Independent Venice: Power and Beauty
Discover the timeless beauty, architectural grandeur, world-class cuisine and unparalleled cultural legacy of one of Europe’s most dynamic cities — Venice.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 19400RJ
9 days
Starts at
22 Reviews
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4.91 Average

This trip was an excellent first look at the beautiful and unique city of Venice. Our group leader, Michela, was well organized, accessible, very knowledgeable and personable. A large amount of additional, day-by-day reading material was provided on our arrival. The 7-day boat passes were invaluable for exploring on our own, and the museum passes helped us gain easy access to many attractions. The morning lectures by Christina were helpful to either acquaint us with history or artists, or preview important sites, and the guided walks saved time and provided focused insights. The Hotel Bonvecchiati is in a convenient location, with air conditioned rooms, many of which are quite nice. The after-hours access to St Mark’s Cathedral was impressive, and not to be missed. Every day’s itinerary was wonderful.


Road Scholar helped me learn very quickly about Venice today and its very rich history. I also learned about some of the challenges Venice faces for the future.


A little over three weeks ago I started, what turned out to be, the best tour of my life. All my life I had wanted to really explore Venice and now, having had such a great experience, I look forward to returning there in the future and resume my explorations. Christine G. ~ Sonoma


Just finished the Independent Venice trip and it was fantastic! Michaela and Christina made the trip educational and special! Highly recommend putting this on your ‘must go’ list!


Great program!


A wonderful week to enjoy the history, culture, and beauty of Venice.


If you like to be mostly on your own with the option of joining up with others, this is for you. The side trips were short and sweet, leaving me with plenty of time to go my own way. For example, the Lido is not an optional trip, but a fun place to go. So go I did!


The Independent Venice trip far exceeded my expectations. Because of the excellent leadership, and informative morning lectures I felt confident exploring and experiencing Venice. The museum pass and the vaporetto ticket were so helpful. The hotel was convenient and comfortable. At the end of the seven days I did not want to leave, I was so charmed by the canals, bridges, little squares and churches. I look forward to my next trip perhaps to Florence.


Our last Road Scholar trip, Independent Venice...under promised...and Over Delivered! What a value for our money. Our accommodations were wonderful, plus we had an expert lecture series prepared by an expert on Venetian art and architecture Cristina Gregorgin.


My friend and I were on this trip last week and I can't say enough wonderful things about it. The BEST parts of the trip were Christina Gregorin's very informational, enthusiastic and charming lectures in the morning after breakfast and Laura Gregis's equally delightful walks afterwards, coordinating with the lectures. These two exceptionally talented women made our trip more enjoyable than if we had gone on our own. The Hotel accommodations were lovely and all of the communications with RS were helpful. We are hoping to continue with RS next year - possibly in Florence - and will do an "Independent" trip if there are guides as well qualified as these two women. It is a fabulous combination of learning as well as independent travel.


Independent Venice was a true delight from beginning to end. Our guide Laura and lecturer Cristina put Venice's past into perspective, and brought context to present day Venitian life. I would not have gotten nearly as much excitement and pleasure from this magical city without them. A great balance between structure and latitude. Friendly congenial group....great gelato at Venchi.


Our first RS trip (Seaside Capitals of the Baltic) proved too organized for us, so we wanted to try the Independent Venice program to see if that was a better match; it was. The right mix of free and organized time; staying in one place allowed for a full exploration of all that Venice offers. Laura and Christina were both excellent as the leader and lecturer, respectively; friendly, patient, knowledgeable. Hotel Bonvecchiati was very well located; room was comfortable (if stuffy from lack of air circulation), clean and well serviced. Hotel breakfasts were excellent, with eggs, meats, cheeses pastries, fruit, espresso drinks, etc.; much better than described in the program materials. Got semi-lost in getting to the hotel from the vaporetto stop upon arrival; map and directions clearly indicated making a right turn after exiting the boat to get to Calle Bembo, when in fact the entry to Calle Bembo is directly ahead of you when exiting the Alilaguna boat. Also, warning that Calle Bembo is a very narrow street (less than your arm span) and easy to miss would have been helpful. Unless you are an old Venice hand, join the optional walking tours; they only last an hour or so and are interesting and helpful in getting your bearings. Even with a good map, be prepared to get lost in the maze that is Venice; but don't worry too much as the numerous directional signs for the main sections of the city will help get you back on track, if not by the most direct route. All in all, an outstanding experience. We won't hesitate to do another independent tour in the future.


The sites of Venice are just a short walk from one another, and you'll enjoy many of them as well as the walks or boat rides between them.


Road Scholar's Independent Venice program proved to be a chance for me to enjoy Venice, a city I had missed visiting twice before--Fate intervened once, and I decided to go to Florence and Rome again because my husband had never been to either city, the second time. The chance to choose many of my own activities was delightful, while the help that Laura and Cristina gave me and the rest of the group was just the right balance. This trip would be valuable both for people who have visited Venice before, and for those for whom it is the first time!


This trip was a wonderful introduction to Venice and the beautiful and interesting places to see and explore. We walked a lot, had plenty of free time to go off on our own and had a terrific local guide (Laura) and spectacular and knowledgeable lecturer (Christina).


Was never able to get the page allowing me to communicate with other group members on the trip before going. One person apparently sent emails to everyone in the group before departure, but no one seemed to get them.


I returned 2 days ago from the Venice trip - I had a wonderful time! The lectures were outstanding, and while a week in one city might seem long, there is no way to run out of places to see. The night private tour of St. Mark's Basilica was incredible. A couple practical notes: it is difficult to find the hotel from the vapparetto stop using the provided map in the notebook. Get better instructions (ask for LANDMARKS) or you may end up wandering an hour and finally begging a policeman for directions like I did. Insect repellant: it was the middle of Oct but I had several mosquito bites. Worse, my legs (as well as a companion's) were bitten by fleas on our outing to Torcello/Burano/Morano. Good thing I packed the hydrocortisone ointment or I would have been running to the pharmacy. Be prepared to walk - a lot - my iPhone recorded 41 miles and 66 flights of stairs for the week.


This program is a perfect mix of structure and independence. While you may initially plan to spend more time on your own, you are likely to find the optional mid-morning walks a better way to break away from the crowds. You are then provided instructions for ambling back to the hotel. That said, if this is a first trip to Italy or,like me, following a long absence, be advised that Venice is crowded with tourists and many of the locals have moved to the mainland. Venice has become a characature of itself. Large tour groups are everywhere and difficult to maneuver around. Early mornings are best for exploring, but nothing is open. If you come knowing what to expect, you won't be disappointed


With its excellent staff support, this program is ideal for the person who loves art, music, the beauty of an ancient city, good food, water...and walking where there are no cars.


Venice is fascinating, and this program provides an excellent balance of planned activities and free time. Give it a try!


For travelers who want both insrptruction and freedom, the Indepenent Venice offers a perfect balance.


Independent Venice was wonderful. Just the right balance of instruction/educational lectures and free time for one's own exploration and adventuring. Delightful!

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