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The Best of Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice

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Road Scholar
Program #18206RJ
14 Days | 13 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular 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.
Peter from Leland, NC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/04/14 - 06/17/14
My wife and I took Road Scholar's "The Best of Italy" tour in 2014. It was absolutely wonderful. I had visited Rome, Florence and Venice 50 years earlier but my wife had not and I had been "selling" it for decades. Turned out even better than I had hoped!

Sarah from Cambridge, MA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/12/14 - 10/25/14
Italy beckons! Rome, albeit scaffolded, offers delights no other town can - The Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, all awe inspiring and worth battling the ensuing tortticollis . Plaza Navona is a reminder of relaxed, less hectic spaces where to take stock of one's surroundings. Florence is the star in my book: manageable in size, very pleasant locals and a general welcoming air that only smaller places can bestow on the visitors. Staring at the David compensates fighting the crowds. As for Venice- do not underestimate the power of sharing it with a loved one! The trip to Murano is not to be missed, as well as the sheer joy of being on the Grand Canal's steps overlooking your hotel balcony. Altogether a most charming and instructive experience. Try it! You won't regret it.

Patricia from St Petersburg, FL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/17/14 - 09/30/14
I went on this trip in September 2014. Had a great time, superb guides, great people. Downloaded 685 photos of our trip to patleyitaly.pictures.5@sfy.com nothing to join

Karin from Stillwater, MN Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/02/14 - 11/15/14
Road Scholar is so organized, employs such extremely knowledgeable and personable guides, that I couldn't have enjoyed my trip to Italy as much if I had gone on my own. Also, I found that the other people in my group who also chose Road Scholar were fun to be with and I made some true friends while in Italy.

Janet from Warren, VT Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 10/19/14 - 11/01/14
It was my first time to Italy. The overall view and experience helped me decide to return to Italy in the future. The program was well described and fulfilled my needs. Thank you

Linda from Austin, TX Number of programs attended: 21
Date attended: 10/12/14 - 10/25/14
Great program: we saw everything we even dreamed of seeing and then some. As usual with Road Scholar, very well managed with excellent speakers. Marco and Laura were efficient and worked hard keeping our group together (sometimes a difficult task, especially in the narrow crowded streets of Venice). Advice: extensive standing is necessary for this trip: I'd advise getting and wearing support hose. (I wish Road Scholar would add this to their trip info for all trips: harder for me and my husband to stand for prolonged time than to walk.) 2. All 3 cities were very crowded in October. 3. Breakfast coffee was awful in the 2 places that used machines. 4.We took clothes for warm and cool weather and wore both. This was an unbelievable experience that I'll remember forever.

Nancy from Delmar, NY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/30/14 - 10/13/14
A great introduction to Rome, Florence and Venice. Would highly recommend this trip to anyone who has not visited those cities before.

Lynn from Brooklyn, NY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/08/14 - 10/21/14
This is a wonderful program, very well-designed and for the most part, well-executed. Bianca Obradovich is a great tour guide -- enormously knowledgeable, funny, resourceful, and extraordinarily patient even with the most demanding people in our group. The lecturers and on-site guides were also wonderful, and the choice of places to see is excellent. The three cities are sublime, each in its own way – and the program gave us free time to undertake our own expeditions. Bianca was a wonderful source of advice and gave great directions for those expeditions. As to food and accommodations, I believe I speak for the great majority of our group in saying that the food ranged from good to outstanding, and that the Hotel Diana in Rome and the Hotel Rivoli in Florence have all the amenities of good hotels and very obliging staffs. True, Wifi access was spotty for some of us at the Diana and for some of us at the Rivoli, although others in the group had no problem getting Wifi at either hotel. The Hotel Belle Arti in Venice is badly-managed, its sparse staff was defensive, and none of us got Wifi there. Some rooms there were worse than others. But the mattresses, sheets and towels were okay, the hot water was plentiful, and for most of us, the hotel's deficiencies actually wound up as a subject of shared laughter. They certainly didn't spoil our great pleasure in Venice!

