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Voyages to Antiquity: Islands and Empires of the Western Mediterranean

Program Number: 21661RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/10/2015 - 6/27/2015;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: Spain/Gibraltar/France/Italy
Price starting at: $6,595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 41; 16 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

Sun-washed villages peek over rugged sea cliffs. Moorish palaces and Gothic cathedrals stand as reminders of past kingdoms. Island peoples carry on cultures shaped by settlers and invaders through the centuries. Experience these and more intersections of history and beauty on this voyage to Spain, Gibraltar, Corsica and Italy.

Activity Particulars

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

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Madrid (Spain), 2 nights; Seville, 2 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 11 nights; Rome (Italy), 1 night.

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

Days 2-3: Arrival Madrid (Spain):

Begin your adventure in Spain’s cosmopolitan capital. Savor two staples of Spanish culture: a tapas dinner and a flamenco show. Lodging: 4-star hotel.

Days 4-6: Train to Seville / embark Aegean Odyssey:

A high-speed train zips you to the Andalusian capital. Experience the imposing Gothic Cathedral and the Moorish Alcázar palace, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Take a field trip to Córdoba to find the Great Mosque-Cathedral and the old Jewish quarter. Lodging: Stylish, centrally located hotel.

Days 7-8: Guadalquivir River / Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory):

Sail down the Guadalquivir and into the Atlantic. Explore the tiny territory famed for the Rock of Gibraltar and its Barbary macaques.

Day 9: Málaga (Spain):

Journey through the countryside to the Alhambra, an opulent palace-fortress built by the Moors. Stroll through its gardens and exquisite interiors.

Days 10-11: At Sea / Majorca:

Learn the history of this isle settled by the Romans, conquered by the Byzantines and occupied by the Moors. Visit the vast Gothic cathedral.

Days 12-13: At Sea / Corsica (France):

Step ashore in the Corsican town of Bonifacio. You may wish to explore the Haute Ville (“upper town”), built on a promontory overlooking the sea.

Day 14: Elba (Italy):

This Tuscan island is best known as Napoleon’s place of exile. Long before, Romans, Etruscans and Carthaginians vied for control of it.

Day 15: Portofino:

Sail along the rugged Ligurian Coast for a look at the five cliff-top villages known as the Cinque Terre. Go ashore to discover picturesque Portofino.

Day 16: Pisa and Florence:

Venture inland to medieval Pisa with its iconic leaning tower. Continue to Florence, the heart of the Italian Renaissance, for a walking excursion.

Days 17-18: Rome / disembark / departure:

By coach and on foot, experience ancient treasures including the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Step into Roman homes that are 1,000 years old. Lodging: Modern, centrally located hotel.

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
   Meliá Galgos
  Madrid, Spain 2 nights
   Meliá Sevilla
  Seville, Spain 2 nights
   Aegean Odyssey
  Seville, Spain
Gibraltar, Gibraltar
Málaga, Spain
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea
Palma, Majorca, Spain
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea
Bonifacio, Corsica, France
Elba, Italy
Portofino, Italy
Livorno, Italy
11 nights
   Hotel Genova
  Rome, Italy 1 night
 Meliá Galgos
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the chic Barrio Salamanca, close to the main Paseo de la Castellana, the Meliá Galgos is a recently renovated 4-star hotel. It is surrounded by a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and shops, and there are two metro stations nearby providing easy access to all areas of the city.
  Contact info: Calle de Claudio Coello, 139
28006 Madrid,   Spain
phone: +34 915 62 66 00
  Room amenities: Each room has a full bathroom with a make-up mirror, toiletries set, and a hairdryer, flat screen television, telephone, pillow menu, safe box, minibar, and complimentary WIFI.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers 24-hour reception, lobby, bar, two restaurants, fitness center with sauna, hot tub and steam room, small roof terrace, meeting rooms and business facilities with printers (for a fee), complimentary WIFI, and air-conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  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

