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Voyages to Antiquity: Italy, Croatia and the French Riviera

Program Number: 20323RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/19/2015 - 6/4/2015; 5/17/2016 - 6/2/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Italy/Croatia/Greece/France
Price starting at: $6,495.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 39; 15 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

This educational voyage echoes the idea of the “Grand Tour,” a practice popular in the 17th and 18th centuries that introduced Europeans and Americans to the art and culture of ancient Greece, France and Italy. Absorb the splendor of Rome and Venice, the stunning cathedrals of Pisa and Florence, and the ruins of Pompeii. Sail on to France to experience the sparkling Côte d'Azur, the countryside of Provence and the mighty Papal Palace at Avignon.

Activity Particulars

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Venice (Italy), 2 nights, aboard Aegean Odyssey, 13 nights.

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

Days 2-4: Arrival Venice (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Enjoy an insider's excursion of Venice before enjoying a full day to explore the "world's most beauitful city." Lodging: Five-star hotel overlooking Guidecca Canal.

Day 5: Ancona:

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.

Day 6: Split (Croatia):

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

Day 7: Dubrovnik:

Go ashore in Dubrovnik’s old town to find the Baroque Church of St. Blaise, the Cathedral of Dubrovnik and the Rector’s Palace. Sail the clear blue waters off the Dalmatian Coast, and into the Bay of Kotor, a remarkable fjord on the coast of Montenegro.

Day 8: Corfu (Greece)

Examine the Venetian heritage of Corfu as you visit the Old Fortress, the red-domed Agios Spyrídon church and the famous Esplanade.

Days 9-10: At Sea / Taormina (Italy):

On the island of Sicily, discover Taormina’s Greco-Roman theater with its mountainous backdrop and spectacular views of Mount Etna.

Day 11: Sorrento:

Experience Pompeii, engulfed by the ash and lava erupting from Vesuvius in 79AD, and examine the unique record of Roman life preserved here.

Days 12-13: Rome / Florence:

Full-day excursion encompassing the best of Rome's ancient, medieval and baroque treasures. Admire the awe-inspiring duomos of Pisa and Florence.

Days 14-15: At Sea / Marseille (France):

Sail along the French Riviera, passing Monte Carlo and Saint Tropez. Venture to medieval Avignon and step inside its Papal Palace. Continue to Arles and the magnificent Roman arena.

Days 16-17: Nice / disembark / departure:

Enjoy the pleasures of Nice and Monte Carlo independently.

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
   Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
  Venice, Italy 2 nights
   Aegean Odyssey
  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 13 nights
 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
  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 prior: 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 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
  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 $20. As a rough guide you could send around 200 standard emails with no attachments for $20. 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

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Venice, Italy. Program begins at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice that night.
  End of Program:
Nice, France. Program ends after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Aegean Odyssey the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Water bus, approx. 5 Euro.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice/Mestre
  Nearest highway: Highway A4 to Trieste and Milano
  Nearest airport:  Marco Polo Airport
  Transportation to site: Option 1: From Marco Polo Airport, take the ALILAGUNA private water bus shuttle service RED LINE (Airport - Giudecca Hilton) € 16,00 OW /€ 27,00 RT. The trip takes approx. 1 hour 40 minutes. Option 2: Hotel Molino Stucky Venice is at a 25 - 30 minute water taxi ride from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport and costs 110 - 120 Euro. Note: For both options water taxi /Alilaguna pier is located 10 minutes walking distance from the arrival lounge at the airport.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
  Transportation from site: The Aegean Odyssey will provide transfers to the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport (NCE).
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
(Tuesday, May 19)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Wednesday, May 20)
 Morning: Arrival at Marco Polo Airport (VCE). Transfer to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Welcome orientation to the program at 5:00 PM in the hotel lounge.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Venice, Italy
(Thursday, May 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning experience Venice as a Venetian. 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: Road Scholar welcome lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you are free to explore on your own. You may choose to walk to Rialto or simply sip a Bellini at Harry's Bar. Alternatively, a staff member will assist you in joining the optional excursion offered by the ship to Frari Church and Scuola di San Rocco (additional cost, bookable on board).
 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, Lunch

Day 4: Venice, Italy / Embark the Aegean Odyssey
(Friday, May 22)

