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Messages: 1 - Deposit: <div style="font-family: 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: medium; margin: 0px;">Only $#amount# deposit to book.<br> Pay in full 45 days before travel.<br> </div>


Italian Espresso

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2
DAYS
8
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$1,399
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DAYS
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19 Departures between April 2017 and September 2017
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So damn bellissimo is this country that you may never want to leave. We'll see you oohing and aahing over Chianti & antipasto in a 16th century Tuscan winery, boating through the canals and islands of Venice, and learning about leather craft in the architecturally magnificent city of Florence. This is so much more than pizza & coffee.

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All dates for Italian Espresso

April 2017

Apr
8
  • Saturday 8th April
  • Saturday 15th April
Definite departure $1,399
$1,399

May 2017

May
6
  • Saturday 6th May
  • Saturday 13th May
Definite departure $1,435
$1,435
May
22
  • Monday 22nd May
  • Monday 29th May
Definite departure $1,465
$1,465
May
27
  • Saturday 27th May
  • Saturday 3rd June
Definite departure $1,465
$1,465

June 2017

Jun
10
  • Saturday 10th June
  • Saturday 17th June
Definite departure $1,465
$1,465
Jun
17
  • Saturday 17th June
  • Saturday 24th June
Full
Full
Jun
24
  • Saturday 24th June
  • Saturday 1st July
Definite departure $1,495
$1,495
Jun
26
  • Monday 26th June
  • Monday 3rd July
Full
Full

July 2017

Jul
1
  • Saturday 1st July
  • Saturday 8th July
Definite departure $1,495
$1,495
Jul
8
  • Saturday 8th July
  • Saturday 15th July
$1,495
$1,495
Jul
15
  • Saturday 15th July
  • Saturday 22nd July
Definite departure $1,495
$1,495
Jul
29
  • Saturday 29th July
  • Saturday 5th August
Full
Full

August 2017

Aug
5
  • Saturday 5th August
  • Saturday 12th August
Full
Full
Aug
12
  • Saturday 12th August
  • Saturday 19th August
Definite departure $1,495
$1,495
Aug
26
  • Saturday 26th August
  • Saturday 2nd September
$1,435
$1,435

September 2017

Sep
2
  • Saturday 2nd September
  • Saturday 9th September
$1,465
$1,465
Sep
9
  • Saturday 9th September
  • Saturday 16th September
Full
Full
Sep
16
  • Saturday 16th September
  • Saturday 23rd September
Definite departure $1,465
$1,465
Sep
23
  • Saturday 23rd September
  • Saturday 30th September
$1,465
$1,465

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ITALIAN ESPRESSO

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ITINERARY
YOU WILL VISIT
Italy, Holy See (Vatican City State) Italy, Holy See (Vatican City State) +5 MORE
SEE FULL ITINERARY
APPROX TIME SPENT
approx time spent
1
2
3
Rome
2 days
Vatican City
Florence
3 days
Chianti Region
San Gimignano
Pisa
Verona
Venice
2 days
Rome
1
2
3
WHAT'S INCLUDED
Accommodation
Team
Food
Inclusions
ME Time
Transport
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Italian Espresso

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27 reviews

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  • Glanda
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled May 2015

Everyday was the best day!!:)

I have to say that this tour exceeded my expectations! We saw so many things and did so much, but we still had loads of free time to wander around and spend more time at places we had seen or to try out places our tour guide recommended. Our tour guide Maite was so great!! She went above and beyond what she had to! She recommended sites, restaurants, and things to do. Our driver "sexy Fabio" was very qualified to drive in Italy's small and crazy streets with our huge coach! The food was great! Gelato even better:) It is mostly pasta and pizza but so many different kinds, so I never got sick of it:) Everyone on my tour got along really well, we had a mix of couples and singles but the vibe was great:)! Couldn't have asked for a better group:) I love the history in every city we went to, not sure if I had a favorite place as I loved it all, I would say that since Venice was on my bucket list that was really great, the gondola ride was amazing also, our gondolier was Stephano, and he was so great also, made the ride enjoyable:) I found the hotels clean and had air condition, I didn't bring anything to need wifi so can't really say how that was:) But don't go expecting Italy to be the same as here, the showers might be abit smaller, and the rooms maybe dated, but I went to experience different not the same as home, take everything in as an experience:) I have nothing to complain about, it was simply amazing!! I would totally recommend this trip!! Ciau

