Explore Italy's delights

Deals Of The Week

October 07, 2007|By Richard P. Carpenter | Richard P. Carpenter,The Boston Globe

With its beauty, culture, cuisine and history, Italy is one of Europe's most popular destinations, and that holds true in the so-called off-season, when both temperatures and prices drop. Here are some possibilities for autumn and beyond:

TourCrafters' one-week Rome and Its Coast package starts at $1,166 from Baltimore and includes round-trip airfare, four-star hotels, four days' car rental, one gourmet dinner, daily breakfast and hotel service charges and taxes. Travelers stay four nights at Il San Francesco hotel in the seaside resort of Sabaudia, south of Rome, then two nights at the Hotel Quirinale on the Via Nazionale in Rome. Departures are Oct. 1-Dec. 15 and March 1-19 and 26-31. Go to tourcrafters.com, where there are several other Italy offers as well, or call 800-621-2259.

For many, staying in a villa is an excellent way to enjoy the country. Italian Vacation Villas has a new Web site listing villas that the company's owners have visited, with representative low-season prices from $1,330 to $5,920 a week. The site also features tips on traveling to Italy. Go to villasitalia.com or call 202-333-6247.

Wimco, based in Newport, R.I., is a leader in villa rentals, with 170 properties in Italy, 100 of them in Umbria. Representative off-season prices range from $1,690 to $9,360 weekly. Go to www.wimco.com or call 800-932-3222.

Even after summer ends, lines to the Vatican's attractions can be long. Viator has a way to skip the lines - for a price, of course - with private tours. For example, a two-hour private viewing of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums is being offered the evening of Oct. 12 for about $335. The group will be limited to a maximum of 30 people at a time. Go to viator.com.

From a Concord, Mass., reader comes a recommendation for Bluone Cooking Tours in Italy, run by a husband-wife team for groups of four to 10. A six-night Food Lovers' Cooking Adventure in Bologna features excursions, lessons and all meals; sessions available Nov. 4-10, Dec. 2-8 and Feb. 18-24. The price is about $3,500, airfare not included. Go to bluone.com.

Perillo Tours, a specialist in Italy, has at least 10 fully escorted tours at varying prices that include meals, and will send you a free DVD about them. Go to perillotours.com or call 800-431-1515.

Gutsy Women Travel, which says its tours are "designed specifically by women for women and their unique interests," has a nine-day trip beginning March 29 called Montecatini: Super Tuscany Plus Cinque Terre in Liguria. Participants will explore the Tuscan countryside while staying in the spa town of Montecatini. Prices from Boston begin at $2,959 and include airfare and 16 meals. Go to gutsywomentravel.com.

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