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

Program Number: 18206RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/19/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/3/2015 - 10/16/2015; 10/10/2015 - 10/23/2015; 10/24/2015 - 11/6/2015; 10/31/2015 - 11/13/2015; 4/2/2016 - 4/15/2016; 4/9/2016 - 4/22/2016; 4/16/2016 - 4/29/2016; 4/23/2016 - 5/6/2016; 4/30/2016 - 5/13/2016; 5/10/2016 - 5/23/2016; 5/14/2016 - 5/27/2016; 5/21/2016 - 6/3/2016; 5/28/2016 - 6/10/2016; 9/6/2016 - 9/19/2016; 9/10/2016 - 9/23/2016; 9/17/2016 - 9/30/2016; 9/24/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/1/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/8/2016 - 10/21/2016; 10/15/2016 - 10/28/2016; 10/22/2016 - 11/4/2016; 10/26/2016 - 11/8/2016; 10/30/2016 - 11/12/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $4,499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 31; 12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the beauty of three historic capitals of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance acclaim as local experts lead you on a journey through some of Italy’s greatest cities. Follow the path of legendary artists, scientists and philosophers from the classical remnants of Rome to the preserved treasures of Florence and Venice.




Highlights

• Trace Roman history through the ages as you visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Borghese Museum and the Vatican Museum.
• Journey to Florence and Venice via a high speed EuroStar train, reaching speeds of over 120 mph.
• View the "David" — a Renaissance period masterpiece in Florence — and ride in a gondola through the canals of Venice.



Activity Particulars

Extensive walking in traffic-free urban centers which prevent tourist coaches from parking or loading passengers at sites. The distances traversed on foot can reach 4 mi/day—always interspersed with rest time, typically at a meal. Standing for extended periods of time during site visits. Special attention needs to be paid to the uneven aspect of cobblestone streets. Elevator use in some historic buildings is restricted. Not all staircases have banisters. Venice is unique as a city with no vehicles besides public or private boats that run along the Grand Canal. Extensive walking in Venice includes crossing bridges that span minor canals. As with many things, the effort expended has its aesthetic reward.



Itinerary Summary

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



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

Begin to unravel the multiple layers of Roman history as you examine some of the masterpieces preserved in the National Museum of Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Lectures offer insight on various aspects of Roman culture, architecture and artists, such as Michelangelo and Bernini. Marvel at the stunning Ceiling and the imposing Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum and delight in the art collection at the Borghese Gallery.



Train to Florence
4 nights

Considered the “cradle of the Renaissance,” Florence retains a treasure trove of works by Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Verrocchio, Donatello and Botticelli. Learn from resident professors of art history the development of styles and feast your artistic senses during visits to the National Sculpture Gallery of the Bargello, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia — where the newly restored David is housed. Learn about the Duomo complex and Brunelleschi's Dome. Savor the sights, smells, and tastes of Florence as you stroll through traffic free streets, visiting markets and sampling gelato just steps away from breathtaking churches.



Train to Venice
4 nights
Departure

Journey to Venice via train and then explore the city along its historic and scenic canals. Notice the grandeur of patrician palaces, with arches indicating near-Eastern influence before exploring St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Ducal Palace. On an excursion to the island of Murano observe a master-craftsman shape genuine Venetian glass in a workshop. Docents will illustrate and illuminate the richness of Venetian history, legends, personages, and of course the art. Venice invites you into its maze.




Italy

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



Accommodations
Rome: Four-star hotel near the Piazza della Repubblica, the Termini train station, and the Rome Opera House. Florence: Four-star hotel was an ex-Franciscan convent from the 15th century and its modern restoration showcases the ancient frescoes, stone arches and vaulted ceilings. Venice: Four-star hotel with a terrace and private dock on the Grand Canal.

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

Elaine Ruffolo has been teaching art history in Florence since 1989 and is a popular instructor for students and adults alike. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin and earned a master’s in art history from Syracuse University. Elaine directs the field study programs for Syracuse University in Florence and lectures for various adult programs. She is the resident director of the Smithsonian Institute programs in Italy and is currently working on a travel book of Florence and Tuscany.
 
