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 (4.92)
Program No. 19400RJ
9 days
Starts at
Flights start at
13 Reviews
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4.92 Average

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!


This RS program was wonderful in all respects. Strong leadership with detailed organization, conginial inclusiveness and a delightful sense of humor. Our daily lecturer was exceedingly well prepared for all aspects of this program. Her visual components were very engaging. She was able to answer questions with considerable depth. Her style of speaking English and sense of humor were quite charming. The central location of the hotel make it convenient to get to landmarks, museums and cathedrals. Every day was terrific, even when it rained!

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