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  • SaraM25
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled May 2013

May 10th-18th Italian Espresso

I got to meet great friends, and taste amazing food. This was an incredible experience. Rome was such a huge city, we spent two days there at the coliseum and Vatican City. Our tour manager, Enzo, was so funny!! He was very informative and had good suggestions for extra places to eat and shop. The Vineyard was really nice, settled in the Tuscan hills. Florence was beautiful, the hotel was walking distance from the main streets. We got to see Pisa, the leaning tower, and the charming Verona, in the rain! I wish we had more days in Venice, it was lovely with its canals. Italy is such a nice country, I want to go back soon! Thank you Enzo for a memorable trip!

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  • Liz
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Dec 2015

Five Stars for Italian Espresso!

I have never been to Europe before and really wanted to go. I spent a long time researching different trips before I finally decided to book the Italian Espresso. I wanted to go to Italy the most out of all the countries, and this tour promised to show you the most famous cities – Rome, Florence, Venice – in a short amount of time. Our trip manager was Megghy. Megghy was the coolest person ever, a cute Italian punk rock chick always wearing bow ties, leopard print and high-top sneakers. She was perfectly fluent in English and had so much knowledge about Italy that she shared with us. She made our trip amazing, made sure we got everywhere on time and it wouldn’t have been as great without her. Thanks Megghy! There were a lot of people on this trip whose first time it was in Italy. But also there were many people who were revisiting. So if you have already been to Italy, you will enjoy this trip as well. There are lots of activities included on this trip. My favorite inclusion was the Venice boat ride because I love the water and it was so beautiful and relaxing. I also loved the Vatican tour. My least favorite was the leather demonstration. There were also lots of great optionals included in this trip. My favorite one was the tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. This place was breathtakingly amazing. I did not sign up for the gondola ride because we were told that it’s not like the stereotypes you have in your mind where it’s a really romantic experience. Everybody in my trip that I talked to afterward said they were disappointed by the gondoliers who were busy texting the entire time, didn’t talk to them and definitely didn’t sing, so I’d recommend skipping the gondola ride. The places where we stayed were quite nice. In Florence the hotel we stayed at was really nice; I would totally book that hotel again for myself if I was in Europe planning my own trip. It was nice to stay in hotels on a budget vacation such as this one. The itinerary allowed us to cover the three must-see cities in Italy in just a week. I loved being able to experience these cities; each one was unique. Day 6 (Thursday) was our most exhausting day of the trip because we were on the bus all day traveling from Florence, to Pisa, to Barberino, to Verona, to Venice. If I had to make any change to the itinerary I’d skip everything we did that day and just go directly from Florence to Venice. The food in Italy is delicious. You should definitely eat as much pasta and pizza as you can. Also, as Megghy informed us, you can never eat too many gelato – eating several in one day is perfectly acceptable! Also I wanted to say that there is no pressure to party or drink while on the trip. I do not drink at all, and I was a bit worried from reading reviews that it was just going to be one huge week of College Students Gone Wild. I did not find that to be the case. Yes, there are certainly students who want to go out and party at night, and yes, Contiki does throw in some alcohol-centered activities such as a trip to a vineyard. But there are just as many people on your trip who are there to see the sights, and don't want to drink. You can do whatever you want; it's your holiday. You can definitely have fun on this trip without spending a ton of money. I am a budget-savvy traveler and I only brought 150 Euro with me for the entire week, which I spent on the optionals payments, food and souvenirs. One tip I have is to do some comparison shopping before you buy. The places where Contiki sent us to go shopping were very expensive – the leather store, the Barberino outlets, the Murano glass store, the winery. You could get these items at a fraction of the cost anywhere else. So think before you buy. My favorite city was Rome. The other cities had a few amazing things to look at, but I felt in Rome every single building was breathtaking. It’s amazing to look around at these buildings that are more than 2000 years old and are still standing. You can feel the intelligence behind the design. Best Parts about this trip: Megghy our trip manager; having Contiki take everything for us from transportation, accommodation, food, etc. which would have been overwhelming on my own; seeing all of the amazing cities; hanging out with cool people my age who also love to travel. Least favorite part about the trip: Our trip had 51 people on it. I have been on group tours before that have always been less than 20 people. By the end of the trip I only knew the names of about half the people in my group. I would have liked a group that was smaller and more intimate. I highly recommend this trip for anybody who wants to go to Italy! CONTIKIIIII WOOT WOOT

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  • BritishBen
  • Booked from United Kingdom
  • Traveled Oct 2015

A true taste of Italian culture!!!

