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Italian Extravaganza: Rome, Florence and Venice at Their Finest

Program No. 22221RJ
With top instructors and ample free time, discover Italy’s amazing art, architecture, history, food, and more in three of the world’s most spectacular cities—Rome, Florence, and Venice.

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At a Glance

Italy must be savored like a fine wine — and there's no better way to sample its many flavors than by exploring three of its most famous cities: Rome, Florence, and Venice. With local experts to introduce you to the very best of each city’s historic treasures and cultural wonders, you’ll enjoy reserved entrance times to major museums and attend a special, after-hours private exploration of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with your Group Leader. Walk in the footsteps of the Romans at the Colosseum and navigate the canals of Venice by gondola. Along the way, enjoy ample free-time opportunities to explore charming piazzas, sample local delicacies at a farm in the countryside, and get a first-hand view into what locals call "bella vita" — the good life.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to six miles a day. Extended standing during site visits with limited or no public seating. Uneven terrain, limited public handrails, unavoidable stairs, marble and terracotta flooring, cobblestones, inclines, loose gravel, escalators. Elevator use is limited or restricted in historic sites. Venice's canal bridges have ramps or stairs with handrails. Expect crowded conditions in pedestrian centers and museums. Program-related travel and transfers will be via bus, high-speed train, vaporetto, and water taxi. Sheltered waiting areas may not be available at docks.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Enjoy reserved entrance times to major museums, including the Galleria Borghese, Uffizi, Accademia, Palazzo Ducale, and a special, private field trip to the Sistine Chapel and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Delight in the musical offerings of Venice during an evening concert.
  • Savor a meal in a farm restaurant in the Tuscan countryside.

General Notes

The program includes independent time to explore Rome, Florence, and Venice and several meals on your own. The Group Leader will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities are provided in your Final Information Packet. The off-hour visit to the Sistine Chapel follows a two-hour prescribed route. Those wishing to explore the museum more fully are encouraged to make independent reservations during free time. The off-hour visit to St. Mark's Basilica follows a one-hour prescribed route. Those wishing to explore the basilica more fully are encouraged to visit during their free time.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Jane Zaloga
Jane Zaloga holds degrees in architecture and business administration from the University of Notre Dame, an MA from Syracuse University, and has done further graduate study at Harvard University. She has received several fellowships to study in Rome and in Florence, including the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. She now lives in Florence and teaches with several American university programs, including Syracuse University and New York University.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Jane Zaloga View biography
Jane Zaloga holds degrees in architecture and business administration from the University of Notre Dame, an MA from Syracuse University, and has done further graduate study at Harvard University. She has received several fellowships to study in Rome and in Florence, including the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. She now lives in Florence and teaches with several American university programs, including Syracuse University and New York University.
Profile Image of Paolo Alei
Paolo Alei View biography
Dr. Paolo Alei is an art historian specializing in and publishing works on Renaissance and Baroque art in Rome and Venice; however, he considers Classical art one of his passions. He earned his M.A. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University. Paolo teaches full-time at the University of California System Rome program and enjoys Italian cinema from the Neorealism period through the 1970s.
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Rachel Potts View biography
Rachel Potts is a licensed excursion leader in Rome. She graduated from Manchester University with a bachelor's in Philosophy and French, and later studied garden design at the London Gardening School. Having grown up in Rome, she chose to return to Italy and share her knowledge and love of Rome and the surrounding areas.
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Erika Morri View biography
Erika Morri has a degree in political science from the Università di Bologna and has worked in marketing, public relations and event planning. An elite athlete, Erika played on the Italian National Women's Rugby team for 12 years. Currently, she is a board member of the Italian Rugby Federation which governs professional, semi-professional and amateur play. She lives in Bologna and has an eye for photography and design.
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Rosanna Giannotti View biography
Rosanna Giannotti is a Senior Authorized Venice Guide Lecturer who has devoted her life to studying the art and history of her home city. She is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and she has always had a penchant for traveling and cosmopolitanism, in order to expand her knowledge and connect Venetian history with the world context. Rosanna is a member of the most prestigious Italian and European Associations of Guide Lecturers and has cooperated with Road Scholar programs in Venice for over 30 years.
Profile Image of Giulietta Seme
Giulietta Seme View biography
Julieta is a passionate student of history, specializing in the history and culture of her native city of Rome. She studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma with a concentration in painting before earning a degree in classical archaeology and art history from the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza." Outside of history, Julieta enjoys hiking beautiful nature trails by the seaside or in the mountains of Italy.
Profile Image of Cristina Gregorin
Cristina Gregorin View biography
Cristina Gregorin has a PhD in German studies and earned her degree in history, art history, and languages from the University of Trieste. She has lived and worked in Venice for many decades. As an excursion expert, she prefers to offer a multifaceted experience of Venice that includes traditions and habits of the past and present, and the juxtaposition of the historical and contemporary aspects of the city. Cristina is the author of “Venice Master Artisans,” a book focusing on Venetian arts and crafts.
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Susan Steer View biography
Susan Steer is originally from England. She came to Venice 20 years ago as an art history undergraduate with an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, later serving as a supervisor of the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Living and working in Venice changed her life, falling in love with its architecture, art, and lifestyle. She returned to study for an MA and a PhD in Venetian art. Susan married a Venetian. They and their son share their time between the UK and Venice.
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Monica Shenouda View biography
Monica Shenouda, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, now calls Florence home. She majored in French Literature at Swarthmore College, worked in New York City, and studied art history and architecture in Rome. She then went to the University of Virginia and earned a master’s in architectural history and a PhD in the art history and architecture. She did her research in Venice, the subject of her dissertation. Monica teaches for study abroad programs in Florence and Venice and works as a translator and editor.
Profile Image of Cristiana Filippini
Cristiana Filippini View biography
Cristiana Filippini was awarded her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University with a dissertation on 11th-century frescoes in Rome. She has also completed specialized study in archeology and art history from the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy and has taught at the American University in Rome and at Trinity College’s Rome Campus.
Profile Image of Lucia Pigozzo
Lucia Pigozzo View biography
Lucia Pigozzo is a seasoned art historian turned licensed travel leader, passionate about unraveling Venice's intricate tapestry of history and beauty. With degrees in art history and specialized training in teaching from institutions like the National Gallery in Dublin and the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona, she offers a unique perspective on Venetian culture. Lucia's rich experience includes teaching at prestigious universities and managing press offices for renowned exhibitions.
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