This magical journey devotes quality time to the medieval hill towns and evocative landscapes of Italy’s two most famous regions. Enjoy favorite recipes and classic wines as you meet with local people to hear their fascinating stories.
Insight Vacations has been creating magical experiences for travelers for over 40 years. When you travel with Insight, you not only visit incredible places, but connect with them, in an authentic way. Let them share their passion with you and take you on an unforgettable journey. They’ll immerse you in unique experiences and introduce you to amazing people. The magic begins here!
AAA Member Benefit
$80 Optional Experiences Voucher
Save 7.5% per person when you book and pay in full by February 27, 2020.*
- Insight Experiences: We connect guests with local characters who really bring a destination to life. With more thoughtfully selected, premium experiences included, we proudly provide the value they deserve.
- Deliciously Authentic Dining: Guests are immersed in the heart and soul of a destination and its people
- Travel & Stay in Style: Hand-picked hotels are always in the right locations-be they central or scenic- and journeys are enjoyed on our exclusive 40-seat customized coaches with twice as much legroom, so that guests can stretch out in comfort and admire the view.
- Smaller Group Camaraderie: With never more than 40 and an average of 32, our groups are just the right size. Large enough to bring like-minded guests together and small enough to travel with ease.
- Passionate Travel Directors: Experts at delivering seamless, magical travel experiences, they receive outstanding feedback from our guests.
- Vatican City: Gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums and be among the select few to admire the famous Bramante Staircase. Admire the Popes’ treasure-trove and witness the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Venture inside St. Peter’s Basilica and see Michelangelo’s Pietà, and the splendid dome.
- Perugia: Meet Marta, recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Learn how Marta and her weavers are preserving the ancient craft of loom-weaving at their artisanal workshop.
- Florence: View the city skyline from the sumptuous terrace of Piazzale Michelangelo. Explore the city and its landmarks with your Local Expert – see the domed cathedral, it’s adjacent baptistery with its Gates of Paradise, and the open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria.
WELCOME TO ROME.
Transfers to your centrally located hotel, not far from the Ancient Roman Ruins, depart from Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in before meeting your Travel Director at 17:30. Get to know your fellow guests during your Welcome Dinner.
SISTINE CHAPEL, COOKING IN ORVIETO AND ON TO PERUGIA.
Explore the Vatican Museums in the morning, where a local historian unveils the gems of the vast Papal art collection. Your special VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to visitors. View the imposing Basilica of St. Peter, the largest in the world. Journey north to the Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto; its cathedral is one of Italy’s most celebrated buildings. You’re welcomed into the kitchens of zesty, Etruscan chef Lorenzo Polegri, who shares his virtuoso cooking skills and love of Italian food with you. Delicious pasta fresca, combined with the local staples of olive oil, cheese, prosciutto and focaccia, make for a memorable Highlight Lunch, all washed down with a chilled glass of Orvieto Classico wine. Join a Local Expert in Perugia to navigate the underground labyrinth of little streets, alleys and arches. Walk Corso Vannucci, resplendent in pale-pink stone, passing the princely Priors’ Palace, cathedral and finely sculptured Great Fountain in the main square.
DAY 3 – RELAXED START
PERUGIA SIGHTSEEING & FREE TIME.
Visit an artisanal workshop to meet Marta, beneficiary of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and her weavers. See how the fascinating art of loom-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations and learn how this ancient craft is being preserved. Afterwards, you will be free to enjoy the many delights of Umbria’s capital city. For dinner, choose your ideal ambience and palate-pleasing menu from a hand-picked selection of Perugian restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening. Buon appetito!
DAY 4 – RELAXED START
ASSISI, IN SEARCH OF ST. FRANCIS.
Journey to Assisi, one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval hilltop towns, set high up in the mountains and enclosed by fortress walls. In the valley, see the famous Church of St. Mary of the Angels, much venerated as the place of St. Francis’ death, then continue up Mount Subasio to the upper town. Step inside the massive, 13th century Basilica of St. Francis with your Local Expert to learn how Giotto masterfully painted frescoes that inspired a variety of Renaissance artists. Continue through the twisted groves that carpet the side of Mount Subasio. At a family-run olive mill, meet a third generation specialist to follow the evolution of the olive from tree to table. Relish the intense flavours drizzled over crusty bread with a sprinkle of salt – delizioso!
TUSCANY TO CORTONA, SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO.
Follow the shores of Lake Trasimeno to Cortona, one of the oldest hilltop towns in Tuscany. After free time to explore, continue to the narrow cobbled streets of Siena. Standing in the shell-shaped Campo, imagine the frenzied atmosphere of the biannual Palio horse race and see the superb 14th century Town Hall. Then, with your Local Expert, there is time to climb up to the black-and-white striped marble cathedral. Travel to your home for the next three nights, a delightful villa near the medieval town of San Gimignano.
DAY 6 – RELAXED START
SAN GIMIGNANO SIGHTSEEING AND FREE TIME.
In the morning, your Travel Director will show you San Gimignano’s medieval skyscrapers, serpentine streets and hidden squares. The town is also home to world champion gelato maestro Sergio Dondoli. At his artisan ice cream parlour on Piazza della Cisterna, the jaunty gelataio doles out his silky, frozen treats in a range of unique flavours. The rest of the day is at leisure; why not join an Optional Experience to Pisa and Lucca?
FLORENCE AND TUSCAN COUNTRYSIDE EXPERIENCE.
The morning is devoted to the Renaissance city of Florence. A fascinating walking exploration with a Local Expert takes you to the marble-clad cathedral crowned by Brunelleschi’s dome. See the baptistery with its beautiful Gates of Paradise and Giotto’s splendid bell tower. Walk on to Piazza della Signoria with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculptures, followed by free time to shop for top-quality Florentine leather or seek bargains in the gold workshops. Toast to your travels during a delicious Farm-to-Table Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy tasting flavoursome dishes prepared with locally grown ingredients, sourced from the farm or nearby Tuscan region. Relax as the pairing of home-made pastas with the farm’s own traditional Chianti wine rounds off your great Italian adventure
DAY 8 – RELAXED START
COUNTRY DRIVE TO ANCIENT ROME.
Leave behind the tower topped town of San Gimignano. Enjoy rolling Tuscan hills as you journey through the Italian countryside, making your way to Ancient Rome. On arrival, enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Your departure transfer arrives at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 and 09:30.
Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. *7.5% Early Payment Discount: New bookings only. Prices are per person, land-only, and consider double occupancy (single supplements apply). Applies only to trips featuring the EPD in the price panel – see 2020 Insight Vacations Europe & Britain brochure for details. Based on availability, does not apply to all trips/departures, and may be withdrawn at any time and without notice. PAYMENT: A deposit of up to $200-$350 per person is due within 3 days of booking with full payment by 27 FEB 2020 or 60 days before departure, whichever is sooner. Further restrictions apply. Contact your Travel Advisor for details. CST No. 20687545-20.