Firstly a huge shout out to Maggie and Fabio both of whom made the trip awesome! I knew I always wanted to see a lot of Italy and a friend recommended Contiki to me and after seeing the schedule for this trip I couldn't say no. Getting across Rome via public transport was an experience to say the least. It is pretty simple to find the Hotel Fleming, it's just getting used to the way the Italians do thing straight from the off thats a little daunting. However the hotel was really nice and PS I had a great room mate! Yo Anthony!!! The pizza for dinner that evening was the first of a great number of excellent pizzas I would taste along the week. Be prepared, the day in Rome is tiring if you want to see as much as you can but on every corner you will see something fascinating that takes your interest. Not to mention a few but The Vatican, the Sistine chapel, the Colosseum, the Pantheon. My advice is just to go and get lost, but with a map of course. :) Florence, the city of art is defiantly that and is place you have to visit. The top of the Duomo is a great place for views and photos of the city. Michelangelo's David is a must see but make sure you book ahead as the line we waited in was only 30 minutes, however we was advised that it can be for hours. Pisa and Verona were good but the final stop in Venice was breathtaking. Again there is so much to see here that the guided tour really did help. The glass blowing demo was an experience all on its own and made me want to buy loads of it. However my bank balance doesn't stretch that far! All in all the trip was one of the best I have ever been on. I met some great people that I am sure I will be in contact with for a very long time. A good piece of advice for this trip to expect what you image Italy will be like and be open minded to meet new people. But Maggie was great and couldn't do enough for the group, she really did make the trip!!!!!!

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  • mojo1017
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Aug 2011

Tour Review

I really think my review needs to begin with a major thank you to our tour manager Mathieu. What a fantastic trip. It was so well orchestrated and we were able to see everything. thank you contiki, and Mat, for a great tour

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  • Estephania
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled May 2012

Italian Espresso

A series of events presented me the opportunity to travel Italy with Contiki on the Italian Espresso tour with tour manager Maite. I've done a lot of traveling over the past few years and I've got to say that this was truly one of the best tours and Maite was easily the best tour manager I've had!! I wouldn't even know where to start with a list of things that I enjoyed on this trip!! The food, the sites, the people and the experience as a whole were so much more than I ever expected and I will carry the memories of this experience with me forever. Thank-you Maite! Thank-you Contiki!

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  • DanaS
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled May 2013

SO MUCH FUN!

I just got back from the Italian Espresso trip and it was a total blast. Our tour manager, Yannick, was the most fabulous guide and our group could not have been more fun. The sights were amazing and all the optional activities were wonderful. The only activity we skipped was the leather making demonstration but other than that I'd highly recommend everything. This was my first trip to Italy and I gotta say it would be damn near impossible to have done/seen everything we saw if I had done it on my own. The access to some of the bigger tourist attractions (the Vatican, Colosseum and things like that) were amazing. If you were on your own you would stand in line for forever, with the Contiki group we walked right in. All in all I had the most wonderful time in Italy and would absolutely not hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone - espeically if you can have Yannick as your tour manager. Ciao ciao! :)

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  • ContikiCough
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Sep 2012

Worst trip I have ever had.

