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Voyages to Antiquity: Splendors of Italy and Croatia

Program Number: 19519RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/24/2015 - 7/9/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/17/2015; 10/3/2016 - 10/18/2016;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Italy/Greece/Albania/Croatia
Price starting at: $6,445.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 37; 14 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

Immerse yourself in the architectural and artistic legacies of great Mediterranean civilizations on this voyage carefully planned to explore as much as possible of this region’s fascinating history. Experience the splendors of Rome and Venice, the stunning ruins of Pompeii, the Renaissance hill town of Urbino, the magnificent seaside Palace of Diocletian and much more.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day and standing for up to four hours per day, with breaks. Some hilly and uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.



Please note that the October date operates in reverse.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Rome (Italy), 1 night; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 11 nights; Venice, 2 nights.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A..


Days 2-3: Arrival Rome (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Experience ancient treasures including the Colosseum and Roman Forum. En route to the ship, enjoy a farmhouse lunch in the countryside. Lodging: Modern, centrally located hotel.



Days 4-5: Sorrento, Pompeii & Herculaneum:

Get a unique glimpse of Roman life as you explore Pompeii and Herculaneum, towns preserved as they were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Enjoy a free day in charming Sorrento.



Day 6: Amalfi:

Sail along the ruggedly beautiful Amalfi Coast. Go ashore for an excursion to Paestum, an Ancient Greek city that boasts extremely well-preserved Doric temples.



Days 7-8: Sicily / At Sea:

Venture to the idyllic town of Taormina with its lemon blossom-scented air, medieval alleyways, Greco-Roman theater and spectacular views of Mount Etna.



Day 9: Corfu (Greece) & Sarande (Albania):

Examine the Venetian heritage of Corfu as you visit the red-domed Agios Spyrídon church and the famous Esplanade. Continue to Albania and the archaeological site of Butrint, inhabited since prehistoric times.



Day 10: Lecce (Italy):

Enjoy a walking excursion in Lecce, “the Florence of the South,” a city of impressive Baroque churches and sprawling piazzas.



Day 11: Dubrovnik (Croatia):

Experience this beautiful seaside city that Lord Byron called “the Pearl of the Adriatic.” Visit its cathedral to view artworks by Titian.



Day 12: Split:

Step inside the magnificent Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, today not a deserted ruin but a bustling warren of houses, shops and cafés.



Day 13: Urbino (Italy):

Journey through the rolling hills and lush plains of Marche to the Renaissance town of Urbino. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Days 14-16: Venice / disembark / departure:

On an expert-led city excursion, stroll the sprawling Piazza San Marco then walk the narrow streets and over the bridges of the Castello and Cannaregio districts. Enjoy free time for independent exploration. Lodging: Five-star hotel overlooking Giudecca Canal.



Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.


Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Genova
  Rome, Italy 1 night
   Aegean Odyssey
  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 11 nights
   Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
  Venice, Italy 2 nights
 Hotel Genova
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Genova is an elegant and modern structure that was completely renovated in 2008. It is centrally located just a short drive from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and within walking distance from the Termini Railway Station.
  Contact info: Via Cavour 25
Rome,  00187 Italy
phone: +39 06476951
web: www.hotel-genova-rome.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, safe box, air conditioning, mini bar, telephone, room service, hair dryer, high speed cable Internet connection (for a fee), and a vanity set (shampoo, soap, shower cap, bath foam).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, lobby, 24-hour reception, breakfast room, meeting rooms, terrace, air conditioning, laundry services, wireless Internet access in the lobby (for a fee), fax machine and pay phones.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
web: www.voyagestoantiquity.com
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge or enjoy an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop. Internet: The ship has an Internet center (open 24 hours) and WiFi is available in the reception area. Fees begin at 10mb for $45. As a rough guide you could send around 200 standard emails with no attachments for $45. However, if you start adding medium size web standard photographs (not hi res), each one would be about 1.5mb. There are no refunds for unused capacity. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of satellite connectivity on board a ship, the internet connection is slow, erratic and may be unavailable at times.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The five-star Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is a modern Venetian Masterpiece. Its building, once a flourishing flour mill, beautifully restored, now houses a hotel unlike any other, offering a different view of Venice. A short, five-minute boat ride from the heart of Venice, it offers breathtaking views over the city and complimentary shuttle service.
  Contact info: Giudecca 810
30133, Venice,   Italy
phone: +39 041 2723 311
web: www.molinostuckyhilton.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a mini bar, hair dryer, bathrobes (available upon request), telephone, 32" Plasma TV, laptop-sized safe box, free wireless Internet (for a fee), 24-hour room service and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers six bars and restaurants, roof-top pool, fitness center, wellness center (for a fee), business center with computers and printers, laundry services, gift shop, currency exchange, free WIFI in the hotel's public areas (available for a fee in rooms), air conditioning, and a free shuttle service to St. Mark's Square.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will begin at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Genova that night.
  End of Program:
Venice, Italy. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation to site: From Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome Fiumicino, reach Termini Station via the Leonardo Express train. From Termini Station, the Hotel Genova is just a short walk away, only 300 meters. From the station’s main exit - via Giovanni Giolitti - proceed to the left onto Via Cavour; the hotel is just 150 meters on the right. Alternatively, you can book a shared van transfer on world-airport-transfer.com for 16 Euro/person. This service runs from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. If you wish to hire a private car (57 Euro), you may contact Italian Details at giorgia.zago@italiandetails.com or 011-39-06-89087926.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
  Transportation from site: Option 1: Take the ALILAGUNA private water bus shuttle service RED LINE €16,00 OW /€ 27,00 RT. The trip takes approx. 1 hour 40 minutes. Option 2: Hotel Molino Stucky Venice is a 30 minute water taxi ride from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport and costs 110 - 120 Euro for up to four people.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Wednesday, June 24)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Thursday, June 25)
   
 Morning: Arrival in Rome Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Meet group inside the customs area. Transfer to hotel.
 Afternoon: Welcome orientation to the program at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Genova
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Rome, Italy / embark the Aegean Odyssey
(Friday, June 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: During this morning's walking excursion, survey the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire as well as the Roman Forum, the center of Roman civic life. Explore the Case Romane del Celio, homes dating from the turn of the millennium.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a charming farmhouse about 30 minutes from Civitavecchia. Dine on mouth watering regional cuisine while tasting local wines at a farmhouse in the Italian countryside.
 Afternoon: Embark on the Aegean Odyssey and settle in to your cabin. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sorrento, Italy (Pompeii and Herculaneum)
(Saturday, June 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii and Herculaneum came to escape the turmoil in Rome, but a different sort of violence awaited them in their southern retreats. In 79AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted at 10 AM and, within three hours, extinguished these affluent communities even as it preserved their remains for our discovery.

Begin with a scenic hour drive along the Bay of Naples to Pompeii. On the walking excursion, you will be guided expertly through this spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theatres, markets and large forum. At every turn, inscriptions bring the hustle and bustle of this ancient city to life: there are notices of wine sales and apartment vacancies, upcoming gladiatorial events in the theatre and political announcements.
 Lunch: Typical Italian lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we head to Herculaneum which was engulfed by volcanic mud in the same eruption that claimed Pompeii. This mud sealed and protected entire buildings: today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics and carbonised woods can all be seen. These range from the sculpture of the Drunken Hercules in the House of the Stags to mosaics of tritons in the city baths. Following our visit, we will return to central Sorrento where you have the option of exploring independently or returning to the ship in the company of your Group Leader.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: The ship will overnight in Sorrento. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sorrento, Italy
(Sunday, June 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Explore this charming, cliff-straddling, port town on your own. Stroll along Marina Piccolo or find your way to the lift that will take you up to the city center, perched high above the sea. Enjoy the bustle along the Corso Italia and perhaps sample the famous local limoncello at the Piazza Tasso.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or find a trattoria to sample 'gnocci alla sorrentina', a local specialty.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon for continued independent exploration of Sorrento.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: The ship overnights in Sorrento with an early morning departure for Amalfi. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Cruise Amalfi Coast / Amalfi, Italy
(Monday, June 29)