Pauline Fry

Pauline Fry is an associate professor of English at the Rome campus of the University of Maryland University College. With two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oregon and a master’s in modern literature from Kent State, Pauline has helped develop field-study courses across Europe on the relationship between cities and the works by British and American writers they inspire. A lecturer since 1990, Fry enjoys learning from her Road Scholar participants about their own varied backgrounds.
 
Rocky Ruggiero

Rocky Ruggiero is an art history professor specializing in early Renaissance architecture for American university study abroad programs in Florence. He has appeared in the History Channel series “Engineering an Empire" and in a PBS program focusing on the architecture of the Renaissance. Rocky shares his love of Florentine art as an advisory board member of Friends of Florence, a non-profit group that raises funds for the restoration of various works throughout the city.
 
Jane Zaloga

Jane Zaloga holds degrees in architecture and business administration from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and has done further graduate study at Harvard University. She has received several fellowships to study in Rome and in Florence, including the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. She now lives in Florence and teaches with several American university programs, including Syracuse University and NYU.
 
Rachel Potts

Rachel Potts is a licensed excursion leader in Rome. She graduated from Manchester University (UK) with a bachelor's in philosophy and French, and later studied garden design at the London Gardening School. Having grown up in Rome, she chose to return to Italy and share her knowledge and love of Rome and surrounding areas.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Diana
  Rome, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Rivoli
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Principe
  Venice, Italy 4 nights
 Hotel Diana
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Your hotel in Rome is centrally located near the Piazza della Repubblica, Rome’s Opera House and the Termini train station. The breakfast buffet is served on the top floor with views of the rooftops of Rome and the cupola of St. Peter’s.
  Contact info: Via Principe Amedeo, 4
Rome, NA 00185 Italy
phone: +39 06 47 86 81
web: www.hoteldianaroma.com
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, safe box for valuables, AC/heat with individual controls, and a mini-bar
  Facility amenities: Rooftop lounge affords a panoramic view of Rome. In the spacious lobby, meet for conversation, read an international newspaper or use the internet point. Enjoy a snack, small plate and refreshment at the brasserie in the lobby. Dry cleaning and laundry service available. Free wifi.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season If you plan to book additional nights at the hotel, contact the hotel’s online reservation system directly www.hoteldianaroma.com. Note on the form that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to reserve through online hotel consolidators such as hotels.com or Expedia.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Rivoli
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The centrally located 4 star superior hotel is an ex Franciscan convent from the15th Century. The hotel has undergone a modern restoration that showcases the ancient frescoes, stone arches and vaulted ceilings.
  Contact info: Via della Scala 33
Florence, NA 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 27 861
web: www.hotelrivoli.it
  Room amenities: mini-bar, air conditioning, complimentary toiletries, hair dryer, safe for valuables
  Facility amenities: Fine dining at Ristorante Benedicta accessible from the hotel lobby, patio and small garden, small pool open May - September. Complimentary wi-fi. Laundry service available through the hotel; self-serve wash and dry shop in the neighborhood.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Principe
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Overlooking the Grand Canal, with a splendid terrace on the water, the Hotel Principe, is one of the 4 star hotels in Venice in a perfect position for discovering the charm and beauty of Venice on foot, or for easily reaching the Rialto or St. Mark's Square with a vaporetto, which stops just steps from the hotel.The hotel has a private dock on the Grand Canal for gondola and water taxi access.
  Contact info: Lista di Spagna 146/147
Venice, NA 30121 Italy
phone: +39 041 220 4010
web: www.hotelprincipevenice.it
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, AC/heat individual controls, mini-bar, safe, satellite television, complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and terrace overlook the Grand Canal, snack bar, complimentary internet point in the lobby and free wi-fi throughout the hotel. Laundry service available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system www.hotelprincipevenice.it. Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online hotel consolidators such as hotels.com or expedia.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Lunch provided for morning arrivals. Hotel check in 2:00 pm. Meet in lobby at 4:00 pm for Neighborhood Walk. You will be staying at Hotel Diana that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast. No activities other than transfer to airport. Hotel check out by 11 am. You will be staying at Hotel Principe the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train service from European and Italian points connects to Roma Termini, the main station. A separate line connects the airport to Roma Termini. The hotel is within walking distance from the station and a short taxi ride for luggage considerations.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Nearest city or town:  Rome
  Nearest highway: autostrada
  Nearest airport:  Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino
  Transportation to site: To reach the hotel on your own, from the Rome airport terminal, you have three options: public transportation, shared ride shuttle service and taxi. Public transportation details: The Leonardo Express train goes from the airport to Roma Termini, the main train station in the city center. In the airport terminal public area, follow the signs for the train, purchase tickets at the ticket counter on the station platform, stamp the ticket in the box on the platform, and board the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini. Fare is EUR 14 pp. The ride takes 30 min. 10 minute walk from the train station to the Hotel Diana. For door to door service you have 2 options: shared ride shuttle van or taxi. You can book shuttle service online at www.rome.airport-shuttle.com. Fares are about EUR 27 for 1 person; discounts apply if you book for multiple passengers. Taxi fare for direct service from the airport to the hotel is set by the city at EUR 48. Max 4 persons per taxi.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Nearest city or town:  Venice
  Nearest highway: autostrada
  Nearest airport:  Marco Polo
  Transportation from site: To reach the airport on your own, there is public transportation by bus from Piazzale Roma, the point that connects Venice to the mainland, to the Venice Airport. Piazzale Roma is a 10 min. walk from the Hotel Principe. Note that the walk from the hotel to the bus stop entails crossing a high bridge that has long shallow steps and no ramp. The bus (fare EUR 6; 25 min. ride) leaves you off directly in front of the airport terminal. For direct service from the hotel dock to the airport dock, it is possible to book a water taxi. Fare is approx. EUR 100. Supplemental fees apply for service before 8 am. Max 10 passengers per taxi boat. When the water taxi arrives at the airport dock you can get a cart for the 10 min. walk to the terminal along a covered path. If you are continuing your travels by train, from the hotel you can reach the Venice Santa Lucia train station on foot very easily from the hotel.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Flights depart from North America.
(Saturday, October 31)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Arrivals in Rome the following day.

