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"Insight Gold Luxury Tour"

Welcome to the ultimate in guided vacations, river cruising and first class rail. From the water lapped piazzas of Venice, embark on a romantic journey of discovery that unveils the unmissable landmarks of Italy along with some of her hidden treasures.

Highlights
 
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES AND DINING


    Venice: Visit an artisan showroom and workshop to see master craftsmen honouring age-old Venetian crafts.
    Venice: See 'hidden Venice' in the company of a local expert.
    Venice: An exclusive visit inside the spectacular St. Mark's Basilica.
    Padua: Enjoy an excursion with a local expert, who shows you the historic sights.
    Bologna: Learn age-old techniques with an Italian pasta making workshop.
    Rome: Travel in first class comfort as you journey to Rome.
    Rome: Gain VIP entrance into the Vatican Museums on a privately guided tour. Admire the Renaissance Bramante Staircase, and take in the Sistine Chapel.
    Rome: Visit the Colosseum and the Forum.
    Pompeii: Join a local expert for a private visit to the Roman town, buried by an eruption of Vesuvius in AD79.
    Isle of Capri: Ascend to your 5 star hotel by open top taxi.
    Isle of Capri: Enjoy a relaxing cruise around the island.
    Assisi: Explore the imposing Basilica of St. Francis.
    Chianti: Enjoy a delicious exploration and wine tasting.
    San Gimignano: Visit the artisan ice-cream parlour of World Champion gelato Maestro, Sergio Dondoli.
    Florence: Marvel at Michelangelo's statue of David.
    Lucca: At a traditional delicatessen, enjoy a tasting of their tempting olives, oils, vinegars and focaccia.
    Cinque Terre: With a local expert, travel by train and boat to enjoy time in one of the five charming fishing villages.
    Portofino: Enjoy this elegant fishing village.
    Venice: Enjoy a romantic Gondola serenade.
    Venice: Explore the hidden parts of the city.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

    Padua: An excursion to Padua in the company of a local expert through the ancient arcades and porticos.
    Rome: Visit St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's ‘Pieta'.
    Isle of Capri: Walk to Augustus' Gardens for views of the Faraglioni Rocks; Descend from Capri Town by funicular.
    Perugia: A local expert shows you the Great Fountain, Collegio del Cambio and splendid Prior's Palace.
    Florence: See the Cathedral, Giotto's belltower, ‘Gates of Paradise', and open-air gallery of Signoria Square.
    Venice: See St. Mark's Basilica and the Bridge of Sighs.

SIGNATURE DINING

    Cruising: Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
    Po Delta: Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch.
    Cruising: Enjoy the Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
    Isle of Capri: Choose from a selection of restaurants on your Dine Around evening.
    Florence: Dine out with a delicious 4-course menu.
    Rapallo: Your Highlight Dinner brings you the flavours of the Mediterranean.
    Venice: Enjoy a Freestyle evening.
    Burano: Enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine.
    Get to know your Tour Director and fellow guests at a Welcome Reception including drinks and Welcome Dinner (WD), 11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 3 Highlight Dinner (HD), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Freestyle (FS), 4 three course dinners with choice (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD). On your cruise ship a Welcome Reception including drinks and Welcome Dinner (WD), 7 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner (FD), 5 Lunches (L) and 5 Dinners (D).

HIGHLIGHT HOTELS AND LOCATIONS

    Barberino di Mugello: The Villa Le Maschere was built in 1585 and is now a luxury resort with views of Lake Bilancino.

INCLUDED FIRST CLASS SERVICES

    An expert Insight Tour Director - at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges', expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.

    Insight motor coach - Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.

    Personal radio headsets - gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
    Baggage handling everywhere - with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.

    Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.

    Complimentary WiFi - the majority of Insight hotels have free WiFi access in lobby or bedroom areas. You will also find that WiFi is generally available on most touring coaches.

    Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
    Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Itinerary
   
Day 1 Welcome to Venice

    On arrival at Marco Polo International Airport, you are transferred to your stunning, award-winning boutique cruise ship. Relax and settle in or journey by private boat to a Venetian arts centre where traditional crafts, such as glassblowing, gondola building and lace-making, are on display.

