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Intergenerational Italian Classics: Rome, Florence and Venice

Program Number: 20211RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/24/2014 - 7/7/2014; 7/7/2014 - 7/20/2014; 7/11/2014 - 7/24/2014; 7/19/2014 - 8/1/2014;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,951.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

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

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


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

Activity Particulars

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

Date Specific Information

6-24-2014, 7-7-2014, 7-11-2014, 7-19-2014

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

Itinerary Summary

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

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

Join archaeologists for an exploration of underground ancient Roman buildings, and walk around the area where Julius Caesar was assassinated. Thrill at the sight of Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini at St. Peter’s Basilica, and enjoy an opportunity to visit the Vatican Museums and Vatican Mosaic Laboratory. With a local expert, walk through the ancient Forum and see the majestic Colosseum. Examine masterpieces at the Capitoline Museum and learn about chariot racing at the Circus Maximus.

Train to Florence
4 nights

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

Train to Venice
4 nights

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


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

Rome: A former 18th-century aristocratic residence converted into a hotel in the heart of Rome. Florence: Centrally located three-star hotel in proximity to all major sites. Venice: Four-star hotel overlooking the Grand Canal.

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

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

Dr. Elisabetta Interdonato is a native Roman who earned her doctorate in classical archaeology at the University of Rome "La Sapienza." She did further post-doctoral studies at the University of Basilicata and at the Universite' de Haute Bretagne where she also taught as a visiting professor. She currently teaches at the Pantheon Institute. In addition to her teaching, she enjoys leading visitors on explorations of Rome.
Meals and Lodgings
   Casa Santa Francesca Romana
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Corona d'Italia
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Principe
  Venice, Italy 4 nights
 Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel is on the right bank of the Tiber River, in the quiet and charming Trastevere neighborhood. An easy walk on the bridges to Campo de' Fiori, the Portico housing the "Mouth of Truth" and Roman Forum in the heart of ancient Rome. The residents of Trastevere consider themselves the original Romans. In July the neighborhood celebrates with a unique "block party" called the "Festa di no'antri", characterized by traditional foods, fresh fruits and snow cones kiosks.
  Contact info: Via dei Vascellari, 61
Rome,  00153 Italy
phone: +39 06 581 2125
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, hair dryer, direct dial telephone, satellite TV, complimentary wifi.
  Facility amenities: Once a 16th residence and later a convent, the property has been renovated and modernized. Tiled floor halls and rooms. The inner courtyard patio is a private and relaxing place to be. Complimentary wifi throughout the property. Continental breakfast served daily in the dining room consists of juices, coffee, tea, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, rolls, jams, sliced meats and cheese.
  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 or email 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 or expedia.
  Check in time: 1:00 PM

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

 Hotel Principe
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Overlooking the Grand Canal, with 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
  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 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 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 pm for Orientation. You will be staying at Casa Santa Francesca Romana that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check out by 10:00 am, morning transfers to airport. You will be staying at Hotel Principe the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train service from European and Italian points connects to Roma Termini, the main station. A separate line connects the airport to Roma Termini. Taxi from the station to the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest city or town:  Rome
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: To reach the hotel on your own, from the Rome airport terminal, you have three options: public transportation, shared ride shuttle service and taxi. Public transportation option is train and taxi: In the airport terminal public area, follow the signs for the train, purchase tickets at the ticket counter on the station platform, stamp the ticket in the yellow box on the platform, and board the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini, the central station in Rome. Fare is EUR 14 pp. The ride takes 35 min. When you exit the Roma Termini train station take a taxi to the hotel. For door to door service you have 2 options: shared ride shuttle van or taxi. You can book shuttle service online at Fares are about EUR 30 for 1 person; discounts apply if you book for multiple passengers. Taxi fare for direct service from the airport to the hotel is set by the city at EUR 48 (+ customary 2 euro tip). Max 4 persons per taxi.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice
  Nearest airport:  Venice Marco Polo
  Transportation from site: To reach the airport on your own, there is public transportation by bus from Piazzale Roma, the point that connects Venice to the mainland. Piazzale Roma is a 10 min. walk from the Hotel Principe. Note that the walk from the hotel to the bus stop entails crossing a high bridge that has long shallow steps and no ramp. The bus (fare EUR 6 and a 25 min. ride) leaves you off directly in front of the airport terminal. For direct service from the hotel dock to the airport dock, it is possible to book a water taxi. Fare is approx. EUR 100. Supplemental fees apply for service before 8 am. Max 10 passengers per taxi boat. When the water taxi arrives at the airport dock you can get a cart for the 10 min. walk to the terminal along a covered path. If you are continuing your travels by train, from the hotel you can reach the train station very easily on foot from the hotel. Low steps to the station entrance.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in \ Orientation \ Welcome Reception
(Friday, July 11)

Note: Leisurely walk to get your Rome legs going.