 Meliá Sevilla
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of Seville opposite the Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza España and very close to the University (Old Tobacco Factory), the Alcazar, the Barrio de Santa Cruz district, the Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies, the new Meliá Sevilla is the perfect choice for your business and leisure trips, thanks to its excellent location in the city centre, its fully equipped and comfortable facilities and the quality of its services.
  Contact info: Dr. Pedro de Castro, 1
Seville 41004,   Spain
phone: +34 95 4421511
  Room amenities: Each room has 24 hour room service, individually controlled air conditioning, luxury bedding, satellite television, telephone, free high speed WiFi Internet, mini bar, laundry service, an iron and ironing board (on request), safe box, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers 24-hour front desk service, two restaurants and a bar, lobby, free high speed WiFi Internet, laundry service, outdoor pool with poolside bar, spa and gym, and a lounge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 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 $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

 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
  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 after: 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 out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Madrid, Spain. Meet at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Meliá Galgos that night.
  End of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hotel Genova the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Madrid
  Transportation to site: A taxi from the airport to central Madrid costs 30 Euro. Alternatively, take the Metro Line 8 from the airport to Nuevos Minsterios station. From Nuevos Ministerios, the Meliá Galgos hotel is a 10 minute taxi ride, costing approx. 10 Euros. Tickets can be purchased at the station and cost 5 Euro.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation from site: It is a short walk to the Termini central station from which you can take the train Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport. If you wish to hire a private car (57 Euro for transfers between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM), you may contact Italian Details at or 011-39-06-89087926.
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 10)
 In Transit: Overnight flights from the U.S. to Spain. Please refer to your individual itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

Day 2: Arrive Madrid / Welcome
(Thursday, June 11)
 Arrive To: Arrival at Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) - about 8 miles from the city center. Please refer to the “Travel Details/Transportation” section in this packet for information about transfers.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment, then take some time to freshen up and relax before Orientation. Your Group Leader will be on hand to welcome you and assist as needed.

Orientation: We gather in the hotel lobby at 5:00 PM for a welcome orientation to the program. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule including any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have.

Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant to include a plated 3-course meal featuring local specialties inclusive of mineral water and Spanish wine.
Accommodations: Meliá Galgos
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Madrid, Spain
(Friday, June 12)

Note: In the unlikely event that the Royal Palace is closed to the public due to a royal event, a museum visit will be substituted in its place.

 Breakfast: At the hotel. Enjoy a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals.
 Morning: Morning panoramic sightseeing visit of Madrid including Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid's chic modern district, the Paseo del Prado, also known as the Triangle of Art, the Plaza de Cibeles and Town Hall, La Gran Vía, Madrid's theatre district, and Almudena Cathedral. Visit the stunning Royal Palace, the largest in Europe by floor area and containing a spectacular collection of artwork, as well as furnishings.
 Lunch: Free time for lunch on your own; perhaps explore local fare in Old Madrid at the San Miguel Market.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an optional walking excursion with your Group Leader to the majestic 17th century Plaza Major with its three-story residences and statue of Felipe III. Next, on to Puerta del Sol, one of the most well known landmarks in Madrid. Originally named for the gate in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century, now the city's busiest plaza and the center of the Spanish road system, from which all distances are measured.
 Dinner: Enjoy an introduction to Flamenco with a brief lecture and demonstration followed by a tapas dinner and a Flamenco show.
Accommodations: Meliá Galgos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Train to Seville, Spain
(Saturday, June 13)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we transfer to Madrid's Atocha station to board a high-speed train to Seville. The roughly 300 mile journey takes approximately 2 1/2 hours.
 Lunch: At the hotel upon arrival.
 Afternoon: Check-in to hotel and enjoy some time for relaxing before heading out with your Group Leader to explore nearby Maria Luisa Park and the impressive Plaza de España, built for the World Expo in 1929, and a fine example of typical Sevillan architecture and incorporating traditional Andalucían ceramic tile.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.
Accommodations: Meliá Sevilla
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Seville, Spain / Córdoba
(Sunday, June 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy the rolling plains of the Andalucían countryside during this morning's transfer to Córdoba. Today's full-day field trip will include the Mezquita, a medieval Islamic mosque that was converted into a Catholic cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite. Next, explore Córdoba's Jewish quarter where this population flourished between from the 10th century until their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Its historic synagogue built in Mudéjar style is a memorial to the nearly 500 years of peaceful coexistence of Christians, Jews and Muslims in this city. There will also be time to visit the Alcázar, formerly a Visigoth fortress before falling to Umayyads conquerors and much later – after its expansion – it served as one of the primary residences of Isabel I and Ferdinand II.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Visit Viana Palace, formerly housing nobility and now a National Historic Monument. It is oft referred to as the Museum of the Patios, for its twelve separate 'patios' or garden rooms, each with their own unique design. There will be some free time after this visit for independent exploration of Córdoba before meeting the coach for the transfer back to Seville.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own upon return to Seville.
Accommodations: Meliá Sevilla
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Seville, Spain / embark the Aegean Odyssey
(Monday, June 15)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Seville's oldest neighborhood, the Barrio Santa Cruz. Meander its labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that open onto beautiful plazas. During medieval times, this neighborhood was the Jewish quarter and it is home to many of Seville's oldest churches. Visit its cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral – and the third largest church – in the world. In 1898 it became the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. Next, visit the spectacular Moorish Alcázar Royal Palace and gardens -- the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Originally a fort built by the Almohad Dynasty, it is one of the best remaining examples of Mudéjar architecture.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: After lunch, embark the Aegean Odyssey. Meet in the "Observation Lounge" at 5:00 PM for a brief orientation to the ship.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Seville, Spain / cruise the Guadalquivir River
(Tuesday, June 16)

