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

Program Number: 20856RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/28/2014 - 7/11/2014; 12/21/2015 - 1/2/2016; 6/18/2016 - 7/1/2016; 6/22/2016 - 7/5/2016; 7/4/2016 - 7/17/2016; 7/8/2016 - 7/21/2016; 7/20/2016 - 8/2/2016; 7/24/2016 - 8/6/2016; 12/21/2016 - 1/2/2017;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,997.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; Intergenerational
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

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

Share the essence of Italy with your family as you immerse yourselves in Roman history, Florentine art and Venetian traditions. Walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in the Forum, see where Gladiators fought in the Colosseum, and try your hand at creating frescoes. Create your own Murano glass memento and thrill in a dragon boat race along a canal with the Venetian Crew Club. Along the way, sample delicious Italian cuisine and take in some of the greatest masterpieces in the world.


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

Activity Particulars

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

Date Specific Information

12-21-2015, 12-21-2016

Enjoy Christmas in Rome and ring in the New Year in Venice, where fireworks illuminate the Giudecca Canal. Given the wintery conditions and our short time in Venice, the Dragon Boat Race will not take place and we won’t be making the glass memento. This departure is one night shorter and follows this itinerary: Arrival Rome, 4 nights; train to Florence, 4 nights; train to Venice, 3 nights; departure.


Please note inverted itinerary, arrive and begin in Venice end in and depart from Rome. All elements are the same.


The glass school is unable to offer the glass bead workshop the first two weeks of July. As a substitute activity, enjoy another Venetian tradition. Learn about the 800 year old practice of mask making and the symbolism of the forms and shapes at a workshop. Details from famous period paintings depict Venetians wearing masks in every day life. Decorate your own papier mâché mask as a memento.

7-8-2016, 7-20-2016

Please note the inverted itinerary; arrive and begin in Venice; end in and depart from Rome. All elements are the same as the other itinerary.

Itinerary Summary

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

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night

Arrival Rome
4 nights

Explore underground ancient Roman buildings and walk around the area where Julius Caesar was cremated. Thrill at the sight of Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and works by Bernini during a day at St. Peter’s Basilica and enjoy a visit to the Vatican Museums. Create your own Mosaic memento at an art school. Hear the stories of the ancient Forum and the majestic Colosseum. Examine masterpieces at the Capitoline Museum and learn about chariot racing at the Circus Maximus.

Train to Florence
4 nights

After journeying by high-speed train to Florence, try your hand at learning fresco painting techniques with an art instructor. With a local expert, view the artwork at Palazzo Vecchio — Florence’s city hall — and see Machiavelli’s study. Spend an afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery taking in masterpieces by Titian, Botticelli, da Vinci and more and view Michelangelo's “David” at the Accademia. Learn about the scientific revolution at the Galileo Museum.

Train to Venice
4 nights

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


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

Centrally located four star hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice on the Grand Canal.
Meals and Lodgings
   Casa Santa Francesca Romana
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Kraft Hotel Firenze
  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

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

 Hotel Principe
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Overlooking the Grand Canal, with a splendid terrace on the water, the Hotel Principe, is one of the 4 star hotels in Venice in a perfect position for discovering the charm and beauty of Venice on foot, or for easily reaching the Rialto or St. Mark's Square with a vaporetto, which stops just steps from the hotel.The hotel has a private dock on the Grand Canal for gondola and water taxi access.
  Contact info: Lista di Spagna 146/147
Venice, NA 30121 Italy
phone: +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 Participant Information 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 train station to the hotel will be about EUR 18.
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 about 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, you can reach the train station very easily on foot from the hotel.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Transatlantic overnight flight to Rome
(Saturday, June 28)
 In Transit: Overnight flight to Rome.

