Our itineraries are rich but not rushed. Savor each experience free from the logistical worries of travel, while enjoying comfortable, well-appointed inns, palazzi, castelli, villas, cloisters, and charming hotels – with enough time to discover each place on your own after the guided visits each day. Our tours are planned to minimize multiple hotel moves. On each tour we stay in a few carefully chosen accommodations to allow for a breadth of experience of each region without a lot of unnecessary packing and repacking.
In addition to our announced tours below, The Renaissance Company offers a wide range of programs custom designed for specific groups, educational institutions, businesses, and diverse organizations seeking itineraries and theme oriented travel. We are happy to speak with you about an offering tailored to the interests of your group.
Bologna, Verona and the Princely Courts of the Po Valley
October 6 -16, 2024
This tour is designed for travelers who want to experience the renowned beauty of northeastern Italy. There we shall discover its artistic treasures, absorb its dramatic history - from ancient Rome, through the Renaissance and the Baroque, to contemporary Italian chic, experience its people, taste and feel its culture. Join us for this fascinating exploration of the origins and development of one the most beautiful but least touristed regions of Italy.
Our itinerary takes us to sites of Roman antiquity like the monumental Arena coliseum of Verona and the vacation Villa of the Roman poet Catullus on the shores of Lake Garda. We visit the breathtakingly vivid mosaics of Byzantine Ravenna, Giotto’s masterful fresco cycle in Padova, the Renaissance palazzo of the Gonzaga family in Mantova frescoed by Mantegna, and the Palladian villas of Vicenza. We shall savor the cuisine of Italy’s gastronomical capital, Bologna, and the prized wines of the Valpolicella, and meander the fashionable streets of Verona, one of the world’s most romantic cites, Verona. most romantic cities, and so much more
The tour leaders will be Francis J. Ambrosio, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, of Georgetown University, and Deborah Warin, former Director of Continuing Education and lecturer at Georgetown University, and author of the forthcoming book, Battista Sforza and the Court of Urbino (Simon and Schuster). Together they have led more than 40 previous cultural tours to Italy.
Sunday, October 6, 2024
Travelers arrive at our hotel in Verona. In the evening, we gather for a Welcome Reception and orientation at 6 pm.
Monday and Tuesday, October 7 and 8
We will spend two days visiting the principal sites of Verona: The Arena, the Roman amphitheater, the Castelvecchio and the Museo d’Arte to find within the work of Mantegna, Pisanello, the Bellini, and Stefano da Verona; Chiesa di Sant’ Anastasia with its impressive frescoes and unique terracotta figures in the Cappella Pellegrini, and the Romanesque Church of San Zeno mentioned in Dante’s Commedia. Our two-day visit will allow plenty of free time to relax and stroll the bridges and piazzas and visit the cafes that give this city its unique, vibrant character. We shall also visit the well-known and the highly appreciated wine estate of the Allegrini family to view their magnificent home and tour the cantina before relishing a full tasting.
Wednesday, October 9,
Today we set out on our first day trip. Our destination is Padova where in the morning we shall visit the Scrovegni Chapel with the superlative fresco cycle painted in 1305-10 by Giotto. The 39 frescoes, the only fresco cycle of Giotto wholly intact, illustrate the lives of Mary and Jesus and include Giotto’s Last Judgment. Since being meticulously restored, the brilliance and power of Giotto’s masterpiece are breathtaking..
In the afternoon we tour the renowned University of Padova as well as visiting one of the most important pilgrimage churches in the world, the Basilica of Sant’Antonio. Inside is the Capella dell’ Arco del Santo the chapel of the tomb of St Anthony by Tiziano Aspetti. Outside the church we encounter Donatello’s great bronze equestrian monument to the Venetian condottiere Erasmo di Narni, known as “Gattamelata.” (Honeyed cat). Donatello’s statue, the first Renaissance equestrian bronze (1450), was a reinterpretation of the classical roman equestrian form best known from the iconic statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome.
