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Italy

Italian Extravaganza: Rome, Florence and Venice at Their Finest

Program No. 22221RJ
With top instructors and ample time, discover Italy’s incredible art, architecture, history, food and more in three of the world’s most spectacular cities – Rome, Florence and Venice.
Length
12 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
6,449
Flights start at
1,000

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 23 - May 4, 2023
Starting at
6,449
May 7 - May 18, 2023
Starting at
6,449
May 21 - Jun 1, 2023
Starting at
6,449
Sep 3 - Sep 14, 2023
Starting at
6,449
Sep 17 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
6,449
Oct 1 - Oct 12, 2023
Starting at
6,449
Oct 15 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
6,449
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 23 - May 4, 2023
Starting at
7,729
May 7 - May 18, 2023
Starting at
7,729
May 21 - Jun 1, 2023
Starting at
7,729
Sep 3 - Sep 14, 2023
Starting at
7,729
Sep 17 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
7,729
Oct 1 - Oct 12, 2023
Starting at
7,729
Oct 15 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
7,729

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 Museum 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!
Field trips require extensive walking as the areas you explore are mostly car-free; up to four miles per day, with breaks. Many cobblestone streets.
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.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy reserved entrance times to major museums including the Borghese Gallery, the Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia, the Doge’s Palace and a special, private field trip to the Sistine Chapel.
  • Delight in the musical offerings of Venice during an evening concert.
  • Savor a meal in a farm restaurant in the Tuscan countryside.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials. The off-hour visits in the Sistine Chapel follows a two hour prescribed route. Those wishing to explore the museum more fully are encouraged to make independent reservations during the flexible free time. Instructions will be included in the second mailing.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Italy Map
by Borch Maps
A convenient laminated map of Italy at a scale of 1:800,000 with excellent topographic detail, an index and large maps of Sicily and Sardinia.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
The Raphael Affair
by Iain Pears
In the first of the popular Jonathan Argyll art mysteries, Argyll sneaks into a small church near Campo dei Fiori identify an undiscovered Raphael -- unfortunately for him, the painting has disappeared.
The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall
by Christopher Hibbert
A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
by Ross King
Presented with flair and backed by a wealth of research, King's captivating chronicle of Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of its conception and creation.
City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
by Roger Crowley
An enticing read on the rise and decline of the Venice, from the Crusades to the 18th century.
The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings
by R.W.B. Lewis
A vivid tour of the city and its riches by the fine biographer of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Lewis has written what he calls "a partial biography of Florence," beautifully interweaving the personal and the historical.
La Bella Lingua
by Dianne Hales
Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.
Eyewitness Guide Italy
by Eyewitness Guides
Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.
The World of Venice
by Jan Morris
Morris displays her talent for research, telling anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited portrait of a beloved city, its history and inhabitants. If you are going to read one book on Venice, we recommend this favorite.
Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History
by Ada Gabucci (Editor)
This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.
Blue Guide Concise Italy
by Paul Blanchard
The first ever guide to all of Italy by the venerable Blue Guides (which publishes individual guides to Northern, Southern, Central, Rome, Tuscany, Sicily et al), this lavishly illustrated, handy and compact guide covers key sights, museums, churches, art, dining and accommodations throughout Italy.
Venice: An Illustrated Miscellany
by Philippe Sollers
An illustrated literary stroll through the cultural heritage of Italy’s most romantic city that leads from Shakespeare through Henry James, Simone de Beauvoir and Antonio Vivaldi.
The Art of the Renaissance
by Peter Murray
A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.
The Colosseum
by Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard
This engaging overview of the history of the Colosseum deconstructs Hollywood-perpetrated misconceptions of gladiator-eating lions, Nero fiddling and other myths.
Italy in Mind
by Alice Powers
A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
Brunelleschi's Dome
by Ross King
The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.
6 Reviews
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5 Average
This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 6/04/2019

This was a good trip for those going to Italy for the first time. It covered three major cities--Rome, Florence and Venice. The main guide and all lecturers were all very knowledgeable and were able to communicate a great deal of information in a clear way. The highlight was the private after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel. The only criticisms I would make are--1) I was the only solo traveler with 8 married couples which made for an uncomfortable environment. Some people may not mind this but I had asked RS several times if other solo travelers were enrolled and was told it was policy not to say. I would not have enrolled if I knew I was the only solo traveler. 2) There was a Renaissance dinner in Florence which was delicious and in a beautiful venue but the entertainment included audience participation. There was a great deal of pressure to participate even if you did not want to (simply saying a firm no to the entertainer choosing you was not enough). That should be changed. People are on vacation to relax, not be pressured. 3) The Hotel Giorgione in Venice was not good. I had some problems with cleanliness of the room and linens and a broken toilet. The cleanliness was corrected when reported but the toilet was not and one staff member became somewhat rude about it. (The Florence hotel, Palazzo Castri, was wonderful and should be used again. The one in Rome, Monti Palace, was adequate and in a great location.) This trip is for those who like a great deal of walking. It is appropriately rated by RS.

(5) Review left 6/03/2019

This program exceeding my expectations! Everything was top notch and seamlessly executed. My husband and I had the trip of a lifetime! I wouldn't want to see Rome, Florence, and Venice any other way. I highly recommend this Program!

(5) Review left 5/28/2019

I’ve dreamed about going to Italy. The fact that I got to go with Road Scholar to see a few cities in Italy made it so enjoyable. I highly recommend the program and look forward to attending Road Scholar on future trips.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 5/17/2019

This was a wonderful program! Our group leader and tour guides were knowledgeable, insightful and helpful. We took advantage of the free time offered to do our own exploring on foot - vital, we think, in getting to know a city better. One needs good walking shoes, patience, a map and a sense of adventure. We clocked far more than the walking distance indicated, but that was by choice. If you know what venues you wish to visit in addition to the tour sites, be sure to get online tickets early to avoid long wait lines. Go for it!

(5) Review left 5/17/2019

This program was everything advertised. The private after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel was amazing--we were able to take the time to absorb the atmosphere of the spaces while our instructor Rachel was one of the most engaging instructors we've had in 12 RS trips. There is a lot of walking, stairs, and standing, but it's all doable and worth the effort for what you'll see. Flex time was great for visiting what was important to us or just relaxing and soaking up the local color.

(5) Review left 5/16/2019

An "extravaganza" indeed! The word, "extravaganza" comes from a Latin word, "ex-travagare" - to travel beyond the bounds. And this experience certainly delivers on that. Our group hit all the top 5 sites per city - and then some. With an excellent guide and professional art historians, archaeologists, cultural and culinary historians to add depth, everyone came away with a better understanding of some aspect of Rome's Classical past, with its monuments, sculpture, architecture; the Florentine Renaissance, with its innovation in architecture, the visual arts, and literature, or the Venetian Mercantile Duchy dedicated to St. Mark. The FLEX program allows enough time to absorb, explore, and re-charge. And, as a solo traveler, there was time enough for private excursions. Indeed, the riches offered through the Extravaganza itinerary pushes the bounds, which can overwhelm the senses, the memory, the knees and the ankles from time to time. But our diverse group kept the pace. 4.5/5 stars






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.