Day 2: Check-in \ Orientation \ Welcome Reception
(Sunday, June 29)
 Arrive To: Rome airport
 Morning: Transfer to the hotel. A light walk will be organized for those with early morning arrivals while waiting for lunch and hotel check-in
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in the neighborhood.
 Afternoon: Settle into your room. Meet at appointed time for Orientation and Welcome Reception. Brief neighborhood walk points out banks, pharmacies and stores.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Welcome to Rome \ Roman Forum \ Colosseum
(Monday, June 30)

Note: The Forum paths are uneven, some are packed dirt and other sections are paved with cobblestones. Steep stairs to reach upper level of the Colosseum.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel. Each day the buffet in this and other program site hotels will have juice, tea, coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, a sliced meat and cheese platter, breads, jams.
 Morning: Begin to unravel the multiple layers of Roman history through the sharp insight of a professor who will set the stage for your explorations.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Trastevere.
 Afternoon: Coach to the drop off point closest to the Colosseum. A local expert leads the visit of the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome built nearly 2,000 years ago. Skip the line with the group reserved entrance. Learn how the amphitheater was used for gladiatorial contests and later stripped of its stone facade for other construction projects. Exploration of Ancient Rome continues to the Forum, the religious and civic center of the city many centuries ago.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Transportation to the hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Treasures of the Vatican and S. Peter's Basilica
(Tuesday, July 1)

Note: An escalator connects two floors of the vast museum, but there are flights of wide marble stairs along the path to the Sistine Chapel. In the crowded museum there are few opportunities to sit and rest until the Sistine Chapel which has benches along the side walls.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: 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. Coach to the Vatican.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Vatican City.
 Afternoon: Short walk to the Vatican Museums (reserved entrance time). Meet the expert who will lead you through this singular museum including the Sistine Chapel. Upon exiting, enter S. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini. With the free time that follows, some may desire to climb the 450 steps of Michelangelo's Dome. Transportation to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at a characteristic pizzeria in Trastevere.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Mosaic Workshop \ Piazza Walk
(Wednesday, July 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to mosaic workshop. Create your own mosaic with the guidance of the art instructors.
 Lunch: Lunch at the workshop cafe. Enjoy a selection of food served buffet style.
 Afternoon: Coach to Piazza Venezia for a guided visit of an ancient Roman house unearthed during the restoration of a modern building. The layers of the archaeological site reveal details of everyday life through the centuries. Guided walk to Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Fountain of Trevi, and the Spanish Steps. Transportation back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own. If you want to stay on in the heart of Rome you can easily take the tram back to the hotel on your own.
Accommodations: Casa Santa Francesca Romana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Capitoline Museum \ Train to Florence
(Thursday, July 3)

Note: Wide marble stairs to reach the various levels of the Capitoline Museum. The walk from the train station in Florence to the hotel is a few long city blocks.

 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. Transportation to Piazza Venezia. Expert-led visit of 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. Transportation to the hotel.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Coach to Roma Termini. Experience travel on a high speed train at speeds reaching 120 mph. Check into the Florence hotel. Neighborhood walk.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: With the group leader, stroll the historical section of Florence to orient yourself on the layout of the city, locate landmarks, find ATM's and pharmacies.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Fresco Workshop \ Palazzo Vecchio \ Renaissance Florence
(Friday, July 4)

Note: Minimal exertion in the fresco workshop. Palazzo Vecchio visit requires climbing a few flights of stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk to Piazza della Signoria. In the art room of the Palazzo Vecchio (still the City Hall since the Middle Ages), a teacher illustrates the steps required to paint using the fresco technique; from creating the lines with a sack of coal dust, to spreading the fresh plaster and mixing the pigments. After the 6"x 9" tile dries, you may choose to keep it, otherwise it is recycled. Expert-led visit of the residential quarters of the Palazzo Vecchio to see original pieces of art, including Donatello's Judith and Holofernes and sculptures by Michelangelo. See Machiavelli's study when he was Secretary of State for the Republic.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant near the Piazza della Signoria.
 Afternoon: An illustrated lecture on Florence and the Renaissance.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: San Lorenzo Market \ Renaissance Art \ Accademia (Michelangelo's David)
(Saturday, July 5)