Thursday, October 10
Today we travel to visit Mantova (Mantua) in Lombardy. Birthplace of Virgil (70 BC) and home of the Gonzaga family. It was due to the Gonzaga’s sophisticated patronage that Mantua became a great intellectual and artistic center of the Renaissance. We will visit the splendid, imposing Palazzo Ducale of the Gonzaga, including the very famous Camera degli Sposi (Room of the Spouses) with its celebrated frescoes by Andrea Mantegna. Later in the day, we shall visit the Palazzo Te by architect Giulio Romano, built and decorated in the Mannerist style before we return to Verona.
Friday, October 11
Today we visit Vicenza, city of Andrea Palladio, the most influential and imitated architect in the world. Vicenza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, is home to Palladio’s best works, including the Palladio Museum and the famous Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theater). This sparkling Renaissance jewel of a city with its elegant Palladian palaces and beautiful piazzas continues to thrive as the cosmopolitan capital of the Veneto and one of the wealthiest cities in Italy. We conclude the day with a visit to one of Palladio’s most renowned villas, La Rotonda
Saturday, October 12
Our last full day in Verona takes us to nearby Lake Garda to visit the picturesque shore town of Sirmione. Garda, the largest and most beautiful of the lakes, has been a favorite vacation spot since the time of the ancient Romans. In Sirmione, we will visit the 13th C. Rocca Scaliger and the remains of the huge Roman villa of the poet Catullus (84 BCE – 54 BCE). We will return to Verona in time for a last-minute visit to its elegant boutiques.
Sunday, October 13
In the morning, we depart Verona for our transfer to venerable Bologna, a city often described by Italians as dotta, grassa, e rossa. Dotta or learned for being home to the oldest university in Europe and for being a thriving intellectual center; grassa or fat because of its gastronomic opulence; rossa for the brick that dominates the architecture of its buildings, towers, and arcades and, during the 20th C, rossa for its political leanings. After leisurely settling into our hotel, we have the afternoon for our first acquaintance with the old city including a tour of the University District and the Basilica di San Petronio, dedicated to the city’s patron saint, St. Pertronius, where we will see the work of Jacopo della Quercia and the expressive frescoes by Giovanni da Modena.
Monday, October 14
This morning, we will venture east to experience the famous, ancient mosaics of Ravenna. Once the capital of the Roman Empire and Exarchate of Byzantium, Ravenna’s ancient churches house the gorgeous, amazingly preserved mosaics from the 5th and 6th centuries. Together we will visit the mid-5th C Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, the Basilica di San Vitale, Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and make a short journey to the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe.
Tuesday, October 15
We continue our visit to Bologna's beautiful city center including the Palazzo Comunale, and the splendid rooms of Cardinal Legato which now house the the Collezioni Communali d’Arte. Other sights include the Basilica di Santo Stefano and the Chiesa di San Domenico which houses the beautiful tomb with the sarcophagus by Nicola Pisano (1267). Work on the tomb was complete by Michelangelo in 1494; Museo Morandi, the largest collection of the 20th C painter and engraver as well as a reconstruction of the artist study. For the brave, there will be the opportunity to climb the medieval Torre degli Asinelli, built in 1109 and still affording a breathtaking view of the city. In the evening, we gather for our farewell dinner to celebrate our time together.
Wednesday, October 16
Departure from the Hotel. Bologna Airport is easily accessible and for those making connections through Rome or Milan, the fast train, the Freccia Rossa, stops at Bologna station. A direct train to Venice is also available for those who wish to extend their stay. Happy Travels!
Cost of the Tour: The cost of the tour is $6250.00; rates are exclusive of airfare. In some cases, single rooms might be available at the hotels for a supplemental charge of $850.00 per room. Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the hotel in Verona, arriving there on October 6 for the opening reception and orientation beginning at 6:000 pm. The reception is included in the price of the tour, as are the farewell dinner on the last night of the tour and the wine tasting supper. Breakfast is included each day in the Hotels. All other meals are at the expense of participants.
All arrangements for early arrival or extended stay at the hotel should be made by contacting the Hotel directly; any arrangement for prior or subsequent travel and accommodation are solely the responsibility of the participant.
In addition to the accommodations specified below, the cost of the tour includes ground transportation and admission fees for all activities included in the tour itinerary. Participants are themselves responsible for all charges, including room charges at hotels, incurred in connection with any activity not explicitly specified in the itinerary.
