12 Day The Heart of Italy

From

$4149

Land Only

$5009*

Air & Land

12 Day The Heart of Italy

From

$4149

Land Only

$5009*

Air & Land



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Friends & family

Featured Hotels

12 Day The Heart of Italy
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia - MGallery Venice
Bagni di Pisa Hotel San Giuliano Terme
Villa Olmi Firenze Florence
Relais Villa Monte Solare Panicale, Perugia
Hotel Mama Shelter Roma Rome

Click a Date to Book Online

Click a Date to Book Online

2022 Dates & Prices Single Supplement: $1150
Hotel Dates Embark Tour Starts Ship Land Only Air & Land
Aug 28  (Sold Out) $4749 $6019*
Sep 11  (Sold Out) $4849 $5629*
$4899 $5889*
$4149 $5009*
$4649 $5509*
$4399 $5259*

Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.


Additional Information:
Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.


Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.



Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Accommodation Details





Room 1


  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Additional Nights

Flight Details




Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Venice, Rome-New York
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
    • 2 nights Venice
    • 2 nights San Giuliano Terme
    • 2 nights Florence
    • 1 night Tavernelle di Panicale
    • 3 nights Rome
  • Italian city hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 18 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Wine is included with lunch and dinner
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
 

Tour Highlights

Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination and visit places that other tours miss.

  • Discover the island of Murano with its famous glassblowing factories
  • Experience an Insider's Venice Walking Tour that will take you "off the beaten path"
  • Walking tour of St. Mark's Square in Venice, with its extraordinary treasures and architectural wonders
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Lucca with tasting of local specialties
  • Marvel at the cliffside villages of Cinque Terre, "five towns" that seem suspended over the Ligurian Sea
  • Learn to shop like a native at the local market, and then travel to the countryside with your chef to prepare an authentic, home-cooked Italian meal
  • Celebrate the beauty of Florence with a walking tour through the historical city center
  • Stop in Siena, a lovely medieval city, known for its famous Palio horse race
  • Tour a vineyard and wine cellar in Umbria and sample some of the local specialties
  • Visit the Vatican Museum and Michelangelo's incomparable Sistine Chapel
  • Explore the grand piazzas of the Eternal City of Rome, jewels of Baroque and Renaissance architecture
  • Experience the monumental grandeur of this ancient city built on seven hills: the legendary Roman Forum & the mighty Colosseum
  • Visit the Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome, and the preserved Apartment of Princess Isabelle

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

Is This Trip Right for You?

This program is active. Walking is done over cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Expect most of the sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Many historical cities have specific driving regulations, with set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

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{{fromName}} wanted to share this vacation with you! Message: {{message}} Package Url : https://www.gate1travel.com/small-groups/small-group/2022/small-groups-italy-12dhit22.aspx This message was sent by {{fromEmail}} at Aug 20, 2022 at 1:42 AM