Day 2: Arrivals, Orientation, Welcome Reception
(Sunday, November 1)

Note: Hotel check-in is available from 2:00 p.m.



   
 Arrive To: Rome airport and clear customs. In the first public area of the arrivals terminal, meet the Road Scholar representative who will lead you to the coach.
 Morning: The group leader will be in the lobby of the hotel to greet arriving travelers. Leave your luggage with the desk clerk and join the group leader for a walk in the neighborhood late morning. Guest check in is available from 2:00 p.m.
 Lunch: We will gather in the lobby at 12:30 where the group leader will lead the way to the hotel restaurant for lunch. Plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: After you have the key to your room, settle in, freshen up and relax, then meet back in the hotel lobby area at 4:00 p.m. for an orientation walk in the neighborhood to identify ATMs, pharmacies, stores, restaurants, etc., The short walk circles back to the hotel where you will gather in the meeting room for a briefing session. The group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions with a Welcome Cocktail (or fruit juice). We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. 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: At the hotel's rooftop restaurant. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Welcome to Rome, Forum and Colosseum, Treasures of the Vatican
(Monday, November 2)

Note: Good walking shoes are a must for the visits to the archaeological sites. Steep and uneven steps to reach the 3rd tier of the Colosseum. You will be on your feet most of 2 hours in the large open area of the Forum. Walk along uneven paths and original pavement of cobblestone.



   
 Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: In the hotel meeting room, begin to unravel the multiple layers of Roman history through the sharp insight of a professor who will set the stage for your explorations. After a short break, board the coach for the brief ride to the closest drop off point in the pedestrian only area of the Colosseum/Forum. A local expert leads the visit to the Colosseum, built in the year 80 CE and unveils some interesting anecdotes of entertainment so many centuries ago.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in the Piazza del Colosseo. A typical Roman menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Guided visit continues to the Roman Forum. The forum dates back to the 7th century BCE. The local expert's description will bring the columns and arches to life as you learn about how the Forum was central to the commercial, civic and religious activity of Rome. At the conclusion of the visit, board a coach back to the hotel. Later in the afternoon in the hotel meeting room an art historian illustrates the Treasures of the Vatican in preparation for a visit to view a portion of the Vatican's immense art collection.
 Dinner: At a characteristic trattoria near the hotel that features regional cooking. Fixed menu, plated table service. Water and a glass of wine are included.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Free afternoon.
(Tuesday, November 3)

