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Voyages to Antiquity: Venice, Athens and the Adriatic Coast

Program Number: 19079RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/11/2013 - 6/25/2013; 7/4/2015 - 7/18/2015; 8/15/2015 - 8/28/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Italy/Croatia/Greece
Price starting at: $5,490.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 38; 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The dramatic beauty of the Adriatic coast has long inspired writers, poets and artists. Experience sun-splashed islands, lofty mountains plunging into the sea, winding fjords and magnificent bays. Soak in manmade splendor from the Byzantine beauty of St. Mark’s to the classical elegance of Ancient Olympia and Epidaurus.




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

Aboard Aegean Odyssey, 10 nights, Athens (Greece), 2 nights.



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




Days 2-3:
Arrival Venice (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Walk through incomparable Venice to marvel at the Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace.



Day 4:
Zadar (Croatia):

Discover fascinating monuments left behind by Romans, Byzantines and Venetians in this port city. Sail through the Kornati Islands.



Day 5:
Split:

Step inside the magnificent Palace of Diocletian, today not a deserted ruin but a bustling warren of houses, shops and cafés.



Day 6:
Korcula and Hvar:

Explore the pine-forested island of Korcula, said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, and cruise past the gorgeous island of Hvar off the Dalmatian Coast.



Day 7:
Dubrovnik:

On an expert-led excursion in Dubrovnik, discover this beautiful seaside city’s Old Town and the Baroque Church of St. Blaise. Sail through the winding, fjord-like Bay of Kotor.



Day 8:
Corfu (Greece):

Examine the Venetian heritage of Corfu as you visit the Old Fortress, the red-domed Agios Spyrídon church and the famous Esplanade.



Day 9:
Préveza and Ithaca:

Discover the fortress as well as 13th and 14th century churches in Arta, the former capital of the Byzantine province of Epirus. Continue to Ithaca and spend a leisurely evening exploring the attractive port of Vathy.



Day 10:
Katakolon:

Visit Ancient Olympia, where the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BC.



Day 11:
Nauplia:

Explore the ancient city of Mycenae, reputedly the capital of Agamemnon. Visit the best preserved of all the ancient Greek theaters in Epidaurus.



Days 12-14:
Athens/disembark/departure:

Discover the magnificent Acropolis of Athens and explore Plaka, the picturesque historical neighborhood of Athens with its labryinthine streets and neoclassical architecture.
Lodging: Five-star hotel.



Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium class ship especially rebuilt to allow for a unique combination of ocean and river cruising, whether amongst the islands of the Mediterranean or on the great rivers of Asia. These journeys take you from uncrowded Mediterranean harbors to the African savannah, the Mughal monuments of India to the jungle temples of Southeast Asia. Public areas include Mediterranean-influenced restaurants, a library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.


Meals and Lodgings
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Metropolitan Hotel
  Athens, Greece 1 night
 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

 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 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: 1:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Venice, Italy. Program begins at 5:00 PM in the "Observation Lounge" on board the ship. You will be staying at MV Aegean Odyssey that night.
  End of Program:
Athens, Greece. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Metropolitan Hotel 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: Water bus, approx. 5 Euro.
To Start of Program
  Location:  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
  Transportation to site: Option 1: Take the Alilaguna Private Shuttle (water bus) Line Blu to the Zattere stop (approx. 45 minutes, 15 Euro). Walk approx. 10-15 minutes, across a couple bridges, to the San Basilio stop. Option 2: From the airport take either the private bus (ATVO Line, 5 Euro) or the public bus (Line 5, 1.20 Euro) to Piazzale Roma. From here, take the Vaporetto line 6 to the San Basilio stop (approx. 6.50 Euro).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation from site: You may take a taxi from the hotel to the airport, this will cost approximately $62-68 per car. Alternatively, take a shuttle bus from the hotel to Syntagma Square. From there take bus #95 to the airport.
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
(Tuesday, June 11)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Wednesday, June 12)
   
