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The Magic of Italy: A Grandparent Adventure by Riverboat

Program Number: 21395RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/28/2015 - 7/7/2015; 7/3/2015 - 7/12/2015; 7/8/2015 - 7/17/2015; 7/18/2015 - 7/27/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; Intergenerational
Meals: 21; 8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 11 - 15 years of age.

Benvenuti in Italia! Let the River Po lead you and your grandchild on an unforgettable journey among the canals of enchanting northern Italy. Get your first taste of Italy in beautiful Verona, then step aboard a river barge for a five-night voyage back through the centuries, floating past tiny villages and lush landscapes and tasting the many flavors they produce. Come ashore again in Venice to learn about the canals, bridges, lagoon and medieval streets of one of Europe’s most magical cities.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 miles on city walks, sometimes on uneven paving stones, bridges, steps.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Verona, 3 nights; aboard MS Michelangelo, 5 nights.

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

Days 2-4: Arrival Verona / Lake Garda and the Olive Coast:

Familiarize yourself with the language and customs of Italy in a lesson with a native speaker. Discover sites and monuments related to Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” on an expert-led walk through Verona and attend a concert in a historic venue in Verona. Visit the medieval village of Lazise on the shores of Lake Garda, with a stop at the Bardolino Oil Museum to witness firsthand the production of olive oil, and taste the products at a local winery. Lodging: Four-star hotel in a converted monastery on the outskirts of Verona.

Day 5: Padova / coach to Venice / embark MS Michelangelo:

In historic Padova, see one of Italy's oldest universities and visit the Scrovegni Chapel, host to a series of Giotto frescoes completed by Giotto in his later years. Rendezvous with the vessel in Venice.

Day 6: Sailing the River Po / Chioggia:

Journey to Chioggia, a Venice in miniature with canals, bridges and narrow streets.

Day 7: Ferrara / Bologna:

Visit Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 14th century, enjoy an Italian cooking class. Admire the turrets and porticos of Bologna, the gastronomic and intellectual heart of northern Italy, dating from the 10th century.

Days 8-10: Adria / Venice / disembark / departure:

Return to Venice to explore the famous Doge's Palace, Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs and Rialto. Conclude with an excursion to the charming lagoon island of Murano.


The Michelangelo cruises on the Po and Venetian Lagoon. All cabins are located above water level and offer panoramic views of the scenery, and spacious and comfortable accommodations. Common areas include a restaurant where lunch and dinner are served, and lounge-bar area. The Sun Deck is equipped with recliners and deck chairs.

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

Thomas Randall got hooked on long holidays while in college, and has turned his love for travel into a lifestyle. He works all over Europe as an educational excursion leader and has started a website that allows him to share his experiences, as well as offer travel tips and advice from around the world. An avid photographer, Thomas’s worldwide adventures are the perfect backdrop and training that makes him an energetic, insightful and witty Group Leader.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Veronesi La Torre
  Verona, Italy 3 nights
   CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
  Venice, Italy
Polesella, Italy
Taglia di Po, Italy
Venice, Italy
5 nights
 Hotel Veronesi La Torre
Type: Hotel
  Description: Converted Monastery, refurbished to a good standard, with modern facilities, swimming pool and garden area.
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: Via Monte Baldo, 22
Dossobuono di Villafranca
Near Verona,  37062 Italy
phone: +39 (0)45 860 4811
  Room amenities: Room facilities include: •Direct phone line •Cable LCD and Sky TV •Complimentary Wi-Fi •Refrigerated mini bar (for a charge) •Electric kettle and herbal teas •Hair dryer •In-room electronic safe suitable for a laptop computer, plus outlet •Comfortable and modern beds •Thick terry bathrobe •Air conditioner •Hotel amenity kit
  Facility amenities: The 4 star hotel is a converted Monastery, located on the outskirts of Verona in several acres of gardens. Facilities include a swimming pool, café-bar, restaurant and complimentary Wireless internet connection.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: On request On request

 CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Type: Riverboat
  Description: The MS Michelangelo sails on the Po and Venetian Lagoon. Croisi vessels do not have life boats on board, as the bodies of water on which we travel are small, and life jackets provide appropriate flotation and protection in case of emergency. Croisi vessels also do not have medical staff on board. In case of an emergency, the purser will immediately contact a doctor or nurse on land and the ship will stop at the nearest possible landing point to facilitate emergency medical attention. Every ship has a defibrillator on board and at least two people on the vessel are trained to use it.
  Ship Information: Year Built:2000 Year Refurbished:2011 Length:361 feet Width: 37 feet Cabins:78 Passengers:158 Cabin Size: 118 sq. feet
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourd,   France
phone: +33 388.764.197
  Room amenities: All cabins have individual controls for AC and heat. Cabins are equipped with satellite television, a radio, a hairdryer and a safe for your valuables. The private en-suite facilities include a shower, toilet, sink, and are provided with towels, but not washcloths. There is no iron provided on the ship. Each cabin is provided with two adult and two children life jackets.
  Facility amenities: Amenities include: lounge bar with a dance floor, dining room, sundeck with deckchairs, gift shop, and free WiFi on board. Please note that the WiFi will be slow and often spotty. Laundry facilities are not available on board. Also included: central heating, 220V electricity, air conditioning, radar, and radiophone.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after:  N/A

