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Venetian Grandeur: Padua and Venice

Program Number: 3024RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/9/2014 - 9/21/2014; 4/5/2016 - 4/17/2016; 5/17/2016 - 5/29/2016; 9/13/2016 - 9/25/2016; 9/20/2016 - 10/2/2016; 9/27/2016 - 10/9/2016; 10/11/2016 - 10/23/2016; 10/18/2016 - 10/30/2016;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,464.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 27; 11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; None; None    

A nexus for world trade for more than 1,000 years, Venice spread its commercial and artistic riches throughout the Veneto region. In the palaces, squares and churches built by Byzantine and Renaissance masters, follow this alluring blend of east and west from the canals of Venice to Padua and Ravenna. Padua predates the founding of Rome and during the 13th and 14th centuries welcomed Dante and Giotto.


• Learn about venetian art and architecture from experts as you stroll through the maze of narrow streets.
• In Padua, experience Giotto’s Scrovegni chapel frescoes, a masterpiece of early Renaissance painting.
• An excursion to Ravenna reveals intricate Byzantine mosaics in churches and tombs.

Activity Particulars

Extensive walking in the heart of Padua and Ravenna, towns with wide pedestrian only areas. Uneven terrain, steps, and ramps to cross bridges and canals in Venice. Standing for extended periods during site visits.

Date Specific Information


Our 2014 departures follow a slightly different itinerary: Arrival Venice; coach to Padua, 4 nights; coach to Venice, 7 nights. All activities are as published, merely rearranged.


No one can forecast the weather, but sometimes late fall may have rain, wind and high tide. Venice may have some standing water on the streets. The city installs raised platforms for people to walk on. If it happens, consider it part of the Venetian adventure. It is called, "Acqua Alta" or high water.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Venice; coach to Padua, 5 nights; coach to Venice, 6 nights.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Venice
Coach to Padua
5 nights

Affluent for centuries before Venice, Padua may be Italy’s most under-appreciated city. Marvel at Donatello’s sculptures in the Basilica and square of St. Anthony and join a professor to explore the university where Galileo taught. Learn from an art historian why Giotto is considered the father of Renaissance painting. In the Scrovegni Chapel observe firsthand how his naturalistic style breaks away from the Gothic to depict emotions in the faces of the personages and realism in his depictions of nature. A journey through the Veneto countryside leads to the mesmerizing mosaics of Ravenna.

Transfer to Venice
6 nights

Delve into the singular culture, painting and architecture of Venice at San Marco, the Ducal Palace, the Frari and the Scuola di S. Rocco. Walk the labyrinthine alleys and across canals to experience the variations between Venice’s districts, including the markets and landmark bridge of Rialto, the art of Dorsoduro and the former Jewish enclave. Vaporetto ride across the Venetian lagoon to Murano to observe artisans create glass works.


“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.

Padua: Four-star, modern business class hotel. Venice: Family-run hotel located in the Salute neighborhood of the city.

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

Donatella Gaddo is an authorized excusion leader in Padua, Italy, and leads classroom presentations on Giotto as well as walking explorations of the University, the Basilica of San Antonio, the Oratory and the Palazzo della Ragione.
Verdiana Baioni

