Florence Panorama Michaelangelo

Our Story Italy

Guaranteed Dates:

October 15 – 25, 2020

Spend 11 glorious days discovering the history, culture, and cuisine of beautiful Italy with an emphasis on Jewish heritage and community.

Journey back in time and explore the origins of our Western Civilization in the Italian cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Lake Maggiore, Bologna, and Verona.

The itinerary highlights places of Jewish historical and cultural interest – such as the Arch of Titus, commemorating the fall of Jerusalem, the ancient Jewish Quarter of Rome, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the word, and the infamous Jewish ghetto of Venice. Along the way, we will cover world heritage sites such as the Vatican, Coliseum, Galleria Dell’ Accademia, Isolla Bella, Doge’s Palace, and Piazza San Marco – and we’ll sample local Italian delicacies such as pasta, gelato, balsamic vinegar, and wine.

Our Story Italy is led by a local Jewish guide/educator and is hosted by Toby Ayash.


PROGRAM ITINERARY

The following is our projected itinerary and confirmed hotel reservations, subject to reasonable change based on local considerations

THURSDAY | OCTOBER 15, 2020 | Benvenuti a Roma!

  • Arrive to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport on your self-booked flights
    Optional private transfers are available to our accommodations in Rome, or arrange your own travel via taxi, Uber, etc.
  • Group Meeting #1 at 9:00am at the hotel lobby – Discover the history of Rome’s Jewish community dating back to the 2nd century deep under Rome at the Vigna Randanini Jewish Catacombs
  • Group Meeting #2 at 2:30pm at the hotel lobby – Explore the Jewish Quarter of Rome, including the Great Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue, and the Rome Jewish Museum
  • Welcome dinner and orientation at Yotvata Restaurant in the Jewish Quarter

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Ripa, Rome
Meals Included: Dinner

FRIDAY | OCTOBER 16, 2020 | Ancient Rome

  • Start the morning touring Vatican City – including St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel
  • Walk in the footsteps of the Roman Empire at the Coliseum
  • Continue on to the Arch of Titus and recount the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire
  • Ascend Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, for a panoramic perspective on this ancient city
  • Evening: Option to attend local Kabbalat Shabbat services followed by Shabbat dinner at Nonna Betta Restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Ripa, Rome
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

SATURDAY | OCTOBER 17, 2020 | Shabbat in the Jewish Quarter

  • Free morning to explore Rome on your own or attend local Shabbat services
  • Lunch is included at Taverna Del Ghetto Restaurant
  • Continue on a walking tour of the Pantheon Temple and Fontana di Trevi
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon discovering the high art and archeology of Roma at the Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Altemps
  • Free evening and dinner on own

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Ripa, Rome
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

SUNDAY | OCTOBER 18, 2020 | Tuscan Countryside

  • Depart Rome and head north through the Tuscan countryside
  • Visit Pastificio Artigiano Fabbri to learn the art of pasta making
  • Sample Italian wines on a guided tour of a winery estate
  • Continue on to Florence – Ascend to the bell tower of Campanile Di Giotto for a panoramic view of Florence
  • Check-in, free evening and dinner on own

OVERNIGHT: Hotel De La Ville, Florence
Meals Included: Breakfast

MONDAY | OCTOBER 19, 2020 | Florence

  • Morning walking tour of Florence, including the Ponte Vecchio bridge
  • Learn about the area’s rich Jewish history at the Great Synagogue of Florence
  • View Michelangelo’s David Statue at the Galleria Dell’ Accademia
  • Meet with traditional leather artisans at a local leather factory in Florence
  • Evening: Dinner at Ruth’s Restaurant in Florence

OVERNIGHT: Hotel De La Ville, Florence
Meals Included: Breakfast

TUESDAY | OCTOBER 20, 2020 | Foods of Tuscany

  • Depart Florence and continue on to Bologna – tour a balsamic vinegar factory en route
  • Take a short city tour of Bologna, with free time for lunch and exploration in Piazza Maggiore of Bologna
  • Sample local gelato and learn how it’s made at Gelato Museum Carpigiani
  • Continue north to Milan – Italy’s fashion capital – and check-in to our hotel
  • Evening: Dinner on own and free time to explore Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest and most grand shopping arcade

OVERNIGHT: Starhotels Ritz, Milan
Meals Included: Breakfast

WEDNESDAY | OCTOBER 21, 2020 | Lake Maggiore

  • Travel to Lake Maggiore in the highlands of northern Italy
  • Board a ferry boat to the picturesque Isolla Bella and explore the island palace
  • Continue to the lakefront town of Stresa and ascend via the Stresa Mottarone cablecars to explore the local alpine gardens overlooking the Italian Alps
  • Return to Milan – Free evening to explore Milan and enjoy dinner on own

OVERNIGHT: Starhotels Ritz, Milan
Meals Included: Breakfast

THURSDAY | OCTOBER 22, 2020 | Verona

  • Depart Milan and travel towards Venice – Stopping to view “Juliet’s Balcony” in Verona along the way
  • Board a water taxi bound for our centrally located Venice hotel
  • Embark on an orientation tour of Venice’s waterways via traditional gondolas
  • Trace the history of Venice’s Jewish community, and the advent of the world’s first ghetto, at the Museo Ebraico Di Venezia
  • Check-in to our hotel in central Venice – Group night out at Piazza San Marco with dinner on own

