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Italy 7-Night Exploration: Rome & Florence, plus Culinary Workshop and Airfare for (2)

Suggested Retail Value: $19,399
Cost to Non-Profit: $8,400

Italy is a moveable feast of seemingly endless courses. Rome bristles with reminders of its Imperial past, while Florence is virtually an outdoor museum.  A country of sunshine, olive oil, pasta, wine, Roman ruins and renaissance palaces, Italy has so much to offer.

ROME

Rome is an epic, bubbling-over metropolis harboring lost empires. Its architectural heirlooms are buzzed around by cars and Vespa scooters as if they were no more than traffic islands. The city bombards you with images: elderly ladies with dyed hair chatting in Trastevere; priests with cigars strolling the Imperial Forums; traffic jams around the Colosseum; plateloads of pasta in Piazza Navona; sinuous trees beside the Villa Borghese; barrages of pastel-colored scooters revving up at traffic lights as if preparing for a race.  Here the national preoccupation with the aesthetic fuses with incredible urban scenery to make Rome a city where you feel cool just strolling through the streets, catching the sunlight on your face outside a café, or savoring a long, leisurely lunch. It’s a place that almost encourages you to take things easy.

St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome – Enjoy a four-night stay, including daily buffet breakfast for (2), subject to availability. The St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome was named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List following a meticulous $35 million restoration. Opulent interiors and an austere facade add to the seductive atmosphere of this landmark hotel. The Caroli health club is equipped with treadmills, free weights and body toning equipment. Dining at the hotel is remarkably satisfying experience where the restaurant Vivendo offers perfectly prepared traditional dishes. 

FLORENCE

Florence, with its vast and beautiful landscapes, is rich in culture and history. In the region of Tuscany, Florence is the main city after which the province is named. It rises on the banks of the Arno River that divides the city into two sections.  Florence is the origin of many men who have profoundly influenced the course of human history in every field of knowledge, art, literature and philosophy. Florentia, the city of flowers, may overwhelm you with the huge amount of beauty and culture that the simple walking around its ancient streets imposes to the eye. The spectacular Uffizi Gallery houses the works of such masters as Titian, Botticelli, Michelangelo and da Vinci. You'll find history and culture in every corner, tucked among the city's many piazzas, beautiful churches and fascinating museums.

The Westin Excelsior, Florence – Enjoy a three-night stay for (2), subject to availability. Neighboring the famous Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, The Westin Excelsior combines contemporary accommodations with seven centuries of Florentine history. Located on Piazza Ognissanti with spectacular views, this hotel is truly a cut above.  A jewel box-like glass enclosed roof garden overlooking Florence, SE STO offers you an undeniably unique dining experience. Designed by notable architect Antonio Sullo and helmed by the award winning Chef Guiseppe Dalla Rosa, SE STO fuses contemporary Mediterranean cuisine and a stellar ambience.

Tuscan Cuisine Private Hands-on Culinary Workshop – Enjoy a private hands-on cooking workshop for (2) at Apicius, a well-known professional cooking school in Florence and an International School of Hospitality, located just a few minutes by taxi or a 15-20 minute walk from the Westin hotel. The workshop will include preparation of three seasonal menu items, followed by lunch with an English-speaking chef. NOTE: School will be closed on the following dates: April 25, 2011; June 5, 2011; June 24, 2011; August 8-20, 2011; November 1, 2011; December 8, 2011; December 21, 2011--January 6, 2012; April 9, 2012; May 1, 2012; June 2, 2012; June 24, 2012; August 10-26, 2012; November 1, 2012; December 8, 2012; December 23-31, 2012.

RAIL

Enjoy a $392 gift certificate redeemable for any rail product from The Rail Europe Group.  Offerings include the Eurailpass, Eurail Selectpass, BritRail Pass, France Railpass, Swiss Pass and much more!  You determine the product, number of days, and class of service to best customize your trip.  Visit www.raileurope.com for ideas for routing and itinerary.

For this package, we suggest the Eurail Italy Pass providing any 3 days of travel in a two month time period available for $196 per person first class at time of printing for two people traveling together.

AIRFARE

This package includes round-trip coach class service for (2) from any destination in the 48 contiguous United States or Canada to Rome, Italy, valid one year from date of purchase and subject to availability. A Saturday night stay is required. The following blackout dates apply:

2011: Jan 1-4; Dec 16-31.
2012: Jan 1-2; Feb 17-20; Mar 9-12, 16-18, 23-25; Apr 6-9; May 25-28; Jun 29-Jul 1, Jul 6-8; Nov 16-21, 24-26; Dec 21-24, Dec 28, 2012-Jan 2, 2013.

Any airport departure taxes, fees or fuel surcharges (if charged) are the responsibility of the purchaser.

The purchase of this package includes a complimentary booking service. Travel must be booked a minimum of 60 days in advance. Reservations are subject to availability. Certificates cannot be replaced if lost stolen or destroyed. Flights may not be upgraded with miles. All packages are non-refundable. Packages cannot be resold. Suggested retail value is calculated using tariff air rates and rack room rates. Ground transportation is not included in this package unless where specified.