2013 Friendship Tour

Please note: Because of the popular nature of this event, those interested in coming with us must register as soon as possible.   Reserving your spot is $495.  Please register quickly.  Space is limited.  Athletes, Fans and even children 13 years and older are welcome to come.

Designed by: Kyle Case & Andy Groft
Departure date:  Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Return date:  Friday, August 16, 2013
Locations: Milan, Torino, Florence (Optional excursions available)
Competition: All competition will be a part of the 2013 World Masters Games.  Participants in team sports should plan to attend AS A TEAM.   
Tour Limit: TBD based on early interest 
Tour Price:  Airfare Included - $5,495* , Without Airfare - $4,395
Contact: Andy Groft (800-562-1268 or agroft@seniorgames.net) OR Kyle Case (800-562-1268 or kcase@seniorgames.net) 

Download Complete Itinerary, Registration Form, Booking Conditions and Cancellation Policy

 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013                  Day 1 

Board our overnight flight to Milan!

Thursday, August 1, 2013                   Day 2

Milan

Arrive in Milan, fashion and finance capital of Italy, and spend the remaining hours of our day Exploring Milan together and during free time.  Milan is the capital of Lombardy, which used to be the powerful banking city-state of the Middle Ages.  With its majestically adorned cathedral and the world-famous La Scala opera house at the center, Milan is a mixture of traditional beauty and an economically successful and vibrant present.  

Free Time in Milan (time permitting)

Get acquainted with this amazing city, window shop in the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle of Gold) where even the price tags just might be out of your budget.  Visit some of the 500 year old churches, walk on the roof of the Duomo and see it’s amazing gothic architecture up close.  In the Santa Maria della Grazie, pay the entrance fee to see the famous and some say mystic painting, The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci. 

This will be an important day to be out and about before retiring for a good night’s rest. You’ll feel tired, but stay awake until at least 10:00 tonight.

Group Welcome Dinner, Overnight in Milan

Friday, August 2, 2013                        Day 3

Torino (also known as Turin) 

Wake up and travel to Torino.  After checking in to the Olympic Village, we’ll all be on our own to pick up our registration packets and credentials, attend the Opening Ceremonies of the World Masters Games and begin competing in the various sports and cheering on our friends and countrymen. 

Overnight in Torino 

Saturday, Aug 3 – Sunday, Aug 11    Days 4-12

Torino

Compete and support others in their competition at the 2013 World Masters Games.  Some may compete all 9 days while others may take some free days to explore the amazing and historic city, or take optional excursions as detailed below. 

During this 10-day WMG event in Torino, there will be two optional day excursions and three optional overnight trips. (See the last page of this itinerary for pricing and instructions on how to reserve your seat for these amazing excursions.) 

Optional Day Trip “Wonders of Torino”

Sunday, August 4

$65 before March 1, $75 after (limited space, register early)

We will head out on our own motor coach to see some of the amazing and historic sites of Torino and the surrounding area.  We’ll ride the Superga Mausoleum Funicular and visit the resting place of many from the famous house of Savoy.  We will also visit the Cinema Museum housed in the famous Mole Antonelliana, constructed in 1889 to commemorate Italian unification.  From the beautiful piedmonts and mountains, to the historic buildings and quaint streets, we will spend the day getting to know the Wonders of Torino. 

Head back to Hotel by 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m.

Optional Overnighter “Venice, Italy”

Monday August 5 – Tuesday August 6

$290 before March 1, $350 after (limited space, register early)

We will drive east along the base of the Italian Alps, through Milan and the lake region to unforgettable water city of Venice.  As a powerful maritime city-state during the Middle Ages, Venice sent off great explores like Marco Polo, and tried to hold adventurers like Casanova in its prison walls.  We will see a glass blowing demonstration, take a Gondola ride through the watery and romantic canals, and have plenty of free time to shop, explore and taste the cold and creamy decadence called Gelato.  You will want to visit San Marco where the remains of St. Mark the Apostle are supposedly kept, and take a tour of the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Palace Dungeons.  We’ll stay at a hotel on the actual island, so when all the other tourists leave in the early evening, we’ll get to remain and enjoy the much more quiet and beautifully lit island city. 

