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Italy

From the villages of Cinque Terre to Tuscany's medieval splendor, this is an adventure for those looking to indulge in all of Italy’s delights. Walk through grand piazzas and winding lanes, stroll the canals of Venice and float past villas on Lake Como. Marvel at the ancient grandeur of Rome and the renaissance masterpieces of Florence. Your tour leader will take care of the details so you can travel at a leisurely pace and appreciate the scenery, whether it’s sipping wine in Tuscany or sampling local delicacies in Florence's markets. Experience the best of Italy with other educators on this exciting GEEO program.


Itinerary

June 27 to June 28: Rome (1B,1D)

Arrive at any time on Day 1. We will have a group meeting at 6PM that you should try not to miss.

On Day 2, Orientation walk of the Eternal City before a free day to explore myriad options. Opt to tour Vatican City, cross the river to charming Trastevere, eat some gelato in Piazza Navona or swing by the Colosseum and Forum. In the evening, enjoy a true taste of Italy with an included Roman meal with some new local friends.

June 29 to June 30: Siena (2B)

Orientation walk and Chianti wine tasting. Optional visits to Torre del Mangia, Battistero, il Campo and the Duomo. Head out to take part in the evening "passegiata" and meet the Sienese locals.

July 1 to July 2: Florence (2B)

Evening stroll to Piazzale Michelangelo. Optional visits to the Duomo, the David, the Uffizi Gallery, the medieval Ponte Vecchio or the Medici Chapels.

July 3 : Lucca (1B)

Option to attend a Puccini concert, visit the Guinigi Tower and Museum, Palazzo Pffaner or hire a bike to ride around Lucca's city walls.

July 4 to July 5: Pisa and Cinque Terre (2B)

Half-day visit to Pisa. Guided walk along the Cinque Terre coastal path or take the train from town to town (national park pass and train pass included).

July 6 to July 7: Lake Como (2B)

Included day pass for the Lake Como boat. Visit multiple towns and villages along the shores.

July 8 to July 9: Venice (2B)

Orientation walk. Optional activities available include vaporetto ride to Murano and Burano, Accademia Gallery, Basilica di San Marco and the Doge's Palace.

July 10 : Venice (1B)

Depart at any time. We highly recommend booking post- night accommodations to fully experience this world-renowned city.

Detailed Itinerary

June 27 to June 28: Rome (1B,1D)

Unquestionably Rome exudes history: from its Catacombs that entombed early Christians, to the Colosseum where gladiators battled to the death and on up to the Palatine Hill, the traditional site of Rome’s founding. It is also home to the Vatican City, the home of the Pope, and St Peter's Basilica

The city is enthralling, with perhaps more to see than any other place in the world. Eating in Italy is deeply embedded in the country’s culture, and dining in Rome can seem to last forever and consist of many courses. The city offers a vibrant cafe culture and nightlife, as well as the many iconic sights.

Please note that if you wish to visit popular museums such as the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) and Villa Borghese in Rome, and the Uffizi or Accademia Galleries in Florence, to avoid waiting in line for a long time (especially in high season May-September when it could be a question of hours!), it is advisable to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets can be reserved online at various websites including www.florenceart.it or www.virtualuffizi.com for Florence and www.tickititaly.com for all. Please make your reservations for Day 5 of your tour, when you will have a free day to enjoy Florence. Most Museums are closed on Mondays (Day 3). There may be the possibility of arranging tickets on arrival on Day 1, with the help of your Tour Leader, but availability cannot be guaranteed at such short notice.

On Day 1 there are no planned activities until your Group Meeting that evening around 6 or 7 PM, so check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx 3pm) and enjoy the city. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting. After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and travelling companions.

Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.

On Day 2, you will have a morning orientation walk of the city and then the rest of the day free to explore the city. Opt to tour Vatican City, cross the river to charming Trastevere, eat some gelato in Piazza Navona and swing by the Colosseum and Forum. In the evening, enjoy a true taste of Italy with an included Roman meal with some new local friends.

PLEASE NOTE: All GEEO trips to Europe use public transportation. This means you will need to have luggage you can easily carry with you up and down stairs and walk with comfortably for 10-30 minutes at a time. We recommend that you pack really lightly and do laundry along the way. Sometimes you can have the hotel do the laundry for you, sometimes you bring it to a laundromat and other times the easiest option is washing clothes in your hotel sink. Please take a look at our packing list for recommended backpacks designed for this type of travel.

This trip has a rapid pace and the heat of the summer can make it quite exhausting. Please know in advance, that you will see a lot, but this isn't a relaxing vacation.

