Italy

Independent Venice: Art, Culture and Canals

Program No. 23230RJ
Discover the timeless beauty, architectural grandeur, world-class cuisine and unparalleled cultural legacy of Venice with local experts and plenty of time on your own.

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At a Glance

Experience "la bea vita" (the beautiful life in Venetian dialect) in Venice as you learn from our Study Leader and then independently discover the parts of the city that are calling to you most — whether the gorgeous marbled architecture reflected in its winding canals or the narrow backstreets where daily life unfolds. Immerse yourself in the Italian culture by tasting the fresh flavors of the sea at quaint trattorie and learning about Venetian crafts from local artisans. With the help of your Study Leader and plenty of time on your own, study the spectacular artists, architects, and musicians that contributed (and continue to add to) Venice’s unmatched beauty.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three 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. 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 vaporetto and water taxi. Sheltered waiting areas may not be available at docks. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting substantial independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

What You'll Learn

  • Experience the St. Mark’s Basilica at night, when its beauty can be experienced without crowds.
  • Revel in a Vivaldi concert performed on priceless original instruments by a chamber music ensemble.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of traditional Venetian crafts – including Carnival masks – with the author of "Venice Master Artisans," Cristina Gregorin.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Cristina Gregorin
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.

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

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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.
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.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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8 days
7 nights
8 meals
6 B 0 L 2 D
DAY
1
In Transit To Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Venice, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Venice
D
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. Walking up to 2 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Afternoon: Check in and settle in. At 4:15 p.m. we gather in the meeting room for an Orientation session. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. We will distribute the Venice Museum and Chorus Passes for entrance to some of the major museums and churches in Venice as well as a public transportation pass for the vaporetto/water bus and boats to the islands. All walks in Venice involve crossing multiple bridges that span the canals. Breakfasts will be buffets. Other included meals will be plated and served from a set menu unless indicated otherwise; water is included, other beverages will be available for purchase. 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. Periods in the schedule designated as "Free time" and "At leisure" offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Next, we will join our Group Leader in a welcome cocktail (or fruit juice).

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. This is a Road Scholar Independent program. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, few group activities, and are capable and comfortable setting out independently for a significant part of the day/night. There will be several hours each day of educational content. Most meals will be on your own (excluded from the program cost) to have what you like, and there will be substantial free time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

DAY
3
Venice History Lecture, Free Time, St. Mark's Basilica
Venice
B
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Getting on/off a vaporetto (water bus). Walking up to 3 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our Study Leader will provide a captivating introduction to Venice in the hotel meeting room. We will delve into the fascinating history of the Republic, which impressively maintained political stability for over a thousand years, weathering external pressures and internal challenges. Through this context, we'll better appreciate Venice's magnetic allure to artists and architects, as they have left an indelible mark on the city throughout the centuries. We will focus on Venice's Golden Era, which has significantly shaped the enchanting La Serenissima.

Lunch: 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.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Evening: We have the privilege of embarking on a unique nighttime visit to St. Mark's Basilica, reserved solely for our Road Scholar group. Our experience kicks off with a guided exploration of this astounding Basilica, whose construction started in 1063 CE. The Basilica, dedicated to Venice's patron saint, St. Mark, has evolved into a stunning monument of religious and architectural significance, which truly needs to be witnessed firsthand to be fully appreciated. Its most striking elements include a range of captivating mosaics from the 11th to the 19th centuries, beautifully rendered in a multitude of vibrant hues set against golden backdrops. Our journey also includes visiting the crypt nestled beneath sea level, where special lighting creates a mystical ambiance and illuminates the glittering mosaics installed in 1071 by Constantinopolitan artists. Following our visit, we'll travel via vaporetto from San Marco to the stop nearest to our hotel. Anyone who prefers to return by foot is welcome to do so.

DAY
4
Venetian Crafts Lecture, Velvet Manufacturer, Free Time
Venice
B
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Getting on/off a vaporetto (water bus). Walking up to 3 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room, our Study Leader will unveil the captivating world of Venetian handcraft, taking us on a journey through the charming small botteghe (workshops) and revealing the traditional tools and centuries-old machines used by skilled artisans. Following a short break, we will set off on foot to the renowned velvet manufacturer, Bevilacqua. Led by a knowledgeable docent, we'll be able to explore the shop floor, where we can witness the mesmerizing sight of active looms at work. Be amazed as you discover that the company's exquisite fabrics are still meticulously crafted by hand, using authentic 18th- and 19th-century looms. Each phase of the manufacturing process is a labor of love, showcasing the dedication of skilled artisans. As we delve into the rich history of Bevilacqua, we'll be captivated by the impressive archives, housing over 3,500 original patterns that have stood the test of time. It's a truly unique and awe-inspiring experience, immersing us in the artistry and craftsmanship that defines Venetian handcraft.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In the late afternoon, we'll gather at a local bar for a satisfying drink and an engaging chat with the Group Leader. It's a perfect opportunity to unwind, share stories, and foster camaraderie with your fellow Road Scholars.

