Mention the fact that you're a senior when you first make your travel reservations. All major airlines and many Italian hotels offer discounts for seniors.
Members of AARP, 601 E. St. NW, Washington, DC 20049 (tel. 888/687-2277; www.aarp.org), get discounts on hotels, airfares, and car rentals. AARP offers members a wide range of benefits, including AARP The Magazine and a monthly newsletter. Anyone over 50 can join.
Many reliable agencies and organizations target the 50-plus market. Elderhostel (tel. 800/454-5768; www.elderhostel.org) arranges worldwide study programs for those age 55 and over.
Check out the quarterly magazine Travel 50 & Beyond (www.travel50andbeyond.com) and the bestselling paperback Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 2007-2008, 17th Edition (McGraw-Hill), by Joann Rattner Heilman.
European Walking Tours (tel. 800/231-8448 or 217/398-0058; www.walkingtours.com) sponsors walking tours for the mature traveler in Italy. The founder, Jacqueline Tofte Hess, is a native of the Swiss Alps, and has charted specially discovered routes across Alpine meadows, remote valleys, and over mountain passes or alongside serene lakes. The search is for wildflowers, birds, and mountain animals, with lessons in local architecture, traditions, and history thrown in as well.
For more than 2 decades, Vantage Deluxe World Travel (tel. 800/322-6677; www.vantagetravel.com) has taken thousands of mature travelers on extraordinary travel adventures in various European countries, including Italy. Travel is on river cruises and fully escorted land tours. Groups are deliberately kept small.