19519
Italy/Greece/Albania/Croatia
Voyages to Antiquity: Splendors of Italy and Croatia
Discover why the sun-warmed shores of the Mediterranean became the cradle of civilization as you explore architecture, art and history aboard an ocean liner.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19519RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
5,195
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16 days
15 nights
38 meals
14 B 11 L 13 D
DAY
1
Departures
In Flight
DAY
2
Welcome
Venice
D
Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Afternoon: Upon arrival at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment. The Group Leader will be on hand to provide assistance as needed. Then take some time to freshen up and relax before Orientation. At 5:00 PM, meet in the hotel lobby for the program orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We 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. Please be aware 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.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome three-course set menu dinner in the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Venice, Italy
Venice
B,L
Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will be buffet-style with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee and tea. Water will be served at every meal on this program.

Morning: This morning experience Venice as a Venetian. Breathe in a bit of every day life of this fragile city at a relaxed pace. From St. Mark’s square enter the Castello district and meander the narrow calli. Learn about the Venice of yesterday and today. Stop at Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, a most impressive open space dominated by the stunning Gothic basilica which is home to many monuments of Doges and sea captains. Continue to the densely populated district Cannaregio; explore Chiesa dei Miracoli, a little “jewel box” of a 15th century church to gain insight into Venetian beliefs and traditions.

Lunch: Enjoy a three-course set menu featuring regional cuisine at a local restaurant with your Road Scholar group.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities provided in your first Information Packet. Alternatively, you may choose to walk to Rialto or simply sip a Bellini at Harry's Bar.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: If there is one memory to take home with you, it is the sight of St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral of Venice, and this is a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity the see this remarkable building at its very best. This evening, St. Mark’s will be reserved for Voyages to Antiquity guests who will be treated to a private visit and the breathtaking sight of the famous mosaics illuminated in a spectacular light show. The church was built in 828 as a tomb for Saint Mark, whose body was spirited out of Alexandria hidden in a casket of pork, a bit of intrigue you can see memorialised in the mosaics above the church door. After a 976 fire, the church was rebuilt and served as the Doge’s private chapel. As such, it was a place of immense wealth and power that it became known as the Golden Church, or Chiesa d’Oro. For example, the Four Horses of St. Mark in front are replicas of the Roman sculptures inside, brought back by the Venetians after the sacking of Constantinople. These horses originally had giant rubies in their eye sockets. The interior reinforces the jewel-encrusted Byzantine effect with its galleries high above the naves, massive chandeliers and over 40,000 square feet of mosaics. Works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Mantegna – to mention a few – adorn the walls. The Treasury brims with wealth from centuries of conquest. A visit here is an unforgettable glimpse into the heights reached by La Serenissima, as The Most Serene Republic of Venice was called.

DAY
4
Venice, Italy; Embark the Aegean Odyssey
Venice
B,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Upon check-out your luggage will be transferred to your cabin on the ship.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Free time for independent exploration of Venice. Optionally, join the ship's excursion to 'Venice's Aristocratic Villas' (additional cost, bookable on board).

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Meet the group at the hotel to transfer for embarkation. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."

Dinner: Aboard the ship, you may choose from either the Marco Polo Restaurant or the Terrace Café. The former serves a variety of á là carte items while the café is buffet-style. Menus are inspired by fresh local ingredients. Wine is complimentary with dinner in both dining areas.

Evening: Most evenings aboard ship are free to enjoy as you like whether it’s attending a shipboard guest lecture or listening to live music in the Charleston Lounge.

DAY
5
Ancona, Italy (Urbino)
Ancona
B,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Situated on a hilltop, Urbino is a small town with a big history. This place had a huge influence on Renaissance culture and Urbino’s Ducal Palace is one of the finest buildings of the period. In the 15th century, Urbino was ruled by the Montefeltro family, and reached its peak during the reign of the Duke Federico da Montefeltro. Urbino was also the birthplace of the artist Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio 1483-1520) and today's filed trip includes a visit to the house where he lived up to age of 14. This modest dwelling contains memoirs and artistic furniture of that period. Raphael was born here in 1483 and trained at home at least until the age of 11, when his father died. There is a small mural attributed to the boy painter in one room, but the house is chiefly interesting as an atmospheric 15th-century home/workshop. Continue to Palazzo Ducale, Italy’s most beautiful Renaissance palace built for Duke Federico da Montefeltro, who ruled Urbino between 1444 and 1482. Since he was a man of the arts as well as a soldier, he enriched his palace with a comprehensive library, famous paintings including works by Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Titian. Another of Urbino’s magnificent buildings is the Duomo built in 1789 on top of a 6th-century sacred site. Completed in 1604, it was destroyed by an earthquake and then rebuilt. The duomo now has a neo-classical appearance and houses several important artworks, including a painting of the Last Supper by Federico Barocci. The Museo Diocesano has a collection of glass, ceramics, and religious items. After visiting the cathedral there is some free time for lunch on your own in one of Urbino’s many restaurants (you may wish to try Antica Osteria della Stella, an ancient inn that claims to have hosted Raphael and Piero della Francesca).