Dinner: On your own to sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Historical Era of Titian Lecture, Free Time
Venice
B
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Getting on/off a vaporetto (water bus). Walking up to 3 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Join us in the hotel meeting room for an enlightening presentation by our local expert on the illustrious era of Venetian painter Titian (1488-1576). Step back to the 16th century, a period of unrivaled success for Venetian artists, including Titian, Veronese, and Jacopo Tintoretto, who reigned over the art scene. Discover how these visionary artists revolutionized the world of painting with their masterful use of striking, luminous colors, creating a new and captivating style that left a lasting impact on the art world.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Later in the afternoon, we will gather at a local bar for a delightful drink and a captivating conversation with our Group Leader. This relaxed setting provides the ideal chance to unwind, exchange stories, and build camaraderie with your fellow Road Scholars.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Glass & Mosaics Lecture, Free Time, Musical Performance
Venice
B
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Getting on/off a vaporetto (water bus). Walking up to 3 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Gather in the hotel meeting room for an enlightening lecture led by our Study Leader, delving into the fascinating world of Murano glassmaking and mosaics. Located just a short boat ride from Venice, the picturesque island of Murano is renowned for its centuries-old tradition of exquisite craftsmanship and unique designs in glassmaking. Stepping onto the island feels like a living museum of craftsmanship and artistry. Murano's glassblowing techniques have been honed and perfected over generations, resulting in stunning creations adorn palaces, museums, and homes worldwide. Visitors can explore the charming streets lined with workshops and galleries, witnessing skilled artisans at work and gaining insight into the intricate process of glassmaking. Murano's rich history, vibrant culture, and undeniable artistic allure make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the captivating world of Venetian glass art. Despite facing challenges throughout history, the tradition has endured on these islands, making them a true haven for the art of glassmaking.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to sample the local fare.

Evening: We will set out to attend a classical musical performance of a renowned local chamber orchestra. Venice played a pivotal role in the evolution of Baroque music during the 17th and 18th centuries, ushering in a new era of musical expression and innovation. In this period, the music shifted from the Renaissance's structured polyphony to a more emotional, dramatic, and ornate style that defined the Baroque period. Venice was the cradle for this transformation, with its churches, opera houses, and orchestras significantly contributing to this musical revolution. Iconic composers such as Antonio Vivaldi, born in Venice, became synonymous with the Baroque style. His works, including the famed "Four Seasons," are representative of Venice's rich Baroque tradition. Furthermore, the city's introduction of public opera houses during this era made music more accessible to the general populace, broadening the influence and reach of Baroque music.

DAY
7
Andrea Palladio Lecture, Free Time, Wine Tasting
Venice
B,D
Hotel Amadeus

Activity note: Getting on/off a vaporetto (water bus). Walking up to 3 miles along narrow streets with stone pavers, crossing bridges with steps or ramps, and some with no railing. The extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Join us in the hotel meeting room for an enlightening session led by our Study Leader as we delve into the world of Andrea Palladio's architectural brilliance. A celebrated Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) left an indelible mark on modern architecture through his iconic villas and churches scattered across the picturesque Veneto region. Discover his designs' enduring beauty and timeless elegance, inspiring and captivating architects and enthusiasts alike. This insightful introduction will give you a deeper appreciation of the Veneto landscape's architectural heritage.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Before dinner, we will venture to a charming wine bar or shop, where we'll have the incredible opportunity to sample wines from the Veneto.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. At a dock near the hotel, bags will be loaded onto the boat and then off the boat at the airport dock. A few steps from the boat to the dock and you are in the water transportation wing of the airport. Follow the signs to the main terminal. Carts are available or use the moving walkway.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant; for those with early departures, the hotel will prepare a bagged breakfast with a fruit, a roll or pastry, fruit juice, and water to take with you. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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 another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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