The Magnificent South & Flavors of Tuscany*

Siena, Tuscany, Italy Puglia, Italy Pisa, Italy Liguria, Italy BOOK NOW!

$2,209

Departures from April 29, 2017 – Oct. 14, 2017

Semi-Escorted Tour: 13 Days/ 11 Nights

*Featuring a full-day tour of the Cinque Terre in Liguria

Puglia is located in the southeastern part of Italy known as “the heel.” It’s not only well-known for its nature, but also for its fertile countryside. Many come for the glorious food (locally grown figs, olives, almonds, and grapes, and just-caught seafood), the hill towns, and tiny fishing villages that feel caught in time, and, of course, the climate, which while heavenly in summer is mild year-round. Museums, art, culture, history!  Visit San Gimignano, a splendid example of a Tuscan medieval town now declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Castellana Caves,  Alberobello, Lecce, Gallipoli, Ostuni,  Matera, Sorrento, Montepulciano, Pienza, Siena, San Gimignano, Tavelnelle, Pisa, La Spezia, Portovenere, Cinque Terre, Montecarlo di Lucca

ITINERARY:

Note: First day of tour is your departure date from the USA. Actual tour in Italy begins the next day.

Day 1: Saturday
Departure from USA to Italy – with your own purchased airline tickets.
Day 2: SundayArrival in Rome
Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival in Rome’s Fiumicino airport please proceed through the Passport Control and collect your luggage inside the customs area. Transfer on your own to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the Eternal City. Optional private transfer is available. Overnight in Rome.
Day 3: Monday — Rome/Naples/Pompeii/Sorrento
After an early breakfast, meet your multilingual tour leader at 7:30 a.m. at the Gartour sightseeing office for you departure to Naples by coach. Hotel pick up may also be available from 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. Upon arrival in Naples our local guide will take you for a walking tour of the historical center to admire Piazza del Plebiscito, Royal Palace, Gallery of Umberto I, and the San Carlo Opera House. From Naples, continue to Pompeii, and enjoy a short visit to a coral and cameo factory. Lunch is in a typical Restaurant, followed by a visit of the excavations of this ancient Roman city which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvio in 79 b.C. and buried under 4 to 6 meters of ash and stones. Proceed to Sorrento, a charming town of the Sorrentine Peninsula famous for the cultivation of Oranges, Lemons and Olives trees. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Sorrento.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4: Tuesday — Sorrento/
Capri/Sorrento
American buffet breakfast at the hotel and departure at 8.00 a.m. to the island of Capri. You will board the ferry and arrive in Marina Grande. Once on the island, you will visit the Blue Grotto (weather permitting), the Augustus Gardens and stop at the famous “Piazzetta”. A Minibus will take you up to Anacapri. After lunch in Anacapri, you will return to Marina Grande where you will board the ferry for your transfer back to Sorrento. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Sorrento.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5: Wednesday — Sorrento/Castellana Caves/Alberobello (Trullli)
Depart at 7.30 a.m. for Apulia. Along the way you will visit the Castellana Caves discovered in 1938. The Grottos of Castellana are one of the most important attractions of Puglia and a natural heritage of inestimable value to Italy. The tour winds along a distance of 3 km. A unique guided tour of the caves to more than 60 meters deep in an amazing scenario made of stalactites, stalagmites, concretions, incredible shapes, fossils, canyons and caves with fantastic names; calcifications from conformations and amazing colors solicit the imagination of children and adults. Time at leisure for lunch. After the visit to the Caves, will continue our journey to Alberobello the town of the “Trulli” which is part of the Unesco Heritage list. The trulli are typical houses with a cone roof, used as homes and to store farmer utensils. Here you will enjoy wine tasting in a local wine cellar.  Proceed to Castellana Caves.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Castellana Grotte.
(Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 6: Thursday — Castellana Caves/Lecce/Gallipoli/Ostuni/Castellana Caves
After breakfast depart for Lecce famous for its baroque arts & architecture developed between the end of the XVI century and the first half of the XVII century. During the tour you will admire the rich and beautiful decoration of the St. Oronzo church, the basilica of Santa Croce and the Celestini palace and the roman amphitheatre. The tour will continue to Gallipoli, from the Greek Kallipolis meaning beautiful city, a fishing village on the coast in southern Italy’s Puglia region. Gallipoli is an old town built on a limestone island and linked to the mainland by a 16th century bridge. Its harbors are used by fishing boats and there’s plenty of fresh seafood. Free time for lunch and proceed to the village of Ostuni, also called “white town” because of its white walls and white painted houses. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Castellana Grotte.
(Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 7: Friday — Castellana Caves/Matera/Rome
Buffet breakfast at the hotel and departure to Matera. This town, internationally known for the “Sassi” (stones), originated from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and is suspected to be one of the first settlements in Italy. The Sassi are houses built into the rock itself, which is characteristic of the Basilicata & Apulia regions. One of the peculiarities of this ancient city is that there is a great similarity with the ancient sites in and around Jerusalem. This caught the eye of film directors and movie studios and the Sassi were the set of various films such as “The Gospel according to St. Matthew”(Pasolini 1964), “King David” (Bruce Beresford 1985), “The Passion of the Christ” (Gibson 2004) and the “Nativity story” (Hardwicke 2006). Matera is also part of the Unesco Heritage List. Time for a snack in Matera and return via Pompeii where you will board a bus to Rome. Overnight in Rome.
(Breakfast)
Day 8: Saturday — Rome