Level of Physical Activity: The nature of the tour program and the type of sites which the group will visit make for a moderately strenuous routine; those who need to limit their physical activity or who cannot easily walk longer distances are strongly encouraged to consult with the tour leaders prior to reserving space. The Directors reserve the right to limit individual participation in group activities at their sole discretion in cases where the group’s interests might be adversely affected.
Accommodations: Cost is based on double occupancy in hotels. All hotels are four or five star and have been carefully chosen for their location, comfort, and quality of service. A list of hotels will be provided separately to registered participants. Room assignments are made by the hotel management and are not at the discretion of the Renaissance Company. Breakfast is included each day at the hotel.
Reservations: Places on the tour are limited to a maximum of 18 participants to ensure the comfort and focused attention of the group experience. As a result, places on the tour will be reserved in the order in which deposits are received. Places may be reserved by completing the Reservation Form, included below, also available on the Renaissance Company Website, and returning it by mail with a deposit of $350 per traveler no later March 15, 2024. Deposits are non-refundable. Please make checks payable to The Renaissance Company, LLC.
The balance must be paid in full by August 1, 2024. Before submitting a deposit, please read the “Terms and Conditions” below carefully for other important information including the Cancellation Policy. Travelers are strongly urged to purchase separate travel insurance including coverage for cancellation loss to protect themselves in the event that they are unable to travel for any reason.
All details of the itinerary subject to change based on availability of accommodations, changes in opening\closing schedules, acts of God and other conditions beyond the control of the tour directors. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions carefully before submitting a deposit.
Terms and Conditions
The cost of the Study Tour is $6,250.00 per person. All rates are exclusive of airfare. Prices include hotel accommodations (double occupancy); depending on availability some single rooms may be available at a supplementary fee. Breakfast is included each day in the hotels; the welcome reception on the first evening, the wine tasting, and the farewell dinner on the final evening are also included. All other meals are at the expense of participants. All entrance fees and guided tours by the program leaders, and bus travel as indicated in the itinerary and subject to the specified conditions are included. Ground transportation prior to the official start of the tour at the hotel or after its conclusion are not included.
Participants are urged to make reservations using the Reservation Form at their earliest convenience to guarantee a place on the tour.
* Final payment is due no later than August 1, 2024. Any cancellation made after August 1, or no-show at the start of the tour will result in forfeiture of the full cost of the Tour.
The Renaissance Company strongly recommends that participants purchase trip cancellation insurance from a reputable vendor of their own choosing. The Company reserves the right to make exceptions at its sole discretion.
All tours are offered on condition of sufficient enrollment. If the offer of a tour must be withdrawn at any time due to insufficient enrollment, all payments, with the exception of the nonrefundable deposit, will be refunded and this will constitute full satisfaction of all claims by participants on the Renaissance Company.
The Renaissance Company and its representatives act only as agents in making arrangements for hotels, transportation, sightseeing, restaurants or any other services in connection with the itinerary, and they will exercise reasonable care in making such arrangements. However, they do not assume any liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident or delay to person and property due to any act of default of any hotel, carrier, restaurant, company, or person rendering any of the services included in the tour.
The tickets, coupons, tariffs, rules, or contracts currently in use by any carrier, hotel, restaurant or other rendering service shall constitute the sole contract between such contractor and the tour member. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. Further, the Renaissance Company and its representative agents accept no responsibility for any damage or delay due to sickness, pilferage, labor disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather, or any other cause beyond their personal control.
The right is reserved to cancel or change itineraries or substitute services without notice, and to decline to accept any tour member at any time, l. No carrier shall be responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board its own conveyance.
In view of the statutory or contractual limitations which may apply to personal injury or property damage losses, the purchase of accident and baggage insurance is strongly recommended, as well as trip cancellation insurance, is strongly recommended.
Finally, the Renaissance Company bears no responsibility whatsoever for any travel arrangements made by individual travelers that do not form part of the published itinerary. Extensions of stay, hotel accommodations beyond those indicated in the program, early arrivals or departures, hotel charges not included in the basic room rate including but not limited to telephone, beverages and meals, and hotel services, and all other arrangements undertaken at the initiative of individual participants are their sole responsibility. No change can be made in group plans or schedules to accommodate such arrangements.