Italy Great Cities Tour - 2020

Various departure dates available between

March 01, 2020 - August 28, 2020

Fresh-Look-2

11 Day Italy's Great Cities
With 2 Beautiful Days in the Tuscan Countryside
6 guest minimum - 16 guest maximum - Just your small group

Skip lines. No big bus. Exclusive experiences and special access. Venice & Gondolas. Florence & Michelangelo. Tuscany's Sun. Rome's Colosseum & Vatican City.

Your Italy Story Begins on this world-class, 10-Day/9-Night (11 days roundtrip travel) small group tour of Italy. This Italy tour can sell out over a year in advance: Book early!

Our 16-guest maximum True Small Group style of travel is not sun-up to sun-down sightseeing. You have down time to simply soak up bella Italy. It pays to compare Italy Tours: We have Leisure-Time built in, Magic Portage (don't mess with your suitcase), Cocktails & Premium Wine included, no big buses (no small vans), and enjoy complimentary laundry service mid-tour to help you pack lighter.

Planning a trip to Italy can be challenging -- we're here to help.

Get your group of 6 to 16 people together and contact us today!

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Leave the herd behind and discover Italy’s great cities tour featuring a perfect balance of sightseeing and leisure time for the quintessential luxury small group travel experience to Italy. No rushing and no big buses on this true small group Italian tour with up to and no more than 16 travelers. We begin in Venice, soak in Florence, enjoy 2 wonderful days in the countryside featuring Cortona in Tuscany and hill towns in Umbria, and then enjoy our grand finalé in Rome. It's the 'best tour of Italy' in a true small group experience. Venice, Florence, 2 days in the Tuscan countryside to Rome small group Italy tour: the trip you've been searching for is right here.

 

Perfectly Balanced.
We combine expert Italian Guides, American Tour Captains and a nice balance of leisure time on most afternoons so you can soak up all that is Italy. Travel expert Arthur Frommer describes our 16 Guest small group tours to Venice, Florence, Tuscan Countryside, and Rome as the "perfect way to see Italy." Italy's Great Cities Tour – a special 10 Day Italy Tour.

ITINERARY

DAY 1 International Flight Day - depart North America
DAY 2 Arrive Venice - St. Marks Basilica
DAY 3 Venice - The Doge's Palace/Grandeur of Venice
DAY 4 Venice/Florence - Michelangelo
DAY 5 Florence - The David/the Duomo
DAY 6 Tuscan Sun & Hill Towns -San Gimignano, Wine Estate,
DAY 7 Day at Leisure in Tuscany - Explore Tuscany
DAY 8 Orvieto in Umbria -
DAY 9 Rome - The Roman Empire & Foro Romano
DAY 10 Rome - The Vatican City
DAY 11 Depart Rome

Per Person Pricing
(Based on double occupancy for tours departing in Mar, Apr, Jun, Jul and Aug 2020)

Deluxe Deluxe hotels/Villa 6379.00
Classic Budget/Tourist Class hotels 4979.00

All pricing and availability subject to change until booked and deposited. 

Various departure dates available in March, April, June, July and August, 2020 at the prices listed above. Other dates available at an increased rate. 

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classic

DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS

Per person deposit required at booking:

$700 per person deposit due at booking. Payments made at your leisure without additional fees or interest. 

FINAL PAYMENT FOR ALL BOOKINGS DUE 95 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE.

THIS TOUR IN MORE DETAIL:

The Way to Explore Italy.

Oh, and remember, we're not a big tour company and do not use big buses. We do, however, walk on our tours! We walk a lot as this is the best way to experience bella Italy's many steps, hills and cobblestones (called Sanpietrini).

Luggage handling for your suitcases from beginning to end and you can now pack lighter with our complimentary laundry service mid-tour.

Our innovative approach to touring means we were the first tour operator in the industry to feature:

No Annoying Up-Sell: Your Tour Captain is there to host and help you, not sell to you.
Unique Dinners, No Set Menu with Premium Beverages Included. Period.
Hotels in the Heart of Cities, not just centrally located.
Customary Gratuities Included.
Expert Italian Tour Guides and American Tour Captains ensure perfect touring harmony.
No Grumpy People Policy. Everyone desires a wonderful vacation and that's why we humbly request great attitudes.

Slow Travel on a Small Italy Tour: What's Included in Your Small Group Tour?

We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures – however, make note of the following:

Everything you need from airport transfers to cuisine information.