 Morning: Arrival at Marco Polo Airport (VCE). Transfer to the Antony Palace hotel for light refreshments and free time until embarkation.
 Afternoon: Embark on the MV Aegean Odyssey. Welcome orientation to the program at 5:00 PM in the "Observation Lounge" on board the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Venice, Italy
(Thursday, June 13)

Note: At St. Mark's Basilica, guests are asked to cover legs and arms. Shorts, short skirts and sleeveless or tank tops are not allowed.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Whether it is your first time or fifteenth in Venice, it is easy to get lost amid the labyrinth of bridges, footpaths and waterways, but save that pleasure for later. On this walking excursion, a knowledgeable guide will navigate the city for you, uncovering its treasures as he or she shares its tales. Travel by boat down the beautiful Guidecca Canal to the heart of Venice, St Mark’s Square, and disembark at the bustling Riva degli Schiavoni. Stand in the regally proportioned square so famous for its pigeons and pealing bell towers. Sights here include the Campanile and the 15th century clock tower where two huge bronze statues strike the hour. Walk to St Mark’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, and admire its façade mosaics and golden dome, both superbly restored to their original grandeur. Next, enjoy a guided excursion of the Doge’s Palace, a 14th-century Gothic masterpiece with pink marble exterior and lacy stone arches. For nearly a thousand years, this was the seat of Venetian government and the home of the Doges. Admire the art-filled apartments and salons. In the Great Council Hall, Paradise by Domenico and Jacopo Tintoretto fills an entire wall, a witness to centuries of trials and intrigues. See the lagoon through the grillwork of the Bridge of Sighs, supposedly named for the convicts who crossed from court to prison, on a walk across to the old prison cells where Casanova once languished. After our trip to the Doge’s Palace, you’ll have free time to explore the shops and cafes around St Mark’s Square, where necklaces of Venetian glass make a treasured souvenir.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Venice on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: If there is one memory to take home with you, it is the sight of St. Mark's Basilica, the cathedral of Venice, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the see this remarkable building at its very best. This evening, St. Mark's will be reserved for Voyages to Antiquity guests who will be treated to a private visit and the breathtaking sight of the famous mosaics illuminated in a spectacular light show. The church was built in 828 as a tomb for Saint Mark, whose body was spirited out of Alexandria hidden in a casket of pork, a bit of intrigue you can see memorialized in the mosaics above the church door. After a 976 fire, the church was rebuilt and served as the Doge's private chapel. As such, it was a place of immense wealth and power that it became known as the Golden Church, or Chiesa d'Oro. For example, the Four Horses of St. Mark in front are replicas of the Roman sculptures inside, brought back by the Venetians after the sacking of Constantinople. These horses originally had giant rubies in their eye sockets. The interior reinforces the jewel-encrusted Byzantine effect with its galleries high above the naves, massive chandeliers and over 40,000 square feet of mosaics. Works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Mantegna - to mention a few - adorn the walls. The Treasury brims with wealth from centuries of conquest. A visit here is an unforgettable glimpse into the heights reached by La Serenissima, as The Most Serene Republic of Venice was called.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Venice, Italy
(Friday, June 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy some free time to take a gondola ride through ancient canals or explore the legendary Peggy Guggenheim collection. Or, choose from one of two optional excursions the ship is offering to Murano, Burano & Torcello or to Frari Church & Scuola di San Rocco (additional cost, bookable on board). Please see the Optional Excursions page for a full description.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or at a local trattoria on your own.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, you are free to explore Venice on your own - walk to the Rialto or the Accademia or simply indulge in a Bellini in Harry’s Bar.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Zadar, Croatia / Kornati Islands
(Saturday, June 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The ship winds its way through the breathtaking beauty of the Kornati Islands. This group of 89 stone islands, islets and reefs in the southern part of the Zadar archipelago has been inhabited since Neolithic times. The Romans used the islands as a resort and built many villas with fishponds. Later, they were a base for Venetian sea power. The Kornati were declared a National Park in 1980 and the best way to experience their mysterious beauty, spectacular chalk cliffs and clear blue waters is from the sea. See why George Bernard Shaw, wrote “God desired to crown his work and thus created the Kornati Islands” as we wind through these breathtaking islands.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: In 1409, King Ladislaus of Hungary sold his Dalmatian islands and cities, Zadar among them, to Venice for 100,000 ducats. This town has changed hands frequently since the first Neolithic settlement: the 9th-century BC Liburni were followed in the 4th century BC by Greeks and in the 1st century BC by the Romans, who called the area Zadara. As a result of so many rulers, Zadar has a wealth of monuments contained within the walls of its magnificent Old Town. We will visit the 1st century Roman Forum, now the site of several of Zadar's most beautiful churches. Admire the Cathedral of St Anastasia, the largest church in Croatia and a superb example of Romanesque architecture with two rose windows. This basilica was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, but its origins as a shrine go back centuries earlier. Inside, a stone sarcophagus contains the remains of St Anastasia of Syrmia, martyred during Diocletian’s persecution. The walk takes you past the 9th-century Church of St Donatus, a Byzantine masterpiece with three naves that incorporate fragments of the town's original Roman Forum. Admire the Church of St Mary, where architectural elements range from a 12th-century bell tower built by the Hungarian-Croatian King Koloman to a beautiful 16th-century Renaissance façade. The convent next door is home to the Museum of Sacred Art, recently opened to the public, a showcase of Zadar's sacred treasures, including sculptures, paintings and such relics as the arm of St Isidore encased in a 12th-century casket.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening departure for Split. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Split, Croatia / Trogir
