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The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!

New! 2018 Italian Coastal Odyssey: Hidden Italy, Sicily & Malta

Italy: Rome, Ponza, Pozzuoli, Procida, Sorrento, Paestum, Salerno • Sicily: Salina, Strait of Messina, Mount Etna, Siracusa • Malta: Valletta, Hagar Qim, Marsaxlokk, Mdina • Italy: Riace, Otranto, Alberobello, Monopoli, Tremiti Islands, L’Aquila, Urbino • Republic of San Marino • Italy: Ravenna, Venice

EXPLORE IN SMALL GROUPS OF 25 ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 50-PASSENGER M/V ARTEMIS
OPERATED BY GRAND CIRCLE CRUISE LINE

27 Days from only $13,690 including international airfare

Activity Level:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Courtesy Rodolfo Bonucci
The Colosseum in Rome

Soar above one of Rome’s—and the world’s—most famous ancient sites, the Colosseum.

©2013 The New York Times
The Italian Gesture

See why Italians favor talking with their hands, and learn to interpert the gestures often accompanying conversation.

Courtesy of Michael Paulis
Life in Malta

From a peaceful pace to friendly neighbors, hear why locals love living in Malta.

Courtesy Emeric Livinec
Land of Sicilia

Witness some of the gorgeous Sicilian scenery; from mountaintops to craggy shorelines and charming ancient cities.

Courtesy of Malcom Debono
No Place Like Malta

Soar high above the island of Malta—from its placid turquoise coves to its gleaming white cities.

FROM
$13,690
27 DAYS
$508/DAY
including international airfare
26 DAYS FROM $12,890 Small Ship Adventure Only
Extend Your Trip
 

NEW in 2018
See western and eastern Italy
on this 27-day combination trip

 
 

Witness the Italian coast
from a private balcony
See More Options »

Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Colorful fishing villages ... tiny, rugged islands ... cozy mountainside hamlets—there’s so much more to Italy than its iconic cities. Immerse yourself in the lesser-known gems along three sides of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta on this comprehensive journey, which combines our two NEW eastern and western Italy Small Ship Adventures into one unforgettable experience. Witness ancient Greek temples, taste traditionally made olive oil, and savor authentic slices of local life during two Home-Hosted Lunches in Italy’s unspoiled ports; stroll alongside lively Sicilians in ancient Ortygia, Siracusa; and uncover some of the world’s oldest relics in Hagar Qim, Malta—all while traveling aboard a 50-passenger small ship designed to bring you closer to the most intimate discoveries. What’s more, you’ll save up to $6200 per couple by combining these two trips.

Make It Your Adventure

Personalize your trip to meet your individual needs, from preferred flights and air routing, to “breaking away” to spend more time in a destination.

  • O.A.T’s team of Adventure Specialists makes every effort to provide you with non-stop flights and acceptable connection times to and from your destination. You also have several other options for personalizing your air itinerary, which include:

    • Choose your departure city and airline: We list the most popular gateway cities on our website, but not all of them. If you don’t see yours listed, or there’s one that better suits your needs, let us know. You can also tell us if you have an airline preference and we will try to accommodation your request.
    • Depart from one city and return from another: Just because your flight leaves from one city doesn’t mean you have to return there. Maybe you flew out of Boston and wish to visit friends in Los Angeles after your trip is over. Tell us where you want to go and we’ll do our best to get you there.
    • Fly the way you want to: We’ll gladly arrange a flight upgrade to business or premium economy class if it’s available. And when you fly economy class, we’ll do our best to see that you get your choice of seating preference or even add a special meal request if you have dietary restrictions or needs.
  • You can extend your time abroad and "break away" anywhere you'd like to do more exploring on your own. Stay for a day, a week, or even a month in a favorite locale. Or consider arriving a few days early in Rome for a fresh start or spending more time at the end of your trip in Venice. Our Travel Counselors can provide you with information on the accommodations we will use at the beginning of your trip so that you can make your own arrangements. That way, you'll know that you will be exactly where you need to be to meet your group.

  • Many of our travelers choose to take another trip directly after their first one ends. Think about it: If you’re already overseas, why not see more of the region and avoid the expense and length of another international flight? Many of our travelers have taken two or three consecutive trips before returning home. Two of the most common Small Ship Adventures combined with Italian Coastal Odyssey: Hidden Italy, Sicily & Malta are The Rivieras: Italy, France & the Isles or Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast & Greece. And now you’ll save an additional $250-$350 per person when you reserve two trips right after one another.

  • Many Grand Circle travelers simply don’t want their trips to end. With an array of pre- and post-trip extensions to choose from, you have the chance to experience more of the places you’ve traveled so far to see, including Tuscany: Florence & Siena and Trieste & Ljubljana. Plus, you lower your average per-day costs because you’re taking advantage of your already included international airfare.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 5 nights from only $1395

    Trace history’s footsteps back to the birth of the Renaissance, as the world’s most influential dreamers—artistic, philosophical, and political—descended upon what we now know as Tuscany. Behold artistic treasures, from the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomowithin iconic Florence, and then discover Siena, Florence’s ancient rival to the south and home to some of the most splendid examples of Gothic architecture in all of Italy.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your flight to Rome.

  • You'll be met at the Rome airport and assisted to your hotel. Relax and settle in before meeting your Trip Leader and fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink. If you began your explorations early with our optional Tuscany: Florence & Siena pre-trip extension, you'll will join the main group today.

  • Set off this morning to discover the “Eternal City” and the myriad treasures it has amassed over more than two and a half millennia. At varying points throughout its history, Rome has served as the heart of kingdoms, empires, and nations; a religious and cultural touchpoint; an Olympic city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it remains a vibrant metropolis of historical and cultural significance—a can’t-miss experience for travelers from around the world.

    Your morning walking tour will introduce you to many of the city’s history-spanning highlights, from the Pantheon, built in the second century AD, to its resplendent Spanish Steps, designed in the 18th century by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. You’ll also see the many layers of history on display: Today one of the most iconic fountains in the world, the Trevi Fountain was built in 1762 upon the site of an ancient Roman aqueduct.

