Italy: The Grand Tour

Of all our favorite spots in Europe, Italy stands alone for its richness of culture and natural beauty. This amazing two-week holiday hits all the high spots. And best of all it’s a premiere experience. Great First-Class and Deluxe hotels, state-of-the-art motor coaches with EXTRA legroom and complimentary wifi; a hearty breakfast buffet each day and 10 dinners included along the way. There’s Gourmet Ice Cream Tasting in Florence and Wine Tasting at a classic vineyard. Here are the highlights of your trip:

Rome
With three days in the Eternal City, there will be plenty of time to explore on your own in addition to the planned tours. Among the sites you’ll see are the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pompeii 
A charming motor coach drive past the Bay of Naples delivers us to a city perfectly preserved just as it was on that fateful day 2,000 years ago, when ash and lava literally stopped it in its tracks. You’ll see the tragic fossils of people attempting to escape along with children and dogs. That night, you’ll enjoy a dinner at our hotel in Sorrento with fine local wines.

Capri
Upon arrival, we take a private boat for a tour of the world’s most enchanting island. We’ll cruise around the magnificent Faraglioni, Capri’s most iconic sight. These mythical towering rock formations, which jut out from the Mediterranean just off the island’s coast, were formed over the years by erosion from ocean waves. Next, we visit one of the lesser-known but equally beautiful sea caves, the Grotta Bianca. Once we arrive back on Capri, you’ll have free time to explore the island on your own and then later, still glowing from the sun, we’re off to a Sorrento eatery for fine food and wine. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Florence 
Our deluxe motor coach navigates the rolling hills, scenic vineyards and postcard perfect vistas of Umbria and Tuscany. Along the way, we’ll travel by the beautiful Tiber River Valley and the medieval villages of Orvieto and Orte. This evening’s dinner features fine local wines at our hotel. Sightseeing in Florence includes the majestic Duomo (built in 1296), Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery with its renowned Gates of Paradise doors. We follow the medieval streets to the most striking square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria, home of Santa Croce Church, Michelangelo’s final resting place.

Pisa 
The bell tower of Pisa is among the most instantly recognizable structures on earth. Architects say it would be world famous even if it were perfectly straight. This morning we’ll see for ourselves, along with the beautiful Cathedral and Baptistery. This afternoon we’ll visit a typical Tuscan winery to sample the finest local wines.

Padua 
Visitors to Padua are often surprised by a sense of deep spirituality. St. Anthony (patron Saint of lost objects) is interred here in the serene Basilica which dates back to the 1200s.

Venice
Gondolas drift along, not just for show, but to deliver the staples of everyday life. Our arrival is also by boat, as we’re eager to start exploring. Dinner is on your own tonight! When in Venice, do as the Venetians do! Enjoy cicchetti, Venetian style tapas, served in various pubs all over Venice. This morning we’ll meet our expert local guide for a walking tour of St. Mark’s Square, the great Byzantine Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and an inside visit of the Doge’s Palace. This afternoon you’ll have a chance to get lost in the city’s labyrinth of canals, bridges and tiny piazzas.

Sirmione
On the way to Milan, we’ll stop at one of the most popular sights on Lake Garda— the peninsula of Sirmione. Crossing the drawbridge, we enter a peaceful world of hot springs, the Medieval castles and phenomenal views of the Dolomites.

Milan
The center of Italian fashion Milan is both modern and classical. We’ll begin with a panoramic drive around the city and a visit to the impressive, gothic Duomo. We’ll stroll through the spectacular glass-topped Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall and on to the famed La Scala Opera House.

Lugano
This morning’s visit to Lugano is actually in Switzerland, but this Alpine paradise clings to its Italian roots. The natural beauty is accompanied by great shops filled with Swiss specialties—like clocks, watches and, of course, chocolate!

Lake Como
This charming town and its pristine lake of the same name, is lined with lovely villas and breathtaking vistas. You’ll cherish your memories of this beautiful spot forever.

This land-only package is priced per person based on double accommodations. Single supplement and airfare rates available upon request, just inquire. This package includes airport transfers, hotel taxes, 10 dinners, daily breakfast buffet, tips for hotel and restaurant personnel, 12 nights hotel accommodations at First-Class and Deluxe centrally-located hotels in Rome (3 nights), Sorrento (2 nights), Florence (3 nights), Venice (2 nights), and Milan (2 nights). Our service partner Perillo Tours provides professional tour directors and licensed local guides; wireless headsets to hear your guide clearly and distinctly in public places; a travel wallet; baggage tags and baggage handling for all non-airport transfers. To make arrangements for your Italian Grand Tour, call Susan Rogers in our Vacation Department at (678) 420-2510 | or Toll-Free at: (800) 950-2950 or email her at vacations@teplis.com

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