Road Scholar : Home
Italy Family Style: Best of Rome, Florence and Venice

Program Number: 20856RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/30/2013 - 7/13/2013; 6/27/2015 - 7/10/2015; 7/4/2015 - 7/17/2015; 7/11/2015 - 7/24/2015; 7/18/2015 - 7/31/2015; 7/25/2015 - 8/7/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,878.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; Intergenerational
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 10 - 17 years of age.

Share the essence of Italy with your family as you immerse yourselves in Roman history, Florentine art and Venetian traditions. Walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in the Forum, see where Gladiators fought in the Colosseum, and try your hand at creating frescoes. 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 delicious Italian cuisine and take in some of the greatest masterpieces in the world.


• Embark on an exclusive underground exploration of Roman ruins.
• Take high-speed trains to Florence and Venice, where you discover masterpieces by artists likes Michelangelo and Titian.
• Create your own Venetian glass artwork at a glass-working school and be part of a dragon boat race on the canals.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to four miles per day; some dirt paths, cobblestone streets and other uneven terrain.

Date Specific Information


In August the kilns at the glass school are turned off for yearly maintenance, as a substitute activity, enjoy another Venetian tradition. Learn about the 800 year old practice of mask making and the symbolism of the forms and shapes at a workshop. Details from famous period paintings depict Venetians wearing masks in every day life. Decorate your own papier mâché mask as a memento.

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

Explore underground ancient Roman buildings and walk around the area where Julius Caesar was cremated. Thrill at the sight of Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and works by Bernini during a day at St. Peter’s Basilica and enjoy a visit to the Vatican Museums. Create your own Mosaic memento at an art school. Hear the stories of the ancient Forum and 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, da Vinci and more and view Michelangelo's “David” at the Accademia. 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. Marvel at the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica. Team up with the Venetian Crew Club for a dragon boat race along the canals 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 visiting 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.

Centrally located four star hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice on the Grand Canal.

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 Tiziano
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Kraft Hotel Firenze
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Principe
  Venice, Italy 4 nights
 Hotel Tiziano
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Your program site hotel is in the heart of historical Rome and is within walking distance of Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Capitoline Hill, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Piazza di Spagna. The hotel was once the palace of a noble Roman family. It is situated at the intersection of two busy streets, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (named after the first king of unified Italy) and Largo Argentina.
  Contact info: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 110
Rome, NA 00186 Italy
phone: +39 06 686 5019
  Room amenities: Private bath in all rooms, hair dryer, safe box for valuables in room or front desk, touch tone phone, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, individual controls for heat and air conditioning, sound proof windows, mini bar
  Facility amenities: Breakfast served daily, all rooms have private bath. Sound proof windows. 24 hour concierge. Free wi-fi throughout the facility and internet point in the lobby. Lobby and breakfast room 6 steps from sidewalk entrance level.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season To book additional nights at the hotel, contact the hotel's online reservation system directly through the hotel website, or, contact Lavinia Tour, Trinity College's partnering agency in Rome: 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.

 Kraft Hotel Firenze
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern business class hotel in quiet residential area, close to Arno River and the historical section of Florence. Roof garden and bar with swimming pool offers a wonderful panorama of down town and the Tuscan hills.
  Contact info: Via Solferino, 2
Florence, NA 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 283273
  Room amenities: Independent climate control of air conditioning, direct dial telephone, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, internet point, minibar, safe. Finely appointed.
  Facility amenities: 24 hour front desk, spacious lounge, classrooms, American bar, restaurant, glass enclosed terrace where breakfast is served, pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Principe
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Overlooking the Grand Canal, with a splendid terrace on the water, the 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.The hotel has a private dock on the Grand Canal for gondola and water taxi access.
  Contact info: Lista di Spagna 146/147
Venice, NA 30121 Italy
phone: +041-220-4010
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, AC/heat individual controls, mini-bar, safe, satellite television, complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and terrace overlook the Grand Canal, snack bar, complimentary internet point in the lobby and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: 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 out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Lunch provided for morning arrivals. Hotel check in 2:00 pm. Meet in lobby at 4:00 pm for Orientation. You will be staying at Hotel Tiziano that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check out by 10:00 am, transfers to airport. You will be staying at Hotel Principe the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train service from European and Italian points connects to Roma Termini, the main station. A separate line connects the airport to Roma Termini. The hotel is within walking distance from the station and a short taxi ride for luggage considerations.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest city or town:  Rome
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: To reach the hotel on your own, from the Rome airport terminal, you have three options: public transportation, shared ride shuttle service and taxi. Public transportation option is train and taxi: In the airport terminal public area, follow the signs for the train, purchase tickets at the ticket counter on the station platform, stamp the ticket in the yellow box on the platform, and board the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini, the central station in Rome. Fare is EUR 14 pp. The ride takes 35 min. When you exit the Roma Termini train station take a taxi to the hotel. For door to door service you have 2 options: shared ride shuttle van or taxi. You can book shuttle service online at Fares are about EUR 30 for 1 person; discounts apply if you book for multiple passengers. Taxi fare for direct service from the airport to the hotel is approx. EUR 60. Max 4 persons per taxi.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice
  Nearest airport:  Venice Marco Polo
  Transportation from site: To reach the airport on your own, there is public transportation by bus from Piazzale Roma, the point that connects Venice to the mainland, to the Venice Airport. Piazzale Roma is a 10 min. walk from the Hotel Principe. Note that the walk from the hotel to the bus stop entails crossing a high bridge that has long shallow steps and no ramp. The bus (fare EUR 6 and a 25 min. ride) leaves you off directly in front of the airport terminal. For direct service from the hotel dock to the airport dock, it is possible to book a water taxi. Fare is approx. EUR 100. Supplemental fees apply for service before 8 am. Max 10 passengers per taxi boat. When the water taxi arrives at the airport dock you can get a cart for the 10 min. walk to the terminal along a covered path. If you are continuing your travels by train, from the hotel you can reach the train station on foot very easily from the hotel.
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: Check-in \ Orientation \ Welcome Reception
(Sunday, June 30)
 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 L'Angoletto Romano.
 Afternoon: Settle in room, meet at appointed time for Orientation and Welcome Reception. Brief neighborhood walk points out banks, pharmacies and stores.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Tiziano
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Roman Forum \ Colosseum \ Piazza Navona \ Trevi Fountain
(Monday, July 1)

Note: The walk through the spacious archaeological area of the Forum is over uneven paths, some with cobblestones. At the Colosseum climb a flight of steep stairs to reach the upper level of the arena.

 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: Late afternoon Piazza Walk explores the lively Piazza Navona and the famed Trevi Fountain.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local trattoria.
Accommodations: Hotel Tiziano
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Underground Rome \ Treasures of the Vatican and S. Peter's Basilica
(Tuesday, July 2)

Note: To enter the underground archaeological site you will have to go down some uneven or steep steps and then stand while the guide explains the importance of the site.

 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 for an illustrated lecture on the major works of art in the Vatican Museums. The light talk prepares you for the expert-led visit of the Sistine Chapel and Basilica of St. Peter's. Some free time.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Tiziano
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Vatican Museums \ Sistine Chapel \ S. Peter's Basilica \ Mosaic Laboratory.
(Wednesday, July 3)

Note: Expect crowds at the Vatican Museums. Walk a few flights of stairs to visit the various galleries and art filled rooms. Steps along the path to the Sistine Chapel.

 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. With the free time that follows, some may desire to climb the 450 steps of Michelangelo's Dome (with permission from parent.)
 Lunch: Lunch at Ristorante Art Cafe'.
 Afternoon: Participate in creating your own mosaic with instructors at a local art school. Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Tiziano
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Capitoline Museum \ Train to Florence
(Thursday, July 4)

Note: Walk to the Capitoline Hill. Arriving in Florence, leisurely walk from the train station to the hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Check out of your room and leave your luggage in the deposit area. Pick it up when you go to the train station.Expert-led visit of the nearby 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 through the old Jewish Ghetto.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. 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 later. Check into the hotel.
 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: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Fresco Painting Session \ Palazzo Vecchio \ Renaissance Art \ Uffizi Gallery
(Friday, July 5)