Eleanor from Rockville, MD Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/08/14 - 10/21/14
The leader, Bianca, was very good. The instructors/guides were excellent. The accomodations were very poor. None of the 3 hotels had reliable WiFi. Hotel Diana in Rome was shabby. The hot water was unreliable and the breakfast buffet was poorly presented. Hotel Rivoli in Florence had been remodeled in the last few years and the accomodations were what I anticipated as you represented it as a 4 star hotel. The restaurant was good and the breakfast buffet was nicely presented. Hotel Belle Arti was horrible. It was very shabby and dirty. There was mold in the bathroom of our room #102. The ceiling paint was pealing. The towels were so old and threadbare. The sheets and blankets were in similar condition. Several people in the group had bites all over their body. The hoteliers were discourteous and generally inhospitable. How could RoadScholar have booked such a bad hotel! I will email photos of the mold in the bathroom and the pealing paint in the bedroom. As far as the meals were concerned, they were fair to middling with the exception of one or two restaurants. We were often lead to a back room even though we requested to eat outside but that was not an option. The one time we sat outside was the restaurant that was opposite the public bathrooms! Not very thoughtful planning.

Joyce from Buffalo, NY Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 10/08/14 - 10/21/14
The guides were wonderful, especially Biaca Obradovic, who took such great care from start to finish. The food in Rome was very disappointing, accommodations were adequate. Florence was wonderful hotel with great food. We were not prepared for the Hotel Belle Arts in Venice. It was totally unacceptable to the point that I moved out the following morning and moved next door to more clean and acceptable accommodations. Roads Scholar should NEVER consider using this hotel in the future. The ceiling above my bed was moldy and peeling, the vent was missing on the a/c, leaving a gaping hole that I stuffed towels into to keep uninvited "visitors" out of my room. (This was not problem as the A/C was shut off for the season). The door looked as though it had been breached many times so that I put a chair under the knob for the night. I think we were promised a hotel on the Grand Canal but, since our group seemed to be an "add on", the Hotel Principe was not available to us. I expect better from Road Scholar and hope that I can trust them in the future.

Birgit from Hollis, NH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/30/14 - 10/13/14
This was a lovely trip and Laura, our guide, worked hard to make the experience excellent for everyone. The educational aspects were excellent. I would advise people to make sure they are able to manage the physical challenges of the trip, which do involve walking, stairs, and some uneven cobblestones.

Raymond from Gore, VA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/30/14 - 10/13/14
Be prepared for very crowed conditions in Florence and Venice. The boat taxis in Venice, the vaporetto, are Extremely crowed. The high speed train rides were great experiences; speeds up to 155 MPH. The Road Scholar only visit to The Sistine Chapel was worth the Trip.

Charles from Bethesda, MD Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/17/14 - 09/30/14
Group leaders, Memo and Erica, made this a wonderful way to be introduced to Italian culture.

Jannine from Mohnton, PA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 09/09/14 - 09/22/14
There is so much to learn, so much to see, so much to do and experience in Rome, Florence and Venice, I do believe it will take me years to "unpack" these 12 days. This is a trip that my husband and I will talk about for a long time and will enjoy reliving through our photos, conversations and visits with truly wonderful and gracious fellow-travelers who once were strangers but now are friends.

Marie from Healdsburg, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/21/14 - 10/04/14
Rome, Florence, Venice - my goodness we saw a lot and learned more than I thought possible. Our lectures and guides were incredible as were our team leaders and the logistics from pick up to drop off was perfect. It was a bit more strenuous for me than I thought it would be but there were older people that found it easy so I guess I need to work out more. Our group got along really well and many of us will most definitely keep in touch.

Bill from Albany, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/04/14 - 06/17/14
Excellent program. Wonderful way to get a thorough taste of Italy. Well managed and fascinating.

Stacey from Los Angeles, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/04/14 - 06/17/14
Fantastic trip! Amazing places, people, memories...and food!! I will always remember the 12 days I spent in Italy...and love the people, art and history.

Rita from Drexel Hill, PA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/04/14 - 06/17/14
This was my first Road Scholar trip and I found it to be supportive and organized. There was a daily flow of lectures, guided tours, suggestions for sight seeing, diversity in meals, with a feeling of continuity provided by our coordinators as we traveled safely through the three historic cities.

Genesse from Fairfax, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/30/14 - 04/12/14
If you can, don't miss Road Scholar's trip to Rome, Florence and Venice! It was a trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad we went!

