Road Scholar : Home
VTA: Athens to Rome

Program Number: 19077RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/22/2013 - 7/7/2013;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Greece/Italy
Price starting at: $5,845.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 39; 14 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Journey to some of the greatest sites of antiquity in Greece and Italy on this Mediterranean voyage. Explore classical treasures such as the Acropolis in Athens and the well preserved Greek temples at Segesta on Sicily, and admire stunning views from sites such as the cliff-top Haute Ville of Bonafacio in Corsica.




Activity Particulars

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Athens (Greece), 1 night; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 12 nights; Rome (Italy), 1 night.



Day 1:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.




Days 2-4:
Arrival Athens (Greece) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Discover the magnificent Acropolis and learn more about what you’ve seen at the Acropolis Museum.
Lodging: Five-star hotel.



Day 5: Nauplia:

Explore the great Mycenaean culture at its heart: the ancient city of Mycenae, reputedly the capital of Agamemnon.



Days 6-7: At Sea/Syracuse (Italy):

Discover Syracuse's outstanding collection of Greek and Roman ruins including the 5th-century Greek theater where many of Aeschylus's tragedies were first staged.



Days 8: Trapani/Segesta

From Trapani, discover the ancient city of Segesta



Days 9-10: Palermo:

In the Sicilian capital, walk through the old center to see its historic buildings. Experience Monreale Cathedral with its glorious 12th-century mosaics covering over 1.5 acres of wall space.



Day 11-12: Sorrento:

Discovery the spectacular sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both buried for centuries after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.



Day 13: Bonafacio:

On the French Island of Corsica, discover Bonafacio's Haute Ville (upper city) and its imposting citadel.



Day 14: Florence:

Discover two of the world's greatest art galleries; the Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David, and the Uffizi with its remarkable collection including Botticelli's Birth of Venus.



Day 15-16: Rome / disembark / departure

Enjoy an expert-led excursion through Rome and a farewell dinner at a local trattoria. Lodging: Four-star hotel.



Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.


Meals and Lodgings
   Metropolitan Hotel
  Athens, Greece 1 night
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
  Rome, Italy 1 night
 Metropolitan Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Metropolitan Hotel, with its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, combines traditional hospitality and luxury in central Athens. With a view to both the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea, the fully renovated Metropolitan Hotel is ideally situated in front of the Faleron Olympic Coastal Park. It is only 10 minutes away from Syntagma square, the center of Athens and the port of Piraeus.
  Contact info: Leoforos Syngrou 385
Athens,  175-64 Greece
phone: +30 210 947 1000
web: www.chandris.gr
  Room amenities: Each room has individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television, telephone, high speed Internet connection, radio, mini bar, hair dryer, safe box, and laptop and fax machine outlets.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge, bar, gift shop, fitness center, marble steam bath, outdoor heated swimming pool, business center, free wireless Internet access in lobby, and a hairdresser.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MV Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The MV Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
web: www.voyagestoantiquity.com
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: MV Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge. Or perhaps an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; Internet center (open 24 hours and a charge of $18 for 4 non-consecutive hours is applied, no wireless available); beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A spacious and elegant reception hall welcomes guests to the Hotel Beverly Hills Rome. This is a precursor to the expert hospitality and warm welcome which guests will find inside. The warmth of this welcome is continued into the guest rooms and suites with their classic interiors and modern comforts. The ristorante Mascagni and the Puccini Bar are both elegant and lovely. The hotel is located in the prestigious Parioli neighborhood with easy connections to the center of Rome, highways, and airports.
  Contact info: Largo Benedetto Marcello 220
Rome,  00198 Italy
phone: +39 06 85 42141
web: www.beverlyhotelrome.it
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, mini bar, safe box, telephone, television, and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, air conditioning, laundry services, business center, Internet access (30 minutes of free wireless Internet in the lobby, additional wireless Internet available for a fee), and safe box.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Athens, Greece. Meet at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Metropolitan Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Grand Hotel Beverly Hills the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: See above.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from exit 3 of the arrivals level at the airport. Cost is approx. 35-40 Euros, after midnight the cost increases to 60 Euros.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation from site: Take a short walk to the bus stop on the corner of Via Po and Via Simeto. Take the bus number 86 that takes you to Termini central station. Enter the train station and take the train Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport. If you wish to hire a private car (57 Euro), you may contact Italian Details at giorgia.zago@italiandetails.com or 011-39-06-89087926.
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: Departures
(Saturday, June 22)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Sunday, June 23)
   
 Morning: Arrival in Athens International Airport (ATH). Meet group outside of customs. Transfer to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Settle in at our hotel. We gather in the hotel lobby at 5:00 PM for a welcome orientation to the program.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room at 7:00 PM.
   