Note: The call in Amalfi is weather dependent, at which time the alternative nearby port of Salerno will be used.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Savor the beauty of the Amalfi Coast with its rocky shores and iconic medieval cliffside fishing villages.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Imagine the surprise of the King of Naples when his 17th-century road project revealed three Greek temples in a state of near perfection amid a malaria-infested swamp. He had discovered Paestum, a major city of classic times, surviving untouched since the fall of the Roman Empire.

Drive from the ship to the east-west mountain ridge that acted as a boundary between the colonies of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece) and the indigenous Lucanian people. Mythology credits Jason and the Argonauts with the city’s founding but, more likely if less romantically, the honor belongs to the Greeks who settled here in 600BC, naming the site Poseidonia to honor the god of the seas. The city was occupied by the Lucans in 400BC, but evidence suggests that the two cultures prospered together. In 273BC, the city became a Roman colony and was renamed Paestum. Three exquisite Greek temples, built between 530BC and 460BC, are at the heart of the city and are complemented by magnificent Roman discoveries that include baths, an amphitheatre and the remains of a forum.

We will also visit the site’s museum, where the tomb frescoes, discovered by a local farmer in 1969, are worthy of special note. Thankfully, moist conditions enabled these Greek paintings to survive the centuries without drying and flaking and maintain their colors. The various themes include a banquet attended by male lovers, a spirited chariot race and a diver captured in mid-plunge. They are among the world’s rare surviving examples of ancient Greek painting.

Alternatively, choose to visit Ravello, a charming village of antique towers, graceful arches and flowering gardens perched 1,150 feet about the Bay of Salerno. This excursion requires less walking than Paestum.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Sunset departure for Taormina. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Taormina, Sicily
(Tuesday, June 30)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. Today, we will tender ashore for a short, scenic drive to this idyllic spot with its mountainous backdrop, lemon-blossom scented air and narrow, medieval “streets”. This walking excursion proceeds past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration.

The highlight is a visit to the theater. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC and rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, the site offers heart-skipping views of the sea and Mount Etna. Conclude the field trip with a stroll along the pedestrian Corso Umberto. In the small lanes and twisting viuzze you can shop for colorful ceramics, seek out the wines that won the praise of Pliny or dine on the mullet favored by Ovid.

Alternatively, you can elect 'Sicilian Landscapes' and visit two remote mountain villages, Savoca and Forza d'Agro (additional details on board).

Following your excursion, enjoy a Road Scholar cocktail party in the Observation Lounge.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At sea
(Wednesday, July 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Stretch your body and mind during early morning yoga. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Find your way to one of the ship's lounges for a conversation with fellow travelers.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Corfu, Greece / Sarande, Albania (Butrint)
(Thursday, July 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: You can thank Venice for the thickly wooded headland of Corfu. During the Republic's four centuries of rule on this Ionian island (from 1386 to 1797), it was decreed that an olive tree be planted at each birth and a cypress at each death. Early admirers included the Greek poet, Homer, who sang the island's praises. Octavian brought his fleet to the island's harbor before the battle at Actium.

Today's sightseeing starts with a drive to Corfu Town and a visit to the Old Fortress rising majestically from a large cliff and surrounded by a fairytale moat that has its sinister side as the last resort of the lovelorn. Built on the remains of a Byzantine castle, the fort was completed over four centuries, first by the Venetians who gave it the moat and then by the British who erected the fort's church of St. George. The fort proved a formidable bulwark against the Turks. From the fort, enjoy a stroll along the Venetian-built Esplanade past the colonnade of the Liston Café, built during French rule. The café takes is name from a time when the promenade was limited to Venetian nobility that appeared on a list in the Libro d'Oro (Golden Book). Today this path provides an excellent view of the town's cricket pitch, a legacy from British rule, and the start of our walking excursion. Discover Old Town's narrow stepped streets, Georgian mansions and red-domed Agios Spyridon church, built in 1589, containing the remains of Corfu's patron saint.

