert, walk down the Via San Francesco to St. Clare’s Church and see the cathedral. Journey to beautiful Perugia - the jewel of Umbria. Your guided walking exploration begins in the main street of Perugia's Old Town. See the Collegio del Cambio, the splendid Priors' Palace, the cathedral and the finely sculptured Great Fountain in the magnificent main square. Visit an artisanal workshop to meet Marta, recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Learn how Marta and her weavers are preserving the ancient craft of loom-weaving.
Perugia, the Jewel of Umbria.
(Relaxed Start) The entire day is at leisure for you to explore this gem of a town on your own. Perhaps visit Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. On this Optional Experience, journey to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple before a guided exploration through the town's historic centre with views of Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana. In the evening there is the option to discover the edible treasures of a traditional Umbrian kitchen, accompanied with wines of the region.
Siena and Radda in Chianti.
(Relaxed Start) Drive past Lake Trasimeno to Siena. On arrival, walk with a Local Expert through narrow cobbled streets to the Piazza del Campo, where the bi-annual Palio horse race takes place. See the superb 14th century Town Hall with its slim Mangia Tower, then climb up to the hill-top cathedral decorated with stripes of black and white marble. Travel through the cypress-clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to your elegant hotel. On arrival, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, discovering their robust flavours and absorbing history.
The Towers of San Gimignano.
(Relaxed Start) Visit the hilltop town of San Gimignano. Enjoy a tasting with award-winning, master ice-cream maker, Sergio Dondoli whose great inventions include innovative and mouth-watering flavour combinations. After enjoying time to explore at your leisure, return to the tranquil surroundings of your hotel.
Florence and on to Lucca.
Journey to Renaissance Florence where on arrival you will walk with a Local Expert to see the marble-clad cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Enjoy time at leisure to explore Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Spend time gazing at the fountains and sculptures along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Wander the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods of gold and leather. Continue to Lucca, to view its churches, squares and palaces that are perfectly preserved within encircling medieval ramparts. Pause a while and taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread, said to be a favourite of the ancient Roman army.
Exploring the Cinque Terre.
Get ready to explore the Cinque Terre, or five villages, which for years were only accessible by foot. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. Join a Local Expert in one of the picturesque fishing villages, before cruising along the rugged coastline. There is plenty of time to explore the old medieval quarter and popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel in Lucca.
Modena and on to Parma.
Visit one of Modena's top producers of authentic, traditional, artisan balsamic vinegar and take a master class to understand what makes this vinegar as expensive as top-rated wines. Move on to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, for an insight into the iconic car brand that embodies the nation itself - fashionable, feisty and a touch flashy! Continue to the beautiful university town of Parma, world-famous for its local ham and cheese. Meet one of the locals, Signora Afra at Ciaolatte Parmesan, the first organic Parmesan cheese farm in Italy. Learn about the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano as the Signora shares with you her passions for Italian food, especially excellent quality Parmesan cheese. Taste samples of the organic cheese and other delicious local delicacies, accompanied with a glass of wine.
Verona and Venice.
Journey to the elegant city of Verona, legendary home of Romeo and Juliet. See the ancient Roman Arena and stand beneath Juliet's balcony in a Renaissance courtyard - can you recite Shakespeare's immortal words? Continue on through the Soave vineyards past Padua to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces.
The Magic of La Serenissima.
(Relaxed Start) Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. Witness the art of glassblowing on a visit to a traditional arts centre on Giudecca Island and see how their beautiful handcrafted glass is made. Then only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square, where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Admire also the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure. In the evening, cruise the islands of the Venetian lagoon to arrive at Burano, famous for its candy coloured houses. Sit down to a sumptuous Celebration Dinner with wine, sampling the local specialities.
Farewell Venezia & Bella Italia.
Alas, you must bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice airport at 08:00 or 09:30
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.
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
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
A delightful and bucolic experience, designed to bring you in touch with the enchanting Tuscan countryside, food and wine. Settle in for an authentic Tuscan feast in a traditional setting.
