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Voyages to Antiquity: Timeless Cities of Italy, Greece and Turkey

Program Number: 20721RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/6/2014 - 5/24/2014;
Duration: 18 nights
Location: Italy/Turkey/Greece
Price starting at: $5,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 48; 17 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Legendary empires come alive on this voyage from Italy to Greece to Turkey. Grand cities, soaring theaters and beautiful artwork reveal what life was like in the eras when the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires reigned.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain, steep stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Istanbul (Turkey), 3 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 12 nights; Rome (Italy), 2 nights.



Day 1:

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.



Days 2-5: Arrival Istanbul (Turkey) / embark Aegean Odyssey

Enjoy three days experiencing Istanbul. Field trips include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Spice Bazaar. Lodging: Four-star hotel



Day 6: Lemnos (Greece):

Sail through the Dardanelles. Explore this island stronghold that was fought for by the Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans.



Day 7: Izmir (Turkey)

Discover the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus, one of the greatest sites of the classical world.



Day 8: Delos / Mykonos (Greece):

Discover the islands of Delos, the paramount religious sanctuary of the ancients, and cosmopolitan Mykonos.



Day 9: Athens:

Survey the legendary Acropolis and discuss the remarkable achievements of the Athenian “Golden Age.”



Day 10: Nauplia:

From Corinth to Epidaurus, learn about the great Mycenaean civilization in the area where it flourished.



Days 11-12: At Sea / Taormina (Italy):

Take a field trip to Taormina’s Greco-Roman theater, spectacularly located between Mount Etna and the sea.



Day 13-14: Palermo:

In Sicily, find Palermo’s Palatine Chapel and the majestic Monreale Cathedral.



Days 15-16: Sorrento:

Discover Pompeii and Herculaneum, cities frozen in time by the eruption of Vesuvius. Explore the seaside Roman colony of Sorrento.



Days 17-19: Rome:

Enjoy expert-led excursions through Rome and the Vatican as well as a farewell dinner at a local trattoria.





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
   Armada Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
   Aegean Odyssey
  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Grand Hotel Beverly Hills or Hotel Genova
  Rome, Italy 2 nights
 Armada Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 4-star Armada Hotel is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, with views of two of the great masterpieces of world architecture; the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The hotel offers modern comfort and convenience discreetly incorporated into the Turkish-inspired architecture, and period engravings throughout the hotel provide an insight into Istanbul's by-gone eras. The name of the Armada Hotel is a tribute to the memory of the renowned Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha Barbarossa. Located in the heart of the Old City, the hotel is within walking distance of museums, churches and other major attractions.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Street 24
Sultanahmet
Istanbul,  34122 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
web: www.armadahotel.com.tr
  Room amenities: Each room has a mini bar, hair dryer, bathrobes, telephone, LCD television, safe box, free wireless Internet, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a bar, lounge, meeting rooms, business center with computers and printers, library, free WIFI Internet access throughout the hotel, laundry service and air conditioning. The rooftop restaurants offer magnificent views of the area.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The 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: 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

 Hotel Genova
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Genova is an elegant and modern structure that was completely renovated in 2008. It is centrally located just a short drive from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and within walking distance from the Termini Railway Station.
  Contact info: Via Cavour 25
Rome,  00187 Italy
phone: +39 06476951
web: www.hotel-genova-rome.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, safe box, air conditioning, mini bar, telephone, room service, hair dryer, high speed cable Internet connection (for a fee), and a vanity set (shampoo, soap, shower cap, bath foam).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, lobby, 24-hour reception, breakfast room, meeting rooms, terrace, air conditioning, laundry services, wireless Internet access in the lobby (for a fee), fax machine and pay phones.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Istanbul, Turkey. Meet at 6:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Armada Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Grand Hotel Beverly Hills or Hotel Genova 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:  Istanbul
  Nearest city or town:  In town
  Nearest airport:  Atatürk International Airport
  Transportation to site: The Armada Hotel is located about 10 miles from the airport. Taxi ride to the hotel from the airport costs approximately 45 Turkish Liras (approx. $30) and takes approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, to book a private transfer (approx. $65), please contact info@baltactours.com.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation from site: Take a short walk to the bus stop on the corner of Via Po and Via Simeto. Take the bus number 86 that takes you to Termini central station. Enter the train station and take the train Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport (FCO). Getting from Hotel Genova to the airport The hotel is only 300 meters away from the Termini Train Station from which you can take the Leonardo Express to FCO. If you are staying extra nights in Rome and wish to hire a private car (57 Euro), you may contact Italian Details at simona.tulin@italiandetails.com or 011-39-06-89087921.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Tuesday, May 6)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Wednesday, May 7)
   