    The afternoon is yours to discover Rome as you’d like. Perhaps you’ll embark on a spirited walk to Piazza Navona, home to the Obelisk of Domitian, the Fountain of Neptune, and more. Or, if you’d prefer, you can relax in an open-air café and indulge in a leisurely lunch or espresso as you watch Rome’s well-heeled residents travel past.

    This evening, rejoin your Trip Leader and fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Check out from your hotel after breakfast this morning, and embark on a motorcoach transfer to Anzio, where you’ll meet up with the 50-passenger M/V Artemis.

    En route, you'll pause for an included walking tour through the Garden of Ninfa, a remarkable display of ruins considered one of the most romantic gardens in Europe. This 260-acre, English-styled garden, located about 40 miles southwest of Rome, was created on the site of an ancient settlement. Today it continues to feature a temple dedicated to the water nymphs believed to live nearby. Now an Italian natural monument, the garden has transformed ruins of the village into a decadent oasis: Flora covers ruined buildings and bridges, while the garden is crowned by the tower of an eleventh-century castle.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, continue on to Anzio, a city forever linked to World War II. In January 1944, Allied forces commenced World War II’s Operation Shingle, an invasion intended to launch the mainland campaign into Rome. After a four-month siege, Allied forces finally broke through and made their way to Rome. You'll have the opportunity to honor the sacrifice of those who lost their lives here during a visit to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. A total of 7,860 soldiers are buried here—marked by white marble crosses and Stars of David placed in perfect formation.

    Board the Artemis late this afternoon. After settling in, gather in the lounge for your first Port Talk—nightly sessions during which your Trip Leaders will outline the next day’s experience. Then, toast to the discoveries that await during your Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

  • This morning, discover the Pontine Islands, an archipelago of islands off the western coast of Italy, perennially popular among Europeans—including ancient Romans, celebrities, and royals.

    The Artemis will anchor off the shore of Ponza, the largest of the island chain. After you disembark by tender, a boat tour will showcase the island’s 3.1 miles of rugged terrain, hillside neighborhoods, and seaside coves. History and local lore suggests that Homer was aware of Ponza’s charms—he used the island and its grottoes as inspiration for Circe’s island of Aeana in Odyssey. Please note: Boat tour is subject to weather conditions.

    After enjoying lunch onboard, return to the island via tender to learn more about its culture during a walking tour and free time. 

  • Your ship docks on the island of Pozzuoli this morning, where you'll embark a ferry bound for the smaller island of Procida nearby. Upon arrival, you'll board a local microtaxi for a panoramic tour of the island's scenic highlights. Then, continue on by foot to the 17th-century port of Corricella. With narrow, pedestrian-only streets, a tangle of colorful buildings, and a waterfront alive with busy fishermen, Corricella is not only Procida's oldest village, but also its most authentic and picturesque. 

    After enjoying an included lunch here, you may choose to return to your ship or to explore Pozzuoli on your own. Or, spend the afternoon exploring Procida at your own pace, catching a ferry back to the ship in the early evening. 

  • After breakfast, disembark your ship and tender to the cliff-side town of Sorrento.

    With its romantic location on the cliffs over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento has long served as the subject of songs and legends. It was here that mythical sirens, with the beauty of their sweet singing, were believed to lure sailors to shipwreck on the rocks. Ulysses greatly desired to hear these songs for himself, but knew of the potentially catastrophic results—so he ordered his crew to block their own ears, and then secure him to his ship’s mast, so that he could hear without risk to his vessel.

    Sorrento is a town made for strolling, with remarkable architecture and commanding ocean views around each bend. Your discovery walk will give you ample opportunity to see the cathedral, Piazza Sant’Antonino, Public Gardens, and the Piazza Tasso main square. But you’ll also have time to delight in its quaint little alleys, each charming and unique.

    Return to your ship for lunch and then enjoy an afternoon of leisure—whether you’d like to relax and revel in the view with a drink on the Sun Deck, or tender back to shore for additional exploration along the Via San Cesareo, a street lined with shops offering food and handcrafts.

    Or, journey to one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites: Pompeii. Early on an August afternoon in the year AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted in explosive fashion, unleashing a massive debris cloud. In Pompeii, ash began to fall from the sky, at a rate of up to six inches an hour. A cloud of gas and debris followed the next day—and the city was buried until it was re-discovered in the 17th century. The World Monuments Fund, to which Grand Circle Foundation has contributed $150,000 for preservation efforts across Europe, cites Pompeii as one of the world’s 100 most-endangered sites.

    Dinner tonight will be aboard the Artemis.

  • Your ship will anchor this morning among fishing vessels and sailboats off the coast of Agropoli, a small local port. After tendering to shore, set off for Paestum, an ancient city in Italy’s Campania region.

    While Campania is distinctly Italian today, its history is much more closely aligned with ancient Greece than Rome—which is why you’ll see decidedly Greek touches throughout your exploration here. During your tour of Paestum, witness three beautifully preserved Doric Greek temples, which date back to 600 to 450 BC, as well as the ruins of ancient homes—all of which you’ll discover with an expert guide by your side.

    Next, indulge in one of the region’s more contemporary delights: its iconic buffalo mozzarella cheese. You’ll journey to a local buffalo farm, where you’ll explore the family-run facility and learn how this Italian staple is produced as you watch the cheesemakers at work. Your visit here will include lunch.

    This afternoon, you'll return to Agropoli for a discovery walk with your Trip Leader, followed by free time. A local tender will transport you back to your ship this evening, where you'll enjoy dinner.

  • This morning, your ship docks in Marina di Riposto. Disembark for your transfer to Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano and one of the most active on Earth. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been active for more than 500,000 years—in fact, ancient Greeks attributed this to Typhon, the monster Zeus allegedly kept beneath the mountain.

    A popular destination for travelers from around the world, Etna offers incredible views into Sicilian history and culture—and you’ll go a step further than many of its other visitors. Aboard 4-wheel-drive vehicles, you’ll leave the buses behind and trek up its slope for a closer look: Step onto its lava fields and benefit from the insights of a local naturalist expert before enjoying lunch in a mountain lodge.

