iExplore Italy Experience

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  • Privately Guided
  • Starting Price: $4,669
  • Length: 9 days
  • Operator: iExplore Exclusive
  • 1-800-267-33479am - 5:30pm Eastern
    Destinations: Europe, Italy
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Tour Description

On this essential highlights tour, visit Italy's most magical cities: Venice, Florence and Rome. Built on over 100 islets, linked by 400 bridges, Venice is the only city in the world that is built entirely on water. The city has captivated poets, painters and writers for centuries and continues to charm visitors with its fragile beauty. Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its palaces, churches and museums overflow with masterful paintings and sculpture. The Eternal City of Rome, sprawling among its seven hills, is fascinating for both its ancient and its modern wonders. All that surrounds a visitor in Rome - the stunning art and architecture, the grandeur of scale and the city's lively citizens - guarantee an unforgettable visit.

Itinerary

Day 1: Venice, Italy

Upon arrival at the Venice airport, you will be met by a local iExplore Representative who will accompany you to your hotel. Walk towards the pier where you will board the public "vaporetto". Along the way to your hotel you will have a chance to admire from the boat the lagoons of Venice. After you disembark the "vaporetto" you will have a 5-minute walk to your hotel. Your iExplore Representative will assist you with check in procedures. Your representative will be able to assist with luggage however you will need to carry some of your own luggage as well.

Your local customer service coordinator is part of a unique network of one of over 20 representatives throughout Italy to ensure your vacation operates smoothly and to your absolute satisfaction. Your CSC is there on the ground to ensure that your travel arrangements run perfectly.

You will be confirmed for two nights at the Hotel Violino d'Oro in a Double Room inclusive of buffet breakfast.

This small boutique hotel is located on the main shopping street in Venice and just a five minute walk from the most famous square in the world: St. Marks' Square. The style reflects typical 18th century Venice with rooms bathed in rich colors. As is typical in Venice, rooms are compact but graced with nice touches such as gold decoration on the marble-top desks, modest stuccoes and Murano chandeliers.

Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be described as truly unique. It survives against all the odds, built on a series of low mud banks amid the tidal waters of the Adriatic, and regularly subject to floods. Millions visit the city each year and succumb to the magic of this improbable place whose "streets are full of water" and where the glories of the past are evident at every turn.

In the early evening before sunset you will head towards the closest gondola pier where you will begin a 45-minute ride through the enchanting city accompanied by the renowned sound of your gondolier serenading with traditional Venetian songs.

Hotel Violino D'Oro- Double Room

Day 2: Venice

This morning you will be met at your hotel by your local English-speaking guide for a half-day walking tour (3-hours) of Venice. Your tour will include visits to St. Mark's Basilica, with its rich decoration of marbles and golden mosaics, and the Doge's Palace, once the seat of government and residence of the doges.

Breakfast

Hotel Violino D'Oro- Double Room

Day 3: Venice- Florence

Today your representative and private motor launch will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for a transfer to the Venice railway station to begin your rail journey. Here you will be shown to your pre-reserved standard class seating

Travel by modern express rail in Europe is an excellent way of traveling between destinations in comfort, style and at speed. The benefits of rail travel in Europe are numerous. In many instances rail travel can be quicker than air travel so no waiting in airport departure lounges or lost luggage!

Upon arrival at the Florence railway station you will be met by your English-speaking driver and transferred to your hotel.

Florence is a vast and beautiful monument to the Renaissance, the artistic and cultural reawakening of the 15th century. Writers such as Dante, Petrarch and Machiavelli contributed to its proud literary heritage, though it was the paintings and sculptures of the artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello that turned the city into one of the world's greatest artistic capitals.

