Best of Italy - Insight Vacations

Best of Italy (Winter 2017-18)

Duration: 11 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

    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.

  2. Day 2

    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?

  3. Day 3

    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.

  4. Day 4

    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.

  5. Day 5

    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.

  6. Day 6 - 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.

  7. Day 7 - 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.

  8. Day 8

    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.

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10 - 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.

  11. Day 11

    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 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.

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 7693 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 19 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was fast paced, but not in a bad way. At the end of the trip, nothing was left to be desired. We left bellies full and brains loaded with newfound knowledge.

    Service: Absolutely fantastic, and Bea was absolutely the best guide for our tour throughout Italy.

  • 19 January, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Was good saw plenty would recommend

    Service: Tour guide was great, very informative and helpful.

  • 19 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The tour visite the highlights of northern Italy, and with two nights in most places there was plenty of time to take organised tours as well as do some solo sightseeing and shopping. There was only one night in Assisi, and it would have been good to sty there a little longer.

    Service: The Tour Director, Beatrice, was friendly, patient and good humoured. She organised the tour very well.

  • 19 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Good trip not excellant. Hotel beds were hard

    Service: Good trip

  • 14 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It had the cities I wanted to visit and the attractions I wanted to see.

    Service: This is a well packaged tour. The Tour Director, Chris, did an outstanding job of adapting the event schedule to the holiday season and closings. We were able to get to all of the attractions we signed up for and had fantastic local guides to provide rich background in the cities we toured. The hotels are close to the attractions and restaurants and the tour director and bus driver worked very well with the hotel staff to get our luggage to us or onto the bus and stay on schedule. Meals were outstanding.

  • 14 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It has the exact right pace, with the good balance between rest and sightseeing, achieving a enjoyable & memorable vacation.

    Service: The Hotel choices are great The Iteneraries are well designed The tour director managed my special diet request very well

  • 14 January, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: First class experience for our family of four!

    Service: Fantastic itinerary, food, lodging, tour guide (Chris Beck) and local guides where designated. The tour covered a lot of ground but we never felt rushed. Our family of four, including 21 and 22 year olds, bonded with our tour group and that really enhanced the overall experience. We are already talking about our next Insight tour!

  • 11 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was truly able to make us experience the best of Italy.

    Service: First of all, the 5 star rating is because of our very accomodating, hands-on, and passionate tour director Beatrice *personal information removed by Feefo* She made sure everyone had fun and comfortable. This is truly the best vacation I’ve had in my life. My family and I will surely take Insight Vacations trips again.

  • 08 January, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Excellent sample of the lovely things Italy has to offer. Obviously one could revisit this country many times and find it new abnd exciting each time.

    Service: Bus was extremely comfortable. Guide (Beatrice Richichi) was charming, knowledgeable and on top of everything. There was never a time when I felt concerned about any part of the program or journey. Hotels were clean and comfortable; the "Splendid Venice" was prime and the days in Venice were the outstanding highlight. However, that last statement is not to take away from the great times in Rome, Florence, Assisi, and Sorrento. Local guides were wonderful with especial kudos to Magdalena in Florence, and Ana in Venice. The pacing of the trip was excellent for me. It was very good to spend two nights in each place. I opted out of a few of the extra offerings because I needed the time to rest between excursions.

  • 06 January, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Two nights at all but one destination makes a great difference. I am pleased to see that the Greece Winter itinerary has now been modified to two nights per city. We went to Greece with Insight in 2015.

    Service: Third time with Insight. Each time better than the last. Met and exceeded expectations. Looking forward to our next trip in the very near future. One small blemish. Roman Pizza on night 2 was very disappointing and extremely overpriced. $100 for cheese pizza, off-key singing and an aggressive sales pitch for a CD by the performers left a very bitter taste in our mouths on day 2. Our tour director was awesome. I'm sure the deficient optional dinner can be remedied.

  • 05 January, 2018

    TRIP:
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    Trip: Very go-go-go it did become a lot after awhile. I also thought we’d get to tour Monte Cassino, which didn’t happen. We just drove past it

    Service: Everything went well just some of the hotels had issues. The one in Sorrento (arguably the nicest [also my favorite]) had issues with the shower apparatus falling off its hinges almost taking me and my mother out (obviously on separate occasions).

  • 02 January, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covers all the main places to visit and is a good introduction to Italy.

    Service: Good local guides, tour director and driver.

*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.