The Art of Italy – Sept. 20th – Oct. 4th 2019

Home to some of the most famous structures in the world, including the Colosseum,  the Leaning Tower of Pisa and more! Join us as we explore these World Heritage Sites from the perspective of art and architecture. A two-week celebration of the masters of Botticelli, Titian, Michelangelo and so many others.

Click here for a flyer – The Art of Italy

Day 1 Friday Sept 20th 
Overnight flight to Rome Italy.

Day 2 – Saturday Sept 21st – Arrival Rome to Sorrento
We’ll arrive in Rome this morning and travel south on the “Highway to the Sun,” crossing the fertile Latium countryside, including the vineyards of the Roman Castles and the grain and vegetable cultivation of the Ciociaria. Approximately halfway to Naples, we’ll see a splendid view of the Abbey of Montecassino… famous for its complete destruction during World War II and its exact reconstruction. Leaving Latium, we enter Campania, passing Caserta and the sumptuous Palace of the Spanish Bourbons (18th century). Late afternoon we’ll arrival at our home for the next two nights, the Panorama Palace… it is situated on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Naples and downtown. Hotel Panorama Palace (L, D)

Day 3 – Sunday Sept 22nd – Pompeii
We’ll head to the ruins of Pompeii this morning. It is an ancient Greek-Roman city that was completely buried under ash during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Pompeii was almost completely brought to light by the excavations started in 1748 which is still in progress. We’ll indulge in a delicious lunch here before we head back to Sorrento where your afternoon is free to explore. Hotel Panorama Palace (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Monday Sept 23rd – Sorrento to Rome
Enjoy a leisurely morning before we depart from Rome this afternoon… we’ll have a guided tour of Rome on arrival including the Trevi Fountain… Created in 1735 it blends together the art of Bernini and Borromini. Next Santa Maria Maggiore… one of the major basilicas it is rich in mosaics from the 5th century and contains Greek architecture from as late as 130 A.D. Then we’ll walk through Piazza Navona… admiring the evolutionary cycle of a supreme achievement in urban architecture. We’ll finish at Capitol Hill… the Capitoline summit was once 124 steps and 62 feet wide and was made up of fifteen flights of eight steps. As you ascend each step, the horizon widens and the view becomes ever richer in detail. At the top is Santa Maria in Aracoeli, where art and religion triumph. Our home for the next four nights is the Hotel Diana located near the Vatican and Casa Bonus Pastor. Casa Bonus Pastor (B, D)

Day 5 – Tuesday Sept 24th – Rome
This morning we visit Vatican City, including the Vatican Museums and the Sistine chapel. The Vatican Museum has 1400 rooms… it is 1,000 square meters (about 4 square miles) of framed paintings by Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, and Rubens. It also features frescoes by Michelangelo as well as Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Etruscan statues. In the Sistine chapel, you will find Michelangelo’s masterpiece “The Last Judgment” and works of art by Botticelli, Parigino, Signorelli, and Pinturicchio. Next, we’ll take a short walk across St. Peter’s Square where we’ll visit the Basilica of St. Peter’s. It has the largest cupola (dome) designed by Michelangelo. The rest of the day is yours to explore on your own. Casa Bonus Pastor (B)

Day 6 – Wednesday Sept 25th – Rome
This morning we’ll have a driving tour of Rome where will visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Scala Santa, and the Aurelian Walls Via Appia Porta. We’ll also stop at Circus O Maxensius and the tomb of his son Romulus as well as the Catacombs. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping. This afternoon we will take in Bath of Caracalla and Aventine Hill. We will also tour the following: The Colosseum… one of the most exquisite examples of Imperial architecture. The shape of the arc is of Etruscan heritage. From this work of art, many bridges and aqueducts were created. The Roman Forum… what remains of this historic structure emanates from the Temple of Saturno. The temple traditionally became a legacy when the Targuinius were driven out of Rome. The arch of Settimio Severo… Its rich decorations include four large panels illustrating the war against the Parti. Palazzo Venezia… this palace represents the early architecture of the 15th century. Casa Bonus Pastor (B, D)

Day 7 – Thursday Sept 26th – Rome
Today is all yours to explore the wonders of Rome, its markets, fantastic shopping and culinary delights. This evening we’ll indulge in an arrivederci Roma dinner. Casa Bonus Pastor (B, D)

Day 8 – Friday Sept. 27th – Rome to Florence
This morning we’ll head north to Assisi, where we will be visiting the Basilica of St. Francis and his tomb where his body was secretly sealed into part of the church to protect it from Saracen invaders. We will then proceed to Florence, the home of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Giotto and Dante. Florence is an antique Roman city state of medieval importance. It was also the first modern worldwide city. Italians feel that the heart of the Italian language came from Florence. Our home for the next 4 nights is Hotel Mediterraneo located in an enchanting position on the Arno River and steps from the city’s landmarks. Hotel Mediterraneo (B, D)