 Arrive To: Rome airport, transfer to hotel.
 Morning: Leave luggage at hotel while waiting for check-in at 2 p.m. While waiting for lunch time, a chance to begin your exploration of Trastevere.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local eatery. Try your first gelato.
 Afternoon: Settle in room, meet at appointed time for Orientation, Welcome Reception. The group leader will take you on a Neighborhood Walk to familiarize you with banks, pharmacies and stores.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Underground Rome \ Treasures of the Vatican and S. Peter's Basilica
(Saturday, July 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Join archaeologists who lead an exclusive excursion to underground ancient Roman buildings.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Meet in lecture room where an art historian gives an illustrated lecture on the artistic highlights of masterpieces in the Vatican Museum including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and S. Peter's Basilica. Late afternoon expert-led visit to the Forum, ancient downtown and center of civic and religious life and the Colosseum, imagine gladiatorial drama.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Walk to the Tiber Island, discover the marble relief of the god of healing Aesculapius.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Vatican Museums \ Sistine Chapel \ S. Peter's Basilica \ Mosaic Laboratory
(Sunday, July 13)

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

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Vatican Museums for reserved entrance time. Meet the local expert who will lead you through this singular museum. The visit continues to S. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Participate in creating your own mosaic with instructors at a local art school. Coach to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Walk around the Trastevere district and the Tiber Island.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Free Time \ Antiquities in the Capitoline Museum
(Monday, July 14)

Note: Walk to Capitoline Museum slight hill and flights of stairs in the museum

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning. Suggested activities given on site.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: After lunch expert led visit to the Capitoline Museum where you can examine up close masterpieces of ancient art, including the famous bronze She Wolf, Marcus Aurelius, the foundations of the temple to Jupiter and fragments of Constantine's colossal statue. Passing through the Tabularium you reach the Palazzo Nuovo wing where the Dying Gaul and Capitoline Venus are on display. Before exiting the museum, ascend the stairs to the balcony of the monument to Victor Emanuel II, for a splendid panoramic view of Rome.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: A leisurely stroll to the livelier side near S. Maria in Trastevere, admire the 12th C. mosaics and perhaps catch a street artist performance which is a likely happening in the square on warm summer evenings.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Spanish Steps \Trevi \ Pantheon \ Navona \ Train to Florence
(Tuesday, July 15)

Note: About a 1.5 mile walk to the center attractions not reachable by coach. Leisurely walk from train station in Florence to hotel

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Have checked luggage ready for van transfer to the hotel in Florence. Leave hand luggage in the hotel deposit area. Meet the local expert who will lead a walk of discovery at the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Return to hotel to pick up hand luggage and transfer to Termini Station to experience travel on a high speed train at speeds reaching 120 mph. Arrive in Florence 95 minutes after departure. Check into hotel, meet for lecture on Renaissance Florence to help contextualize your stay in the city known as the Cradle of the Renaissance.
 Dinner: At a restaurant in the vicinity of the San Lorenzo Market.
 Evening: Excursion of the historical section of Florence to orient everyone on the layout of the city, locate landmarks, find ATM's and pharmacies.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Fresco Painting Lesson \ Palazzo Vecchio \ Uffizi Gallery Prep Session
(Wednesday, July 16)

Note: Minimal exertion, Palazzo Vecchio requires climbing a few flights of stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk to the Piazza della Signoria, the civic heart of Florence. In the art room of the Palazzo Vecchio (the seat of the city government from the Middle Ages to today), learn from an art teacher the steps required to paint using the fresco technique; from creating the lines with a sack of coal dust, to spreading the fresh plaster and mixing the pigments. Paint your 6"x 9" tile. It will be left in the art room to dry and picked up the following day. You may choose to keep the tile, otherwise it is recycled. Expert-led visit of the Palazzo Vecchio to see original pieces of art, including Donatello's Judith and Holofernes and sculptures by Michelangelo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Preparatory lecture for Uffizi Gallery, followed by free time until dinner to explore Florence on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Walk of discovery after dinner, perhaps cross Ponte Vecchio to explore the "Oltrarno" district.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Frescoes \ Free Time \ Uffizi Gallery
(Thursday, July 17)

Note: Leisure walk to S. Maria Novella, to admire the frescoes. The San Lorenzo Market is where most people buy souvenirs. The Uffizi Gallery visit requires climbing 3 flights of stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk through Florence's central food and soft goods market toward S. Maria Novella. With your new found knowledge of fresco painting, an expert expounds on the frescoes by Masaccio and Ghirlandaio found in the church. Following the visit, free time to walk through the S. Lorenzo Market, where kiosks sell Florentine leather goods, souvenirs, textiles and T shirts.
 Lunch: Select your eatery. Group leader will have suggestions for places to eat.
 Afternoon: Reserved entrance to the Uffizi Gallery for self-directed visit, stay as long as you want. Free time until dinner. At the end of the second corridor is a refreshment bar for snacks. The balcony has a wonderful view of Brunelleschi's Dome and the watch tower of Palazzo Vecchio.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Take a stroll in the streets and squares closed to vehicular traffic. Catch a performance of street artists as you savor a refreshing gelato.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Michelangelo's David \ Archaeological Museum
(Friday, July 18)