Note: Due to tides, the ship might need to sail in the morning, in which case there will be no free time.

 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Free time for independent exploration of Seville.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Cruise the Guadalquivir River, the second longest river with its entire length in Spain, en route to Gilbraltar.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Gibraltar
(Wednesday, June 17)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Gibraltar, Gib, The Rock: this tiny British Overseas Territory at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula attracts nearly 12 million visitors a year, roughly 400 visitors per citizen.

A short drive brings you to the cable car station in the center of town. Enjoy a fantastic panoramic view from Top Station, located on the site of a World War II gun emplacement. During your short ride to the top, you can see Africa, Spain and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.

Once back in town, drive to the Nature Reserve towards the area known as the Apes' Den. En route, see the beautiful red and white striped lighthouse that dominates the landscape at Europa Point. First lit in 1941, the lighthouse was a welcomed addition for sailors who knew the difficulty of maneuvering around Gibraltar Bay. Sharing the grounds is the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe, another important monument for the sailors. Before the lighthouse was built, it was the glow from within this little chapel that would guide them.

No visit to Gibraltar would be complete without seeing the only free-roaming monkeys in Europe. The Barbary Apes have been entertaining visitors to Gibraltar with their playful antics for years and have mysteriously inhabited the area for centuries.

Then to the area known as the Upper Galleries, which includes the Great Siege Tunnels. Walk through the tunnels carved by the British out of solid limestone as a sanctuary from the Spanish attempting to retake the island. This defensive system was begun on May 25, 1782 and stands as a testament to the hardships endured during the Great Siege.

Lastly, visit the Gibraltar Museum, built in 1930. The museum contains excellent displays and artifacts that chronicle the area's turbulent history. Surprisingly, an excavation revealed that the museum was actually built on the site of Turkish Baths, which date back to the 14th century - you can view their remains during your visit.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration in Gibraltar.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Málaga, Spain (Granada)
(Thursday, June 18)

Note: If preferred, you can elect to enjoy a panoramic excursion of Málaga and the Picasso Museum instead of visiting the Alhambra (details on board).

 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Leave the port of Málaga and drive through the wonderful landscape of Andalusia passing endless fields of olive trees and picturesque villages. Your journey takes you to one of the most magical places in the world and the most outstanding symbol of Moorish heritage in Spain: the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a palace, a fortress and home of the Nasrid Sultans. The Nasrid Dynasty (1238-1492), was the last Islamic sultanate in the Iberian Peninsula and the Nasrid Sultans chose this site for their court as it was the ideal place from which to keep watch over the capital of their kingdom and the surrounding area. From the beginning of the 13th century, the original fortress grew into a huge walled site that was clearly intended to be both a palace and court.