June 29 to June 30: Siena (2B)

We have a morning free in Rome, to give you chance to experience a brief taste of the Eternal City. You will have time for a visit to the Colosseum or the Forum, or a walk around Rome's sights, before our afternoon departure to Siena.

We then travel by comfortable long-distance coach to Siena and our twelfth-century hotel inside the medieval city walls.

Built on three hills and surrounded by well-preserved medieval walls, Siena is filled to the brim with fine examples of Gothic architecture. It has one of the world's most unique central plazas – the Piazza del Campo. This shell-shaped "square" houses the Palazzo Pubblico, the Torre del Mangia, and many other architectural treasures. It is also world-renowned for hosting the Palio, the famous horse race, which is an important part of Sienese identity, history and culture.

Siena's cathedral, the Duomo, begun in the twelfth century, is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque architecture. Its main façade, completed in 1380, campanile and baptistery make a fine group. Inside is the famous Gothic octagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisano supported on lions, and the labyrinth inlaid in the flooring, traditionally traversed by penitents on their knees. Within the Sacristy are some perfectly preserved renaissance frescos by Ghirlandaio. Beneath the duomo, in the baptistery is the marvelous baptismal font with bas reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th Century sculptors.

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Maestà and various other works by Sienese masters. More Sienese paintings are to be found in the Pinacoteca. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum.

In between all this culture, take a rest at a local café and enjoy some real Tuscan gastronomic delights.

Estimated Travel Time: 3.5 hours

July 1 to July 2: Florence (2B)

Travelling on a mid-afternoon local bus, we head northwest to the capital of the region, the inimitable Firenze (or Florence as we know it).

Florence personifies all that is beautiful in Italian civilization. It is the capital of the Tuscany region with a population of approximately half a million people. The fathers of Italian painting, Cimabue and Giotto lived here, along with many other prominent artists. It is the birthplace of the Italian language (Dante Alighieri) and Europe’s richest cultural period, the Italian Renaissance. Florence’s cultural and historical impact attracts thousands of international travelers each year.

In the summer, life in Florence can be found in the streets and squares. Outdoor cinemas, music, dance and theater enliven most squares every evening. Fill your free day with a visit to the marvellous multi-colored Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the medieval Ponte Vecchio or the Medici Chapels. Take a break at Piazza della Signoria with a gelato or an espresso before hitting the vivacious Piazza San Lorenzo to bargain for discounted woollen and leather goods. Florence has much to offer.

One of the evenings in Florence, we will walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset for the famous view over the River Arno and the city.

Please note that it is very advisable to book tickets in advance for both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries. The line-ups at these museums are always long and the time to visit them is limited. You can book online from home before you leave at www.weekendafirenze.com or by phone (+39) 055 294883 from Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm. If you are interested in purchasing tickets we recommend that you do so once your GEEO program is confirmed (up to 2 months before if possible), especially for the ever-popular Uffizi, and for any time after 11am on Day 4 or at any time on Day 5 of your trip. For additional museum resources you might want to refer to this website, www.firenzemusei.it, for more information to plan your day in Florence.

Estimated Travel Time: 1.5 hours

July 3 : Lucca (1B)

We take a local train to wind our way westwards to the beautiful little Tuscan town of Lucca. Here the day is free to get out and discover the city and its history. The best way to do this is to hire one of the hundreds of bikes for rent around the town and take to two wheels. Spin your way along the top of the stunning medieval city walls, zoom down into one of the many cobbled piazzas for an espresso and a revitalizing slice of pizza before setting off to take in some real culture at some of this little city's many palazzos, churches and towers. In the evening, you might choose to take in a classical music concert in one of the historic churches - don't forget that this is the birthplace of the maestro Puccini.

Lucca is a magical place surrounded by Renaissance walls and set in beautiful countryside. This classic medieval city has been well preserved over the centuries, and contained within the 16th century walls you will find piazzas, towers, and copious marble-decorated churches. Today, Lucca is one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany, a prosperity gained mostly through wine and olive oil production. This tranquil town is a fantastic place to take a gentle stroll, promenade atop the tree-lined walls or enjoy the gastronomic delights distinguished by the use of local aromatic herbs.

Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours

July 4 to July 5: Pisa and Cinque Terre (2B)

Today we head west again by local train, towards the famous Cinque Terre National Park, one of the most beautiful and famous areas of the Mediterranean. Human activity, in particular viticulture, has contributed to create a unique landscape, characterized by five charming villages perched on the rocky coast, the crystal clear Ligurian Sea lapping at their doorways, vineyards, olive groves and woodland towering up steeply from their backyards, and best of all, an extensive network of age-old footpaths and mule tracks awaiting your exploration.