    Dinner
   
Day 2 Hidden Venice & St. Mark’s Basilica

    A local expert introduces you to ‘hidden Venice' this morning - the back lanes and ‘campi', small squares, where tourists seldom tread. Upon emerging into Piazza San Marco, the dazzling Basilica, pink marbled Doges' Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs stand as testimony to the city's former wealth and power. Your tour concludes at the bustling Rialto Bridge, a great place to sample local life. Cap off your day with a most memorable experience: an exclusive, crowd-free visit inside the spectacular St. Mark's Basilica. This evening you're invited to the Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

    Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Welcome Reception and Dinner
   
Day 3 To Chioggia, Padua and on to Taglio di Po

    Cruise south to Chiogga, where you have the option to explore this busy fishing port. This afternoon, join an included excursion to Padua, where a local expert walks you through the ancient arcades and porticos of the old city to the Palazzo della Ragione, followed by a visit to the Basilica of Saint Anthony. Later this evening, reboard your ship and continue to Polesella.

    Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Highlight Dinner
   
Day 4 Experience Bologna or Ferrara

    Spend the whole day in Bologna if you wish, its portico-lined streets are home to Europe's oldest university and amazing food markets. You also get to grips with the age-old techniques of Italian cooking at a pasta-making workshop. Alternatively, spend a half-day in Ferrara, one of Italy's best-kept secrets.

    Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
   
Day 5 Ravenna or Po Delta & back to Venice

    Today, there is the option of joining an included visit to the spectacular Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna. After a glittering visit to the Basilica di Sant'Apollinare and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, enjoy an artisan food tasting and explore the centro storico at your own pace. Alternatively, enjoy the morning at leisure as you cruise from Polesella to Taglio di Po. Then an included experience takes you into the serene beauty of the Po Delta Nature Reserve and includes a delicious seafood lunch. Reboard your ship in Chioggia and sail back to Venice.

    Buffet Breakfast, Highlight Lunch, Dinner
   
Day 6 Venice & Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet

    Set off on a full-day excursion to ‘fair' Verona, the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, with its maze of elegant squares and well-preserved Roman Arena, still used for Opera performances.

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 7 Venice “Do as the Locals Do” Walking Tour

    Experience Venice like a local during your walking tour of the Dorsoduro district and the Rialto, the city's historic core. Visit the markets and indulge in a Venetian aperitivo. In the afternoon, cruise through the scenic waters of the Venetian Lagoon. This evening, celebrate the culmination of your cruise at the Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.

    Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Celebration Dinner
   
Day 8 To Rome by rail

    Transfer to the station to board your high-speed train to Rome. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery and first class comfort as you head north across the back-bone of Italy. On arrival in the Eternal City, you are met and transferred to your charming downtown hotel. This evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle with your travelling companions over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

    Hotel: Kolbe Hotel Rome

    Buffet Breakfast, Welcome Dinner
   
Day 9 Imperial Rome & the Vatican City

    With the Vatican City bathed in morning light, you are fast-tracked through a VIP entrance into the Vatican Museums. An expert guide leads you through the vast art collection gathered by the Popes to a part of the Vatican not generally open to the public. Then enter the sublime Sistine Chapel to stand beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling. More of Michelangelo's genius is on display next door in St. Peter's Basilica. Now cross the Tiber to visit the Forum - once the religious, political and commercial heart of the Roman Empire. Walk in the steps of the victorious generals along the Sacred Way and see the ruined temples and commemorative archways along its route. Another highlight takes you inside the massive Colosseum, scene of great excitement in imperial times. Tonight, enjoy a pizza dinner in a typical Roman restaurant before rounding off the evening with a sparkling illuminations experience of Rome's floodlit ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches.

    Hotel: Kolbe Hotel Rome

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 10 On to Ancient Pompeii & across to Capri

    Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Walk with a local expert through the cobbled streets to learn about Roman life in the first century. At the port of Naples, board your hydrofoil for the sun-drenched isle of Capri. Arrive at Marina Grande and transfer to open top taxis to ride up to your hotel in style; just add a headscarf and sunglasses for the look immortalised by Audrey Hepburn! Situated in the most exclusive part of the island, your exquisite hotel offers fine views across the sparkling waters.

    Hotel: Capri Palace Hotel & Spa

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 11 Exploring the Isle of Dreams

    Relax aboard a cruise around the island to see the beautiful white grotto and spectacular cliffs. Back on dry land, ascend to Capri town where a local expert escorts you to the luxuriant gardens of Caesar Augustus – a great place to view the Faraglioni Rocks rising from the blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Cool off now with a crunchy, refreshing lemon granita - a Caprese delicacy that is pure sunshine in a glass! The remainder of the day is yours to devote to the white-washed houses, orange and lemon trees, trendy shops and restaurants. As the rosy glow of twilight descends and the day-trippers have returned to the mainland, the island is all yours to enjoy. For your dining pleasure, you are offered a selection of discerning restaurants to choose from on your Dine-Around evening.