Note: Minimal exertion at painting studio. Palazzo Vecchio visit requires climbing a few flights of stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Visit a workshop in the Palazzo Vecchio. 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" x 9" 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: Lunch at a restaurant near the Piazza della Signoria.
 Afternoon: An art historian puts into perspective the works of art at the Uffizi. 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: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Walk of discovery after dinner, perhaps cross Ponte Vecchio to explore the "Oltrarno" district.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Accademia \ Archaeological Museum
(Saturday, July 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Expert-led visit to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia delle Belle Arti and the Chimera from Arezzo at the Archaeological Museum, both in the vicinity of St. Mark's square.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon.
 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: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Mercato Centrale \ Exclusive Baptistery Visit
(Sunday, July 7)

Note: Leisure walk to Piazza S. Maria Novella. The upper gallery of the Baptistery is reached by a narrow staircase, about 20 steep steps. You can remain below to rest in the pews but you would miss the up-close view of the mosaics.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the 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.
 Lunch: Lunch at Trattoria Lorenzo de'Medici near the Mercato Centrale.
 Afternoon: Informative video about the origins of Florence's Duomo and Baptistery followed by exclusive access to the upper gallery with a docent.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Train to Venice \ History of Venice, the Serenissima
(Monday, July 8)

Note: Walk to the Florence train station with only your hand luggage. Very short walk from the Venice train station to the hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel dining hall.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel. Your bags will be sent by van and delivered to the hotel in Venice. Board a high speed train to Venice; the trip is 2 hours.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Lecture on Venetian history and neighborhood walk.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant to savor Venetian cuisine.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Murano Glass making activity \ S. Mark's Basilica
(Tuesday, July 9)

Note: Vaporetto vessels are often crowded with locals and the many tourists that visit Venice in the summer months. At the Basilica of St. Mark's, climb a narrow and steep staircase to reach the outside terrace over the main entrance. The view of the square is well worth the climb.

 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 glass tile decoration under the supervision of an instructor at a glass working school. The tile you create will be fused in the kiln and delivered to your hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. The group leader will point out snack bars and cafes near the school and vaporetto stop.
 Afternoon: Meet at the appointed time to take the vaporetto back to St. Mark's square for an expert-led visit of the Basilica. Marvel at the mosaics decorating the walls and ceilings, over 60,000 square feet.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Dragon Boat Race \ Doge's Palace in St. Mark's Square
(Wednesday, July 10)

Note: Row, row, row your boat hard if you want to win; otherwise sit at the stern and enjoy the ride. At the Doge's Palace, climb two flights of stairs to reach the residential quarters. Narrow passageways lead to the Bridge of Sighs and the dungeons.

 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: The Doge's Palace was Venice's government headquarters. It is splendidly decorated with works of art by Titian, Canaletto and Giorgione, just to mention a few. Cross the Bridge of Sighs that connects the courtroom to the prisons. Legend has it that such was the reaction of prisoners being led to their cells as they caught their last look at the lagoon.
 Dinner: Opportunity to try other restaurants you may have heard about.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Rialto Bridge \ Mercato \ Artisan workshop \ Peggy Guggenheim Museum
(Thursday, July 11)

Note: Leisurely walk around the market area, and to an artisan's workshop. Up and over numerous bridges in the market area.

 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: At a local eatery near the market, sample a variety of cicchetti, Venetian small plates.
 Afternoon: Having been surrounded by ancient and Renaissance masterpieces and structures, enjoy the modern art collection at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Relax in the courtyard of the palazzo on the Grand Canal while the docent introduces the life and times of the wealthy American collector. The group splits in two as a docent leads the students on a discovery of form and expression in modern art.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant. Your glass mementos will be available for you to gingerly pack.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Departure day
(Friday, July 12)
 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

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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

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Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

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Dante's Daughter

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Italy Map

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Italy in Mind

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Italy, A Short History

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La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

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La Bella Lingua

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Leonardo Da Vinci

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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

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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

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The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings

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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

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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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