On our way to the Cinque Terre region, our base for the next two nights, we'll stop off in Pisa. Leaving our bags at the train station we'll head into town to see that famous Leaning Tower. Don't miss the spectacular ornamental cemetery, baptistry and duomo (cathedral), which make up the religious complex of which the Tower is an integral part. We'll have a couple of hours to explore and take photos, have a panini or a slice of pizza for lunch, before we head back to the train station and on to La Spezia.

Please note, entrance to the monuments in Pisa is not included. Your leader will be happy to help you to buy entrance tickets if you wish.

Day 7 is our day for exploring Cinque Terre. Walking the entire coastal path (approximately 6 hours) gives you the best taste of the villages and countryside, terraced hills and vineyards sloping steeply down to the sea. Set out early with your tour leader to Riomaggiore and walk the whole coastal trail to Monterosso, or jump on the local train that links the villages for a less strenuous way of enjoying the area. There will be plenty of time for swimming, tasting the local wine and grappa, sampling some fresh seafood and watching amazing Mediterranean sunsets along the way.

Estimated Travel Time: Lucca to Pisa 30 minutes. Pisa to Cinque Terre region, 2 hours

July 6 to July 7: Lake Como (2B)

We set out from the Cinque Terre region on a train journey with a few changes en route, passing through Milan and on to the gorgeous village of Varenna, on the shores of Lake Como. Lake Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquility, a combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks.

On Day 10, we'll set out by boat to explore the lake and its many elegant villas and towns, such as Bellagio with its shops, restaurants and fine residences. Bellagio is located right in the heart of Lake Como. The town's location is often said to be one of the most beautiful of all Europe. Villa Serbelloni, owned by the New York's Rockefeller Foundation, sits above Bellagio, and is well worth a visit for its formal gardens. You could also visit Villa Carlotta, on the banks of the lake near Tremezzo, or Villa Balbianello near Lenno. There are also enjoyable walks to be had in and around the charming towns.

In the afternoon, there is plenty of free time for soaking up the elegant atmosphere in one of the lakeside cafés or instead take a soak inside Lake Como which is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours

July 8 to July 9: Venice (2B)

A final train ride east brings us to captivating Venice, one of the few cities in the world that can be truly described as unique. Over an extraordinarily long period, this "floating" city of water has been embellished with monuments of rare splendour that today make it a tourist attraction like none other in the world.

Wonderful museums such as the Accademia or the Scuola di San Rocco give us the opportunity to enjoy great painters of the renaissance like Jacoppo Tintoretto, Vittore Carpacio or Tiziano. For a more contemporary take, why not visit the fabulous Peggy Guggenheim gallery, located inside her former home, right on the Grand Canal itself.

While in the "city of canals", you can't miss out on a vaporetto (water-bus) ride along the Grand Canal. This is the best (and cheapest!) way to enjoy unparalleled views of the majestic palaces lining the water, the old-world shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza and Basilica of San Marco. There will be plenty of time for you to wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and wide piazzas, crossing the hundreds of tiny bridges and of course, getting lost in Venice's labyrinth - by far the best way to discover this city's captivating magic!

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours

July 10 : Venice (1B)

Depart Venice at any time.

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Western Turkey or Greece programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Trip Notes

All GEEO trips to Europe use public transportation. This means you will need to have luggage you can easily carry with you up and down stairs and walk with comfortably for 10-30 minutes at a time. We recommend that you pack really lightly and do laundry along the way. Sometimes you can have the hotel do the laundry for you, sometimes you bring it to a laundromat and other times the easiest option is washing clothes in your hotel sink. Please take a look at our packing list for recommended backpacks designed for this type of travel.

This trip has a rapid pace and the heat of the summer can make it quite exhausting. Please know in advance, that you will see a lot, but this isn't a relaxing vacation.

The orientation walking tours on this trip are often on cobble stone roads at steep grades and can last several hours in the heat of the summer. Feel free to opt out of these walking tours if you wish to as they can be physically very taxing.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places. Your tour leader will be able to help you find a local guided tour in each location if you would like one.

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email jesse@geeo.org if that link does not work)

You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs. Luggage space on public transport is limited so again, smaller is better.

Suggested Checklist

•Light windproof/waterproof jacket or umbrella
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for hot weather (We recommend packing 8 or 9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once)
•One pair of long pants (If you wish to visit St. Peters Basilica. Also good for cold planes.)
•Comfortable walking shoes (You will be walking a lot)
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo, some will have hair dryers)
•Watch or alarm clock
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
•Personal Electronics such as iPhone, iPad, MP3 player, etc.
•Camera
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (small denominations preferred, see personal spending money and FAQ)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight, you won't need it while in Italy)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Phrase books

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Italy is in the Eurozone and the unit of the currency is the Euro.