You will be confirmed for three nights at the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi in a Classic Double Room, inclusive of buffet breakfast. The Plaza Hotel Lucchesi, an elegant hotel said to be one of the most charming in Florence, has long been a fixture of Florence's celebrated skyline. The Hotel Lucchesi has an elegant interior with acres of marble, polished mahogany and masses of fresh flowers. As you promenade along the banks of the River Arno and gaze at this most typical of palazzo-style hotels, you may congratulate yourself on an excellent choice for your stay in Florence. Reward yourself with a glass of champagne and a meal in the hotel's superb restaurant.

Breakfast

Hotel Plaza Lucchesi- Classic Room

Day 4: Florence

This morning meet your English-speaking guide for a half-day walking tour of Florence (4-hours). Today your guide will introduce you to the Renaissance city of Florence: your tour will include a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's David.

Hidden Gem: Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. We suggest you independently visit the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. This historical Antica Farmacia dates back to the Dominican friars who in 1221 settled in Florence and was officially founded in 1612. Walking through the discrete door on Via Della Scala, just off the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, one takes a step back in time and is immediately immersed in the scents of the pas and present day. Many of the Officina's preparations are historically renowned: the essences, as well as the famous and much requested perfumes, are still prepared to a large extent following the formulas studied in 1500 for Caterina de Medici. Here you can have your own personal scent mixed for you!

Breakfast

Hotel Plaza Lucchesi- Classic Room

Day 5: Florence

Today you will be free to explore Florence on your own, or perhaps take one of these optional excursions. Note: the optional tours are not included in your tour cost.

Optional tour # 1: Siena & San Gimignano: Enjoy a full day excursion (8 hours) to San Gimignano and Siena with your private vehicle and English-speaking driver. Your first stop will be the picturesque medieval town of San Gimignano, known for its surviving towers, where you will be at leisure to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Collegiata containing 15th century frescoes, the Palazzo del Popolo, now the municipal museum containing Renaissance paintings, and the church of Sant'Agostino.

Continue on to the Tuscan town of Siena where you will meet a local English-speaking guide for a 3-hour walking tour. Siena was built on three hills and is enclosed by a set of walls and gates. Visit the Piazza del Campo, one of the finest main squares in Italy. See the Palazzo Pubblico, which has served as Siena's Town Hall since the 1300's, and visit Siena's Duomo considered to be one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Italy with unforgettable frescoes in the Piccolomini Library.

Optional tour # 2: Pisa. This morning meet your English-speaking driver for a half-day sightseeing tour by private vehicle to Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, meet your local English-speaking guide for a two-hour walking tour, which will include the Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous leaning tower. After lunch at leisure (not included) you will be transferred back to your hotel in Florence.

Breakfast

Hotel Plaza Lucchesi- Classic Room

Day 6: Florence- Rome

This morning let your private chauffeur transfer you to the Florence train station and begin your rail journey. Here you will be shown to your pre-reserved standard class seating.

Upon arrival at the Rome railway station you will be met by your English-speaking driver and English-speaking guide for a half-day sightseeing tour of Classical Rome. Visit some of the famous fountains such as Nicola Selvi's spectacular Trevi Fountain, immortalized in Fellini's film La Dolce Vita and Bernini's impressive sculptures in the theatrical Piazza Navona, once a Roman racetrack. You will also visit the Pantheon, originally a Roman temple to the gods, more recently a church with an awe-inspiring dome

Rome grew to rule a vast empire and as that empire began to divide, the region became the center of the Christian world. Artists and architects flocked to work for the popes and their families, notably in the Renaissance and Baroque periods when some magnificent architectural works were created. The legacy of this uninterrupted history can be seen all over the city and surrounding area.

You will be confirmed for three nights at the Hotel Piranesi in a Classic Room, including buffet breakfast daily. Located in Via del Babuino close by the Spanish Steps, the Hotel Piranesi is situated inside the ancient Palazzo Nainer. The building was redesigned at the beginning of the 19th century by the famous architect Valadier and has since been completely remodeled to maintain its original structure while offering all modern comforts. The hotel rooms, lounges and common areas are furnished with elegant pieces of furniture that have been refurbished with a splendid selection of fabrics from a private collection belonging to the building's owners. The hotels 19 rooms and 11 suites feature parquet floors and marble bathrooms- some with small balconies. The hotel features a well-equipped fitness room, a sauna and massage rooms run by staff members qualified in shiatsu, reflexology, lymph drainage and aromatherapy.