(Sunday, June 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: When Emperor Diocletian shook up the Roman Empire by abdicating in 305AD, he had his retirement residence ready: a lavish palace he had just built in Salona, now Split, in his native Dalmatia. Admire this amazing palace complex that, when completed, held three temples, a massive mausoleum, and could accommodate 9,000 people. For an intimate perspective on how life was organized, this excursion includes a walk through the palace cellars. The city of Split grew inside and around this palace, with the population retreating behind its walls when under attack, and then spilling out beyond them in times of peace. Today the Palace of Diocletian is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but don’t expect a deserted ruin. Discover instead a vibrant warren of museums, galleries, shops and restaurants mingled with medieval fortifications, pre-Romanesque churches and Gothic chapels. Renaissance palaces testify to a time when Split was a key port of the Venetian Republic. The excursion visits Diocletian’s massive octagonal mausoleum, converted into a cathedral in the 7th century and named after a Christian martyred during that emperor’s persecutions. You’ll also excursion the city museum where 15th-century furnishings recapture aristocratic life in that period. Other sights include the palace’s monumental Golden and Silver Gates and the columned Peristyle Square. Following the excursion, there will be free time to visit the colorful local market or explore Split on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or on your own at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time. This afternoon you may choose to continue to explore Split on your own, or visit the delightful island of Trogir (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. Late evening departure for Korcula.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Islands of Korcula and Hvar
(Monday, June 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: From pirates to princes, Korcula has had many masters, all seeking to use this island to ease their passage along the Adriatic. The Greeks who first colonized the island in the 6th century called it “Black Corfu” because of the thick forests. Mythology provides an earlier 12th-century BC founder, the Trojan hero, Antenor. Much of Korcula's architecture dates from the 15th and 16th centuries when the island was part of the Republic of Venice. This morning's walk takes us from the ship to Old Town with its Venetian towers, 14thcentury walls and fishbone layout, designed to take advantage of refreshing winds. Visit the impressive Cathedral of St Mark, which took over a century to erect, perched overlooking the town. Local stone masters left examples of their art in such details as the 15th-century lion portal, the island's boat wrights gave the main aisle the feel of a ship's interior and a splendid Tintoretto presides behind the altar. The excursion also visits the 14th-century Bishop's Palace, where the art collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Tiepolo. Next, at the 16th-century Gabrielli Palace, view the City Museum's array of Greek and Roman artifacts, as well as objects detailing the island's shipping history. Korcula lays claim to being the birthplace of Marco Polo in 1254, and our walk takes us by his family home. Some 22 centuries ago, when the island was a favorite resort for the Greeks, the writer Athenaios praised the local wine, so before sailing, why not try a sip of the island's crisp white wine at a nearby cafe?
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At lunchtime, Aegean Odyssey departs for an afternoon cruise past the island of Hvar. Attend a late afternoon talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Arrive in Dubrovnik in the early evening. You are free to stroll around the charming old town.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Dubrovnik, Croatia
(Tuesday, June 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Lord Byron called this majestic walled city “the pearl of the Adriatic,” and it is easy to see why. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is held to be the best-preserved walled city in the Mediterranean with a seafront setting and dramatic mountain backdrop. The city skyline is a medley of bell towers, copper domes and massive 10th-century walls. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century AD and was a powerful independent republic from 1358 to 1808, when Napoleon conquered the city. Today the city is an inspiration in self-resurrection. Despite a destructive earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik has managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. This morning’s walking excursion of the Old Town takes you along the city’s main street, the Stradun or Placa, once a sea channel connecting two ancient settlements. Visit the Dominican Monastery, home to a beautiful 15th-century Gothic cloister and the city’s finest collection of Renaissance paintings. Next, the Franciscan Monastery is home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy, founded in 1318 and still in existence. Your walk continues past such landmarks as the Sponza Palace with its elaborate stone exterior, the Baroque Church of St Blaise and Onofriou’s Fountain. Admire the Cathedral of Our Lady, originally built in the 12th century, destroyed in the 1667 earthquake and triumphantly rebuilt. View Titian’s Assumption over the main altar and, in the Treasury, one of Europe’s finest collections of gold and silver, including the bejeweled skull of St Blaise. Following the excursion there will be free time to explore the nooks and crannies of the Old Town.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon the ship cruises through one of the finest natural harbors in Europe. Kotor Bay is sometimes referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord, but the winding bay is actually a submarine river canyon. At one time Kotor Bay was rival to Venice and Dubrovnik for sea power. Stretching between Croatia and Montenegro, the bay offers picturesque vistas of fortified towns and mountains dotted with castles.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Corfu, Greece
(Wednesday, June 19)