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros, traveler’s checks and cards is best. Avoid relying on traveler's checks alone as these are less and less readily cashed as clients use them very little.

Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Rome

Colosseum & Roman Forum (combined ticket) - €12
Vatican Museums including Sistine Chapel - €18
St Peter's dome climb - €8
Capitoline Museum - €8
Time Elevator - €11 (€9.20 child)
Techno Town - €6
Catacombs of San Callisto - €5
Pantheon – free
Borghese Gallery – €13
Roma Pass - €23

Siena

Palazzo Pubblico & Torre del Mangia - €5.50, €6.50 & €9.50 for both.
Battistero or Baptistry - €3.50
Duomo - €6

Florence

Uffizi Gallery - €6.50 - €10
Duomo - Free
Cupola climb - €8
Accademia Gallery - €6.50 - €10
Walking Tour - €25
Tourist Bus (hop-on, hop-off - 2 routes) - €20
Palazzo Pitti - € 8.50
Medici Chapels - €6

Lucca

Puccini Concert - €17
Guinigi Tower and Museum - €4
Palazzo Pffaner - €4
Bike Rental - € 3-5/hr

Pisa

Leaning Tower climb - €15
Cathedral, Baptistry and Museum - €12

Cinque Terre

Sea Kayak Hire - €5/hour
Scuba Diving - from €30
Boat ride - €7- €12
Sunset Tour in Traditional Style Sailing Boat - €82

Lake Como

Villas visit - roughly €8 per Villa

Venice

Venezia Concerto - €30
Gondola ride - €80-100 for up to 5 people
Accademia Gallery - €6.50
Campanile San Marco - €8
Museum Pass - €18 ( includes Doge's Palace, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Ca’ Rezzonico - Museum of 18th-Century Art, Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo, Carlo Goldoni's House, Ca’ Pesaro, Internazional Gallery of Modern Art + Oriental Art Museum, Glass Museum - Murano, Lace Museum – Burano)
Guggenheim Museum - €12
Clock tower - €12
Scuola Grande di San Rocco - €7 (ind. audioguide)
Vaporetto Day Pass (12hrs) - €18

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Other than daily breakfast, few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2,659 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$200-$350 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1000-$1700 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$42-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $60 USD (50 Euro) for your G Adventures tour leader.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow €400-565 for meals not included. (About $500-$700 USD)

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport Transfers

$30-$90

It cost about 50 euro to get a taxi from the airport in Rome to the our hotel. It will be closer to 12 Euro to do this by public transport. In Venice it is about 10 euro to take a bus to the airport and 16 euro to take a boat.

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals. In fact, in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.

• We try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

EU countries require that the participant have a valid passport that must not expire for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 3 months of leaving Italy, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans do not need a visa for travel in Italy. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee for this trip of $799.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each Participant in our programs is permitted to bring one friend or family members who is not a teacher. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

You do not need any vaccinations to travel on this program.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either use public transportation or take a taxi to get to the joining hotel (About 40-50 Euro).

If you use public transportation you will probably end up taking The Leonardo Express, which is the name of the train that will shuttle you from Rome's main international airport, Fiumicino, to central Rome's Termini station. A Leonardo Express train leaves every half hour in each direction.

Trains to Roma Termini Station start at 6:35 in the morning, with trains running at 5 and 35 minutes after the hour. The last train of the day departs at 11.35 PM
The train station is open 4 AM to 1 AM.
The train covers 35 km in around 30 minutes. Cost: 14 Euros
Tickets for Leonardo Express are available at:
- rail ticket office (railway station atrium)
- newspaper seller-tobacconist's (railway station atrium)
- self-service tellers (railway station atrium)

NOTE:
You must always stamp tickets in the yellow machines on the platform before starting your journey.

Closer to your departure we will give you instructions on how to get from Roma Termini Station to our hotel.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What are the hotels like?

It is important to note that accommodation in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Often downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but rich owners houses, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather "thin" walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.

On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.

Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in Rome at the start of the trip or Venice at the end, so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish.

We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. Just send a request by email to groups@gadventures.com with the dates you would like at least 30 days before departure.

What type of transportation do we use on this trip?

Intercity transport on this trip will mostly be by train and occasionally by local bus and Metro. The bus and train systems in Italy are generally good, with seat reservations and toilet/snack facilities on longer journeys. Keeping to schedules is notoriously not one of the Italian transport system's specialties.