ARRIVING IN VENICE — Consider our Special Venice Lagoon Water Taxi experience.
Our Stunning AnyTime Private Boat Arrival Experience into Venice San Marco: We feature our Venice Meet & Greet, Shuttle from Airport (VCE) to Airport Boat Dock with Portage included from the Boat to hotel. Enjoy the amazing ride across the Lagoon of Venice and then enter the magical canals of San Marco. You will arrive our hotel's canal entrance shortly. $138 per person (Sale on! Regular rate is $178 per person), 2 Guest Minimum. Includes all gratuities. LEAVE THE WORRY TO US — We can arrange your transfer.

Departure Transfers in Rome: $69 per person, Rome Hotel to Airport, minimum two (2) guests.

Emergency line support during your tour. In addition to your Tour Captain, we have our in-Italy staff ready to support.

No Hidden Fees: Tourist fees & taxes, tourist city taxes all included.

PROFESSIONAL TOUR CAPTAIN®
The consummate host with you from the time the tour begins and until it ends. Our Tour Captains work hand-in-hand with our local Italian team of professionals.

LOCAL ITALIAN EXPERT GUIDE.
Our expert, local Italian guides in Venice, Florence and Rome speak English well, and possess a passion for sharing Italy with our guests. Private, expertly guided touring with an easy pace and perfect-balance.

Go Inside with our admission and entrance fees per itinerary included- No long lines.

SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN VENICE

VIP Entrance to St. Mark's Basilica
VIP Entrance to Doges Palace and Venice's Old Prison that housed Casanova
Walking Tour of St. Mark's Square with Venice backstreets
Exclusive: Unique Perspective's Experience in Venice: Your story begins with Venice skyline exclusive Gondola Experience with our Private Musicians - no large armadas, just our small group of fellow travelers.

Welcome Dinner

SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN FLORENCE

Renaissance Florence: Walking Tour, Signoria Square, Admission to the Galleria dell' Accademia art museum to see Michelangelo's David and the other magnificent works of art

VIP Entrance to Galleria dell'Accademia for tour and in-person visit to see Michelangelo's David

See the Campanile, The Baptistery, and Brunelleschi's dome, the Duomo

See the Bronze Doors of the Baptistery

Visit to Orsanmichele church and Florence backstreets

Visit to Ponte VecchioWalking Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Della Repubblica, Piazza Signoria, Piazza Santa Croce

Visit to San Lorenzo Market

Welcome Dinner in Florence

SPECIAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDED IN TUSCANY:

Morning in beautiful San Gimignano Hill Town
Taste of the San Gimignano White Wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano

WINERY ESTATE EXPERIENCE INCLUDED
Our delightful included lunch experience is at our wine estate in Tuscany featuring a tour of the facilities with an absolutely beautiful presentation of Italian wine paired perfectly with delectable Tuscan cuisine from the region.

Welcome Dinner in Cortona

SPECIAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDED IN ORVIETO

Walking Tour of Orvieto with free time
Underground Orvieto
Orvieto Cathedral and facade

SPECIAL ACCESS, SKIP-THE-LINE ADMISSIONS INCLUDED IN ROME

Heart of The Empire, Rome: Roman Forum, Admission and guided commentary with our local guide to the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, Admission to St. Peter's Basilica
Special Access to the Roman Colosseum
Expertly guided tour through the Archaeological dig of the Roman Forum
Special Group Entrance to Vatican City with Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters' Basilica
Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain and other amazing sites

Our Exclusive Culinary & Chef-Prepared Dining Experience in Marlon Brando's former apartment included in Deluxe package. (Included in Classic only if optional dinner package is purchased)

Comfortable Vehicles

Sightseeing per itinerary with professionally driven, air-conditioned motor-coach (half-motor-coach - 22 passenger vehicle or less based on tour group size)

Services of English-speaking, service-driven Tour Captain throughout tour.

DISCOVERING ITALY'S CUISINE
Our winery experience includes a dramatic luncheon experience. Other lunches are not included. Our Tour Captains will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches every day.
DINING INCLUDED in Tour Pricing — 5 Great Dinners in Deluxe, 1 in Classic
5 incredibly unique dinners at authentic Italian restaurants (not tourist traps) are included with our Deluxe Tour. Our Tour Captains will invite you to join them to dinner at authentic restaurants each and every night, though you may choose to explore on your own.
Deluxe: 5 dinners included
Classic: 1 included (Venice ), upgrade to 5 total for $390 per person.

