12 Day The Heart of Italy

12 Day The Heart of Italy


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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Italy

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1, Sunday - Depart for Italy
Depart for Italy

DAY 2, Monday - Arrive in Venice
Benvenuti! Welcome to Italy! Arrive in magical Venice and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure in the city built over a hundred small islands and connected by 400 bridges. Venice is truly an artistic masterpiece. Tonight, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm (exact time will be advised on tour arrival day) with your Tour Manager to discuss the upcoming journey that awaits you in Italy, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Tuesday - Discover Venice
Your discovery of the endlessly fascinating Venice begins with a boat ride on the Grand Canal. View the Rialto Bridge with its busy market area, pass sumptuous palaces and hidden gardens before flowing into the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Murano. The island has been known for centuries for its famous Murano glass. Visit one of the glass blowing factories to witness this intricate art firsthand. Afterward, experience an insider's Venice walking tour that will take you "off the beaten path." Walk the small alleys to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest open spaces in the city, then onto Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the "marble church," a lasting example of early Venetian Renaissance. End your visit at St. Mark's Square, where you will view the beautiful Basilica of San Marco, the pink marble Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, with its famed arched profile that makes one of the most famous scenes of this Romantic city. Don't miss the optional Gondola Ride, definitely a different perspective of this unique city built on water
Optional: Gondola Ride (PM)
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Wednesday - Lucca & San Giuliano Terme
Magnificent panoramas await you today. Travel through the rolling Tuscany countryside to Lucca, a perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture, with its winding streets showing layers of history on every turn; the massive 17th-century walls completely surround the city. Start with a tasting of local products in a historical shop before walking the narrow streets of the original Roman grid to the Church of San Michele and its beautiful piazza, which occupies the site of the ancient Roman Forum. After the tour, spend time on your own to discover this charming town. Continue to San Giuliano Terme for dinner and overnight
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Thursday - Cinque Terre
Today explore the spectacular Cinque Terre*, one of the most beautiful areas of the Liguria region. Here, five small villages, nestled in the cliffs overlooking the sea and the surrounding hillsides, are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the scenic coastline while exploring the villages and the beautiful vistas. This active walking tour covers a fair amount of ground and includes uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Trains and/or boats will be the means of transportation between the towns. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and spend the balance of your day at leisure* Exact tour itinerary & operation of the tour is subject to weather conditions and will be advised locally
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Friday - Tuscan Cooking Class
Food! Glorious Italian Food! Begin this fabulous day at the local market. Here, you'll shop like a native, following your chef's instructions to buy the fresh produce needed to prepare the most delicious Italian meal. Then, take your ingredients out to a farmhouse in the countryside. After a welcome drink, the chef begins the morning of cooking lessons. The basics include homemade pasta, local soups, homemade sauces, and the recipe for the famous Panzanella. All of the Tuscan secrets will be revealed, and using fresh Tuscan olive oil makes a huge difference in taste. Afterward, sit back, relax, sip a glass of great wine and enjoy your own creation! Continue to your hotel in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps head to the lively center of Florence and immerse yourself in its priceless Renaissance art and architecture
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Saturday - Florence City Tour
Today, take a guided walking tour through the heart of Florence. View the magnificent Duomo, with its Brunelleschi-designed dome, the renowned "Gates of Paradise" of the Baptistery by Ghiberti and Giotto's Bell Tower. You'll be enchanted as you walk through the open-air art museum of Signoria Square, with its Palazzo Vecchio, first residence of the Medici family and today the seat of the city government. Continue to the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the "Old Bridge". Florence is indeed the center of the world's finest art and architecture. During the optional tour of the Accademia Gallery* your guide will reveal the secrets of Michelangelo's world-famous masterpieces, such as the original version of David, I Prigioni, and San Matteo. Tour participation guarantees immediate entry to the Gallery, with no lengthy wait times. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Florence to visit museums, shop for gold and quality leather, or just enjoy the fabulous ambiance*Optional Accademia Gallery Tour PM, US $49 - Available for purchase only in Italy from your Tour Manager and subject to availability.
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday - Siena & Tavernelle di Panicale
Delight in the scenery as you drive through the Chianti area to Siena, a step back to medieval Tuscany. The heart of the city, Il Campo, was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is also the location of the centuries-old Palio horse race that takes place twice every Summer, during which the participants ride bareback around the spectator-packed square. Take a walking orientation tour of the town before spending time on your own. Later depart for Tavernelle di Panicale in the Umbria region. Tonight, dinner is at your hotel
Overnight: Tavernelle di Panicale
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Monday - Medieval Assisi, Umbria Winery
This morning, travel to the small medieval town of Assisi perched high on a hill in the Umbria region with its winding medieval streets and sacred shrines. Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi - patron saint of Italy. The main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica of San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of St. Francis and Giotto's astonishing frescoes; one of the artistic highlights of medieval Europe. Afterward, visit a winery in Umbria. Linger in the vineyards and visit the cellars before sipping the most famous Sagrantino wines while tasting the homemade local dishes. Travel through the green landscapes of Umbria, dotted with small villages before approaching the Eternal City of Rome
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Tuesday - Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Piazzas of Rome
Today, visit the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour! Your local guide will lead you into the museums, where you will explore part of one of the most important art collections in the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving at the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Stroll through St. Peter's Square, passing Bernini's famous colonnade to view St. Peter's Basilica*, built on the burial site of Saint Peter. Then, a change of pace as you stroll through the characteristic "piazzas and vias" of Rome with your tour guide. Admire the baroque Piazza Navona, built on the site of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian, where great chariot races were once held. Leisure time for lunch on your own before reaching the monumental Pantheon, home of the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and one of the most imitated of all ancient works. Continue to savor the grandeur of the iconic Trevi Fountain, and of course, toss in some coins! Then, on to the majestic Spanish Steps on the Piazza di Spagna, the longest and widest decorative steps in Europe. Spend the balance of your day at leisure, perhaps grab a cappuccino or gelato and indulge in the national pastime of people-watching*Due to Religious events, the opening times of St. Peter Basilica are subject to change without notice. In these events, clients will visit the Vatican Library instead of the Basilica
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11, Wednesday - Ancient Rome & Palazzo Colonna
This morning visit the mighty Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that once seated over 50,000 spectators. Here deadly contests between gladiators and sometimes wild animals were attended frequently by the rich, the poor, and the Emperor himself. Continue on to the legendary Roman Forum, the central area of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate his tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. This afternoon, visit Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome. Its construction began in the 14th century by the Colonna family, who still reside there after eight centuries. The Galleria Colonna is a true jewel of the Roman Baroque style the construction of which required the expertise of Antonio del Grande, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Paolo Schor, and Carlo Fontana. During the visit, you will admire the works of Bronzino, Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Guido Reni, along with many others. Visit the Apartment of Princess Isabelle, located on the ground floor of the palace which was built upon the foundations of the ancient Temple of Serapis. Here, the Colonna Princess preserves the apartment formally used by Princess Isabelle exactly as it was when she was still alive. To conclude the evening, enjoy a dinner together to bid farewell to your Tour Manager and newfound friends
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Thursday - Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Venice, Rome-New York
    Other departure cities available.
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
  • 2 nights Venice
  • 2 nights San Giuliano Terme
  • 2 nights Florence
  • 1 night Tavernelle di Panicale
  • 3 nights Rome
  • Italian city hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 18 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Wine is included with lunch and dinner
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

  • Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination and visit places that other tours miss.
  • Discover the island of Murano with its famous glassblowing factories
  • Experience an Insider's Venice Walking Tour that will take you "off the beaten path"
  • Walking tour of St. Mark's Square in Venice, with its extraordinary treasures and architectural wonders
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Lucca with tasting of local specialties
  • Marvel at the cliffside villages of Cinque Terre, "five towns" that seem suspended over the Ligurian Sea
  • Learn to shop like a native at the local market, and then travel to the countryside with your chef to prepare an authentic, home-cooked Italian meal
  • Celebrate the beauty of Florence with a walking tour through the historical city center
  • Stop in Siena, a lovely medieval city, known for its famous Palio horse race
  • Tour a vineyard and wine cellar in Umbria and sample some of the local specialties
  • Visit the Vatican Museum and Michelangelo's incomparable Sistine Chapel
  • Explore the grand piazzas of the Eternal City of Rome, jewels of Baroque and Renaissance architecture
  • Experience the monumental grandeur of this ancient city built on seven hills: the legendary Roman Forum & the mighty Colosseum
  • Visit the Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome, and the preserved Apartment of Princess Isabelle
  • †Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

    *Not Included:
    Optional tours and gratuities.


    Additional Information:
    Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Accommodations

    Hotel Bonvecchiati
    This first class hotel is located in the heart of Venice, just a short walk from Saint Mark's Square.

    Palace Bonvecchiati
    This superior first class hotel is located in the heart of the city, a short walk from St. Mark's square.

    Bagni di Pisa Hotel
    This superior first class hotel is located in San Giuliano Terme.

    Villa Olmi Firenze
    This first class hotel is located about a twenty minute drive from the historic center of Florence.

    Relais Villa Monte Solare
    This first class hotel is situated in the beautiful Umbrian countryside.

    Hotel La Griffe Roma MGallery by Sofitel
    This superior first class hotel is located nearby the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Questions & Answers

    Question: Quote please, Gate 1 Discovery Tour The Heart of Italy Sept 15, 2019 air from LAX. They also have a code for discount on second person PTHALF1906. Thank you, Nancy

    Please request a free quote online or give us a call for your low, discounted price.

    Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

    Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

    Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

    Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.


    Note: AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Discovery By Gate1. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time by the tour operators. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. Please call us toll free at 1-800-935-2620 to confirm availability and current pricing on all our discounted specials. The prices on this website are not guaranteed until a deposit has been made. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Some land prices may include an internal air component and discounts will not be offered on the internal air component. Discounts will not be offered on packages with a land price of less than $500.

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