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Grand Tour of Italy

15 days
The true question in Italy is “Where not to go?” The country is teeming with history, personality and beauty, making the travel possibilities virtually endless. On this sweeping tour of Italy, you’ll explore legendary cities like Venice, Florence and Rome and smaller-yet-iconic towns like Assisi and Ferrara.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 6 three-course dinners with wine or beer

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Milan today.

Lake Como Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Milan

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Transfer to Como and get settled in your hotel. Then, meet your group at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Como & Villa Carlotta

Included meals: Breakfast

Head out on a morning trip to explore Como, known for its mix of cultural and natural attractions.

• Enjoy free time in Como for lunch and shopping, while admiring the lakeside views

• Transfer to Villa Carlotta to admire spectacular views from the elaborate villa gardens

• Alternatively, if entrance to Villa Carlotta is out of season, take a funicular to Brunate

Enjoy a free evening or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Lake Como Cruise & Bellagio $79pp* Details

Hop aboard a scenic cruise of Lake Como to soak in some of Italy’s most beautiful estates and gardens. Float past charming lakeside towns to Bellagio, a village whose scenery has inspired poets and young lovers for centuries. You’ll have time to take in Bellagio’s classic beauty before heading to a local restaurant, where you’ll sample cuisine from a carefully chosen menu. Please note: Your included meal may be lunch or dinner. This excursion is seasonal and runs from March through October, and its departure time varies by season.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Venice 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Venice via Verona

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you’ll travel east to Venice, stopping in Verona for a guided walking tour of the city’s UNESCO-recognized historic district, passing by the Verona Arena, House of Juliet, Piazza delle Erbe and Lamberti’s Tower.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Venice

Included meals: Breakfast

Experience historic churches, winding canals and picture-perfect piazzas on a guided tour of the city known as the Queen of the Adriatic.

• Step into the iconic St. Mark’s Square and enter St. Mark’s Basilica

• View the stately Doge’s Palace, built in the Venetian Gothic style in 1340

• Marvel at the Bridge of Sighs, the link between Doge’s Palace and the New Prison

• See a glassblowing demonstration to learn about the city’s most celebrate

Enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise with Music $65pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, join your fellow travelers for a tour through the canals of Venice. A musician serenades you as your gondola cruises through the city. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits. A private two-person gondola ride is available for an additional $100 per person.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise for Two $165pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, you’ll enjoy a private, serenaded gondola cruise through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $175)

Florence 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Florence via Ferrara

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On your way to Florence, stop in Ferrara where you’ll have free time for lunch and to explore the city’s historic center, home to beautiful Renaissance architecture including Este Castle and Pallazo dei Diamanti.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Florence

Included meals: Breakfast

Set off on a guided tour of Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance.

• Visit the legendary Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo

• Pass Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture

• See the medieval Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, center of Florentine life

• Step inside the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial site of Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo

Later, enjoy free time to continue exploring Florence on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner in Fiesole $75pp* Details

Head to the hilltop town of Fiesole, home to stunning views of nearby Florence that have been prized since pre-Roman times. Here, you’ll be treated to some of the region’s best cuisine over a relaxing three-course dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 8: Free day in Florence

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Florence or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Siena & San Gimignano: Tuscan Hilltowns $109pp* Details

Discover the essence of Tuscany on a full-day excursion. In Siena, a local guide introduces you to the town and its black-and-white marble duomo, where you’ll find brilliantly colored 16th-century frescoes in the Piccolomini Library. You’ll have some free time to explore the Campo, the square that serves as the center of civic life in Siena. Then, journey through the countryside to the town of San Gimignano, where you’ll have some free time to explore the city’s medieval towers or simply admire the Tuscan hills. Later, you’ll head to a nearby vineyard, where an included wine tasting awaits. Please note: This excursion involves moderate walking.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Assisi 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Assisi's basilicas

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Drive through spectacular Umbria to hillside Assisi, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the town’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

• Visit Assisi’s lower and upper basilicas

• See Giotto’s magnificent frescoes and other late medieval art

Day 10: Free day in Assisi

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Assisi or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Perugia: City Highlights & Wine Tasting $99pp* Details

Discover Perugia on a guided tour. You’ll visit the Rocca Paolina, Perugia Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Priori, the Fontana Maggiore and the shops of Corso Vannucci. Enter the Collegio del Cambio, home to the historic exchange guild, to view famous, well-preserved frescoes. Then, enjoy lunch featuring a typical Umbrian dish. You’ll also sample three wines—a local white, red and vinsanto, or dessert wine.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Sorrento 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Sorrento via Pompeii

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

En route to Sorrento, stop in Pompeii for a guided tour of the city’s famed ruins.

