20856
Italy
Italy, Family-Style: Best of Rome, Florence and Venice
Share the wonders of three classic Italian cities with your family as you taste famed cuisine, enjoy a gondola ride, create your own fresco and explore ancient Roman ruins.
Program No. 20856RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
4,598
Flights start at
1,125
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14 days
13 nights
30 meals
12 B 9 L 9 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival & Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Rome
L,D
Hotel Pace Helvezia

Activity note: Hotel check in from 2:00 p.m.

Morning: A light walk will be organized for those with early morning arrivals while waiting for lunch and hotel check-in

Lunch: At a local café. Choose from a select menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Check in and settle in. In the hotel meeting room the Group Leader will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please note that the order of visits and activities may be different from what is described in this preliminary itinerary. Except breakfast, meals will be plated (each dish served to guests by hotel or 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. In Rome, transportation will primarily be provided by motor coach; in Venice by vaporetto, or public boat. 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. Before dinner, the group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions with a Welcome Cocktail (or fruit juice).

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

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
History of Rome, Piazza Walks, Treasures of the Vatican
Rome
B,L,D
Hotel Pace Helvezia

Activity note: The walk through the back streets of Rome to find major landmarks is just over one mile.

Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room an illustrated lecture on the History of Rome by a local expert prepares us for our explorations in The Eternal City. After a short break transportation close to Piazza Navona.

Lunch: At a restaurant near Piazza Navona a set menu with plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Meet our local expert who will discuss how an ancient stadium of Domitian (81-96) was transformed into the quintessential Baroque piazza, at the center of which is Bernini's famous Fountain of the Four Rivers. Pass on toward the Pantheon, the celestial observatory dating back to the 2nd c. Coach back to the hotel. Some free time before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Vatican Treasures, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica
Rome
B,L
Hotel Pace Helvezia

Activity note: Expect crowds at the Vatican Museums. Walk a few flights of stairs to visit the various galleries and art filled rooms. Steps along the path to the Sistine Chapel. The evening open air show at the Forum of Augustus is a few blocks from the hotel.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Vatican Museums and meet the local expert who will lead us through a number of galleries. We have a reserved entrance time. We will learn about singular pieces, such as the Laocoon; Apollo Belvedere; gilded Hercules; and of course, the Sistine Chapel. The visit continues to the "new" S. Peter's Basilica (only 500 years old) to see Michelangelo's Pieta' and works by Bernini.

Lunch: Short coach ride to the Mosaic School for a light buffet lunch. Soft drinks and water are included.

Afternoon: Inside S. Peter's Basilica, the docent pointed out that the "paintings" are actually micro-mosaics and that mosaics decorate much of the interior. Especially for kids: Come to appreciate the art form of mosaics as you create your own mosaic with stone tesserae with instructors at a workshop. Keep your decorated piece as a memento. At the conclusion of the workshop session we board our coach back to the hotel.

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

Evening: Especially for kids: We will learn about daily life in ancient times through a spectacular laser light show at the Forum of Augustus, with English narration, that begins after sunset.

DAY
5
Forum and Colosseum
Rome
B,D
Hotel Pace Helvezia

Activity note: You will be on your feet most of the morning. Walk along uneven paths and original pavement of cobblestone. Good walking shoes are a must for the visit to the Colosseum, especially for the steep and uneven steps to reach the upper level. There is an elevator at the Colosseum. The walk from the Forum to the hotel is less than half a mile.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to the nearest drop off point to the Colosseum. Reserved entrance for expert-led visit of the Flavian Amphitheater, commonly known as the Colosseum, capable seating up to 50,000 people. Imagine watching gladiatorial games and the pageantry. Guided visit continues to Via dei Fori Imperiali. With the temples and columns as a backdrop, the local expert's description will bring to life the Forum as the center of the commercial, civic and religious activity of Rome. Short walk back to the hotel. Some free time before dinner.