Note: Coach drop off point is a few blocks from and an uphill walk to the museum entrance. Reserved entrance time at Vatican Museums diminishes the wait in line. The visit requires negotiating multiple flights of steps and walking the long corridor to the Sistine Chapel (distance is about 1/2 mile). Please note that even with a reserved entrance you can expect crowds as thousands of people visit the museum collections and Sistine Chapel every day of the year.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to the closest drop off point for the Vatican Museums. Meet the local expert who leads the visit of the Museums and Basilica. The extraordinary works of art in the museum collection will amaze you, notable are: Roman statuary (Laocoon, Belvedere Apollo, and gilded bronze Hercules), Raphael's Stanze, and of course Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. If security permits, your guide will lead you out a back way which puts you at the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica, where you will see Michelangelo's Pietà and Bernini's bronze canopy over the main altar. The Vatican issues a morning bulletin detailing which parts of the vast collection may be closed for maintenance, including the passageway from the Sistine Chapel directly to the Basilica entrance. If the stairway is not accessible, we will exit the Museum, and walk along the external Vatican fortress wall to enter the Basilica. At the conclusion of the visit, walk across the Piazza San Pietro to board the coach back to the hotel.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore a museum or a city neighborhood on your own. Suggestions are given on site.
 Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Navona, Trevi, Pantheon, Spanish Piazze, Borghese Gallery
(Wednesday, November 4)

Note: Extensive walking (about a mile) in the heart of Rome's pedestrian only area from coach drop off point and between the area from Piazza Navona to the Spanish Steps. Stairs to reach second floor of the Gallery Borghese.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, a local expert leads the walk in the heart of Rome to four landmarks: Piazza di Spagna, the Baroque Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, Roman temple built in 126 CE. The walk concludes at Piazza Navona, whose buildings are set on the seating of Domitian's stadium.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant just off the elegant Piazza Navona. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Coach to the Borghese Gallery, the private pleasure and reception palace of Cardinal Scipio Borghese, an avid art collector and patron of the young Bernini. Reserved entrance time. On display in the Gallery are important paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, Botticelli and Titian. The highlight of the collection are the emotionally charged sculptures by Bernini, a true evocation of the Baroque. Coach back to the hotel.
 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Diana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Palazzo Massimo, Train to Florence, Neighborhood Walk
(Thursday, November 5)

Note: The Palazzo Massimo is situated right around the corner from the hotel. Few stairs to reach the entrance, elevators inside. Short walk (350 yards) from the hotel to the train station, comfortable ride on the train, short walk (300 yards) to the Florence hotel. The 1/4 mile orientation walk explores the neighborhood of the hotel and the Duomo.



   
 Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
 Morning: Check out of hotel. Your bags will be delivered to the hotel in Florence. Short walk to Palazzo Massimo alle Terme to see a fine collection of ancient Roman art with spacious and light filled exhibition spaces. Notable is the seated bronze boxer and frescoes from Villa Livia, Augustus Caesar's wife's dining room. Walk to a restaurant in the neighborhood of the hotel.
 Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch, fixed menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Stop back at the hotel to pick up your carry-on bags stored in the hotel's safe room. Walk to Termini, the train station. Travel on the train with just your carry-on bag. High speed train to Florence departs at 3:50 pm, arrives at 4:00 pm. Short walk from the Florence train station to the hotel. Check in and settle in. Late afternoon neighborhood walk to orient you to the location of ATMs, pharmacies, stores and shops.
 Dinner: Enjoy Tuscan dishes at Ristorante Benedicta, the fine restaurant in the lobby of the hotel. Fixed 3 course menu of Tuscan fare, plated table service. Water and a glass of wine are included.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Duomo, Medieval Florence, The Medici, Entertainment
(Friday, November 6)

Note: The walk from the hotel to the Duomo is about half a mile. From the Palazzo Borghese the walk to the hotel is 3/4 mile. Casual attire for the Renaissance themed dinner and entertainment.



