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Intergenerational Italian Classics: Rome, Florence and Venice

Program Number: 20211RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/9/2013 - 7/22/2013; 6/20/2015 - 7/3/2015; 7/1/2015 - 7/14/2015; 7/8/2015 - 7/21/2015; 7/15/2015 - 7/28/2015; 7/22/2015 - 8/4/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,878.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 14 - 17 years of age.

Share the essence of Italy with your grandchild as you immerse yourselves in Roman history, Florentine art and Venetian traditions. With local experts, walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in the Forum and look down where Gladiators fought in the Colosseum, or try your hand at creating frescoes. In Venice, create your own Murano glass memento and thrill in a dragon boat race along a canal with the Venetian Crew Club. Along the way, sample local cuisine and take in some of the greatest masterpieces in the world.


• Go on an exclusive underground exploration of Roman ruins.
• Spend an afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery and delight in the masterpieces of Titian, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
• Create your own Venetian glass artwork at a glass-working school.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to four miles a day, mostly level terrain. Dirt paths and cobblestone streets in archaeological zones. Rest periods break up the longer walks.

Date Specific Information


This program is for adults and youth age 14-17

6-20-2015, 7-1-2015, 7-15-2015, 7-22-2015

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


Sunday, July 19 is the Feast of the Redeemer, commemorating the end of the plague of 1576. Saturday night fireworks illuminate S. Mark`s basin and people find good vantage points to watch the 45 minute+ display. On Sunday, a floating bridge of boats and pontoons stretch across to the Giudecca Island and is a way for people to walk across to the island and worship at the church designed by Palladio. Expect additional crowd and transportation disruptions.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Rome, 4 nights; train to Florence, 4 nights; train to Venice, 4 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Rome
4 nights

Experience a multi-media presentation of an underground ancient Roman palaces; and walk around the area where Julius Caesar was assassinated. Thrill at the sight of Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini at St. Peter’s Basilica, and enjoy an opportunity to visit the Vatican Museums and create your own mosaic memento at an art school. With a local expert, walk through the ancient Forum and see the majestic Colosseum. Examine masterpieces at the Capitoline Museum and learn about chariot racing at the Circus Maximus.

Train to Florence
4 nights

After journeying by high-speed train to Florence, try your hand at learning fresco painting techniques with an art instructor. With a local expert, view the artwork at Palazzo Vecchio — Florence's city hall — and see Machiavelli's study. Spend an afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery, taking in masterpieces by Titian, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and more. Join an expert for an excursion to view Michelangelo's “David” and learn about the scientific revolution at the Galileo Museum.

Train to Venice
4 nights

Journey to the island of Murano to create your own work in glass, and marvel in the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica. Team up with the Venetian Crew Club for a dragon boat race along the canal before joining an expert to view the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Modern Art. Spend a final day in Venice exploring the Rialto Bridge Marketplace, and visit the workshop of a gondola artisan.


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

Rome: A historic hotel in the heart of Rome. The top floor balcony affords a view from the Colosseum to the south to S. Peter's Basilica to the west, and the top of the Spanish Steps to the north. Florence: Conveniently located four-star hotel in proximity to all major sites. Venice: Great hotels near the Grand Canal and major attractions.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson earned a master’s in art history from Northern Illinois University, with an emphasis in early Christian and Byzantine art, and her M.L.S. from the University of Oklahoma. The director of education for the Rockford (Ill.) Art Museum for over 10 years, Laura moved in 1999 to Florence, where she has done extensive work for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monica Chojnacka

Monica Chojnacka lives in Venice. She earned her Ph.D. in European history from Stanford University and her bachelor's from the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 1994-2007 she was a professor of history at the University of Georgia, where she authored numerous articles and publications. She has published books relating to Venice on topics as diverse as women of the Renaissance and food and wine. Monica continues to teach in Venice, primarily for study abroad programs for U.S. universities, as well as on-line courses.
Elisabetta Interdonato

Dr. Elisabetta Interdonato is a native Roman who earned her doctorate in classical archaeology at the University of Rome "La Sapienza." She did further post-doctoral studies at the University of Basilicata and at the Universite' de Haute Bretagne where she also taught as a visiting professor. She currently teaches at the Pantheon Institute. In addition to her teaching, she enjoys leading visitors on explorations of Rome.
Rachel Potts

