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

Program Number: 18206RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/20/2014 - 6/2/2014; 10/19/2014 - 11/1/2014; 11/2/2014 - 11/15/2014; 3/14/2015 - 3/27/2015; 4/18/2015 - 5/1/2015; 4/25/2015 - 5/8/2015; 5/2/2015 - 5/15/2015; 5/9/2015 - 5/22/2015; 5/23/2015 - 6/5/2015; 5/30/2015 - 6/12/2015; 9/5/2015 - 9/18/2015; 9/12/2015 - 9/25/2015; 9/19/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/3/2015 - 10/16/2015; 10/10/2015 - 10/23/2015; 10/24/2015 - 11/6/2015; 10/31/2015 - 11/13/2015; 11/7/2015 - 11/20/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $4,574.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the beauty of three historic capitals of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance acclaim as local experts lead you on a journey through some of Italy’s greatest cities. Follow the path of legendary artists, scientists and philosophers from the classical remnants of Rome to the preserved treasures of Florence and Venice.




Highlights

• Trace Roman history through the ages as you visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Borghese Museum and the Vatican Museum.
• Journey to Florence and Venice via a high speed EuroStar train, reaching speeds of over 120 mph.
• View the "David" — a Renaissance period masterpiece in Florence — and ride in a gondola through the canals of Venice, after visiting the Doge’s Palace.



Activity Particulars

Extensive walking in traffic-free urban centers which prevent tourist coaches from parking at attractions in tight neighborhoods such as the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. The distances traversed on foot can reach 4 mi/day—always interspersed with rest time, typically at a meal. Standing for extended periods of time during site visits. Special attention needs to be paid to the uneven aspect of cobblestone streets. Elevator use in some historic buildings is restricted. Not all staircases have banisters. Venice is unique as a city with no vehicles besides public or private boats that run along the Grand Canal. Extensive walking in Venice includes crossing bridges that span minor canals. As with many things, the effort expended has its aesthetic reward.




Date Specific Information

11-2-2014

Active Level. Exclusive off-hours entrance to the Sistine Chapel and the Stanze of Raphael in the Vatican Museums to hear an art historian explain on-site the significance of these works of art. Enjoy the visit without the usual crowds of people.



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

Begin to unravel the multiple layers of Roman history as you examine some of the masterpieces preserved in the National Museum of Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Lectures offer insight on various aspects of Roman culture, architecture and artists, such as Michelangelo and Bernini. Marvel at the stunning Ceiling and the imposing Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum and delight in the art collection at the Borghese Gallery.



Train to Florence
4 nights

Considered the “cradle of the Renaissance,” Florence retains a treasure trove of works by Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Verrocchio, Donatello and Botticelli. Learn from resident professors of art history the development of styles and feast your artistic senses during visits to the National Sculpture Gallery of the Bargello, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia — where the newly restored David is housed. Learn about the Duomo complex and Brunelleschi's Dome. Savor the sights, smells, and tastes of Florence as you stroll through traffic free streets, visiting markets and sampling gelato just steps away from breathtaking churches.



Train to Venice
4 nights
Departure

Journey to Venice via train and then explore the city along its historic and scenic canals. Notice the grandeur of patrician palaces, with arches indicating near-Eastern influence before exploring St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Ducal Palace. On an excursion to the island of Murano observe a master-craftsman shape genuine Venetian glass in a workshop. Docents will illustrate and illuminate the richness of Venetian history, legends, personages, and of course the art. Venice invites you into its maze.




Italy

“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.