    Returning to the Artemis this afternoon, you’ll enjoy your evening onboard as your ship journeys to Siracusa.

  • This morning, discover Siracusa, a Sicilian city with history dating back more than 2,700 years. During a guided tour of Ortygia, the city’s historical gem, admire architectural splendors—ancient medieval streets, Baroque structures, and a cathedral fashioned out of an ancient Greek temple.

    Of all the Greek cities of antiquity that flourished outside of Greece, Siracusa was the Mediterranean’s most important—a formidable seafaring power nearly equal to Athens. In the heyday of its power, it dared to take on both Carthage and Rome, and its wealth and size were unmatched by any other city in the ancient world. It is said that Siracusa is the birthplace of comedy in Greek theater, and was the only school of classical drama outside of Athens.

    Today this UNESCO World Heritage Site serves as one of Europe’s richest historical sites and a photographer’s haven, complete with white limestone buildings, narrow winding streets, and rich architectural details.

    After returning to your ship for an onboard lunch, the afternoon is yours to continue your discoveries. Perhaps you’ll journey to the Papyrus Museum, where you’ll learn about how papyrus plants came to grow in an unexpected spot in Europe. Or, you can visit remarkable Greek and Roman ruins, including the cave known as “the ear of Dionysius.” More than 200 feet long and shaped like a human ear, the cave has such impeccable acoustics that the ripping of paper can sound like a gunshot. It earned its name thanks to the tyrant Dionysius, who forced his prisoners into the cave at night; it is said that he was able to hear every word they said during this captivity.

    Dinner tonight will be onboard.

  • This morning, the third act of your trip begins as you cruise into Valletta, Malta’s walled capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An included tour will introduce you to the city, which features a visit to the serene Barracca Gardens.

    Then gain a unique perspective on local life and tradition here as you meet with members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, The Knights of Malta Yesterday & Today. The world’s oldest surviving chivalric order, these Knights of Malta founded the city more than 500 years ago and continue to serve the community today. Malta’s cultural identity is entwined with that of the Knights: The order originated during the Crusades and, over time, found its way to Malta, where it defended the island from attacks by the Ottoman Empire. Without the protection of the Knights, Malta’s history—and in fact, Europe’s history—would be very different than it is today.

    Return to the ship for lunch then enjoy an afternoon of leisure. Perhaps you’ll elect to discover the area known as “The Three Cities,” for the three historic fortified towns of Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa. Explore Vittoriosa, an ancient city that dates back to the time of the Phoenicians, and where the Knights of St. John made their headquarters before Valletta was built.

    Tonight, bid goodbye to your fellow travelers who are capping off their discoveries in Malta during a Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

  • This morning, continue your explorations of Malta. The island boasts monumental remains of sites older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, you'll visit one of the most famous: Hagar Qim, a megalithic temple complex believed to have been built around 3600 BC. Composed entirely of hulking slabs of limestone, the name Hagar Qim literally translates to "worshiping boulders."

    Then proceed to the quiet fishing village of Marsaxlokk, home to the largest fishing fleet in Malta, among which there are still many characteristic luzzu ships painted in vibrant primary colors and decorated with the Eye of Osiris—a symbol of protection brought to Malta by the ancient Phoenicians. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before breaking off from the group to start the next leg of your discoveries. 

    Back aboard the Artemis this evening, get to know a new group of fellow travelers, as well as your new Trip Leader. Then toast to the discoveries that await on the eastern Italian portion of your journey during your Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

  • Today you’ll discover Mdina, known as the “Silent City.” This medieval city is surrounded by thick, imposing walls, and the limited access allowed to traffic gives Mdina its nickname. Stroll along the peaceful winding streets, lined with elegant buildings of Malta’s characteristic yellow limestone. Admire palaces now serving as private homes, and see Mdina’s Baroque cathedral anchoring a large square. With a history that can be traced back 4000 years, an exploration through Mdina is like a voyage through time—with layers of cultural and religious treasures waiting to be discovered.

    After enjoying free time to explore the city on your own, return to the ship for lunch then set sail over the open seas this afternoon for your next destination—Calabria, Italy. Enjoy dinner onboard tonight as you cruise.

  • After tendering ashore, you’ll transfer to the medieval village of Riace. Once on the verge of collapse due to economic downturn, conditions in Riace have markedly improved thanks to a revolutionary immigration program introduced in 1998. Today, one quarter of the village's population hails from North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

    You'll meet with locals who help these refugees adjust to life in Italy, and then visit an art workshop managed by a team of locals and immigrants. Before returning to your ship, you'll have one final opportunity to get to know Riace's diverse community when you share an exclusive Discovery Series lunch together.

    This afternoon, your ship will begin sailing toward your next destination. As you cruise, take part in an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, The Meridione: Economy, Unemployment, and the Mafia in Southern Italy. This controversial topic will enlighten you to Calabria’s economic issues and the mafia’s exploitation of this struggle.

    Enjoy dinner onboard tonight.

  • Today, you’ll awake in the pretty port city of Otranto, in the far eastern corner of Italy’s boot heel. Once a strategic port during Roman times, today Otranto is known for its white-sand beaches, famed Aragonese Castle, and eleventh-century Romanesque cathedral. You'll pass by the castle today during a walking tour among the town’s highlights.

    After savoring lunch onboard, the balance of the day is yours to explore Otranto’s warren of winding streets, white washed houses, and charming markets—enjoying the slow-paced way of life of this corner of Italy.

    Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore more of Otranto's charms. Later this evening, enjoy dinner onboard as you cruise to Monopoli.

  • This morning, enjoy breakfast before you disembark the ship at the port of Monopoli and depart for Alberobello. During your walking tour, you’ll marvel at the town’s conical-roofed homes, or trulli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trullo's limestone architecture (built without cement) dates back as far as the mid-14th century but remains remarkably well-preserved.