Karen from Pensacola, FL Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 05/07/14 - 05/20/14
This tour was a wonderful introduction to the Best of Italy. The itinerary was perfect with a chance to savor each city, staying at nice hotels, eating wonderful food, & feeling well taken care of by our professore, Marco & his patient assistant, Barbara. The Hotel Rivoli in Florence is one of my all time favorites. We also have great memories of the Hotel Principe on the Grand Canal. This was an amazing adventure. Thank you, Road Scholar for all the background work to put it all together. We spent 4 days in Milan on our own after the tour & could really appreciate the work of RS. We needed Marco & Barbara!

Jerry from Pensacola, FL Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 05/07/14 - 05/20/14
Rome, Florence, Venice plus, what more can we say. The places, the food, the people, the aroma, the taste of coffee, new hotels, side streets, churches, shopping, wonderfully informed tour guides at all cities and museums…and to bring it all together was our Group Leader Marco Ceccarani and Barbara Gigi. Marco's ability to take us all to a better understanding of the heart and soul of Italy in every place we visited makes all the difference in our full understanding of our trip.

Joan from Overland Park, KS Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 05/07/14 - 05/20/14
If you want a thorough grounding in Italian art and culture, beginning with the Roman classics then traversing through the Renaissance and baroque eras, this program is for you. Unbelievable artistry and sculpture await you plus exciting extras like a Renaissance dinner with dancing and games, as well as a gondola ride. This is a winner!

Charles from Atlanta, GA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/30/14 - 04/12/14
Imagine those college History classes you had when you were 20 and slept through or those museums you walked through in 15 minutes, checked off your bucket list and promptly forgot what you had seen. Now imagine you are standing in front of the statue of David listening to an engaging, informative and humorous college professor walk you around the statue for 30 minutes giving you the history, details, and background that makes the art come alive. Stand on the floor of the empty Sistine Chapel (yes empty) and look up while another professor does the same. You will never look at these works the same way again. That's what Road Scholar did with exceptional speakers for an exciting 14 days in Rome, Florence and Venice. It's a trip we will never forget. I just wish i had the words to better express the opportunities provided by this trip.

Nancy from Sebastian, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/30/14 - 04/12/14
Your website is clear and easy to use.

William from New York, NY Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 03/16/14 - 03/29/14
This trip was a great first trip to Italy. March was a great time to do this trip; the weather was perfect; the crowds were less than much of the prime seasons; Italy in the early spring was delightful.

Peter from Kennesaw, GA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/12/14 - 03/25/14
This experience was extremely good. The trip provided a great introduction to the history and art associated with these three very different and interesting cities. Late March is a really good time to go (maybe we were just lucky) as we had lots of sunshine and most days were in the mid 60's. Excellent weather combined with manageable crowds made for a very rewarding experience.

Marion from Dearborn, MI Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 11/02/13 - 11/15/13
I attended with Charles, whose comments are below. I agree with his opening comment; “Perfect introduction to Italy, its art and its culture.” I also read thru all 40 of the comments to compare experience. Just like cars, where Y.M.M.V. – Your Mileage May Vary. Also know, each personal experience may be influenced by 2 key elements” Be Prepared – learned that after many years of work in Boy Scouts. 2. RS slogan: Adventures in Lifelong Learning. If you have expectations other than listed in program summary, you might be disappointed. I go back to Charles opening comment; “Perfect introduction to Italy, its art and its culture.” For us, that and much more. If interested, see my trip journal: http://2013-c2c-adventure.blogspot.com/

Charles from Corona Del Mar, CA Number of programs attended: 18
Date attended: 11/02/13 - 11/15/13
Perfect introduction to Italy, its art and its culture. NOT, howeever, to its food. Italian cuisine is one of the greatest on the world, but you wouldn't know it from the restaurants included in this tour.

Sally from Harrisburg, PA Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 09/11/13 - 09/24/13
Solo travelers beware: Room accommodations in all three cities are dreadful! All travelers beware: Food in Road Scholar-approved restaurants is also dreadful (in some cases uneatable)! The cities themselves are, of course, marvelous.

Gail from San Juan Capistrano, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/11/13 - 09/24/13
Excellent web site! I manage the content on my church's web site, and this web site is highly functional.