I looked up all the hotels that Contiki booked before this trip and found that they all had one and two star reviews on Hotels.com and other review sites, this should have been a red flag for this trip. Everywhere we went the accommodations were very bad, the staff and the locals were very rude, everything was designed as a sales pitch. Honestly, many of the activities of this trip felt like timeshare weekend, they are really showing you the wine, or the leather, the glass blowing, etc. because they want you to buy it. I guess that's not really a bad thing, if these activities would have been a good experience. The problem is that the staff and the locals everywhere we went were very obvious with their disdain for us, whether that is due to the fact that we were foreigners or with Contiki I am not sure. The accommodations were all terrible, the staff resented us, no air conditioning, no internet, broken bathrooms, no amenities.. basically many hostels are better. On the first night the tour guide took us on a crowded bus in Rome, in which I did not want to go on, where I was subsequently pickpocketed, which crippled my finances for the rest of the trip. There was not proper warning given for the pickpocketing on the buses in Rome, something I would expect a tour guide to be aware of. It also takes some of the enjoyment away from seeing the sites, as the thieves frequent all those locations and you have to look out for them as much as looking at the sites. It should be known that pace of this trip is very grueling, expect little sleep as the night activities can go late and every morning there is a wake up call at 6 am to start the days activities. In my case this led to a fever and chills on the 5th day, as my "Contiki cough" was strengthened by my lack of sleep. This also complicated things as I had limited capability to get medicine or change the trip due to being pickpocketed. The bright spots of the trip was people I met and traveled with on Contiki, who were very nice and interesting, and the bus driver, who was really good.

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  • Robert
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Feb 2013

Life Changing.

I was stressed at work, school, basically with life and I have been wanting to go to Europe for quite some time. I remember like it was yesterday, I asked my boss for the time off and as soon as it was approved, I charged a large sum of money on my credit card to Contiki in Italy! I had a friend, who had a friend that went on a Contiki and loved it, since I was traveling solo, I booked it without hesitation! I booked this trip about 2 months before departure so it was extremely spur of the moment. I am more than happy I did. I landed in Rome, took a transfer to our hotel (Hotel Noto Rome) where there stood a bunch of others around the lobby with their Contiki travel papers. We got our rooms and they were perfect. My room-mate was awesome and we hit it off before even opening the door to our hotel room! Everyone on the tour was beyond amazing. Our tour guide (Yannick) was amazing and had a bunch of hook-ups throughout Italy. I purchased every single optional and loved them all. The whole experience was incredibly mind blowing I never wanted it to end! I came on this trip solo and met a bunch of amazing new friends all across the world! (Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, UK) The group was so diverse and everyone got along so well! I wish I could find something that I did not like about this trip but there is honestly not one part of the trip I hated other than it ending! If you guys are into the nightlife, each hotel has wonderful nightlife surrounding it, in Florence the hotel we stayed in was literally in the HEART of the city! Outside of the hotel door and you were submerged in the streets of firenze! (My favorite city in Italy!!) The hotel in Venice has little to nothing around it, as you need a water taxi to even get to Venice, but because of that fact we had a dress-down night at the hotels bar and drank wine while we exchanged contact info. I have just booked my 2nd Contiki and am more than excited to see what new adventures Asia will bring me! I still talk to all of my fellow contikiers on the same trip as me and we keep in touch til this day! Contiki! Follow the guide! Good: Everything really! If you come into the trip with an open mindset and willing to emerge in a new culture all around you, you will also have the experience of a lifetime! Bad: Not really bad, but a lot of us wished the Venice hotel was in a more "prime" location. But we made the best of it and still had an amazing time.

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  • Helen
  • Booked from Reviews.ZA
  • Traveled Jul 2013

Nice tour but not quite my cup of tea

The Italian espresso tour was lovely and we had a nice group, met some great people. Was a little disappointed in the standard of accommodation and felt that the itinerary breakdown of the tour sugar coated a lot of what we did. Did not find the included dinners to be of a decent standard and the optional dinners were very poor considering that after contiki my friend and I travelled Italy more extensively and often had 3 course meals with wine etc. and it cost less than what the optional "special" dinners did. Also there are lots of costs that don't get mentioned or the impression is created that something is included in our backstage pass when actually u see the thing from a distance. Also was quite disappointed in the level of professionalism regarding tipping, I found it very unnecessary and unprofessional that we got reminded not once, twice but three times about tipping. I felt that one explanation is sufficient seeing as the tipping is optional and in all fairness the average person doing contiki with the odd exception is not loaded with cash. Other than these let downs, contiki is a good brand especially if u in a country for the first time but is definitely most beneficial to sociable young people.