Rachel Potts is a licensed excursion leader in Rome. She graduated from Manchester University (UK) with a bachelor's in philosophy and French, and later studied garden design at the London Gardening School. Having grown up in Rome, she chose to return to Italy and share her knowledge and love of Rome and surrounding areas.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel della Torre Argentina
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Corona d'Italia
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Principe
  Venice, Italy 4 nights
 Hotel della Torre Argentina
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Hotel conveniently located in the heart of Rome between Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Campo de'Fiori, the colorful produce market. The hotel is an 18th century aristocratic residence that has been renovated with modern conveniences.
  Contact info: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 102
Rome,  00186 Italy
phone: +39 06 683 3886
  Room amenities: All rooms have private bathroom. Air-conditioning, sound-proof windows, mini-bar, hair dryer, wi-fi access free of charge
  Facility amenities: Attractive lobby, lounge, meeting room. Facility is air conditioned. Free wi-fi. Breakfast buffet offers a variety of cereals, pastries, juices, yogurt, beverages and fruit.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: price varies by season To book additional nights at the hotel, email Lavinia Tour, Trinity College’s partnering agency in Rome, Another option is to book directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel or agency at the time of your booking that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Corona d'Italia
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated at the edge of the San Lorenzo market, the hotel is centrally located and convenient to the Santa Maria Novella train station, the Duomo and Accademia.
  Contact info: Via Nazionale 14
Florence, NA 50123 Italy
phone: +39 -055-261-501
  Room amenities: All rooms have private bathroom, individual AC/Heat controls, safe box for valuables, mini-bar, direct dial telephone, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, hair dryer
  Facility amenities: Spacious lobby, marble and terracotta floors, Wi-Fi accessibility, meeting room, bar in the lobby open afternoon and evenings.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Principe
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Overlooking the Grand Canal, with the splendid terrace on the water, Hotel Principe, is one of the 4 star hotels in Venice in a perfect position for discovering the charm and beauty of Venice on foot, or for easily reaching the Rialto or St. Mark's Square with a vaporetto, which stops just steps from the hotel.
  Contact info: Lista di Spagna 146/147
Venice, NA 30121 Italy
phone: +041-220-4010
  Room amenities: hair dryer, air conditioning, mini-bar, safe, satellite television, complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: restaurant, snack bar, internet point, terrace on the Grand Canal
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: varies by season If you plan to arrive early or extend your stay at the hotel, contact the hotel’s online reservation system directly through the official website, or contact Lavinia Tour, Trinity College’s partnering agency in Rome: For continuity of room assignment, indicate to the hotel or agency that you are with the Road Scholar group.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4 p.m. in hotel lobby You will be staying at Hotel della Torre Argentina that night.
  End of Program:
10 a.m. at check-out You will be staying at Hotel Principe the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Public transportation available to reach the program site for independent travelers.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest city or town:  Rome
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: Group transfers from Rome airport to the hotel provided for group travelers on group arrival day. Independent travelers can request to join a courtesy transfer. Details provided in mailing from Trinity College. To reach the program site on your own, a taxi from the Rome airport to the hotel has a fixed rate around E. 50 plus any luggage or holiday differential. Train from airport to Termini plus taxi totals approx. E. 35 per person.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice
  Nearest airport:  Venice Marco Polo
  Transportation from site: Group transfers from the Venice hotel to the airport provided for group travelers on group departure day. Independent travelers can request to join a courtesy transfer. Details provided in mailing from Trinity College. To reach the airport on your own, a shuttle service from Venice Piazzale Roma near hotel costs approx.E. 5, buses leave about every 20 minutes. Water taxi (max 8 people w/luggage) costs E. 150, seat on public boat (Alilaguna line) is about E. 15.
Elevation Note: elevation not above 3000 ft.