DAY 1, Sunday - Depart for Italy
Depart for Italy

DAY 2, Monday - Arrive in Venice
Benvenuti! Welcome to Italy! Arrive in magical Venice and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure in the city built over a hundred small islands and connected by 400 bridges. Venice is truly an artistic masterpiece. Tonight, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm (exact time will be advised on tour arrival day) with your Tour Manager to discuss the upcoming journey that awaits you in Italy, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Tuesday - Discover Venice
Your discovery of the endlessly fascinating Venice begins with a boat ride on the Grand Canal. View the Rialto Bridge with its busy market area, pass sumptuous palaces and hidden gardens before flowing into the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Murano. The island has been known for centuries for its famous Murano glass. Visit one of the glass blowing factories to witness this intricate art firsthand. Afterward, experience an insider's Venice walking tour that will take you "off the beaten path." Walk the small alleys to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest open spaces in the city, then onto Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the "marble church," a lasting example of early Venetian Renaissance. End your visit at St. Mark's Square, where you will view the beautiful Basilica of San Marco, the pink marble Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, with its famed arched profile that makes one of the most famous scenes of this Romantic city. Don't miss the optional Gondola Ride, definitely a different perspective of this unique city built on water
Optional: Gondola Ride (PM)
Overnight: Venice
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Wednesday - Lucca & San Giuliano Terme
Magnificent panoramas await you today. Travel through the rolling Tuscany countryside to Lucca, a perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture, with its winding streets showing layers of history on every turn; the massive 17th-century walls completely surround the city. Start with a tasting of local products in a historical shop before walking the narrow streets of the original Roman grid to the Church of San Michele and its beautiful piazza, which occupies the site of the ancient Roman Forum. After the tour, spend time on your own to discover this charming town. Continue to San Giuliano Terme for dinner and overnight
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Thursday - Cinque Terre
Today explore the spectacular Cinque Terre*, one of the most beautiful areas of the Liguria region. Here, five small villages, nestled in the cliffs overlooking the sea and the surrounding hillsides, are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the scenic coastline while exploring the villages and the beautiful vistas. This active walking tour covers a fair amount of ground and includes uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Trains and/or boats will be the means of transportation between the towns. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and spend the balance of your day at leisure
* Exact tour itinerary & operation of the tour is subject to weather conditions and will be advised locally
Overnight: San Giuliano Terme
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Friday - Tuscan Cooking Class
Food! Glorious Italian Food! Begin this fabulous day at the local market. Here, you'll shop like a native, following your chef's instructions to buy the fresh produce needed to prepare the most delicious Italian meal. Then, take your ingredients out to a farmhouse in the countryside. After a welcome drink, the chef begins the morning of cooking lessons. The basics include homemade pasta, local soups, homemade sauces, and the recipe for the famous Panzanella. All of the Tuscan secrets will be revealed, and using fresh Tuscan olive oil makes a huge difference in taste. Afterward, sit back, relax, sip a glass of great wine and enjoy your own creation! Continue to your hotel in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps head to the lively center of Florence and immerse yourself in its priceless Renaissance art and architecture
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Saturday - Florence City Tour
Today, take a guided walking tour through the heart of Florence. View the magnificent Duomo, with its Brunelleschi-designed dome, the renowned "Gates of Paradise" of the Baptistery by Ghiberti and Giotto's Bell Tower. You'll be enchanted as you walk through the open-air art museum of Signoria Square, with its Palazzo Vecchio, first residence of the Medici family and today the seat of the city government. Continue to the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the "Old Bridge". Florence is indeed the center of the world's finest art and architecture. During the optional tour of the Accademia Gallery* your guide will reveal the secrets of Michelangelo's world-famous masterpieces, such as the original version of David, I Prigioni, and San Matteo. Tour participation guarantees immediate entry to the Gallery, with no lengthy wait times. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Florence to visit museums, shop for gold and quality leather, or just enjoy the fabulous ambiance
*Optional Accademia Gallery Tour AM, US $49 - Available for purchase only in Italy from your Tour Manager and subject to availability.
Overnight: Florence
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday - Siena & Tavernelle di Panicale
Delight in the scenery as you drive through the Chianti area to Siena, a step back to medieval Tuscany. The heart of the city, Il Campo, was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is also the location of the centuries-old Palio horse race that takes place twice every Summer, during which the participants ride bareback around the spectator-packed square. Take a walking orientation tour of the town before spending time on your own. Later depart for Tavernelle di Panicale in the Umbria region. Tonight, dinner is at your hotel
Overnight: Tavernelle di Panicale
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Monday - Medieval Assisi, Umbria Winery
This morning, travel to the small medieval town of Assisi perched high on a hill in the Umbria region with its rugged, winding medieval streets and sacred shrines. Participate in a walking tour of Assisi, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its significant art and architecture and best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi - patron saint of Italy. Its main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica of San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of St. Francis and Giotto's astonishing frescoes; one of the artistic highlights of medieval Europe. Afterward, visit a winery in Umbria. Linger in the vineyards and visit the cellars before sipping the most famous Sagrantino wines while tasting the homemade local dishes. Travel through the green landscapes of Umbria, dotted with small villages before approaching the Eternal City of Rome
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Tuesday - Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Piazzas of Rome
Today, visit the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour! Your local guide will lead you into the museums, where you will explore part of one of the most important art collections in the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving at the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Stroll through St. Peter's Square, passing Bernini's famous colonnade to view St. Peter's Basilica, built on the burial site of Saint Peter. Then, a change of pace as you stroll through the characteristic "piazzas and vias" of Rome with your tour guide. Admire the baroque Piazza Navona, built on the site of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian, where great chariot races were once held. Leisure time for lunch on your own before reaching the monumental Pantheon, home of the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and one of the most imitated of all ancient works. Continue to savor the grandeur of the iconic Trevi Fountain, and of course, toss in some coins! Then, on to the majestic Spanish Steps on the Piazza di Spagna, the longest and widest decorative steps in Europe. Spend the balance of your day at leisure, perhaps grab a cappuccino or gelato and indulge in the national pastime of people-watching
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11, Wednesday - Ancient Rome & Palazzo Colonna
This morning visit the mighty Colosseum*, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that once seated over 50,000 spectators. Here deadly contests between gladiators and sometimes wild animals were attended frequently by the rich, the poor, and the Emperor himself. Continue on to the legendary Roman Forum, the central area of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate his tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. This afternoon, visit Palazzo Colonna, one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome. Its construction began in the 14th century by the Colonna family, who still reside there after eight centuries. The Galleria Colonna is a true jewel of the Roman Baroque style the construction of which required the expertise of Antonio del Grande, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Paolo Schor, and Carlo Fontana. During the visit, you will admire the works of Bronzino, Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Guido Reni, along with many others. Visit the Apartment of Princess Isabelle, located on the ground floor of the palace which was built upon the foundations of the ancient Temple of Serapis. Here, the Colonna Princess preserves the apartment formally used by Princess Isabelle exactly as it was when she was still alive. To conclude the evening, enjoy a dinner together to bid farewell to your Tour Manager and newfound friends
*In case of impossibility to visit the Colosseum due to unforeseen circumstances, you will visit the Palatine Hill instead
Overnight: Rome
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Thursday - Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Book Now!
Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Gondola Ride

One of the experiences of any Italian holiday is a Venetian gondola ride. For centuries, the traditional flat bottom boat has been a major means of transportation in Venice though its primary role today is to take tourists on rides. Gondoliers may seem like "rough-and-ready" characters, however they are actually highly skilled operators constantly working on the perfect balance of this watercraft. The profession, handed down from generation to generation, is regulated by a guild which issues a limited number of licenses to highly trained gondoliers to navigate the narrow spaces of the Venetian canals. Explore part of the Grand Canal as well as some other hidden minor waterways. The gondola holds a maximum of six passengers. Please note that this is not a private gondola ride. Your gondolier will indicate the seating arrangements to balance the boat and you may not be seated next to your travel companions. Though you may envision the gondolier singing to you, there will only be a musician aboard one of the boats in your fleet of several different gondolas.

Pick-up details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 30 minutes.

Day #3 01 Apr 2022 - 31 Mar 2024 $65.00
Gondola Ride Thumbnail

Know Before You Go
Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
Getting Ready to Go
Passports and Visas
It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has blank pages.

Trip Preparation
A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order. Make sure also that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip and carry them with you in case your luggage is delayed. Bring a change of clothes in your carry on bag in the event that your luggage is delayed or lost. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. You may also make a digital copy of your passport to keep a clear picture with the important details in your cell phone or digital camera photos. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Due to security reasons, many museums have restrictions on the size of bags that can be taken inside and backpacks, carry-on bags or large purses may not be permitted. It is recommended to bring a small shoulder bag or purse to use in these situations instead. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. We suggest that you place liquid containers into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.

Travel Safety Advice: The safety of our guests is Gate 1’s #1 concern. Before making the decision to reserve your vacation, we want you to be aware of potential situations which may impact your holiday. While most of the time our programs run precisely according to plans, on rare occasion force majeure events including weather, transportation mechanical issues, or uninhabitable accommodation, civil unrest and even criminal or terrorist activities will present themselves unexpectedly and with little or no notice. Gate 1 will make the decision to cancel a tour only after receiving verifiable government issued information. We are otherwise obliged to comply with contractual airline and vendor agreements and carry out the tour until or unless we are advised otherwise. In the event of such an occurrence anytime after your date of departure, Gate 1 and the local destination ground staff, in coordination with government advisories, airlines, hotels, cruise ships and other vendors, will make decisions with regard to your safety first. We strongly recommend that tour participants review the destination country's specific information at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html.

