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Grand Italian Experience 2014

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The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, ItalyFlorence, ItalyColosseum in Rome, ItalyThe Roman Forum in Rome, ItalyVenice, Italy
The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy
Florence, Italy
Colosseum in Rome, Italy
The Roman Forum in Rome, Italy
Venice, Italy
  • Duration: 17 Days
  • Rating: Read Reviews
  • Brochure: Europe & Britain 2014
  • Style: Regional
  • Description: Mountains to coast, from the trulli houses of Alberobello to Santa Margherita on the Italian Riviera, this trip reveals the traditions, art and landscapes that define the many faces of Italy. It's Insider moments like… admiring the cool white walls of the Rotolo family farm, built in the classical trulli style unique to Puglia. Welcomed by the couple and their four children you hear farming stories passed down through generations, and learn about the organic produce they grow and make. Trying it for yourself, you enjoy delicious roasted meats and traditional tarali biscuits made from scratch by daughter Mariana, all washed down with the farm's own wine and shared together with the family.

Guest Experiences

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Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1


    Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City! Unwind after your journey. Later, enjoy a Welcome Reception with your companions and your Travel Director, an expert on history and culture. Then take an orientation drive to see the Tiber and St. Peter's Basilica, a perfect introduction to this magical city.

    Meal(s): (Welcome Reception)

    Hotel: AW Cicerone Hotel

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 2


    Your included sightseeing tour with a Local Expert begins at the Vatican Museums. Experience a Unique Insight when you ascend the smooth and step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and then visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Your tour continues in ancient Rome. View the Forum and see the Circus Maximus, where chariot races were held. Visit the impressive Colosseum. There's time to explore the city on your own, or simply relax and watch the world go by!

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

  • Day 3


    Drive eastwards through the spectacular Abruzzi Mountains to the Alberobello region near the Adriatic coast. This evening enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner in a traditional trulli building in Alberobello.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining)

    Hotel: Sierra Silvana

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 4


    See the unique limestone houses – trulli – during your orientation of the town of Alberobello. This afternoon consider an optional experience to the town of Matera which served as one of the film locations for 'The Passion of the Christ', starring Mel Gibson.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine)

  • Day 5


    This morning travel to the gorgeous coastal town of Sorrento famous for its delicious limoncello drink. Your orientation includes views of Piazza Tasso and Corsa Italia. You will then have free time to explore the town.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

    Hotel: Grand Parco del Sole

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 6


    Watch a Local Speciality demonstration at an inlaid-wood workshop, followed by a cruise to the beautiful Isle of Capri. See Capri town and Marina Piccola during your guided walking tour. Visit the Piazzetta where the rich and famous sip their cappuccinos. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine)

  • Day 7


    Visit the excavations of the city of Pompeii, which lay buried for centuries after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Your Local Expert provides insight into this UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery near Monte Cassino. Continue your journey through the hills of Frascati and Umbria to arrive at Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine)

    Hotel: Cenacolo

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 8


    Meet your Local Expert this morning for a walking tour of Assisi, including a visit to St. Francis' Basilica, featuring frescoes by Giotto, and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Continue your journey and visit the fair city of Verona for views of Juliet's balcony and the Roman arena. Arrive later in the magical Byzantine city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

    Hotel: Biasutti

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 9


    Venice is a very special city. View the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica during your cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square. Watch the Venetian craftsmen at work creating a Local Speciality at a glass-blowing workshop on Giudecca island. Spend free time shopping, or perhaps enjoy a local seafood meal on the Island of Burano.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

  • Day 10


    Traverse the Veneto plains to Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomites – a winter sport resort which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956. See the world-famous Olympic ski-jump and spend the rest of the day relaxing in the mountains. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine)

    Hotel: Europa

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 11


    Enjoy a scenic drive through northern Italy and the Lake District. Arrive on the banks of Lake Maggiore where you have free time to explore the town of Baveno. Stroll along the banks of the lake or enjoy a drink at an outdoor café.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

    Hotel: Simplon

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 12


    Arrive in Milan and enjoy a guided tour with a Local Expert. See the Duomo, the Galleria and the famous La Scala Opera House. Later arrive on the Italian Riviera. Cruise to the port of Portofino (weather permitting) before returning to your hotel in Santa Margherita. Dine tonight at your hotel.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine)

    Hotel: Park Suisse

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 13


    Relax or explore this famous Ligurian resort. Or, consider joining an optional experience to the beautiful Cinque Terre.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

  • Day 14


    Travel south into Tuscany and stop to view the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then travel to the Renaissance city of Florence. Your walking tour with a Local Expert includes views of the magnificent Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery. View the Ponte Vecchio, one of Florence's most famous landmarks. You might like to shop for high quality leather and 18-carat gold, or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

    Hotel: NH Anglo American

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 15


    Enjoy a full day to explore this fascinating city. You might like to visit the Academy of Fine Arts and see Michelangelo's statue of David or visit gardens and palaces like the Boboli and Pitti Palace. Whatever you decide, your Travel Director will be on hand to help you get the most out of your day.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

  • Day 16


    Past the sprawling vineyards of Chianti you arrive at the medieval city of Siena. See the Piazza del Campo, scene of the annual Palio horse races, and the Cathedral. Enjoy free time to shop for souvenirs and Tuscan specialities before returning to Rome. Celebrate the end of your holiday this evening with your companions at a Farewell Dinner.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)

    Hotel: Sheraton Golf Parco de Medici

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 17


    After breakfast, say 'arrivederci' to Rome and your new found friends at the end of your Grand Italian Experience. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

What's Included

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest In the heart of Murgia enjoy warm hospitality with a local Puglian family at their Masseria (farmhouse). Enjoy a traditional meal prepared with organic ingredients and sample the farm's own wines.
  • Unique Insight Follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo and da Vinci when visiting the Vatican Museums. Ascend the smooth and step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante, in a part of the Vatican not open to the public.
  • Local Expert in Rome, Pompeii, Assisi, Milan and Florence. Visit the Carthusian Abbey in Pavia and enjoy guided commentary from one of the monks (when available).
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Local Speciality Visit an inlaid-wood workshop in Sorrento.
  • Local Speciality Visit Giudecca Island for an insider look at Venetian Arts. See glass-blowing artisans and other craftsmen in action.
  • Authentic Accommodation Cenacolo - An old Franciscan convent, built for pilgrims visiting Assisi, we often choose Hotel Cenacolo when in this scenic part of Italy. Sensitively restored, the stone walls of this Authentic Accommodation hold slick modern decor.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City Tours in Rome, Pompeii, Assisi, Milan and Florence.
  • Orientation in Siena, Venice and Alberobello.
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, the Roman Colosseum, the excavations at Pompeii, the Commonwealth War Cemetery, St. Francis Basilica in Assisi and the ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.
  • View the Roman Forum, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica, the Gothic Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa Croce Basilica and the Duomo in Florence.
  • Cruise to the Isle of Capri, by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice and to the exclusive resort of Portofino.
  • See the Roman Arena and Juliet's Balcony.


  • 16 hot buffet breakfasts.
  • 8 dinners (included Welcome Reception, Be My Guest, 5 three course dinners with wine and Farewell Dinner).

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • A travel wallet with your documentation.
  • Return cruise to the Isle of Capri.
  • Complimentary keepsake photo.

Airport Transfers

  • For full details on transfers, please click here.
  • These prices are LAND-ONLY and are correct at the time of the website going live, however prices are subject to confirmation at the time
    of booking.
  • All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking.
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  • Hotels are subject to change.
  • * For single travellers purchasing the twin-share option, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 
  • ^Twin-share option not available for trips to South America., Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey.

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