    Next, you’ll visit a family-owned olive farm where you’ll get a true taste of Italy—both literally and figuratively. Stroll through the twisty, winding olive groves and learn about the plants and their cultivation during an exclusive Discovery Series event. You’ll then enjoy a light lunch at the farm, including a taste of the golden olive oil.

    Afterwards, head back to Monopoli for a discovery tour of the Old Town with your Trip Leader. Amble past the tranquil harbor—and behold blue and white boats bobbing in the sparkling sea—and marvel at its fortified sea-front walls, dating back to medieval times.

    Return to the ship this evening for dinner.

  • This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before disembarking at the port of Monopoli for a day at leisure. Perhaps you’ll head toward the Piazza XX Settembre and explore the nearby local street market—a lively open-air hive of color and cacophony.

    Or, join our optional Matera Troglodyte City tour to discover the ancient cave dwellings of Sassi di Matera—a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Take a walk along Churches Road, so called for the stretch of the ancient stone houses of worship you’ll discover. Then explore a path from the city to one of two original Sassi districts in the valley. Go back in time as you walk past quarries, ravines, and sculptured gardens, toward a network of small cave churches, crypts, and fortifications. During your tour, you may see the churches of San Pietro Barisino, Sant’Agostino, and Santa Maria de Idris, which overlooks scenic Sasso Caveoso valley. You’ll want to keep an eye out for medieval paintings executed in fresco on many of the church walls.

    Afterwards, you’ll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to the ship to relax after the day’s explorations.

    Dinner is onboard your ship this evening.

  • Today your ship will anchor just two miles from Puglia’s beautiful Tremiti Islands—much closer than other cruise ships can get. This morning, you'll tender to San Nicola, the most populous of three islands that make up this archipelago, for a walking tour.

    Following lunch aboard your ship, set off aboard tenders once again for a boat tour offering picture-perfect views of rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and lush woods—the Adriatic Sea glittering all around you. You may return to the ship after your tour is complete, or spend the afternoon on the island of San Domino this afternoon, which you'll explore on a discovery walk with your Trip Leader.

    Set sail this evening, enjoying dinner onboard.

  • Wake up in the small fishing port of Ortona this morning and, after breakfast, transfer to L’Aquila, a mountainous region of picturesque villages perched right along the mountain side. The secluded location cultivated a region unique from the rest of Italy, such as their shepherding culture.

    During a guided tour of the medieval city, you’ll hear of the devastating earthquake which wreaked havoc across the land in 2009, killing more than 300 people and destroying its historical center. You’ll also have a chance to speak to locals during an emotional exclusive Discovery Series event that will focus on the controversial reconstruction of the Old Town, the families that were relocated in the process, and the slow recovery of the community as a whole.

    This afternoon, join a local family for a Home-Hosted Lunch. Perhaps you’ll enjoy one of L’Aquila’s unique specialties, such as agnello alla diavola, lamb chops cooked with chilies, orange peel, rosemary, and fennel; or maccheroni alla chitarra—a squared egg pasta with a spicy tomato and meat sauce.

    Return to your ship this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Dock in Pesaro this morning then depart for the university city of Urbino. Once a thriving hub for artists in the 15th century, Urbino was a direct rival of Florence during the Renaissance and still retains much of the architectural splendor of the period today. Its historic center, encircled by an expansive city wall of sandstone and brick, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Enjoy a guided tour, including a visit to the magnificent Ducal Palace, which has one of the most impressive collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy on display. Later, enjoy lunch at a nearby farmhouse.

    This afternoon, return to the ship and prepare to sail to your next destination. Dinner will be served onboard.

  • This morning, your ship docks in the Italian port town of Rimini, which you'll explore during a discovery walk and free time. Then, following lunch onboard your ship, you'll transfer to the independent Republic of San Marino, one of the world’s smallest states. Make sure to get your passport stamped!

    After a discovery walk of the Old Town, you’ll meet with members of the local crossbow association during an exclusive Discovery Series event. A long and proudly-held tradition since 1537, San Marino’s crossbow federation used to make up the state’s militia but now is practiced ceremonially only. Hear about the history of this centuries-old practice from members of the association and get a first-hand look at the archer’s crossbows. 

    Early this evening, return to the ship to settle in and savor dinner onboard.

  • Today’s discoveries will introduce you to Ravenna, the fifth-century seat of the Roman Empire and, later, a major city during the Byzantine era. Witness the city’s highlights on a walking tour that includes Dante’s tomb, as well as the colorful mosaics adorning both the 1,400-year-old Basilica di San Vitale and the Mausoleo Galla Placida.

    After savoring lunch in a local restaurant, the afternoon is yours to do as you please. A shuttle bus will be available to transport you back to your ship. Or, you may choose to explore Ravenna at your own pace. If the morning has whetted your appetite for more mosaics, seek out the collection at Battistero degli Ariani. You can also examine an array of artistic achievements spanning the centuries at the Mar, the city’s fine arts museum.

    Return to your ship this evening for the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

  • After breakfast, say farewell to the M/V Artemis and continue your explorations in Venice. You’ll spend the day visiting the islands of the Venetian Lagoon—Torcello and Burano. First, you’ll visit Torcello, a peaceful, sparsely-populated island famed for the stunning Byzantine mosaics found in Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta, constructed in the seventh century.

    Next, travel by boat to the isle of Burano, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour of this colorful fishing village. Lunch is on your own; you can ask your Trip Leader to point out some authentic Venetian dining options.

    Later this afternoon you will transfer to your hotel and check in. The remainder of the day is at leisure and dinner is on your own.

  • After breakfast, embark on a walking tour of this romantic city, visiting the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), the center of Venice. This square was the heartbeat of the Serenissima (“Serene Republic”) in the heyday of Venice’s glory as a seafaring republic, and the city’s major attractions are centered here. It is one of the most beautiful and most photographed squares in all of Europe. Dominated by the lovely St. Mark’s Basilica, the spacious square is surrounded with outdoor cafés, and is the perfect place to do a little people-watching Italian-style while sipping a cappuccino.

