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Independent Venice: Power and Beauty

Program Number: 19400RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/8/2012 - 11/16/2012; 3/3/2016 - 3/11/2016; 4/7/2016 - 4/15/2016; 5/5/2016 - 5/13/2016; 10/13/2016 - 10/21/2016; 11/3/2016 - 11/11/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $2,353.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 9; 7 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Reflected in the canals of Venice you can see splendid palazzi and grand opera houses, red-scarfed gondoliers standing confidently aboard their crafts, the Rialto, Accademia and Scalzi bridges and so much more. Absorb and reflect on this utterly unique city as you explore independently and learn from local experts about the artists, architects and musicians that contributed (and continue to add to) its beauty.


• An exceptional opportunity to visit St. Mark’s Basilica at night, when its beauty can be experienced without crowds.
• Cristina Gregorin, author of “Venice Master Artisans,” gives you a fascinating look at traditional Venetian crafts including Carnival masks.
• Revel in a Vivaldi concert performed on prestigious original instruments by the chamber music ensemble Interpreti Veneziani.

Activity Particulars

Walking on cobblestone streets; uneven steps up and down bridges. Use of public “vaporetto” waterbus for transportation.

Included in the Program Only Price: Seven nights hotel accommodation, breakfasts during the program, two dinners, five lectures by local experts, two special events, detailed outlines for self-directed excursions, substantial free time. The program also includes the Venice Card, which gives you access to museums and churches, and a public transportation pass (for the vaporetto/waterbus and boats to the islands). Not included: Airport transfers.

Date Specific Information

3-3-2016, 4-7-2016, 5-5-2016, 10-13-2016, 11-3-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Venice, 7 nights; departure

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Venice
7 nights

Local experts introduce you to the history, art, architecture and music of Venice and fully prepare you for self-guided exploration of this fascinating city. Venture to the island of Murano, world famous for its colorful, expertly blown glass. With a morning lecture on the Venetian painters fresh in your mind, set off to the Frari basilica to examine Titian’s “Assumption” and works by Donatello and Bellini. At a celebratory farewell dinner, share your experiences over fresh fish, Italian wine and a sampling of delicious “cicchetti,” typical Venetian side dishes.


“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.