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice
Meals Included: Breakfast

FRIDAY | OCTOBER 23, 2020 | Islands of Venice

  • Travel to the islands of Murano and Burano off Venice, and visit a traditional glass-making factory at the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni
  • Free time along the beaches of Lido Island
  • Return to central Venice in the late afternoon
  • Evening: Option to attend local Kabbalat Shabbat services followed by Shabbat dinner at Gam Gam Restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice
Meals Included: Breakfast

SATURDAY | OCTOBER 24, 2020 | Shabbat in Venice

  • Free morning to explore Venice on your own or attend local Shabbat services
  • Closing lunch and wrap-up at Ghimmel Gardens Restaurant
  • Walking tour of Venice, including visits to Doge’s Palace and the Basilica Di San Marco
  • Free evening and dinner on own

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

SUNDAY | OCTOBER 25, 2020

  • Check-out of the hotel and board a water taxi transfer to Tronchetto and on to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport for morning flights
    Group airport transfers will be provided for flights departing between 7:00am and 11:00am

Meals Included: Breakfast

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REGISTER
Our Story Map Itinerary


WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • An educational guide and a tour manager escort the group on a 24/7 basis
  • Centrally located 4* hotels with porterage included
  • Breakfast daily and additional meals according to the itinerary
  • Luxury private air-conditioned touring bus
  • All programming and site entrances according to the itinerary
  • Wireless touring headsets

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, gratuities (suggested $100/traveler), meals not marked as included, hotel incidentals

TRAVELING TO AND FROM EUROPE
Travelers are responsible for booking their own travel into Rome on arrival and out from Venice at the conclusion of the tour. Travelers wishing to arrive early to Rome or staying later in Venice will be accommodated at the group hotels by special request based on the group hotel rate and according to availability.
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WHAT IT COSTS

Sign up at least five months in advance to lock in your spot and receive a $100/person discount. All payments are fully refundable up to four months in advance, so your savings are absolutely risk free.

Land Package: $3,350/Person
Double room hotel occupancy rate
Single Room Supplement: $900/person

Hotel Extensions
Arrive early to Rome or extend your stay in Venice by an extra night (or two) and take advantage of these rates, which include breakfast and standard cancellation terms:

  • ROME | Hotel Ripa | $250 in a double room or $215 in a single room
  • VENICE | Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal | $260 in a double room or $215 in a single room

REGISTRATION
Sign up for Our Story Italy by completing the online Registration Form

PAYMENT & CANCELLATION TERMS

  • To reserve your spot, a $250/person deposit is due at the time of your registration (all program costs are listed in US Dollars)
  • The deposit is refundable up to four months prior to the program start date, after which it is non-refundable
  • The balance is due no later than two months prior to the program start date, after which it is non-refundable
  • Cancellations must be made in writing, and we encourage you to obtain our group-discounted travel insurance policy
  • Payments may be made by check or credit/debit card, however, a 3% processing fee applies for credit/debit card payments (does not apply to initial $250 deposit). Note: credit card fees are not refundable
  • Authentic Israel reserves the right to deny acceptance on the tour according to its discretion

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FAQs

Who staffs the tour?

Our Story is led by a professional Jewish educator/guide and a tour host who escorts the tour on a 24/7 basis.

How active is the touring?

Our Story is an active tour designed for adults. Our days are full of experiences designed to provide you with as complete an experience as possible. Travelers should feel comfortable walking and generally being on their feet for most of the day. Although the program does not have age guidelines, the itinerary involves a good amount of walking and some long travel days.

How is this a Jewish experience?

Our Story is a pluralistic Jewish travel experience open to all. Group meals are kosher or kosher style (no pork or shellfish and with vegetarian options), and all touring on Saturdays is by foot.

How all-inclusive is the experience?

The program covers all touring, deluxe bus transportation (with a bathroom), all meals listed as included, hotel accommodations including porterage, and a fantastic staff team. You’ll be responsible for your connecting travel for the start/end of the program, any meals not included, gratuities (can be included in your final bill), as well as travel insurance, should you wish to obtain it (www.grouptravelinsuranceisrael.com).

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How do I get ready for the trip?

Detailed pre-trip material are distributed approximately three months prior to arrival. You’ll also be invited to a trip Facebook group to connect with fellow travelers before the program and stay in touch afterward.

How should I arrange my travel to and from Europe?

Travelers are responsible for arriving to our hotel in Rome by 1:00pm on the first day of the program. Taxis and Ubers are readily available from the Rome Airport, or a private transfer can be arranged by special request.

On the last day of the program, travelers should book return flights from Venice. We will arrange for a complimentary transfer to the Venice Airport for flights departing between 7:00am and 11:00am.

Can I get professional assistance booking my flights?

Yes! Travelers are responsible for purchasing their own flights to Israel, but you can get all the peace of mind from having a professional travel agency book your international flights without paying a premium. Get started at www.authenticisrael.com/flights.

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