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|Itinerary at a Glance
|4||Venice, Bologna, & Florence|
|6||San Gimignano & Siena|
|7||Siena, Assisi & Rome|
|9||Rome & Vatican City|
|Sorrento Optional Extension|
|10||Rome & Sorrento|
|Highlights||Venice, Florence, Siena Rome. St Mark's Basilica, the Colosseum, & St. Peter's Square. Optional Extension to Sorrento.|
Indulge in la dolce vita on a fabulous 10-day journey 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.
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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.
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, home to one of the world's oldest and most famous glassworks. Your tour includes admission to the Murano Glass Museum. ($65) This evening, don't miss an optional Gondola Serenade. ($90) Breakfast provided.
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.
Take advantage of a very special optional tour 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! ($160) Accommodations: Hotel Albani or similar on May 9 departure, Hotel Ambasciatori on all others. Breakfast & lunch provided.
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 winetasting 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 De La Ville on May 9 & June 16 departures, Hotel Exedra on all others. 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. 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. ($85)
This evening, dinner will be served in a typical Roman restaurant, followed by a panoramic tour of Rome by night. Breakfast & dinner provided.
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 & 12: 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 13: Sorrento/USA. Transfer to the airport in Naples for your return flight to the USA. Arrive in the USA later today.
Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.
No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on our Italian Treasure tour. In all three cities, you'll stay in Superior First Class, centrally located hotels that are noted for their amenities and service.
Included Features: Your group transfers as well as important visits to all the "must see" places are included, not expensive extras as in other tours. Meals include delicious Italian specialties as well as familiar American choices.
Credit Cards or Cash: Whether you pay by check, money order or your favorite major credit card, your tour price on this tour is the same. No extra cost to charge your dream vacation to Italy.
Free Comprehensive Destination Guide: To help you prepare for your trip, you will receive a free, comprehensive Friendly Planet Italy destination guide - a Friendly Planet exclusive - filled with plenty of helpful information about the destinations themselves (including history and other fascinating facts), weather, tipping, local customs, how to dress, plus insider shopping, nightlife and restaurant suggestions, organized by cuisine and cost.
Personal Service: Most important of all, the extra ingredient that makes our tours stand apart from others—the wonderful, personal attention you'll receive from our friendly staff in the USA and our representatives in Italy —is completely free of charge. Compare our tours to others, feature for feature. You'll see for yourself that ours are the very best value for money you'll find.
[Italian Treasures] was wonderful and we are very pleased that we chose Friendly Planet as our tour provider. Our tour director, Flavio Nicoletti, was top-notch in every way. He was professional, knowledgeable, friendly and fun-loving. He went out of his way on many occasions to ensure that our group had the best possible experience. He arranged wonderful excursions, including an evening at a Tuscan Farmstead which my travel mates and I will always remember as a highlight of our trip. I co-host a radio Morning Show in North Carolina. During the trip I called into the show to report on the trip. Flavio even agreed to join me during the call and go on the air with us! He did a great job! My friends and I now feel that we have a friend in Rome. We are so thankful to Flavio and to Friendly Planet for making our once-in-a-lifetime trip so special and memorable.
— Tamera Rumfelt, Kernersville, NC