Accommodations
Rome: Four-star hotel near the Piazza della Republica, the Termini train station, and the Rome Opera House. Florence: Four-star hotel was an ex-Franciscan convent from the 15th century and its modern restoration showcases the ancient frescoes, stone arches and vaulted ceilings. Venice: Four-star hotel with a terrace and private dock on the Grand Canal.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Diana
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Rivoli
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Principe
  Venice, Italy 4 nights
 Hotel Diana
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Your hotel in Rome is centrally located near the Piazza della Repubblica, Rome’s Opera House and the Termini train station. The breakfast buffet is served on the top floor with views of the rooftops of Rome and the cupola of St. Peter’s.
  Contact info: Via Principe Amedeo, 4
Rome, NA 00185 Italy
phone: +39 06 47 86 81
web: www.hoteldianaroma.com
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, safe box for valuables, AC/heat with individual controls, and a mini-bar
  Facility amenities: Rooftop lounge affords a panoramic view of Rome. In the spacious lobby, meet for conversation, read an international newspaper or use the internet point. Free Wi-Fi for hotel guests; request the access code and password from the personnel at the reception desk.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season If you plan to book additional nights at the hotel, contact the hotel’s online reservation system directly www.hoteldianaroma.com. Note on the form that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to reserve through online hotel consolidators such as hotels.com or expedia.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Rivoli
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The centrally located 4 star superior hotel is an ex Franciscan convent from the15th Century. The hotel has undergone a modern restoration that showcases the ancient frescoes, stone arches and vaulted ceilings.
  Contact info: Via della Scala 33
Florence, NA 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 27 861
web: www.hotelrivoli.it
  Room amenities: mini-bar, air conditioning, complimentary toiletries, hair dryer, safe for valuables.
  Facility amenities: Hotel restaurant, patio and small garden, small pool open May - September. Complimentary wi-fi; request access code from the reception desk.
  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: +39 041 220 4010
web: www.hotelprincipevenice.it
  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 You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system www.hotelprincipevenice.it. Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online hotel consolidators such as hotels.com or expedia.
  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 for neighborhood walk You will be staying at Hotel Diana that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast, transfers to airport. Hotel check out by 11:00 am 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 connects Rome's airport to Roma Termini, the main station. The hotel is within walking distance from the station and a very short taxi ride if you cannot walk the 3 blocks to the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest city or town:  Rome
  Nearest highway: autostrada
  Nearest airport:  Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: To reach the hotel on your own, from the Rome airport terminal, you have the two options for door to door service (taxi or shared ride shuttle van), and one for public transportation (train). To take the train, follow the signs with the train icon in the arrivals hall of the airport terminal, purchase tickets at the ticket counter or the tobacco shop on the station platform, stamp the ticket in the yellow box on the platform, and board the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini, the main train station in Rome. Fare is EUR 14 pp. The ride takes 30 min, you must handle luggage on and off the train. 10 minute walk from the platform to the Hotel Diana. For door to door service, taxi fare from the airport to the hotel is set by the city at EUR 48. Max 4 persons per taxi. Do not accept offers for rides by people; official metered taxis pick up fares in an orderly fashion at the TAXI stands, clearly marked at the airport terminal exit. An additional option for door-to-door service is to reserve a ride with shared ride shuttle vans. Book online at www.rome.airport-shuttle.com. First fare is EUR 30; discounts for other travelers in your party.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice
  Nearest highway: autostrada
  Nearest airport:  Marco Polo
  Transportation from site: To reach the airport on your own, there is public transportation via land available from Piazzale Roma to the Venice Airport for approx. EUR 5 per person. Walk (7 min. walk over a bridge with long low steps and no ramp for rolling wheeled bags) or take the vaporetto (1 stop) to Piazzale Roma. For direct service from the hotel to the airport, it is possible to book a water taxi. Fare is approx. EUR 100. Max 10 passengers per taxi boat. If you are continuing your travels by train you can reach the train station easily on foot (3 min. walk).
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: Flights depart from North America.
(Tuesday, May 20)

Note: Setting your watch to the time in Rome at the beginning of your flight may ease your adjustment to the time difference.



   
 In Transit: Overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Arrivals in Rome the following day.

Day 2: Orientation and Welcome Reception
(Wednesday, May 21)

Note: A leisurely walk around the neighborhood of the hotel.



   
 Arrive To: Rome airport and transfer to hotel.
 Morning: Your room might not be ready for occupancy if you arrive early morning. The group leader will be at the hotel to welcome you and assist your with depositing your luggage with the hotel reception. Relax in the lobby or explore the area around the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel. The dining room is on the 6th floor with enchanting views of the city.
 Afternoon: Settle into your room and relax until 4:00 for an orientation session. A brief neighborhood walk follows to point out ATM's, banks, pharmacies, grocery stores, eateries. Just before dinner a Welcome reception at the hotel gives you a chance to meet your fellow Road Scholars.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Welcome to Rome / Forum and Colosseum
(Thursday, May 22)

Note: Steep steps to reach the top level of the Colosseum. An elevator for disabled visitors is available through special request. The walk around the Roman Forum is on uneven paths and original pavement of cobble stone.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin to unravel the multiple layers of Roman history through the sharp insight first in the classroom and then on site at the Forum and Colosseum.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant near the Via dei Fori Imperiali.
 Afternoon: Coach back to the hotel. In a classroom session learn about some of the treasures of the Vatican Museums in preparation for your visit.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Treasures of the Vatican \ Sistine Chapel
(Friday, May 23)