Within this gradual change, different stages of development, grandeur and decadence can clearly be seen through the various works of art and buildings erected over the years. The Alhambra was not a single construction, but rather the result of an evolution of successive reforms and extensions. Your guide will take you inside the “Alqala hamra," meaning "red castle" where you will be able to visit the Nazaries Palaces with intricately carved stucco walls, knotted ceilings, elaborate honeycomb vaulting, and beautiful courtyards; “Serallo," the official residence of the Sultan and the Harem, which surrounds the famous "Patio de los Leones," with its fountains feeding water through the mouths of 12 lions (representing months of the year), and many other wonderful sites within the fortress.

Continuing on, the excursion will visit the “Generalife Palace” which was build as the summer paradise for the Sultans of Granada. Its lovely terraces, grottoes, flowerbeds and fabulous fountains will make you feel the glamor of the Moorish inhabitants.
 Lunch: Enjoy a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, there’s a panoramic motorcoach excursion around the city of Granada before returning to Málaga.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Midnight departure for Palma.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: At sea
(Friday, June 19)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: At sea. Stretch your body and mind during early morning yoga. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader in the Observation Lounge.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: 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.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Palma, Majorca
(Saturday, June 20)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Get an overview of Majorca's capital from the sweeping vistas at Bellver Castle to the architectural wonders of La Seu Cathedral. This half-day excursion begins with a drive to 14th-century Bellver Castle, poised 500 feet above Palma and unique among Spanish castles for being entirely round. Bellver means "lovely view" and it is the perfect photo stop for a picture of Palma city and the entire bay.

Drive along the Maritime Promenade to the oldest part of Palma and La Seu Cathedral, built on the site of a mosque. This Gothic masterpiece was started in 1230 by King James of Aragon and completed over 300 years later. Enjoy a guided visit of the interior, with its frescoes, paintings and tombs of Majorcan kings. Above the great nave is a distinctive canopy by Antoni Gaudí, who participated in the 20th-century remodeling. Highlights include the Mayor and Mirador doorways with sculptures by Guillermo Sagrera and the 9-bell tower with its five-ton "N'Eloi" bell. Continue on a walking excursion of old town's meandering streets past stately mansions. Then we head to the area of Palma's bullfighting arena, modeled on Rome's Colosseum, where you'll have free time to shop for such souvenirs as Majorca's exquisite man-made pearls.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to further explore Palma on your own. Alternatively, join one of the two optional excursions offered by the ship to either Valldemossa or Drach Caves (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: The ship departs Palma at midnight so there is plenty of time to explore independently.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: At Sea
(Sunday, June 21)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: At sea. Find your way to one of the ship's lounges for a conversation with fellow travelers.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library. In the early evening, attend a Road Scholar Cocktail party in the Observation Lounge.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship makes its way to Bonifacio.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Bonifacio, Corsica
(Monday, June 22)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Enjoy some free time on the island of Corsica. Perhaps take the wheel train up to the oldest part of Bonifacio giving you an overview of this charming town, passing the Bosco quarter with the St. Francis convent and the strange, but fascinating cemetery, dedicated to the mariners. On a clear day you might also enjoy a panoramic view of Corsica’s closest neighbor – the Italian island of Sardinia.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Cruise the Iles Lavezzi & Maddalena Islands characterized by rocky granite terraine and clear blue waters.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Elba, Italy
(Tuesday, June 23)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Follow the path of Napoleon Bonaparte as you explore the island where he was exiled from 1814 to 1815. The highlight is a walking excursion that visits the Emperor's principal residence, an elaborate villa overlooking the city, much of it unchanged from when he lived here. Start your adventure with a scenic drive from Portoferraio, the main town and port, to Golfo Stella. Visit the fishing harbor of Porto Azzuro, dominated by a medieval fortress. Wander the charming streets where shops feature crafts of minerals and crystals mined in Elba's mountains. Continue to Punta delle Grotte, the ruins of a Roman villa, for magnificent views of Portoferraio, which Greek mythology called Argos, port of the Argonauts.