    Hotel: Capri Palace Hotel & Spa

    Buffet Breakfast, Dine Around
   
Day 12 Into the Hills of Umbria to Assisi and Perugia

    Journey to Assisi. Inside the imposing Basilica of St. Francis, witness some of the early frescoes that served as inspiration for generations of Renaissance artists. Move on to modern-day Perugia, where a local expert reveals the finely sculptured Great Fountain, Cathedral and splendid Priors Palace.

    Hotel: Brufani Palace, Perugia

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 13 Chianti Hills to San Gimignano and on to Florence

    Embark upon a scenic drive through the Chianti Hills to San Gimignano. On arrival, enjoy a exploration of the REGIONAL wines. Afterwards, visit the artisan ice-cream parlour of World Champion gelato Maestro, Sergio Dondoli for a taste of his finest treats. Tonight, stay in one of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'.

    Hotel: Villa Le Maschere, Barberino di Mugello

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 14 Exploring Renaissance Florence

    Meet an expert local historian for an insider's guide to Florence. Visit the Academy Museum to admire Michelangelo's original ‘Statue of David' and stroll through the streets to the marble clad Cathedral and Baptistery, where Ghiberti's ‘Gates of Paradise' have been recreated in all their glory. Next stop is Signoria Square, political heart of the city and still an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your own pace. Italian cooking was born at the court of the Medici, so this evening, reservations have been made for an authentic Tuscan Dinner, complete with wine - the perfect introduction to Tuscany.

    Hotel: Villa Le Maschere, Barberino di Mugello

    Buffet Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
   
Day 15 Travel to Pisa, Lucca and Rapallo on the Italian Riviera

    Head for Pisa this morning where a dazzling architectural ensemble awaits you in the 'Field of Miracles' - the splendid Duomo, Baptistery and, of course, the gravity-defying belltower! Your next stop is at the delightful town of Lucca - join a a local expert to view it's churches, squares and palaces perfectly preserved within encircling medieval ramparts. Meet the artisan bakers of a traditional bakery, where goods are still made by hand using methods passed down from generation to generation. Taste the history in the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread, said to be a favourite of the ancient Roman army. Stay tonight in Rapallo on the sun-kissed Italian Riviera.

    Hotel: Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo

    Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
   
Day 16 Exploring The Cinque Terre

    Get ready to explore the ‘Cinque Terre', or ‘five villages'. Join a local expert in one of the picturesque fishing villages, before cruising along the rugged coast to Monterosso. After time to explore the old medieval quarter and popular sandy beach, it's all aboard the train bound for the exclusive resort of Portofino, epitome of La Dolce Vita. Admire the gaily-coloured houses, browse the boutiques, stay a while in the cafés on the piazzetta and watch the yachts moored in the harbour. A short cruise (weather permitting) along the Ligurian coast returns you to your waiting coach in Santa Margherita. Back in Rapallo, the flavours of the Mediterranean are fused with traditional dishes at tonight's delightful Dinner – a catch you wouldn't want to miss!

    Hotel: Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo

    Buffet Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
   
Day 17 Through the Ligurian Alps to Verona and on to Venice

    Onwards to the town of Verona, legendary home of Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy free time to admire the well preserved Roman Arena and Juliet's Balcony. Now on to your exclusive 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of Venice, only two minutes walk from St. Mark's Square. A great spot to embark on your Freestyle evening! Your Freestyle dining options, this evening are innumerable - from star-gazing at a canal-side restaurant to enjoying alfresco dining in historic St. Mark's Square.

    Hotel: Bauer L'Hotel Venezia, Venice

    Buffet Breakfast, Freestyle Dinner
   
Day 18 Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’

    Start with a fascinating walk through some of the lesser-known quarters of Venice. A local expert introduces you to the back lanes and ‘campi', small squares, where tourists seldom tread. You also explore the bustling Rialto markets, a great place to sample local life. Not too far away, the mosaics of St. Mark's Basilica, Pink marbled Doges' Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs stand as testimony to the city's former wealth and power. A visit to an arts centre has also been arranged, for you to witness the age-old skill of glassblowers and gondola builders. Later, take your seats in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. This evening, cruise to the magical island of Burano for a celebratory meal, graced with delicious food, abundant wine and a happy, relaxed atmosphere.

    Hotel: Bauer L'Hotel Venezia, Venice

    Buffet Breakfast, Celebration Dinner
   
Day 19 Arrivederci Venice

    Your tour draws to a close today. Savour the enchanting view of Venice one more time as you cross the lagoon by private transfer boat to arrive directly at Venice Airport at 08:00 and 09:30.

    Buffet Breakfast

$10,660*pp
Insight Vacations

Destination

Europe: Mediterranean (Italy, Spain, Greece etc)

Duration

19 days