Lunch: On your own. The Group Leader will have suggestions for cafés and restaurants in the area.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
6
Capitoline Museum, Train to Florence, Neighborhood walk
Florence
B,L,D
Rivoli Boutique Hotel

Activity note: The Capitoline Museum is .4 mile from the hotel. Climb long low rise steps to reach the top of the Capitoline Hill; a set of stairs in the museum. Sit in first class comfort on a high speed train to Florence. The neighborhood walk in Florence covers about 1.5 miles.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Porters will collect our suitcases early in the morning and load them onto a van for delivery directly to the hotel in Florence. Check out of the hotel. We can deposit our hand held bags with the hotel front desk. Short walk to Piazza Venezia where we meet our local expert. At the Capitoline Museum we experience up close masterpieces of ancient art, portrait busts of famous men and women, the famous bronze She Wolf, Marcus Aurelius and remains of the Constantine's colossal statue. Passing through the Tabularium gallery, we reach the Palazzo Nuovo wing where the Dying Gaul and Capitoline Venus are on display.

Lunch: At a nearby café. Light lunch of salad or sandwiches. Soft drink or water is included.

Afternoon: Walk to the hotel to pick up our carry-on bags before boarding our coach for the short ride to the train station. Experience travel on a high speed train at speeds reaching 120 mph. Arrive in Florence 95 minutes later. Short walk to the hotel. Check in and settle in. At the appointed time, meet in the lobby for a neighborhood walk.

Dinner: At Benedicta, the fine restaurant of the hotel. A glass of wine is included and offered to the adults.

Evening: With the group leader, stroll the historical section of Florence to orient yourself on the layout of the city, locate landmarks, find ATM's and pharmacies.

DAY
7
Renaissance Art, Uffizi Gallery
Florence
B,L,D
Rivoli Boutique Hotel

Activity note: The walk to the Uffizi is .7 mile along stone sidewalks and uneven cobblestone streets. A small elevator (cap. 3 persons) for disabled visitors may be accessible at the Uffizi Gallery. There is a long flight of stairs to reach the exhibition rooms of the gallery. Expect some crowding in the museum; it is a popular destination for art aficionados.

Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room a local expert presents Renaissance Art in preparation for the self-guided visit of the Uffizi Gallery. Some free time before lunch.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the Piazza della Signoria.

Afternoon: Reserved entrance to the Uffizi Gallery for self-directed visit, stay as long as you want. At the end of the second corridor is a refreshment bar for snacks. The balcony has a wonderful view of Brunelleschi's Dome and the watch tower of Palazzo Vecchio. Some free time before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant in the vicinity of the hotel.

Evening: Walk of discovery after dinner, perhaps cross Ponte Vecchio to explore the "Oltrarno" district.

DAY
8
The David, The Galileo Museum of Science, Fresco Technique
Florence
B,L
Rivoli Boutique Hotel

Activity note: The walk from the hotel to the Accademia is .8 mile. Same distance from the Accademia to the Palazzo Vecchio we climb 2 flights of stairs. The Galileo Museum is 1 block from the Palazzo Vecchio.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We set out on foot for an expert-led visit to the Accademia. The highlight of the collection is Michelangelo's David. Next, we walk back through the heart of the city to Piazza dei Giudici to learn about the scientific revolutions of the XVI and XVII centuries at the Galileo Museum.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the Piazza del Duomo.

Afternoon: Short walk to the Piazza della Signoria. Especially for kids: In a workshop in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's City Hall, we learn from an art teacher the steps required to paint using the fresco technique on a 6" x 9" tile; from creating the lines with a sack of coal dust, to spreading the fresh plaster and mixing the pigments. The finished fresco is yours to keep; otherwise the workshop recycles the plaster. Then a museum docent will lead the visit of Palazzo Vecchio to see original pieces of art, including Donatello's Judith and Holofernes and sculptures by Michelangelo. We will also see Machiavelli's study when he was Secretary of State for the Republic.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
9
San Lorenzo Market, Gates of Paradise
Florence
B,D
Rivoli Boutique Hotel

Activity note: We cover about 2 miles on foot over stone sidewalks and cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Explore Florence with a local expert. The walk ends at the Mercato di San Lorenzo, Florence's colorful fresh produce market. A lively food court specializes in farm to table menus. Much variety of small plates, vegetables, pizza, pasta, snacks and beverages.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: In the Piazza del Duomo, the expert-led visit continues to the Duomo Museum. The highlight of the collection is a Pieta' by Michelangelo and the original (newly restored) panels of the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Dinner: At Ristorante Benedicta. A glass of wine is included for the adults.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
10
Train to Venice, History of Venice, the Serenissima
Venice
B,L,D
Don Orione Artigianelli Hotel