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Cape Sounion, Greece / Embark the MV Aegean Odyssey
(Monday, June 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy an excursion to Cape Sounion famous for its 5th-century BC temple dedicated to Poseidon, the god of the sea. The temple stands at a rocky promontory guarding the maritime route from Athens to the Aegean Islands. The spot is superb! It offers magnificent views of the blue Aegean Sea and the hundreds of islands that emerge from its waters. When British poet Lord Byron visited Sounion, he immortalized his visit by inscribing his name on one of the ancient pillars of the temple.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Plaka.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Athens. We transfer to Piraeus where we will embark the MV Aegean Odyssey at 4:00 PM. Welcome orientation to the ship at 5:00 PM in the "Observation Lounge".
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Athens, Greece
(Tuesday, June 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We will explore the long anticipated $200-million, 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. In the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, ascending floors of glass literally “float” you above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion through the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. Built during the "Golden Age" of Athens between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Night-time sailing to Nauplia. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Nauplia, Greece
(Wednesday, June 26)

Note: There is moderate to heavy walking on uneven surfaces in Nauplia, Mycenae and Epidaurus.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Tales of Agamemnon and the time of Homer’s heroes take center stage today on this visit to Mycenae, one of the greatest cities of the highly-developed Mycenaean civilization. This culture dominated the eastern Mediterranean from the 16th to 13th century BC and laid the foundation for classical Greece. From the picturesque port of Nauplia, a scenic 45-minute drive across the Argolid Plain takes us to the imposing city of warrior merchants that Homer described as “rich in gold”. The citadel that stands guard over the city is built high above two rock-strewn ravines, and legend holds that it was erected with the aid of the Cyclops. Enter Mycenae on foot through the Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest piece of monumental statuary: it was here that the victorious, but battle-weary Agamemnon, was greeted by his wife, Klytemnestra, on his return from the long war with Troy, only to be murdered by her lover. Inside the gates, explore the Royal Palace, view the shaft graves and relive the tragic stories at an archaeological briefing in the Treasury of Atreus, also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or at a local restaurant on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the elegant town of Nauplia where you will find an excellent Archaeological Museum, housed in the impressive former Venetian Arsenal. This afternoon there is an option to visit Epidaurus, sacred to Asclepios, the god of medicine, and the site of the best preserved of all ancient Greek theaters (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: At sea.
(Thursday, June 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A chance to relax on deck and enjoy the shipboard guest lectures as the ship makes its way to Syracuse.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Syracuse, Sicily
(Friday, June 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Many a conqueror set his sights on Syracuse, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of ancient Europe that, at the height of its power, rivaled Athens, Carthage and Rome. In 661, one of these invaders, Emperor Constans II, made it the capital of the Holy Roman Empire but that honor brought with it horrific imperial taxes. To pay them, we are told that wives became prostitutes, husbands were sold as slaves and children taken from their parents. The nightmare ended in 668AD when Constans was slain by a Greek bath attendant wielding a soap dish. Enjoy a walking excursion of the city’s outstanding collection of Greek and Roman ruins including the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus and the 2nd-century BC Altar of Hieron (where as many as 400 bulls were sacrificed at one time in celebration of the Eleutherian Feast). Next, visit the Latomie of Paradise, huge caverns that served as a source of stone for the city’s monuments and also as a prison: 7,000 Athenian prisoners of war were held here in 413BC. One of the most impressive of these caverns is called the Ear of Dionysus in reference to its extraordinary formation and remarkable echo. The highlight of this excursion is a visit to the 5th-century Greek theater where many of Aeschylus’s tragedies were first staged. Complete your morning with an excursion of the vast Paolo Orsi Museum, named after the noted archaeologist responsible for many discoveries on this island.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Trapani, Sicily / Segesta