Travel Protection
Even the best-planned trips can be impacted by the unexpected. And that is why we recommend that you help protect yourself and your investment by purchasing Travel Protection for your Gate 1 trip. Travel Protection can help with medical coverage for illness or injury, trip cancellation and/or interruption, baggage loss, medical evacuation, and more. At any time before you complete Final Payment, you may choose to purchase Travel Protection. The protection plan premium is non-refundable after a 10-day review period. In addition, you must be medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid. For a summary of the plan details on coverages, benefits, limitations and exclusions, please refer to the Description of Coverage by visiting www.gate1travel.com/insurance/.

Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit (CFAR) is a non-insurance feature that allows you to cancel up to 72 hours before your scheduled departure for any reason not otherwise covered in the Travel Protection Plan. CFAR must be purchased at the same time as the Travel Protection Plan as well as within 21 days of the original booking date. Independent or escorted tour reservations will be eligible for a future travel credit equal to the full cost of your trip, less the cost of initial deposit, airline-assessed fees, amendment fees, and insurance premium. Sea or river cruise reservations will be eligible for a future travel credit equal to 50% of the cost of your trip, less the cost of initial trip deposit, airline-assessed fees, amendment fees, and insurance premium. All CFAR credits are valid for a period of two years from the original date of travel. CFAR Credits have no cash value and are not transferrable. Airline-assessed fees are generally $300 per person, but may be as much as fully non-refundable. Some non-refundable airline tickets may retain value, less airline-assessed fees. Your future air credit must be used to book with the same airline. Deadlines to rebook and complete travel vary by airline and may be as early as 12 months from when the tickets were originally issued (not the date of travel). For details, www.gate1travel.com/insurance/.

This program does not apply to custom groups and Antarctica cruises. Residents of New York, Missouri & Minnesota may purchase this Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit separate from Travel Protection. Call to speak with a reservation agent for details. This Cancel for any Reason Wavier Benefit is not insurance and is provided by Gate 1 Travel.

Cell Phones & Calling Cards
You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Additionally, if your phone can connect to WiFi you may be able to make voice and video calls free of charge. Please contact your cell phone provider for further details. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally. When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel's reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges. Please note that we are unable to provide compensation for phone calls regardless of reason.

Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another
When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code (often indicated with a “+” sign), then the destination Country Code, then the Phone Number. For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If you are dialing from a mobile phone, you can enter a “+” instead of the international Exit Code (011, 001, 0011 or 00) by pressing and holding the 0 key. For most countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and South Pacific, if you are calling from a local phone to a number within the same country, you should drop both the exit and country codes and then add a leading 0 (zero). Exceptions include Spain, Italy, Hungary and Malta (no additional zero needed to dial locally).

Example:
To dial the following number in Germany (as listed on your voucher): +(49) 0555-555
From USA or your US cell phone: 011-49-555-555
From another country in Europe: 00-49-555-555
From a German phone within Germany: 0555-555


WiFi Access
WiFi access has improved. Free or inexpensive WiFi internet is accessible at coffee shops, airports, restaurants, libraries and on some trains and buses. WiFi access in hotels and cruise lines often involves a fee, determined by that property. Signal strength is subject to local conditions and not guaranteed. Availability on cruises is also dependent upon its location while sailing through multiple countries. Please note that WiFi can be extremely slow, unreliable and sometimes nonexistent in developing countries or, on moving conveyances such as buses and cruise ships.

Staying Healthy While Traveling
All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal healthcare provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

  • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
  • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
  • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
  • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellent (for both active and warm destinations).
  • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.


Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

Consideration for Tour Participants (Escorted Tours)
For the benefit of all tour participants, we ask tour members to be considerate of their fellow travelers in the following ways:
  • Refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes and/or personal products containing excessive fragrance in respect for other guests who may be allergic
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes or cigars in the vicinity of other tour members, including in outdoor areas where smoking may be permitted but may still affect other tour participants
  • Avoid attire with political or religious messages that may offend other travelers
  • Respect your fellow passengers. Guests come from all walks of life and varied lifestyles. Please refrain from topics of conversation which might cause offense, such as religion and politics
  • Refrain from conversation or talking on mobile phones while commentary is in progress
  • Respect the mandatory seat rotation policy on the coach
  • Make use of the available hand sanitizer on the coach to support a healthy environment
  • Seek approval before taking photographs of other tour participants
  • Respect tour departures times to avoid delay and loss of sightseeing opportunities

Climate & Clothing
Italy - Spring and Fall: 55-75°F; Summer: 70-85°F; Winter: 40-55°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. The months of October through March are considered rainy season in Venice, leading to high tides and occasionally waters reaching pedestrian areas. We suggest including a rain jacket and boots on your packing list. On cruises, informal dress is the general rule though on formal nights, a cocktail dress for women and a suit or coat and tie for men is required. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

Italy Average Temperatures: https://www.gate1travel.com/weather/europe/default.aspx#italy-weather

About Drones
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or “drone” technology has quickly become affordable and is increasingly popular with recreational users. While some countries have clear, established drone laws, others do not, or existing regulations are undergoing review and change. Travelers who wish to bring a drone on their trip are responsible to research and abide by the laws and regulations of the countries they are visiting, as well as to check with their airline(s) regarding their rules for transporting drones. Please note that tours are unable to extend the length of scheduled visits and stops to accommodate use of drones.

Book & Film Recommendations
Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination - either in advance of their trip or while traveling - as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests' recommendations.

ITALY: Books
Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide by Tiziano Scarpa
Secrets of Rome: Love and Death in the Eternal City or Secrets of the Vatican by Corrado Augias
Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy or In Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Keith Goldsworthy
Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance by Paul Strathern
A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome by Steven Saylor

ITALY: Films
The Great Beauty (2013)
I Am Love (2010)
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Life is Beautiful (1997)
A Room with a View (1985)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

Preparing for Your Trip
Reconfirming Flights
It is not necessary to call your airline to reconfirm your flights. However, we do recommend that you check your airline’s website 24 hours prior to your flight to ensure that your flights remain on schedule and that flight times are unchanged.

Seat Assignments
As a courtesy service, complimentary airline seat assignments are requested on your behalf and, when available, are displayed in order of Passenger #1, #2 and so on. Assignments reflect the best available seats at the time of booking. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only; in which case the display shows “N/A”. Seats are subject to change by your airline(s) including, for example, when there is a schedule change or equipment change after your initial booking; this may cause seat assignments to be changed or even cancelled. Some airlines offer preferred seating for an additional fee; these seats may only be purchased directly from the airline. You will need your family name and the 6-digit airline “Record Locator” which is displayed with the flight details on your reservation. In the event that you change seat assignments directly with your airline, changes will not be reflected on your invoice or documents. At the time that Gate 1 travel documents are issued, the currently assigned seats will be listed based on the assignments stored in your airline reservation at that time. Should you have questions regarding your assignments, please write to us at www.gate1travel.com/contactus.

