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ITALY

The Hidden Treasures of Florence

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Road Scholar
Program #18647RJ
10 Days | 9 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
There is no elevation above 3000 Feet

Itinerary for Apr 1 — Apr 10, 2013

Expand all
Day One: Monday, April 01 - In flight
Afternoon: Depart USA on overnight flight to Italy.

Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Tuesday, April 02 - Arrival and check in at Hotel Balestri
Afternoon: Light snack / Orientation meeting / Presentation of the program. Welcome drink.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the local restaurant

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Wednesday, April 03 - Private visit to "Palazzo Gondi"- Be the guest of...
Private visit to "Palazzo Gondi"- Be the guest of Marchese Gondi who will exclusively offer the floors of his "Palazzo" of Florence. Visit to the "Corridoio Vasariano," the site that stimulates everybody's fantasies.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel

Morning: Transfer to Palazzo Gondi. Marchese Gondi will open his private palace and meet his guests as long acquainted friends. Palazzo Gondi is a palace in Florence, Italy, located a block from Piazza della Signoria. It was built by Giuliano da Sangallo in 1490 based on other major works of stately buildings in the city, such as Palazzo Medici and Palazzo Strozzi. Among the elements borrowed from these earlier works is the cube-shaped set around a central courtyard, the ashlar sloping on each of three floors up, arched windows, etc. Compared to his models, however, Sangallo was able to modify the use of these elements, making it one of the most successful Florentine buildings of its time. The most innovative element is the design of the windows, the profile of stones arranged in a radial pattern, which resembles the facets of a precious stone. The windows on the second floor were slightly wider than the others, to compensate for the optical foreshortening. Visit to the Palazzo. Cocktail at the Palazzo

Lunch: Cocktail at the Palazzo

Afternoon: Visit to the "Corridoio Vasariano".The Corridor was built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari in only five months at the time of the wedding between Francesco I de' Medici and Giovanna of Austria; it served to link up the Pitti Palace, where the Grand Duke resided, with the Uffizi (or offices) where he worked. It is a covered walk, almost a kilometre in length, an overhead passageway that starts out from the West Corridor of the Gallery, heads towards the Arno and then, raised up by huge arches, follows the river as far as the Ponte Vecchio, which it crosses by passing on top of the shops. The meat market on the bridge was at this time transferred elsewhere, so as not to offend the Grand Duke's sensitive nose with unpleasant smells on his walk, and replaced (from 1593) with the goldsmiths who continue to work there today. On the other side of the Arno, the corridor passes through the interior of the church of Santa Felicita, Down the tops of the houses and the gardens of the Guicciardini family until it finally reaches the Boboli gardens (one of the exits stands beside Buontalenti's Grotto) and the apartments in the Pitti Palace. Ending the visit in the Uffizi Museum. On site lecture Historic aperitif at hotel

Dinner: Dinner on your own

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Thursday, April 04 - Visit to the garden of Villa Torrigiani. The gard...
Visit to the garden of Villa Torrigiani. The garden is set right in the heart of Oltrano and in the authentic green lung of the district. Visit to the Church of Carmine to admire frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino in the Brancaccio Chapel.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Transfer to Oltrarno district. Visit to VillaTorrigiani.The Oltrarno is a quarter of Florence, Italy; an off-the-beaten path area, where artisans and patricians still live and work side by side; a place where you can still breath the atmosphere of the extraordinary past era, especially in and around the Renaissance church of "Santo Spirito". Guided tour of the gardena and the Villa by Marchese Torrigiani.

Lunch: Lunch at the local restaurant

Afternoon: Walk to the Santa Maria del Carmine Church and visit of Brancacci Chapel known for its frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino. The Brancacci Chapel is sometimes called the "Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance"[citation needed] for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. Construction of the chapel was commissioned by Pietro Brancacci and begun in 1386. Public access is currently gained via the neighbouring convent, designed by Brunelleschi. The church and the chapel are treated as separate places to visit and as such have different opening times and it is quite difficult to see the rest of the church from the chapel. On-site lecture on Masaccio and Masolino. Return to the hotel Historic aperitif at the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner on your own

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Friday, April 05 - Free time. Field trip to Villa la Pietra, former ...
Free time. Field trip to Villa la Pietra, former residence of Sir Harold Acton, to visit the villa and the garden.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel

Morning: Free time

Lunch: Lunch on your own

Afternoon: Walk to Villa la Pietra former residence of Sir Harold Acton. Visit of the Villa and garden. The site of a renaissance garden (1462) which disappeared and was replaced by an Italian Arts and Crafts garden designed by Henri Duchene for the English historian Harold Acton

Dinner: Dinner on your own

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Saturday, April 06 - Lecture on the Museo del Bargello followed by a p...
Lecture on the Museo del Bargello followed by a private exclusive visit. Visit of Palazzo Vecchio through a secret itinerary.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel

Morning: Walk to the Piazza Signoria. Still used as the city hall of Florence, the famous Palazzo Vecchio built in 1299, became Duke Cosimo de’ Medici’s palace and was highly renovated by Giorgio Vasari in the 16th Hundreds. Following a specially set itinerary and thanks to a private admittance visitors are allowed to peep into rooms where the Granduke and his family lived, kept treasures, met spies and showed their power. Francesco I’s ‘Studiolo’, or study room, Eleonora and Bianca Cappello’s room overlooking the huge hall of the palace, Giorgio Vasari’s amazing construction of its wooden ceiling are only a few of the sorpreses one can experience inside the political heart of Florence. On-site lecture and private visit of Palazzo Vecchio through a secret itinerary

Lunch: Lunch at the local restaurant

Afternoon: Walk to the Museo del Bargello. An exclusive visit through Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, Cellini, Giambologna’s sculpture masterpieces and inside the rooms of a 13th century palace used by the hugh magistrates of Florence to administer justice. Armories, small bronze objects, medals, ceramics and private collections make the Bargello one of the most amazing museums to visit in Florence. On-site lecture followed by a private, exclusive visit.