Spend the morning exploring, head back to Torino by 2:00 pm

Optional Overnighter “Lucerne, Switzerland”

Wednesday August 7 – Thursday August 8

$290 before March 1, $350 after (limited space, register early)

You will be awestruck as we drive through the Italian and Swiss Alps to Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.  Arriving in the early afternoon, we will take a walking tour of the breathtaking lake village.  We’ll see the touching Lion Monument, built for the Swiss Guards who to the last soldier valiantly gave their lives defending Louis XVI when the mobs stormed the Tuileries during the French Revolution in 1792.  We’ll also ride a cable car to the top of Mount Pilatus, named after the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate because it is said that after condemning Jesus, he wandered here and took his own life in grief for what he had done.  After spending some time at the peak of this amazing mountain, we will descend by the world’s steepest cog rail train, and take a scenic boat ride of Lake Lucerne.  We’ll also walk across the long covered wooden footbridge that has become the iconic edifice of this Swiss city and holds secrets to the city’s defense. 

Spend the evening in the fresh, crisp mountain air, and the morning enjoying the beauties of Switzerland.

Head back to Torino by 2:00 pm

Optional Overnighter “Nice, France and Monaco”

Friday August 9 – Saturday August 10

$290 before March 1, $350 after (limited space, register early)

En route to the French Riviera, we’ll stop in Monaco to see this rare city-state that opted out of unification, and that pulls in big spenders and players from all over the world.  We’ll have a Group Lunch before heading to Nice.  Upon arriving in Nice, we will check into our hotel within walking distance of the boardwalk and beaches of this beautiful Côte d'Azur city that has been the backdrop of uncountable movies, not to mention celebrity and royal vacations.  In the evening, walk along the boardwalk and experience the city come alive with lights, shops, exotic soaps, amazing sweets and a romantic energy you’ll never forget. 

In the morning, spend the day sunning on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Head back to Torino by 2:00. 

Optional Day Trip “Sacra di San Michele & Avigliano”

Sunday August 11

$95 before March 1, $125 after (limited space, register early)

Leave the city and head to the mountains where we will visit the breathtaking Sacra di San Michele which before it was a church, was a stronghold built by the Lombards against Frankish invasions. The church, whose construction lasted for many years, is characterized by the unusual position of the façade, which is at a lower level than the floor of the church's interior.  We will have lunch together and then head to the quaint shopping district of Avigliano to shop and explore in the narrow and winding Medieval streets. 

Head back to the hotel by 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.

Overnights in Torino (and/or optional cities)

Monday, August 12, 2013                 Day 13

Florence

Board your coach and head for the home of the Italian Renaissance.  For many reasons, not least of which was the powerful Medici family’s love and support of the arts, Florence became the center of a movement that would bring the western world out of the Dark Ages and into Modernity.  This beautiful city, nestled in the mountains of Tuscany and fed by the famous River Arno, was built mostly of stone, allowing it to withstand fires that destroyed so many other cities.  In many ways the heart of this city looks exactly how it would have looked to Michelangelo over 500 years ago. 

En route, we’ll stop for lunch at the Gastronomy capitol of all Italy: Bologna.  The home of the first modern university in 1088, Bologna is famous for many things, including leaning bell towers, long signature colonnades, and great food. 

Less than two hours after lunch, enter the city of Florence via the Piazza Michelangelo.  The bus will stop so that you can overlook the city from the hillside piazza before heading down to the hotel.

This afternoon, Andy will take you on a walking tour of a few key parts of the city.  We’ll start by spending some time in the simple Franciscan structure of Santa Croce, home of the tombs of Michelangelo, Giotto, Galileo and Machiavelli to name only a few.  This is also the church where the young Michelangelo studied the Frescoes of Giotto, and began his preparations to one day improve on this technique in the Sistine Chapel.  Then we’ll walk to the Duomo, which for many years was the largest dome in Christendom, and because of Brunelleschi’s ground breaking architectural approach, it became the model for nearly all other domes for the next 400 years.  Finally, we’ll walk to the Piazza Signoria, the actual site of the Bonfire of the Vanities, and the famous Ponta Vecchio bridge which was spared destruction by Hitler in WWII because of it’s beauty and historic wonder. 

After our group dinner, feel free to explore the city after nightfall.  This is when most of the tourists are gone, the heat abates, and the river and stone walls are illuminated.  Florence at night is one of my favorite places in the world to just stroll, mingle and imagine. 

