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Gems of Italy and the River Po

16 days with Insight  Rating: Deluxe

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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
 
Day 2 Welcome to Rome
Transfers to your exquisite hotel in the heart of the 'Eternal City' depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Relax and settle in before the evening's Welcome Reception. Meet your Tour Director and fellow guests over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. (Welcome Reception and Dinner)
 
Day 3 Sistine Chapel, Cooking in Orvieto and on to Perugia
Explore the Vatican Museums in the morning, where the hidden gems of the vast Papal art collection are unveiled by a local historian. Your special VIP visit includes fast-track entry and the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. View the imposing St. Peter's Basilica, the largest in the world. Next, head 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 with you his virtuoso cooking skills and love of Italian food. Delicious pasta fresca, combined with the local staples of olive oil, cheese, prosciutto and focaccia, make for a memorable lunch, all washed down with a chilled glass of Orvieto Classico wine. Continue to Perugia, one of the most beautiful centres of art in the whole of Italy. The evening is at leisure to dine or explore as you please. (Buffet Breakfast, Highlight Lunch)
 
Day 4 Perugia Sightseeing & Free Time
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, join a Local Expert to navigate the underground labyrinth of little streets, alleys and arches. Promenade the wide Corso Vannucci, resplendent in pale-pink stone, past the princely Priors' Palace, Cathedral and finely sculptured Great Fountain in the main square. Then, visit a workshop to see how the fascinating art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations. 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 handpicked selection of Perugian restaurants. Buon appetito! (Buffet Breakfast, Dine-Around)
 
Day 5 Assisi, in Search of St. Francis
(Relaxed Start) Journey on to the medieval walled town of Assisi. With a Local Expert, visit the imposing Basilica of St. Francis - its early frescoes served as an inspiration to Renaissance artists. Move on through the twisted groves that carpet the side of Mt Subasio. At a family-run mill, meet a third generation specialist to follow the evolution of the olive, from tree to table and relish the intense flavours drizzled over crusty bread with a splash of salt – delizioso! (Buffet Breakfast)
 
Day 6 Tuscany to Cortona, Siena and San Gimignano
Follow the shores of Lake Trasimeno to Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. After time to explore, move on to the narrow cobbled streets of Siena. Standing in the shell-shaped Campo Square, 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. Your home for the next three nights is a delightful villa near the medieval town of San Gimignano. (Buffet Breakfast, Dinner)
 
Day 7 San Gimignano sightseeing & Free Time
(Relaxed Start) Sightseeing in the morning shows you San Gimignano's medieval skyscrapers, serpentine streets and hidden squares. It also boasts the World Champion gelato Maestro Sergio Dondoli. At his artisan ice-cream parlour on the cobbled Piazza della Cisterna, the jaunty gelataio doles out his silky frozen treats in a range of mind-boggling flavours. The rest of the day is at leisure; you could take an optional trip to Pisa and Lucca. (Buffet Breakfast)
 
Day 8 Florence and Chianti Countryside Experience
(Relaxed Start) The morning is devoted to the Renaissance city of Florence. A fascinating walking tour with a Local Expert takes you to the marble-clad Cathedral crowned by Brunelleschi's dome. See the Baptistry with its beautiful 'Gates of Paradise' and Giotto's splendid bell tower. Walk on to Signoria Square with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculpture, followed by free time to shop for top-quality Florentine leather or seek bargains in the gold workshops. A delightful drive through the cypress and olive groves of Tuscany will bring you to Greve in Chianti, where you can taste the local produce and explore the artisan shops beneath the arched loggias of the triangular Piazza Matteotti. We stop along the winding Via Chinatigiana is Panzano in Chianti - originally a medieval castle, with its beautiful stone houses and Church of Santa Maria Assunta built into the remains of the fortifications. On our return, we visit a wine cellar for an exploration into their wine making process and enjoy a tasting. (Buffet Breakfast)
 
Day 9 Explore Venice
Descend from the Apennines before crossing the fertile valley of the River Po and continue to magical Venice, where the city seems to float on the lagoon. Wonder at the marbled expanse of St. Marks Square – the Byzantine Basilica, Doge's Palace and lofty bell tower. Later, embark on a romantic gondola ride through the charismatic canals while musicians serenade you with some of Italy's best loved songs. In the evening, enjoy a farewell Celebration dinner ‘alla Veneziana' with good food, wine and company in the most magical of settings. (Buffet Breakfast, Celebration Dinner)
 
Day 10 Venice and Join Your Cruise
Transfer to your Uniworld boutique cruise ship, the River Countess. Then, explore 'hidden Venice' - the back lanes and 'campi', small squares, where tourists seldom tread. Upon emerging into Piazza San Marco, the dazzling Basilica, pink marbled Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs stand as testimony to the city's former wealth and power. Next, enjoy a truly memorable experience - an exclusive, crowd-free visit inside the spectacular St. Mark's Basilica. In the evening, you're invited to the Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner. Note: It is not always possible to arrange after-hours visits to St. Mark's Basilica. If religious functions or festivities are taking place in the evening, we will visit during regular hours. (Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Welcome Reception and Dinner)
 