DISCOVER IMMERSION SIGHTSEEING
World-class sightseeing 'Immersion:' Our approach to exploring the local scene while integrating lasting experiences that reflect culture and leave the traveler changed for good.

LAUNDRY SERVICE
Keep your luggage more manageable by taking advantage of our included laundry service upon arrival into Cortona. Your clothes will be laundered and/or ironed for you and returned to you on the evening of Day 7.

PORTAGE
One (1) piece of luggage up to 50 pounds is included. One (1) carry-on bag is included and must fit on your lap (no roller carry-ons). The carry-on may be stored inside the vehicle for the transfer from Florence through Tuscany to Rome but must fit on your lap. There is some space available in the shelf above your seat but extremely limited.

Continue reading below if you would like in depth, detailed description of the daily itinerary:

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Day2c

Note: Day 1 is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel. Your small group tour commences on itinerary Day 2 upon arrival into Venice.

YOUR STORY BEGINS: BOUND FOR ITALY

Day 1: Travel Day: Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight

Today, you will depart the home airport on your Transatlantic flight bound for Venice, Italy. Your flight is not included but you can request a best-rate fare from our Air Service.

Arrive Early to Venice. Many of our guests prefer to arrive Venice a day early to recover from their Transatlantic flight, and often extend at the end of their trip as well. We can provide a special pre-tour or post-tour overnight hotel service and can make your reservation for you.

VENICE: TOUR BEGINS TODAY
Day 2: Arrival in Venice

The port city of Venice, Venezia in Italian, is located in the region of Veneto.

ITALY'S GREAT CITIES TOUR BEGINS TODAY ON SAN MARCO
One of our most popular True Small-Group Italy tour vacations commences at 3:00PM at our hotel in Venice. Located seconds away from Piazza San Marco, known to us as San Marco Square, is our collection of hotels where your Tour Captain meets you for the included Venice Orientation Walkabout. Great Idea: Fight jet lag and fly in a full day early.

ORIENTATION WALKABOUT
Late this afternoon, you will meet your Tour Captain for an Orientation Walkabout on your arrival day in Venice along the high-end shops and boutiques where our hotels are located into Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square).

You will learn about some of the history and notoriety of St. Mark's. Your Orientation Walk will also point out the major landmarks and the lay of the land in relation to our hotel. We'll introduce you to the best ATM machines for Euro and currency exchange rates, and other helpful information for your stay in romantic Venice.

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light

Exclusive: Tonight, join in an original experience with our reception & welcome from the Tour Captain from one of our classic perspectives: a unique vantage point to survey Venice in the company of your fellow travelers.

Your Small Group Tour Vacation to Italy is underway! After our reception, we'll walk to our Welcome Dinner in Venice.

Included Dining: Our approach to dining debuts as you join your Tour Captain for the Welcome Dinner in Venice. Experience what can only be described as a night of the best cuisine and vino from the regions of Italy and especially the Veneto.

About our approach: Slow Food: Locally grown, farm to table.
Our approach to dining is truly unique just like each of the regions of Italy. The Italian chefs and families are proud of their delicious dishes which hail from each of the regions in which we travel.

Story of Food in Italy: In the Veneto region you will enjoy a variety of dishes with pasta, of course, and in Venice you should try the risotto. Many seafood dishes represent the traditions of this historic seaport but not to fear, there are many options other than seafood. In Tuscany we eat from the land with locally grown produce where the concept of nostrale, or home-grown, is so evident. Tuscan cuisine is hearty and made with simple ingredients featuring a variety of bread, beans, legumes and meats. It's home of the famed Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak) and we cannot fail to mention the Pecorino cheese (goat's cheese). In Lazio, Roman cuisine is all about simple tradition: from the old style Trattoria or restaurant that serves "simple food," to its high-end Michelin venues. Get ready to discover unusual dishes like Zucchini Flowers, Rigatoni all'Amatriciana, Puntarelle, to the simple Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Tuna with cheese and pepper).

Our unique, off-the-beaten-path venues provide an immersion into authentic regional Italian food and wine. Your Tour Captain will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening: a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling, and yes, "the wine flows." Then you will be presented with a menu with our top recommendations (where available) in tandem with the restaurant's primary menu. It's an intentionally slow evening of delight so you can savor the experience.

Story of the Slow Food Movement: We are committed to the Slow Food Movement which was founded by Carlo Petrini in Piedmont, Italy in 1986. This "movement" strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages the farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic to the local ecosystems found throughout Italy.

LODGING IN THE HEART OF THE CITY: There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and our Heart of City hotels. No taxis or shuttles required when you're in the historical heart of the cities and villages.