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program Starts at 4pm in the Verona Hotel You will be staying at Hotel Veronesi La Torre that night.
  End of Program:
Program Ends after breakfast on the River Cruise in Venice You will be staying at CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: ATVO bus or a taxi from Venice Airport to the Mestre Train station. From there, a direct train will take you to Verona. A taxi will be required from Verona Train station to the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Verona
  Transportation to site: Bus Transfer from arrival airport to Verona included for all passengers booking flights with Road Scholar. If you can't take the group transfer, you can get a bus or taxi from the airport to Mestre station (about 2 miles from airport) and take a train to Verona. There is a train that runs hourly from Mestre to Verona Porta Nuova station. Then you can take a taxi to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Venice
  Transportation from site: Bus Transfer from Venice Port to airport included for all passengers booking flights with Road Scholar. If you can't take the group transfer, please take a taxi from the port to the airport (about 40-50€ per taxi).
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: Arrival in Italy and transfer to your hotel near Verona
(Wednesday, July 8)
 Afternoon: Welcome and Orientation meeting at your hotel.
 Dinner: At your hotel
 Evening: Join us this evening for an outdoor performance at the emblematic 2000 year old Roman Amphitheatre - Arena de Verona. (Dress Code - Smart casual.) Note: this is a stone/marble Amphitheater with many steps to access the seating areas. Seating is on stone steps and cushions will be hired. Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes. The performance is Opera, Aida.
Accommodations: Hotel Veronesi La Torre
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Verona - Arena di Verona and evening performance
(Thursday, July 9)

Note: Approximately 1.5 miles of walking during the city tour.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Discover the sites and monuments related to the legend of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet during this morning's guided walking tour of Verona. See the famous balcony in Juliet's house and Juliet's tomb, alleged scene of their tragic demise . Later visit the city's renowned and remarkably well preserved Roman Arena & Theater and the monumental 16th Century city walls and gates.
 Lunch: Enjoy typical Italian Pizza at a local Pizzeria in Verona
 Afternoon: Take advantage of some free time before transferring back to your hotel
 Dinner: Dinner at your hotel in Verona
 Evening: Enjoy an evening performance in Verona. The exact time, name and venue of the performance will be confirmed in the final mailing (5 weeks prior to departure).
Accommodations: Hotel Veronesi La Torre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lake Garda and the Olive Coast.
(Friday, July 10)
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Today we depart early morning for the splendid village of Lazise and the crenellated walls and towers of the medieval Scala Castle. Stop at the famous Bardolino Oil Museum to see first-hand the production of olive oil - an essential ingredient in every Italian recipe. Later discover the secrets of viticulture as we tour a local winery and taste some of the products of the region (children may taste the grape juice) . Transfer to the stunning lakeside town of Garda for some free time and lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: After a short walking tour of Garda, we board a pleasure boat to the town of Sirmione, from where you can enjoy the city surrounded by the waters of the lake.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant near Lake Garda and return to the Verona area to your hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Veronesi La Torre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Padova - Embark your River Cruise
(Saturday, July 11)

Note: Approximately 1 mile of walking on the city visit of Padova. 1 hour cruise from Venice San Basilio to Venice 7 Martyrs quay

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Check out of the hotel this morning and transfer to the historic city of Padova for a guided visit. See one of Italy's oldest universities, founded in the 13th Century and visit The Scrovegni Chapel, a masterpiece in the history of Italian and European art, dating from the 14th century, and host to one of the most comprehensive series of frescoes completed by Giotto in his later years.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in Padova
 Afternoon: Transfer to Venice and embark your River Cruise at the Venezia San Basilio Quay.
 Dinner: Enjoy a welcome drink followed by dinner on board the MS Michelangelo
 Evening: This evening the riverboat cruises up the Lagoon to the Quay of 7 Martyrs, a short stroll from St Mark's Square, from where you can enjoy a free evening in Venice.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Sailing from Venice
(Sunday, July 12)

Note: 5 hours morning cruise from Venice across the lagoon to Chioggia. 4 hour evening cruise to Polesella.

 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: Today's itinerary starts with a relaxing morning cruising across the Venetian Lagoon to towards the historic fishing port of Chioggia.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time with your Group Leader to explore Chioggia - a Venice in miniature with it's canals, bridges and narrow streets. Later a coach transfer is provided from Chioggia to the next port of call at Taglio Di Po, stopping at the popular seaside resort of Sottomarina. Join your ship once again ay 7pm.
 Dinner: On board
 Evening: This evening we cruise along the river Po to the next port of call at Polesella where we spend the night.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Ferrara and Bologna
(Monday, July 13)

Note: Approximately 1 mile of walking in each city. The riverboat is docked all day in Polesella, before cruising back to Taglia di Po in the evening

 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: After breakfast, we set off by coach to visit Ferrara. Awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO, this town dates from the 14th Century & was home to the House of the Court of Este .
 Lunch: At local restaurant
 Afternoon: Early afternoon, we continue by coach to Bologna; the gastronomic & intellectual heart of Northern Italy and historic city of turrets and porticos, dating from the 10th Century. Return to the ship in Polesella before sailing on to Taglio di Po.
 Dinner: Join fellow passengers for a gala dinner on board
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Adria, Venice & the Doges Palace
(Tuesday, July 14)

Note: In Venice be prepared for lots of uneven paving stones, bridges and steps all around the city. Morning coach transfer to Adria/Chioggia. Afternoon cruise back to Venice.