Note: Leisurely walk to the Accademia and Archaeological Museum.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit to Accademia to see Michelangelo's David and the Archaeological Museum to see the Chimera from Arezzo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: A local expert leads a walk of discovery of Piazza San Giovanni (Duomo) and one of the museums in the complex. Some free time late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Train to Venice \ Venetian History
(Saturday, July 19)

Note: Walk to S. M. Novella train station for high speed train to Venice. Hotel is 250 yards from station in Venice.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Luggage transported to Venice hotel by van. On the train you will carry only your hand bag, tote, or day pack.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant and check-in to the rooms.
 Afternoon: A local expert gives some background to Venice and its rich history. Following the talk, the group leader takes you on a walk for your first exploration of Venice.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant that specializes in Venetian cuisine.
 Evening: At leisure to explore the area near the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Murano Glass Making Activity \ S. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace
(Sunday, July 20)

Note: Vaporetto vessels are often crowded. Doge's Palace requires ascending two flights of stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Receive vaporetto (public boat) pass and ride the boat to the island of Murano. Learn about glass making and create your own glass tile decoration under the supervision of an instructor at a glass working school. The tile you create will later be fused in the kiln and delivered to your hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Expert led visit S. Mark's Basilica and marvel at the mosaics decorating the walls and ceilings, over 60,000 square feet. Expert continues visit of the Doge's Palace, Venice's government headquarters, decorated by Titian, Canaletto and Giorgione, just to mention a few. From the grand halls of the palazzo, wind your way through the narrow passageways of the Prisons and over the Bridge of Sighs.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Dragon Boat Race \ Peggy Guggenheim Museum
(Monday, July 21)

Note: Row, row, row your boat hard if you want to win; otherwise sit at the stern and enjoy the ride.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Team up with the Venetian Crew Club for a dragon boat race along the canal.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant or hotel.
 Afternoon: Having been surrounded by ancient and Renaissance masterpieces and structures, enjoy the modern art collection at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Relax in the courtyard of the palazzo on the Grand Canal while the docents introduce the life and times of the wealthy American collector. The group splits in two for the visit of the collection housed in the small rooms of the gallery. The docent leading the students elicits their reactions to the form and expression they see in the works of modern art.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Rialto Bridge \ Artisan Workshop
(Tuesday, July 22)

Note: Leisurely walk around the Rialto Bridge area, and to an artisan's workshop.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: A local expert leads the walk around the oldest part of Venice, the Rialto Bridge. Stop at an artisan's workshop to learn about the carving techniques of making gondola oars and oar locks.
 Lunch: Choose your lunch from the many offerings around the market area of the Rialto. Group leader will have suggestions.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore a corner of Venice. By now you will be accustomed to the vaporetto if you want to visit the Lido or one of the other islands in the lagoon.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant. Your glass mementos will be available for you to gingerly pack.
 Evening: Ride the Vaporetto to take some artistic evening photographs.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Arrivederci Venezia
(Wednesday, July 23)

Note: You and your luggage transfer to the airport by water taxi. From dock, less than a 10 min. walk under a canopy to reach the terminal. Often luggage carts (E. 1 deposit coin) are available at the dock; the coin is refunded at the terminal.

 Depart From: Transfer from the hotel to the Venice Marco Polo airport for departure.
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel. Sack breakfast for those with early departure times.
Meals Included: Breakfast

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

Suggested Reading List

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

Author: Zilah Deckker

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

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)

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

Blue Guide Concise Italy

Author: Paul Blanchard

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

Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

Author: Ross King

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

Dante's Daughter

Author: Kimberley Heuston

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

Italy Map

Author: Borch Maps

Description: A handy, laminated map.

Italy in Mind

Author: Alice Powers

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

Italy, A Short History

Author: Harry Hearder

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

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

Author: Beppe Severgnini

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

La Bella Lingua

Author: Dianne Hales

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

Leonardo Da Vinci

Author: Kathleen Krull

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

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Author: Ross King

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

The Art of the Renaissance

Author: Peter Murray

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

The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings

Author: R.W.B. Lewis

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

The Colosseum

Author: Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard

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

The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall

Author: Christopher Hibbert

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

The World of Venice

Author: Jan Morris

Description: Morris displays her talent for research, anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited history of a beloved city.

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