• Discover how Roman citizens lived before Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79

• View the excavated Roman ruins of theaters, villas, temples and baths

Day 12: Free day in Sorrento

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Sorrento or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Capri: A Day on the Iconic Island $115pp* Details

Travel by ferry to the fabled Isle of Capri, a beloved resort since the days of the Roman Republic. Weather permitting, you’ll enjoy a mini-cruise around the island. Later, you'll enjoy free time to discover why everyone from Roman emperors to Sophia Loren wants to spend their vacation in Capri. If weather prohibits a mini-cruise, you’ll travel to the village of Anacapri, which offers stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Rome 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Rome

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Rome and follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with a guided tour of the Eternal City.

• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, the city’s central hub

• Stop at the ruins of the Forum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire

• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Venus and Roma

• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own

Enjoy a free evening exploring the city or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors $79pp* Details

End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera’s best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun! Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs from February through November.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 14: Free day in Rome

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Rome or add an excursion.

Celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $99pp* Details

This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you’ll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world’s most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you’ll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece. Finally, you’ll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced. Due to events surrounding the Holy Year Jubilee in Rome in 2016, we cannot guarantee entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica between December 8, 2015 and November 20, 2016.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to further explore Rome.

Add Rome $299 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome 2 nights Hotel info

Day 15: Free day in Rome

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Rome at your leisure or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Ostia Antica $95pp* Details

Situated on the Mediterranean at the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was once the bustling seaport for the city of Rome and home to more than 50,000 people in the second century. When the Roman Empire fell, the port was abandoned and eventually covered in silt from the river—a natural phenomenon that preserved much of the ancient architecture. You’ll take a guided tour of the excavated city, viewing the remnants of the Ancient Roman lifestyle, including a forum, a theater, bars and restaurants, public baths, religious temples and apartment blocks, many of which are still decorated with the original mosaics and painted walls.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Day 16: Free day in Rome

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend another full free day exploring Rome or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Rome: St. Paul’s Basilica & the Catacombs $65pp* Details

Descend into Rome’s ancient catacombs, where early Christians buried saints and popes alongside commoners. A local guide will lead you through burial chambers before your visit to St. Paul’s Basilica, one of the four most important basilicas of Rome, originally founded by Constantine the Great. The Basilica also houses the tomb of St. Paul. Please note: Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted within the basilica. Also, this excursion involves extensive walking and may be inadvisable for claustrophobic travelers.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Day 17: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Como, Italy
  • Venice, Italy
  • Florence, Italy
  • Assisi, Italy
  • Sorrento, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that bare legs and shoulders are officially not allowed in churches or other religious sites. Entrance may be denied on this basis.

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to Italy. It is always advisable to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

While most of the staples of the Italian diet have already become favorites in America, be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts while on tour. In Italy, the cuisine varies by region. Venice and Northern Italy are known for their meats and pastries, Tuscany for its wine, oil and sauces, Rome and Southern Italy for their pizzas. For more authentic meals, try local trattorias—small restaurants set away from the main piazzas and squares. Italians tend to indulge in long, boisterous meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks grappa or limoncello. American- or English-style bars and pubs are not as common, although they can be found in major cities and currently gaining in popularity, especially in Northern Italy and in Rome.

Arrival & Transportation Information

Round-trip flights arrive in Milan’s Malpensa Airport and depart from Rome. When you first arrive at Malpensa Airport, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting another traveler to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the major cities of Venice, Florence and Rome by public transportation. In Venice, each section of the city is connected by water bus (least expensive), water taxi or gondola. You can purchase discounted bulk passes from vendors, or purchase single tickets at each dock. Venice is also a great city to explore on foot. Florence is split into two separate sections by the Arno River, with most of the attractions spread out around the Duomo. The city is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available. Purchase tickets at tobacconists or at vending machines. Rome has one of Europe’s best metro systems, serving all the major attractions, from the Roman ruins to Vatican City. Tickets can be purchased separately or in bulk and also cover bus and tram travel.

Museums in Florence

If you are interested in visiting any of Florence's many museums during your free time, we recommend that you make reservations in advance. Additional information is available on the Polo Museale website. Please note that the museums are closed on Mondays.

Electricity

Italy uses the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6 p.m. in Rome.

Currency

The euro is the currency you will use on tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the Cirrus and Plus networks, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Tour Director

We have been traveling for over forty years, but on Dec 5th, 2015 we started the trip of our life. The Grand Tour of Italy led by our Tour Director, Sabra was the tour of a lifetime. Everything was perfect - flight, hotels, food, itinerary, local guides, transportation, and free time. Instead of using "Google", we had "Sabra" to answer all of questions as we traveled from Milan to Rome. Sicily is next. Thank you Sabra and Go Ahead Tours.

