The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
If you are like me, you've been glued to your television for the last week or so, mesmerized by not only the Winter Olympic Games, but by their stunning location. Images of Torino and the Italian Alps glistening in the winter sun make me want to jump on a plane right now. Or maybe I'll wait until the snow melts and spring descends on Italy.
Italy is already one of the most popular tourism destinations on the planet, and with post Olympic fever, it's likely that Italy will be hotter than ever. Spring and summer are peak seasons but there are already some decent deals available if you act quickly.
1800 Fly Europe (tel. 800/359-3876; www.1800flyeurope.com) is currently offering spring air and hotel packages to Rome or Milan as part of its "Europe on Sale" special. Packages include round-trip airfare, three nights' accommodations at a three-star downtown hotel with breakfast daily.
Packages to Rome:
- New York $636
- Boston $664
- Chicago $738
- Los Angeles $818
Packages to Milan:
- New York $517
- Boston $541
- Chicago $645
- Los Angeles $726
These prices are based on departures from April 1 to May 31, 2006. Must be booked by February 28, 2006.
Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has an eight-day "Tuscany Guided" package that is priced from $1,299 (November 18, 2006 departure) and goes up to $2,075 (May 27, September 2, 2006). May 13, September 16 and 30 and October 14, 2006 dates cost $1,689. For this price you get round-trip airfare from New York, airline surcharges, six nights' accommodations at the Grand Hotel Plaza in the Tuscan town of Montecatani, all transfers, six buffet breakfasts, three dinners with wine, sightseeing per itinerary, services of local guides in all major cities and entrance fees per itinerary. Highlights include visits to Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca. Must be booked by March 17, 2006.
Their six-day Florence package, for departures from April 4 to May 26, 2006 is priced at $989 which includes round-trip airfare from New York, Boston or Chicago to Pisa on British Airways, airline fuel surcharges, four nights' accommodations at the three-star Delle Nazioni Hotel in Florence with breakfast daily.
European Destinations (tel. 877/267-2247; www.europeandestinations.com) has a Venice, Bologna and Florence with Eurostar Italia package that includes round-trip airfare, train between Venice and Bologna and between Bologna and Florence, two nights in two-star hotel accommodation in each of Venice, Bologna and Florence, breakfast daily and hotel taxes. This trip is priced from $594 from New York, $797 from Houston, $836 from Miami, $862 from Seattle and $871 from Los Angeles. It also has a six-night Venice, Verona and Milan trip priced from $773 from New York, $805 from Houston or Miami and $860 from Los Angeles. Its four-night Rome and Florence train package includes two nights in each city, round-trip airfare, train tickets and breakfast daily. Prices start at $552 from New York, $727 from Houston, $768 from Miami, $841 from Seattle and $843 from Los Angeles. Prices vary according to dates but the cheapest deals are for midweek departures and are valid until March 31, 2006. Taxes are additional.
Vacations To Go (tel. 800/680-2858; www.vacationstogo.com) offers 160 different vacation options from numerous tour operators that focus solely on Italy, with 5,070 departure dates in 2006. They range from five-day independent hotel packages in Rome to a 21-day escorted tour visiting multiple Italian cities, so you're sure to find one that suits your needs and budget.
The nine-day Amalfi Coast tour with GAP Adventures (www.gapadventures.com) is priced at $1,315 per person based on double occupancy for departures throughout the year. The tour starts and ends in Agerola and visits Pompeii, Ravello, Positano, Praiano and the famous Grotto Di'smeraldo. The package features seven nights' accommodations in small inns, seven breakfasts, three boxed lunches, and seven dinners, ground transport - by local bus, train and walking and a GAP group leader throughout. International airfare is additional.
The 13-day "Simply Italy" tour with Contiki (www.contiki.com/en-US/) is for ages 18-35. Highlights include the Bay of Naples, a guided tour of the Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius, the stunning scenic Amalfi Coastal drive, Sorrento, the Isle of Capri, wine tasting in Chianti, a walking tour of Florence, Leaning Tower of Pisa, a cruise and train ride along the scenic coast of Cinque Terre, Milan, Verona, private motorboat to historic islands in Venice, fabulous Rome and St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. The price starts from $1,659 per person based on double occupancy for a March 5, 2006 departure. You get round-trip airfare from New York (other cities available for additional cost), 11 nights in superior tourist class hotels, continental breakfasts daily, five three-course dinners, local taxes, sightseeing in a modern coach and the services of an experienced, professional tour manager and an Italian driver. The price goes up to $2,075 for later March and April, 2006 departures and goes as high as $2,785 during the summer peak period.
Tourcrafters (800/621-2259; www.tourcrafters.com) is featuring three different six-day Italian Spring city break trips -- to Rome (starting at $492), Florence ($500) or Venice ($476). The package includes round-trip transatlantic airfare from New York, four night hotel accommodations in three or four-star Rome, Florence or Venice, breakfast daily, hotel service charges and taxes.
Their "Country Spring Breaks" give you the best of both worlds -- with six night packages that feature three nights in the city and three in the countryside. Rome and Umbria from $669, Rome and Tuscany from $705, Florence and Umbria from $759 or Florence and Tuscany from $789. Packages include round-trip transatlantic airfare from New York to Rome or Florence, six night four-star hotel and villa accommodations, three-days car rental, breakfast daily and hotel service charges and taxes. These prices are valid for March 2006 departures. Add $40 from Boston and Washington DC, $70 from or $85 from Chicago.
Airfares to Italy generally tend to rise dramatically as temperatures do, but Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.com) has a super low fare from New York to Rome for travel between March 1 and April 30, 2006. Flying SN Brussels Airline (obviously via Brussels) it is priced from $313 plus taxes with a Sunday night stay required. For a mere $1 more you can fly between those same dates on British Airways via London. From Boston the British Airways flights is even lower -- only $304. They are currently listing another great deal from Los Angeles to Rome flying Air Canada for $361 between April 1 and May 30, 2006. 1800 Fly Europe also has round-trip flights from New York from April 1 to May 28 and from September 1 to October 25, 2006 from $364 plus taxes, or $387 from Boston.