(Saturday, June 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Stretch your body and mind during early morning yoga before attending a stimulating lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: It is about an hour’s drive to Segesta, once an advanced center of the Elymian civilization. The city is thought to have been founded in the 5th to 4th century BC by a combination of exiled Trojans, Phocaeans from Greece and Sicans of Sicily. Segesta was well defended, located on a vast plateau between two peaks and surrounded by walls. Presiding in splendid isolation is a stunning Greek theater and the majestic 36-columned, 5th-century BC Doric temple. This archaeological jewel is in an extraordinary state of preservation and makes a superb sight amid its surroundings of rolling hills.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Palermo, Sicily
(Sunday, June 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: During Roger II’s reign as King of Sicily (1130AD to 1154AD), the island became a great maritime power and also the channel through which Greek and Arabic thought passed into Europe. The embracing spirit of Roger’s reign is gloriously expressed in many of the great buildings of Sicily, but nowhere more perfectly than the Palatine Chapel, built during the 1130s and 1140s. This is the king’s masterpiece – a miraculous fusion of Latin, Byzantine and Arabic architectural design. Creamy marble is inlaid with gold leaf, Byzantine mosaics blanket entire walls and the ceiling of carved wooden coffers speaks of the finest Arabic design. The palace in which the chapel is housed had its start in the 9th century AD, when the Emir of Palermo built on the site of a Punic Roman stronghold. Roger II turned the building into the city’s main fortress and his sumptuous palace, then crowned it with this jewel of a chapel. Following your visit to the Palatine Chapel, the walking excursion continues to nearby San Giovanni degli Eremiti, built by Roger II in 1132, a Norman church with Arabic domes and a Romanesque cloister. Drive next to Palermo Cathedral, site of the huge porphyry tomb of Roger II, as well as the silver urn that contains the remains of Palermo’s protector, St Rosalia. The ship will offer an optional extension of this excursion to Palazzo Gangi, a magnificent private residence dating to the 15th century (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue to explore Palermo on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Overnight in Palermo. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Palermo, Sicily
(Monday, July 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Travel just a short distance out of Palermo to discover Monreale Cathedral, considered by many to be the most beautiful Norman church in Italy. Designed by William the Good in 1174, the church offers visions of beauty, grace and the divine. The exterior’s thick walls and powerful towers have the look of an austere fortress, but just step inside: it is the interior that is this cathedral’s true glory. The large nave with its side aisles and gray granite columns draws the eyes upward to 12th-century gold mosaics that cover over one and a half acres of wall space. The excursion also visits the Benedictine cloisters, a magnificent synthesis of Romanesque and Arab architecture. Admire the serenity of the courtyard with its graceful arcade featuring 216 sets of twin columns and pointed Arabic arches. Enjoy some free time in the main square before we return to the ship. Additionally, the ship will offer an optional extension of this excursion to Palazzo Gangi, a magnificent private residence dating to the 15th century (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: A lunchtime sail takes the ship through the Lipari Islands where we will see the island of Stromboli. Its constantly active volcano is visible from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island's nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship makes its way to Sorrento.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sorrento, Italy / Pompeii
(Tuesday, July 2)