Please note that you MUST be comfortable carrying your own luggage as there will be a lot of up and down stairs on this trip due to the nature of station layouts in Italy (very few are equipped with escalators or elevators). Between public transport and hotels you may be required to carry your luggage short distances (up to 15mins walk), in larger cities you may travel by metro or city bus, and occasionally the group will take taxis to and from hotels.

Do you recommend spending any extra days?

Answer from GEEO Executive Director:

"This itinerary only includes a day and half in Rome. We did this on purpose so you can see this amazing city at your own pace. In my opinion you will need at least three or four days to see the major sites of Rome so I highly recommend arriving early.

I would spend one full day doing the following: Visit the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Museum, Vittoriano and Trajan's market. All of these locations are close to each other and it is easiest to visit them in the order I listed.

I would spend another day doing the following: Arrive early to St. Peters Basilica to avoid lines (Like 8:00 AM), Vatican Museum w/ Sistine Chapel and Castle St. Angelo. Make sure you wear long pants and cover your shoulders for your visit to St. Peters. You will not be permitted in otherwise.

I would spend another day in the heart of Rome visiting sights such as the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Piazza Navonna.

Make sure you check opening times as many of Rome's sights are closed on Mondays. You may want to look online or a guidebook as there are many things to see besides the sights listed above. I found the OMNIA card to be a great deal. It allowed us to avoid the lines at St. Peters, the Vatican museum and the Colosseum. As long as you use its many features it should save you a lot of money too. The included unlimited open top bus is very handy for getting around the city as well as unlimited public transportation for three days.

We include one and a half days in Venice, which is enough time to see the major sites. If you have the time, I am sure you would enjoy having an extra day or two there, especially if you are an art lover. It is an incredible city to just wander around in. Make sure you get off the main tourist streets as Venice is much nicer when you get away from the crowds. Also, if it happens to be running when you get there, spend an extra full day in Venice exploring the La Biennale, which is one of the best contemporary art exhibitions in the world."

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Western Turkey or Greece programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

When should I purchase my flights?

Group 2 has not yet reached it's minimum required amount of participants to run.
This trip is confirmed Please feel free to purchase your flights whenever you like. GEEO usually suggests purchasing flights 60 days before departure as the prices of flights are just as likely to go down as up at anytime of the year. 60 days before gives you the most flexibility while at the same time studies have shown prices on average are lowest at that point.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we reach the minimum amount needed at least 60 days before departure, which often happens to be when you can find the best prices for purchasing flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option. Trip Cancellation insurance costs 5% of up to the total cost of your trip. For example, if you chose to insure $1000 of your trip cost, Trip Cancellation would cost $50. You can call them at 1-877-359-4466, ext. 7663 to ask for details on the cancellation plan or follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/trip-cancellation-insurance/.

Another option is purchasing the insurance plan that G Adventures offers. Their comprehensive plan offers both health and cancellation insurance.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling, especially in Italy. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Yes, the water is safe to drink and there are public fountains all over the place so it is easy to fill your water bottle throughout the day.

What is the weather like?

Italy is hot and dry in the summer, with temperatures typically in the 80's F.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

In Italy, shoulders should be covered while visiting churches and cathedrals. Carrying a light scarf (purchasable all over Italy cheaply) is a good idea for women if you wear a lot of shoulder-less tops. Ask your Tour Leader for more specific advice.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Italy uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2 for snacks or 10% of a meal bill). Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €20-25 per person, per week can be used.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

The schools are closed during the summer so instead we try to set up a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is possible, sometimes it isn't.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling.

Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals. Of all the places GEEO goes, Italy probably has the most crafty pick-pocketers.

Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office,

G Adventures Local Office
Emergency Cell Phone: +44 7817 262559

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We started running this Italy program in 2013. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip, runs this same itinerary 25 times a year so they have the experience to make sure your trip will be safe and well run.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.


Save an extra 5% off the price below if you book this program before 10/13/14.

Want more adventure? Save money by also booking our Western Turkey or Greece programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

2659.00 USD

*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Orientation walk in Rome, Traditional Roman meal with local friends, Orientation walk and winetasting in Siena, Piazzale Michelangelo evening visit in Florence, Lake Como boat day pass, Visit to Pisa (half-day), Cinque Terre park fee w/ unlimited train ticket and guided hike, Orientation walk in Venice.

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout

  • 13 breakfasts, 1 dinner (Allow EUR430-565 for meals not included.)

  • Public bus, train, boat, walking

  • Hotels (13 nts)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions