12 Day The Heart of Italy

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$3699

Land Only

$4399*

Air & Land



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Featured Hotels

12 Day The Heart of Italy
Hotel Bonvecchiati Venice
LaGare Hotel Venezia Murano, Venice
Bagni di Pisa Hotel San Giuliano Terme
Villa Olmi Firenze Florence
Hotel Le Tre Vaselle Torgiano
Hotel La Griffe Roma Rome

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Book By Dec 17, 2018 & Save!

Dates

*Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.


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

New Rome Bus Regulation for 2019 - It was recently announced that the city of Rome will be implementing new regulations for tourist bus access to the historical city center, including the areas near the Colosseum, Forum and Vatican City. These regulations are expected to take effect on Jan 1 2019. At this time, we are uncertain of the impact these regulations will have on our itineraries, but we are closely monitoring the situation and still planning to operate as usual. Due to the uncertainty of these new regulations, the means of transportation and order of your scheduled itinerary may be subject to change.


Accommodation Details:
May 5 departure will be accommodated at LaGare Hotel Venezia in Venice.


Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.



Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Extend Your Stay

Flight Details


Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights: New York-Venice, Rome-New York
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
    • 2 nights Venice
    • 2 nights San Giuliano Terme
    • 2 nights Florence
    • 1 night Torgiano
    • 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, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Walking tour of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, with its extraordinary treasures and architectural wonders
  • Experience an Insider's Venice Walking Tour that will take you "off the beaten path"
  • Discover the island of Murano with its famous glassblowing factories
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Lucca with a lunch focused on 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 at the Accademia of Fine Arts, where Michelangelo's David is housed
  • Stop in Siena, a lovely medieval city, known for its famous Palio horse race
  • Tour a vineyard and their extensive 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

Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.


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. Time to rest and relax before tonight's orientation meeting with your Tour Manager on the exciting journey that awaits you, 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. Upon return, 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, and arrive at Marco Polo's house, where the world explorer lived. End your visit at St. Mark's Square, view its beautiful Basilica of San Marco, the pink marble Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, with its arched profile that makes one of the most famous scenes of optional Gondola Ride, with music. It's definitely one of the highlights of any Italian holiday!
Optional: Gondola Ride with Music (PM)
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Wednesday - Lucca & San Giuliano Terme
Magnificent panoramas are waiting for 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 picturesque 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 facing 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 bags of 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, rural 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 lunch, your own creation! Continue to your hotel in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps walk around 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 & The Accademia
Today, the lifetime dream of seeing Michelangelo's David is realized. At the Accademia of Fine Arts, stand in awe of this glorious work of art. On to the magnificent Duomo, with its Brunelleschi-designed dome, and view the renowned "Gates of Paradise" by Ghiberti. You'll be enchanted as you walk through the open-air museum at Signoria Square, ending at the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the "Old Bridge." Florence is indeed the center of the world's finest art and architecture. The optional guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery* provides insight into the history of the structure and its collections. Originally the private collection of the Medici family, the Palazzo was opened to the public in 1765. The tour highlights include examples of Florentine painting of the masters, including Giotto, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci. Tour participation guarantees immediate entry to the Gallery, with no lengthy waits in 2-3 hour lines. 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 Uffizi Gallery Tour, US $62 - Available for purchase only in Italy from your Tour Manager and subject to availability.
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday - Siena & Torgiano
Delight in the scenery as you drive through the Chianti area of Tuscany, renowned for its magical landscapes, to Siena, a step back to medieval Tuscany. The heart of the city, Il Campo, was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its celebrated centuries-old Palio horse race takes place twice every Summer, with participants riding bareback around the spectator-packed square, along with non-stop 24-hour celebrations. The city sits over three hills accented by the huge square where the Roman Forum once stood and dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower. Spend time on your own before departing for the town of Torgiano in the Umbria region. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel
Overnight: Torgiano
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 the verdant region of 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
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour! Today, visit the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. 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, the best preserved of any Roman building. You will see the largest brick dome in the history of architecture, the most copied and imitated of all ancient works. Continue to savor the grandeur of the iconic Trevi Fountain, and of course, toss in some coins! Then, onto 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. Deadly combat of gladiators and wild animals were attended frequently by the rich, the poor and by 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, enjoy a visit to Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome. Its construction began in the fourteenth century by the Colonna family, who, after eight centuries, still reside there. 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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Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Gondola Ride with Music

One of the highlights of any Italian holiday! Enjoy a relaxing gondola ride with music along the famous Grand Canal, and experience a piece of Venetian history. Glide along the centuries old canals, past lavish palaces and under famous arched bridges (the Gondola holds a maximum of six passengers. Please note that this is not a private gondola ride. There will be one musician on board of one of the gondolas in your fleet).

Pick-up details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 30 minutes.

Day #3 01 Nov 2018 - 31 May 2019 $62.00
01 Jun 2019 - 28 Oct 2019 $66.00
Gondola Ride with Music Thumbnail

Cinque Terre, Parma, Bologna & Lakes, April 2018
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We had a WONDERFUL trip...We were very pleased with the chance to sample local cuisine and wine. We enjoyed the smaller villages and feeling more immersed in the Italian culture. The weather was perfect, seeing the Alps every day was a real treat. Riccardo's choices of where to eat, to sample wines of the region, or try a local food specialty, was very much appreciated. We will continue to explore Gate 1 small group experiences if it continues to follow this model.

Glen B. Eugene, OR
Italy, La Dolce Vita!, September 2016
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Enjoyed our trip, Georgio was an excellent tour director & organized our stay & tours well. He informed us of our schedules in a timely manner. The itinerary was great with diverse activities including tours of churches, palaces, winery & cooking session which we perfect. Liked the small group. All tour guides were passionate, knowledgable about their area & made it interesting. Walking tours gave us a good experience in towns.

Rekha G. Uppr Marlboro, MD