Alternatively, you can choose 'Byzantine Corfu' which visits the Corfu's historic Campielo quarter and its Byzantine Museum with its wide selection of icons (additional details on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Surrounded by a picturesque lagoon, Butrint is one of the Ionian's most remarkable archaeological sites and one of Albania's most beautiful national parks. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint, in antiquity Buthrotum, was successively the site of a 6th-century Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. The city prospered under Byzantine administration, was occupied in the 14th century by the Venetians, then by the French, and then the Ottomans. The Ottomans built a fortress for private entertaining and one of their regular visitors was Lord Byron who wrote a poem dedicated to Butrint. The city began to be abandoned in the late Middle Ages due to marshes forming in the area. Wars, earthquakes and new cities hastened the city's decline. Today the site is a rich repository of the past and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From the pier, a 45-minute drive takes us to Butrint, where the visit begins. The word Butrint is related to Aeneas, the Trojan hero who sailed to this area and sacrificed an ox to gain safe entrance to the region. The ox swam to shore, the site of Butrint, thus giving the area its name, "wounded ox". The idyllic wooded setting has inspired writers from Virgil to Racine. An Italian archaeological team headed by Luigi Ugolini supervised three excavations here from 1928 to 1939. Following the war, Albania continued the excavations. Since 1994, archaeologists of the University of East Anglia have made further excavations. Today, the approximately 50 square mile site (86 sq. kilometers) is an Albanian National Park and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Walk along the winding paths to discover layers of civilization: Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian. Complete the visit with a view from Butrint's acropolis and a short visit to the museum.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Brinidisi. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Brindisi, Italy (Lecce)
(Friday, July 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Lecce is a city of outstanding historical and architectural treasures. With its abundance of ancient ruins, Baroque churches and noble palaces carved out of honey-colored local stone, it is a place that will linger in your memory. Set in the heart of the Salento region on the south-eastern tip of Italy’s “boot,” Lecce was founded in the 5th century BC and later became an important Roman city. The 25,000-seat amphitheater dating from the 1st century BC in the Piazza St Oronzo is a magnificent legacy of the city’s Roman past and it is here that your excursion begins. Pass by the Roman column that marks the end of the Appian Way and then continue on to the city center. From the 16th to the 18th century, Lecce flourished under a period of great splendor and was duly embellished with Rococo and Baroque monuments.

You will visit the Santa Croce Basilica, which is sumptuously decorated and represents the triumph of Baroque art in Lecce. Nearby, admire the impressive façade of the Governor’s Palace (the former monastery of the Celestine monks). Visit one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy – Piazza Duomo. Explore the elegant streets of Lecce adjacent to the square and you will discover that the typical local crafts of the town, such as papier-mâché or Leccese stone items, are traditional art forms here. The objects created in the artisans’ workshops are crafted according to ancient traditions handed down from generation to generation. Then, visit the stunning Palazzo Tamborino, which will be opened exclusively for you. It was originally built in the 15th century and conceals one of the most beautiful secret gardens of Lecce. Enter the palazzo, and the airy neo-Classical columned atrium leads you to the centuries-old garden gate. The owner will share interesting stories and anecdotes about his family and the palazzo, including the macabre story of the Prince of Colle d’Anchise who murdered his wife, Lady Beatrice, here in 1636.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Dubrovnik. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Dubrovnik, Croatia
(Saturday, July 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Lord Byron called this majestic walled city “the Pearl of the Adriatic,” and it is easy to see why. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is held to be the best-preserved walled city in the Mediterranean with a seafront setting and dramatic mountain backdrop. The city skyline is a medley of bell towers, copper domes and massive 10th-century walls. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century AD and was a powerful independent republic from 1358 to 1808, when Napoleon conquered the city. Today the city is an inspiration in self-resurrection. Despite a destructive earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik has managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains.

