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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.


Selling tours to Italy might be akin to hawking roses on Valentines Day. Sure, it's a competitive business fighting for tourist dollars, but who doesn't want to experience the wonders of Italy. The fresh olives; the lazy days in the Tuscan sun; the red sauce of Sicily; the ageless ambiance of Rome; the haute couture of Milan; the legacy of the Medici in Florence; The Amalfi. One could go on forever. But rather than pour more accolades on a country used to them, let's figure out how to get there. If you go in February, you'll experience the excitement and magic of Italy during the Torino Winter Games.

Perillo Tours (tel. 800/431-1515; www.perillotours.com) has some off-season deals to Italia. A deluxe ten-day tour starting and ending in Rome that visits Pompeii, Florence, Venice, Sorrento, and Capri costs approximately $2,649 with departures out of New York, Miami, Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C. Departures are on Tuesdays and Fridays, with eight trips leaving throughout March 2006 and four trips leaving in February 2006. With Perillo Tours, there's a lot included in the price of the package. Round-trip airfare from your departure city, all transfers, first class three, four and five-star hotels, a daily American breakfast with bacon and eggs, daily dinner with a choice of entrees and wine, coffee and mineral water, all baggage handling, hotel taxes and hotel service charges, all sightseeing fees, deluxe motor coach travel complete with a clean rolling bathroom, and professional tour guides for the duration of your trip. In addition, something new from Perillo, wireless headsets to hear your guides clearly on crowded or noisy city streets. Hotels are all centrally located and fairly luxurious with popular hotel bars and elegant lobbies. Perillo also offers optional tours for additional fees to fill up some of your free time.

At the same level of luxury, Perillo has a fourteen-day fully-escorted off-season tour of Southern Italy and Sicily starting at $3,399. Starting in Rome and stopping in Palermo, Monreale, Selinunte, Taormina, Catania, Sorrento, Capri and Naples. The all inclusive land-air Sicilian extravaganza departs on Wednesdays, leaving on March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2006 and February 15 and 22, 2006. Daily breakfast and dinner is included on this tour as well, as is the same quality luxury hotels and those wireless headphones. In Sicily, you'll visit such sites as Mount Etna, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and view the mosaics near the Piazza Armerina. In Rome, lovers of HBO's hit series Rome should take note, this tour visits St. Peter's Basilica, the old Jewish Quarter, the Arches around the city, Circus Maximus, and the great Roman Forum to see the ruins of the Senate House.

With over eighty years of experience providing global tours, Globus Journeys (tel. 866/755-8581; www.globusjourneys.com) offers many tours to Italy. A nine-day winter excursion starts at approximately $1,843 with departures on February 17 and 24, 2006, March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2006 and nearly 14 April departures. This trip visits Rome, Florence, Venice making stops at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and driving through the wine regions of Chianti and Tuscany. Local experts will be guide you through each city, focusing on Michelangelo's David in Florence, the Vatican, and St. Mark's Square in Venice. In addition to air, accommodations and all sightseeing, this tour includes seven breakfasts and two three course dinners including a welcoming dinner in Rome where the Italian allegedly flows.

The Torino Winter Olympics (www.torino2006.org) take place from February 10 to 26, 2006. Tickets are hard to get and travel packages start somewhere in the $3,000 per person range for a few days of travel, two nights' accommodations, and tickets to one event. Getting to Italy during the games on a round-trip air/land or fly and drive package, however, can get you to Torino for a stroll through the Olympic Village. Who knows, maybe you can finagle a ticket or two from a fan with some extras or a sympathetic Olympic official.

Go-Today (tel. 800/327-3235; www.gotoday.com) has a three-day air/land city trip to Milan, just a few hour drive to Torino, starting at $499 with departures from now through March 25, 2006. The trip includes round-trip airfare from New York City (other cities are available for additional prices), accommodations in Milan, daily breakfast and hotel service charges and taxes. You can extend your trip and return flight for a small fee and the cost of additional hotel nights at the hotel of your choice. To be specific, the distance in miles from Milan to Torino comes to 185 miles, or roughly a three-hour drive. A day trip to the Olympic Games is more than feasible, and worth the trip. To rent a car in Milan, try Alamo Rental Car (tel. 800/462-5266; www.alamo.com), which is offering a book by January 31, 2006 special that discounts a three-day rental by 10 percent. Call an Alamo representative and mention Contract ID 7011371 for specifics on booking. The booking deadline on the Go-Today Milan air/land trip is February 16, 2006.