Note: Upon check-out your luggage will be transferred to your cabin on the ship.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Free time for independent exploration of Venice. Alternatively, the ship will offer an optional excursion to admire Venice's Aristocratic Villas (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Meet the group at the hotel to transfer for embarkation. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Ancona, Italy
(Saturday, May 23)
 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Split, Croatia
(Sunday, May 24)
 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 or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Overnight in Split. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: At sea / Kotor Bay
(Monday, May 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Leaving Split in the early morning, the Aegean Odyssey spends the day cruising the clear blue waters off the Dalmatian coast, passing the stunning shores of the islands of Brac, Korcula, and Hvar.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. In the afternoon, we will cruise through one of the finest natural harbors in Europe. Kotor Bay is sometimes referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord, but the winding bay is actually a submarine river canyon. At one time Kotor Bay was rival to Venice and Dubrovnik for sea power. Stretching between Croatia and Montenegro, the bay offers picturesque vistas of fortified towns and mountains dotted with castles.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Corfu, Greece
(Tuesday, May 26)
 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 or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, you are free to continue enjoying Corfu Town. A drink at the Liston Café is a must.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Late evening departure for Taormina in Sicily. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: At Sea
(Wednesday, May 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A relaxing day enjoying the late spring sunshine and the shipboard guest lectures as the ship makes its way to Sicily.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Attend a talk led by your Road Scholar Group Leader followed by a Road Scholar cocktail party in the Observation Lounge.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Taormina, Sicily
(Thursday, May 28)

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

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: 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).
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Sail to Sorrento and en route the Aegean Odyssey will pass through the Straits of Messina and take you past the living volcano of Stromboli.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sorrento, Italy / Pompeii
(Friday, May 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii 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. During this morning's walking excursion, you will be guided expertly through this spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, 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 theater and political announcements.

Alternatively, if you have already visited Pompeii or simply prefer, you may choose to visit Herculaneum, another city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius (additional details on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Explore the charming, cliff-straddling, port town of Sorrento 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Early evening departure for Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Civitavecchia/Rome, Italy
(Saturday, May 30)

Note: Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites: guests are asked to cover legs and arms. Order of sights visited may vary. Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments. If you prefer, you may elect to visit 'Ostia Antica', once Rome's main port on the Tyrrhenian Sea. This excursion is a bit less active (additional details on board).

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Immerse yourself in the sights of Rome on this full-day guided excursion highlighted by visits inside the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica, as well as a stroll through some of the city's renowned piazzas.

Begin with a drive from port to the Colosseum, beneath the arena, cells once held beasts brought from all over the Empire for gladiatorial combats. Continue to Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica with its towering dome by Michelangelo. Step inside this most important church in Christendom, filled with art and historic masterpieces, a highlight to any visit to the Eternal City. Afterward, explore St. Peter's Square at leisure.
 Lunch: Seek out a trattoria for lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Your afternoon walking excursion encompasses Rome's ancient, medieval and baroque delights, starting at the Trevi Fountain. Legend holds that if you toss a coin just right, you will return to Rome. Stroll to Colonna Square where a 2nd-century marble column celebrates Rome's victory over the Germans. Pass the governmental area and Palazzo Montecitorio en route to the Pantheon, said to have the widest dome in the world. Your final stop is the pride of Baroque Rome: Piazza Navona, home to Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers and Fountain of the Moor, as well as the Fountain of Neptune, which the locals once used for washing their clothes.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Livorno/Florence, Italy
(Sunday, May 31)

Note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments. Instead of this excursion, there is an option to visit Florence's Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia (additional details on board).

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: From the port of Livorno you Journey to Florence. You will explore this fascinating City where art engulfs your senses and stretches your mind at every turn. The birthplace of Renaissance and artistic giants, Florence has an astonishing legacy of art awaiting your discovery.

Begin today's field trip at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Duomo because of its magnificent dome. The fourth largest church in the world, the cathedral was designed by Cambio in 1296, but it was the great Renaissance architect Brunelleschi who gave it its crowning glory, its dome. Next door is the 14th century Gothic Campanile or bell tower, designed by Giotto, and the Baptistry in Romanesque style, with Ghiberti’s Bronze Doors representing scenes from the life of Christ.

Continue to Piazza della Signoria, the most impressive square in Florence and its political center since the 14th century. Surrounding the square are the Palazzo Vecchio, a municipal hall begun in 1299, and the lovely 14th-century Gothic Loggia dei Lanzi, built at the end of the 14th century; it was the Assembly Hall and later the Guardroom of the Lanzi (foot soldiers). Inside the Piazza admire the Fountain of the Neptune by Ammannati and the copy of Michelangelo’s David.