 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: After breakfast depart by coach to the port of Chioggia, en route enjoy a visit to the town of Adria (which dates from the 12th Century BC)
 Lunch: Embark the ship in time for lunch on board
 Afternoon: This afternoon we cruise back to Venice, arriving in time for a guided tour of the Doge's Palace, symbol of the glory and power of Venice, the famous Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs & the Rialto.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Murano and Burano
(Wednesday, July 15)
 Breakfast: On Board
 Morning: Today we set off on a excursion to the lagoon islands of Murano and Burano. Murano is best known for its glasswork but is also home to the fine churches of Sta. Maria and St. Donato, one of the oldest on the lagoon. Burano, a fishing island, is renowned for its traditional lacework and myriad of brightly coloured houses.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the islands before returning to your riverboat. Late afternoon take the chance to explore Venice with your Group Leader or perhaps take a ride in a gondola! Return on board in the evening for dinner and free time.
 Afternoon: From our base at the Quay of 7 Martyrs, enjoy some free time with your Group Leader to explore Venice or perhaps take a ride in a gondola! Your Group Leader can assist you with any arrangements.
 Dinner: Return on board in the evening for dinner.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Arrivederci Italia! Disembark your River Cruise after breakfast.
(Thursday, July 16)
 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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

Are We There Yet?

Author: David Levithan

Description: Levithan makes the most of an excellent setup in this novel which places two brothers, 16 and 23, in Italy on vacation with their parents. Told in alternating chapters, the novel shows the changing relationship between the two very different youths.

Cathedral, The Story of its Construction

Author: David MacAulay

Description: In this illuminating book for middle readers, master draughtsman MacAulay presents text and innovative drawings that detail the planning and construction of a 13th-century Gothic cathedral. It's a masterpiece.

Death at La Fenice

Author: Donna Leon

Description: The first of the tremendously good Guido Brunetti mysteries, all set in the author's beloved Venice, in which a famous conductor is found dead at the celebrated La Fenice theater.

Eyewitness Guide Venice & the Veneto

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Features color photography, dozens of excellent maps (including a pullout map) and a synopsis of the region's attractions.


Author: Donna Leon

Description: In this profile of the trademark Venetian gondola, Leon provides background on the gondola’s history, explains how the boats are constructed and even includes an accompanying CD of "baracoles," or Italian boat songs.

Italian Neighbors

Author: Tim Parks

Description: This sparkling memoir by the British novelist captures the travails and delights of life in the Italian countryside. Montecchio, which Parks so indelibly sketches in this favorite book, is outside Verona.

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.

Learn Italian Together

Author: Living Language

Description: These multimedia boxed sets feature CDs, games, stickers and adorable illustrations to help kids and parents pick up a new language together.

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook

Author: Lonely Planet

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

Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide

Author: Laura Morelli

Description: The second edition of Morelli's expert survey of handcrafted Italian shops and products from Murano glass to ceramics, jewelry and leather.

Midnight Magic

Author: Avi

Description: Newbery Medal-winner Avi conjures the architecture, costumes and fears of medieval Italy in this action-packed tale of a princess tormented by what seems to be a ghost.

Northern Italy Map

Author: Touring Club Italiano

Description: This beautifully shaded road map of Northern Italy (1:400,000) shows the region including Trieste, Venice, Bologna Milan and Turin.

The Diary of Melanie Martin: Or How I Survived Matt the Brat, Michelangelo, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza

Author: Carol Weston

Description: Ten-year-old Melanie tells all about her family's summer trip to Italy, writing it all down in her dear diary. A hit on the middle-school market, it packs in a lot of cultural information while being very of-the-moment. Ages 8-10.

The Genius of Venice, Piazza San Marco and the Making of the Republic

Author: Dial Parrott

Description: With 112 color illustrations and four maps, the Genius of Venice presents the magnificent buildings of the celebrated piazza as, in the words of John Ruskin, the "living books of history" in this handsome cultural history.

The Italian Renaissance

Author: J. H. Plumb

Description: A well-written history of the Renaissance, its artists and thinkers, with chapters on Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Women of the Renaissance.

The Italians

Author: John Hooper

Description: Italy correspondent for The Economist Hooper explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in this illuminating portrait.

The Renaissance, A Short History

Author: Paul Johnson

Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.

The Thief Lord

Author: Cornelia Funke

Description: The hidden canals and crumbling rooftops of Venice shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets in this captivating novel for ages 9 to 12.

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, A New History

Author: Thomas F. Madden

Description: With authority, Madden tackles the history of the celebrated city from Roman times onward.

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