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Continuation of the day's excursion to Urbino before returning to the ship in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Early evening departure for Split. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
6
Split, Croatia
Split
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: When Emperor Diocletian shook up the Roman Empire by abdicating in 305AD, he had his retirement residence ready: a lavish palace he had just built in Salona, now Split, in his native Dalmatia. Visit this amazing palace complex that, when completed, held three temples, a massive mausoleum, and could accommodate 9,000 people. For an intimate perspective on how life was organised, this field trip includes a walk through the palace cellars. The city of Split grew inside and around this palace, with the population retreating behind its walls when under attack, and then spilling out beyond them in times of peace. Today the Palace of Diocletian is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but don’t expect a deserted ruin. Discover instead a vibrant warren of museums, galleries, shops and restaurants mingled with medieval fortifications, pre-Romanesque churches and Gothic chapels. Renaissance palaces testify to a time when Split was a key port of the Venetian Republic. The excursion visits Diocletian’s massive octagonal mausoleum, converted into a cathedral in the 7th century and named after a Christian martyred during that emperor’s persecutions. You’ll also visit the city museum where 15th-century furnishings recapture aristocratic life in that period. Other sights include the palace’s monumental Golden and Silver Gates and the columned Peristyle Square. There will be some free time to visit the colorful local market or explore Split on your own.

Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration of the Roman walls, squares and temples in Split’s historic center or stroll along the Riva waterfront promenade. Optionally, join the ship's excursion to Salona and Trogir (additional cost, bookable on board).

Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Evening: Early evening departure for Dubrovnik. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
7
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Lord Byron called this majestic walled city “the Pearl of the Adriatic,” and it is easy to see why. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is held to be the best-preserved walled city in the Mediterranean with a seafront setting and dramatic mountain backdrop. The city skyline is a medley of bell towers, copper domes and massive 10th-century walls. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century AD and was a powerful independent republic from 1358 to 1808, when Napoleon conquered the city. Today the city is an inspiration in self-resurrection. Despite a destructive earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik has managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. This morning’s walking excursion of the Old Town takes you along the city’s main street, the Stradun or Placa, once a sea channel connecting two ancient settlements. Visit the Dominican Monastery, home to a beautiful 15th-century Gothic cloister and the city’s finest collection of Renaissance paintings. Next, the Franciscan Monastery is home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy, founded in 1318 and still in existence. Your walk continues past such landmarks as the Sponza Palace with its elaborate stone exterior, the Baroque Church of St. Blaise and Onofriou’s Fountain. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, originally built in the 12th century, destroyed in the 1667 earthquake and triumphantly rebuilt. View Titian’s Assumption over the main altar and, in the Treasury, one of Europe’s finest collections of gold and silver, including the bejeweled skull of St. Blaise. Following the field trip there will be free time to explore the nooks and crannies of the Old Town.

Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: In the afternoon and evening you are free to relax or continue exploring this charming city. Optionally, join the ship's excursion to 'Cavtat and Countryside' (additional cost, bookable on board).

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. Evening departure for Brindisi.

DAY
8
Brindisi, Italy (Lecce)
Brindisi
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Lecce is a city of outstanding historical and architectural treasures. With its abundance of ancient ruins, Baroque churches and noble palaces carved out of honey-coloured local stone, it is a place that will stay long in the memory. Set in the heart of the Salento region on the south-eastern tip of Italy’s “boot,” Lecce was founded in the 5th century BC and was later an important Roman city. The 25,000-seat amphitheatre dating from the 1st century BC in the Piazza St Oronzo is a magnificent legacy of the city’s Roman past and it is here that your field trip begins. Pass by the Roman column that marks the end of the Appian Way and then continue on to the city centre to discover the remarkable buildings from a later time. From the 16th to the 18th century, Lecce flourished under a period of great splendour and was duly embellished with Rococo and Baroque monuments. The local limestone was particularly easy to work, making the creation of decorative relief and delicate detail relatively easy and created a style known as Lecce Baroque. Visit the Santa Croce Basilica, which is sumptuously decorated and represents the triumph of Baroque art in Lecce. Nearby, admire the impressive façade of the Governor’s Palace (the former monastery of the Celestine monks). Visit one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy – Piazza Duomo. Explore the elegant streets of Lecce adjacent to the square and you will discover that the typical local crafts of the town, such as papier-mâché or Leccese stone items, are traditional art forms here. The objects created in the artisans’ workshops are crafted according to ancient traditions handed down from generation to generation.

Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Early evening departure for Sarande. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
9
Sarande, Albania (Butrint) / Corfu, Greece
Sarande
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Surrounded by a picturesque lagoon, Butrint is one of the Ionian's most remarkable archaeological sites and one of Albania's most beautiful national parks. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint, in antiquity Buthrotum, was successively the site of a 6th-century Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. The city prospered under Byzantine administration, was occupied in the 14th century by the Venetians, then by the French, and then the Ottomans. The Ottomans built a fortress for private entertaining and one of their regular visitors was Lord Byron who wrote a poem dedicated to Butrint. Butrint began to be abandoned in the late Middle Ages due to marshes forming in the area. Wars, earthquakes and new cities hastened the city's decline. Today the site is a rich repository of the past and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the pier, a 45-minute drive takes us to Butrint, where the visit begins. The word Butrint is related to Aeneas, the Trojan hero who sailed to this area and sacrificed an ox to gain safe entrance to the region. The ox swam to shore, the site of Butrint, thus giving the area its name, "wounded ox". The idyllic wooded setting has inspired writers from Virgil to Racine. An Italian archaeological team headed by Luigi Ugolini supervised three excavations here from 1928 to 1939. Following the war, Albania continued the excavations. Since 1994, archaeologists of the University of East Anglia have made further excavations. Today, the approximately 50 square mile site (86 sq. kilometers) is an Albanian National Park and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Walk along the winding paths to discover layers of civilisation: Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian. Complete the visit with a view from Butrint's acropolis and a short visit to the museum.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: You can thank Venice for the thickly wooded headland of Corfu. During the Republic's four centuries of rule on this Ionian island (from 1386 to 1797), it was decreed that an olive tree be planted at each birth and a cypress at each death. Early admirers included the Greek poet, Homer, who sang the island's praises. Octavian brought his fleet to the island's harbor before the battle at Actium. Today's field trip starts with a drive to Corfu Town and a visit to the Old Fortress rising majestically from a large cliff and surrounded by a fairytale moat that has its sinister side as the last resort of the lovelorn. Built on the remains of a Byzantine castle, the fort was completed over four centuries, first by the Venetians who gave it the moat and then by the British who erected the fort's church of St. George. The fort proved a formidable bulwark against the Turks. From the fort, enjoy a stroll along the Venetian-built Esplanade past the colonnade of the Liston Café, built during French rule. The café takes is name from a time when the promenade was limited to Venetian nobility that appeared on a list in the Libro d'Oro (Golden Book). Today this path provides an excellent view of the town's cricket pitch, a legacy from British rule, and the start of our walking excursion. Discover Old Town's narrow stepped streets, Georgian mansions and red-domed Agios Spyridon church, built in 1589, containing the remains of Corfu's patron saint. Alternatively, you may elect to visit Byzantine Corfu (details on board); please review the Program Note in your mailing regarding 'alternative' excursions.

Dinner: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture or enjoy the live entertainment in the Charleston Lounge.