Day 11 Chioggia (Padua)
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy magnificent views of the Grand Canal as you leave Venice and journey South to Chioggia. Disembark and journey to the walled city of Padua to enjoy a walking discovery tour. Marvel at the ancient arcades and porticos of the old city finishing in the Palazzo della Ragione, Padua's historic city center, and enjoy a treat at a local cafes. (Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 12 Polesella & Ferrara
Spend a half-day in Ferrara, one of Italy's best-kept secrets and discover how the city became an artistic hub for the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Petrarch, amongst others. (Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 13 Taglio di Po, Chioggia, Venice
(Relaxed Start) There's no better place to indulge in Italy's famed frutti di mare than Chioggia, a colorful fishing village on the Venice Lagoon. Embark on a guided stroll through the town's bustling fish market before indulging in a fresh seafood lunch, bursting with the flavours of the sea. Alternatively, head to a casoni (fisherman's hut) to learn the art of mussel harvesting from local fishermen. You'll get to steam your own freshly gathered mussels in prosecco and enjoy them on the waterfront - a unique culinary experience. Later, head to the Sun Deck of your luxury ship to take in views of two more Venice Lagoon isles: sleepy Pellestrina, and Lido, home to the prestigious Venice Film Festival. (Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 14 Venice Islands (Burano and Mazzorbo), Venice
Spend the day exploring the Venice Lagoon and two of its most notable islands. Embark on a guided tour through the 'photographers paradise' of Burano with its enchanting colorful homes. Learn the history and importance of lace making, which dates back to the 16th century. Then go to the island of Mazzorbo for a very special wine tasting, as it is here where the time-honored and historical grape variety, Dorona, has been planted to yield the liquid Gold of Native Venice, Prosecco. (Buffet Breakfast, Dinner)
 
Day 15 Venice
Today, choose to experience Venice like a local during a 'Do as the Locals Do' walking discovery tour of the Dorsoduro district and the Rialto, the city's historic core. Alternatively, join an Art Historian for an in-depth exploration of the Accademia. Absorb yourself in the rich collection of works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Bellotto and Longhi to name but a few. This evening, celebrate the culmination of your cruise at the Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. (Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Celebration Dinner)
 
Day 16 Depart Venice
Disembark your ship and enjoy a private transfer to the Venice Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home. (Buffet Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES AND DINING
  • Rome: Gain VIP fast-track entrance into the Vatican Museums and enjoy a special private viewing of the Bramante Stairs before being confronted by the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Perugia: Visit a workshop to learn about the art of hand-weaving textiles.
  • Assisi: A Local Expert will explain why the Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the crowning achievements of medieval Europe.
  • Venice: To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococò palaces.
  • Venice: Enjoy a Walking Discovery tour of the city and an exclusive, crowd-free visit inside the spectacular St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Padua: Enjoy a Walking Discovery tour of this medieval walled city.
  • Polesella: Enjoy a half-day excursion to Ferrara.
  • Venice Islands: Explore the 'photographers paradise' of Burano and learn the history and importance of lace making. In Mazzorbo sample a taste of the liquid Gold of Native Venice, Prosecco.
  • Venice: Choose from a 'Do as the Locals Do' exploration of the city or visit the Accademia with an Art Historian.
ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
  • Perugia: Join a local expert to navigate the underground labyrinth of little streets, alleys and arches. Promenade the wide Corso Vannucci, resplendent in pale-pink stone, past the princely Priors' Palace, Cathedral and finely sculptured Great Fountain in the main square.
  • Todi: Explore the medieval streets and squares of this hill-top town.
  • Siena: Walk through narrow cobbled streets to Campo Square.
  • San Gimignano: Explore the many-towered medieval town.
  • Florence: Enjoy panoramic views over the city from Piazza Michelangelo. See the Cathedral, Gates of Paradise, belltower and open-air gallery of Signoria Square.
  • Chianti Classico Region: Drive along the scenic Chiantigiana highway and stop in the old towns of Greve in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti.
  • Venice: Cruise to St. Mark's Square by private launch. See St. Mark's Basilica, bell tower, clock tower, Doges' Palace and Bridge of Sighs. Witness hand made Venetian glass-blowing.
All This Included
Italy's most famous and best loved cities and regions reveal a treasure-trove of riches. This concise, yet surprisingly diverse and delightful itinerary includes 3 night stays in Umbria & Tuscany with boutique cruising in the Veneto. This is a combination of Insight Vacations Country Roads of Umbria and Tuscany and Uniworld’s Gems of Northern Italy.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS
  • Orvieto: Meet ‘Etruscan chef' Lorenzo Polegri, who shares with you his virtuoso cooking skills, followed by a memorable lunch.
  • Perugia: You are offered a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around evening. Choose your own ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
  • Mt Subasio: Follow the evolution of the olive, from tree to table, with a tasting at a family run olive mill.
  • San Gimignano: Meet World Champion gelato Maestro Sergio Dondoli and sample silky frozen treats in a range of mind-boggling flavours.
  • Tuscany: With an expert Vintner, savour the superb wines and enjoy a detailed explanation about the winemaking processes.
  • Venice: Your Celebration Dinner is in the heart of historic Venice.
  • Chioggia: Choose from a guided stroll through the town's bustling fish market before indulging in a fresh seafood lunch or head to a casoni (fisherman's hut) to learn the art of mussel harvesting from local fishermen.
  • Included Quality Dining – Land: 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Highlight Lunch (HL), 1 three-course table d’hôte Dinners with wine, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).
  • Included Quality Dining – Cruise: 6 Breakfasts (BB), 5 Lunches including one fresh seafood lunch and one delicious pasta lunch (L), 1 Captain's Welcome Reception and Welcome Gala Dinner (WD), 1 Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner (CD) and 4 Dinners (D). Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water.
ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR 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.
  • 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.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel WiFi.
  • 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.
Accommodations on this Tour
Rome: Romanico Palace
Perugia: Sangallo Palace Hotel
San Gimignano: Villa San Paolo Hotel
Venice: Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena
Cruising: Uniworld's River Countess
Notes
  • Itineraries are subject to change. Final itineraries will be available in Fall 2016.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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