Note: This excursion involves heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments or where excursion features climbing in and out of local boats or small vehicles.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii came to escape the turmoil in Rome, but a different sort of violence awaited them in their southern retreats. In 79AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted at 10am and, within three hours, extinguished these affluent communities even as it preserved their remains for our discovery. Begin with a scenic hour drive along the Bay of Naples to Pompeii. On the walking excursion, you will be guided expertly through this spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, markets and large forum. At every turn, inscriptions bring the hustle and bustle of this ancient city to life: there are notices of wine sales and apartment vacancies, upcoming gladiatorial events in the theater and political announcements.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical Italian lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we head to Herculaneum which was engulfed by volcanic mud in the same eruption that claimed Pompeii. Fortunately for us, this mud sealed and protected entire buildings: today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics and carbonized woods can all be seen. These range from the sculpture of the Drunken Hercules in the House of the Stags to mosaics of tritons in the city baths. Perhaps the most famous relic is the Villa of the Papyri. The villa was owned by Julius Caesar's father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a man with a keen interest in Epicurean philosophy. Following our visit, we will return to central Sorrento where you have the option of exploring independently or returning to the ship in the company of the guide.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Overnight in Sorrento. Attend a shipboard guest lecture
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Sorrento, Italy / Amalfi Drive
(Wednesday, July 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Join your fellow Road Scholar participants and enjoy a full-day field trip along the Amalfi Drive, considered by many to be the most beautiful drive in the world. During this journey along one of Europe's most striking coasts, you will experience breathtaking panoramas, picturesque fishing villages, secluded beaches, and Mediterranean scenery. Explore Amalfi, the town which gives its name to the entire Sorrentine Peninsula, a port since the 6th century and Italy’s first independent maritime republic.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Revisit the beauty of the Amalfi Coast on your return to Sorrento and your ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Bonifacio, Corsica
(Thursday, July 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Discover the star of Corsica's cliff-lined coast: the medieval town of Bonifacio and its walled citadel, Haute Ville, perched high above the sea. Discover this magnificent town, founded in 828 by Bonifacio, the Marquis of Tuscany, and built on the site of an earlier Roman settlement. Start with a tram ride to upper town that offers panoramic views at every turn (if it's a clear day, you may spot Sardinia). Pass the eerie marine cemetery in the Bosco quarter and the 13th-century church of St Dominique, a rare example of the Corsican Gothic style. Following your ride, enjoy a walking excursion through the heart of the historic district. Stroll along cobblestone streets lined with tall narrow houses, many originally built without doors so residents could enter by ladders they pulled up after themselves to prevent surprise attacks. Bonifacio's architecture reflects its many centuries as a colony of Genoa. Admire the 12th-century cathedral, St Marie Majeure, a mix of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic architectural styles. Visit The Two Emperors Street, where Charles V and Napoleon Bonaparte once stayed, in 1541 and 1793 respectively. See the Place des Armes, the Jardin des Vestiges and an old market that offers sweeping views over the 230-foot cliffs. Pass through the enormous walls of the Porte de Gênes, once the only entrance to Haute Ville, (the drawbridge is a later addition). See the Chapel of St Roch, built where the last plague victim died in 1528. Following the excursion, you can return to the ship with the guide or stay to explore on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Livorno, Italy / Florence
(Friday, July 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Discover the town that gave birth to the Italian Renaissance and view the period's outpouring of art in the renowned Uffizi Museum. From the port of Livorno, it is a about an hour and a half drive through the Tuscan hills to Florence where you begin an exploration through the history and art of this timeless city. A highlight of the morning is a visit to the Accademia, Europe's first school of drawing, where Michelangelo's colossal statue of David presides over a rich collection of paintings and sculptures. Enjoy a guided walking excursion past such landmarks as the 10th-century Ponte Vecchio spanning the River Arno. View the Duomo cathedral flanked by Giotto's Bell Tower. So dense is Florence with monuments, every step reveals new marvels. See the Baptistry, where Ghiberti and Donatello competed to design the bronze doors. Admire the Basilica di Santa Croce where Michelangelo and Machiavelli are interred. Pause in Piazza Signoria, in 1497 the site of Fra Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: The centerpiece of this excursion is an afternoon visit to the world-renowned Uffizi Museum. The 16th-century palace, built when Cosimo Medici was the First Grand Duke of Tuscany, houses such Renaissance masterpieces as The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, the exquisite Madonnas of Filippo Lippi, and an entire room of Botticellis, including The Birth of Venus. Foreign artists from Rembrandt to Rubens are also represented. Later, savor your impressions on a panoramic drive back to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Rome, Italy / Disembark
(Saturday, July 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark in Civitavecchia and transfer to Rome. Morning panoramic sightseeing excursion through the fabulous city of Rome.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Rome on your own. You may wish to explore the Pantheon, or behold stunning views of the city from the top of the Spanish Steps.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a Roman trattoria.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Sunday, July 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the Leonardo da Vinci International airport (FCO) for departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Rome Galleria Borghese
The Galleria Borghese is a wonderful museum within Villa Borgese Park. Dwelling within its walls are masterpieces from the 15th to 17th centuries, from such artists as Tiziano, Raffaello, Bernini and Caravaggio. For additional information, visit www.galleriaborghese.it
  Pantheon and Piazza Navona
Visit the Pantheon, an ancient temple dedicated to the gods, and the Piazza Navona, a lovely square boasting its famous fountain of the four Rivers.
  Spanish Steps
The entire area is rich with infamous fashion designer stores, including Valentino, YSL, Ferragamo, Gucci and more.
  Trastevere
Trastevere is characterized by its narrow streets full of restaurants, pizzerias and small stores. Located in the heart of Rome on the west bank of the Tiber River, an evening visit is recommended.
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