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  • ashleybonton88
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Jun 2016

My 1st Trip to Europe

This was my first time in Europe and I have to say it was simply amazing. I was originally bummed because my friends backed out of the trip and i had to fly solo but when i arrived none of that mattered. there were many of us doing the trip solo which made it even more fun. I loved the fact that in the 7-8 days we were there we saw so much! if I would have done this on my own I would not have such an amazing experience! We had a walking tour of Rome with all the historical buildings and fountains. I have to say Florence was my favorite! The Sangria in Tuscany and the cooking class was by far the best. I hope contiki creates a culinary tour, i would be the first to sign up! Our Tour manager Elisa was the best and not to mention our driver Alessandro. I highly recommend everyone to do this tour, i promise you wont be disappointed!

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  • Gabrielle Morin
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled Aug 2015

Great Trip

For my second Contiki Trip, it didn't dissapoint! Visiting Italy has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and I finally got to experience it. While we covered a lot of ground in just a week, I will someday return to explore more of the area. If it is your first time to Italy, this is a good introduction and covers the main highlights. You will see the Colloseum, Vatican City, Venice, Florence, Pisa, and more. Bring some extra money in case you want to shop too! Again, as with my previous contiki, there was a good amount of free time and organized time. The optionals were fun and I particularly enjoyed the cooking class! Our tour guide and bus driver were awesome and and very knowledgeable! The staff were very friendly and provided the best recommendations for the free time. Because of the free time you have, I would recommend doing some research beforehand to know what sights and museums are in the area and if possible try to get a reservation/skip the line pass (something I didn't do). Another recommendation to make is to bring a few changes of clothes - especially during the summer as it gets hot. As well, bring a water bottle to avoid dehydration. Accommodations and transportation were comfortable and overall, it was an enjoyable trip.

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  • Josie
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Jul 2015

Amazing.

I loved every second of this trip. Our guide, Maite' was extremely helpful, funny, and knowledgeable. The hotels that we stayed in were actually really nice compared to others I have been to in Europe. I was a little nervous to travel alone, but I found that there were always new friends to adventure with. We got to do so many awesome activities (like pasta making and wine tasting at a Tuscan vineyard) that I probably would not have had the chance to do outside of Contiki. This trip is a great value for the money and I would not trade the experience for anything!

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  • Elena
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled Jul 2011

Tour Review

Guys, I just got back from my Italian Espresso tour and it was really fun! Both the people and workers were great to be around and the sights we saw were amazing! I still do wish we'd have a little more time in Rome, but it was definitely a good mix of things to see! It really is an Italian Espresso, where you get the best of Italy in such a short time! You get a good half a day of free time in Florence, so I'd suggest reserving a ticket before, since some people tried reserving it on the same day and as you can understand, the number of tickets were limited. Definitely pack light, but I'm sure most things you don't even need sometimes! I only had 12kg going there with 15 kg going back and even I thought it was heavy! Our tour manager (named Giuseppe, I hope you're lucky enough to get him as your guide!) was so great that even if you didn't have anything planned for free time, he'd give you advice on how to use your time in the most efficient time! :) Once, I was the only one who wanted to look at the church and even though he had to get back to his office, he went with me so I wouldn't get lost on my way there. I was surprised at how he really helped each and every person! One thing I'd like to suggest to everyone is be on time! We were always all on time except two girls who were always quite rude, so we actually had to leave them in Rome and leave to Florence. We waited and waited, but we literally can't ruin everyone else's vacation for those two. The hotels we stayed at, yes, they were smaller than hotels here. I expected that already and I researched them before going to have more realistic expectations. The beds were quite comfy the first two hotels (especially the one in Florence), but was slightly hard for the Venice one. It didn't really bother me though. The rooms were clean and the breakfast had quite a good selection of food (here, the Venice one was really good with all of its' food options). Me, the only problem I had is that some of our rooms in the Florence and Rome hotels didn't have a shower curtain, so it felt a little weird. The one in Venice had sliding shower doors though, so it was nice! Also, it's true that you stay outside of Venice, since the prices are realllly realllyyy high to stay on that island. Luckily, I had a good roommate so I hope you'll all do too! The optional excursions were DEFINITELY all worth it. They were much better than the included ones at times (I'm talking about the meals, not the tours). The tour guide in Rome was really funny, so I hope you get him as your guide. "Contikiii, Contikiiii, follow the guide!". You'll laugh when he says that! Before, I didn't want to see the leather demonstration or the glass-making demo, but they turned out to be really interesting! I do recommend you to see them then! I mostly walked with either my group of new friends or the whole tour group, because it was really fun with them. Just be prepared to walk a lot and not sleep too much. The meals in the evenings are yummy, but I couldn't finish my plates because they had so much food! I pretty much survived on only breakfasts and dinners most of the time. Don't forget putting sunscreen on EVERY part of your body that's exposed. I thought that my big hat would protect my neck (it did a noon though, but only then) and I forgot to put some sunscreen on. I got a really bad burn, but some high quality cream from Florence helped me get through it! :) I can answer any questions you guys have for your tours!