Verdiana Baioni is a licensed excursion leader and interpreter in the city of Ravenna, Italy, for English, French and Dutch travelers. She leads walking explorations of Ravenna, sharing insight on highlights such as the mosaics in the church of S. Apollinare in Classe, the 5th century tomb of Galla Placidia and the basilica of S. Vitale.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Europa Padova
  Padua, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Messner
  Venice, Italy 7 nights
 Hotel Europa Padova
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 4 star business class hotel is located in the heart of the traffic-free historic and commercial center, very close to the Scrovegni Chapel. This business class hotel is in a modern structure, complete with a full service bar and restaurant.
  Contact info: Largo Europa 9
Padua,  35137 Italy
phone: +39 049 661 200
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, individual climate control, private bath, mini-bar, hair dryer and safe box for valuables.
  Facility amenities: Wi-Fi service and internet point in the lobby (fees apply). Full service restaurant and bar. Reception desk staffed 24 hours. Small but comfortable lobby
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season Book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel at the time of your booking that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Messner
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: This small, family run hotel is ideally situated in the quiet residential "Salute" neighborhood of Venice, across the Grand Canal and one vaporetto stop from St. Mark's Square. The Guggenheim Museum is right around the corner. Please note the rooms assigned in your program are exclusively in the main house and 3 star annex, not in the one-star Messner B&B, part of the same complex.
  Contact info: Madonna della Salute, 216
Venice, NA 30123 Italy
phone: +39 041 5227443
  Room amenities: Every room has private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, hair dryer, free Wi-Fi connection, safe for valuables.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: varies by season To book additional nights at the Hotel Messner contact the hotel’s online reservation system at Indicate 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. 4:00 pm neighborhood walk followed by Welcome Reception and Dinner. You will be staying at Hotel Europa Padova that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check out by 10:00 am, early morning transfers to airport. You will be staying at Hotel Messner the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains from other parts of Italy or Europe make a stop in Padua. Consult the train schedules for more information. Taxi fare from the Padua train station to the hotel is approx. EUR 10 for the brief ride.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Padua
  Nearest city or town:  Padua
  Nearest airport:  Venice, Marco Polo (35 miles)
  Transportation to site: To reach the program site on your own from the Venice Airport, there are frequent public buses to Padua. Fare is EUR 7 pp (plus 2 euro surcharge when paying on board). When you arrive at the main bus station in Padua, take a taxi to the hotel. Fare will be around EUR 10. If you would rather take a taxi direct from the Venice airport to the hotel in Padua, the fare is approx. EUR 100. Max 4 passengers to a taxi. A third option is to reserve shared ride shuttle van for approx. EUR 30 pp with discounts for additional persons in your party. For a price quote and reservation for the shuttle request contact Landomas Agency, email:, or call +39 049 88 08 505. Fax number is: +39 049 88 09 553.
  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, you can take a combination of vaporetto (public boat) and bus. From the vaporetto dock close to the hotel board a vaporetto to Piazzale Rome, the square on the causeway that connects Venice to the mainland. From Piazzale Rome there are buses every 30 min. to the airport terminal. Bus fare is EUR 6 pp. For direct service from the hotel's own dock to the airport terminal jetty there is a more expensive option - water taxi. Fare for the service is approx. EUR 120. Max 8 passengers with luggage to a taxi boat.
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: Departure from points in North America
(Tuesday, September 9)
 In Transit: Overnight flight crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Arrivals the following day.

Day 2: Arrival/Welcome Reception
(Wednesday, September 10)
 Arrive To: Arrival at Venice Airport. Transfer by coach to hotel in Padua.
 Lunch: Lunch at Ristorante Zaramella, the restaurant in the hotel lobby. The restaurant has a 2 fork Michelin rating and is a favorite of local residents.
 Afternoon: An informal gathering is followed by a neighborhood walk pointing out the location of ATMs, pharmacies, grocery stores, and nearby attractions.
 Dinner: Dinner at Ristorante Zaramella.
Accommodations: Hotel Europa Padova
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Orientation/ Padua and Her University
(Thursday, September 11)

Note: Stairs to climb at the historic university palazzo.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Your group leader introduces the lectures, excursions and trips on the program schedule in a morning orientation and distributes the most up to date and detailed daily itinerary. After a short break a local expert presents 'Padua and her University,' a look at one of Europe’s oldest institutions of higher learning (est. 1222), whose list of alumni includes illustrious names such as Galileo and Torquato Tasso.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Expert-led visit of a anatomical theater at the University of Padova. For three centuries the wooden spiral gallery was the venue for medical students to follow anatomy lessons.
 Dinner: Enjoy a dinner featuring Venetian dishes.
Accommodations: Hotel Europa Padova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Mosaics in Ravenna
(Friday, September 12)