Ancient Greece: Art, Architecture, and History


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Description: This lively illustrated guide covers the architecture, painting and sculpture of Ancient Greece from the third millennium to the end of the Hellenistic period. With 282 color and 28 black-and-white illustrations.



Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History


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Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.



Blue Guide Rome


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Description: The 10th edition of MacAdam's ultimate guide to Rome, with full color street maps, dozens of site plans, suggested walks and extensive commentary on the history and significance of every church, monument and district.



Crete


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Description: A travel memoir from the Booker prize-winning novelist, richly detailed and seeped in the millennia-old traditions, myths, literature and history of the island.



Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands


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Description: Color photography, excellent local maps and an island-by-island synopsis of attractions make this book the one to carry with you.



Eyewitness Top Ten Athens


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Description: A compact illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions, events, restaurants, shops and excursions in Athens.



Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Artemis Leontis (Editor)


Description: In this terrific anthology 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, its beautiful landscapes and rich history.



Mediterranean Explorer


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: This handy color map of the Mediterranean from Spain to the Black Sea and the Levant puts ancient sites and historic ports into context. With notable people, a timeline and descriptions of dozens of places across the classical world, this map serves equally well for Mediterranean and Black Sea cruises.



Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra


Author: Peter Robb


Description: Combining interviews, research and essays on Sicilian history and culture, this vivid report by journalist Peter Robb is a superb introduction to Italy's glorious, corrupt and troubled south.



On Persephone's Island


Author: Mary Taylor Simeti


Description: Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a yearlong journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.



Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey


Author: Robert V. Camuto


Description: An American journalist living in France, Robert Camuto roams the vineyards and visits with vintners from Palermo to Marsala and the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in this year-long celebration of the culture and spirit of Sicily, Italy's largest and oldest wine region.



Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome


Author: Christopher Scarre


Description: A vivid overview of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and its expansion throughout North Africa and the Mediterranean, illustrated with ingenious color maps on many topics (political borders, trade, defense, religion) and 80 color photographs.



The Classical World


Author: Robin Lane Fox


Description: From Homer to Hadrian, Fox conjures tyrants, conquerors and enthralling personalities in this marvelously written history of ancient Greece and Rome.



The Colossus of Maroussi


Author: Henry Miller


Description: Miller captures the spirit and warmth of the resilient Greek people in this inspired tale of a wartime journey from Athens to Crete, Corfu and Delphi with his friend Lawrence Durrell.



The Leopard


Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa


Description: Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition.



The Mediterranean in History


Author: David Abulafia (Editor)


Description: A professor at Cambridge, David Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in this engaging, richly illustrated overview of the civilizations, societies and grand themes in the history of this great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 well-integrated color and 150 black-and-white illustrations.



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 Parthenon


Author: Mary Beard


Description: A lively tale of the construction, significance and many uses of the 2,500-year-old architectural marvel.



The Shape of Water


Author: Andrea Camilleri


Description: The first of Camilleri's wildly popular Inspector Montalbano mysteries, nicely translated and shot through (pun intended) with not just memorable characters but also with Sicilian lore and politics. If you like the series, it continues in 12 more installments -- and counting.





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