ACCOMMODATION
Deluxe: Our Deluxe hotels include properties like Hotel Saturnia & International, Hotel Bauer Palazzo or Similar, 2 Nights
Classic: Our Superior Tourist hotels include properties like Hotel Bel Sito, Hotel Kette and classic rooms of Saturnia & International, 2 Nights.
Final hotels are assigned about 30 days prior to departure. You will be notified via your Final Tour Documents email sent about 30 to 15 days prior to departure.

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AH, VENICE!
Day 3: Exploring Venezia

Breakfast included. Optional Dining Tonight: You may opt to join your Tour Captain tonight for dinner or opt to explore on your own throughout Venice.
Magic Included: Gondola through the canals of Venice with our own Italian Musicians.

You're invited to learn of Venice's fascinating and colorful history that includes everything from Napoleon to an exploration of her many calles (streets), nooks and mysteries.

Start your morning sightseeing in style as your Tour Captain and our local Guide escorts you throughout San Marco in Venice. We tour by walking with our professional local guide through Piazza San Marco (known as St. Mark's Square), the Doge's Palace, the Old Prison, and the famous Bridge of Sighs. Your guide will describe the setting for an included visit to Basilica San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica).

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample

Balance and Your Day on Tour: Most of our expertly guided sightseeing immersion experiences are scheduled for the morning with the afternoon at leisure to explore the city. We are not a traditional tour where you are exhaustively touring from sunup to sundown.

ROMANTIC VENICE
The romance of Venice is apparent every step of the way, from the fine Venetian glass in the traditional style to the classic gondola ride. Enjoy our boat ride on our authentic Venetian-style motorboat through the canals and the Grand Canal of Venice.

The Magic of Wandering Through Venice: Discover your "lost adventure" in this romantic city!

The afternoon on San Marco is at leisure, as it should be! Ideas for your 'own Story of Venice' this afternoon – might we suggest you take in a boat trip over to the island of Murano to see expert glassmakers craft their art, then take in a visit to their very impressive showroom, and then return to the Venice San Marco at your leisure. Or perhaps you simply enjoy exploring San Marco and discovering more of its secrets — your Tour Captain will help you with ideas for this afternoon as you discover the magic of the canals and myriad sidewalks and delightfully get "lost" in the city of Venice.

VENETIAN GONDOLA RIDE WITH PRIVATE MUSICIAN SERENADE
Before the optional dinner tonight, you will enjoy our included Gondola ride through the canals of Venice with professional musicians. On occasion inclement weather will prevent the gondola ride. In this scenario an alternate activity will be substituted later in the tour.

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WELCOME TO FLORENCE
We deboard the train for our short walk to our hotels in the very heart of Florence.

ORIENTATION WALKABOUT: Join your Tour Captain for a Welcome Orientation Walk on your arrival day in Florence along cobblestone streets in the very heart of Florence as you become familiar with the location around our hotel. Enjoy entrance to Orsanmichele church and the church of Via Santa Margherita which was the parish of many Florentine families, such as Cerchi, Donati, Adimari and Portinari.

Story of Florence's Arno River: Did you know in 1966 a massive flood devastated Florence? Americans and other international workers came to the rescue and provided much-needed assistance in rescuing and salvaging much of the treasured art and sculptures in Florence. Known as the angeli del fango or, "mud angels."

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Light

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Included Dining: Tonight you will enjoy our dining experience at a delightful restaurant we're trying to keep a secret. It's authentic Tuscan cuisine served by Fiorentini who love what they do! Florence welcomes us with a variety of regional culinary tastes, beverages, and ample portions of fine local wines from Toscana and Chianti.

Free-choice dining means you select what you'd like from the menu: the Tour Captain is available to help you interpret the menu. Your Tour Captain will provide the appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening including a variety of red and white wine from the region.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Hotel L'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Hotel Brunelleschi, 2 Nights
Classic: Hotels include Hotel Rosso 23, 2 Nights

ABOUT OUR DELUXE HOTELS IN FLORENCE
We have selected hotels that are truly authentic Italiano and perfectly located in the heart of Old Florence. We have selected some of the most prestigious hotels of the city reflecting a history rich with importance and service. The hotels have been refined and feature elegant rooms. Many celebrities and heads of state from all over the world have chosen these properties as their Florentine residences (not just for their wonderful locations, but also for their superb service). The decor and furniture of our properties have been beautifully chosen, and the ambiance really does reflect Florentine aristocracy combined with modern design elements and feel.