Frequent Flier Programs
Passengers are responsible to contact their airline directly regarding mileage eligibility and accrual. Airline frequent flier programs determine whether to award miles in part or total based on their own rules which are updated frequently. Some discounted or promotional airfares as well as some code-share flights are not eligible for mileage accrual. Some private airfares, such as a “Gate 1 Travel Airfare”, are not eligible for mileage or may qualify for reduced mileage, even if the same airline class of service is eligible for full mileage when sold as an “Instant Purchase” published airfare. Not all published airfares are eligible for mileage. Gate 1 Travel will record frequent flier numbers when provided by the passenger prior to travel documents being issued. However, the addition of frequent flier numbers to airline records does not guarantee mileage eligibility which is at the sole discretion of each airline. Airline schedule changes may result in flights which were originally eligible for mileage accrual no longer being eligible. We highly recommend passengers to provide their frequent flier account information whenever checking in online and/or at the airport check-in desk. After travel has commenced, it is often not possible to apply for frequent mileage credit. Passengers are also responsible to determine whether previously earned mileage may be applied to flights to secure upgrades.

Known Traveler Number (KTN)
If you have a KTN number, you are normally able to join the TSA security line for expedited processing at the airport. Prior to check in, you should go online or call your airline and add your KTN number to your reservation record. In most cases, you will then see the letters "TSA PRE" printed on your boarding pass. If these letters are not printed, you will not be permitted on the TSA line. Please be aware that some airlines do not participate in the program and therefore even if there is a TSA line at the airport, you will not be given TSA PRE status. Sometimes you may not be selected by TSA (even if you entered a KTN number) and even a minor name discrepancy can result in TSA PRE being denied. It is your responsibility to register your KTN number with your airline and Gate 1 cannot be held responsible for denial of expedited security. Note: KTNs are issued by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after completing a background check through TSA's PreCheck® program. Global Entry members may also enjoy expedited customs processing.

Luggage & Packing
Checked bags are typically limited to a total dimension of 62 inches by adding length + width + height (example: 26"+26"+10" = 62”), and a maximum weight of 50 lbs (23kg). Smart Bags with a USB charging port, GPS tracking device and other high-tech features are prohibited as checked or carry-on baggage unless the bag is made with removable batteries and the batteries are removed and stored separately. Many airlines charge for checked bags including flights which begin and end within the USA. The most inexpensive airfare options commonly known as Basic Economy airfares do not include any checked bags nor seat assignments before the day of departure. However, for some airlines, other airfare categories also do not include checked baggage. This will be clearly displayed in our airfare selection and on your invoice. Where available, we highly recommend selecting airfares which include at least 1 piece of checked baggage. Gate 1 Travel is not responsible for checked bag fees, excess luggage or weight charges levied by an airline. Checked baggage allowances displayed on reservation details and invoices reflect the applicable allowance at the time of booking but are subject to change by your airline(s). For your airline’s requirements and fees, visit www.gate1travel.com/baggagefees.aspx. For important baggage information, visit www.gate1travel.com/luggage.aspx. Avoid placing valuables in your checked luggage. Federal law forbids the carriage of hazardous materials aboard the aircraft in your luggage, your carry-on or on your person. A violation can result in five years’ imprisonment and penalties of $250,000 or more (49 U.S.C. 5124). Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Examples: Paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, tear gases, oxygen bottles, and radio-pharmaceuticals. There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your luggage and certain smoking materials carried on your person. Check the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) website www.tsa.gov to find out the current list of acceptable items you may bring on a plane before packing. We recommend that you use brightly colored luggage tags, straps or other identifiers to help you locate you luggage upon arrival or to describe it in the event that it is lost.

Carry on Luggage
Missed connections and lost luggage are more common than ever. We strongly suggest you use your carry on bag for those necessities you would miss if your checked bags went astray. Items to consider, but not limited to, are prescription medicines, eyeglasses, a change of clothes, mobile phone and charger, valuables (including jewelry and cash), passport, keys, insurance cards, local contact information. Refer to the TSA website for a complete list of items and their sizes which may be carried on board. We also recommend you bring a change of clothes in your carry on bag in the event that your luggage is delayed or lost.

E-Tickets & Advance Check-In
Review the flight itinerary included in your documents. Print and carry a copy of the air itinerary which contains the 6-digit airline "Record Locator" and e-ticket numbers. Advance online check-in is available on some airlines. If available, you may enter your name and 6-digit Record Locator or Flight Ticket Number at the airline's website, and print the boarding pass on your home printer within twenty-four hours of departure. You may check-in online, even if you plan to check luggage at the airport. Airlines without advance online check-in require you to present your identification and e-ticket numbers at the airport self-service kiosk or check-in counter. Paper tickets will be provided in the rare instance when e-tickets cannot be issued.

Day of Departure
Arrive On Time
Due to increased security measures, you should plan to check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time for international flights and two hours prior for domestic flights. Many airlines do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. It is your responsibility to arrive on time for all scheduled flights. Enhanced security procedures, including passenger screening, canine inspection, and inspection of personal electronic devices, have been implemented for all flights into the United States, and therefore security procedures may take longer than normal.

Check-In
If your flight itinerary displays a flight as “Operated By” another carrier, you should check-in at the desk of the “Operated By” airline. When you arrive at the airport, check the airport monitors for updated check-in desk listings. At check-in, be prepared to provide your government issued identification (valid passport required when traveling internationally) and your e-ticket itinerary/ticket numbers to the agent. Once you've checked in and received your boarding passes and luggage claim tickets, proceed directly to the security check. Security lines are often backed up and can take time to get through. Once you've completed security check, proceed directly to your gate and check the large electronic flight screens for your flight time and departure gate for schedule and gate changes. Airport desk clerks will assist with unexpected changes. Once you are in the gate area you can relax, shop or buy a snack before your flight.

Connecting Passengers
Passengers connecting from another point within the USA should check their luggage through to their final destination. Although problems with lost luggage have been minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,” and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your luggage, please verify where your luggage is being sent. When connecting between flights in major airports, you may need to pass through multiple security checkpoints. Therefore, we recommend that you proceed immediately to the gate area for your connecting flight to avoid any unexpected delays which may cause you to be late. Passengers returning to the USA may need to collect their luggage at the first airport of entry and recheck their luggage for their connecting flight.