Note: Extended walking in the wide pedestrian area of the small city of Ravenna.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Ravenna, a city that once Rome declined, became the capital of the Western Empire (402-VI.) It remained the capital through the Ostrogoth and Byzantine rule. The bus will stop in Classe, the old port for the Roman navy (you can see how much the land has silted in, the Adriatic is more than one mile away. There you can see the mosaics for the new church honoring S. Apollinare.
 Lunch: Lunch at Ristorante Marchesini in the heart of Ravenna.
 Afternoon: The visit continues with an expert led visit to the serene tomb of Galla Placidia, dated to 430. The vaulted ceiling in dark blue mosaics with stylized stars is intended to give the sense of the firmament. You may recognize the often reproduced image of doves around a water basin. In the basilica of S. Vitale you will see a mosaic depicting Emperor Justinian (5th C.) who is credited with re-codifying Roman law, the basis for our own civic laws. Late afternoon return to Padua.
 Dinner: Dinner at Ristorante Zaramella.
Accommodations: Hotel Europa Padova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel / St. Anthony's Basilica
(Saturday, September 13)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: A brief presentation on the logistics of moving around in Venice followed by a lecture on the painter Giotto and his influence on the artists of the Italian Renaissance. The local expert then leads the visit to the Scrovegni Chapel where magnificent frescoes (1303-05.) adorn the walls. The small chapel was commissioned by Enrico Scrovegni as a way to expiate the guilt he felt from his family's money lending business. Giotto breaks away from the medieval Gothic style to depict emotions in the faces of the personages.
 Lunch: Lunch at Al Fagiano, a characteristic restaurant in the heart of Padua.
 Afternoon: A local guide and historian leads a visit to the 14th century Basilica of Saint Anthony, who is known as "il Santo." The visit continues to the adjacent Oratory, a local treasure built around the same time frame as the Basilica and completely adorned with frescoes by artist, Altichiero da Zevio. Just down the way, are the world famous botanical gardens of Padua, where there will be free time to explore the indigenous and exotic flora, stroll the grounds, or relax by the fountains.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Europa Padova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Transfer to Venice/ Neighborhood Walk/ Marco Polo
(Sunday, September 14)

Note: Leisurely walk around the Dorsoduro, the quiet residential neighborhood of the hotel.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Venice. The coach arrives at a car park connecting Venice to the mainland. Board the vaporetto and enjoy the ride down the Grand Canal to the Salute dock, just across the Grand Canal from St. Mark's square. From the coach your luggage gets loaded onto a barge and will be delivered to your hotel room. You will receive a vaporetto (public boat) pass valid for the duration of your stay in Venice.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant and settle into your room.
 Afternoon: With the group leader, explore the Dorsoduro neighborhood, quiet home to artist workshops, designers and families. Late afternoon lecture on Marco Polo and the global trade that brought great wealth and power to Venice.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant near the Accademia Bridge.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Republic of Venice / Saint Mark's Square / Basilica
(Monday, September 15)

Note: Extended periods of standing during guided visits in museums and monumental churches.

 Breakfast: Continental style buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Short walk to the Zattere conference center where a local historian presents The Republic of Venice.
 Lunch: Lunch at a pizzeria along the Zattere.
 Afternoon: Vaporetto across the Grand Canal to visit St. Mark's Basilica, one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture. A local expert points out the gilded mosaics and the gem laden golden pall behind the altar.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant not far from San Marco's.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Doges Palace \ Venice Through the Ages
(Tuesday, September 16)

Note: Walks in Venice involve crossing multiple bridges that span the minor canals. The visit through the many rooms of the Doge's Palace requires climbing a few flights of stairs and standing while the guide describes highlights or details of the site. Narrow passages through the rooms of the Prisons and over the Bridge of Sighs.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Return to St. Mark's square for a guided visit of the Doge's Palace. This is the residence and offices of the Venetian ruler. See the great halls, richly decorated with paintings, frescos and sculptures. From the palace, you will have the best seats in the house to look over the Canal. Cross over the famous "Bridge of Sighs" and visit the dungeons called, "I Piombi." Enjoy a gondola ride through the back canals of Venice.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, a classroom session on Venice Through the Ages.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Venetian Composers / La Fenice / Shakespeare in Venice
(Wednesday, September 17)

Note: Extended walking over bridges and through Venice streets and campos. Steps to climb for the visit of La Fenice Theater.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: A local musician gives insight into the musical traditions of the city. Rehearsal schedule permitting, enjoy a tour of the restored opera house La Fenice conducted by guides of the historic theater.
 Lunch: Sample a variety of traditional Venetian dishes at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Expert-led visit of the Accademia di Belle Arti, a collection of Venetian paintings. A late afternoon informal session Shakespeare in Venice. The Bard set five plays in the Veneto region, Romeo and Juliette, Two Gentlemen from Verona, Taming of the Shrew, Othello and the Merchant of Venice. Our scholar illuminates Venice through English literature.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Glassmaking in Murano
(Thursday, September 18)