Group Dinner

Overnight in Florence, Italy

Tuesday, August 13, 2013                  Day 14

Pisa

This morning wake up and make your way to the train station where we will travel like the locals do to Pisa.  This short, one-hour train ride will drop us off at the Pisa terminal.  We’ll walk through the small town of Pisa, over the Arno, and toward the Field of Miracles where the Leaning Tower of Pisa shares a beautiful campus with a magnificent cathedral and one of the most amazing baptisteries in Italy.  Before the Turkish invasion of Constantinople, which closed the Bosporus and inspired sea exploration of the Atlantic, Pisa and Florence vied for the third spot of Italian power and prominence after Genoa and Venice.  Then and now, Pisa has one of the most beautiful and amazing bell towers in Italy.  You’ll be surprised just how much it leans—nearly 18 feet off center!

Upon arriving back in Florence, spend the rest of the day visiting the Duomo, San Lorenzo’s Chapel, The Boboli Gardens, and much more including the amazing prison-turned-sculpture-museum the Bargello—a must see that holds Donatello’s young David in Bronze, Michelangelo’s Bacchus and Gemito’s Fisher Boy to name only a few.  The city is also well known for its Florentine Beefsteak, its rich Gelato, Tiramisu, art and architecture. 

Overnight in Florence

Wednesday, August 14, 2013              Day 15

Siena and San Gimignano

This morning we’ll venture out to some of the most beautiful and historic small towns of Tuscany.  First we’ll stop in world famous Sienna to tour St. Catherine’s Cathedral, the Piazza del Campo (where the famous Il Palio horse race takes place each year) and the narrow winding city. We’ll take a break for lunch before heading to San Gimignano, a very unique and unforgettable Medieval town. Today will be an breathtaking day of Tuscan countrysides, walled cities, winding Medieval streets, towers, breathtaking views, olive groves, vineyards, history and fun. 

Overnight Florence

Thursday, August 15, 2013                 Day 16

Florence (Academia & Uffizi)

This morning we’ll make our way to a reserved viewing of the Academia Museum, where you will see Michelangelo’s Captives, struggling to escape from their marble prisons.  You will also experience one of the most famous and brilliant statues in the world: Michelangelo’s David.  This piece of Carrara marble was once thought to be worthless because of a flaw running deep into the side of the stone.  But Michelangelo saw David’s hip there, bent in slightly as he would stand in the moment of decision for what he knew he must do.  In the shadow of domineering Rome, the people of Florence saw this amazing, almost translucent statue as a symbol of their own strength, and they displayed it proudly in the Piazza Signoria for nearly 400 years before it was brought inside the Academia, cleaned to its original splendor, and showcased in a way that no other statue is shown.  (We recommend reading Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy prior to this trip.  It will transport you back in time, and prepare you for the stories, wonders and ghosts that this great city and region hold.)

After some free time for lunch, we’ll come back together in the early afternoon for a reserved entrance to the famous Renaissance museum known as the Uffizi—named so because the building used to be the official offices of the Medici civic government.  Here we will see great works of art and history from names such as Ghiberti, Botticelli, Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  The Uffizi Museum is arranged almost chronologically so that you can see Medieval and Transitionary art begin to morph into Renaissance and finally reveal the groundbreaking change in perspective, thinking and feeling that launched the world into a reborn way of thinking that hadn’t been seen since ancient Athens.  Also, there are two amazing observation points from inside the Uffizi: the one looking down on the Arno’s Ponte Vecchio and Private passage of the Medici; the second being a rooftop view of the Medieval Signoria Tower.

This evening we will come together for our Farewell Dinner.

Farewell Dinner, Overnight in Florence

Friday, August 16, 2013                 Day 17

Head to the Airport and Journey Home.

Prices Include the Following: 

•             Round-trip airfare
•             Transfers per the itinerary
•             Overnight in hotels / apartments
•             Basic Registration for WMG events
•             Continental breakfast on days 2, 3, 14-16
•             Group Dinners on days 2, 4, 13 & 16
•             Comprehensive sightseeing tours led by local guides
•             All-inclusive accident, travel, baggage and trip cancellation insurance.
•             Customary gratuities for tour director, local guides & drivers
•             Gratuities for group meals & hotel maids
•             Entrance and sightseeing included to Santa Croce, Pisa Basilica, St. Catherine’s Cathedral, Academia Museum, Uffizi Museum, and other entrances on optional excursions per the itinerary. 