Note: The excursions to Corfu includes medium to heavy walking on cobblestone or slippery surfaces and some stair climbing.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: You can thank Venice for the thickly wooded headland of Corfu. During the Republic's four centuries of rule on this Ionian island (from 1386 to 1797), it was decreed that an olive tree be planted at each birth and a cypress at each death. Early admirers included the Greek poet, Homer, who sang the island's praises. Octavian brought his fleet to the island's harbor before the battle at Actium. Today's sightseeing starts with a drive to Corfu Town and a visit to the Old Fortress rising majestically from a large cliff and surrounded by a fairytale moat that has its sinister side as the last resort of the lovelorn. Built on the remains of a Byzantine castle, the fort was completed over four centuries, first by the Venetians who gave it the moat and then by the British who erected the fort's church of St George. The fort proved a formidable bulwark against the Turks. From the fort, enjoy a stroll along the Venetian-built Esplanade past the colonnade of the Liston Café, built during French rule. The café takes is name from a time when the promenade was limited to Venetian nobility that appeared on a list in the Libro d'Oro (Golden Book). Today this path provides an excellent view of the town's cricket pitch, a legacy from British rule, and the start of our walking excursion. Discover Old Town's narrow stepped streets, Georgian mansions and red-domed Agios Spyridon church, built in 1589, containing the remains of Corfu's patron saint.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, you are free to continue enjoying Corfu Town. A drink at the Liston café is a must.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Night-time departure for Preveza. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Preveza, Greece
(Thursday, June 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: After an early morning arrival in Preveza, depart for Arta to discover this former Byzantine capital and its glorious 13th and 14th-century churches. After the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders in 1204, Arta was established as the Byzantine despotate of Epirus. The city is built on the foundations of an ancient city called Ambrakia and was once the capital of King Pyrrhus (318BC-272BC), the legendary general. From the ship, a scenic one hour drive winds through the lovely countryside of northwest Greece. Arriving in Arta we drive by the famous bridge over the Arachthos River, haunted by a mythical story of an engineer who sacrificed his wife for the sake of a successful bridge by building her into it. The bridge was completed in 1612, but rests on the foundations of an earlier bridge that dates to classical times. In 1881 the borders of Greece and Turkey met in the center of Arta's bridge. Arta is dominated by a towering medieval fortress, but its pride are its Byzantine churches, and of these, Panagia Paregoretissa (Mother of the Swiftly Consoling) is the most striking. The church was built in the 13th century by a husband-and-wife team, and features an impressive array of architectural innovations. The central cupola is considered unique in the world of ecclesiastical architecture.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, the ship will cruise the delightful Ionian islands on the way to Ithaca.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Spend the evening ashore in the attractive seaside town of Vathy, Ithaca. Late departure for Katakolon.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Katakolon, Greece / Olympia
(Friday, June 21)