    Ornate St. Mark’s Basilica is so richly embellished that it looks like it could have been moved intact from Istanbul. Though the domed church is a conglomerate of many architectural styles, its main influence is Byzantine. Its façade is adorned with marble and mosaics that depict the life of Christ and St. Mark. Outside the basilica is the campanile (bell tower), which was rebuilt after it collapsed in 1902. It is now open should you want to ascend for a good view of the six cupolas of the church.

    Enjoy the afternoon to make your own discoveries. You can choose to remain longer to enjoy St. Mark’s Square, exploring some of the little alleys that radiate from it. Or perhaps you’ll get a taste for everyday Venetian life if you choose to pause for some light snacks and a glass of wine at a local bacaro, a typical Venetian coffee shop.

    Rejoin your fellow travelers this evening for dinner in a local restaurant.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, fly home or extend your discoveries in Trieste & Ljubljana on our post-trip extension. 

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Trieste & Ljubljana

    6 nights from only $1495

    Find inspiration where James Joyce once did in Trieste, Italy—where Italian, Slovenian, Croatian, and Austrian influences combine in a flourish of central European elegance. While here, you'll discover historical influences at World War II sites, and visit the Collio Wine Country for a tasting on a journey worth raising a glass to. Then, continue on to Slovenia to discover how past and present have seamlessly merged. With cafe-lined streets in its Old Town and quaint bridges spanning its namesake river, the capital of Ljubljana is reminiscent of the timeless cities of Old Europe. It boasts a modern touch as well—much of the city was rebuilt after an earthquake at the end of the 19th century.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 6 nights from only $1495

    With cafe-lined streets in its Old Town and quaint bridges spanning its namesake river, Ljubljana is reminiscent of the timeless cities of Old Europe. It boasts a modern touch as well—much of the city was rebuilt after an earthquake at the end of the 19th century. Discover how the past and present have seamlessly merged in Slovenia. Then find inspiration where James Joyce once did in Trieste, Italy—where Italian, Slovenian, Croatian, and Austrian influences combine in a flourish of central European elegance. While here, you'll discover historical influences at World War II sites, and visit the Collio Wine Country for a tasting on a journey worth raising a glass to.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your flight to Venice, Italy. 

  • Arrive in Venice, where you’ll be met at the airport and assisted with the transfer to your hotel, which includes a motorboat ride. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for your exact arrival time. Depending on when you arrive, you may enjoy a brief orientation walk with your Trip Leader, before a Welcome Drink and briefing.

  • After breakfast, embark on a walking tour of this romantic city, visiting the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), the center of Venice. This square was the heartbeat of the Serenissima (“Serene Republic”) in the heyday of Venice’s glory as a seafaring republic, and the city’s major attractions are centered here. It is one of the most beautiful and most photographed squares in all of Europe. Dominated by the lovely St. Mark’s Basilica, the spacious square is surrounded with outdoor cafés, and is the perfect place to do a little people-watching Italian-style while sipping a cappuccino.

    Ornate St. Mark’s Basilica is so richly embellished that it looks like it could have been moved intact from Istanbul. Though the domed church is a conglomerate of many architectural styles, its main influence is Byzantine. Its façade is adorned with marble and mosaics that depict the life of Christ and St. Mark. Outside the basilica is the campanile (bell tower), which was rebuilt after it collapsed in 1902. It is now open should you want to ascend for a good view of the six cupolas of the church.

    Enjoy the afternoon to make your own discoveries. You can choose to remain longer to enjoy St. Mark’s Square, exploring some of the little alleys that radiate from it. Or perhaps you’ll get a taste for everyday Venetian life if you pause for some light snacks and a glass of wine at a local bacari, a typical Venetian coffee shop.

    Rejoin your fellow travelers this evening for dinner in a local restaurant.

  • After breakfast, spend the day visiting the islands of the Venetian Lagoon—Torcello and Burano. First, you’ll visit Torcello, a peaceful, sparsely-populated island famed for the stunning Byzantine mosaics found in Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta, constructed in the seventh century.

    Next, travel by boat to the isle of Burano, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour of this colorful fishing village. Lunch is on your own; you can ask your Trip Leader to point out some authentic Venetian dining options.

    Later this afternoon you will embark the Artemis. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Dinner onboard tonight before you set sail for your next destination.

  • Today’s discoveries will introduce you to Ravenna, the fifth-century seat of the Roman Empire and, later, a major city during the Byzantine era. Witness the city’s highlights on a walking tour that includes Dante’s tomb, as well as the colorful mosaics adorning both the 1,400-year-old Basilica di San Vitale and the Mausoleo Galla Placida.

    Lunch will be served in a local restaurant today, and a shuttle bus will be available for travelers who wish to return to the ship afterward. Or, you may choose to spend the afternoon exploring Ravenna at your own pace. If the morning has whetted your appetite for more mosaics, seek out the collection at Battistero degli Ariani. You can also examine an array of artistic achievements spanning the centuries at the Mar, the city’s fine arts museum. 

    Dinner will be served onboard this evening.

  • This morning, your ship docks in the Italian port town of Rimini, which you'll explore during a discovery walk and free time. Then, following lunch onboard your ship, you'll transfer to the independent Republic of San Marino, one of the world’s smallest states. Survey the distant countryside—and, on a clear day, sweeping views of the Adriatic Coast—during a funicular ride up to the Old Town this morning. Make sure to get your passport stamped!

    After a discovery walk of the Old Town, you’ll meet with members of the local crossbow association during an exclusive Discovery Series event. A long and proudly-held tradition since 1537, San Marino’s crossbow federation used to make up the state’s militia but now is practiced ceremonially only. Hear about the history of this centuries-old practice from members of the association and get a first-hand look at the archer’s crossbows. 

    This evening, return to the ship to settle in and savor dinner onboard.

  • Dock in Pesaro this morning then depart for the university city of Urbino. Once a thriving hub for artists in the 15th century, Urbino was a direct rival of Florence during the Renaissance and still retains much of the architectural splendor of the period today. Its historic center, encircled by an expansive city wall of sandstone and brick, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Enjoy a guided tour, including a visit to the magnificent Ducal Palace, which has one of the most impressive collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy on display. Later, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

    This afternoon, return to the ship and prepare to sail to your next destination. Dinner will be served onboard.