Flight Services
Avoiding Jet Lag
In order to minimize fatigue and general restlessness caused by jet lag, there are a few steps you may take including switching to your destination time zone when you board the plane, by sleeping and eating according to the new schedule, avoiding heavy eating, caffeine or alcoholic beverages before or during your flight, and by drinking plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying. Try to sleep on overnight flights and then, upon arrival, avoid the temptation to nap until nighttime.

Airline Food
Unless you are a first or business class passenger, you will likely be treated to a pretty mediocre culinary experience. Reasons for this range from airline budget constraints to the logistics of high altitudes, low humidity and air pressure which tend to desensitize taste buds. Small galleys, tiny ovens and precooked food, plus previously mentioned cost-cuts in order to keep airfares as low as possible, add to some often pretty poor fare. Our suggestion is to stick to simple options, carry a few granola bars, and don't expect this to be your best dining experience.

Premium Economy or Business Class
Service may not be available on all flights or aircraft types, and therefore some flights within an itinerary may not include Premium Economy or Business Class seating. This includes, for example, some US domestic connections and/or short haul flights abroad. When service is not available, you will be accommodated in the best alternative class of service and seating. Please check your operating airline to determine the extra services you may receive.

US Customs & Immigration for Return Flights
In most cases, passengers with return flights that include a connection in the US will need to complete customs and immigration formalities in their first port of entry, requiring them to collect their luggage and check-in for their onward flight. However, there are some exceptions: certain airports in Canada and Ireland (Dublin), allow US Immigration formalities to be completed in the overseas airport at the gate area.

Foreign Domestic Flights
If your tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not included together with the e-ticket itinerary in your travel documents, you will receive those tickets at your destination from our local representative.

What to do if You Need Assistance

Whether you purchased your airfare from Gate 1 Travel or from the airline directly, please bear in mind that Gate 1 Travel does not own nor operate the airline(s), nor the airport facilities where they operate. At times, flying can be a frustrating experience, especially when things do not go exactly as planned, and airline explanations can be confusing or even misleading. Should you face a problem, remain calm and seek assistance either from the airline directly or from Gate 1. Please be aware that in most cases, on the day of your flight(s), airlines pass responsibility for your reservation to their staff at the airport and it is not always possible for Gate 1 Travel to intervene on your behalf, either through our reservations system or directly with your airline.

Emergency Assistance
The Gate 1 emergency line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call: 800 682-3333 or 215 572-7676. From overseas, call: 001 215 572-7676. Outside office hours, listen to the prompts, then press 3. You will speak immediately with a representative, or you may be asked to leave a detailed message including your name, your booking number, and most importantly the telephone number where you can be reached. Your message will be forwarded immediately to a representative who will contact you at the telephone number provided.

Last Minute Schedule Changes & Flight Delays
On the day of travel, check the flight schedule and advise Gate 1 by phone, 800 682-3333 or 215 572-7676, of any significant changes that might affect your arrival transfer or hotel reservation. Gate 1 cannot be held responsible for affected land services, including arrival and/or departure transfers should flights be changed without our knowledge. Gate 1 will make every effort to inform passengers of schedule changes and cannot be held responsible for changes in routing and/or the number of stops in the itinerary. Nor will Gate 1 provide compensation for changes or cancellations implemented by an airline.

Missed Flights
In the event that you miss your flight which departs as scheduled, for any reason, your airline will consider you a "no-show” and may resell your seat(s) to other customers. This will also result in the cancellation of any later flights in your itinerary. Similarly, if you voluntarily decide not to use any of the flights on your itinerary, the airline will consider you a “no show” and cancel remaining flights on your itinerary. In this case, please contact your airline immediately for assistance in getting you to your destination. Missed flights are typically fully non-refundable and you may be required to purchase new flights from the airline at your own expense. Once your alternative arrangements have been confirmed, please contact Gate 1 with your new flight details.

Missed Connection
If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, it's the airline's responsibility to make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Gate 1 has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed.

Lost Luggage
If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form must be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. Any cost to retrieve luggage will be your responsibility and you should retain receipts to submit to your insurance provider. You may be required to return to an airport to retrieve your luggage personally.

Arrival & Departure
Arrival Procedures
Upon arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases, you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the local representative who will be holding a Gate 1 Travel sign and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company's name and location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect with the Gate 1 transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Gate 1 Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher. If you are delayed due to lost luggage, phone the number on the voucher or have a companion exit the Customs Area to advise the transfer representative.

What To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed
Airlines do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, the better we can respond. Please refer to the Emergency Assistance instructions on this same document. Gate 1 Travel is only able to guarantee pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon you return home you will need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services.

Departure Procedures
If your program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your voucher or provided locally.

Transfers
Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel's front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.

The cost of a transfer is more expensive than hiring a taxi, as a Gate 1 transfer necessarily includes round trip service, or 'dead-leg'. Often the places of call (airports, seaports, hotels) demand entrance and parking fees, where drivers may have to wait for up to an hour. Passengers comfortable hiring a taxi on their own and do not require assistance will save money.

Venice Transfers - Most transfers in Venice are provided by water taxi (occasionally transfers may be provided by car). Only those hotels with a canal mooring can be reached directly. For all others, the water taxi will drop off and pick up at the nearest mooring. It will then be necessary to walk to your hotel. In some cases the hotel may be several blocks away. Some mooring areas cannot be reached during high or low tide, heavy rain, or storms. In this event, the nearest available mooring will be used. Since few of the mooring areas have porters to assist with transporting luggage, it is strongly recommended that you travel with one piece of wheeled luggage that you are comfortable handling on your own.

Venice Airport Link Shared Water Taxi Transfers (Airport to Hotel) - After claiming your luggage, take the left door to exit Customs, and keep left as you enter the Arrivals Hall. Should you miss the representative with the Gate 1 sign, go to the left passing the public waterbus ticket counters and on your left side you will see the BUCINTORO desk (Desk # 71) where you will exchange your voucher. If needed, luggage carts are available in the airport terminal. From the Arrivals Hall you will be directed to the dock, where you will board a water taxi, which will take you to the mooring nearest your hotel. Please note that since this is a shared transfer, you may have to wait a few minutes for other passengers to board. Also, please keep in mind that porters are often not available to assist with transporting luggage.