Finally, see Santa Croce, Italy’s largest and most famous Franciscan Gothic church. Many important Italians are entombed here, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: On arrival in Pisa, you will have free time wandering in the amazing Piazza dei Miracoli, by the famous Leaning Tower, viewing it from all angles, as well as the famous Cathedral and Baptistery.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Cruising the French Riviera
(Monday, June 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. In the morning, as the ship makes its way to Marseilles, you will pass close to the coast of Monte Carlo and then continue along the beautiful coastline of the Cote d'Azur passing Nice, St. Tropez and Antibes.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Join friends on deck to trade travel stories, reflect on all you have experienced on this adventure so far, and make plans for your next destination. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Arrive in Marseille by mid-evening.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Marseilles, France
(Tuesday, June 2)

Note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments. There is also an option to visit Marseilles and Aix en Provence instead of the excursion to Avignon and Arles described below (see the shore excursion desk on board for full details).

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Explore the Provençal countryside and two ancient towns on this full-day field trip that visits Avignon with its papal legacies and Arles, once a crossroads of the Roman Empire.

Your adventure starts with a 90-minute drive to Avignon which rose to glory in the Middle Ages, when a series of Frenchborn Popes fled Rome and made the town a base from which they ruled Christendom until 1407. Enjoy views of the Rhone River and Avignon's much-sung-about bridge, Pont St. Benezet. The highlight of the morning is a guided visit of the Pope's Palace with its long, echoing Great Audience Hall, 14th-century wall paintings and Great Chapel. Also enjoy a walk through Palace Square and Horloge Square before continuing to Arles for a delightful lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Though a mere 25 miles from Avignon, the town of Arles seems centuries removed with its well-preserved Roman monuments. You'll see many of them on this afternoon's walking excursion which passes Café de Forum, Republic Square and the 17th-century Town Hall. Enjoy a brief stop at the Church of St. Trophime, noted for its magnificent doors. See the Roman theater and enjoy a guided viewing inside the amphitheater, the largest in Roman Gaul. On your return, you'll understand why Vincent van Gogh spent two years in Arles, enraptured by the color and light of this amazing region.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Villefranche, France (Nice)
(Wednesday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A morning at leisure to enjoy the seaside city of Nice on the French Riviera. Alternatively, you can elect to join the ship's optional excursion to either St. Paul de Vence or to Monte Carlo (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon the ship will offer a transfer to Monte Carlo, famed capital of Monaco, for free time.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on board.
 Evening: Free evening to prepare belongings for disembarkation.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Disembark / Departures
(Thursday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark and transfer to the Nice Airport for the flight home.
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. For additional information, visit
  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 I797 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
  Galleria dell'Accademia
Spanning five centuries, the Galleria dell'Accademia 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
  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. For additional information, visit
  Peggy Guggenheim Collection
A modern art collection in an 18th century Venetian palace, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the most important museum in Italy for European and American art from the first half of the 20th century. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and it presents Peggy Guggenheim's personal collection of 20th century art, masterpieces from the Gianni Mattioli Collection, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, as well as temporary exhibitions. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is owned and operated by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which also operates the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, and the Guggenheim-Hermitage, Las Vegas. 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

A House in Sicily

Author: Daphne Phelps

Description: An old-fashioned memoir of life at Casa Cuseni, the pensione and garden in Taormina run by the indomitable Daphne Phelps, which has been a sanctuary for Tennessee Williams, Betrand Russell and other guests, famous and infamous, since 1947.

A Traveller's History of Croatia

Author: Benjamin Curtis

Description: Curtis untangles with alacrity the complex history of this nation at the crossroads of Europe.

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.

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.

City of Fortune, How Venice Ruled the Seas

Author: Roger Crowley

Description: Roger Crowley spins tales of three centuries of plunder and plague, imperial conquest and piracy in this riveting new history, chronicling the transformation of a tiny city of lagoon dwellers into the richest place on earth.

Europe Grand Tour Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: This regional map of Europe (1:2,000,000) covers the river routes between Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest and Prague in good detail. As a bonus it includes a booklet of city maps of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice and Vienna.

Eyewitness Top Ten Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Coast

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This slim guide, geared for visitors on a short stay, features color photographs and maps.

Eyewitness Top Ten Venice

Author: Gillian Price

Description: A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Venice.

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 their 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.

Pompeii, The Day a City Died

Author: Robert Etienne

Description: This indispensable pocket guide illustrates daily life in the city as revealed by its evocative frescoes, mosaics and treasures.

The Castle of Otranto, A Gothic Story

Author: Horace Walpole

Description: First published in 1764, Walpole's classic Gothic novel takes place in and around the 15th-century castle on the Adriatic.

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 Hired Man

Author: Aminatta Forna

Description: When Duro Kolak encounters a strange car in his small Croatian village of Gost, he offers its British occupants assistance in setting up a summer cottage. But tensions soon develop between the village residents and the foreigners, as painful memories from the Croatian War of Independence are awakened.

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.

Two Towns in Provence

Author: M. F. K. Fisher

Description: Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking these two favorite places with anecdote and loving description.

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