Enjoy this full-day at leisure or take one of our optional tours to discover the ancient and modern aspects of this cosmopolitan city; stop in Trastevere to try the local cuisine, sit outside a café on the elegant Via Veneto or maybe shop in the fashionable Via Condotti or visit the Trevi Fountain. Walk along the Forum and visit the Colesseum, the most famous monument of ancient Rome an impressive testament to its glorious past and greatness. Overnight in Rome.
(Breakfast)
Day 9: Sunday — Rome/Montepulciano/Pienza/Siena
After an early breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel at 7:30 a.m. Meet your multilingual tour leader and start a delightful trip through the rolling hills of the Chianti Region. Arrive at the hilltop town of Montepulciano, an ancient village rich of medieval and Renaissance buildings, famous for producing one of the oldest wines of Italy, the “Nobile di Montepulciano”. You will stop for a visit to a wine cellar and experience a tasting of wines and local products like ham, cheese, and salami. Proceed to Pienza, the Renaissance town built under Pope Pius II and also well-known for its pecorino cheese. The tour will then proceed to Siena, where you will enjoy a visit to the old city centre. You will be walking along the medieval streets admiring splendid palaces. The sightseeing tour will end in the Piazza del Campo with its spectacular Cathedral. This is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and site of the famous 600-year old horse-race, called “Il Palio”. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Siena.
(Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 10: Monday — Siena/San Gimignano/ Tavernelle/ Chianti Area/Pisa/La Spezia
After breakfast at the hotel, departure for San Gimignano, a tiny city that has remained intact through the centuries; situated on a hilltop and famous for its numerous towers, frescoes and other art treasures. You will then proceed to Tavernelle Val di Pesa located within the Chianti Classico “Gallo Nero” region, where we will make a stop at the farmhouse La Tancia to enjoy an excellent wine tasting with light lunch. The tour continues to Pisa where you will have free time to explore. In the early afternoon, our expert tour leader will take you for a pleasant walk in the historical center.  See  the Piazza dei Miracoli, with its famous Leaning Tower (exterior visit), The Baptistery (exterior visit) and other beautiful monuments. Proceed to La Spezia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in La Spezia.
(Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 11: Tuesday — La Spezia/Portovenere/Golfo dei Poeti/Cinque Terre/La Spezia
After breakfast, depart by boat for an unforgettable day dedicated to the discovery of one of the most amazing and enchanting landscape in the World. The five villages, “Cinque Terre” is an area suspended between sea and land, hanging from sheer cliffs surrounded by hills and vineyards. You will enter into a little piece of heaven. By touring the coast line by boat, you will have the possibility to admire this amazing landscape from the seaside*, like in a postcard. (*In the event of rough sea, the visit will be done partly by coach and partly by train.) During the tour, the boat will reach Portovenere and the most important villages. You will be able to stop at Portovenere, Vernazza, and Monterosso and visit them at leisure.
Portovenere: on the Gulf of Poets, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its picturesque harbor is lined with brightly colored houses, while narrow medieval streets lined with shops lead up the hill from the ancient city gate to the castle.
Riomaggiore: c
aught between two steep terraced hills descending in steep cliffs to the sea, the ancient village of Riomaggiore strikes visitors with its delight- fully colored houses built vertically.
Manarola:
built on a high rock 70 metres above sea level, is one of the most charming and romantic villages. The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multicolored houses facing the sea, and a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants.
Corniglia:
an ancient Roman village that has a long and rich agricultural tradition. The village is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces. Its architecture is closer to that of a rural inland village than that of a coastal village.
Vernazza:
this small fishing village is probably the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce among the finest olive oil in the country.
Monterosso: the largest of the five coastal villages. Its amazing beaches, its beautiful reefs and the sea’s crystal clear waters, make this small village one of the most hospitable of the Ligurian Riviera. Board the train from Monterosso and arrive in La Spezia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in La Spezia.
(Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 12: Wednesday — LaSpezia/Carrara (Marble Caves)/Montecarlo di Lucca/Rome
After breakfast at the hotel, the tour will take you to Carrara for a visit of the impressive marble quarries carved deep into the mountain. This is where Michelangelo took the raw material to create his superb masterpieces.
Continue to Montecarlo di Lucca, a lovely town located in the hills around Lucca. This territory is ideal for the production of top quality wine and extra virgin olive oil. We will stop and visit a farmhouse where the owners will have you taste delicious Tuscan food specialities, from olive oil to cheese, from bread to wine and of course pasta, which you will taste with different wines. Proceed to Rome and arrival in the evening. Overnight in Rome.
(Breakfast)
Day 13: Thursday– Rome/U.S.A.
After breakfast transfer to the Airport in Rome for your return flight home.
(Breakfast)

Includes:

  • Hotel accommodations in 4* hotels for eleven nights (Rome-4 nights, Sorrento-2 nights, Castellana Grotte-2 nights, Siena-1 night, La Spezia-2 nights, ) based on two people sharing a double room.
  • Buffet breakfast daily.
  • 2 lunches.
  • 7 dinners.
  • 3 wine tastings with local products.
  • Full-day excursion to Pompeii.
  • Full-day excursion to Capri.
  • Visit of the Blue Grotto (weather permitting).
  • Boat tour along the enchanting Cinque Terre coastline.
  • Train from Monterosso to La Spezia.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Air conditioned bus as per itinerary.
  • Services of a multilingual tour director.
  • Taxes and service charges.