Printable Venice Airport map and directions: https://www.gate1travel.com/shared/italy/documents/venice-airport-arrivals.pdf

About Your Accommodations
Hotels
Gate 1 Travel has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard twin-bedded (two single beds) rooms with private facilities. Special requests such as bed types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability. Room selection in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the discretion of the hotel's management on a run-of-house basis. Triple rooms consist of standard twin beds or one double bed plus a sofa/folding bed or cot for third person except in the U.S. and Canada, where triple rooms often consist of two double/queen beds for three persons; where available, a fee may be charged by the hotel for the addition of a cot/rollaway. The number of persons accommodated does not dictate the room size. Although available at most 4 and 5 star hotels, the use of air-conditioning abroad differs greatly from the United States, and is often shut down at night and from the end until the start of the summer months. Some lodges and accommodations in remote regions may not have all of the amenities, such as hairdryer, alarm clock and room service, that you might find in a larger hotel located in a city center.

Hotel Check-in/ Check-out
Hotel check-in time is generally not before 4:00 p.m. and check-out time is prior to noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.

Rome City Tax - The authorities of Rome apply a city tax on all hotels. The tax requires a contribution of Euro 4 per person per night for 2 and 3 star hotels, Euro 6 per person per night for 4 star hotels and Euro 7 per person per night for 5 star hotels. It will be charged and collected by your hotel and is payable in cash only. We regret that we are currently unable to collect this tax in advance or include it in your price for customers who are traveling independently or who arrange independent pre- or post-tour stays on an escorted tour. This tax is included in the tour price for customers who are traveling on an escorted tour accompanied by a Tour Manager who is able to pay directly to the hotel on your behalf. Please note that our hotel ratings may differ from official star ratings which determine the tax level.

Florence City Tax - The authorities of Florence apply a city tax on all hotels. The tax requires a contribution of Euro 4.50 per person per night for a 3 star hotel, Euro 4.90 per person per night for 4 star hotels and 5.00 Euros per person per night for 5 star hotels. It will be charged and collected by your hotel and is payable in cash only. We regret that we are currently unable to collect this tax in advance or include it in your price for customers who are traveling independently or who arrange independent pre- or post-tour stays on an escorted tour. This tax is included in the tour price for customers who are traveling on an escorted tour accompanied by a Tour Manager who is able to pay directly to the hotel on your behalf. Please note that our hotel ratings may differ from official star ratings which determine the tax level.

Venice City Tax - The authorities of Venice apply a city tax on all hotels. The tax requires a contribution of Euro 3.50 per person per night for a 3 star hotel, Euro 4.50 per person per night for 4 star hotels and Euro 5 per person per night for a 5 star hotel. It will be charged and collected by your hotel and is payable in cash only. We regret that we are currently unable to collect this tax in advance or include it in your price for customers who are traveling independently or who arrange independent pre- or post-tour stays on an escorted tour. This tax is included in the tour price for customers who are traveling on an escorted tour accompanied by a Tour Manager who is able to pay directly to the hotel on your behalf. Please note that our hotel ratings may differ from official star ratings which determine the tax level.

At Your Destination
Eco & Sustainable Tourism
We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.

Gratuities
Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in local currency or US dollar equivalent where accepted. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional "compensation." There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience.

Suggested Tipping: Escorted Tours

Tour Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): US $10 per person per day
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage) : US $3 per person per day, US $2 per half day
Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): US $3 per person per day of sightseeing, US $2 per half day
Hotel porters and wait staff: Included

Italy - Gratuities are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists. Restaurant bills often include a service charge. 5-10% is customary for good service.

About Your Sightseeing
To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. Some buses are equipped with toilet facility, however they are strictly intended for emergency use only and often require the vehicle to stop for safety reasons before use. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument's view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Gate 1 will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary. To respect the privacy of all tour participants, your tour manager will not organize a group photo or collect passenger email addresses for a group list.

Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours)
Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Gate 1 Travel should proceed directly to the hotel for check-in. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.

Purchasing Tours Locally
On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see Gate 1 Terms & Conditions for more information. https://www.gate1travel.com/terms.aspx#optional

Independent Activities - Gate 1 itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Gate 1 is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses

Currency
We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you're visiting before you depart (except India). It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert dollars to the local currency. It's also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don't always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash, please note that exchange at banks is typically more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. However, bank hours are limited to Mondays through Fridays and sometimes only morning hours on those days. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller. In many destinations (except Western Europe), we suggest to bring between $50 to $100 in $1 bills which may be used to pay gratuities.

Italy - The Euro is the currency of Italy. Italian bank opening hours are typically Monday through Friday, 9am to 1pm depending on the bank. Most Italian banks do not offer exchange service. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to acquire a small amount of Euros prior to arriving. ATM machines are a better option.

Credit Cards
While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.
While most US-issued credit cards have the embedded microprocessor chip, there are still some that have the magnetic-strip technology. The “chip-and-PIN” cards require users to punch in a personal identification number (PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking garages, don’t accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other basic purchases prior to departure.

Shopping
Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities.

We have built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots. These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity to see first-hand quality locally crafted merchandise which you may not be able to find on your own. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and to stretch your legs. All shops want your satisfaction, and therefore in case of any misunderstanding they ask that you kindly submit your claim to us within one week of the item's receipt. Claims submitted later will be subject to each store’s policies.

While shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!

About Tax-Free Shopping
Tax-Free Shopping allows shoppers to reclaim the VAT (Value-Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) they have paid on their purchases in some foreign countries in accordance with restrictions and procedures as dictated by each country. Refund eligibility varies by country, but may require presenting a scanned copy of your passport at the time of purchase, a minimum amount spent, or providing original store receipts. For more details, check the respective country’s online website, with the shop salesperson, with your tour manager or at www.globalblue.com for specific country regulations and airport operation hours. Please keep in mind that you must apply for VAT refund in the airport of the country the items were purchased and allow enough time prior to your flight for the application.

U.S. Customs & Shipping Charges
You may carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility closest to you and payment only of the export duties; you would still need to collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.

Italy - Shops are generally open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., with some variations in Northern Italy, where the lunch break is shorter and shops close earlier. In the major cities, large stores and souvenir shops remain open throughout the day.

Italy is renowned for its fashion industry, with fine clothes for men and women, lacework, jewelry, and leather accessories. Other quality goods include ceramics, gold and silver items, alabaster, woodwork, embroidery, glass and crystal ware. Major credit cards are usually accepted, though cash is preferred for small purchases.