  • Wake up in the small fishing port of Ortona this morning and, after breakfast, transfer to L’Aquila, a mountainous region of picturesque villages perched right along the mountain side. The secluded location cultivated a region unique from the rest of Italy, such as their shepherding culture.

    During a guided tour of the medieval city, you’ll hear of the devastating earthquake which wreaked havoc across the land in 2009, killing more than 300 people and destroying its historical center. You’ll also have a chance to speak to locals during an emotional exclusive Discovery Series event that will focus on the controversial reconstruction of the Old Town, the families that were relocated in the process, and the slow recovery of the community as a whole.

    This afternoon, join a local family for a Home-Hosted Lunch. Perhaps you’ll enjoy one of L’Aquila’s unique specialties, such as agnello alla diavola, lamb chops cooked with chilies, orange peel, rosemary, and fennel; or maccheroni alla chitarra—a squared egg pasta with a spicy tomato and meat sauce.

    Return to your ship this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Today your ship will anchor just two miles from Puglia’s beautiful Tremiti Islands—much closer than other cruise ships can get. This morning, you'll tender to San Nicola, the most populous of three islands that make up this archipelago, for a walking tour.

    Following lunch aboard your ship, set off aboard tenders once again for a boat tour offering picture-perfect views of rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and lush woods—the Adriatic Sea glittering all around you. You may return to the ship after your tour is complete, or spend the afternoon on the island of San Domino this afternoon, which you'll explore on a discovery walk with your Trip Leader.

    Set sail this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before discovering the port of Monopoli for a day at leisure. Perhaps you’ll head toward the Piazza XX Settembre and explore the nearby local street market—a lively open-air hive of color and cacophony.

    Or, join our optional Matera Troglodyte City tour to discover the ancient cave dwellings of Sassi di Matera—a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Take a walk along Churches Road, so called for the stretch of the ancient stone houses of worship you’ll discover. Then explore a path from the city to one of two original Sassi districts in the valley. Go back in time as you walk past quarries, ravines, and sculptured gardens, toward a network of small cave churches, crypts, and fortifications. During your tour, you may see the churches of San Pietro Barisino, Sant’Agostino, and Santa Maria de Idris, which overlooks scenic Sasso Caveoso valley. You’ll want to keep an eye out for medieval paintings executed in fresco on many of the church walls.

    Afterwards, you’ll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to the ship to relax after the day’s explorations.

    Dinner is onboard your ship this evening.

  • Today, you’ll awake in the pretty port city of Otranto in the far eastern corner of Italy’s boot heel. Once a strategic port during Roman times, today Otranto is known for its white, sandy beaches, famed Aragonese Castle, and eleventh-century Romanesque cathedral. You'll pass by the castle today during a walking tour among the town’s highlights.

    After savoring lunch onboard, the balance of the day is yours to explore Otranto’s warren of winding streets, white washed homes, and charming markets—enjoying the slow-paced way of life of this corner of Italy.

    Set sail over the open seas later this afternoon for your next destination. While onboard, take part in an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, The Meridione: Economy, Unemployment, and the Mafia in Southern Italy. This controversial topic will enlighten you to Calabria’s economic issues and the mafia’s exploitation of this struggle.

    Enjoy dinner onboard tonight as you sail.

  • This morning, your ship drops anchor off the coast of Roccella Ionica. After tendering ashore, you’ll transfer to the medieval village of Riace. Once on the verge of collapse due to economic downturn, conditions in Riace have markedly improved thanks to a revolutionary immigration program introduced in 1998. Today, one quarter of the village's population hails from North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  

    You'll meet with locals who help these refugees adjust to life in Italy, and then visit an art workshop managed by a team of locals and immigrants. Before returning to your ship, you'll have one final opportunity to get to know Riace's diverse community when you share an exclusive Discovery Series lunch together. 

    Return to the ship later this afternoon and prepare to cruise to your next destination. Enjoy dinner onboard this evening.

  • This morning, admire your surroundings as your ship cruises into Valletta, the capital of Malta and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An included city tour today features a visit to the serene Barracca Gardens. Then gain a unique perspective on local life and tradition here during an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, The Knights of Malta Yesterday & Today, with members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The world’s oldest surviving chivalric order, these Knights of Malta founded the city and continue to serve the community today. Malta’s cultural identity is entwined with that of the Knights; the order originated during the Crusades and over the centuries found its way to Malta where it defended the island from attacks by the Ottoman Empire. Without the protection of the Knights, Malta’s history would be very different than it is today.

    Return to the ship for lunch then enjoy an afternoon of leisure. Perhaps you’ll elect to discover the area known as “The Three Cities,” for the three historic fortified towns of Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa. Explore Vittoriosa, an ancient city that dates back to the time of the Phoenicians, and where the Knights of St. John made their headquarters before Valletta was built.

    Tonight, bid goodbye to your fellow travelers who are capping off their discoveries in Malta during a Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

  • This morning, continue your explorations of Malta. The island boasts monumental remains of sites older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, you'll visit one of the most famous: Hagar Qim, a megalithic temple complex believed to have been built around 3600 BC. Composed entirely of hulking slabs of limestone, the name Hagar Qim literally translates to "worshiping boulders."

    Then proceed to the quiet fishing village of Marsaxlokk, home to the largest fishing fleet in Malta, among which there are still many characteristic luzzu ships painted in vibrant primary colors and decorated with the Eye of Osiris—a symbol of protection brought to Malta by the ancient Phoenicians. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before breaking off from the group to start the next leg of your Italian discoveries. 

    Back aboard the Artemis this evening, get to know a new group of fellow travelers, as well as your new Trip Leader. Then toast to the discoveries that await on the next portion of your journey during your Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

  • Today you’ll discover Mdina, known as the “Silent City.” This medieval city is surrounded by thick, imposing walls, and the limited access allowed to traffic gives Mdina its nickname. Stroll along the peaceful winding streets, lined with elegant buildings of Malta’s characteristic yellow limestone. Admire palaces now serving as private homes, and see Mdina’s Baroque cathedral anchoring a large square. With a history that can be traced back 4000 years, an exploration through Mdina is like a voyage through time—with layers of cultural and religious treasures waiting to be discovered.