Historic four-star hotel near St. Mark's Square.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Bonvecchiati
  Venice, Italy 7 nights
 Hotel Bonvecchiati
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of Venice, the four-star Hotel Bonvecchiati has been welcoming guests since 1790. It is only a 5-minute walk from St. Mark's Square, the Rialto Bridge, and the Rialto waterbus stop on the Grand Canal. If you cross the bridge in front of the hotel and walk along the Fondamenta Orseolo, you pass the Orseolo basin, a picturesque gondola station that holds scores of boats creating one of Venice's most characteristic sights. Then pass under the portico and the magnificent St. Mark's Square opens up before you.
  Contact info: Calle Goldoni 448, San Marco District
Venice,  30124 Italy
phone: +39 041 528 50 17
  Room amenities: Each room has satellite and pay television, telephone, mini bar, safe, individually controlled air conditioning, bathrobe and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, restaurant with terrace, bar, water landing, lobby, Internet access, laundry service, fax, wellness center and international newspapers.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact the Road Scholar program office in Amherst, MA if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (413) 253-9736
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact the Road Scholar program office in Amherst, MA if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (413) 253-9736
  Check out time: 11:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Venice, Italy. 4:30 PM Meet in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Bonvecchiati that night.
  End of Program:
Venice, Italy. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hotel Bonvecchiati the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Venice can be reached by train/bus.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice/Mestre
  Nearest highway: Highway A4 to Trieste and Milano
  Nearest airport:  Marco Polo Airport
  Transportation to site: Considering the fact that Venice is built on an archipelago of 117 islands formed by 177 canals in a shallow lagoon, connected by 409 bridges, you will understand that traveling is more complicated than in other cities. We suggest the following routes. Water roads: - Take the airport shuttle bus to the wet dock from where you can take a private water taxi directly to the hotel (approx. 40 minutes, 120 Euro; water taxi can load 6 to 8 persons with luggage). Be aware that with high or low water the taxi has to stop at Rialto and can’t reach the hotel directly. Get information at the tourist point in the airport. If this is the case you can take the Alilaguna line motorboat to Rialto. After docking at Riva del Carbon, enter CALLE BEMBO, continue straight ahead in CALLE DEI FABBRI, turn right into CALLE DI LANCE and then left into CALLE GOLDONI. Hotel Bonvecchiati will be on your right hand side before the bridge. This is the only walking route from Rialto to the hotel without bridges. Land roads. - Take the ATVO shuttle bus to Venice-Piazzale Roma (approx. 3 Euro). From there you can continue via water taxi, which takes you in 15 minutes directly to the hotel. Or take line 1 of the public water boat service to Rialto (20 minutes) and then follow the recommended walking route to the hotel as outlined above.
  From End of Program
  Location: Venice
  Transportation from site: Water roads: - Take a water taxi from the hotel directly to the airport (from the water taxi dock you must take a shuttle bus to the departure area). You can share the taxi with 6 to 8 persons. - Walk to Rialto and take the Alilaguna airport line directly to the airport. Land road: - Walk to Rialto water boat station line 1 and take the boat to Piazzale Roma Station. Take the shuttle bus to the airport.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Thursday, November 8)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival and Orientation
(Friday, November 9)
 Afternoon: Meet in the conference room for an introduction to the program and orientation to Venice. You will receive the Venice Card for public transportation on the "vaporetto" boat and entrance to some of the major museums and churches for the duration of your stay. Then take a short orientation walk.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in a local restaurant close to St. Mark's Square.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Introduction to Venetian History
(Saturday, November 10)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "Introduction to the History of Venice." The republic enjoyed remarkable political stability for more than a millennium, resisting both external forces and internal turbulence. With this background, one can understand its attraction to artists and architects - La Serenissima has been shaped by them for centuries. Emphasis on the golden era of the town.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. For self-guided excursions, you will receive a booklet with very detailed descriptions of 12 different walks, some of which take you off of the beaten path. Optional: Join your group leader on a walk to the Rialto area with the fish and vegetable market. Meet in the late afternoon for a drink and a chat.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Lecture: The Historical Era of Titian / Vivaldi Concert
(Sunday, November 11)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "The Historical Era of Titian." For Venetian painting, the 16th century was the most successful. Titian, Veronese and Jacopo Tintoretto dominated the Venetian art scene, winning most of the public and religious commissions. They created a new style of painting with striking luminous colors.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Optional: Join your group leader on a walk to the San Polo district with the Frari Church to see Titian's famous painting.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Meet for a drink and chat with the group before attending a concert together. Vivaldi Concert by Interpreti Veneziani Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) gave over 500 concerts to his hometown, performing for violin, viola d'amore, cello, mandolin, flute, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, cornet and string orchestra. Enjoy a Vivaldi concert performed by the chamber music ensemble Interpreti Veneziani, played on prestigious original instruments.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Glass and Mosaics / Private Guided Night Visit of St. Mark's Cathedral
(Monday, November 12)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "Glassmaking and Mosaics." The art of making glass has never been quite as entrenched in a place as on the Murano islands, which are famous for blowing techniques and design. Murano glass first made its appearance in the 8th century, and despite various ups and downs, has managed to not only endure but also flourish in our modern times.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Optional: Join your group leader on a walk to the old Venetian Jewish ghetto area.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Enjoy a special guided night visit of St. Mark's Cathedral, the mosaic-clad emblem of Venice's Byzantine origins. Visit the crypt under sea level. Special lights create a magic atmosphere and bring alive the unique mosaics which were first executed in 1071 by artists from Constantinople. Basilica opens just for the Road Scholar group.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Venetian Lagoon
(Tuesday, November 13)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take a full day to discover the Venetian Lagoon on your own. The Group Leader will assist you in planning your time according to your interests. You can visit Murano, the island of glass-working with its museum of glass making; Burano, the island of lace makers and fishermen; or Torcello, with its great basilica in Venetian-Byzantine style, which is famous for its marvelous mosaics.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue your exploration of the Venetian Lagoon.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Meet for a drink with your Road Scholar group in the hotel lobby.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Architecture of Andrea Palladio
(Wednesday, November 14)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "Introduction to the Architecture of Andrea Palladio." The Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio shaped the world that surrounds us today. Some of his most influential villas and churches survive in the Veneto region around Venice and in the city itself. Palladio's designs are based on three principals: dramatic exterior motifs, economical materials and internal harmony and balance.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Optional: Join your group leader on a walk through the San Marco district.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Velvet Manufacturer Bevilacqua
(Thursday, November 15)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "The Fascinating World of Venetian Handcraft." Cristina Gregorin, author of the book "Venice Masters Artisans," introduces us to the intriguing world of small "botteghe" and its tools and centuries-old machines. Then, visit the velvet manufacturer Bevilacqua. The company's fabrics are still hand-produced on original 18th and 19th-century looms and all the phases of manufacture are manual. The company's famous historical archives hold more than 3,500 pattern designs, all of which are Bevilacqua originals.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a final free afternoon of exploring the Venetian districts on your own.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Enjoy wine and "cicheti," a typical starter dish of "bits and pieces," and a great fish dish.
Accommodations: Hotel Bonvecchiati
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departures
(Friday, November 16)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Depart for the airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Venice Ca’ Rezzonico
A museum of eighteenth century art, the palace on the Grand Canal was designed by a Baroque architect of Venice, Baldassare Longhena, for the aristocratic Bon family. The museum shows works of art, furniture and interior furnishings by master artists such as Guardi, Canaletto, Tiepolo and Longhi, and important Venetian school paintings from the 15th-20th centuries which are a part of the Martini Collection. For additional information, visit
  Doge’s Palace
Doge's Palace is a former governmental palace and a masterpiece of Venetian gothic. The Ducal Palace was the residence of the Doge up to the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 and was a public palace and seat of the administration of justice. The palace is the highest and richest symbol of Venetian civilization and of Venice's cultural, military, political and economic history. All historic periods are represented in an extraordinary stratification of structural and decorative elements: from the antique foundations of the original Gothic complex, to the great halls dedicated to political life and decorated by the canvases of Veronese, Tintoretto and the great masters of the Renaissance, from the precious rooms of the Doges apartment, to the dark prisons and places of torture and the luminous loggias on the Piazza and the Lagoon. For additional information, visit
  Galleria Belle Arti
Spanning five centuries, the Galleria Belle Arti's matchless collection of paintings provides a complete spectrum of the Venetian school, from the Byzantine period through the Renaissance to the Baroque and later. Masterpieces of Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and more all await you here.
  Glass Museum of Murano
A museum of Venetian glassmaking, the Murano Glass Museum was founded in 1861 when the darkest period in the history of Murano glassmaking had been overcome, following the fall of the Republic of San Marco (1797) and the subsequent years of foreign rule. The museum’s collection was expanded by the addition of the Correr, Cicogna and Molin Collections which include, among other things, the most beautiful Renaissance pieces in the museum. The museum also has samples of glass from Egyptian times through the present day, and the displays show the art and manufacturing of glass that has developed over the centuries. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A History of Venice