 Afternoon: Arrival at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport (IST). Meet group outside of customs. Transfer to the Armada Hotel. Welcome Orientation at 6:00 PM in hotel lobby.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Istanbul, Turkey
(Thursday, May 8)

Note: The excursions in Istanbul involve significant walking. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts or sleeveless shirts. Ladies may be asked to cover their heads.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Start the day by visiting the amazing church of Hagia Sophia, possibly the most important architectural monument in the city, standing gracefully since 537 AD. Field trip to the Hippodrome, the civic center of ancient Constantinople, where chariot races were run between the four teams of Blues, Greens, Whites and Reds. Then visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, world renowned for its exquisite Iznik tiles surrounding the interior of this wonderful mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the beautiful Underground Cisterns, built by the illustrious Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532 AD to store water underground. Visit the award winning Archeology Museum to examine an outstanding collection of artifacts spanning across millennia including the magnificent Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Istanbul, Turkey
(Friday, May 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Explore the opulent Topkapi Palace including the Imperial Harem. The Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon visit the Chora Church/Kariye Museum to behold its exquisite mosaics and frescoes dating from the 14th century, a period of Byzantine reawakening in the arts.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Istanbul, Turkey / Embark Aegean Odyssey
(Saturday, May 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We embark on a private cruise on the Bosphorus to explore the stunning palaces, mansions, and fortresses dotted along the Asian and European shores of this marvelous strait. Afterwards, we visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, built by the famous architect Sinan, a small but gem-like mosque demonstrating the most stunning examples of 16th century Iznik tiles.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Spend the rest of the day visiting the Spice Bazaar, where exotic aromas capture visitors upon entering, and the Grand Bazaar with its maze-like streets and alleys and 4,000 shops! Embark the Aegean Odyssey in the late afternoon. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Cruising the Dardanelles / Lemnos
(Sunday, May 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. In the morning, the ship cruises through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At lunchtime, you arrive at Lemnos. In Greek mythology, Zeus cast his son out of Olympus, hurling him to the volcanic island of Lemnos, where he reigned as the god of metalworking. The island's strategic position at the approach to the Dardanelles made it a key outpost for Byzantines, Venetians and Turks. The British army assembled here during World War I. What draws visitors now are the serene beaches, excellent cheeses and authentic character.

The capital, Myrina, is set at the foot of a rocky promontory. Cobblestone streets wind past the traditional market. Restored neo-classical homes can be seen in the Romeikos Gailos area. The town is home to a recently renovated archaeological museum, housed in an exquisite 19th century mansion, where artifacts date to the Paleolithic Age. There is also a picturesque quay where many linger to try some of the local melipasto or feta cheeses or sip the fine white wine in a taverna.

The island also has a castle built by Byzantine Emperor Andronicus Comnenus I in 1186 AD. Spread across the headland, this kastro offers a commanding view of approaching enemy fleets, although today the breathtaking panoramas are more likely to include fishing vessels, luxury yachts and sacred Mount Athos.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Izmir, Turkey / Ephesus
(Monday, May 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Upon arrival in Izmir, we will transfer south to arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the largest and best preserved ancient cities in the world. The cosmopolitan city of Ephesus was, in its heyday, on par with Athens and Rome. We will also visit the newly excavated Terrace Houses in Ephesus, where the rich and the ruling class once lived in comfortable homes decorated with wonderful works of art and complete with running water. Alternatively, if you've visited Ephesus before and would prefer to explore Pergamon, you may choose to join the ship's full day excursion.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: During this Road Scholar exclusive field trip, we will visit the explore the impressive ruins of the Basilica of St. John, a Byzantine church built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian (527-65 AD). Following this, we will explore the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World. For those interested, time will allow for a visit to Kemeralti, a bustling 18th century bazaar, located in Izmir.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Delos, Greece / Mykonos, Greece
(Tuesday, May 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Discover the tiny, deserted isle of Delos, the religious center of the Cyclades, where columns lie glistening in the sun, and the Lions of Delos guard the Sacred Way. As the reputed birthplace of the god Apollo, Delos was once a principal religious and commercial center of the Eastern Mediterranean. Pilgrims, traders, politicians, and warriors alike came from all over the Mediterranean to this sanctuary. In fact, the “Cyclades,” the name of this island group, means “those islands around Delos.” In the 5th century BC, the Delphic Oracle decreed the island was to be purged of all the dead and that no person could either die or give birth on Delos to preserve the isle’s sanctity.