Your Safety is Very Important
Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit.

It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:

  • Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
  • Don't put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place)
  • Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room or on the bus as Gate 1 Travel is not responsible for any loss. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe
  • When possible we suggest traveling in pairs or groups when moving about independently
  • Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard to replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
  • Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
  • Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body
  • Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash

If you've purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Gate 1 Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Gate 1 Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.

Tourist Street Scams
Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:

  • Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
  • Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets;
  • Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
  • Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you;
  • Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket;
  • Don’t tip beggars;
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest;
  • Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items;
  • ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your card after you walk away;
  • If you are confronted, do not fight back - give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claims.


Caution: Tours of the Forum & Colosseum, Rome - Please note that there have been reports of street vendors wearing Gate 1 Travel identification tags who offer tours of the Colosseum in Rome. These vendors are not employed by Gate 1 and are in no way affiliated with the company. Gate 1 tours are offered only for purchase in advance of your trip to Italy, or locally by your Tour Manager. Passengers traveling independently are recommended to purchase their tours through official vendors and to avoid street sales.

Security at Major Sites - Please expect longer wait times at major sightseeing locations due to heightened security restrictions. These locations include, but are not limited to, the San Marco Basilica in Venice, the Accademia in Florence, and the Colosseum & Vatican in Rome.

Bags of any kind are no longer allowed inside the San Marco Basilica and large bags/backpacks are restricted from the Colosseum. We suggest you to carry only necessary items (i.e. wallet, cell phone, camera) safely on your body and leave all other valuables in the hotel room safe when visiting these sites.

Local Emergency Phone Numbers
Italy
  • Ambulance/Medical: 118
  • Fire: 115
  • Police: 112

Languages
Italy - Italian is the local language. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.

Electricity
Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.

Italy - The voltage used is 220 volts.

Code of Conduct
Italy - Family and social ties are, broadly speaking, stronger in Italy than in other Western European countries, and the Roman Catholic church retains a strong cultural influence. Common courtesies should be practiced. Casual dress is appropriate, but beachwear should be confined to the beach and poolside. Conservative clothing should be worn when visiting religious buildings, meaning legs and shoulders should be covered. While the cities are very safe, pickpocketing can occur. Avoid conspicuous expensive jewelry and be mindful of your wallet or handbag. Even though many Italians smoke, smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, public transport, cinemas and restaurants.

Food and Meals
As specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotel's or restaurant's buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although Gate 1 cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing at least 72 hours prior to departure at www.gate1travel.com/contactus. Terminology for dietary requests can vary from country to country and options may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you make your wishes known to your tour manager upon arrival, and at each hotel/restaurant.

Holidays
On public holidays, there may be reduced public transportation, as well as limited hours or closures of attractions, shops and restaurants.

Holidays - Italy

Holidays 2022

Jan 1: New Year's Day
Jan 6: Epiphany
Apr 17: Easter Sunday
Apr 18: Easter Monday
Apr 25: Liberation Day
May 1: Labor Day
Jun 2: Republic Day
Aug 15: Assumption of the Virgin
Nov 1: All Saints Day
Dec 8: Immaculate Conception
Dec 25: Christmas Day
Dec 26: St. Stephen's Day

Holidays 2023

Jan 1: New Year's Day
Jan 6: Epiphany
Apr 9: Easter Sunday
Apr 10: Easter Monday
Apr 25: Liberation Day
May 1: Labor Day
Jun 2: Republic Day
Aug 15: Assumption of the Virgin
Nov 1: All Saints Day
Dec 8: Immaculate Conception
Dec 25: Christmas Day
Dec 26: St. Stephen's Day

Please note that in addition, local feast days are held in honor of town patron saints, generally without closure of shops and offices. These include:

Parma: Jan 13-14 (St. Hilary of Poitiers), Aug 16-17 (St. Roch) & May 5 (St. Honoratus)
Catania: Feb 3-5; Aug 17 (St. Agatha)
Sorrento: Feb 14 (St. Antoninus)
Agrigento: Feb 25 (St. Gerland) & Jun 18 (St. Calogerus)
Como: Apr 2; Aug 31 (St. Abbondio)
Ragusa: Apr 23 (St. George)
Venice: Apr 25 (St. Mark) & Nov 11 (St. Martin's Day)
Treviso: Apr 27 (St. Liberalis) & Mar 27; Aug 1; Aug 22 (St. Augusta)
Baveno: Jun 19 (Sts. Gervasius & Protasius)
Matera: Jun 20 (St. John) & Jul 2 (St. Madonna della Bruna)
Florence, Genoa & Turin: Jun 24 (St John the Baptist)
Amalfi: Jun 27; Nov 30 (St. Andrew)
Rome: Jun 29 (St. Peter & Paul)
Siena: Jul 2 & Aug 16, Palio horserace
Taormina: Jul 8-9 (St. Pancras)
Palermo: Jul 15 (St. Rosalia)
Santa Margherita Ligure: July 20 (St. Margaret of Antiochia)
Lecce: Aug 26 (St. Orontius)
Naples: Sep 19 (St. Gennaro)
Bologna: Oct 4 (St. Petronius)
Trieste: Nov 3 (St. Giusto)
Montecatini: Dec 4 (St. Barbara)
Bari: Dec 6 (St. Nicholas)
Milan & Stresa: Dec 7 (St. Ambrose)
Siracusa: Dec 13 (St. Lucy)

Rome Bus Regulations - The Rome Bus Regulation introduced in 2019 restricts tourist bus access to the historical city center, including the areas near the Colosseum, Forum and Vatican City. In order to comply with these new rules we will determine the best way to reach the included sites according to your itinerary and hotel location.

Papal Audiences, Vatican City - Italy
General audiences with His Holiness the Pope are usually held once a week (Wednesdays at 11 a.m.) in Vatican City. They may be held inside the Basilica itself or in the hall of the Papal Audiences (Aula Paolo VI, Seating 7000), and in summer in Saint Peter's Square or in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Please note that Castel Gandolfo is located approximately 20 miles south-east of Rome, not in Vatican City.

Catholics are requested to have a letter of introduction from their parish priest. For this audience women should dress modestly, with arms and head covered. Dress should be dark or subdued in color. Men are requested to wear a tie and jacket.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
On rare occasions, St. Peter's Basilica reserves the right to close or restrict admission without prior notice. In this case, an inside visit of the Basilica may not be offered. While not guaranteed, we will try to accommodate the visit to St. Peter's Basilica based upon availability and schedule.