FLORENCE RENAISSANCE
Day 5: Immerse yourself in all things Florence

Breakfast included. Optional Dining Tonight: The Tour Captain will invite you to optional dinner or opt to explore on your own: Have you had your Florentine Steak yet?

Today join your Tour Captain and our local guide on a specially guided tour of the city of Florence complete with our Special Access sightseeing immersion.

Florence boasts a variety of fine sights to see, including Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery's Bronze "Gate of Paradise," Giotto's Bell Tower, Signoria Square, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michelangelo's David is housed.

GUIDED SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION THROUGH FLORENCE
We take our time walking through the Piazza della Repubblica, the famous Piazza Signoria with her old palace, Palazzo Vecchio, and make our way through the portico of the Uffizi complex before arriving at the Arno River and a visit to the "old bridge," Ponte Vecchio. This was the only bridge in Florence to survive the World War II bombing raids.

A great morning sightseeing immersion allows you to enjoy the afternoon for sightseeing on your own. Perhaps leather is on your shopping list? Or are you ready to try an optional culinary experience and see if Chef is a title in your future? We highly recommend the Uffizi Gallery if you want to dig deeper into the vast riches of Florence's art heritage. We can arrange admission tickets, transportation and private guides for you in advance.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION TOUR WITH OUR LOCAL GUIDE. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

Special Access: Skip-the-Line and see Michelangelo's David in the Academy Gallery.
Galleria dell'Accademia: The first art school of Europe.
Our tour includes the historic city center which is a World Heritage site that comprises the Baptistery, Campanile, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo. The 14th-century dome was created by Brunelleschi. See the magnificent Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery, so called by Michelangelo. Our guide will comment on these impressive doors to the Baptistery created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Until the 19th century, most Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile whose perspective we enjoy from ground level are all part of part of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiori complex.
Entrance and tour of Orsanmichele: This church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Then converted into a church between 1380 and 1404.Sightseeing walking tour of Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only bridge to survive World War II bombing.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample

Walking: Our Unique Approach to Modern Touring
Remember, we walk on our small group tours of Italy. We walk a lot, so get ready for exploring the cities of Italy and plan to be on your feet for up to three (3) hours standing and walking up-and-down stairs, cobblestone streets, and hopping on-and-off our private (and sometimes public) transportation in all weather conditions (rain, sun, hot and cold weather). Our pace is unhurried but you must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs, hills and cobblestoned streets that is Italy.

This afternoon explore Florence on your own.

Consider a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) or just explore at your leisure. This Basilica is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).

Climb the Duomo?
Perhaps a climb of the Duomo is in order? Easy to do (well, easily said!). 463 steps to the top await you for a nominal charge of about 8 euro.

Tonight for optional dinner your Tour Captain invites you to join them or explore on your own. Have you tried the Chocolate Boar yet? Florence is the place to discover cuisine.

Optional but recommended: Enjoy a unique perspective experience as your Tour Captain invites you to join them to Piazzale Michelangelo, high above Florence. You may walk with the Tour Captain or share a taxi. It's worth the trek to enjoy sunset over Florence.

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TUSCANY
Day 6: Under the Tuscan Sun

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included: Enjoy our special Welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona.
Exclusive: Winery Estate Experience

Delightful San Gimignano and a beautiful manor house castello in the heart of beautiful Tuscany await you on today's magical discovery. We're then bound for Cortona.

Cities: San Gimignano, Cortona (lodging) Region: Toscana

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UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN: SAN GIMIGNANO
This morning we leave the cities and delve deep into the heart of Tuscany. Our first stop is the hilltop village of San Gimignano. One of San Gimignano's most impressive sights is the medieval skyline made up of 13 remaining towers dating back from the 11th century. San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena", the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Once in San Gimignano, we enjoy free time to explore the city of towers. San Gimignano also has several distractions for shopping - so dig in and enjoy!

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace: Volume: Ample Unique Character: Uphill walking with stairs and cobblestoned streets.

HERE'S A TOAST TO YOU!
We'll toast our arrival into the countryside of Tuscany with a unique perspective and our first taste of Vernaccia, a white wine that hails from San Gimignano.

CHIANTI CLASSICO REGION
Exclusive: Enjoy our in-depth experience at our winery estate in the heart of Tuscany. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!