Some of the richest archaeological treasure troves in Greece await as you leave the Sacred Harbour on your guided walk. Imagine the merchants in the Agora and the pilgrims entering the Sanctuary of Apollo. Walk along the spectacular Avenue of the Lions. Pay homage to the guardians of the Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to the twin gods, Artemis and Apollo. And above all, savor the almost-mystical silence that pervades this haunting site of antiquity.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a guided walk with your Road Scholar Group Leader of the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos followed by free time. Contrast the sacred sights of Delos with the more worldly charms of Mykonos, a whitewashed resort that is the very image of a Greek isle. The huge granite rocks you see strewn across the hilly landscape are said to be the graves of the Titans. The windmills are a later refinement, dating from the 16th century, used for grinding grain for shipment when Mykonos was a major seaport between Venice and Asia.

In town, the streets are a delightful maze, designed to confuse attacking pirates, although eventually the island became the headquarters of the Corsair fleet and a place where pirates recruited for their ships. Today these winding streets are lined with tempting shops, galleries and boutiques that all exact their tribute. Along the waterfront, near the area called Little Venice, the seaside cafés are ideal for evening drinks.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Athens, Greece
(Wednesday, May 14)

Note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: During today's Road Scholar exclusive field trip, we will explore the long anticipated $200-million, 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. In the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, ascending floors of glass literally “float” you above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a restaurant in Plaka.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion through the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. Built during Athens' Golden Age between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Nauplia, Greece
(Thursday, May 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Anchor off the port of Nauplia in time for breakfast. From the pier, enjoy an hour-long scenic drive across the Peloponnesian peninsula to the Isthmus of Corinth to enjoy a guided walk through the ruins of this ancient and historic city. From Corinth, journey to the city of Mycenae, reputedly the capital of Agamemnon and the "well-built citadel" of Homer's Iliad.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, explore the elegant town of Nauplia during a brief walking excursion. Next, discover Epidaurus -- sacred to Asclepios, the god of medicine -- and once the most acclaimed healing center of the classical world. Visit its theatre: one of the best preserved of all ancient Greek theatres.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: At Sea
(Friday, May 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A relaxing morning at sea to enjoy the sunshine as the ship navigates the Mediterranean Sea towards Taormina. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship makes its way to Taormina.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Taormina, Sicily
(Saturday, May 17)

Note: The streets of Taormina are mostly cobbled and there are some steps to navigate at the Greco-Roman Theater.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. This morning, we will tender ashore for a short, scenic drive to this idyllic spot with its mountainous backdrop, lemonblossom-scented air and narrow, medieval “streets”. This walking excursion proceeds past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration. The highlight is a guided excursion of the Greco-Roman Theater. Alternatively, the ship will offer an excursion to two remote mountain villages where The Godfather was filmed.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or try one of the many excellent restaurants and trattorias in Taormina on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to stroll along the Corso Umberto and to meander the small lanes and twisting viuzze filled with shops of colorful ceramics. This afternoon the ship will offer an optional excursion to Mt. Etna (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Palermo, Sicily
(Sunday, May 18)

Note: Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites -- no shorts or bare shoulders.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A gem of a day. The morning is centered on the Piazza della Vittoria, one of the city's major squares, where some of Palermo's most remarkable buildings are to be found. Visit the Norman Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel, the perfect illustration of that miraculous Norman combination of Latin, Byzantine, and Arab culture. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, a Norman church decorated with Arabic domes and an exquisite Romanesque cloister. A short walk from here will take you to Palermo Cathedral with its fascinating mix of architectural styles. The ship will offer an optional extension of this excursion to Palazzo Gangi, a magnificent private residence dating to the 15th century (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore Palermo on your own or sit, relax and people watch at the Piazza Verdi or the Piazza Castelnuovo, two of Palermo's main squares. Alternatively, enjoy an optional excursion to either Cefalu or Segesta (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Overnight in Palermo.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Palermo, Sicily
(Monday, May 19)

Note: Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites -- no shorts or bare shoulders. Monreale Cathedral access is via steep steps; taxis are available for a small fee.