Dinner: Dinner on your own

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Seven: Sunday, April 07 - Free time / Dinner at the local restaurant
Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel

Morning: Free time

Lunch: Lunch on your own

Afternoon: Free time

Dinner: at 7:00 meet at hotel lobby and walk to the local restaurant

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Eight: Monday, April 08 - Lecture "Florence and its Historic handcraft trad...
Lecture "Florence and its Historic handcraft tradition" followed by a visit to the "Scuola del Cuoio" located in the Monastery of Santa Croce. Visit to the Basilica of San Miniato to enjoy a gregorian song performance.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Walk to Santa Croce District. Lecture on site "Florence and its historic handcraft tradition" Visit to the "Scuola del Cuoio in the Monastery of Santa Croce". Scuola del Cuoio was created after World War II through the collaborative efforts of the Franciscan friars of the Monastery of Santa Croce and the Gori and Casini families, Florentine leather artisans since the 1930. Their mission was to give orphans of the war a means to learn a practical trade with which to earn a living. Santa Croce, with its strategic position along the banks of the Arno river, since the 13th century had been historically the district where the industries that required great quantities of water were concentrated. The tanners of via delle Conce and via dei Conciatori, just a few steps from the garden entrance of the Monastery and Scuola del Cuoio, were an important part of the Santa Croce neighborhood with the dyers of Corso dei Tintori and even the soap makers of via dei Saponai. The tanned hides were used for centuries for the leather manufacturing of the city and at the Monastery itself to cover the great manuscripts. Post-war Scuola del Cuoio brought those traditions back to the Monastery.

Lunch: Lunch on your own

Afternoon: At 3:00 meet at hotel lobby for transfer to the Basilica of San Miniato. San Miniato al Monte is a basilica standing atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany. The geometrically patterned marble façade was probably begun in about 1090, although the upper parts date from the 12th century or later, financed by the Florentine Arte di Calimala (cloth merchants’ guild), who were responsible for the church’s upkeep from 1288 (the eagle which crowns the façade was their symbol). On site lecture and visit of the Basilica.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: A traditional Florentine Hotel, partially restyled in 2008 to bring its original structure back to light. With its unrivalled location within walking distance from Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of Santa Croce district and with its stunning views onto San Leonardo and San Miniato hills, the Balestri is a three-star hotel, 51 rooms, catering for guests who care for service quality; ideal for families, it is also one of the most convenient starting points to discover the city and the Oltrarno, the authentic city Village.

Contact info:
P.zza Mentana 7
Firenze, 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 214743
web: www.hotel-balestri.it

Room amenities: Rooms of the Hotel Balestri, with their approximate size of 18 sqm, overlook the small streets of the city centre, the typical Florentine ancient buildings inner courtyards or Mentana Square. All the rooms are composed by a comfortable bedroom (Queen or Twin bedded) with private bathroom with bath tub or shower, terry bath towels and hair dryer. Phone with direct line Sat TV Safe Paying Wi-Fi internet connection Air conditioning and heating with automatic control from the room Minibar

Facility amenities: Services Reception / concierge 24h Paying internet point Paying wi-fi Breakfast room open from 07:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bar Light snacks available Meeting room (from 02 to 26 people) Valet parking

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: € 145 DBL, € 130 SGL B/B
Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Nine: Tuesday, April 09 - Private visit to Palazzo Corsini. Princess Corsin...
Private visit to Palazzo Corsini. Princess Corsini will open the doors of her "Palazzo" Free Time Farewell Dinner at local restaurant

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel

Morning: Transfer to Palazzo Corsini. Stop on the way at Santa Maria Novella. Princess Corsini will open her private garden and palace and meet her guests as long acquainted friends. In 1649 Maria Maddalena Macchiavelli, the wife of the Marchese Filippo Corsini, purchased the palace from the Grand Duke Ferdinando II de' Medici. Originally, Palazzo Corsini, that was called a casino (a small house surrounded by a large garden that extended to the banks of the Arno River where Lungarno Corsini is located), belonged to the Ardinghelli family, then to the Medici, to the Corsini and today it is in the hands of their descendants Miari Fulcis and Sanminiatelli. The Palazzo is a late baroque building and this is obvious throughout, from the roofs decorated with statues and terracotta vases – a novelty for Renaissance Florence – and the main, U-shaped courtyard that opens towards the riverbank. The two men responsible for Palazzo Corsini were Bartolomeo Corsini (1622-1685), the son of Filippo Corsini and Maria Maddalena Macchiavelli and, Filippo son of Bartolomeo's son (1647-1705) who expanded the portion of the Palazzo that extends towards Ponte S. Trinita. Construction continued non-stop for 50 years. The magnificent decorations, that were done between 1692 and 1700, belong to one of the finest and most intense moments in Florentine painting. The family commissioned several artists to decorate the noble apartment on the first floor, that includes Galleria Aurora, the Salone, the ballroom and other important rooms; the outstanding painters include Anton Domenico Gabbiani, Alessandro Gherardini and Pier Dandini. Cocktail at the Palazzo.

Lunch: Cocktail at the Palazzo

Afternoon: Free time

Dinner: At 7:00 meet at hotel lobby and walk to the local restaurant for a farewell dinner

Lodging: Hotel Balestri

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Ten: Wednesday, April 10 - Departures
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Morning departures from Florence airport based on flight schedule time.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
16 meals: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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