Note: Minimal walking in the small island of Murano.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Vaporetto ride to the island of Murano, noted for the numerous glass manufacturers and artisans located there. To prevent widespread fire from spreading on the main island of Venice, centuries ago all kilns were moved to Murano. A master-craftsmen demonstrates the art of glassblowing. Free time to explore Murano at your own pace.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon. From Murano you can board another vaporetto to reach the island of Burano. The colorful houses and quiet streets are home to a burgeoning artistic community. You will find many shops where you can watch artisans create intricate lace handy-work. Easy vaporetto back to San Marco and La Salute.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Delight in an evening concert of classical Venetian musical traditions. Details of the venue and program will be announced on site.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Frari \ Rialto \ Ghetto Walk
(Friday, September 19)

Note: Extended walking through the busy market and over the many bridges in Venice, especially the Rialto Bridge whose high arches span the Grand Canal.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit of the Frari, the Franciscan church with masterpieces of the artists Titian and Bellini. Explore the lively Rialto Market and famous bridge that spans the Grand Canal. The market has been the center for commerce and trade for centuries when merchants sold exotic imported goods just unloaded from ships. Today you can walk among the stalls of souvenirs of glass and lace or choose from a colorful range of fruit, vegetables and fish.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant near the Rialto.
 Afternoon: Expert-led visit to the Ghetto, where the prosperous Jewish community was concentrated after the 1500s. Today it is a lively and thriving quarter, with its religious and administrative institutions, particularly two small synagogues, open for services.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Peggy Guggenheim Collection \ Free Afternoon
(Saturday, September 20)

Note: The walk from the hotel to the Guggenheim is short but along narrow paths and over small bridges that span minor canals.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Guided visit of the Palazzo Venier and the small but impressive modern art collection of Peggy Guggenheim. Enjoy the quiet of the sculpture garden.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Messner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departure
(Sunday, September 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room; continental style for participants with early morning departures.
 Morning: Departures from Venice airport
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Venice Lido
Slip away for an afternoon on the sandy beaches of the Lido. Take the vaporetto from San Marco.
  Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the most important museum in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. Closed Tuesdays, entrance fee.
  Teatro La Fenice
Attend a performace at the La Fenice theater. Trinity College cannot purchase tickets for participants. 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

Art and Life in Renaissance Venice

Author: Patricia Brown

Description: This compact volume evokes the spirit of Renaissance Venice with authoritative essays and 120 full-color illustrations.

D.H. Lawrence and Italy

Author: D.H. Lawrence

Description: This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.

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.

Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginning of the Modern World

Author: Thomas Cahill

Description: Cahill deftly evokes the historic glories of the major medieval (and the places they frequented) in this illuminating overview of philosophy, art and literature.

Rough Guide Venice & the Veneto

Author: Jonathan Buckley

Description: This intelligent, comprehensive guide includes helpful travel details along with a good overview of history, culture and art.

The Italian Renaissance

Author: J. H. Plumb

Description: A well-written history of the Renaissance, its artists and thinkers, with chapters on Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Women of the Renaissance.

The Renaissance, A Short History

Author: Paul Johnson

Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.

Venice 697-1797: A City, a Republic, an Empire

Author: Aluise Zorzi

Description: Zorzi reveals the growth of Venice from a small fishing village to a bustling metropolis whose cultural, political and economic dominance extended over the entire Mediterranean world with this sumptuous collection of 340 color paintings, photographs and drawings.

Venice Is a Fish

Author: Tiziano Scarpa

Description: The hugely popular Venetian novelist, poet and playwright makes his English-language debut with these marvelously digressive essays on the many moods and pleasures of La Serenissima.

Venice Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A colorful, detailed city map of Venice, perfect for finding your way around the famously labyrinthine streets and canals.

Venice, An Architectural Guide

Author: Richard J. Goy

Description: This guide to piazzas, palazzos and architecture of Venice includes walking tours, color illustrations and historical details from architect and critic Richard Goy.

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