    The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure before heading back to the ship for lunch. Set sail for your next destination this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • This morning, discover Siracusa, a Sicilian city with history dating back more than 2,700 years. During a guided tour of Ortygia, the city’s historical gem, admire architectural splendors—ancient medieval streets, Baroque structures, and a cathedral fashioned out of an ancient Greek temple.

    Of all the Greek cities of antiquity that flourished outside of Greece, Siracusa was the Mediterranean’s most important—a formidable seafaring power nearly equal to Athens. In the heyday of its power, it dared to take on both Carthage and Rome, and its wealth and size were unmatched by any other city in the ancient world. It is said that Siracusa is the birthplace of comedy in Greek theater, and was the only school of classical drama outside of Athens.

    Today this UNESCO World Heritage Site serves as one of Europe’s richest historical sites and a photographer’s haven, complete with white limestone buildings, narrow winding streets, and rich architectural details.

    After returning to your ship for an onboard lunch, the afternoon is yours to continue your discoveries. Perhaps you’ll journey to the Papyrus Museum, where you’ll learn about how papyrus plants came to grow in an unexpected spot in Europe. Or, you can visit remarkable Greek and Roman ruins, including the cave known as “the ear of Dionysius.” More than 200 feet long and shaped like a human ear, the cave has such impeccable acoustics that the ripping of paper can sound like a gunshot. It earned its name thanks to the tyrant Dionysius, who forced his prisoners into the cave at night; it is said that he was able to hear every word they said during this captivity.

    Dinner tonight will be onboard.

  • This morning, your ship docks in Marina di Riposto. After breakfast, disembark for your transfer to Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano and one of the most active on Earth. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been active for more than 500,000 years—in fact, ancient Greeks attributed this to Typhon, the monster Zeus allegedly kept beneath the mountain.

    A popular destination for travelers from around the world, Etna offers incredible views into Sicilian history and culture—and you’ll go a step further than many of its other visitors. Aboard 4-wheel-drive vehicles, you’ll leave the buses behind and trek up its slope for a closer look: Step onto its lava fields and benefit from the insights of a local naturalist expert before enjoying lunch in a mountain lodge.

    After dinner onboard and your evening Port Talk, gather on the Sun Deck with your camera for a special scenic cruise through the Strait of Messina, the slip of waterway that separates Sicily and Italy. 

    Your journey through will be significantly more pleasant than the crossing Odysseus experienced in Odyssey. Homer introduced his hero to two mythical sea monsters: the rocky horned Scylla on the Italian side and a whirlpool, Charybdis, on the Sicilian side. With this context, the phrase "between a rock and a hard place" takes on new meaning.

  • After breakfast, discover the quaint charm of the Aeolian Islands, a small archipelago off the shores of southern Italy and Sicily. You’ll tender to Salina by way of Lipari, the largest island in the Aeolian chain. While Salina is home to six volcanoes, the last known eruption was more than 13,000 years ago. The rich history of volcanic activity, however, has earned the island a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

    Salina’s soil and climate are particularly well-suited for growing crops—and after your discovery walk and panoramic tour here today, you'll discover the island's agricultural traditions up close during a visit to a local caper farm. You’ll return to the ship for lunch onboard before tendering to Lipari for a discovery walk and time at leisure. 

    This evening, behold the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” during a scenic cruise around the island of Stromboli. Unlike its tamer sister island, Stromboli is today home to one of Italy’s three active volcanoes, and noteworthy for its mildly explosive, regularly paced volcanic activity. Volcanologists refer to this type of activity around the world as “strombolian eruptions.” While the opportunity to view the volcano in action can be thrilling at any time of day, your twilight scenic cruise gives you the best opportunity to witness volcanic ash, steam, and perhaps even the glow of lava. Dinner will be onboard tonight.

  • After cruising from Malta to Sicily, begin the third act of your journey, as the Artemis reaches mainland Italy and anchors off the coast of Cetraro, a cozy harbor of local vessels. After tendering to shore, you’ll depart for higher ground: the Pollino mountain chain.

    Rising quite sharply from the coast, the Pollinos are home to rugged mountain landscapes that have long served as buffers for those who live here—particularly the Albanian population that settled here after escaping the Ottoman Empire more than 500 years ago. You’ll see this firsthand as you explore Mount Pollino, the chain’s second-highest peak.

    After visiting Santa Maria delle Armi, an ancient mountainside complex, you’ll be introduced to the village of Civita. Here, a local family will welcome you in for an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Lunch. Perhaps you’ll sample some of the meats for which this region is renowned—or even sample some of the spicy chili of which locals are especially fond. Please note: On certain departures, the Artemis will dock in Vibo Marina instead, and travelers will explore Serra San Bruno—famous for its Carthusian abbey—and enjoy a Home-Hosted Lunch in the hillside town of Monterosso Calabro.

    Tender back to your ship in the mid-afternoon and enjoy time to relax onbaord before your evening Port Talk and dinner onboard. The Artemis cruises tonight to Agropoli.

  • Your ship will anchor this morning among fishing vessels and sailboats off the coast of Agropoli, a small local port. After tendering to shore, set off for Paestum, an ancient city in Italy's Campania region.

    While Campania is distinctly Italian today, its history is much more closely aligned with ancient Greece than Rome—which is why you’ll see decidedly Greek touches throughout your exploration here. During your tour of Paestum, witness three beautifully preserved Doric Greek temples, which date back to 600 to 450 BC, as well as the ruins of ancient homes—all of which you’ll discover with an expert guide by your side.

    Next, indulge in one of the region’s more contemporary delights: its iconic buffalo mozzarella cheese. You’ll journey to a local buffalo farm, where you’ll explore the family-run facility and discover how this Italian staple is made as you witness the cheesemakers at work. Your visit here will include lunch.

