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|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Venice, Florence, Siena Rome. St Mark's Basilica, the Colosseum, & St. Peter's Square. Optional Extension to Sorrento.|
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Tour prices have increased by $60 due to an airline fuel surcharge on Mar 1, 2011.
Transfers: Transfers for this tour are provided on a group basis only. For land-only passengers or for passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
Indulge in la dolce vita on a fabulous 10-day tour package to Italy. Our tour takes you to the Italian classics—Venice, Florence & Rome—as well as some spots off the beaten path, including Bologna, Siena, San Gimignano and Assisi. Learn about how Italy's history, culture, religion and art have helped shape the world as we know it today. Everything you need to explore these classical treasures is here, including convenient flights, great hotels in the heart of each city, comprehensive sightseeing programs, and many meals. One of the included dinners even features a tour of a Tuscan Chianti wine estate with wine tasting in a Tuscan castle. If you are interested in tracing the roots of our Western civilization, including the religious and artistic heritage that defines our modern culture, you won't find a better and more attractive opportunity anywhere.
Want even more? Extend your stay to Sorrento on the Amalfi coast. But don't wait too long. At these prices, our Italian Treasures tour is sure to sell out quickly.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins as you depart New York this evening on your overnight flight bound for Venice, Italy.
Day 2: Venice. Welcome to Venice, the "Queen of the Adriatic." After customs formalities, transfer to Piazzale Roma by coach, and then take a short walk to your centrally located hotel for check-in. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore independently one of the most popular and unique cities in the world. You do not need to wander far in any direction to discover the beauty of Venice. At virtually every turn, you'll encounter winding streets and canals, ancient palaces and piazzas, or a gondola sailing by on the torch-lit waterfront. The city is also home to an abundance of world-famous museums and impressive art collections. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner in a charming Venetian trattoria. Accommodations: Carlton & Grand Canal Hotel. Dinner provided.
Day 3: Venice. This morning's half-day guided walking tour will take you to one of Venice's most stunning treasures, St. Mark's Basilica. Combining Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic styles, this cathedral is not only an impressive architectural accomplishment; it is also a testament to Venice's historical role as a bridge between East and West. Later today, delve deeper into Venice's cultural heritage as you experience Mardi Gras at its finest at a Carnival mask-making demonstration. This delicate art form dates back to the 13th century, when the Venetians celebrated the first Carnival to mark the transition from winter to spring. Now celebrated during the ten days before Lent, it is one of Europe's most popular parties.
Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure or take advantage of an exciting optional tour to Murano Island. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Murano Island, $65. Near Venice, this island is home to one of the world's oldest and most famous glassworks. Your tour includes admission to the Murano Glass Museum.
Optional Excursion: Gondola Serenade, $90.
Day 4: Venice, Bologna, & Florence. After breakfast, depart Venice and travel via motor coach to Bologna. Originally founded by the Etruscans in c. 534 BC, Bologna has evolved into what many consider the gastronomic capital of Italy, thanks to its handmade tortellini, ragu meat sauce, and mortadella, the antecedent of the bologna that we know in the U.S. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided tour of this historic city which is home to the western world's oldest university (1088) and to over 20 miles of covered walkways (arcades). Lunch today will be the famous tortellini.
This afternoon, continue to Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure to explore what is often regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and check in at your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Hotel Ambasciatori. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Italian Cooking Class & Dinner, $160. Take advantage of a very special optional excursion that promises to make you the envy of family and friends when you return home: a one-of-a-kind cooking lesson and dinner experience. Local chefs will reveal the secrets of making your own fresh Italian pasta. You will make 3 different types of pasta with 3 different sauces, as well as a typical Italian desert. Afterwards, enjoy the sumptuous meal that you created!
Day 5: Florence. After breakfast this morning, begin your sightseeing walking tour of Florence. A local expert will guide you on a leisurely walking tour of the city's highlights: the Ponte Vecchio, the Piazza del Duomo, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the Baptistery. Your tour culminates with a visit to the Accademia of Fine Arts, home to Michelangelo's David.
