Grand Italy & Sicily - Small Group
From 02/09/2022 to 18/09/2022
Additional Included Highlights.
Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency.
We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
From time to time, your Travel Director will delight you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times.
If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, renaissance palaces and baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30.Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30. Get to know your fellow travellers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
Day 2 - Vatican City and Rome with a Local A Local Expert leads you through the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your priority visit includes fast-tracked entry to the museums and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase. Later, continue to St. Peter's Basilica. Cross the Tiber river to enjoy ancient Rome. See the incredible Circus Maximus. Come up close and personal with the beautifully preserved Arch of Constantine, walking on the ancient pavement. Discover the history, the construction and the legends of the iconic Colosseum as you stroll around the exterior of this amazing structure.
Day 3 - Pisa and Santa Margherita Ligure Enjoy a delightful drive to Pisa through rolling countryside dotted with cypress trees, passing vineyards and olive groves.With a Local Expert, view the incredible Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble.Your journey continues to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
Day 4 - The Charms of the Cinque Terre Head to the famous Cinque Terre, which translates to Five Lands. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on a gorgeously wild yet hospitable part of the coastline. With a Local Expert, approach one of the fishing villages by boat. In Monterosso, spend some time exploring the medieval quarter in or the popular sandy beach before continuing to the village of Portofino, famed for its colourful houses. Browse the boutiques and stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Should weather permit, return with a cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to your hotel in the resort of Santa Margherita.
Day 5 - Lake Maggiore Relaxed Start Head north to the beautiful Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes District and the town of Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century square. On arrival, settle into your hotel and take in the magical scenery. In the afternoon, why not join an optional cruise to Isola Bella to explore the palace and admire the stunning and immaculate Italian style gardens.
Day 6 - Onto Venice Relaxed Start Your travels continue through the Soave vineyards, passing Padua and on to the canals of Venice. In the evening, indulge in a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7 - Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima Relaxed Start Your private boat takes you past historic churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark's Square. The first sight is the glided regalia of St. Mark's Basilica. Turn the corner, and view the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Afterwards, board a traditional gondola for a serenade along the romantic canals. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Experience during a visit to a traditional arts centre. See how beautiful handcrafted glass is made by expert glassblowers, safeguarding traditional skills.
Day 8 - A Scenic Journey to Florence Bid farewell to Venice and begin your journey to Renaissance Florence. Explore Florence with Insight Choice. Choose to visit the Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo's David. Alternatively, wander through the market stalls on a guided shopping tour. Walk to the Cathedral and see Giotto's bell tower and the Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Wander through the open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria, gazing at statues such as Neptune, Hercules and Cacus, along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Your exploration will finish in front of the basilica where Michelangelo lies buried in Piazza Santa Croce, famous for its quality goods. Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.
Day 9 - Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance Relaxed Start Start the day with a traditional Florentine leather-work demonstration, then there is plenty of time to shop with the rest of the day at your leisure. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to explore the hilltop town of San Gimignano?
Day 10 - Ill-fated Pompeii and on to Sorrento Journey south through the volcanic hills of Frascati to Pompeii, which was buried in A.D. 79 by Mount Vesuvius' catastrophic eruption. Walk with a Local Expert through the preserved cobbled streets for a glimpse into the daily life of civilisation during the Roman Empire. Follow the clifftop road to the resort town of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Day 11 - Capri, the Isle of Dreams Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by one of the island's iconic open-top taxis. Explore the narrow alleyways and descend to the port by funicular railway for the return to Sorrento. Later perhaps explore the Amalfi Coast?
Day 12 - Sassi di Matera and Alberobello After breakfast, discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First, visit Matera for an in-depth guided exploration of the extraordinary Sassi, ancient troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock. These are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean and were inhabited by about 20,000 people up until 1950. Matera was also used as the setting for the film 'The Passion of the Christ'. Continue to Alberobello, the second UNESCO World Heritage Site and your home for the next two nights.
Day 13 - The Trulli of Alberobello Relaxed Start Admire another of Italy's record number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a Local Expert. The Trulli of Alberobello are circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. In the evening, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Experience at Trattoria Terra Madre. Alessandro, the owner, shares his philosophy of using home-grown organic and seasonal produce. See Nonna making orechiette pasta during a demonstration, before a delicious four-course, Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.
Day 14 - Sicily and the Taormina Riviera The local roads will take you south, following the shores of the Gulf of Taranto to the mountainous Calabria region. Travel along the Purple Coast to the very 'toe' of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily. According to ancient legend, it was here at the Straits of Messina where the twin whirlpools of Scylla and Charybdis carried unwary seafarers away to their doom! After disembarking, continue to the Taormina Riviera.
Day 15 - Taormina and the Dawn Coast of Europe Relaxed Start Join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek Theatre, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll onto the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina's grandest building. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to Mt. Etna?
Day 16 - Palermo, Capital of Sicily Head to the Sicilian capital of Palermo. On arrival, your Local Expert will show you the highlights of the capital. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years and a venture inside will help you to appreciate the composite architectural styles. Next, head to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. With the outside completely covered in glittering 12th century mosaics, it provides an insight to what's within.Join your travelling companions and Travel Director at a local restaurant for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine and wine.
