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Odyssey at Sea: The Coasts of Italy

Program No. 23512RJ
Aboard the Aegean Odyssey, learn about both hidden and celebrated gems along the coasts of one of Europe’s most romantic and culture-filled countries.

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At a Glance

Buon giorno (good morning)! Whether uncovering ancient towns preserved under volcanic ash or discovering the heart of the Renaissance, it’s going to be another spectacular day in Italy on board the Aegean Odyssey. Sail from the canals of Venice to the architecture of Naples to the art of Florence alongside our experts. Indulge in a little vita all’italiana (life, Italian style) as you fall in love with one of Europe’s most romantic and culture-filled countries.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy an expert-led exploration of St. Mark’s Square while in Venice.
  • Explore a doomed ancient town preserved under the flow of a Mount Vesuvius eruption in A.D. 79.
  • Discover the heart of the Renaissance in Florence, including a visit to the Duomo.
  • Sail exclusively with ship mates who are all Road Scholar participants, as dedicated to learning as you are.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions.
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.
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
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.
Anzio: Italy and the Battle for Rome — 1944
by Lloyd Clark
The Allied campaign on the beaches of Western Italy, at Anzio, reigns as the bloodiest battle in the Second World War’s western theater. About six months before D-Day, in January 1944, a united force of 36,000 soldiers launched one of the first attacks on continental Europe at Anzio, a small coastal city thirty miles south of Rome.
Between Salt Water and Holy Water
by Tommaso Astarita
From the Normans and Angevins through Spanish and Bourbon rule to the unification of Italy, historian Tommaso Astarita explores the intellectual, religious, economic and political history of this fascinating region and delivers an accessibly written book that is not just colourful and scholarly but also wholly engrossing.
La Bella Lingua
by Diane 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.
Venice: A New History
by Thomas Madden
Using long-buried archival material and a wealth of newly translated documents, Madden weaves a spellbinding story of a place and its people, tracing an arc from the city’s humble origins as a lagoon refuge to its apex as a vast maritime empire and Renaissance epicenter to its rebirth as a modern tourist hub.
The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944
by Rick Atkinson
Rick Atkinson follows the strengthening armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north. The decision to invade Europe's so-called soft underbelly was controversial, but once under way the commitment never wavered. And with the liberation of Rome from the Nazis in June 1944, victory at last began to seem inevitable.
A House in Sicily
by Daphne Phelps
Near Mount Etna in Sicily lies Casa Cuseni, a beautiful house built in golden stone - and the home which Daphne Phelps was astonished to find she had inherited in 1947. At the age of 34, war-weary from working as a psychiatric social worker, with barely any Italian and precious little money, she plunged into a fascinating Sicilian world. The many of problems to be overcome included not only financial difficulties but local authorities and a house staff who initially felt no loyalty to the new Signorina, but who gradually accepted her as a respected member of their small community.
The Leopard
by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
The Leopard is a novel that chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento.
The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily
by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone
On 15 March 1348, Joanna I, Queen of Naples, stood trial for her life before the pope and his court in Avignon. She was 22 years old. Her cousin and husband, Prince Andrew of Hungary, had recently been murdered, and Joanna was the chief suspect. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against enormous odds. Returning to Naples, she ruled over one of Europe's most prestigious and enlightened courts for more than thirty years - until she was herself murdered. As courageous as Eleanor of Aquitaine, as astute and determined as Elizabeth I, Joanna was the only female monarch in her time to rule in her own right.
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.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
by Carla Gambescia
La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) is the perfect sampler for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its remarkably rich cultural gifts, both past and present.
Street Fight in Naples: A City's Unseen History
by Peter Robb
Peter Robb's Street Fight in Naples ranges across nearly three thousand years of Neapolitan life and art, from the first Greek landings in Italy to the time of his own less auspicious arrival thirty-something years ago.
15 Reviews
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4.92 Average
(5) Review left 12/27/2022

The trip was everything I expected from Road Scholar. The ship exceeded my expectations because the crew was the most helpful and friendly I have ever experienced and the food was excellent. The group leaders were fantastic and knowledgeable. I would have liked to spend more time in Florence but that is my only regret.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 10/27/2022

We loved the ship: room, staff, dining were wonderful. Our only complaint is that we didn't get enough time in each of the destinations. I know there are logistical issues with cruising but in the literature we received it was stated that there would be time for additional exploration on our own. Unfortunately that didn't occur and often we had to leave a site within a few hours to return to the ship. This was our first cruise so we were probably naive in our expectations of what to expect. As I mentioned we loved the ship and the lectures and the guides (we loved ENZO!!) but I think that we would prefer travel on land with more freedom to explore. Sincerely, Madeline and Don Sprague

(5) Review left 10/08/2022

We loved being on a smaller ship and touring the coast of Italy! We were able to dock at ports the larger cruise ships can't, and that made the trip more enjoyable! Everyone onboard and on land were extremely knowledgeable and very service oriented! A great trip!