 

Hi John! We’re thrilled to learn that your Grand Tour of Italy was ‘the trip of your life.’ Coming from someone who’s been traveling for over forty years, your sentiment means so much to us! We’re glad every aspect of the tour exceeded your expectations. We agree that our Tour Directors are a wealth of information and can act as a handy replacement for Google. They are true experts. Thank you for your kind review. We can't wait to travel with you to Sicily!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 07, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Fabulous

Just the right mix of together time and free time. Our group really bonded well. Siena was my favorite, probably because no-one really talks about it as much as other Italian destinations. Of course the food everywhere was terrific. Learned just enough Italian through my DuoLingo app that I felt somewhat confident ordering "One small cup of Chocolate Gelato" all in Italian...haha. And Lake Como area was beautiful and not what you think of when people say "Italy", unless of course your ancestors are from that area ;) I can't believe I'm only reviewing this trip now, 2 years later, while on the site to book our next tour to Paris and Barcelona!

 

Hi Wendy! It’s never too late to write a review, and we so appreciate that you took the time to do it. We love hearing what a wonderful time you had in Italy. We’re also very impressed that you learned a bit of Italian before your trip. That’s fantastic. We look forward to seeing you on tour in a few months!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 05, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/14/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Italy

The trip was incredible, fun and captured the beauty of Italy. The tour director had great knowledge of the area and made everyone feel welcome. I would highly recommend this tour!

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Hi Tammy! We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed your tour and found your Tour Director to be knowledgeable and that he made you feel welcome. We are thrilled to learn that you would recommend this tour! Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review, and we hope you will travel with us again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 05, 2016

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 11/14/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Ciao Italy!

This tour does not disappoint. Let's be real here, it's not an all inclusive, expensive hotels, etc. type of tour. However, this tour was great fun, safe, and we packed in a lot in the days we were bussing around the country! The tour guides for each city were great! Venice tour guide, Marco, was a dream to listen to and follow around for sure!!! Loved the Florance tour guide as well! Really, what r u waiting for to book??? As a Nike slogan would say, "Just Do It!" No regrets. Oh, and the tour director, David was very intelligent and loves to share his knowledge which made the entire tour that much better. One last mentiin, the bus driver Massimo...he was a driving magician getting that bus into and out of very tight roads and parking places. Thanks to all so much for making my Italy dream become wonderfully unforgettable... in a very good way.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Dream Trip

This tour was so well planned. To begin with the people that helped my sister & I prepare for this trip made everything easy from the get go! Our tour guide Andrea was super, very knowledgeable with Italy wherever we were he knew it. Our bus driver Maximo "hope I spelled his name right" was so sweet & kind. He always helped you off the bus & was a great driver. I cannot say enough good things about Andrea & Maximo, they really made our trip memorable & we always felt very safe. A+ to Go Ahead Tours!.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 9/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OH

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Italy by Bus

The tour as a whole was a great way to see a vast majority of Italy in a short period of time. However, when booking these tours, keep in mind that because it is noted that you will be in a city, you may be there for only an hour.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 8/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome Tour

This tour met all my expectations and then some! Italy is a wonderful country to visit, very scenic, friendly people, and great food!! Our Tour Director was knowledgeable, helpful, and told a great deal about the customs, traditions, and the history of Italy in a understandable way. She became part of the a great group of travelers, sharing in the fun and laugher.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fabulous Tour of Italy

Great itinerary, enjoyed each location. Hotels and food exceeded expectation. You can be as busy as you want with extra excursions or slower paced if you chose. Our guide and driver were both fabulous. We were always on schedule. They were super helpful and courteous. Our guide was very knowledgeable with each location. Offering great suggestions for restaurants, tour suggestions and shopping for our free time at each location. We also had local guides at each location to give onsite historical details for tours done in each town. This trip was above expectations. I highly recommend this tour and Go Ahead Tours to everyone. I am already planning my next trip for next year from their catalog.

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4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Grand Tour of Italy - GREAT

Wonderful towns, scenery, churches, architecture, food and shopping. Monique was very informative and fun, as well as our walking guides. Learned so much from them it's hard to remember everything. It would be nice to receive a CD at the end of tour, to recap all the places, restaurants we visited. Would recommend hiking shoes, as there is a lot of walking on this tour, but, definitely well worth the uphill walks. Wish we had more time in some of the towns for shopping. Love Italy and I will be back!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/29/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Good Trip

This trip was really a lot of fun and well organized. I would do it again. Our tour director, Enrico was the best. Having said this, I would like to point out some things. There is more walking than some at first realize. This is especially true in some of the stops in old cities where narrow streets are steeply sloped on the side of mountains. Secondly, the food was pretty similar. Dinners were acceptable but pretty uniform. If a foodie, I would use unscheduled time to find special restaurants. Lastly, we stopped at a lot of merchandise show places (glass blowing, leather purse making, inlaid wood products, shell jewelry, etc.). This took valuable time away from a limited sight seeing schedule. I would not make these stops on travel days and instead ask that the time be free for whatever. All all though, a good trip.

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