SUPER TUSCAN
Our lunch features palate-pleasing appetizers, including pecorino cheese, bruschetta, and other local farm-to-table delights. You'll get your fill of classic Chianti and Super Tuscan varietals along with delicate cuisine hand-made by the family chef.

One of our estates is situated in the Chianti Classico area on the western slopes of the dominating hills of the Elsa valley, looking towards San Gimignano. It was built around an ancient sighting tower and was an important "suburb" and fortress of the area. The first owners of the estate were the family Vettori, the last heir, Maddalena, brought it as dowry to her wedding with Ludovico Capponi in 1577.

The couple restored the estate completely and commissioned Bernardino Poccetti, important master painter, to fresco the loggia of the court. In this era, the estate became a place of passing by for painters and poets. One of those, Gerolamo Muzio, dedicated a poem to the castle and remained there until his death. Also the production of wine is documented from 1596 on. In 1696, Cassandra Capponi brought to the castle an important collection of codex's, parchments and books, the product of her marriage to the Marchese Carlo Riccardi Strozzi. This collection formed the nucleus of the Riccardian library in Florence. The Strozzi family remained owner of the estate until 1984. In this year, the family Albisetti took over. With its 763+ acres (majority wood), the estate is one of the biggest farms of the area, producing over 23,000 gallons of wine from just over 54 acres of vineyards. Make note, we will use one of our many other incredible winery estates at times. All of the estates are truly impressive, both in ambiance and wine quality.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION AND EXCLUSIVE WINERY VISIT. ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

Sightseeing and free time in the Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano
Exclusive: Admission, Tour and Wine Tasting at our Estate located in the heart of Tuscany. Beautiful Property with stunning views, delicious varietals paired with sumptuous delicacies. You won't want to leave.
Tuscany's Wine Road: Winding through the Tuscan hills, the wine road offers remarkable beauty, characterized by vineyards, wine cellars, distant rolling landscapes, and villages up in the hills.

Walking Level: Light to Moderate, Leisurely Pace, Volume: Moderate

ON TO CORTONA & OUR VILLA HOTEL
Mid to late-afternoon we enjoy a leisurely drive to the delightful hill town of Cortona for our third night in the heart of Tuscany. An absolutely beautiful town awaits us and an equally authentic welcome dinner is included.

In the late Tuscan afternoon we will arrive our villa hotel in Cortona. Your Tour Captain checks you in and there is ample time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby tonight for a short walk to dinner.

Included Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a special welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Cortona. It is truly a treasured find where the cuisine and wine delight in the magical ambiance of this delightful hill town.

OH THE CHAOS & THE ECSTASY OF SLOW DINING IN TUSCANY
Tonight, we soak up an authentic Italian dinner, hand-crafted by the owners in the setting of a small Tuscan ristorante. There's nothing prepared in advance here, and that's just how we like it! The ensuing chaos and ritual merge together here to create none other than the magic of Italy!

Remember, dinners in Italy usually don't begin until around 9pm. Our dinner experience will begin slightly earlier, but we'll try to blend in as much as possible. Long, drawn-out dinners, where you visit and share the stories of the day is the culture throughout Italy. Remember, slow down and enjoy the journey is the goal.

Cortona is a place we never want to leave.
Sit back, breathe deeply, relax, and soak in all that is Tuscany.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Villa Marsili, Monastero di Cortona Hotel & Spa, or Hotel San Michele, 2 Nights — Includes Laundry Service.
Classic: Hotel Italia, Hotel San Michele, or Villa Marsili Classic Rooms, 2 Nights — Includes Laundry Service.

Hotel San Michele, Villa Marsili and Hotel Italia are situated inside the town walls of Cortona and dates back as far as the 14th century.

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CORTONA
Cortona in Arezzo
Day 7: GOOD MORNING TUSCANY

Breakfast included.

Today, enjoy Tuscany at your leisure.

Perhaps it's a thorough exploration of delightful Cortona.

Soak in the morning: enjoy a walk through the vineyards, or a hike up to the castle or a leisurely stroll through the piazza and streets.

Or perhaps an optional excursions such one of these is in order:

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EXCURSION TO ASSISI: regular rate $315 pp
solo rate $630
(Solo rate only applies if no
other guests from your group
are booked on this excursion
option while in Cortona)

ASSISI & SAINT FRANCIS
We've created the perfect sightseeing experience to the town of Assisi in the province of Perugia. Depart this morning via our private vehicle on the way to Assisi. Upon arrival, meet our local Expert Guide and enjoy a walking tour of Assisi. We begin our walking tour of Assisi at the "top" of the town, making our way down to the Basilica. Our Expert Guide provides insight into both the life of Francis and the town with which he is associated.