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  • Rochelle_b
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled May 2013

Fantastic first taste of Italy

Had an amazing time, loved all the places we visited and soaked in the culture (and the food)! We had a fantastic tour guide, who was a lot of fun, had lots of great suggestions and ideas for day and night activities. The group was also lots of fun, lots of different personalities but we meshed really well. Trip was just long enough and we didn't spend too much time on the bus which was good. Have recommended this trip to any one whose asked- a must for those who want to see some culture and party a little too.

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  • Nick
  • Booked from Reviews.ZA
  • Traveled Apr 2016

Italian Espresso - Dario the trip manager

There are words which escape my mouth as to how amazing this Tour went. I Traveled alone not knowing a soul, and by the time i had left i made 38 new Friends from around the world. I am glad i took my Nikon Camera the photos i took from day 1 look absolute and amazing.. Our Trip manager, My hat goes off to him for he made the trip memorable and enjoyable, there were only laughs, smiles and tears of JOY... Dario really took us on a journey where only my photos can tell the story. In life, its all about timing and everything went to the clock and alas i actually met someone. It just happens but wow what an experience. I now enjoy my Red wine more than i have ever before, The food, the people and the Language is so beautiful i wish i could hear it everyday and smell the aroma in the air... Fresh bread smell. This was my first Contiki Tour and i can tell you it wont be my last.. WOW.. you guys really know how to make a Espresso Taste strong. To all the new friends that i have made thank you, our age group was in the late 20's but wow we were at least all on the same level with History as well a good wine from time to time. All so caring, giving and understanding. We never judged according to appearance but accepted everyone for who they were and no one was left out. Thank you Dario for the best time of my life, #life_changing Thank you Contiki for allowing me to experience this journey with you. Grazie, e può rimanere l'Italia bella come sempre

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  • Emilie
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled Jun 2016

Best way to see otaly

Saw and do so much during this tour. Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Mouth of Truth, Pisa, Tuscan region winery and Venice- my favourite and the best way to end the tour. Elisa was an amazing tour manager- best out of the four Contiki tours I've done. Thank you Contiki!

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  • Rebekah
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled Oct 2015