Note: Leisurely walk to the market. Walk to the Accademia along city streets (limited traffic) with narrow sidewalks. Total distance covered for the day's walks is about 2 miles.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: With a local expert, walk through Florence's central food and soft goods market toward S. Maria Novella. With your new found knowledge of fresco painting, you will view the frescoes by Masaccio and Ghirlandaio with new eyes. Some free time late morning.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Illustrated lecture on Renaissance Art in preparation for the self-guided visit of the Uffizi Gallery. Walk to the Accademia for an expert-led visit of the small but impressive collection of paintings and sculpture, most notably Michelangelo's statue of David.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Galileo's Instruments \ Uffizi Gallery \ Free Afternoon
(Sunday, July 6)

Note: An elevator 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 afficionados.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk towards the Ponte Vecchio to the Museum of Science. Expert-led visit of the collection of scientific instruments, including the telescope Galileo used to discover the moons of Jupiter. Modern renovations have enhanced the museum with interactive displays. Short walk to the Uffizi. For the self guided visit we will enter as a group, but you are free to spend as much time as you wish. The Uffizi Gallery 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.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant near the hotel.
Accommodations: Kraft Hotel Firenze
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Train to Venice \ History of Venice, the Serenissima
(Monday, July 7)

Note: Walk to S. M. Novella train station to board high speed train to Venice. The Venice hotel is 250 yards from the station in Venice.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel. Your bags will be sent by van and delivered to the hotel in Venice. Coach to the train station to board a high speed train to Venice; the trip is 2 hours.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant and check-in to the rooms.
 Afternoon: Welcome to Venice introduces you to the Serenissima. Neighborhood walk follows.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant to savor Venetian cuisine.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Murano Glass Making Workshop \ S. Mark's Basilica
(Tuesday, July 8)

Note: Easy walk on the small island of Murano; some steps and rises over bridges that span minor canals.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Ride the vaporetto (public boat) to the island of Murano. Learn about glass making and create your own glass tile decoration under the supervision of an instructor at a glass working school. The tile you create will be fused in the kiln and delivered to your hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Travel to Piazza S. Marco on the vaporetto for an expert-led visit of S. Mark's Cathedral, built during the 13 C. There are more than 45,000 sq. ft. of mosaics adorning the church, giving the impression of streets of gold. Vaporetto back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood of the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Dragon Boat Race \ Doge's Palace
(Wednesday, July 9)

Note: Row, row, row your boat hard if you want to beat the other teams; otherwise sit at the stern and enjoy the ride. At the end of the morning you may be less dry than how you began the day. Moving about in Venice always involves walking, stairs and ramps over bridges. The visit through the many rooms of the Doge's Palace requires climbing a few flights of stairs. Narrow passages through the rooms of the Prisons and over the Bridge of Sighs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Vaporetto to the Venice Canoe Club Boathouse. An instructor goes over the basics of rowing before you choose teams and enjoy a friendly race in a dragon boat.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Vaporetto to S. Mark's Square. Expert-led visit of the Palazzo Ducale or Doge's Palace. Walk through the many rooms of the palace, seat of civic and political power. Doges embellished the palazzo to demonstrate their wealth and importance. From the spacious rooms of the palazzo, enter the narrow passages of the Prisons. Visit includes passing over the Bridge of Sighs.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Rialto Bridge \ Guggenheim Collection
(Thursday, July 10)

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

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Vaporetto to the Rialto Market. Explore the area of the Rialto Bridge and colorful market with a local expert. Excursion continues to an artisan's workshop to learn about the carving techniques of making gondola oars and oar locks.
 Lunch: Lunch at a characteristic trattoria.
 Afternoon: Vaporetto to the Accademia stop. Having been surrounded by ancient and Renaissance masterpieces and structures, enjoy the modern art collection at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Relax in the courtyard of the Palazzo Venier on the Grand Canal while the docent introduces the life and times of the wealthy American collector who made her home there. The group splits in two as a docent leads the students on a discovery of form and expression in modern art. Some free time before dinner. Ride the vaporetto with the group leader or do as the true Venetians do - explore different districts of Venice on your walk back to the hotel (about 1.3 miles).
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant. Your glass mementos will be available for you to pack.
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Departure day
(Friday, July 11)
 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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