Lisa from Beaverton, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/08/13 - 10/21/13
Road Scholar took all of the time consuming and sometimes frustrating responsibilities away (we did not worry at all...ever) so we could fully enjoy the trip without any stress.

Richard from Ashland, VA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/08/13 - 10/21/13
The lectures and visits to well-known historic and cultural sites really showed how limited a view we get from our education in the U.S.

Glenis from Annandale, VA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/21/13 - 10/04/13
This was my 2nd trip with Road Scholar, and I thought it was wonderful! My rooms in all 3 cities were comfortable and clean. The food was delicious and more than plentiful; I chose vegetarian option and had lots of roasted veggies, salads, even a souffle one night. The program was a good balance between lectures and activities, and the professors and local guides were all top-notch. I enjoyed the other participants and found them friendly and welcoming (I was traveling by myself). All 3 cities were a bit more crowded than I had anticipated, but now I know why. Italy is a beautiful, fascinating country and well worth more than 1 visit. I am dreaming about my next trip there.

Marilyn from Needham, MA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 09/29/13 - 10/12/13
What a great program and learning experience! I have alwayscloved Italy and Road Scholar...and now I love them both even more!

Marianne from Fredericksburg, VA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/21/13 - 10/04/13
We had a great trip. It was our first Road Scholar trip, and we plan to use Road Scholar again. The organization of events, accommodations, and the quality of the guides and speakers were all top notch.

Rhoda from Winthrop, MA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/21/13 - 10/04/13
We must have been on a different trip then the ones described below. Our experience and a very important one is the number of miles walked per day. I checked and re-verified with R.S. that the average walking distance per day was 2 miles. The actual on our trip was 5 to 7 miles most days. A good deal done on cobblestone roads with little or no sidewalks and Vesper scooters just hoping to run you down. The meals I thought were repetitious with no hope of a simple salad for lunch being offered. You walk into the room you sit down and out come the trays of food. We found the Florence hotel to be very good and the Venice one horrible. Rome was good in our eyes but a number of our group found it lacking. Be prepared for miniature bathrooms if you are a big person with the bidet being the front and center item in all three places. A very exhausting trip to say the least. I would rate it VERY ACTIVE.

Paula from Anchorage, AK Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/21/13 - 10/04/13
My experience with this trip was entirely satisfying. The program was diverse and presenters informative. (I'm also pleased with myself for the minimalism of what I packed!)

Thomas from Lancaster, CA Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 09/11/13 - 09/24/13
I was delighted to enjoy this trip,and would recommend it to anyone thinking of going.

Deborah from Tucson, AZ Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/22/13
This program is filled to overflowing with information and images of ancient history and significant art and architecture of classical, medieval, and Renaissance periods. The leaders are proficient at shepherding the large group through streets and into restaurants and museums, and are helpful with individual needs. This was our first trip to Italy and our first guided tour of this type, though we have done independent European travel. I do recommend this program as an introduction to Italy's major cities, and the following observations are meant to be helpful to others considering the program. The hotels were adequate, generally comfortable and quiet (except in public areas). The location near train stations was not a problem, as some guidebooks claim. Air conditoning is not as vigorous as in the US, so you may not return to a cool room and your hand laundry will probably not dry as quickly. Food was plentiful and varied, and most meals were very good, though with small vegetable and salad servings. Most of the program is spent in highly touristed areas, and I found the crowds and noise a distraction sometimes. Comfortable shoes are a must. You will spend a lot of time on your feet, and even in free time, walking is sometimes the easiest option. Museum security makes carrying any but the smallest bag impracticable. A collapsible water bottle will allow you to refill at public fountains, then empty and store it before entering the site. Lots of pockets help too.