   
 Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: Walk to the Duomo, the heart of Florence. Meet the local expert for the visit of Florence's cathedral and most famous landmark and another site of interest in the Duomo Museum complex. The museum is currently closed for a major renovation project and scheduled to reopen in November. Nearby is the Market of San Lorenzo, the downtown historical fresh fruit and meat market. Along the road, "bancarelle" vendor carts sell various Florentine specialties: leather, scarves, pottery and souvenirs.
 Lunch: At a restaurant near the Duomo and mercato. Enjoy a 3 course lunch of regional cooking. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Some free time after lunch. A late afternoon classroom session on Medieval Florence and the Medici family at the hotel's meeting room.
 Dinner: Walk to Palazzo Borghese. Imagine yourself attending dinner with Napoleon and his sister Pauline Borghese, (you will remember her from Canova's statue in the Galleria Borghese.) Her house was decorated in Imperial style in anticipation of his visit, which never materialized. Now the Palazzo hosts a multi course dinner in its elegant dining hall, with Renaissance themed music and entertainment featuring a court jester and dancers--all make for a lively entertaining evening. Dinner consists of an antipasto sampler, a choice of first and second course, wine and dessert.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Renaissance Art, Bargello, Uffizi Gallery
(Saturday, November 7)

Note: The walk to the Bargello, about 3/4 mile, traverses the heart of Renaissance Florence. Short walk to the Uffizi. A small elevator (cap. 3 persons) for disabled visitors may be accessible at the Uffizi Gallery. There is a long flight of stairs to reach the exhibition rooms of the gallery. Expect some crowding in the museum; it is a popular destination for art aficionados.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: In the hotel meeting room an art historian gives an overview of medieval and Renaissance art in preparation for the visit to the Uffizi Gallery. The group leader will add on a brief information session to go over the logistics of moving about in Venice. After a short break, set out on foot for the National Museum of the Bargello where an art historian will give insight on Florentine Renaissance sculpture.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. There are a variety of cafés, gelato shops and places for casual dining in the vicinity of the Bargello and Uffizi.
 Afternoon: Meet at the designated time and place for the reserved entrance time for the Uffizi. The visit is self-guided and you are free to spend as much time as you wish. This is the most extensive collection of art, tracing the development from Gothic to medieval to Renaissance to Mannerist paintings in the world. You will find many recognizable masterpieces, including Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation, Botticelli's Birth of Venus and the Primavera, some Titians, Michelangelo's Holy Family, and a few Caravaggios as well as Artemisia Gentileschi. There is a coffee bar at the end of the second corridor, on top of the Loggia, with a wonderful view of the watch tower and Duomo where you can get a refreshment and rest.
 Dinner: At a restaurant in the Piazza della Repubblica enjoy a 3 course meal with regional specialities. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Accademia, Free Afternoon
(Sunday, November 8)

Note: The walk to the Accademia museum is a little over 1/2 mile.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Set out on foot for the Accademia for an onsite lecture on Michelangelo's David, one of the most famous statues in the world. Admire the unfinished statues known as the “Prisoners” because they appear to be forcefully emerging from the marble. After the art historian concludes the explanations, feel free to remain in the Accademia to visit other exhibitions, such as early musical instruments, or the museum book shop.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in the vicinity of the mercato, enjoy a light lunch. Water and a soft drink are included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Florence at your own pace.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, a 3 course meal. Water and wine are included.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rivoli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Venice
(Monday, November 9)

Note: Walk from the hotel to the train station is 350 yards. High speed train to Venice. The walk from the Venice train station (Santa Lucia) to the hotel is about 400 yards.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel, depositing your bags in the lobby. They will be loaded onto a van headed directly to Venice and once there, transferred to a barge to be delivered to the hotel. Set out on foot for the train station. High speed train to Venice departs at 10:30 am, arrives at 12:30 pm. Short walk to the hotel.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Check into your room after lunch. Settle in and meet in the lobby around 4 pm. In the hotel meeting room, a local historian will share insights into Venice's Legacy. Set out with the group leader on a Neighborhood walk that will point out the location of ATMs, pharmacies, stores and vaporetto stops.
 Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: St. Mark's Square, Ducal Palace
(Tuesday, November 10)

Note: Ride the public vaporetto to St. Mark's Square. Walks in Venice involve crossing multiple bridges that span the canals. The visit through the many rooms of the Ducal Palace requires climbing a few flights of stairs. Narrow passages through the rooms of the Prisons and over the Bridge of Sighs.



