14299
Italy
Cinque Terre, Carrara and Medieval Hill Towns
Explore the Cinque Terre — the Italian Riviera’s colorful villages carved above the Mediterranean Sea — and learn about medieval life, Michelangelo and the history of nearby Lerici.
Rating (5)
Program No. 14299RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,998
Flights start at
875
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
12 days
11 nights
25 meals
10 B 6 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Departure from points in North America
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrivals, Welcome Reception
Lerici
L,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Morning: Arrival Pisa Airport. Transfer for group travelers to program site.

Lunch: A buffet lunch at the hotel will offer a variety of salads, cheeses, focaccia and fresh fruit. Enjoy a glass of local white wine. Water is included

Afternoon: After you settle into your room, freshen up and relax, meet back in the hotel lobby at 4:00 p.m. for an orientation walk in the neighborhood to identify ATMs, pharmacies, stores, restaurants, etc., A walk in and around the seaside town of Lerici follows. Spectacular view from the castle. The short walk circles back to the hotel where you will gather for a Welcome Cocktail (or fruit juice).

Dinner: At a restaurant in town. A 3 course fixed menu with plated table service. Water and a glass of wine are included.

DAY
3
Orientation Session, Walk to San Terenzo, Welcome to Liguria
Lerici
B,L,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: The seafront promenade connecting Lerici and San Terenzo is about 1 mile long.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet (juices, yogurt, fruit, focaccia, bread, jam, selection of coffee and tea, milk, croissant, cereals) at the hotel's 6th floor breakfast room. Enjoy the view of the marina and castle every morning of your stay in Lerici.

Morning: In a classroom session the group leader 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.

Lunch: Set out on a walk along the seaside promenade to San Terenzo. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with an assortment of seafood and vegetable antipasti, a pasta dish, water and a glass of wine. Plated table service.

Afternoon: Back at the hotel, a local expert introduces the region of Liguria, pointing out its unique geography, history as a maritime power, role in the Resistance Movement and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Dinner: Dinner at a pizzeria on the waterfront in Lerici. A variety of pizzas and soft drinks are served. You can order beer or wine at your own expense.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Culinary Tradition in Liguria, Portovenere
Lerici
B,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: Portovenere is closed to traffic. Uneven paved road, graded rise and uneven steps (no railing) to visit the church on the promontory.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Classroom session on the Culinary Traditions of Liguria and the Lunigiana, areas known for their fruity olive oil, aromatic herbs, seafood, and wine. Short walk to the dock. Boat ride across the Bay of Lerici to Portovenere takes 20 min.

Lunch: On your own. The group leader will point out a variety of eateries from snack bars, cafés, trattorias, and full service restaurants.

Afternoon: Meet the local guide who leads the stroll along the tightly stacked houses, colorful and tall, that were constructed in a row as an impenetrable fortress. The expert-led walk continues to the marina and to the 12th century chapel set on the promontory that juts out into the sea. The rocky Byron Grotto is dedicated to Lord Byron who once swam the waters of Portovenere. The heart of Portovenere is closed to traffic and has a mix of shops, art galleries and cafes. Boat ride across the bay back to Lerici and the waterfront hotel that serves as our program site.

Dinner: At a local restaurant a fixed menu of regional dishes. Lerici is renowned in the area of La Spezia for restaurants featuring fresh local seafood, but tonight's meal will feature savory meat and vegetables. Water and a glass of wine are included with the plated table service dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Take a walk in town and stop for a hot beverage or gelato.

DAY
5
Boat Excursion to the Cinque Terre
Lerici
B,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: Tourist boat has open-air and inside seating. Easy walking in the villages of Monterosso and Vernazza. Approx. 30 steps to reach the train platform from the road/path in town. The guide will give details for optional treks along park paths that seasoned hikers may want to explore on their free time. Park paths have uneven graded footpaths and no railings. The guide will have updates on which footpaths are closed due to landslide damage.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast served buffet style at the hotel.

Morning: Weather permitting, on a boat ride from Lerici to Monterosso, marvel at the sight of the rocky coast and terraced vineyards of the Cinque Terre. In Monterosso, the northernmost village, a local guide leads a walk of discovery. Some free time to visit the medieval fortress, colorful shops, or sandy beach.

Lunch: On your own. There are a variety of cafes and foccacerie, as well as trattorie to suit every palate and budget.

Afternoon: Board the boat for Vernazza and explore the rocky fortress at the top of the town or relax at a café in the small natural harbor/marina. Those accepting a real physical challenge can opt for a self-guided scenic hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. The 2.5 hour walk is along a rugged path, narrowing at some points, with steep inclines and uneven stone steps. Boat back to Lerici late afternoon.

Dinner: At a restaurant on the waterfront in Lerici, a 3 course fixed menu featuring seafood dishes. Plated table service. Water and a glass of wine are included.

Evening: Enjoy a walk along the seafront in Lerici.

DAY
6
Pontremoli, Malaspina Castle in Fosdinovo, Winery
Lerici
B,L,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: The small town of Fosdinovo is traffic-free. Roads and sidewalks, paved with cobblestones, follow the rise of the hill town. The coach drop-off point is at the bottom of the Malaspina castle. A graded ramp of low steps to reach the entrance. Stairs to the upper floor for panoramic view of the valley below.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: In a classroom session learn how the traditions of booksellers and pilgrim routes in Lunigiana dating back to the middle ages still flourish today. After a break, board a coach to Pontremoli, town in the northwest area of Tuscany know as Lunigiana (about 30 miles from Lerici).

