DAY 1 | May 14. Depart your gateway city for Florence, Italy.
DAY 2 | May 15. Sestri Levante
Upon arrival, transfer to the Hotel Vis à Vis in Sestri Levante. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 3 | May 16. Santa Margherita / Portofino
Educational Focus: The Riviera del Levante ~ A Painter’s Palette. Trace the history and diversity of this enchanting region, home to artists, writers and explorers.
Excursion: Santa Margherita and Portofino. Travel the coastal road to Santa Margherita, a town of colorful flowers, swaying palm trees and hillside villas. Cruise to Portofino, playground of the rich and famous, and stroll along the colorful harbor. Admire the sparkling bay from the Church of San Giorgio, and see the medieval fortress of Castello di San Giorgio and the Punta del Capo lighthouse.
Independent Exploration: Enjoy time at leisure in Santa Margherita this afternoon.
DAY 4 | May 17. Lucca
Excursion: Lucca. Visit the walled city of Lucca, birthplace of Puccini. Roam its ancient ramparts, and visit the grand Romanesque Duomo di San Martino, with carvings by Nicola Pisano. Admire the white marble, the art-filled chapels of the Church of San Frediano and the astounding Church of San Michele.
Local Flavor: Savor a taste of Tuscany during lunch in a local restaurant.
Educational Focus: A Contemporary View of Italy. Join a discussion about current events and issues in Italy today.
DAY 5 | May 18. Genoa / Camogli
Excursion: Genoa. Admire the view of the city from atop La Spianata di Castelleto. See the incredible Renaissance palazzi on the lovely Via Garibaldi. Wander labyrinthine streets past medieval churches to the Columbus House, believed to be the birthplace of navigator Christopher Columbus. Continue to the magnificent Piazza Mateo and visit the superbly restored Palazzo Ducale, the
impressive Church of Gesù and the majestic black-and-white striped façade of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
Local Flavor: Learn how gelato, which delights people around the world, is made.
Excursion: Camogli. Visit the town of Camogli, a historic fishing village for some time at leisure. The town has a former castle that now houses an aquarium. While tourism has replaced fishing as the primary industry, you may still see locals repairing nets or taking the day’s catch to market, a testament to the rich fishing tradition here.
Educational Focus: Meet the People. Join a discussion to learn about life in Italy through the eyes of local residents.
DAY 6 | May 19. Sestri Levante
Independent Exploration: Enjoy the day at leisure to relax or explore independently.
Educational Focus and Local Flavor: The Cinque Terre. Learn about the Cinque Terre through a lesson in its unusual geography, economy and society, then enjoy a tasting of local wine and food products.
DAY 7 | May 20. Cinque Terre
Excursion: The Cinque Terre.
For centuries, rugged mountains separated the five villages of the Cinque Terre from the surrounding area. Today, they remain accessible only by train, boat or on foot. Travel to Portovenere. Enjoy a scenic tour and some time at leisure before continuing to Manarola, one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre. Continue to Vernazza by boat. Admire the geological formations and breathtaking views of the sea. Take a tour of the town before returning to Sestri Levante by train.
DAY 8 | May 21. Carrara
Excursion: When Marble Comes Alive. Visit the quarry where Michelangelo chose his prized marble and a museum dedicated to Carrara’s renowned marble industry. Watch a local sculptor’s demonstration.
Local Flavor: Lunch is served in Carrara. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception, Graduation Ceremony and Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 9 | May 22.
After breakfast, transfer to the Florence airport for the return flight to your gateway city.
Note: Itinerary sequence and/or scheduled events may change. Many excursions in this program involve an element of walking.