   
 Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: Travel along Venice's famed Grand Canal on a vaporetto boat (Venice's public transportation system) to St. Mark's Square. Meet the local expert for the visit of the Ducal Palace, seat of civic and political power. Doges embellished the residential quarters and ceremonial chambers of the Great Council with lavish artwork, including murals by Tintoretto and Veronese. The visit concludes in the spacious courtrooms and the Prisons, connected by the Bridge of Sighs. Those convicted of crimes walked from the courtroom to prison across the infamous bridge, so called because of the prisoners reaction knowing it was their last glimpse of light and air.
 Lunch: Sample some Venetian dishes at a trattoria. Fixed menu, plated table service.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon. Use the vaporetto pass to ride up and down the Grand Canal or explore the Lido. The pass issued to you is valid for unlimited rides on the major routes during your stay in Venice.
 Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel. Choose from a select menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Frari and Scuola Grande S. Rocco, Rialto, Gondola Ride
(Wednesday, November 11)

Note: Walks in Venice involve crossing multiple bridges that span the canals. Assistance offered getting in and out of the gondola.



   
 Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
 Morning: Ride the vaporetto to the stop near the Frari. Onsite lecture at the Church of the Frari where you can admire works by Titian and Bellini. The guided visit continues to the nearby Scuola Grande di S. Rocco. Scuole are lay charitable organizations whose meeting halls were decorated by the great Venetian painters. Learn about their activities and some of their illustrious members. The guided walk concludes at the Rialto Market.
 Lunch: At a restaurant near the Rialto, sample a variety of Venetian dishes. Fixed menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Short walk to San Marco for an expert-led visit of the cathedral. Built during the 13 C.,there are more than 45,000 sq. ft. of mosaics adorning the church, giving the impression of streets of gold. Experience the city from a different point of view as you enjoy a gondola ride along the canals of Venice. Some free time before your independent dinner.
 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Master Glassblower Demonstrates the Craft in Murano
(Thursday, November 12)

Note: Enjoyable boat ride to the island, minimal effort to walk around the streets of Murano. Low bridges to cross if you explore more of Murano or venture to Burano on your free time.



   
 Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
 Morning: Vaporetto to the island of Murano for a glassblowing demonstration by master artisans. Some free time to stroll the narrow streets along the canals.
 Lunch: On your own. There are various cafes and trattorias on the small island of Murano.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon. With your vaporetto pass you can easily take the boat from Murano to explore the island of Burano, whose leaning tower rivals that in Pisa. Here you can find Venetian lace and small shops where you can watch the crafters create their handiwork. Or, return to main cluster of islands that make up Venice by getting off the vaporetto at San Marco or the stop closest to the hotel.
 Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our farewell dinner at the hotel. Fixed menu, plated table service. Wine is included with this meal to toast new friendships.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Principe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Program Concludes
(Friday, November 13)

Note: Transfer by water taxi from the hotel's private dock. Your bags will be loaded onto and off the boat but at the airport dock there are some steps to reach the road. Under a covered path, the walk to the terminal (about 300 yards) flanks the parking lot. If you have trouble managing your luggage on the flat path you can use a baggage cart. Drop in a euro coin to release the trolley at the airport dock; it will be returned to you when you lock the trolley at the terminal's baggage cart stand.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel; continental style for participants with early morning departures.
 Morning: Program concludes. Departure transfer to Venice Airport.
   
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


Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History


Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)


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



Blue Guide Concise Italy


Author: Paul Blanchard


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



Brunelleschi's Dome


Author: Ross King


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



Eyewitness Guide Italy


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.



Italy Map


Author: Borch Maps


Description: A convenient laminated map of Italy at a scale of 1:800,000 with excellent topographic detail, an index and large maps of Sicily and Sardinia.



Italy in Mind


Author: Alice Powers


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



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.



La Bella Lingua


Author: Dianne Hales


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



Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling


Author: Ross King


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



The Art of the Renaissance


Author: Peter Murray


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



The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings


Author: R.W.B. Lewis


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



The Colosseum


Author: Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard


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



The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall


Author: Christopher Hibbert


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



The Raphael Affair


Author: Iain Pears


Description: In the first of the popular Jonathan Argyll art mysteries, Argyll sneaks into a small church near Campo dei Fiori identify an undiscovered Raphael -- unfortunately for him, the painting has disappeared.



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.



Venice: An Illustrated Miscellany


Author: Philippe Sollers


Description: An illustrated literary stroll through the cultural heritage of Italy’s most romantic city that leads from Shakespeare through Henry James, Simone de Beauvoir and Antonio Vivaldi.





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