Equipment Requirements: no special equipment required
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: Arrival day, Check-in, Welcome Reception, Neighborhood walk.
(Tuesday, July 9)
 Arrive To: Rome airport next morning, transfer to hotel.
 Morning: Leave luggage at hotel while waiting for check-in at 2 p.m. Some activity while waiting for lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local eatery. Try your first gelato.
 Afternoon: Settle in room, meet at appointed time for Welcome Reception, obtain map and other materials, neighborhood walk to familiarize yourself with banks, pharmacies and stores.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel della Torre Argentina
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Underground Rome archaeology, Lecture on Vatican Museum and S. Peter's Basilica
(Wednesday, July 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Join archaeologists who lead an exclusive excursion to underground ancient Roman buildings. Sites selected to suit walking ability of participants.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Meet in lecture room where an art historian gives an illustrated lecture on the artistic highlights of masterpieces in the Vatican Museum including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and S. Peter's Basilica. Free time until dinner.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Walk around the area where Julius Caesar was assassinated. See who can spot the most cats.
Accommodations: Hotel della Torre Argentina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Reserved entrance to the Vatican Museums, S. Peter's Basilica and Mosaic Laboratory.
(Thursday, July 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Transfer to the Vatican Museums for reserved entrance time, meet expert who will lead you through this singular museum. After exiting, enter S. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini. Nearby is the Vatican Mosaic Laboratory where we will watch skilled workers create images using small tessere (colored glass tiles). With the free time that follows, some may desire to climb the 450 steps of Michelangelo's Dome (with permission from the grandparent.)
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the area around S. Peter's, shop for souvenirs, or climb dome. Nearby is Castel Sant'Angelo, Hadrian's mausoleum. Good views from the top. It was used as a castle, and as a refuge for the Popes.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Walk around the Trastevere district and the Tiber Island.
Accommodations: Hotel della Torre Argentina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Antiquity--Roman Forum, Colosseum, Capitoline Museum
(Friday, July 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Expert led visit to the Forum, Rome's ancient downtown--walk along the Via Sacra where triumphal processions passed. In the Colosseum imagine watching gladiatorial games.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch expert led visit continues in the Capitoline Museum where you can examine up close masterpieces of ancient art, including the famous bronze She Wolf, Marcus Aurelius and remains of the Constantine's colossal statue. Continue on to the Circus Maximus and the "Mouth of Truth." Returning to the hotel trough the old Jewish Ghetto.
 Dinner: Opportunity to select cuisine choice.
 Evening: A leisurely stroll to the Trevi Fountain for the traditional coin toss and Spanish Steps.
Accommodations: Hotel della Torre Argentina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Transfer to Florence via high speed train, Renaissance Florence lecture
(Saturday, July 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Free time for you to explore some interesting part of Rome prior to boarding high speed train to Florence. Before going out, check out of room and leave your luggage in the deposit area. Pick it up when you go to the train station.
 Lunch: Opportunity to select your own lunch. Group leader will offer suggestions. Meet at the appointed time to transfer to the train station.
 Afternoon: Experience travel on a high speed train at speeds reaching 120 mph. Arrive in Florence 95 minutes after departure (barring any unforeseen delay.) Check into hotel, meet for lecture on Renaissance Florence to help contextualize stay.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Excursion of the historical section of Florence to orient everyone on the layout of the city, locate landmarks, find ATM's and pharmacies.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Fresco Painting Lesson, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery Lecture
(Sunday, July 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Learn from an art teacher the steps required to paint using the fresco technique; from creating the lines with a sack of coal dust, to spreading the fresh plaster and mixing the pigments. After the 6"x9" tile dries, you may choose to keep it, otherwise it is recycled. Expert led visit of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's city hall, to see original pieces of art, including Donatello's Judith and Holofernes and sculptures by Michelangelo. See Machiavelli's study when he was Secretary of State for the Republic.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Preparatory lecture for Uffizi Gallery, followed by free time until dinner to explore Florence on your own.
 Dinner: Opportunity to dine at a restaurant that you have read about or were recommended.
 Evening: Walk of discovery after dinner, perhaps cross Ponte Vecchio to explore the "Oltrarno" district.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Frescoes, Baptistery and Uffizi Gallery
(Monday, July 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Walk through Florence's central food and soft goods market toward S. Maria Novella. With your new found knowledge of fresco painting, an expert expounds on the frescoes by Masaccio and Ghirlandaio found in the church. Informative video presentation of Florence's Baptistery followed by special access to the upper level to get a close-up view of the mosaics.
 Lunch: Select your eatery. Group leader will have suggestions for places to eat around the Baptistery.
 Afternoon: Reserved entrance to the Uffizi Gallery for self-directed visit, stay as long as you want. Free time until dinner. At the end of the second corridor is a refreshment bar for snacks. The balcony has a wonderful view of Brunelleschi's Dome and the watch tower of Palazzo Vecchio.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy walking in the squares closed to vehicular traffic. Be entertained by street performers as you savor a refreshing gelato.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Michelangelo's David and the Archaeological Museum
(Tuesday, July 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Expert led visit to see Michelangelo's David and the Archaeological museum to see the Chimera from Arezzo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time for walk of discovery. Group leader can offer suggested activities.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Gelato tasting walk.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Transfer to Venice, Lecture on Venetian History
(Wednesday, July 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Transfer to Venice by coach to better view the Tuscan countryside and the valley of the Po river.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant and check-in to the rooms.
 Afternoon: Lecture on Venetian history and neighborhood walk.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant to savor Venetian cuisine.
 Evening: At leisure to explore the area near the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Murano Glass making activity, S. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace
(Thursday, July 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Receive Vaporetto pass and ride the boat to the island of Murano. Learn about glass making and create your own memento.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Expert led visit S. Mark's Basilica and marvel at the mosaics decorating the walls and ceilings, over 60,000 square feet. Expert continues visit of the Doge's Palace, Venice's government headquarters, decorated by Titian, Canaletto and Giorgione, just to mention a few.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Dragon Boat Race, Peggy Guggenheim Museum
(Friday, July 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Team up with the Venetian Crew Club for a dragon boat race along the canal.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant or hotel.
 Afternoon: Expert led visit of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of modern art.
 Dinner: Opportunity to try other restaurants you may have heard about.
 Evening: At leisure for a walk of discovery.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Rialto Bridge, Market and Artisan workshop
(Saturday, July 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Learn the Venetian manner of shopping at the market around the Rialto Bridge. Excursion to an artisan's workshop to learn about the carving techniques of making gondola oars and oar locks.
 Lunch: Choose your lunch from the many offerings around the market area of the Rialto. Group leader will have suggestions.
 Afternoon: Free time to do last minute shopping, explore Venice with the Vaporetto pass.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant. Your glass mementos will be available for you to gingerly pack them.
 Evening: Ride the Vaporetto to take some artistic evening photographs.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departure day
(Sunday, July 21)
 Depart From: Transfer from the hotel to the Venice Marco Polo airport for departure.
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall. Sack breakfast for those with early departure times.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Florence Botanical Gardens
extensive gardens and greenhouses where the Univiversity of Florence maintains 4 million botanical specimens in a wooded urban park, the "Giardino dei Semplici"
Visit other museums in Florence such as the Stibbert Museum which houses a collection of weapons, armor and costumes from the 16th to the 20th century. The Marino Marini Museum exhibits works of the contemporary sculptor.
  Teatro della Pergola
Amici della Musica has a rich and varied program for concerts and recitals. Check the website below for further information. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Ancient Rome, Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Rome's Past