    This afternoon, you'll return to Agropoli for a discovery walk with your Trip Leader, followed by free time. A local tender will transport you back to your ship this evening, where you'll enjoy dinner.

  • After breakfast, disembark your ship and tender to the cliff-side town of Sorrento.

    With its romantic location on the cliffs over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento has long served as the subject of songs and legends. It was here that mythical sirens, with the beauty of their sweet singing, were believed to lure sailors to shipwreck on the rocks. Ulysses greatly desired to hear these songs for himself, but knew of the potentially catastrophic results—so he ordered his crew to block their own ears, and then secure him to his ship’s mast, so that he could hear without risk to his vessel.

    Sorrento is a town made for strolling, with remarkable architecture and commanding ocean views around each bend. Your discovery walk will give you ample opportunity to see the cathedral, Piazza Sant’Antonino, Public Gardens, and the Piazza Tasso main square. But you’ll also have time to delight in its quaint little alleys, each charming and unique.

    Return to your ship for lunch and then enjoy an afternoon of leisure—whether you’d like to relax and revel in the view with a drink on the Sun Deck, or tender back to shore for additional exploration along the Via San Cesareo, a street lined with shops offering food and handcrafts.

    Or, journey to one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites: Pompeii. Early on an August afternoon in the year AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted in explosive fashion, unleashing a massive debris cloud. In Pompeii, ash began to fall from the sky, at a rate of up to six inches an hour. A cloud of gas and debris followed the next day—and the city was buried until it was re-discovered in the 17th century. The World Monuments Fund, to which Grand Circle Foundation has contributed $150,000 for preservation efforts across Europe, cites Pompeii as one of the world’s 100 most-endangered sites.

    Dinner this evening will be aboard the Artemis.

  • Your ship docks on the island of Pozzuoli this morning, where you'll embark a ferry bound for the smaller island of Procida nearby. Upon arrival, you'll board a local microtaxi for a panoramic tour of the island's scenic highlights. Then, continue on by foot to the 17th-century port of Corricella. With narrow, pedestrian-only streets, a tangle of colorful buildings, and a waterfront alive with busy fishermen, Corricella is not only Procida's oldest village, but also its most authentic and picturesque. 

    After enjoying an included lunch here, you may choose to return to your ship or explore Pozzuoli on your own. Or, spend the afternoon exploring Procida at your own pace, catching a ferry back to the ship in the early evening. 

    Enjoy dinner onboard as your ship cruises on to the Pontine Islands overnight.

  • This morning, discover the Pontine Islands, an archipelago of islands off the western coast of Italy, perennially popular among Europeans—including ancient Romans, celebrities, and royals.

    The Artemis will anchor off the shore of Ponza, the largest of the island chain. After you disembark by tender, a boat tour will showcase the island’s 3.1 miles of rugged terrain, hillside neighborhoods, and seaside coves. History and local lore suggests that Homer was aware of Ponza’s charms—he used the island and its grottoes as inspiration for Circe’s island of Aeana in Odyssey. Please note: Boat tour is subject to weather conditions.

    After enjoying lunch onboard, return to the island via tender to learn more about its culture during a walking tour and free time. 

    This evening, celebrate the memories you've made aboard the Artemis with your Captain's Farewell Drink & Dinner.

  • Say goodbye to the Artemis this morning as you disembark in Anzio, a city forever linked to World War II. In January 1944, Allied forces commenced World War II’s Operation Shingle, an invasion intended to launch the mainland campaign into Rome. After a four-month siege, Allied forces finally broke through and made their way to Rome. You'll have the opportunity to honor the sacrifice of those who lost their lives here during a visit to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. A total of 7,860 soldiers are buried here—marked by white marble crosses and Stars of David placed in perfect formation.

    Then begin your overland transfer to Rome. Along the way, delight in an included tour through the Garden of Ninfa, a remarkable display of ruins considered one of the most romantic gardens in Europe. This 260-acre, English-styled garden, located about 40 miles southwest of Rome, was created on the site of an ancient settlement. Today it continues to feature a temple dedicated to the water nymphs believed to live nearby. Now an Italian natural monument, the garden has transformed ruins of the village into a decadent oasis: Flora covers ruined buildings and bridges, while the garden is crowned by the tower of an eleventh-century castle.

    After lunch in an included restaurant, arrive in Rome this afternoon. The evening is at leisure, whether you'd like to relax in the hotel or set off on your own discoveries. Your Trip Leader will be happy to provide recommendations for dinner.

  • Set off this morning to discover the “Eternal City” and the myriad treasures it has amassed over more than two and a half millennia. At varying points throughout its history, Rome has served as the heart of kingdoms, empires, and nations; a religious and cultural touchpoint; an Olympic city; and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it remains a vibrant metropolis of historical and cultural significance—a can’t-miss experience for travelers from around the world.

    Your morning walking tour will introduce you to many of the city’s history-spanning highlights, from the Pantheon, built in the second century AD, to its resplendent Spanish Steps, designed in the 18th century by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. You’ll also see the many layers of history on display: Today one of the most iconic fountains in the world, the Trevi Fountain was built in 1762 upon the site of an ancient Roman aqueduct.

    The afternoon is yours to discover Rome as you’d like. Perhaps you’d like to embark on a spirited walk to Piazza Navona, home to the Obelisk of Domitian, the Fountain of Neptune, and more. Or, if you’d prefer, you can relax in an open-air café and indulge in a leisurely lunch or espresso as you watch Rome’s well-heeled residents travel past.

    This evening, rejoin your Trip Leader and fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return home, or continue your discoveries with our optional Tuscany: Florence & Siena post-trip extension.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Tuscany: Florence & Siena

    5 nights from only $1395

    Trace history’s footsteps back to the birth of the Renaissance, as the world’s most influential dreamers—artistic, philosophical, and political—descended upon what we now know as Tuscany. Discover Siena, home to some of the most splendid examples of Gothic architecture in all of Italy, and then behold iconic Florence, Siena's ancient rival to the north. Behold artistic treasures, from the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomoto cap your Italian sojourn in style.

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