Note: The excursion to Olympia includes heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The small fishing village of Katakolon is approximately an hour from the mystical site of Ancient Olympia, sacred ground to the people of the Peloponnese Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC. Olympia is most familiar as the site where the first Olympic Games were held in 776BC in honor of Olympian Zeus. The origin of the word Olympic comes from the ancient Greek Olympiad – meaning every four years. The setting could not be more idyllic: prominently located in the middle of a fertile valley with the rivers of Alfeios and Kladhios flowing past. The site was a religious sanctuary even before the Stadium was built and the games took place in the sacred area called Altis. The most imposing monument in the area was the outstanding Temple of Zeus housing the gold-and-ivory statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Hera, the Prytaneion, and the Philippeion were also monuments standing in the sacred grove. The famous Stadium, the largest of its day with a capacity of 45,000 spectators, was entered through a long, tunnel-like passage, constructed in Roman times. The stadium was restored in 2004 for the historic return of the modern Olympics to Athens. After your exploration of the famous grounds, visit the archaeological museum which is a short 5-minute walk from the site. Among the great finds of the area that are displayed are the Head of Hera and ornaments from the Temple of Zeus, the famous statue of Hermes created by Praxiteles and the helmet of Miltiades, the Athenian general during Athens' 'Golden Age'. You will make a brief stop in the modern village of Olympia before returning to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Relax on board as you continue to sail toward Nauplia. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader. Enjoy a late afternoon Road Scholar cocktail party.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Nauplia, Greece
(Saturday, June 22)

Note: There is moderate to heavy walking over uneven surfaces in Mycenae and Epidaurus, and moderate walking in Nauplia unless you choose to climb the fortress.



   
 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: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we continue to Epidaurus via the charming and elegant town of Nauplia and its excellent Archaeological Museum, housed in the impressive former Venetian arsenal. Epidaurus was sacred to Asclepios, the god of medicine, and is the site of the best preserved of all ancient Greek theaters.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. Evening departure for Athens.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Athens, Greece
(Sunday, June 23)

Note: The excursion to the Acropolis includes heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.



   
 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 restaurant in Plaka.
 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.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Cape Sounion
(Monday, June 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark. 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 local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration in Athens. Individual returns to the hotel via hotel shuttle.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Departures
(Tuesday, June 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Athens International Airport (ATH) for departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Athens Benaki Museum
The Benaki Museum is made up of many buildings, which offer an in-depth look into Greek history and culture. An array of artwork and artifacts illustrate the character of the Greek world from ancient times to the 20th century. For additional information, visit www.benaki.gr/index.asp
  Museum of Cycladic Art
The Museum of Cycladic Art illustrates the ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus. The three major subjects on display are Cycladic Art, Ancient Greek Art, and Ancient Cypriot Art. For additional information, visit www.cycladic.gr
  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. For additional information, visit www.museiciviciveneziani.it
  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. For additional information, visit www.museiciviciveneziani.it
  Peggy Guggenheim Collection
A modern art collection in an 18th century Venetian palace, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the most important museum in Italy for European and American art from the first half of the 20th century. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and it presents Peggy Guggenheim's personal collection of 20th century art, masterpieces from the Gianni Mattioli Collection, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, as well as temporary exhibitions. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is owned and operated by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which also operates the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, and the Guggenheim-Hermitage, Las Vegas. For additional information, visit www.guggenheim-venice.it
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 Traveller's History of Croatia


Author: Benjamin Curtis


Description: Curtis untangles with alacrity the complex history of this nation at the crossroads of Europe.



Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History


Author: Robert D. Kaplan


Description: Kaplan interweaves the history, art and culture of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with his travels in this portrait of the region.



Bradt Mini Guide Dubrovnik


Author: Piers Letcher


Description: A helpful, condensed guide to the city in the popular Bradt series.



City of Fortune, How Venice Ruled the Seas


Author: Roger Crowley


Description: Crowley spins tales of three centuries of plunder and plague, imperial conquest and piracy in this riveting new history, chronicling the transformation of a tiny city of lagoon dwellers into the richest place on earth. City of Fortune is framed by two of the great collisions of world history: the ill-fated Fourth Crusade -- culminating in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 -- and the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499-1503.



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.



Dubrovnik, A History


Author: Robin Harris


Description: Harris, a journalist who writes frequently on the Balkans, presents a comprehensive portrait of the historically important maritime city-state in this nicely illustrated, scholarly and readable history of Dubrovnik.



Fodor's Venice's 25 Best


Author: Citypack


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



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.



How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed


Author: Slavenka Drakulic


Description: These short essays capture the absurdity, struggle and day-to-day reality of being a woman in Yugoslavia under Communism. Drakulic is a Croatian journalist, novelist and contributing editor at The Nation.



Mediterranean Cruises Map


Author: Freytag & Berndt


Description: A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula and Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.



Mediterranean by Cruise Ship


Author: Anne Vipond


Description: The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean.



Montenegro, A Novel


Author: Starling Lawrence


Description: Steeped in atmosphere, this compelling tale of intrigue set in turn-of-the-century Montenegro evokes the tangled politics of the region -- Muslim, Turk and British. Lawrence follows the adventures of a reluctant British spy, Harwell Auberon, from the Adriatic to mountain villages, capturing the essence of the people and the land.



Pocket Rough Guide Athens


Author: John Fisher


Description: By the savvy editors at Rough Guide, these just-right guides are bundled with a pullout map.



Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Why the Greeks Matter


Author: Thomas Cahill


Description: Cahill brings to life ancient Greek society and civilization through the lives and words of politicians, playwrights, a poet, philosopher and artist in this eloquent and absorbing tribute.



The Ancient Guide to Modern Life


Author: Natalie Haynes


Description: In this light-hearted frolic through antiquity, Haynes considers modern life from the point of view of the ancients, musing on such questions as what Athenian democracy might teach present politics and the impact of Greek and Roman drama, literature and philosophy on the contemporary world.



The Ancient Mediterranean


Author: Michael Grant


Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to sketch this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and the influence on western civilization.



The Balkans, A Short History


Author: Mark Mazower


Description: A brief, provocative survey of the complex and often contentious history of the Balkans. With eloquence and insight, Mazower addresses the issues of geography, nationalism and modern nation-building in the region.



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 Greek Myths, Complete Edition


Author: Robert Graves


Description: A new edition of Graves' classic collection illustrated by the comic book artist Ross MacDonald. This expert retelling by Graves, a poet, memoirist and the author of I, Claudius (ITL429), still remains the seminal modern translation of the mythologies of Ancient Greece.



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 Way of Herodotus, Travels with the Man Who Invented History


Author: Justin Marozzi


Description: A Penguin Classics edition of The Histories in hand, Marozzi journeys from Herodotus' home town of Heliacarnassus, now known as Bodrum, to Baghdad, Babylon, Egypt and Athens, weaving tales of his hero with erudite and entertaining modern travel.



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.





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