New Venice Visitor Tax Regulation - It was recently announced that the city of Venice will be implementing an entrance tax of 10 Euros per person for tourists visiting the city for the day. In most cases, the tax will be included in the cost of the transportation to access the city center, including cruise, taxi, or public transportation. However, there may be instances where visitors will need to pay the tax upon arrival. We regret that we are currently unable to collect this tax in advance. Due to the uncertainty of this new regulation the information above is subject to change.

13 Day Sweden & Norway, Scandinavian Culture & Fjords, July 2022
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Amazing! Sweden and Norway were beautiful and the weather cooperated for the most part. Our first Gate 1 trip in the books! Hotels, guides, activities were great. Will definitely use Gate1 again.

Sharon M.
13 Day Sweden & Norway, Scandinavian Culture & Fjords, July 2022
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This was our first Gate 1 trip and we were very impressed. The itinerary was great. A good variety of big cities, small towns and beautiful scenery. Daniel our tour director was wonderful as was our bus driver Werner. We will definitely do another Gate 1 trip.

Jill H.
16 Day Deluxe Israel with Jordan, May 2022
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Although I never received a request from you for a personal review for a recent trip (reservation 1797814 16 Day Deluxe Israel and Jordan), I feel compelled to write regarding the superb guides and bus drivers in both countries as well as the outstanding Gate 1 service and planning, beginning with pick up at the Tel Aviv airport and ending with Gate 1 support at the Amman airport. The hotels were superb, the meals delicious, and the travel arrangements between hotels, between tourist sites and between countries, were seamless. Kudos to the Gate 1 planning team, from initial reservation in 2019 and due to Covid, rescheduled twice! In Israel, Gabriella (Gabi) , our tour manager and guide, was a font of information regarding history- both historical/archaeological and the history of the state of Israel. She is extremely knowledgeable regarding the culture, religion and food ways of her country. Gabi is a master planner and facilitator, shepherding us daily through a rich itinerary, coordinating departures, entry times, lunch and dinner reservations, leaving us each day with rich memories of Roman cities, natural wonders, Christian holy sites and Jewish religious/cultural experiences. Gabi's ability to communicate her love and passion for Israel coupled with her empathy, understanding, concern, and care for the 20 tourists under her care made for wonderful traveling. Our Israeli bus driver, Aman, was outstanding, maneuvering a large bus in crowded cities with skill and humor. And across the border we were met by our Jordanian driver Mohammed, equally skillful and engaging. In Jordan, we were welcomed at the Israeli border by Ali , our charming and exceptional tour manager and guide. Ali's extensive knowledge of history, archaeology, Islam, and Jordanian culture, coupled with his engaging manner, ability to communicate and involve his audience, made our experience especially memorable and enjoyable. Our itinerary was was filled from sunrise until nighttime. Ali delivered wonderful lectures on the tour bus as we traveled from site to site and seamlessly planned and timed our visits and meals. Ali's concern for us, his wealth of information, ability to engage his audience, and the spectacular sites in Jordan all contributed to an exciting week of travel.

Deborah S.
11 Day Food & Wines of Piedmont, Liguria & Veneto with Cinque Terre, September 2021
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Our trip to Italy in October 2021 was just what we needed to break out of the COVID doldrums. We were somewhat hesitant to travel and waited until the last week before departure before we made our final decision. GATE1 did everything right in providing safe travel and even made arrangements for our COVID testing (before returning home) to be done at our last hotel. Our tour guide, Fortuna, made our trip so very enjoyable. She seemed as happy as the rest of our small group (there were nine of us) to be traveling again. Fortuna was especially adept at knowing how to pack in the most fun and arranged an awesome variety of experiences each day. We've traveled many times on guided tours but Fortuna was by far our favorite guide. She was skilled at keeping everyone happy and meeting our individual requests. Although we should have guessed there would be wonderful food on this trip, we were overjoyed with the multi-course meals we were treated to at each vineyard. And we sure learned a lot about grapes and wine! Who knew? Balsamic vinegar, rice wine and beer, grappa and awesome vineyards - all such a treat. We are so very glad that we went on this fabulous trip!

Cynthia C.
The Heart of Italy, September 2019
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This trip was fantastic, and far exceeded my expectations! Absolutely loved our tour guide Francesco, and local guides were topnotch. Great accommodations, too. Will definitely recommend this trip to others.

Pamela R. Nashville, TN
The Heart of Italy, September 2019
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Our trip was amazing!!! Giorgio was a fantastic tour guide and took great pains to ensure that everyone was happy ensuring all desires, no matter how big or small, were met. The hotel accommodations we excellent and the meals provided were very appetizing. The tours and tour guides were excellent and very knowledgeable of their area. They answered questions and explained everything clearly. I would not hesitate to recommend Gate 1 tours to anyone. It was a wonderful trip.

Rita V. Ithaca, NY
Cinque Terre, Parma, Bologna & Lakes, September 2019
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Oh my goodness, we truly enjoyed this trip. So nice to see places we've never been to. Our tour Manager Myriam was the best tour manager yet, and we don't say this lightly - we've been on 11 Gate 1 tours! She was engaging, fun, knowledgeable and really kept the trip interactive. We'd love to do another tour with her any time! The hotels and food were fabulous, especially Grand Hotel Miramare. Our bus driver Roberto was excellent. We honestly could offer no criticism. We're looking forward to our next Gate 1 trip!

Michael C. Ellington, CT
Cinque Terre, Parma, Bologna & Lakes, April 2018
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We had a WONDERFUL trip...We were very pleased with the chance to sample local cuisine and wine. We enjoyed the smaller villages and feeling more immersed in the Italian culture. The weather was perfect, seeing the Alps every day was a real treat. Riccardo's choices of where to eat, to sample wines of the region, or try a local food specialty, was very much appreciated. We will continue to explore Gate 1 small group experiences if it continues to follow this model.

Glen B. Eugene, OR
Italy, La Dolce Vita!, September 2016
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Enjoyed our trip, Georgio was an excellent tour director & organized our stay & tours well. He informed us of our schedules in a timely manner. The itinerary was great with diverse activities including tours of churches, palaces, winery & cooking session which we perfect. Liked the small group. All tour guides were passionate, knowledgable about their area & made it interesting. Walking tours gave us a good experience in towns.

Rekha G. Uppr Marlboro, MD