Lunch: Sample a variety of local specialties including testaroli, a whole grain egg less crepe with pesto sauce, and stuffed vegetables with aromatic herbs at Antica Trattoria Pelliccia in Pontremoli. As is the local tradition, water and wine are included with lunch.

Afternoon: Excursion continues with a coach ride through the Lunigiana hills to Fosdinovo. Expert-led visit of the medieval Malaspina Castle. Nine hundred years of history are rooted in the watchtowers and pathways, courtyards, crenellations, and cornerstones of this well-preserved fortress where the Marchesi Torrigiani Malaspina family resides to this day.

Dinner: Excursion continues to a winery near the hills above Luni. Enjoy a sampler of tasty local products and wines from the Lunigiana. Water is included; other beverages such as soft drinks, beer, tea and coffee are available for purchase.

Evening: Coach back to the hotel.

DAY
7
Ancient Monolith Exhibition in Medieval Fortress
Lerici
B,L
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: La Spezia is about 7 miles from Lerici. The coach leaves you off at the bottom of the San Giorgio fortress. A graded walkway leads to the entrance. Inside the castle there are more graded walkways to the exhibition area.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to La Spezia to the castle/fortress of San Giorgio where a local historian gives an illustrated presentation on the prehistoric monoliths (which have a surprisingly modern 'look') found in the area. From the terrace of the fortress enjoy the panorama of the natural port of La Spezia. Inside the museum, discover the small but rich and well displayed collection of ancient artifacts. Coach back to Lerici with a stop at the train station in La Spezia if you want to revisit the Cinque Terre on your own during the free afternoon.

Lunch: A light lunch at a local cafe'.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon

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 at a wine bar, or a full-course dinner at a trattoria or restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Poets of the Gulf, Tellaro
Lerici
B,L,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: The walk between Lerici and Tellaro is a paved road 2.5 miles long. There are no sidewalks but the traffic is very light and pedestrian-friendly as the road ends in the small village of Tellaro.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Classroom session on the English poets and writers who lived in the Gulf of La Spezia and for whom the natural harbor is called the "Gulf of Poets." After a short break, board a public bus for Tellaro, colorful village at the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia. A leisurely stroll along the narrow paved path to the small church dedicated to St. George winds down to the marina.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Tellaro. Fixed menu, plated table service. Enjoy a dish of authentic pasta al pesto made from local olive oil and fragrant Ligurian basil. Water is included. Tradition calls for a glass of white wine which is offered as well.

Afternoon: Return by public bus or walk the paved road that connects Tellaro and Lerici. The walk takes about an hour including stops for panoramic vistas of the sea below.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Lerici, a 3 course fixed menu with plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Cinque Terre Winery, Scenic Vineyard Walk
Lerici
B,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Activity note: From the coach drop-off point, an optional 15 min. walk along a narrow uneven path of a terraced vineyard. No railings and the group must walk in single file. If you suffer from heights, you can wait for the group on a park bench. The village of Manarola is traffic-free. The walk down the paved road is graded. Minor incline and uneven pavement along a scenic path with spectacular views of the sea and Cinque Terre village.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to the hills above the Gulf of La Spezia. Vineyard walk in the Volastra hillside. Visit a winery and experience first hand the terraced vineyards and local wine products. Board coach again for the short ride to Manarola, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre.

Lunch: On your own. There are a variety of focaccerias, cafes and trattorias to suit every palate and budget.

Afternoon: After lunch, explore the village of Manarola and a scenic path with vistas of the village perched on the mountain that plunges into the sea. Train (3 min. ride) to Riomaggiore and brief exploration of the easternmost village of the Cinque Terre. Train to La Spezia (10 minutes) and coach to Lerici (30 minutes). Note that a portion of the Via dell'Amore outside of Manarola is now open as repairs continue on the section connecting to Riomaggiore.

Dinner: Enjoy the catch of the day at a local restaurant specializing in seafood. 3 course plated meal. Water and wine are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy a stroll along Lerici's seafront.

DAY
10
Life in Italy Today, Free Afternoon
Lerici
B,D
Hotel Shelley e delle Palme

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Learn about the institutions and traditions that prevail in Italy today. Topics include the education system, health care and the role of the family. Q & A follows.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon.

Dinner: At a restaurant on the seafront in Lerici. Fixed 3 course menu with a variety of seafood. Plated table service, water is included. Local white wine is included as well.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Carrara Marble Quarries, Transfer to Pisa
Pisa
B,L,D
Hotel Bologna

Activity note: Miminum walking from the coach drop-off area to the observation terrace overlooking the marble quarry. Some walking and standing on the brief visit in the center of Carrara.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Following a classroom presentation on Michelangelo and Carrara Marble, board a coach for the 30 minute ride to Carrara, at the foot of the Apuan Alps. Visit a sculptor's workshop, work schedule of the artist permitting. An expert guide takes us to the still active marble quarries of Carrara, where centuries earlier Michelangelo chose the pure white stone blocks for his statues. Learn the fascinating technique of modern stone excavation.

Lunch: At a wine bar/restaurant in the heart of Carrara. Fixed menu with a variety of antipasti served family style. One of the dishes is a tasting of the thick tomato soup known in Tuscany as pappa al pomodoro. Water and a glass of wine are included.

Afternoon: A local guide leads an informal walk through Carrara. Board the coach for late afternoon check-in at the hotel in Pisa. Walk to the Piazza dei Miracoli where the white marble of the Cathedral, Baptistery and Leaning Tower contrast with the manicured green lawns of the square.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Fixed 3 course menu, plated table service. Water and wine are included to toast new friends and bid arrivederci.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer and departure from Pisa airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!