Your walking excursion of Portoferraio begins in the Old Town and visits sites of Napoleon's exile. While his stay was short, he left a lasting heritage as you'll see in your visit to Villa dei Mulini with its original art, furniture and library filled with the books he loved, or the San Martin Napoleon Museum. Also visit the first-floor apartment where he stayed when he first arrived on Elba. On your walk see such landmarks as the star-shaped Fort Stella designed by Cosimo di Medici, the theater Napoleon built and historic Piazza Cavour.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to relax on board or for independent exploration of Elba.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Early evening departure for the Italian Riviera. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Cruising Cinque Terre / Portofino, Italy
(Wednesday, June 24)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Sail along the rugged Ligurian Coast for a look at the five cliff-top villages known as the Cinque Terre.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Sitting on a peninsula in the Tigullio Gulf east of Genoa is the picturesque, half moon shaped seaside village of Portofino. Originally founded by the Romans, today it is known as a resort of the rich and famous, and is filled with boutiques, restaurants, cafes and luxury hotels including the world-famous Hotel Splendido, situated high up on a cliff with spectacular views. At sea level, beautiful pastel houses line the shores of the harbor, making it one of the most perfect, most photogenic fishing ports in the Mediterranean. It has been a magnet for Europe’s beau monde for decades, from Rex Harrison to Elizabeth Taylor.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Late evening departure for Livorno.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Livorno, Italy / Pisa and Florence
(Thursday, June 25)

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: Aboard the ship.
 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: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Early evening departure for Rome. Free time to prepare belongings for disembarkation.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Disembark / Rome, Italy
(Friday, June 26)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Disembark in Civitavecchia and transfer to Rome. Morning panoramic sightseeing excursion through the fabulous city of Rome.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: During this afternoon'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.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Departures
(Saturday, June 27)
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Rome's Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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 Delicate Truth

Author: John Le Carre

Description: A counter-terrorist operation, code-named Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar in this latest by Le Carre.

A Traveller's Companion To Madrid

Author: Hugh Thomas (Editor)

Description: This spritely anthology of eyewitness accounts -- in diaries, letters, memoirs and novels -- covers palaces and neighborhoods, customs, manners and morals of the city, revealing its geography, history and spirit.

A Traveller's History of Spain

Author: Juan Lalaguna

Description: A swift survey from prehistory through the Romans, Goths and Moors to the present.

Architecture of the Renaissance, From Brunelleschi to Palladio

Author: Bertrand Jestaz

Description: Originating in Florence, the flowering of architecture in 15th-century Italy revolutionized the look of European cities and the mindsets of their citizens. This lavishly illustrated pocket book presents the people, the time and its monuments in hundreds of color photographs and engravings.

Bread and Oil, A Celebration of Majorcan Culture

Author: Tomas Graves

Description: An appreciative account of peasant traditions, especially food, in rural Majorca. Author Tomas Graves, the son of Robert Graves, was raised on the Spanish island.

Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life

Author: Frances Mayes

Description: Twenty years later Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.

Eyewitness Guide Spain

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb, colorful guide covering all of Spain features bright photography, dozens of maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.

Eyewitness Top Ten Florence & Tuscany

Author: Reid Bramblett

Description: A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Florence and the surrounding area.

Eyewitness Top Ten Rome

Author: Jeffrey Kennedy, Reid Bramblett

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

Ghosts of Spain

Author: Giles Tremlett

Description: Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interviews, anecdotes and observation.

Granite Island

Author: Dorothy Carrington

Description: Carrington's indelible account of the history and people, myths and magic of rugged Corsica.

Madrid, The History

Author: Jules Stewart

Description: Jules Stewart sketches the history of a beloved city from Mayrit to Madrid, the Bourbons, Franco and beyond. With suggested whirlwind itinerary for Madrid in Two Days (and Nights).

Mediterranean Cruises Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula, the Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.

Only in Spain, A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir About Food, Flamenco and Falling in Love

Author: Nellie Bennett

Description: In this exuberant memoir, an enthusiastic young Australian discovers a passion for Spanish culture (especially flamenco) as she explores Seville and Madrid.

Spain, The Root and the Flower

Author: John A. Crow

Description: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.

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.

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