February 2006 (Newport Beach, California) – The United States leads the world in so many things, but when it comes vacationing, it’s at the back of the pack. Whereas the average American can count on only 13 days of vacation each year, according to the World Tourism Association, Germans get 35 days off, the French are afforded 37, and Italians enjoy 42! Rather than begrudge them their good fortune, experience a European-style freedom for yourself by experiencing the Grand Italy Odyssey Escorted Journey from Travcoa, the world leader in luxury travel.

By combining three extraordinary itineraries into one month-long Escorted Journey, the Grand Italy Odyssey offers intimate immersion in the culture and history of refined and rural Italy. Explore the ancient heritage of one of Italy’s most stunning islands on the Odyssey’s Splendors of Sicily segment; savor the alluring traditions and breathtaking scenery of Umbria & The Amalfi Coast; and experience La Dolce Vita of Italian art and culture in Venice, Florence, Rome, Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa. The Grand Italy Odyssey takes place over 30 days from August 22 – September 20, 2006, with rates starting at $24,185 per person. Or those with busy schedules can enjoy each of three Escorted Journeys separately. Either way, you’ll still be many days short of a typical Italian vacation!

As with all Travcoa journeys, the Grand Italy Odyssey bathes travelers in the highest standards of luxury while offering extraordinary glimpses of Italy’s most captivating destinations. With more than 50 years experience and time-honored relationships across Europe, Travcoa offers finely tuned travel with expert local guides, special access to behind-the-scenes events, and 5-star luxury hotels. Each Escorted Journey is led by a professional Travel Director who assures personal attention, while small-group size of no more than 18 guests promises intimacy and camaraderie. Travcoa’s renowned Dine-Around program offers guests the unique opportunity to indulge in local flavors at the finest restaurants, all included in the package price. All-inclusive travel and guaranteed departures mean no concern of unexpected additional costs or cancellations. Little wonder Travcoa has earned a place on Travel + Leisure’s annual round up of the “World’s Best” tour operators for nine years.

Splendors of Sicily:
A Greek colony, a Roman province, an Arab emirate, a Norman kingdom…so many cultures have laid claim to Sicily over the centuries. Now you can discover all the splendors of this exquisite island on a 10-day Escorted Journey through the heritage and history, towns and villages, ancient temples and terraced country sides, and more. Step into the heart of nature at the live volcano site of Mt. Etna; explore the otherworldly salt marshes of Trapani; enjoy the quaint charm and historic grandeur of Agrigento – just as the Greeks, Romans and Saracens did centuries ago; breathe deep the ever-flowering gardens at the San Domenico Palace Hotel, which occupies a 15th-century monastery; and enjoy Sicilian cuisine and wines, both on your own and through Travcoa’s Dine-Around program.

Splendors of Sicily: from $5,895 per person, including all meals, accommodations, deluxe ground transportation, first-class sightseeing, expert guides and gratuities. Departure is August 22-31, and other dates throughout 2006.

La Dolce Vita:
Experience “the sweet life” as you’ve always dreamed on this alluring, 12-day exploration of Italy’s most revered cultural capitals. From the canals of Venice to the Coliseum in Rome, and San Gimignano, Siena, Florence and Pisa in between, you’ll enjoy the country’s most exquisite sights and flavors at an unhurried pace. Glide the canals of Venice and enjoy a private walk through the Doge’s Palace; stroll the 14th-century streets of San Gimignano where palaces and towers await; tuck into Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, to experience the Duomo, the Academy of Fine Arts, a private guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery, and more; savor local flavors at a private wine tasting and lunch in the Chianti Region; and take in the Eternal City from the Coliseum to the Sistine Chapel with grand accommodations just steps from the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Via Veneto.

La Dolce Vita: from $10,295 per person, including all meals, accommodations, deluxe ground transportation, first-class sightseeing, expert guides and gratuities. Departure is August 30-September 10, 2006.

Umbria & the Amalfi Coast:
Absorb the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful seascapes of one of Italy’s loveliest provinces on this 12-day Escorted Journey to Umbria and the Amalfi Coast. Wind through hilltop villages such as Spoleto, Todi and Torgiano, where spectacular artwork, intriguing architecture, fascinating history, and amazing food and wine await. Indeed, Travcoa’s Dine-Around program affords the opportunity to sample the best dining you can find in restaurants and room service and let Travcoa pick up the tab. Highlights inland and on the coast include: a private tour of the Wine and Olive Museum; an exploration of the Roman time capsule of Pompeii; a sailing voyage to Capri’s extraordinary Blue Grotto, a Roman nymphaeum built around the brilliant blue of the sea; picturesque views from seaside Sorrento; an exclusive wine and cuisine tasting in Spello; two days in the Eternal City of Rome; and much more.

Umbria & the Amalfi Coast: from $7,295 per person, including all meals, accommodations, deluxe ground transportation, first-class sightseeing, expert guides and gratuities. Departure is September 9-20, 2006.

For more information or reservations for Grand Italy Odyssey, or for individual Splendors of Sicily, La Dolce Vita, and Umbria & the Amalfi Coast Escorted Journeys, please contact Travcoa at (800) 992-2003 or visit www.travcoa.com.

About Travcoa: Travcoa has been leading inspiring and in-depth explorations of the world’s most exotic destinations since 1954. Currently, the California-based company offers three stellar product lines through which discerning travelers can enjoy enriching experiences in more than 90 countries around the globe: “Escorted Journeys” with extraordinary itineraries and regular departures guided by seasoned and professional Travel Directors; “Custom Journeys” for independent-minded travelers, with itineraries tailored to personal desires; and the “Travcoa Adventure Series” of private jet journeys. Long synonymous with personalized attention, exclusive access to exceptional venues and all-inclusive luxury from the finest hotels to unique “Dine-Around” programs, Travcoa also offers guaranteed departures upon acceptance of deposit on all of its excursions. A member of Grand Expeditions, Travcoa was the first American travel company to develop excursions to East Africa and has pioneered destinations such as Easter Island, the remote islands of Bali, Mainland China and the Amazon. For unique experiences and absolute luxury, it’s TRAVCOA. For more information: (800) 992-2005; www.travcoa.com.

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