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: The great historian Norwich marshals myriad personalities, battles, sieges, and facts into a vivid portrait of the Venetian Republic spanning the 1,000 years up to its 1797 defeat at the hands of Napoleon.

Art and Life in Renaissance Venice

Author: Patricia Brown

Description: This compact volume evokes the spirit of Renaissance Venice with authoritative essays and 120 full-color illustrations.

Confessions of an Art Addict, A Memoir

Author: Peggy Guggenheim

Description: This classic memoir captures the spirit and intrigues of the 1930s art world by the heiress whose collection of modern art is showcased in Venice.

Death at La Fenice

Author: Donna Leon

Description: The first of the tremendously good Guido Brunetti mysteries, all set in the author's beloved Venice, in which a famous conductor is found dead at the celebrated theater of the title.

Death in Venice and Other Tales

Author: Thomas Mann

Description: Neugroschel's fresh translations of Mann's celebrated title tale and 11 other classic stories capture the sensuality of the German original.

Eyewitness Guide Venice & the Veneto

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent maps and a synopsis of the region's attractions. With a pullout map.

Fodor's Venice's 25 Best

Author: Citypack

Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map of the city center and essential information.

In the Company of the Courtesan

Author: Sarah Dunant

Description: Dunant paints a vivid, earthy portrait of Renaissance Venice in this absorbing novel of intrigue, ambition and love -- cleverly narrated by the wily dwarf Bucino Teodoldo, loyal companion of the courtesan.

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: A handy palm-size phrasebook for the traveler.

Piazza San Marco

Author: Iain Fenlon

Description: Fenlon reveals the dynamic, colorful, and noisy history of this grand square at the heart of Venetian civic life in this sophisticated pocket guide.

The Art of the Renaissance

Author: Peter Murray

Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.

The Aspern Papers and Other Stories

Author: Henry James

Description: Henry James, like his narrator Jeffrey Aspern, whiled away the hours at Florians, a favorite café in much-loved Venice, wonderfully evoked in this atmospheric short story.

The Middle Sea

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean.

The World of Venice

Author: Jan Morris

Description: Morris displays her talent for research, anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited history of a beloved city.

Venice Is a Fish

Author: Tiziano Scarpa

Description: The hugely popular Venetian novelist, poet and playwright makes his English-language debut with these marvelously digressive essays on the many moods and pleasures of La Serenissima.

Venice Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A colorful, detailed city map of Venice, perfect for finding your way around the famously labyrinthine streets and canals.

Venice from the Ground Up

Author: James H. S. McGregor

Description: A walking tour, history and celebration, this masterly, personal guide to Venice includes a short account of McGregor's favorite sites, 10 maps and suggested walks (and boat rides).

Venice, Pure City

Author: Peter Ackroyd

Description: Ackroyd's evocative, novelistic portrait of the city captures the spirit of the canals, markets and festivals, the merchants, artisans, scandals and seductions that have made Venice forever fascinating.

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