Adult Price: EUR 60.00
Visit beautiful Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany and setting for Francis Mayes “Under the Tuscan Sun”. A scenic panoramic drive takes you to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple and to see Ms. Mayes’ actual creative hideaway, 'Casa Bramasole'. This is followed by a guided walk through the historic centre to soak up the history and enjoy stupendous views to Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
Adult Price: EUR 33.00
Umbria is not only a region which is culturally rich and full of beautiful vistas, it is also a region rich in its gastronomic offerings as well! A journey to explore the edible treasures of the traditional Umbrian kitchen and the superb wines of this region too, all served to you in a beautiful rustic restaurant!
Adult Price: EUR 62.00
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
Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and a great Italian ambiance.
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
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 54.00
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
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
Extend your day to complete the entire "World Heritage Coastline" and visit gorgeous Amalfi after which the coast is named. This is an unforgettable experience, we stop to capture the stunning panoramas, impossible sights and enjoy local refreshements enroute before plenty of free time to explore the colourful village Amalfi. A thrilling excursion not to be missed!
Adult Price: EUR 46.00
Among the lemon and olive groves of Sorrento is a small farm owned by the third generation of the Marciano family. Meet Rosa and Maria and see how fresh mozzarella is made by hand. Walk through lemon groves, past the old olive mill before indulging your taste buds in a delicious meal of Italian specialities all fresh from the farm. Finish with a taste of the famous Limoncello.
Adult Price: EUR 45.00
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 54.00
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
The secret to enjoying Venice is knowing where to go. This evening join us as we take you into the heart of the San Marco District in the historic centre of Venice to enjoy dinner in a typical local restaurant hidden in the lesser know calle of the city. Enjoy typical Venetian cuisine washed down with wine from the Veneto region.
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The elegant 4-star Veneto Palace hotel is located in one of the most elegant parts of the historical centre.
Sorrento (Traditional) - Italy
Orvieto (Historic) - Italy
This hotel combines renovation with original parts, along with a central location, to create a fantastic hotel in Orvieto.
Perugia (Traditional) - Italy
Located in central Perugia, the elegant Sangallo Palace Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas. The hotel offers fantastic facilities and features modern rooms with wonderful views over the town.
Tuscany (Contemporary) - Italy
Lucca (Historic) - Italy
Set in a private park, the 4-star Villa La Principessa is an elegant hotel that offers a relaxed atmosphere.
Parma (Traditional) - Italy
A modern hotel located in the heart of Parma near to all the key attractions.
Venice (Historic) - Italy
The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice Hotel is located in a magnificently restored 19th century granary on Giudecca Island, only minutes away from St. Mark’s Square by boat. Amenities include a rooftop pool, spa and wellness centre, and five different restaurants and bars. Enjoy excellent views from the roof bar.
07 December, 2017
Trip: everything we expected and more
Service: very professional
25 November, 2017
Trip: The only place that we did not care for was Veronna
Service: Some of the hotels were not very clean.
13 November, 2017
Trip: We wanted to visit places in Italy that were away from the major cities. This tour took us to villages and through scenic countrysides off the main highways. We were able to see the highlights of Rome and Venice, then spend most of our time in other areas. It was great!
Service: The tour was well laid out. We visited many amazing locations. Our tour director and our bus driver were excellent. We were always on time. We really enjoyed having the local experts at each location. Bags were always delivered promptly. The bus was super-comfortable with lots of leg room. We stayed at a variety of hotels, some quite modern and others with lots of character.
11 November, 2017
Trip: So glad I chose this tour. Beautiful....
Service: Very happy with the tour. Covered a lot of territory, saw many, many historic places along with gorgeous countryside. My agent was helpful, patient and encouraging.
11 November, 2017
Trip: I loved the Itinerary, as it hit almost all the spots in Italy I had wanted to visit on this first trip. There is no way you can see it all and I do realize that... this trip sure packed in tons of amazing memories.
Service: Customer service was top notch on this Country Roads of Italy tour... could not have asked for more. Well orchestrated and moved along without incident, which was so appreciated.
11 November, 2017
Trip: Went to cities I've not been before.
Service: Made our trip memorable.
08 November, 2017
Trip: The Itinerary represented the less traveled areas of Italy which enabled me to enjoy and see the local artisans and unique and special places of Italy.
