Road Scholar : Home
Voyages to Antiquity: Splendors of Italy and Croatia

Program Number: 19519RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/3/2013 - 10/18/2013; 6/24/2015 - 7/9/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/17/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Italy/Greece/Albania/Croatia
Price starting at: $5,590.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 39; 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Mediterranean and the architectural and artistic legacies of its civilizations on this voyage carefully planned to explore as much as possible of the fascinating history that this remarkable sea has to offer. From the splendors of Rome to the classical Greek elegance of Paestum to Byzantine Venice, learn about the people and events that shaped the Mediterranean.




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.



Please note: In 2014, the ship visits Valletta, Malta & Korcula, Croatia and NOT Butrint, Albania or Corfu, Greece. Please see Program Details for complete Daily Schedule.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Rome (Italy), 2 nights, aboard Aegean Odyssey, 12 nights.



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




Days 2-4: Arrival Rome (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Enjoy lunch at a farmhouse in the countryside. Discover Vatican City on a special field trip. An expert-led excursion through Rome includes the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain.



Days 5-6: Sorrento:

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



Days 7-8: 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 9: Taormina:

On the island of Sicily, discover Taormina’s Greco-Roman theater with its mountainous backdrop and spectacular views of Mount Etna.



Day 10: Valletta (Malta):

Discover this city founded by the Knights of St. John, including the Baroque cathedral and the magnificent Palace of the Grand Masters. Venture to the enchanting medieval town of Mdina.



11-12: At Sea / Dubrovnik (Croatia):

On an expert-led excursion in Dubrovnik, discover this beautiful seaside city’s Old Town and the Baroque Church of St. Blaise.



Day 13: Korcula:

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



Day 14: Split:

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



Days 15-16: Venice (Italy)/disembark/departure:

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





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
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
  Rome, Italy 2 nights
 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 enjoy 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, wireless available in reception area); 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:
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:
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:  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
  Transportation to site: Option 1: From Marco Polo Airport, take the ATVO “Venezia Express” (6 euro) bus to Piazzale Roma—the trip takes roughly 25 minutes. From here, take the automated “Venice People Mover” tram from the Piazzale Roma to Marittima Cruise Terminal (1 Euro). Option 2: Marittima Cruise Terminal is a 15-20 minute cab ride from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport and costs 30-40 Euro.
  From End of Program
  Location: MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
  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.
    (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: Departures
(Thursday, October 3)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Friday, October 4)
   
 Morning: Arrival at Marco Polo Airport (VCE). Transfer to the MV Aegean Odyssey.
 Afternoon: Embark 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
(Saturday, October 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Program orientation and group introductions. There is no better way to begin our journey than with a morning walking excursion of the magnificent sites of Venice. We will see the Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, and visit the Doge's Palace.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. Your Group Leader will assist with directions for your return to the ship.
 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
(Sunday, October 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy some free time to take a gondola ride through ancient canals or explore the legendary Peggy Guggenheim collection. Alternatively, take advantage of an optional excursion to Rialto & Ghetto Nuovo (optional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Early afternoon sailing for Split, Croatia. Attend a Road Scholar exclusive cocktail party.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Split, Croatia
(Monday, October 7)
   
 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.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or at a local restaurant on your own.
 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. Depart for Korcula at midnight.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Cruising Brac and Hvar / Korcula, Croatia
(Tuesday, October 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. We will spend the morning cruising the gorgeous islands of Hvar and Brac.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: 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?
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a guest lecture as the ship departs for Dubrovnik.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Dubrovnik, Croatia
(Wednesday, October 9)
   
 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 or at a local restaurant on your own.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon and evening you are free to relax or continue exploring this charming city.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At Sea.
(Thursday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Relax on board.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Syracuse, Sicily
(Friday, October 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: 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.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Palermo, Sicily
(Saturday, October 12)
   
 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.
 Lunch: Road Scholar exclusive lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: It is an hour and a quarter 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.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Palermo, Sicily
(Sunday, October 13)
   
 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. 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.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cruising the Amalfi Coast / Sorrento, Italy
(Monday, October 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Enjoy the spectacular views as we spend the morning cruising the Amalfi Coast.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: An afternoon and evening at leisure to enjoy the delightful clifftop town of Sorrento and take in the spectacular views of the Bay of Naples.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. The ship overnights in Sorrento.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Sorrento, Italy / Pompeii
(Tuesday, October 15)
   
 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. For those participants who have already visited Pompeii, an alternative excursion to Herculaneum is possible. Discuss with Group Leader on board a few days prior to your arrival in Sorrento.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Sorrento's alluring architecture or to enjoy a gelato in the Piazza Tasso.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Disembark / Rome, Italy
(Wednesday, October 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark in Civitavecchia and transfer to Rome. Morning panoramic sightseeing excursion through the fabulous city of Rome.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will enjoy a guided walking excursion of Rome. Highlights include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Rome, Italy
(Thursday, October 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided field trip to the Vatican -- the center of Christianity -- where you will visit St. Peter’s Square, the church and the Vatican Museum. The Vatican museum was founded in the 14th century and is considered by many to have one of the greatest collections of art from the Renaissance period. You will also visit the Gallery of Tapestries and Geographical Maps and the famous Sistine Chapel with its marvelous frescos by Michelangelo.
 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 local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Beverly Hills
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Friday, October 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Rome Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino 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.
  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
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Suggested Reading List


Art of the Byzantine Era


Author: David Talbot Rice


Description: Wide-ranging and literate, this thoroughly illustrated introduction to Byzantine art is an indispensable classic.



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 Guide Croatia


Author: Piers Letcher


Description: This convenient guide in the excellent British series is a personal, informative overview of the country, covering Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik in detail. With excellent travel advice and information on nature, history, and culture.



Croatia Coast Map


Author: Freytag & Berndt


Description: A nicely shaded map covering the Dalmatian Coast from Porec to Dubrovnik at a scale of 1:200,000, perfect for the complex coastline.



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.



Eyewitness Guide Sicily


Author: DK Publishing, Eyewitness Guides


Description: This superb guide to Sicily features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a synopsis of the island's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.



Fodor's Rome's 25 Best


Author: Fodors


Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes a map of the city and essential information on its highlights.



Fodor's Venice's 25 Best


Author: Citypack


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



Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasure


Author: Joseph Jay Deiss


Description: An artful and wonderfully written description of daily life of the Romans at the time of the destruction of Herculaneum.



Italian Days


Author: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison


Description: Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians.



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.



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.



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.



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 Bridge on the Drina


Author: Ivo Andric, Lovette F. Edwards (Translator)


Description: These linked stories by the Nobel-prize winning author capture the history and complexity of Christian and Muslim relations during Ottoman occupation. Hewn of stone, the bridge dividing the town of Visegrad was Andric's inspiration.



The Fires of Vesuvius, Pompeii Lost and Found


Author: Mary Beard


Description: With the panache of a gifted classicist, Mary Beard (Wonders of the World) conjures daily life in celebrated Pompeii, not only demolishing with particular relish the many myths that have grown up around the place but also emphasizing the limits of our knowledge. Some things we simply shall never know for certain.



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 Venetian Empire, A Sea Voyage


Author: Jan Morris


Description: Morris reconstructs the whole of the glittering dominion of the Venetian Republic in this evocative account of a journey by sea along historic trade routes to the Adriatic and beyond.



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.





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