Does not include:

  • Round-trip air transportation from USA or Canada to Italy.
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Italy.
  • Porterage at airports.
  • Beverages and meals not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tips and optional excursions.
  • Transit tax to be paid locally.
  • Travel Insurance.

Optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further while giving you the flexibility you want in a vacation. Click here for some must-see sights and experiences.

Hotels:
Rome:
Hotel Gioberti (4*) or similar
Via Gioberti, 20
00185 Roma
http://www.hotelgioberti.it/
Sorrento:
Grand Hotel Vesuvio
(4 *) or similar
Via Nastro Verde 7,
 80067 Sorrento
http://www.vesuviosorrento.com/
Castellana Grotte (4*) or similar
Hotel Semiramide Palace 
Via Conversano, 157
70013 Castellana Grotte
http://www.semiramidepalacehotel.it/
Siena:
Hotel Garden
(4 *) or similar
Via Custoza, 2,
53100 Siena
http://www.gardenhotel.it/
La Spezia:
NH La Spezia
(4 *) or similar
Via XX Settembre, 2
19124 La Spezia
http://www.NH-Hotels.com/
Note — Should the tour not operate you will be notified 45 days in advance of your departure date. We urge you to purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of your entire vacation including any services you purchased from another agency.
2017 Departures Frequency Holidays Land Only Price Air & Land Price*
April 29 to October 14, 2017 Saturday’s $2,139
Note: First day of tour is your departure date from the U.S. Actual tour in Italy begins the next day.
**Price is based on 2 persons sharing a Double room.Prices are subject to change as a result of fuel surcharge increases or currency fluctuations. No changes will be made once final payment is received.
Single Supplement: on request.
*Air Fare is not included but discounted rates are available upon request.
Click here to view information on travel insurance.
For information on air fare, transfers or optional tours, please contact us: info@EuropeByChoice.com 212-400-7347

Please note that for operational reasons it may be necessary to substitute hotels and adjust itineraries due to local conditions.

To submit a reservation request BOOK NOW! Or call for more info 212-400-7347.


DEPOSITS/PAYMENTS:

We accept American Express, Visa, Master Card and Discover credit cards as well as checks as forms of payment. A deposit of 25% of the total price of the land services, inclusive of taxes and fees or full payment (depending on departure date) is required to confirm a reservation. Final payment is due no later than 90 days prior to departure. Airline tickets must be paid in full prior to issuance regardless of departure date. Ticket prices cannot be guaranteed until paid in full and ticketed. For full Terms and Conditions please click here.

Cancellation Policy
61 days or more prior to departure: 5% of package price
60-46 days prior to departure: 10% of package price
45-31 days prior to departure: 20% of package price
30-15 days prior to departure: 40% of package price
14-8 days prior to departure: 50% of package price
7-0 days and no-shows: 100% of package price

Tour operated by Gartour

TRAVEL TIPS:

Gratuities:
Tips to waiters, chambermaids, and to the Tour Directors, local guides, and drivers are not included. The following is a suggested guideline on tipping:
(a.) Euro 1.00 per person/per day for waiters and chambermaids
(b.) Euro 2.00 per person/per day for drivers and local guides
(c.) Euro 3.00 per person/per day for your Tour Director
Transfers:
Add transfers to your tour so you don’t have to worry about how to get to your hotel and back. Prices available upon request.

Transit Tax:
As of July 1, 2011 all visitors to Italy are required to pay an additional tourist tax for their hotel stay. The new tax has been created mainly to help re-build the ancient cities and is based on how many stars a hotel has. This tax may vary by city and can range from 1 to 6 Euro per person, per night, for a maximum of 10 consecutive nights. This must be paid by the visitor, in Euro, directly to the hotel at time of check-out. It will be presented as a separate charge from any other charges accrued at the hotel. (Children under the age of 10 are exempt from this tax.

Baggage:
Different airlines may have different policies. For information on specific airline policies, please check your carriers web site.

Air Transportation:
Air fares change often and vary by gateway city, season, day of week and seat availability. Our air fares will be quoted to you within two business days of your tour reservation and will include the air fare, fuel surcharges and government taxes as quoted by the airlines. You are under no obligation to accept our airfare quote and may elect to use your reward miles or your preferred airline. Typical airfares from New York to Rome varies from $1200 in March – May and September – October to $1500 in June – August but can change without prior notice. We highly recommend to reserve your seats early in order to obtain the best air fare.

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