Day 9 – Saturday Sept 28th – Lucca & Pisa
We’ll take a day excursion today. First stop… the Tuscan town of Lucca which has retained much of its medieval charm, including an elevated promenade around the original city walls. We’ll continue to Pisa which developed many styles of architecture such as Romanesque Classic, Lombard Gothic and Arabic. Piazza del Duomo is a large green lawn on which rise the isolated blocks of the Cathedral, the Bell Tower, the Baptistry and the Cemetery. The Bell Tower, well known as the Leaning Tower, was initially constructed in 1174 under the direction of Bonanno and continued until 1185 when they first noticed the soil was giving away. Work began again in 1275 under Giovanni Di Simone and broke off again in 1284. The tower was brought to its present state in 1350 by Tommaso Pisano. The Basilica work was begun by Buschetto in 1064. During the 12th century, Rainaldo enlarged it and constructed the facade. The inside is adorned with two bronze angels and a crucifix of Giambologna (1602). The Baptistry is an elegant circular building. We’ll delight in a wonderful lunch here before we head back to Florence where your evening is free. Hotel Mediterraneo (B, L)

Day 10 – Sunday Sept 29th – Florence
This morning we’ll have a guided tour of Florence including the Academy Museum, home of the original “David” created by Michelangelo and the Cappella Medice at San Lorenzo. In Piazza Santa Croce we’ll visit Santa Croce Church, where great artists, such as Michelangelo are buried.  Our afternoon visit to the Uffizzi Gallery, the best Italian gallery, contains works by Martini, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello and Caravaggio. In Piazza della Signoria, the heart of Florence, you can admire the extraordinary open-`air museum. Dinner tonight is at a local favorite. Hotel Mediterraneo (B, L)

Day 11- Monday Sept 30th – Florence
We’ll start the day with a guided tour the Cathedral Santa Maria Del Fiore, the Baptistry and Giotto’s Bell Tower. The rest of your day is free to explore beautiful Florence on your own Hotel Mediterraneo (B)

Day 12 – Tuesday Oct 1st – Florence to Venice
This morning we will depart for Venice. We’ll stop in Ravenna on the way where a local guide will take us on a tour. Its architecture is described by Italians as “medio orientali”. The city is drowning in mosaics made for the Christian Emperors and are perfectly preserved. Welcome to Venice… the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region… it is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. Hotel Delfino (B, L, D)

Day 13 – Wednesday Oct 2nd – Venice
This morning we will have a guided tour of Venice. We’ll be transferred via vaporetto… the water bus system. These buses take visitors along the main canals, to the islands and around the lagoon. First stop at San Marco Square… considered to be one of the finest squares in the world and certainly Venice’s prime attraction, it is surrounded on three sides by the stately arcades of public buildings and on the fourth, by Basilica di San Marco’s riot of domes. Admire and learn the fascinating history of Doge’s Palace… The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Venetian Republic. See the Bridge of Sighs… one of the most famous bridges not just in Venice, but in the world. The bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the Dogi’s Palace to the Prigioni, the prisons that were built across the canal. Your afternoon is free to explore this fun place on your own… you may want to take a “taxi” to one of the many glass blowing studios that Venice is famous for.  Hotel Delfino (B)

Day 14 – Thursday Oct 3rd – Venice
Today we will have a full day excursion on the Brenta River. We will depart by coach to Padova until we reach Stra. Here we will visit the Villa Pisani with the assistance of a local guide. Villa Pisani is the biggest and most fascinating of Brenta’s villas. It was first constructed under the direction of G. Frigimelica and then by F. M. Preti to celebrate the Doge Alvise Pisani. Over the years it has housed royalty, beginning with Napoleon. Its inside frescoes by Tiepolo and its park with many statues and “Labirinto” will make this villa unforgettable. Mid-morning we begin our trip along the Brenta River. You will be able to admire several Palladian villas. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant enroute. Afterwards we will continue our river cruise and meet another guide as we tour the famous Valmarana Villa. The Villa Valmarana (Widmann) is an 18th century villa with a very large lounge decorated by frescoes. Its park is adorned with statues and fountains. Following this visit we will stop to tour the famous Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta), built by Palladio for his brothers Nicola and Alvise Foscari and their wives, Elisabetta Dolfin and Elisabetta Loredan. It is thought to be one of the best works by Palladio and is still owned by the Foscari family. We’ll return by boat to Piazzale St. Marco. You’ll have some time to rest up before our farewell dinner. Hotel Delfino (B, L, D)

Day 15 – Friday Oct 4th – Departure
We’ll head home today with grand memories of wonderful Italy!

$6,121 Double  $6,719 Single

A $100 per person deposit will hold space; balance is due by June 18th, 2019