Note: Reserved entrance time diminishes wait in line. The museum requires negotiating some flights of steps, and the distance covered in the crowded corridors and galleries on the way to the Sistine Chapel is about 1/2 mile. Important to remember the Vatican Museums are a popular destination for the thousands of visitors to Rome.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Expert-led visit to the Vatican Museums. The extraordinary collection of works of art will amaze you, notable are: Roman statuary: Laocoon, Belvedere Apollo, gilded bronze Hercules, Raphael's Stanze and of course Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. If security permits, your guide will lead you out a back way which puts you at the foyer of St. Peter's Basilica. Inside the vast interior of the basilica you will see Michelangelo's Pieta', and Bernini's Baldacchino. If the shortcut is not accessible, the guide will lead the walk along the outside of the museum to Piazza San Pietro. Transportation is provided back to the hotel or, if you wish to stay longer, you can remain in the area and make your way back to the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax or explore a corner of Rome at your own pace.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the Viminal neighborhood (vicinity of the hotel.)
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Borghese Gallery \ Piazza Navona \ Pantheon \ Trevi \ Spanish Steps
(Saturday, May 24)

Note: Coach to Borghese Gallery, winding staircase to the second floor galleries. Extended standing in the museum, few benches to sit and rest. Pleasant mile-long walk in the heart of Rome along uneven pavement and cobblestones.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to the Borghese Gallery, the private pleasure and reception palace of Cardinal Scipio Borghese, an avid art collector and patron of the young Bernini. A local expert gives insight to important paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, Botticelli and Titian as well as the sculptures by Bernini which are emotionally charged, a true evocation of the Baroque. Coach to the edge of the vast pedestrian zone near Piazza Navona.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant near Piazza Navona.
 Afternoon: With a local expert explore Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. Walk continues to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Transportation back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Palazzo Massimo Antiquities \ Eurostar Train to Florence
(Sunday, May 25)

Note: Short walk from the hotel to the train station, comfortable ride on the train, short walk to hotel and city orientation in Florence.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit of some of the masterpieces of Roman art preserved in the National Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. You will see the frescoes from the dining room walls from the Villa of Livia, wife of the Emperor August Caesar. Other notable bronze pieces are the Seated Boxer and a Doryphoros (Spear Holder.)
 Lunch: Lunch at a local café.
 Afternoon: Travel light on High Velocity train with just your carry-on bag; your suitcase will be transferred from the hotel in Rome directly to the hotel in Florence. Check into the hotel and settle into your room.
 Dinner: Dinner at Ristorante Benedicta.
 Evening: Evening walk to orient you to the location of ATM's, pharmacies, stores and shops.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Welcome to Florence \ Medici
(Monday, May 26)

Note: Leisurely walk from the Renaissance Dinner venue back to the hotel.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: In a classroom session learn about Florence from its beginnings as a camp in Roman times to its rise centuries later to the European center of art and culture. After a short break, a session on the intrigues of the influential Medici Family. Explore the market area of San Lorenzo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a trattoria in the Mercato.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: Imagine yourself attending dinner with Napoleon and his sister Pauline Borghese, (you will remember her from Canova's statue in the Galleria Borghese.) Her house was decorated in Imperial style in anticipation of his visit, but he did not make it. Now the Palazzo hosts a gala Renaissance dinner, with madrigal singers and musicians, court jester and dancers--all make for a lively entertaining evening. Dress attire is not required.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Renaissance Art \ Uffizi Gallery
(Tuesday, May 27)

Note: A small elevator (cap. 3 persons) for disabled visitors may be accessible at the Uffizi Gallery. There is a long flight of stairs to reach the exhibition rooms of the gallery. Expect some crowding in the museum; it is a popular destination for art aficionados.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Morning lecture on medieval and Renaissance art in preparation for the visit to the Uffizi Gallery. The art historian leads a visit to the Medici Chapels.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: For the self guided visit of the Uffizi we will enter as a group, but you are free to spend as much time as you wish. This is the most extensive collection of art, tracing the development from Gothic to medieval to Renaissance to Mannerist paintings in the world. You will find many recognizable masterpieces, including DaVinci's Annunciation, Botticelli's Birth of Venus and the Primavera, some Titians, Michelangelo's Holy Family, and a few Caravaggios as well as Artemisia Gentileschi. There is a coffee bar at the end of the second corridor, on top of the Loggia, with a wonderful view of the watch tower and Duomo where you can get a refreshment and rest. You may want to browse the extensive book store and gift shop. Some free time before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Gates of Paradise \ Bargello \ Accademia
(Wednesday, May 28)