Worth the money, but definitely an espresso- quick, short, & to the point

As two American Honeymooners, we were very excited to see as much of Italy as we could. Our travel agent recommended Contiki because of our age and the sites that we could see. Now that we've done it, we have a few positive and negative things to say, both of which we hope will help future Italian Espresso goers. Day One: Being that we had spent two days in Rome prior to starting the tour, we were disappointed in the location of the first hotel, The Grand Hotel Fleming. Especially since our first hotel was so close to everything and not as expensive. It was very far from the main sights, about 20 Euros by taxi, to get back to the hotel from downtown. If you're planning on doing the tour, go a few days early, so you have TIME to go see the places you get to see (briefly) on your free time. All of the main attractions are short walking distances from each other, so you'll not be disappointed going to Rome early and seeing these sites in greater detail. Being that the ME times were either in the middle of the day, or at the end of the day while in Rome, your ventures could be shortened if you like spending time at each location. BOTH of the ME times for Rome are worth it. The things you'll learn and see about the Roman Forum and the Colosseum are short, but very informative. And the pasta cooking class was SO MUCH FUN!! Do BOTH! Day Two: Vatican City was amazing! But again, you're only in the Sistine Chapel for maybe 10 minutes and in St. Peter's Basilica (which is HUGE) for 20 minutes, so its very quick and a little disappointing-more so in feeling that you got robbed of your time in such beautiful places. The place you stop for lunch is a restaurant in a toll stop- super expensive if you get the buffet! Order a sandwich- much cheaper and tastes good. Day Three/Four: Florence is beautiful. MAKE SURE YOU BUY TICKETS to see the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David. We had misinterpreted the vague description of the brochure and thought that we'd be seeing these things as a group. Yes, as a group you'll see the fake David (which is where the real one used to stand) and the location of the Uffizi Gallery, but you will not go in. Some people on the tour knew about buying tickets, not sure how, but it would have been nice if there was a heads-up on not seeing the real David, or going into the Uffizi Gallery. And expect Florence to be super busy on Tuesday when you have the whole day to explore the town. The museums are closed on Monday, so everything has huge lines to get in. If Contiki could change San Gimignano to Tuesday and explore Florence to Wednesday, I think that would be beneficial. My husband and I did go into the Vecchio Museum and climbed the Vecchio tower- worth it. There was no line. We did get to see a lot of art work thorough the Medici house and got beautiful views of Florence and the Duomo from the Vecchio tower. The optional dinner was good, worth the money, because there is so much food and the service and entertainment were excellent. Karaoke night on our first night in Florence was fun too. And the restaurant that is included as a group meal on the first night was good too. The hotel was nice, the Wifi- not so much. The connection kept dropping- so don't expect to upload all of your pictures. Day Five: This was probably mine and my husband's favorite day on the tour. It was relaxed, yet you got to see things, and we were really able to soak up the Tuscan countryside and culture. San Gimignano was great. Not super busy, yet there were plenty of shops to stop in. We climbed the tower and got excellent views of Tuscany. The winery tour was great too. The wine was excellent, and the tasting was more of drinking rather than a tasting! Maybe the Italians do tastings a little differently. But it was great! You could easily have had 3-9 glasses of wine rather than one at the end of the tastings. Loved day five! Day Six: Most of day six is traveling. Pisa was cool, but really- the tower is the only interesting thing. You're only there for 90 minutes, so a quick visit, which was fine. The outlet mall was a waste of time! We weren't sure if because Italy has restrictions on how long the bus driver can drive (2 hours), if that was why we stopped. But it was a waste of time. The outlet is the same as those in the States, and really not much cheaper. If there was something else to see, Contiki, please consider that. Verona was beautiful. When you picture an Italian City- Verona is what you picture. There's no graffiti (like every other city in Italy) its small and quaint. We could have easily spent more time in Verona. The included dinner is DISGUSTING!!! Even though you've already paid for it, either order something else or go somewhere else. It was like bad, cheap Chinese food that tried to pass as country Italian food. It was gross. Contiki- please break your contract with this restaurant and GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! Day Seven: Venice is cool. The glass blowing demonstration was very cool, but if you plan on buying Venetian blown glass, expect to drop at least 100 Euros. The city is beautiful and the optional city tour was worth it. My husband and I didn't go on the gondola ride- which, money wise, is worth it as a group, but as something romantic to do, is 80-100 euros for just two people. And after finding out on the city tour that the sewer systems drain into the canals, we were glad we didn't do it. The optional dinner was worth it, more because its your last meal together and you're able to spend time together before saying goodbye that night. The hotel was fine, wifi was not. Don't expect to upload anything. Overall, we liked Contiki as a tour because of everything you get to see, but have decided to not go on a tour again. Many of the places we could have seen and spent more time at if we planned ahead of time and gone by ourselves. There was so much free time that it almost felt like you were on your own anyway. It was nice and convenient that we didn't have to worry about transportation for the week. Because you're on a tour, if there are people who annoy you, you're stuck with them until the tour is over. If you're single, in or fresh out of college, go for it. If you're older (26+) or established in your life, single or not, do a different tour. Yeah, you'll have people your age/situation to hang out with, but the loud, younger crowd will just annoy you with their need to cling to each other and their constant desire to get drunk rather than enjoying the time and company. There were three other couples there on their honeymoon, so its pretty common to go as a couple.

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  • Fifi85
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled May 2013

Italian Espresso - Bellissimo!

A perfect mixture of history, sight-seeing and partying! Accomm was basic but it was fine because you're out all day anyway! From the history of Rome to the romance of Verona and Venice - it really did give us a taste of just about everything! A tip for anyone in Florence - don't think twice about buying a leather jacket! Just do it!! Trust me!! You want one!!

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  • EWilliams
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled Mar 2015

An amazing experience!

This trip was so much fun and the tour group was amazing! There was so much to see and do, but we still had lots of free time to go off on our own and explore. I definitely fell in love with Italy!

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