18207
Italy
Italy's a Blast: From Etna to Vesuvius - A Family Odyssey
Explore a world frozen in time as you visit the ancient city of Pompeii, learning about classical mythology, modern science and the story of Mount Etna and Mt. Vesuvius.
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Program No. 18207RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,779
Flights start at
1,100
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11 days
10 nights
24 meals
9 B 7 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Departures from points in North America
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrivals, Welcome Reception
Sorrento
L,D
Hotel Central

Activity note: Hotel check in from 2:00 pm.

Lunch: At the hotel's informal restaurant. Set menu with plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch, check in and settle in or head out for a cool dip in the pool. Meet in the lobby at 5:00 pm and set out with the group leader on a short walk in town to check out the location of bank (ATM), pharmacy and markets. Circle back to the hotel for an informal gathering and reception to welcome you to Sorrento.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant. Set menu, plated table service. Water, wine or soft drink included.

Evening: At leisure. Take a stroll in town or enjoy the view from the hotel's garden and bar.

DAY
3
Orientation, Discover Pompeii
Sorrento
B,L,D
Hotel Central

Activity note: It takes about an hour to travel by coach the 16 miles on back roads from Sorrento to Pompeii. The ruins of Pompeii reveal cobblestone streets, sidewalks and dirt paths. Pompeii was a city, so be aware of the size of the archaeological site. Its uneven terrain with inclines and steps makes walking a challenge. The stone pavement can be slippery when wet. Note that besides the few benches at the entrance and exit, there are no benches to sit and rest in the archaeological park.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel. Choose from hot and cold dishes, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries and cakes, breads, sliced cold cuts and cheeses, jams, honey and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: In the meeting room an Orientation Session the Group Leader will review the most up-to-date itinerary and give details about any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Breakfast will be a buffet; lunches and dinners will be plated (each dish served to guests by restaurant waitstaff) from a set menu unless otherwise specified. Water is included with all meals and other beverages such as soft drinks, wine, tea and coffee will be available for purchase unless otherwise specified. Transportation will primarily be provided by motorcoach. See the details on each day's activities. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that 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. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren during the program. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised.

Lunch: Coach to Pompei. Lunch at a restaurant near the archaeological park.

Afternoon: We meet our local expert who leads the visit of Pompeii's archaeological site. We explore the streets of the city frozen in time in August of 79 CE. In the amphitheater, we can see where the gladiators trained. As we walk down Via Abbondanza, the main street, we can observe 1st century political graffiti and note the similarities between Pompeii, where bars, restaurants, shops and bakeries line the streets, and that in any modern city in Italy. Coach back to our hotel in Sorrento.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Vesuvius Observatory Station, Crater of Vesuvius
Sorrento
B,D
Hotel Central

Activity note: Uneven Terrain on the Slopes of Mt. Vesuvius.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to the slope of Mount Vesuvius. Especially for kids: At the observatory, the local guide illustrates the seismic instruments. After the visit we ride up to the crest. Weather permitting, it may be possible to walk around a portion of the crater with the park ranger. Coach back to Sorrento.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Some free time to relax by the pool. Late afternoon we gather in the meeting room for an illustrated presentation on the Eruption of 79 CE of Mt. Vesuvius.

Dinner: At a pizzeria near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The island of Capri
Sorrento
B,L,D
Hotel Central

Activity note: The tourist boat from Sorrento to Capri marina takes about 45 minutes. The cable car ride to Capri town takes 10 minutes.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: From the hotel a short van ride to the marina of Sorrento where we board a tourist boat for Capri. From the marina of Capri we ride the cable car through citrus groves to Capri town (elevation 500 ft).

Lunch: At a restaurant in Capri.

Afternoon: Especially for kids: Back at the marina of Capri we board a private boat to explore the grottoes off the coast of the island. We stop at a pebbly beach for a swim. Back to the marina to board the large boat to Sorrento. Short van ride back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel or restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Ancient Cuna, Phlegraean Fields, Overnight Ferry to Sicily
Overnight Ferry
B,L,D
TTT Lines

Activity note: Uneven terrain with inclines on dirt or gravel paths in Cumae and Solfatara in the Phlegraean Fields.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel. We board our motor coach for Cuma for an expert-led visit of the cave sanctuary of the mythological Sibyl prophetess who predicted the future. She is depicted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Especially for kids: enter the cave of the Sibyl and listen if you hear her speaking - or is it the wind? We continue our walk in the archaeological park to other remains and take in the panoramic sight of the Bay of Naples from the Temple of Apollo.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Especially for kids: At the Phlegreian Fields, we visit the caldaras of Solfatara, site of a collapsed volcano where pools of bubbling mud indicate fissures and steam vents spew forth an odor of sulfur, as the name of the Solfatara suggests. The word "conflagration" meaning large fire is related to a mythological character Phlegyas and lends his name to the area. We board our motor coach and head for the port of Naples, arriving in time for late afternoon boarding. After checking in at the reception desk on the ferry, settle into your cabin. Each cabin sleeps 4 or 2 on bunk beds and is equipped with a toilet, sink and shower. This is a large ferry capable of transporting buses, tractor trailers, cars and cargo. There are spacious lounges with reclining chairs and tables, TVs and snack bars. The group leader will set a time to meet on an open deck or in a lounge for a briefing on the overnight passage.