Note: Short walk to the Duomo complex. Narrow sidewalks on the walk to the Accademia.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit of the Duomo Museum and Bargello. Free time follows. With the cumulative ticket from the Duomo Museum consider visiting the other sites of the Duomo Complex. The Baptistery and Duomo (cathedral) are impressive spaces filled with art treasures. If you accept the physical challenge, consider climbing the 414 steps up and down the Bell Tower or the 463 steps up and down the Cupola for unforgettable views of the city roof-tops and surrounding hills.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local trattoria.
 Afternoon: Expert-led visit continues to the Galleria dell'Accademia where Michelangelo's statue of David is on display. At your own pace continue the visit to additional collections of the small museum, browse the bookshop, or explore another part of Florence.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Transfer to Venice / Introduction to Venice
(Thursday, May 29)

Note: High speed train to Venice, minimal walking around Venice.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Train to Venice, short walk to the hotel. Your bags will be delivered by courier
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: A local historian presents Welcome to Venice and illustrates how Venice's wealth, a result of trade with the near East, allowed the city to grow into its present grandeur. Then, with the group leader, explore the neighborhood and get a feel of the Grand and minor canals. The walk will indicate the location of ATMs, pharmacies, stores and shops.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Frari and Rialto / St. Mark's Square and Basilica
(Friday, May 30)

Note: Vaporetto (public boat) ride to the Rialto and S. Mark's Square. Extended walking over bridges and through Venice streets and campos.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Ride the vaporetto (public boat) to the Rialto area. Your vaporetto pass will be valid for the duration of your stay. Expert-led visit of the Gothic church known as I Frari to admire works by the artists Bellini, Titian, and Donatello.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant that specializes in regional cuisine.
 Afternoon: Continue to Piazza S. Marco on the vaporetto along the Grand Canal. The expert-led visit to S. Mark's Cathedral, built during the 13 C., highlights the Byzantine influence. There are more than 45,000 sq. ft. of mosaics adorning the church, giving the impression of streets of gold. Some free time late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Glassmaking demonstration in Murano
(Saturday, May 31)

Note: Enjoyable boat ride to the island, minimal effort to walk around the small island.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Vaporetto to the island of Murano for a glassblowing demonstration by master artisans. Some free time to stroll the narrow streets along the canals.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon. With your vaporetto pass you can easily take the boat from Murano to explore the island of Burano, whose leaning tower rivals that in Pisa. Here you can find Venetian lace and small shops where you can watch the crafters create their handiwork. Or return to the center of town.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Doge's Palace / Gondola Ride / Accademia Museum
(Sunday, June 1)

Note: The walk through the many rooms of the Doge's Palace requires climbing a few flights of stairs, one of which is a monumental staircase with elaborate ceiling and wall decorations. A flight of marble stairs leads to the Accademia galleries. Assistance is offered for getting on and off the gondola.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Vaporetto to S. Mark's square. A local guide leads the visit of the Doge's Palace, seat of civic and political power. Doges (rulers) embellished the palace to demonstrate their wealth and importance. See impressive murals by Tintoretto and Veronese. Walk through the Prisons and over the Bridge of Sighs. Experience the city from a different point of view as you enjoy a gondola ride along the canals of Venice.
 Lunch: Sample Venetian cooking at a characteristic restaurant.
 Afternoon: On-site lecture and visit to the Accademia museum, a great collection of art by such notables as Veronese, Veneziano, Bellini, Tintoretto and Giorgione. Ride the vaporetto or wind your way on foot back to the hotel on your own.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Departures
(Monday, June 2)

Note: Transfer to the airport by water taxi from the hotel dock. Your bags will be loaded onto and off the water taxi but at the airport dock there are 3 steps to the main road/path that leads to the airport. Under a covered path, the walk to the terminal takes about 8 minutes. If you have trouble managing your luggage on the flat path you can use an airport cart (euro coin deposit).



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel. For early morning departures the hotel will prepare a breakfast sack.
 Morning: Departure transfer to Venice Airport.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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: 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.



Eyewitness Guide Italy


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This superb guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.



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.



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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