Author: Zilah Deckker

Description: Readers of all ages will enjoy this thoroughly illustrated guide to the history, discovery and excavation of Ancient Rome -- from ancient writing tablets and beautiful mosaics to the scientists who continue to piece together the archaeological puzzle.

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)

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

Blue Guide Concise Italy

Author: Paul Blanchard

Description: The first ever guide to all of Italy by the venerable Blue Guides (which publishes individual guides to Northern, Southern, Central, Rome, Tuscany, Sicily et al), this lavishly illustrated, handy and compact guide covers key sights, museums, churches, art, dining and accommodations throughout Italy.

Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

Author: Ross King

Description: The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.

Dante's Daughter

Author: Kimberley Heuston

Description: In this richly drawn historical novel for young adults, the daughter of the famed poet must forge her own destiny in patriarchal 14th-century Florence, where her artistic talent and intelligence are often overlooked.

Italy Map

Author: Borch Maps

Description: A handy, laminated map.

Italy in Mind

Author: Alice Powers

Description: A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.

Italy, A Short History

Author: Harry Hearder

Description: Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

Author: Beppe Severgnini

Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses the apparently never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.

La Bella Lingua

Author: Dianne Hales

Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Author: Kathleen Krull

Description: Beginning with a vivid description of superstition and squalor in the Middle Ages, Krull sets Da Vinci's extraordinary life in the context of his extraordinary time. A volume in the Giants of Science series, geared for grades 4-8.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Author: Ross King

Description: Presented with flair and backed by a wealth of research, King's captivating chronicle of Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of its conception and creation.

The Art of the Renaissance

Author: Peter Murray

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

The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings

Author: R.W.B. Lewis

Description: A vivid tour of the city and its riches by the fine biographer of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Lewis has written what he calls "a partial biography of Florence," beautifully interweaving the personal and the historical.

The Colosseum

Author: Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard

Description: This engaging overview of the history of the Colosseum deconstructs Hollywood-perpetrated misconceptions of gladiator-eating lions, Nero fiddling and other myths.

The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall

Author: Christopher Hibbert

Description: A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.

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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