Wayne from Crozet, VA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/22/13
This tour is an excellent introduction to the top highlights of Italy. For someone who has never visited Italy, the tour is a thorough introduction to its art, history, and culture. This trip is for you if you are interested in art, history, and art history, with little or no travel experience in Italy, and you are willing to spend a good deal of time in museums and lecture rooms. In each city, we received a thorough introduction to its history, geography, and cultural significance. While sensory overload was possible on occasion, the experience was well worth the time and effort involved. The lecturers were all good to excellent, as were the local guides. The leaders of our trip were both first rate in their level of knowledge and their leadership. Accommodations varied in quality. The Rome hotel was sub-par in several respects, but our hotel in Venice was satisfactory, and the one in Florence was very good. The free wifi access at the hotels in Rome and Venice was spotty, but the pay wifi in Florence worked well. Our hotels were chosen in part for their proximity to rail stations, a useful practical consideration but these were not among the more charming neighborhoods. The included meals were generally good and often reflected local cuisines. The breakfast buffets and 3 dinners provided at hotels reflected the varying general level of quality of those hotels. Wine was sometimes included with meals, and was available inexpensively if not included. The first class trains worked very well. Within each city travel was by foot, taxi, bus, or water taxi and vaporetto (water boat) in Venice. Overall, physical activity level was light to moderate. Elevators were usually available for those unable or unwilling to climb stairs, although the wait could be lengthy. Finally, the quality of the books recommended for pre-trip reading was uneven. In particular, the recommended short history of Italy is not very good.

John from Muncie, IN Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/22/13
Both my wife and I enjoyed both of our recent Road Scholar programs - Croatia followed a few days later by the Italy program in May. We learned a lot - enjoyed a lot. Since neither of us had been to Croatia and Italy, we enjoyed everything without exception. Would we have changed anything - no; since all was new to us we don't know what we would have substituted and we would have missed what we saw and enjoyed. We always enjoy the Road Scholar groups we travel with - they are open to learning new and different things, experiencing different things, and have a sense of adventure, and are willing to share their experiences. Both programs were great programs that we will cherish the experiences and our new found friends. John & Kay Mogush

Gary from Portland, OR Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/22/13
The Italian Classics program gave a good overview of the highlights in Rome, Florence and Venice. Standing in museums for more than two hours can be tiring. If Italian artwork is your interest, this is the program for you.

Bob from Quechee, VT Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/18/13 - 05/31/13
wonderful trip filled with art, sculpture, history and fascinating insight. Our guide was excellent and the expert lecturers added perspective to everything we experienced.

Lonnie from Knoxville, TN Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/22/13
Well organized and helpful.

William from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
Spectacular trip. Deepened my understanding of the renaissance and the art of that period. Restructured my approach to art appreciation. A beautiful experience.

Signe from New Hartford, NY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
This is one trip that gives you every penny's worth and then some -- a superbly planned itinerary, fabulous instructors and guides, charming hotels, meals far above normal "tour group meals", fast and comfortable inter-city travel, flawless handling of heavy luggage, efficient and congenial group leader and assistant who were on top of their game from beginning to end -- that about sums it up. Kudos to Road Scholar for the design and implementation of "Italian Classics"!

Susan from Oroville, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
This was the first tour we had ever taken with any company and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The tour leaders were wonderful. The lecturers and guides really made a difference to our trips to the museums and through the cities. As other reviewers have noted, the tour certainly gave us easy access to the museums, no waiting in 2 hour plus queues hoping to get a ticket. The choice of restaurants were very good, great food. The ease of moving from one city to another was really appreciated, no lugging luggage around! Will definitely be taking another trip with Road Scholar.

Maria from Austin, TX Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
The tour leaders were a delight. The lecturers and guides were well informed and laid a foundation for our tours thru art galleries and cities. Our group was congenial. An additional plus to the tour is that we had easy access to museums especially when there are already so many tourists waiting in line.

Mark from Centreville, VA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
The three cities are wonderful and far from the world we see in the USA. Each city being wonderful in its own way. And each day the presenters brought to life each city in turn.

Klaus from Oroville, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
Great trip, I enjoyed it very much.

Nancy from Fitchburg, WI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/01/13 - 05/14/13
Best tour we have ever taken!

Sonja from Holland, MI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/07/13 - 04/20/13
If you are going on this trip, be prepared to walk and walk somemore on uneven streets, paths, steps and walks... Are you in shape??
We had 2 ladies fall, nice to have had a Dr. with our group.

John from Carpinteria, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/09/13 - 03/22/13
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at no additional cost on this date ...
12 nights of accommodations
30 meals: 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
8 Expert-led lectures
17 Field trips
1 Performances


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