Skip to Main Content

The Best of Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice

Program No. 18206RJ
Learn about three great Italian cities as you visit Rome’s preserved ruins, explore Renaissance architecture in Florence and discover the renowned cathedrals and cuisine of Venice.

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

At a Glance

Experience the beauty of three historic capitals of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance acclaim as local experts lead you 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.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to six miles a day. Extended standing during site visits with limited or no public seating. Uneven terrain, limited public handrails, unavoidable stairs, marble and terracotta flooring, cobblestones, inclines, loose gravel, escalators. Elevator use is limited or restricted in historic sites. Venice's canal bridges have ramps or stairs with handrails. Expect crowded conditions in pedestrian centers and museums. Program-related travel and transfers will be via bus, high-speed train, vaporetto, and water taxi. Sheltered waiting areas may not be available at docks.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Trace history as you visit the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Galleria Borghese.
  • Journey to Florence and Venice via a high-speed train, reaching speeds of over 190 mph.
  • View the statue of "David" — and ride in a gondola through the canals of Venice.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Elaine Ruffolo
Elaine Ruffolo has been teaching art history in Florence since 1989. Her special interests include the history of art and patronage in Renaissance Florence. Elaine currently lectures for Syracuse University and Stanford University in Florence. She is also the resident director for the Smithsonian Associate’s programs in Italy, and has developed art history programs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Yale University Alumni, College of William and Mary and the Patrons of the Vatican Museums.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Elaine Ruffolo
Elaine Ruffolo View biography
Elaine Ruffolo has been teaching art history in Florence since 1989. Her special interests include the history of art and patronage in Renaissance Florence. Elaine currently lectures for Syracuse University and Stanford University in Florence. She is also the resident director for the Smithsonian Associate’s programs in Italy, and has developed art history programs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Yale University Alumni, College of William and Mary and the Patrons of the Vatican Museums.
Profile Image of Paolo Alei
Paolo Alei View biography
Dr. Paolo Alei is an art historian specializing in and publishing works on Renaissance and Baroque art in Rome and Venice; however, he considers Classical art one of his passions. He earned his M.A. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University. Paolo teaches full-time at the University of California System Rome program and enjoys Italian cinema from the Neorealism period through the 1970s.
Profile Image of Rachel Potts
Rachel Potts View biography
Rachel Potts is a licensed excursion leader in Rome. She graduated from Manchester University 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 the surrounding areas.
Profile Image of Domenico Cuomo
Domenico Cuomo View biography
Domenico Cuomo nearly completed law school at the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, but then fell in love with leading cultural travel groups. Mimmo has over twenty years of experience working on educational tours throughout Europe. He grew up and still resides in the Campi Flegrei, situated to the west of Naples. He loves working with Road Scholar participants as it offers him the opportunity for cultural exchange and sharing his knowledge of European cultures. Mimmo is fluent in English and Italian.
Profile Image of Rosanna Giannotti
Rosanna Giannotti View biography
Rosanna Giannotti is a Senior Authorized Venice Guide Lecturer who has devoted her life to studying the art and history of her home city. She is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and she has always had a penchant for traveling and cosmopolitanism, in order to expand her knowledge and connect Venetian history with the world context. Rosanna is a member of the most prestigious Italian and European Associations of Guide Lecturers and has cooperated with Road Scholar programs in Venice for over 30 years.
Profile Image of Giulietta Seme
Giulietta Seme View biography
Julieta is a passionate student of history, specializing in the history and culture of her native city of Rome. She studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma with a concentration in painting before earning a degree in classical archaeology and art history from the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza." Outside of history, Julieta enjoys hiking beautiful nature trails by the seaside or in the mountains of Italy.
Profile Image of Bruna Baravelli
Bruna Baravelli View biography
Bruna Baravelli is from Forlì, on the northeastern coast of Italy. After graduating from Liceo Classico, she earned her Ph.D. in English literature at the Università di Bologna. Before retiring, Bruna taught English literature and held administrative positions in the local school district. She has dedicated her time to public service as a member of the Forlì city council and the National Council for Equal Opportunity. She is passionate about the merits of travel and has fostered educational exchanges in Europe and the United States.
Profile Image of Suzanne Myers
Suzanne Myers View biography
Suzanne Myers originally hails from Lincoln, Nebraska and has been living in Florence since 2011. She has a BA in art history from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and an MA in art history from Syracuse University. She works as a lecturer for several study away programs in Florence and as a licensed group leader. Suzanne specializes in Italian Renaissance art, but also loves to lecture on a wide range of subjects from the Medici family to the Black Death to Florentine fashion.
Profile Image of Giuliana Rusca
Giuliana Rusca View biography
Giuliana Rusca has lived in Venice most of her life. She attended the University of Venice and graduated with a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and taught at the high school level for over twenty years. In 1990 she passed the comprehensive examination to become a licensed leader for Venice and has worked in this sector since then. She is passionate for the history and art of Venice.
Profile Image of Marco Ceccarani
Marco A. Ceccarani View biography
Marco Ceccarani, a native of Assisi, holds a PhD in humanities from the Università degli Studi di Perugia. His field of expertise includes medieval and Renaissance Italian civilization and literature. He has taught for several American universities in the United States and currently teaches in Florence for American university study away programs.
Profile Image of Monica Chojnacka
Monica Chojnacka View biography
Monica Chojnacka earned her PhD in European history from Stanford University and undergraduate degrees from Kalamazoo College and the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 1994-2007 she was a professor of history at the University of Georgia, where she authored numerous publications. She has published books relating to Venice on topics as diverse as women of the Renaissance, food and wine. Monica continues to teach in Venice, primarily for study away programs for American universities, as well as online courses.
Profile Image of Susan Steer
Susan Steer View biography
Susan Steer is originally from England. She came to Venice 20 years ago as an art history undergraduate with an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, later serving as a supervisor of the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Living and working in Venice changed her life, falling in love with its architecture, art, and lifestyle. She returned to study for an MA and a PhD in Venetian art. Susan married a Venetian. They and their son share their time between the UK and Venice.
Profile Image of Monica Shenouda
Monica Shenouda View biography
Monica Shenouda, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, now calls Florence home. She majored in French Literature at Swarthmore College, worked in New York City, and studied art history and architecture in Rome. She then went to the University of Virginia and earned a master’s in architectural history and a PhD in the art history and architecture. She did her research in Venice, the subject of her dissertation. Monica teaches for study abroad programs in Florence and Venice and works as a translator and editor.
Profile Image of Cristiana Filippini
Cristiana Filippini View biography
Cristiana Filippini was awarded her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University with a dissertation on 11th-century frescoes in Rome. She has also completed specialized study in archeology and art history from the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy and has taught at the American University in Rome and at Trinity College’s Rome Campus.
Profile Image of Enzo Mangini
Enzo Mangini View biography
Enzo Mangini was born and raised in Calabria in southern Italy. He moved to Perugia for college and graduated in political sciences with a major in history of the Mediterranean. He then moved to Rome to attend the LUISS School of Journalism. After 15 years as a professional journalist, Enzo decided to change careers and became an exploration leader. Enzo, his wife Federica, and daughter Frida live in a small town between Rome and Naples.
Profile Image of Emily Moloney
Emily Moloney View biography
Emily Moloney, who is originally from Buffalo, New York, first came to Italy over ten years ago. She holds a master's degree in Renaissance art history and is an officially licensed tour guide. In addition to working as a private guide, Emily lectures as a professor of art history and Italian culture at several study-abroad centers in Florence. In her free time, you can find Emily at the park with her growing family. 
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on, a website that supports local bookstores.

Recommended For You

loading spinner