Assisi, where St. Francis lived and worked in ministry, is surrounded by ancient walls that lay on top of the green slopes of Mount Subasio. Assisi's rose-stone buildings, complemented by winding narrow streets, palaces, and balconies with blooming flowers, will hold the traveler spellbound.

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TUSCAN KITCHEN COOKING EXPERIENCE:
Option while in Cortona In Cortona: $197 pp
Outside Cortona: $379 pp
2 guest minimum or
supplement may apply
TUSCAN COOKING
Experience a true Italian cooking experience in Tuscany as you are inspired by this authentic Tuscan cook in their own Italian kitchen. Learn the authentic approach to Italian cooking and then enjoy tasting your creation with wines from Tuscany. Duration: 3 to 5 Hours.

HILL TOWN OF ORVIETO
A Beautiful Day in Orvieto and on to Rome

City: Orvieto
Province: Terni
Region: Umbria

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Day 8: ENJOYING ORVIETO

Breakfast and special Welcome Dinner included.

After breakfast, we make our way southward on the way to one of the most striking and enjoyable hill towns in Italy, Orvieto.

Its medieval Old Town (upper town) is the crown jewel as it is characteristically outstanding featuring medieval spires on its cathedral along with a beautiful collage of stained glass, sculpture and mosaics dating from circa 1330.

Orvieto is located on a tufa outcropping about 300 feet above the Paglia valley. And though its cathedral boasts most of the attention with Story you get to visit underground Orvieto with its network of 440 caves. We will go underground to explore this fascinating labyrinth that has been used for stables, refrigeration, wine barrels, water wells and cisterns and more.

Enjoy time at leisure to grab a bite to eat and explore the shoppes and sights.

We will re-board our vehicle mid-afternoon and continue on our journey to Rome: Where all roads lead!

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ROME
Welcome to Rome | "A thousand roads lead men forever to Rome"

City: Rome
Province: Roma
Region: Lazio

WELCOME TO THE HEART OF ROME
Upon arrival Rome, we make our way to the very center of Old Rome and check in to our hotel. The locations of our hotels in Rome are within seconds of the Pantheon.

You will have time to freshen up before meeting the Tour Captain in the lobby for a short walk to our Roman Welcome Dinner.

Included Dining: Join your Tour Captain for a welcome dinner in Roma. Your palate enjoys a different taste as we discover the cuisine of the Lazio region influenced from a long history of the Roman Empire.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Deluxe: Grand Hotel de la Minerve, 3 Nights
Classic: Hotel Abruzzi, 3 Nights

ABOUT OUR DELUXE HOTELS IN ROME
The Grand Hotel de la Minerve is just seconds from the Pantheon, and minutes from Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Story guests enjoy only their Superior category rooms or better.

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VATICAN CITY
Day 9: Exploring the Vatican

Daily Breakfast

Today we have in-depth touring of St. Peter's and the Square, with Bernini and Vatican City.

City: Città del Vaticano
Region: Sovereign City State

Starting with a great breakfast we begin another day exploring the majesty of Rome.

TO THE CITY STATE OF VATICAN CITY
Meet your Tour Captain and our local professional Private Guide in the lobby of our hotel, and board our quick transfer vehicle to Vatican City.

Our tour of the Vatican today features Priority Early Morning Entry (ahead of regular Vatican visitors) as we Skip-the-Line with our special access tour.
Enjoy a visit of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square as majestic Vatican City comes to life with our close up exploration. It's an opportunity to appreciate the vast array of art, while learning of some of the history of the Vatican, all in the context of our intimate, small group of travelers.

We finish our tour of the Vatican at St. Peter's Square where you see the multi-color uniformed Swiss Guard on display as they guard the Vatican. Enjoy the perspective that many only dream of from the very heart of Rome.

Our driver and vehicle are positioned nearby and await our call to return to our hotel for the balance of day at leisure.

We recommend a visit to the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Angels): The Mausoleum of Hadrian has served a variety of uses throughout history. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for he and his family.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION OF VATICAN CITY WITH ADMISSION WITH OUR LOCAL EXPERT GUIDE

~ Today ENJOY SPECIAL ACCESS TO:

Admission and Guided Tour to St. Peter's Basilica: By design, we enjoy early admission around 8:15 am to avoid the large cruise and large tour groups that arrive later in the morning.