This morning’s walking excursion of the Old Town takes you along the city’s main street, the Stradun or Placa, once a sea channel connecting two ancient settlements. Visit the Dominican Monastery, home to a beautiful 15th-century Gothic cloister and the city’s finest collection of Renaissance paintings. Next, the Franciscan Monastery is home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy, founded in 1318 and still in existence. Walk past such landmarks as the Sponza Palace with its elaborate stone exterior, the Baroque Church of St. Blaise and Onofriou’s Fountain. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, originally built in the 12th century, destroyed in the 1667 earthquake and triumphantly rebuilt. View Titian’s Assumption over the main altar and, in the Treasury, one of Europe’s finest collections of gold and silver, including the bejeweled skull of St. Blaise.

Following the field trip there will be free time to explore the nooks and crannies of the Old Town.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon and evening you are free to relax or continue exploring this charming city. Alternatively, join the ship's optional excursion to Cavtat (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Early evening departure for Split. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Split, Croatia
(Sunday, July 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: When Emperor Diocletian shook up the Roman Empire by abdicating in 305AD, he had his retirement residence ready: a lavish palace he had just built in Salona, now Split, in his native Dalmatia.

Visit this amazing palace complex that, when completed, held three temples, a massive mausoleum, and could accommodate 9,000 people. For an intimate perspective on how life was organized, this excursion includes a walk through the palace cellars. The city of Split grew inside and around this palace, with the population retreating behind its walls when under attack, and then spilling out beyond them in times of peace.

Today the Palace of Diocletian is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but don’t expect a deserted ruin. Discover instead a vibrant warren of museums, galleries, shops and restaurants mingled with medieval fortifications, pre-Romanesque churches and Gothic chapels. Renaissance palaces testify to a time when Split was a key port of the Venetian Republic. The field trip visits Diocletian’s massive octagonal mausoleum, converted into a cathedral in the 7th century and named after a Christian martyred during that emperor’s persecutions. You’ll also visit the city museum where 15th-century furnishings recapture aristocratic life in that period. Other sights include the palace’s monumental Golden and Silver Gates and the columned Peristyle Square. Following the excursion, there will be free time to visit the colorful local market or explore Split on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration of the Roman walls, squares and temples in Split’s historic center or stroll along the Riva waterfront promenade. Alternatively, the ship will offer an optional excursion to Salona & Trogir (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Sunset departure for Ancona. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Ancona, Italy (Urbino)
(Monday, July 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Situated on a hilltop, Urbino is a small town with a big history. This place had a huge influence on Renaissance culture and Urbino’s Ducal Palace is one of the finest buildings of the period. In the 15th century, Urbino was ruled by the Montefeltro family, and reached its peak during the reign of the Duke Federico da Montefeltro.

Urbino was also the birthplace of the artist Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio 1483-1520) and today's field trip includes a visit to the house where he lived up to age of 14. This modest dwelling contains memoirs and artistic furniture of that period. Raphael was born here in 1483 and trained at home at least until the age of 11, when his father died. There is a small mural attributed to the boy painter in one room, but the house is chiefly interesting as an atmospheric 15th-century home/workshop.

Your visit continues to Palazzo Ducale, Italy’s most beautiful Renaissance palace built for Duke Federico da Montefeltro, who ruled Urbino between 1444 and 1482. Since he was a man of the arts as well as a soldier, he enriched his palace with a comprehensive library, famous paintings including works by Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Titian and refined architecture.

Another of Urbino’s magnificent buildings is the Duomo built in 1789 on top of a 6th-century sacred site. Completed in 1604, it was destroyed by an earthquake and then rebuilt. The duomo now has a neo-classical appearance and houses several important artworks, including a painting of the Last Supper by Federico Barocci. The Museo Diocesano has a collection of glass, ceramics, and religious items.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. Perhaps try Antica Osteria della Stella, an ancient inn that claims to have hosted Raphael and Piero della Francesca.
 Afternoon: Free time in Urbino before returning to the ship in the late afternoon.