DAY
10
At sea
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: At sea. Stretch your body and mind during early morning yoga.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
11
Taormina, Sicily
Taormina
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: The streets of Taormina are mostly cobbled and there are some steps to navigate at the Greco-Roman Theater.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. Today we will tender ashore for a short, scenic drive to this idyllic spot with its mountainous backdrop, lemon-blossom scented air and narrow, medieval “streets”. This walking excursion proceeds past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration. The highlight of the morning is the theatre. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC and rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, the site offers heart-skipping views of the sea and Mount Etna. Your visit concludes with a stroll along the pedestrian Corso Umberto. In the small lanes and twisting viuzze you can shop for colourful ceramics, seek out the wines that won the praise of Pliny or dine on the mullet favoured by Ovid. Alternatively, visit two remote mountain villages, Savoca and Forza d'Agro, made famous by the Godfather trilogy.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: Sail to the Amalfi Coast and en route the Aegean Odyssey will pass through the Straits of Messina and take you past the living volcano of Stromboli.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
12
Salerno, Italy; Cruise Amalfi Coast
Salerno
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Imagine the surprise of the King of Naples when his 17th-century road project revealed three Greek temples in a state of near perfection amid a malaria-infested swamp. He had discovered Paestum, a major city of classic times, surviving untouched since the fall of the Roman Empire. Coach from the ship to the east-west mountain ridge that acted as a boundary between the colonies of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece) and the indigenous Lucanian people. Mythology credits Jason and the Argonauts with the city’s founding but, more likely if less romantically, the honour belongs to the Greeks who settled here in 600BC, naming the site Poseidonia to honour the god of the seas. The city was occupied by the Lucans in 400BC, but evidence suggests that the two cultures prospered together. In 273BC, the city became a Roman colony and was renamed Paestum. Three exquisite Greek temples, built between 530BC and 460BC, are at the heart of the city and are complemented by magnificent Roman discoveries that include baths, an amphitheatre and the remains of a forum. We will also visit the site’s museum, where the tomb frescoes, discovered by a local farmer in 1969, are worthy of special note. Thankfully, moist conditions enabled these Greek paintings to survive the centuries without drying and flaking and maintain their colours. The various themes include a banquet attended by male lovers, a spirited chariot race and a diver captured in mid-plunge. They are among the world’s rare surviving examples of ancient Greek painting. Alternatively, you may elect to enjoy the breathtaking drive to Ravello, an historic town perched about the Bay of Salerno.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: Savor the beauty of the Amalfi Coast with its rocky shores and iconic medieval cliffside fishing villages.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: The ship will arrive in the evening in Sorrento and will overnight in port.

DAY
13
Sorrento, Italy (Pompeii and Herculaneum)
Sorrento
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We will coach along the Bay of Naples brings you to Pompeii, considered the world's finest example of an ancient Roman town. The city, buried for centuries by hot ashes in 79AD, is a virtual time capsule of that era. In the company of a professional guide, visit the patrician mansions, baths and temples at the site. Step inside to admire the brilliant Pompeian Red walls, elaborate frescoes and gardens adorned with sculptures. View the sobering ash replicas of the citizens caught in their final moments. These bring to life the words of Pliny the Younger, an eyewitness, who described the terror of the eruption with its "broad sheets of fire and leaping flames." Scientists once believed many victims died due to asphyxiation, but recent studies have concluded that most died instantly of extreme heat as waves of volcanic gases reached temperatures up to 570°F (300°C).

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with your Road Scholar group.

Afternoon: On to Herculaneum, the Greek settlement named after its patron, Hercules. The town also perished during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD and was engulfed in a sea of mud. Fortunately for us, this mud sealed and protected entire buildings: today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics and carbonised woods can all be seen. These range from the sculpture of the Drunken Hercules in the House of the Stags to mosaics of tritons in the city baths. Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii with an extraordinary density of fine houses, with far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding. The discovery in recent years of some 300 skeletons along the sea shore came as a surprise since it was known that the town itself had been largely evacuated.

Dinner: Aboard the ship or find a trattoria to sample 'gnocci alla sorrentina', a local specialty.

Evening: At leisure. The ship will overnight in Sorrento.

DAY
14
Sorrento, Italy
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Explore this charming, cliff-straddling, port town on your own. Stroll along Marina Piccolo or find your way to the lift that will take you up to the city center, perched high above the sea. Enjoy the bustle along the Corso Italia and perhaps sample the famous local limoncello at the Piazza Tasso.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: At sea. Take the opportunity to relax on deck one more time before tomorrow's disembarkation.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Free evening to prepare belongings for disembarkation.

DAY
15
Disembark, Rome, Italy
Rome
B,L,D
Hotel Nord Nuova Roma

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Disembark in Civitavecchia and transfer to Rome. Morning panoramic overview by coach of the most significant sites of Rome including Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna. While this excursion will be primarily by coach, we will take a short stroll to the Trevi Fountain where you can toss coin to ensure your safe return to Rome.

Lunch: Enjoy a typical Roman two-course lunch inclusive of tea and coffee.

Afternoon: After lunch, visit the Palazzo dei Conservatori. Upon arrival, see the archaeological finds in the Roman Garden before surveying the outstanding collections of art housed in the Musei Capitolini.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel dining room featuring a three-course set menu served with a glass of wine.

Evening: Free evening to prepare belongings for departure.

DAY
16
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: In hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to Rome's Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO) for departures. 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!