   
 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. Later, enjoy free time in the main square before we return to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board as the ship departs for Sorrento.
 Afternoon: At Sea. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Sorrento, Italy
(Tuesday, May 20)

Note: This excursion involves heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning visit Herculaneum -- the Greek settlement named after its patron, Hercules. The town also perished during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD and was engulfed in a sea of mud. A number of the buildings survived virtually intact including the famous Villa of the Papyri.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or find a trattoria to sample 'gnocci alla sorrentina', a local specialty.
 Afternoon: Explore this charming, cliff-straddling, port town on your own. Stroll along Marina Piccolo or find your way to the lift that will take you up to the city center, perched high above the sea. Enjoy the bustle along the Corso Italia and perhaps sample the famous local limoncello at the Piazza Tasso.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own. Enjoy a late afternoon Road Scholar cocktail party in the Observation Lounge.
 Evening: Overnight in Sorrento. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Sorrento, Italy
(Wednesday, May 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: An hour's drive along the Bay of Naples brings you to Pompeii, considered the world's finest example of an ancient Roman town. The city, buried for centuries by hot ashes in 79AD, is a virtual time capsule of that era. In the company of a professional guide, visit the patrician mansions, baths and temples at the site. Step inside to admire the brilliant Pompeian Red walls, elaborate frescoes and gardens adorned with sculptures. View the sobering ash replicas of the citizens caught in their final moments. These bring to life the words of Pliny the Younger, an eyewitness, who described the terror of the eruption with its "broad sheets of fire and leaping flames." Alternatively, if you've already visited Pompeii, you may choose to join the excursion to the Naples Archaeology Museum instead.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a few hours at your leisure in Sorrento or onboard before the ship sails at dinnertime to Civitavecchia.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Disembark / Rome, Italy
(Thursday, May 22)

Note: Group GREEN - Grand Hotel Beverly Hills / Group BLUE - Hotel Genova



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 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 or Hotel Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 18: Rome, Italy
(Friday, May 23)
   
 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 or Hotel Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 19: Departures
(Saturday, May 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Rome's 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. **Please consider purchasing tickets in advance of your arrival as they do sell out. 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.
  Nauplia Archaeological Museum of Nafplion
The Archaeological Museum of Nafplion is a recently renovated gem of a museum housed in the impressive former Venetian Arsenal. Located on Syntagma Square, it contains fire middens dating from 32,000BC as well as the only bronze armor in existence from near Mycenae, dating from the 12th to 13th centuries BC. **Plan carefully as it is only open until 3 PM.
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


1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West


Author: Roger Crowley


Description: In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts with drama the events surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.



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.



Byzantium, The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire


Author: Judith Herrin


Description: Herrin captures the glory, accomplishments, personalities, cruelty and import of Byzantium from the foundation of Constantinople to its capture by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.



Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands


Author: Eyewitness Guides


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



Eyewitness Guide Istanbul


Author: Eyewitness Guides


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



Eyewitness Guide Italy


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.



Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Artemis Leontis (Editor)


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



Istanbul, Memories and the City


Author: Orhan Pamuk


Description: Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with dazzling grace of the city of his birth, a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches.



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.



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.



Lords of the Horizons


Author: Jason Goodwin


Description: Goodwin artfully combines his modern travels with scholarship, history and reflection, capturing the outrageous personalities, events and vagaries of the 600-year-old Ottoman empire.



Mediterranean Explorer Map


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.



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.



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 paint this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and its influence on Western civilization.



The Colossus of Maroussi


Author: Henry Miller


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



The Fall of Constantinople 1453


Author: Steven Runciman


Description: A classic, wonderfully written history of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and its consequences. Runciman, a noted British scholar, draws on many sources, both Greek and Muslim, in tracing this fateful time in the history of the city. Originally published in 1965.



The Leopard


Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa


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



The Mediterranean in History


Author: David Abulafia (Editor)


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



The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece


Author: Robert Morkot


Description: This pictorial survey of Greek antiquity, recording its culture and expansion, features dozens of full-color maps.



Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place


Author: Mary Lee Settle


Description: Settle's captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.



Women in Purple, Rulers of Medieval Byzantium


Author: Judith Herrin


Description: Herrin describes the complex and deeply religious world of Constantinople in the aftermath of Arab conquest, focusing on three Byzantine empresses’ work to restore icons to a prominent position in Eastern Christian worship. An enlightening portrait of three all-powerful women who changed history.





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