Not included in the Program Fee:

•             Porterage
•             Beverages and Lunches
•             Any Sports Fees not included in WMG Basic Registration
•             Dinners other than days 2, 4, 13 & 16
•             Breakfast on days 4-13
•             Public Transportation during free time
•             Optional Excursion fees

Airfare Included                               $5,495*
Without Airfare                                $4,395

 

Hotel, Olympic Village and Flight information:

During our time in Torino, we will stay in the actual Olympic Village where the 2006 Winter Olympians stayed.  These are basic apartments with kitchenettes, multiple rooms and commons areas.  We reserved The Olympic Village early because of proximity to the Olympic Stadium, and so that we could have a true Olympic experience.  It will be nice to have the option to eat in, to use the nearby grocery store and shopping mall, and to share commons areas when relaxing.  $4,000 of the money for this trip will be sent straight to the Travel Agency, but $1,495 of the cost will be collected by the Huntsman World Senior Games to pay for trip registration, the Olympic Village apartments while in Torino, basic registration fees for the WMG, some transportation and customary gratuities.  Hotels for the Milan and Tuscany portions of the trip will be double occupancy. Hotel information will be made available 14 days prior to departure.  Flight details will be made available 30 days prior to departure. 

Reserve Your Spot:

Reserving your spot and paying the full $5,495 for this trip is done in three parts.  They are: 1) You make an initial payment of $495 to the Huntsman World Senior Games to cover trip registration, WMG registration, and all customary gratuities except non-group meals; 2) You are immediately enrolled in Auto-Pay, which will break up $4,000 of this trip into equal monthly payments to be paid off completely around the middle of June; 3) You will pay $1,000 to the Huntsman World Senior Games by February 1, which covers 10 nights in the Olympic Village. 

AutoPay:

Auto-Pay breaks up the largest part of the trip fees into equal monthly payments.  Unless participants opt out of Auto-Pay, they will be enrolled upon registration.  Auto-Pay pays for all aspects of the trip except for $1,495 which is collected by the Huntsman World Senior Games to pay for 10-nights at the apartments of the Olympic Village, WMG registration fees (golf and sailing are the only sports that have extra fees), some transportation related to Torino, and all customary gratuities except for non-group meals or personal outings. Those who opt out of Auto-Pay can choose to pay $1,995 upon registration and the final $3,500 by May 1, 2013. Prices are locked in upon registration except for some airport taxes, surcharges or government fees that could fluctuate slightly.

Optional Excursions & the “Adventurers Discount”:

To register for Optional Excursions on Days 4-11, please email Andy at agroft@seniorgames.net.  Include your full name and the full name of any others who want to register for the excursions.  Also include the name of the excursions for which you would like to register.  Space is limited and full payment will be required on or before May 1, 2013, via check or money order sent to:

Huntsman World Senior Games Friendship Excursions
1070 W. 1600 S., A-103
St. George, UT 84770 
USA

Participants who register for all 5 Optional Excursions will receive a $100 “Adventurers Discount” to the total cost of all five excursions.  If an Optional Excursion is canceled due to not enough participants, full refunds will be given.  However, if a participant cancels because of an event conflict, change of mind, or for any other reason, no refunds will be given.

Detailed Information:

Upon enrollment, Huntsman World Senior Games will send you a welcome letter with information on packing, safety, trip rules, and almost any question you have related to this adventure. All fees except for some taxes, surcharges, airport fees and other government-imposed charges are locked in upon enrollment.  Taxes, surcharges and airport fees may adjust slightly. It is the responsibility of participants to acquire a government-issued passport.  Many athletes like those from the U.S., Canada or the EU will not need visas to enter the EU. Athletes who are citizens of other countries should learn whether or not a visa is required, and if so to obtain it. All participants will need passports.

*These prices are based on a Las Vegas, Nevada Departure Gateway.  Your price may vary an average of +/- $140 depending on the major airport you choose to depart from (e.g., departing from New York City or LA may be roughly $100 less than the published price, while leaving from St. Louis or Calgary may be roughly $100 more).