SPECIAL ACCESS: Enjoy Skip-the-Line special access with Admission Included. Admission and Guided Tour of the Sistine Chapel: You will find inside the chapel The Last Judgment painting by Michelangelo, which he painted during the years 1535 to 1541. The work, designed on a grand scale, spans the entire wall behind the Sistine Chapel altar.

Admission and Guided Tour of the Vatican City Museums: The Museums boast some of the most impressive tapestries and other works of art and sculpture found in the world.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample Unique Character: Stairs and uneven terrain. Robust crowds in most venues.

Walking: Our Unique Approach to Modern Touring
We walk on our small group tours of Italy. We walk a lot, so get ready for exploring the cities of Italy and plan to be on your feet for up to three (3) hours standing and walking up-and-down stairs, cobblestone streets, and hopping on-and-off our private (and sometimes public) transportation in all weather conditions (rain, sun, hot and cold weather). Our pace is unhurried but you must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs, hills and cobblestoned streets that is Italy.

OPTIONAL: WHO'S UP FOR DINNER OUT IN ROME TONIGHT? Join your Tour Captain for dining out tonight in Roma at another unique restaurant or explore Rome on your own.

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THE EMPIRE OF ROME
Day 10: Imperial Rome

Included Breakfast and Farewell to Rome Special Dining Experience
Exclusive: Imagine the Tiber River, a Private Chef and a Night of Bliss in Rome

"There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."
— Character Marcus Aurelius from the movie Gladiator

WALKING IN THE STEPS OF THE EMPEROR
After breakfast, we begin our walking tour of Rome with stops along the way to admire the unique intertwining of history and modernity in Rome.

See ancient elements intertwined perfectly with present-day apartment buildings, and discover how the modern Romans have intertwined their vast history into present-day experience. We're making our way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the town center of the Roman Empire, for our special access, in-depth touring experience, complete with admissions.

We venture back in time with our walk through the archaeological dig that is the Roman Forum.

We enjoy admission to the Colosseum with our Local Expert Guide. This landmark is one of the most impressive sights in all of Europe and the world.

Did you know, all of Rome is a live archaeological dig? We will walk through the Roman Forum and view several digs. New discoveries are happening all of the time: Rome is expanding its Metro line and the construction teams have discovered barracks and a grave potentially related to the elite Praetorian Guard.

After our world-class touring experience of Imperial Rome, the balance of the day is at your leisure.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
SIGHTSEEING IMMERSION OF IMPERIAL ROME WITH LOCAL EXPERT GUIDE

ENJOY ADMISSION & SIGHTSEEING to:

Admission and Guided Tour of the Colosseum: Heart of The Empire. Enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance with no waiting in lines.
Admission and Guided Tour of the Roman Forum ~ We walk through the archaeological dig for unique perspectives of the Old Town Center of Rome, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caesar's Palace, Curia or the Senate House, Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and the Triumphant Arches.
Our local guide expertly shares her knowledge of Rome through the ages: We take in all Rome has to offer from both a historical and modern perspective. Enjoy this morning trek as we witness the modernity of Rome intertwined with antiquity. We take in the Jewish Ghetto on our way to the Roman Forum.

Throughout our stay in Rome, you will visit the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) and have opportunity to visit other sites like the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Campo di Fiore, and Piazza Navona, where mock nautical battles took place in the venue.

Walking Level: Moderate, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Ample Unique Character: Stairs, ramparts and uneven terrain.

Walking: Our Unique Approach to Modern Touring
We walk on our small group tours of Italy. We walk a lot, so get ready for exploring the cities of Italy and plan to be on your feet for up to three (3) hours standing and walking up-and-down stairs, cobblestone streets, and hopping on-and-off our private (and sometimes public) transportation in all weather conditions (rain, sun, hot and cold weather). Our pace is unhurried but you must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs, hills and cobblestoned streets that is Italy.

Tonight is a special time as you join the Tour Captain for an included Farewell to Rome Dinner with your new friends!

Exclusive: Included Farewell to Rome Dining Experience in a very unique venue. One of our favorite nights of fun and celebration, as we toast one another to a wonderful journey together.
The venue and activity we have designed for you tonight along with the music, will make for the perfect finale to your Italian vacation. It is a night of great cuisine and, of course, vino along with your new friends.

Our days have been filled with new sights, tastes and discoveries - tonight enjoy reflecting on the incredible journey we've had together.

ARRIVEDERCI ROMA

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Included Dining: Breakfast

Check Out (or Extend Your Adventure through Italy)

Catch flights for the USA from Rome.

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