Activity note: Short walk (.2 mile) from the hotel to the train station in Florence with your carry-on luggage. In Venice we take public transportation to the hotel. Short neighborhood walk to acquaint you with the area around the hotel. On all walks in Venice we will encounter bridges with ramps or steps that span the smaller canals.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel. Your checked luggage will be collected by the porters and loaded onto a van for delivery to the hotel in Venice; keep your carry on bag with you. Walk to the train station to board a high speed train to Venice; the trip is 2 hours. Vaporetto down the Grand Canal to the Accademia, the stop closest to the hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Check in and settle in. At the appointed meeting time we gather in the hotel meeting room. A local expert presents Welcome to Venice, introducing us to the city known as the Serenissima, the 'Most Serene.' Neighborhood walk with the Group Leader follows.

Dinner: At a local restaurant to savor Venetian cuisine that features seafood dishes.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Artisan Workshop, S. Mark's Basilica
Venice
B,D
Don Orione Artigianelli Hotel

Activity note: Vaporetto vessels are often crowded in the summer months. They are the sole public transportation of Venice; no bicycles or scooters are allowed. As the only alternative to walking, the vaporettos are crowded with tourists and residents alike. Walking in Venice we will encounter bridges with ramps or steps.

Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers a continental breakfast (no hot dishes) juice and water, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: The Group Leader will distribute a vaporetto pass that is valid for our stay in Venice. Especially for the kids: Ride the vaporetto down the Grand Canal to a workshop to learn about a craft tradition and make your own item. It may be a mask or a glass bead project. Details will be made available closer to departure date.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Travel to Piazza S. Marco on the vaporetto for an expert-led visit to the Byzantine style S. Mark's Cathedral, built during the 13 C. There are more than 45,000 sq. ft. of mosaics adorning the church, giving the impression of streets of gold. On the second floor is the original "quadriga" a team of four gilded bronze horses that was looted from Constantinople. Replicas now stand in the elements above the entrance to the Basilica. See illuminated manuscripts and other documents related to the church

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Set menu features Venetian seafood dishes.

Evening: At leisure. With your vaporetto pass you can ride up and down the Grand Canal to experience Venice by night.

DAY
12
Doge's Palace, Gondola Ride
Venice
B,L
Don Orione Artigianelli Hotel

Activity note: Visiting the Doge's Palace requires going up two flights of stairs. Assistance is offered getting on and off the gondola.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Vaporetto to San Marco. We meet our local expert for a visit of the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace. We explore the many rooms of the palace, seat of civic and political power. Doges embellished the Palazzo to demonstrate their wealth and importance. From the grand halls of the palace, the visit concludes with a walk through the narrow passages over the Bridge of Sighs the Prisons. It is said that those condemned sighed at knowing it would be their last sight of the sky.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore Venice with a local expert who takes us on a special walk off the beaten path. Especially for kids: Experience Venice from another perspective on a gondola ride through the back canals of Venice.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Rialto Bridge, Guggenheim Collection
Venice
B,L,D
Don Orione Artigianelli Hotel

Activity note: Walks in Venice involve crossing multiple bridges that span the canals. The permanent collection of the Guggenheim museum is displayed on a single floor of the Palazzo Venier with a few steps at the entrance and leading to the wing with special exhibitions.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Having been surrounded by ancient and Renaissance masterpieces and structures, enjoy the modern art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Relax in the courtyard of the Palazzo Venier on the Grand Canal while the docent introduces the life and times of the wealthy American collector. The adults will have a guided visit led by a museum docent. Especially for kids: young visitors will have their own docent who facilitates the discovery of form and expression in modern art.

Lunch: At a characteristic trattoria near the museum.

Afternoon: Excursion to an artisan's workshop to learn about the carving techniques of making gondola oars and oar locks. Explore the area of the Rialto Bridge, Venice's original market area. Find many souvenir booths, food and fruit market. Some free time before dinner.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. Fixed menu, plated table service. Wine is included with this meal for the adults to toast new friendships.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel. Sack breakfast for those with early departure times. 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!