Dinner: On board at the ferry, self-service cafeteria style. Choose from a limited menu.

Evening: Especially for kids: The ferry sets sail for the open Mediterranean Sea. We can enjoy (weather permitting) the expanse of the stars, the island of Capri and observe Vesuvius rising in the distance.

DAY
7
Welcome to Sicily, Mediterranean Colonizers
Taormina
B,L,D
Hotel Villa Diodoro

Activity note: Wheel your bag from your room to the exit deck of the ferry to the dock where we board our motor coach for Taormina. Taormina is 32 miles from the port of Catania; the ride takes about one hour. The streets of Taormina are traffic-free.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast on board the ferry is a pastry and fruit juice.

Morning: Passing the Strait of Messina in the morning, look out for Scylla and Charybdis the mythological monsters of the sea current vortex, read their description in Homer's Odyssey Book XII. The ferry pulls into the port of Catania and we continue by coach to Taormina with a stop at an agriturismo or working farm. Walk around the gardens with the owner, who is happy to show where lava from the 1384 eruption of Etna can be found on his farm.

Lunch: At the agriturismo enjoy a home-cooked meal. Savor ingredients grown on site and prepared by skilled cooks.

Afternoon: Coach to Taormina. Check in and settle in. Late afternoon we gather in the meeting room for an illustrated presentation and review about the ancient Greek and Roman colonies in Sicily.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: After dinner the group leader will take us on a short neighborhood walk in Taormina.

DAY
8
Greek Theater
Taormina
B,L,D
Hotel Villa Diodoro

Activity note: The streets of Taormina are traffic free. The walk to the ancient theater along a gently inclined road is less than 1/4 mile. At the amphitheater there are few handrails to assist walking up the steep and uneven stone steps. If you are unsure of the climb, you can take in the theater and majestic view of Mt. Etna from the proscenium.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel - a selection of hot and cold dishes, fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, pastries, cakes, breads, sliced cold cuts and cheeses, jams, honey and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: We meet the local expert who will lead the short walk to the Greek theater and explain how the original theater changed once the Romans took over. Enjoy the spectacular view of Etna as a backdrop of the ruins. Expert continues through the town expounding on the fortunes of the UNESCO city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Some free time to relax by the pool.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Mount Etna Excursion and Learning Center
Taormina
B,L
Hotel Villa Diodoro

Activity note: The ride up Mt. Etna takes a little over an hour with frequent stops at panoramic lookouts. Uneven terrain on the trails. Helmets are provided for side crater exploration. Wear closed shoes, bring a jacket or fleece. Weather conditions can change significantly at higher elevations. We will reach an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level at the refuge. You can continue on foot with the park guide to climb a pebbly trail to the edge of an extinct crater. Uneven terrain of lava rocks; uphill climb.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Especially for kids: We meet the park rangers at the hotel and board the coach to the slopes of Mt. Etna to explore inactive side vent craters. Weather and seismic conditions permitting, expert-led walk along the edge of one of the side craters. Etna is typically snow capped 11 months of the year.

Lunch: At a trattoria on the slopes of Mt. Etna. Traditional menu with local fresh produce.

Afternoon: Excursion continues on Mt. Etna with a stop at a learning center and see models of Etna, learn about eruptions, types of lava, safety measures and precautions and the fertility of volcanic soil. Coach back to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Learn About Greek and Roman Mythology
Sorrento
B,D
Hotel Central

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Especially for kids: Free morning to relax by the pool or walk and swim on the pebbly beach at the foot of Taormina. The hotel has a shuttle bus down the hillside to a sister property on the beach.

Lunch: On your own

Afternoon: We gather in the hotel meeting room late afternoon for a classroom session about the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods and on the mythological stories set in Sicily - from Ulysses and Polyphemus in the caves of Etna to Vulcan/Hephaestus who used the volcanoes as a forge to make Jupiter/Zeus's lightening bolts. Especially for kids: Make a model of a volcano and have a small eruption in a classroom craft project.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant. A glass of wine is offered to the adults to bid arrivederci.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check out and departure the next morning.

DAY
11
Transfer to Catania Airport
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 10:00 am.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel; continental style (a roll or pastry and fruit juice and fruit) for participants with early morning departure. This concludes the 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!






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