(5) Review left 9/28/2022

What a wonderful trip! The stops we enjoyed were wonderful. Porto Venere is a charming hillside town that we really enjoyed exploring. Our visit to Florence was truly memorable. The city has a wealth of priceless art and historical buildings, statuary, so much to see. Pompeii was a never-to-be-missed sight. The local guides offer informational/helpful commentary to enrich the sights. Kotor in Montenegro was a delight and a surprise. Being able to retire to the ship for a delicious dinner and a comfortable bed each night made the trip perfect. I couldn't recommend this odyssey more.

(5) Review left 9/23/2022

After you have seen Rome and, maybe, one or two other sights in Italy, this is the tour for you. You unpack only once on this trip that skirts the coast of Italy for ten days, from La Spezia to Venice. There are also excursions to several inland locales that let you know you have experienced Italy. These are places with unique features and small alleys where you can find that one gift you need to take home. The trip is well designed, with several days of sea travel so you can enjoy this good ship, the Aegean Odyssey—the pool, the sun, the wonderful array of foods. The staff and crew are to brag about when you return home. Overall an excellent vacation trip. L. Stroud

(4) Review left 9/21/2022

Just returned from my very first Road Scholar trip to "The Coast of Italy" on the Aegean Odyssey. Saw many amazing, beautiful, and historically significant places in and around Italy. The staff were wonderful! The pace even for "Active" groups was way too slow for some, but otherwise, a great experience.

(5) Review left 9/21/2022

Stay away from erupting volcanoes. Pompei and Etna tourist

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 7/06/2022

I have to say the trip was great. The crew on the Aegean Odyssey were excellent from the room steward to the dining room people, the music trio that entertained us every day, the waitstaff that worked in the lounge, everyone of them deserves a big hand of applause. Our tour guide from the ship, Danielle, made the trip informative and most enjoyable. He was very knowledgeable plus very friendly and very concerned about his group.I can't imagine a better guide. The ship was very nice except for a PROBLEM with my room. on Saturday I noticed that the carpet along the window side of the room was extremely wet. I informed the front desk and they sent someone to check it out and assure me that it was not from the water or sewer pipes. They tried to dry it to no avail and had me move to the room next door. They helped with the move which was good but the same thing was happening in that room and that carpet was also wet. I just didn't use that side of my room for the last 2 days. I never was given a reason for the problem and I do not know if if was ever solved. I am not sure if anything. monetarily can be done but it did cause some concern about mold etc that comes from dampness. Luckily I was able to keep my personal things on the other side of the room and sleep on the far side of the bed. Once more I want to tell you how impressed I was with all the staff on board the ship. they all deserve a big thank you . Sue Christianson Rm 816 moved to 814

(5) Review left 6/23/2022

This was a fabulous trip, starting with the ship "Aegean Odyssey" it was beautiful, sparking clean, with a staff that was eager to serve. I was with 14 friends on this trip, everyone said they would take a future trip on the Aegean Odyssey, I mentioned that I enjoyed the ship so much it would not need to stop at any ports. With only 300 passengers we were able to find other like mined travelers and have made some contacts that I expect to see on future Road Scholar trips. The onshore excursions were wonderful, passengers were divided into groups of about 22 with a leader who was well verses in the history and landscape of Italy. Our leader was Domenico from Naples and we loved him; when we arrived on shore each group had a local docent to take us though all we needed to know about that area. One traveler commented that this was truly an enriching trip. What a joy to have your breakfast served on the beautiful Lido Deck while watching the Italian coastline as we pasted by. We have made a beautiful video of our friends at all the ports we visited, just wish I could share it with all of you. Thank you Road Scholar for a wonderful trip, Carolyn Monroe

(5) Review left 6/22/2022

The website is excellent. I don't really have anything specific to say about it.

(5) Review left 6/17/2022

I just completed the "Coasts of Italy" 10 day cruise from Venice to Genoa. RS did a fabulous job organizing every aspect of the trip and the entire program exceeded my expectations.

(5) Review left 6/15/2022

This program, The Coasts of Italy, gives an outstanding introduction to Italy and the vibrant activity that we were able to see and hear. The ship staff was well trained and provided an excellent level of customer service. Roads Scholar staff was professional and made the program live up to a once in a lifetime experience.

(5) Review left 6/15/2022

Wonderful ship, great overview of beautiful and interesting places around Italy, good onboard programs, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, delicious fresh-made desserts! Dividing into small groups was excellent, with a wonderful group leader. I think the "less active" level should have been slower paced for those of us with aches and pains.

(5) Review left 6/15/2022

The At Sea off the coast of Italy tour I just attended was well worth the wait. The program keeps you informed every step of the way and tries to anticipate your questions in advance. Every few weeks leading up to departure spoon feeds you bits of additional necessary information to help you prepare. The daily newsletter while attending the trip keeps you informed as to what to expect each day and allows for ample time to get any questions addressed beforehand. This is the most efficiently run and informative tour you can imagine. Well worth the investment of time and money. A stress free planned vacation where you can absorb the sights and sounds around you and soak up knowledge as you go. Grown up travel at its best !

(5) Review left 6/15/2022

The Coasts of Italy is an outstanding way to see interesting and important places while learning fascinating information. I highly recommend it to you! My roommate & I were not in the same activity level groups but found lots of time to interact with each other and meet many new friends, too.

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.