Enjoy a farewell cocktail party followed by a dinner with your Road Scholar group.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Venice. Free time to prepare belongings for disembarkation.
   
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Disembark / Venice, Italy
(Tuesday, July 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark the ship then experience Venice as a Venetian during this Road Scholar exclusive field trip. Breathe in a bit of every day life of this fragile city at a relaxed pace. From St. Mark’s square enter the Castello district and meander the narrow calli. Learn about the Venice of yesterday and today. Stop at Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, a most impressive open space dominated by the stunning Gothic basilica which is home to many monuments of Doges and sea captains. Continue to the densely populated district Cannaregio; explore Chiesa dei Miracoli, a little “jewel box” of a 15th century church to gain insight into Venetian beliefs and traditions.
 Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Venetian lunch at a local restaurant with your Road Scholar group.
 Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel. This afternoon, you are free to explore on your own. You may choose to walk to Rialto or the Accademia or simply sip a Bellini at Harry's Bar.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Venice, Italy
(Wednesday, July 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Free time to explore Venice on your own - perhaps enjoy a gondola ride on the Grand Canal or visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Alternatively, the ship will offer an optional excursion to admire Venice's Aristocratic Villas (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Continuation of free time.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: If there is one memory to take home with you, it is the sight of St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral of Venice, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the see this remarkable building at its very best. This evening, St. Mark’s will be reserved for Voyages to Antiquity guests who will be treated to a private visit and the breathtaking sight of the famous mosaics illuminated in a spectacular light show.

The church was built in 828 as a tomb for Saint Mark, whose body was spirited out of Alexandria hidden in a casket of pork, a bit of intrigue you can see memorialized in the mosaics above the church door. After a 976 fire, the church was rebuilt and served as the Doge’s private chapel. As such, it was a place of immense wealth and power that it became known as the Golden Church, or Chiesa d’Oro. For example, the Four Horses of St. Mark in front are replicas of the Roman sculptures inside, brought back by the Venetians after the sacking of Constantinople. These horses originally had giant rubies in their eye sockets. The interior reinforces the jewel-encrusted Byzantine effect with its galleries high above the naves, massive chandeliers and over 40,000 square feet of mosaics. Works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Mantegna – to mention a few – adorn the walls. The Treasury brims with wealth from centuries of conquest. A visit here is an unforgettable glimpse into the heights reached by La Serenissima, as The Most Serene Republic of Venice was called.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 16: Departures
(Thursday, July 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) for departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Venice Ca' Rezzonico
A museum of eighteenth century art, the palace on the Grand Canal was designed by a Baroque architect of Venice, Baldassare Longhena, for the aristocratic Bon family. The museum shows works of art, furniture and interior furnishings by master artists such as Guardi, Canaletto, Tiepolo and Longhi, and important Venetian school paintings from the 15th-20th centuries which are a part of the Martini Collection. For additional information, visit www.museiciviciveneziani.it
  Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace is a former governmental palace and a masterpiece of Venetian gothic. The Ducal Palace was the residence of the Doge up to the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 and was a public palace and seat of the administration of justice. The palace is the highest and richest symbol of Venetian civilization and of Venice's cultural, military, political and economic history. All historic periods are represented in an extraordinary stratification of structural and decorative elements: from the antique foundations of the original Gothic complex, to the great halls dedicated to political life and decorated by the canvases of Veronese, Tintoretto and the great masters of the Renaissance, from the precious rooms of the Doges apartment, to the dark prisons and places of torture and the luminous loggias on the Piazza and the Lagoon. For additional information, visit www.museiciviciveneziani.it
  Gallerie dell'Accademia
Spanning five centuries, the Galleria Belle Arti's matchless collection of paintings provides a complete spectrum of the Venetian school, from the Byzantine period through the Renaissance to the Baroque and later. Masterpieces of Titian, Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and more all await you here. For additional information, visit www.gallerieaccademia.org
  Glass Museum of Murano
A museum of Venetian glassmaking, the Murano Glass Museum was founded in 1861 when the darkest period in the history of Murano glassmaking had been overcome, following the fall of the Republic of San Marco (1797) and the subsequent years of foreign rule. The museum’s collection was expanded by the addition of the Correr, Cicogna and Molin Collections which include, among other things, the most beautiful Renaissance pieces in the museum. The museum also has samples of glass from Egyptian times through the present day, and the displays show the art and manufacturing of glass that has developed over the centuries. For additional information, visit www.museiciviciveneziani.it
  Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Located on Venice’s Grand Canal, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of Europe’s premier museums devoted to modern art. With masterpieces ranging in style from Cubism and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism, the collection has become one of the most respected and visited cultural attractions in Venice. For additional information, visit www.guggenheim-venice.it
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


Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History


Author: Robert D. Kaplan


Description: Kaplan interweaves history, art and culture with his travels through Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece in this regional portrait.



Between Salt Water and Holy Water, A History of Southern Italy


Author: Tommaso Astarita


Description: Astarita captures the fanfare, rivalry and changing fortunes of Sicily from antiquity through Norman, Spanish and Bourbon rule to unification and the 20th century.



Croatia Coast Map


Author: Freytag & Berndt


Description: A nicely shaded map covering the Dalmatian Coast from Porec to Dubrovnik at a scale of 1:200,000, perfect for the complex coastline.



Eyewitness Guide Sicily


Author: DK Publishing, Eyewitness Guides


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



Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasure


Author: Joseph Jay Deiss


Description: An artful and wonderfully written description of the daily life of the Romans at the time of the destruction of Herculaneum.



Lonely Planet Croatian Phrasebook


Author: Lonely Planet Publications


Description: A palm-sized handy guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.



Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A handy, palm-size guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.



Mediterranean Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: This handy color map of the Mediterranean from Spain to the Black Sea and the Levant puts ancient sites and historic ports into context. With notable people, a timeline and descriptions of dozens of places.



Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra


Author: Peter Robb


Description: Combining interviews, research and essays on Sicilian history and culture, this vivid report by journalist Robb is a superb introduction to Italy's glorious, corrupt and troubled south.



On Persephone's Island


Author: Mary Taylor Simeti


Description: Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a year-long journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.



Sicilian Carousel


Author: Lawrence Durrell


Description: Durrell writes with warmth and grace of his journey around the island in the 1950s.



The Balkans, A Short History


Author: Mark Mazower


Description: With eloquence and clarity, Mazower addresses issues of geography, nationalism and nation in this indispensable survey.



The Bridge on the Drina


Author: Ivo Andric, Lovette F. Edwards (Translator)


Description: These linked stories by the Nobel Prize-winning author capture the history and complexity of Christian and Muslim relations during Ottoman occupation. Hewn of stone, the bridge dividing the town of Visegrad was Andric's inspiration.



The Fires of Vesuvius, Pompeii Lost and Found


Author: Mary Beard


Description: With the panache of a gifted classicist, Mary Beard (Wonders of the World) conjures daily life in celebrated Pompeii, not only demolishing with particular relish the many myths that have grown up around the place but also emphasizing the limits of our knowledge. Some things we simply shall never know for certain.



The Greek Cities of Magna Graecia and Sicily


Author: Fausto Longo, Lorena Jannelli, Luca Cerchiai


Description: An engaging history of the Western Greek colonies in Sicily and southern Italy in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., featuring 240 magnificent color illustrations, maps and a site-by-site review of major archaeological sites.



The Leopard


Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa


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



The World of Venice


Author: Jan Morris


Description: Morris displays her talent for research, telling anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited portrait of a beloved city, its history and inhabitants. If you are going to read one book on Venice, we recommend this favorite.





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