Day 17 - Depart Palermo Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00. Choice Highlights Choose between two carefully selected activities Florence: Stand beside Michelangelo's monumental statue, 'David', in the Accademia Gallery, and admire the exquisite technique and absorbing history behind the world's most famous sculpture. Florence: Wander through the market stalls and browse for local Italian souvenirs and leather goods on a guided shopping tour. Well-being : Our Well-Being Directors take a proactive approach to your welfare ensuring all well-being regulations are met (available on tours with 21 or more guests). : Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxurious, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom. Our customized luxury coaches are sanitized before the start of your tour and are maintained to very high standards. Physical distancing measures have been implemented on our customized luxury coaches. : Experience enhanced hygiene protocols to align with the latest guidance following COVID-19.All Travel Directors, Well-Being Directors and Drivers have completed training in enhanced well-being and hygiene protocols. : We only work with establishments we are confident will consistently adhere to our high well-being standards, which include hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing venues. : Hand sanitizer is freely available on board for you to use throughout the day. Travel Director : "A type of food I really love introducing my guests to is the street food because it tells a lot about the habits of the locals, it can be a slice of pizza folded up or a sfogliatella in Naples, an arancini, a gelato in Sicily, or a cannolo. " : "One thing I really love about showing guests about Italy is how art and beauty can be found around every corner of some of Italy's cities, which are real open air museums." : "One fun fact people don't usually know before they come to Italy is that the Italian alphabet only has 22 letters." Authentic Dining Rome: Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers at a uniquely Roman local restaurant. Florence: Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed. Palermo: At a local restaurant, enjoy fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine at your Celebration Dinner. Dining Summary: 8 Dinner with Wine (DW), and 16 Breakfast (B) Insight Experiences Vatican: Gain priority access into the Vatican Museums and admire the famous Bramante Staircase. Witness the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel and view the splendid dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Top Rated Highlights Rome: Discover ancient treasures of Rome with a passionate local. See Circus Maximus and the Ancient Forum, and stand beside the Colosseum, which bears witness to the limitless courage of the gladiators. Pisa: Your Local Expert will show you the baptistery bristling with marble spines, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the 11th century cathedral and of course, the famous Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles. Cinque Terre: Led by your Local Expert, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site with dedicated time to explore two of the five charming fishing villages. Portofino: Visit this elegant fishing village and admire the coloured houses and yachts moored in the harbour. Lake Maggiore: Step out with your Travel Director to experience the charming traditional social ritual of la passeggiata. All across Italy, in cities, towns and villages people leave their houses to gently walk streets, from babies in strollers to the most senior citizens. Savor a gelato or glass of wine along the way and observe, as new romances, new babies and new shoes are all put on display. Note the ever-stylish Italians love to dress up for the occasion so feel free add a touch of flair to your outfit! Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica. Venice: Delight in the magic of this charming city as you are serenaded, travelling through the atmospheric canals by gondola. Florence: Stand beside Michelangelo's monumental statue, 'David', in the Accademia Gallery, and admire the exquisite technique and absorbing history behind the world's most famous sculpture. Florence: Wander through the market stalls and browse for local Italian souvenirs and leather goods on a guided shopping tour. Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Visit the political heart of the city, Signoria Square. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods. Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town, frozen in time since the 1st century. Sorrento: Perched upon the cliffs, lookout to see the mighty Mount Vesuvious across the Bay of Naples. Capri: Cruise by jetfoil to this famous isle through beautiful blue Mediterranean waters to meet your Local Expert. Capri: Explore Capri town with your Local Expert and see the whitewashed houses, winding alleyways, small cafes, fashionable boutiques and artisans studios. Capri: Relax and enjoy the views as you are driven in an iconic open-top taxi. Matera: With your Local Expert explore this town that Mel Gibson chose as the setting for his film 'The Passion of the Christ.' Alberobello: Led by your Travel Director, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. Alberobello: Led by a Local Expert, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. Messina: Cross the Straights of Messina to Sicily by ferry. Taormina: Visit the ancient Greek Ampitheatre with your Local Expert. Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to Mount Etna. Taormina: During your orientation with your Travel Director, visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile. Palermo: Discover the Sicilian capital with your Local Expert. See Pretoria Square and the 16th century fountain. View the composite architectural styles of the Palermo Cathedral and visit the Cathedral of Monreale. Make Travel Matter Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing, now practised by precious few masters. Watch artisans create delicate works of art using rare traditional practices. The workshop's master craftsmen teach visitors about the traditional craft of glassblowing and its history which dates back to the 15th century. Every visit helps to support the workshop and the survival of this traditional craft. The workshop advances UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. Alberobello: Dine at Trattoria Terra Madre, where owner Alessandro and his nonna have built a restaurant that focuses on sustainability and creating jobs for locals. Everything is grown organically and harvested on site, and excess produce is donated to their community. The restaurant sources their produce locally, implements a strategy to reduce their food waste and promotes sustainable agricultural practices. Trattoria Terra Madre, advances UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production.
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