Service: The Itinerary was ideal to see Italy and meet the local people. We stayed at hotels that reflected the vast history of Italy from those built in 1200 to within the last 20 year. Each hotel was unique and charming. Our tour director, Brad, was a wealth of knowledge and expertise about local specialties and artisans. I especially enjoyed the Optional dinners which featured local chefs.
08 November, 2017
Trip: Ok, I have to be up front from the beginning. I didn't think a coach tour would be for me. I'm not too keen on lengthy bus travel and had grave concerns that I would be restless and sore after hours in the seat. Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. What a time we have had!!! Rome, Sorrento, Orvieto, Perugia, Radda in Chianti, Lucca, Parma and Venice. Phew, sounds exhausting right? Nope, it was exhilarating. To be fair, it's a busy pace and we did have quite a few "sparrow-fart" starts but once on the road Brad, our fabulous Tour Director, kept us entertained with his extraordinary knowledge of the history and nuances of the places we visited. He had so many interesting facts and figures in his head we decided that next quiz night any of us had, he was on our table. We had people of varying degrees of fitness and walkability and Brad was across things for everyone, at times suggesting alternative routes and at others ensuring that the complexity of the stroll was explained so informed decisions could be made. He did somewhat underestimate the length of stroll from time to time but we just smiled and started joking with him about whether it was a normal Block or a Brad Block. The hotels were all excellent quality although it appears that European bathrooms aren't required to adhere to the same standards as those we enjoy at home. In fact, I think European baths are preposterous in their economy of width. At least they have an emergency cord which can be used when suction gets the better of you 😊. Given that most of the showers were over a bath, the lack of handrails was also problematic as was the slippery surface of the bath. Easy does it getting in and out folks. The breakfasts were all tasty and plentiful with enough choice to fill the tummy before heading off each morning. The included tours are great and it's really worthwhile doing the extra paid tours to really get a feel for the place. Our tour included 5 evening meals and we took the opportunity to pay for 2 of the extra six meal options, both of which were most enjoyable. We chose not to do the other 4 as I am a non drinker and my husband has only one glass of wine and a great part of the evening is centred around wines. We heard from those who went that they were good but some people felt there were just too many courses and it was quite rushed at times. The social aspect of the dinners is fantastic but for the occasional drinker who doesn't normally eat five courses, it's hard to get the full value out of them. There are always other options available to you for the evening meal and Brad was only too happy to point them out. As to the touring itself, we never spent more than 2 hours on the coach before a refresher stop at a local Auto-Grill where we could use the facilities and grab a quick coffee or bite to eat if it was nearing lunchtime. No doubt this was also to look after Domenico, our fabulous driver, who must have been exhausted negotiating all those Italian country roads. His skill behind the wheel left us gasping at times, especially along the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terra. One other thing we loved were the "Flourishes" Insight provides. No more on that though as I don't want to spoil the surprise 😉 So, would we do another Insight Vacation? Absolutely. Have I already ordered the brochure for next year?? Maybe............but don't tell hubby!!!
Service: Everything was taken care of during our Insight Vacation, down the the smallest detail.
07 November, 2017
Trip: EXCELLENT ITINERARY WITH WONDERFUL OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS THAT ARE ALL WORTH TAKING PART IN.
Service: EXCELLENT ORGANIZING OF ARRANGEMENTS PRE-TRIP, AS WELL AS DURING THE TRIP.
06 November, 2017
Trip: I loved the tour but would exclude our day in Parma. The cheese factory, Ferrari Museum and Balsamic Vinegar tour were my least favorite. Preferred the beautiful old towns and stunning views of the Almafi Coast and Cinque Terre.
Service: Our tour was beyond expectations. We had a wonderful tour guide who was so well versed in the history and traditions of Italy. I would definitely recommend Insight Vacations to my family and friends.
05 November, 2017
Trip: We saw alot of Italy on this itinerary included some uncrowded areas.
Service: trip was well organized. We would travel again with Insight
04 November, 2017
Trip: Needed more free time. Verona was not necessary.
Service: Very organized and informative.
Our Travel Directors know your destination, its culture and history inside out.
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