In the afternoon, travel to the nearby Vicchiomaggio Castle in the Tuscan Chianti countryside to visit a wine estate and learn about the winemaking process in this famous region. Enjoy wine tasting and dinner before returning to Florence. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 6: San Gimignano & Siena. Today is dedicated to two of Italy's hidden treasures: Siena and San Gimignano. One of the most charming of all Tuscan hill towns, San Gimignano is best known for its medieval towers that dot its landscape. With its dazzling gothic cathedral and impressive frescoes, the well-preserved, medieval town of Siena is truly an art-lover's paradise.
Enjoy panoramic guided tours in each city plus leisure time to explore each on your own. Before the day is over, be sure to sample some of Italy's famous gelato and pizza. Accommodations: NH Excelsior Hotel or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Siena, Assisi & Rome. After breakfast this morning, depart Siena and the Lazio region, traveling south to Rome. En route, stop at the one of the principal sites in the Umbria region—the mystical town of Assisi, on the slopes of Mt Subasio. Visit the Basilica of St. Frances, which houses some of the most important frescoes in Italy, including works by Cimabue and Giotto. Enjoy a light lunch with wine in the heart of the town. Continue to Rome and check-in to your deluxe, centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Hotel Exedra. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Rome. Today's guided tour takes you to the heart of the Roman Empire. You'll visit that most famous of all Roman stadiums, the Colosseum, where gladiators fought to the death before audiences of thousands. You'll also visit the Forum, political heart of the Roman Empire and site of some of history's greatest events, and Palantine Hill, home to Rome's aristocratic residences and palaces for centuries. See the Arch of Constantine, the Circo Massimo, the Campidoglio and Piazza Venezia with the famous tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In the afternoon, explore Rome on your own, or choose an optional walking tour of the grand piazzas.
This evening, dinner will be served in a typical Roman restaurant, followed by a panoramic tour of Rome by night. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Grand Piazzas, $85. See two of Rome's most endearing scenic spots—the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Don't forget to toss in a coin! End your tour at the Piazza Farnese and the Campo dei Fiori.
Day 9: Rome & Vatican City. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the Vatican for a tour of the Vatican Museums, and that most famous of religious and artistic treasures, the Sistine Chapel, with its unique ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Visit St. Peter's Square with its colonnade designed by Bernini, and St. Peter's Basilica to view Michelangelo's Pieta.
Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. You'll find plenty to see and do as you stroll the picturesque and bustling streets of Rome. Shop, stroll through the Villa Borghese, enjoy a Roman pizza and a glass of wine or espresso in a sidewalk café, and savor the wonderful ambience that is found only here in the Eternal City. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Rome/USA. Your memorable Italian journey ends today as you say arrivederci Italia and transfer to the airport for your return flight. Arrive in the USA later today. Or better yet, continue your exploration of Italy on our optional extension to Sorrento. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Rome & Sorrento. This morning, transfer to the station for your train journey to Naples. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Sorrento. Accommodations: Grand Hotel Ambasciatori or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Sorrento. Enjoy two days at leisure on the famous Amalfi coast of Italy. You can choose optional tours to Pompeii or Capri and the Blue Grottoes. You may choose from optional tours to Pompeii, the famous Amalfi Drive or a full day to Capri and Anacapri. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Sorrento. Continue to relax and enjoy Sorrento. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Sorrento/USA. Transfer to the airport in Naples for your return flight to the USA. Arrive in the USA later today.
My husband and I learned about Friendly Planet Travel through friends who went on a trip to China. They returned home raving about the great value and good time they and other travelers had while in the Far East. We began our own study of Friendly Planet trips and found one to Italy that offered just about everything but cannolis. Based just outside San Gimignano, we were more than satisfied with the family-owned Hotel Sovestro, had no issues with our little rental car, found it an easy public bus ride to and from Florence and even a night of opera music in Siena. Added to our travel bliss was a non-stop Emirates flight to and from Milan and JFK/New York. There was also much joy in making new friends who were also guests at Hotel Sovestro. Thank you, staff, for making this a most memorable trip. You'll be hearing from us again.
Gail Giannetto, Wakefield, MA