Breakfast

Hotel Piranesi- Classic Room

Day 7: Rome

This morning you will be met by your driver and private vehicle and escorted to the Vatican City where you will be met by your local English-speaking guide for a half-day sightseeing tour (4 hours).

Created as a result of the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between Pope Pius XCI and the Italian government, the Vatican is the smallest independent state.

Explore the treasures of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel with its famous frescoes by Michelangelo. Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the dominant structure of the Vatican that was erected on order by Constantine, over the tomb of the crucified St. Peter. The present structure is mostly Renaissance and Baroque, formed under the hands of such masters as Michelangelo, and the inside is an elaborate and detailed display of marble, mosaic, gilt and bronze.

The afternoon is at leisure.

Breakfast

Hotel Piranesi- Classic Room

Day 8: Rome

Meet your guide at your hotel and start a walking tour to the characteristic quarter of Trastevere; you reach Trastevere with your guide on foot so you can admire the beauty and charm of typical Roman everyday life. At the end of the tour you may wish to relax in a typical café with a cappuccino and see the world go by. The walk to and from the hotel is about 20 minutes.

Breakfast

Hotel Piranesi- Classic Room

Day 9: Depart Rome

Today you will be privately transferred to the Rome airport.

Breakfast

Departures

Depart any day! Contact an iExplore Adventure Consultant for details.

Pricing Information

2011 Prices:

January 3 to February 5; February 20 to March 26; November 6 to December 29:

$4,669 per person double occupancy.

$3,249 per person double occupancy, based on four people traveling together.

$7,949 solo traveler.

February 6 to 19; March 27 to April 2; July 17 to September 3:

$4,999 per person double occupancy.

$3,969 per person double occupancy, based on four people traveling together.

$8,869 solo traveler.

April 3 to July 16; September 4 to November 5:

$5,469 per person double occupancy.

$4,159 per person double occupancy, based on four people traveling together.

$9,529 solo traveler.

* Holiday surcharges may apply.

Prices for your dates of travel may vary- please contact iExplore for an exact quote. Quoted prices are based on current rates of exchange, tariffs and taxes as of October, 2010. iExplore reserves the right to increase tour prices to cover increased costs, tariffs and taxes received after prices are published, and to reflect fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. iExplore is under no obligation to give breakdown costs involved in any package.

Inclusions:

· Accommodations in a Double Room at the Hotel Violino d'Oro, Venice.

· Accommodations in a Classic Room at the Hotel Lucchesi, Florence.

· Accommodations in a Classic Room at the Hotel Piranesi, Rome.

· Breakfast each day.

· The services of a customer service representative upon your arrival in Venice.

· Services of an English-speaking guide where listed.

· Tickets for the Vaporetto from the Venice Airport to Venice Hotel.

· Private transportation with Mercedes E Class or similar for 1-2 passengers: deluxe 8-seater minibus or similar vehicle for 3-4 passengers. Please note the vehicle provided allows for two pieces of luggage per person. For additional luggage, larger vehicles can be provided for a supplementary cost.

· Standard Class train tickets from Venice to Florence, and Florence to Rome.

· Stated entrance fees on excursions.

· All taxes.

· Welcome pack (one per room).

· 24 hour emergency contact service

Exclusions:

· All air travel and related costs.

· All meals and beverages, other than breakfast.

· Tips and gratuities.

· Porterage.

· Entrance fees to non-stated sites.

· Any/all items of a personal nature (phone calls, room service, etc.).

· Holiday Surcharges.

· Cost of a visa, if required.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes