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Author: steve_atkinson

Joined: 6/5/2013
Posts: 1
Traveler Since: 2011

June 05, 2013

The Northern Italy GCT discovery in April 2013 was all we imagined -- and more. We chose both extensions so that we could have more time in Rome and Venice for this our first Italy trip. Before we even left home, Program Director Lucio called us. And then Francesco introduced himself via email as our Desk Representative in Rome, but he was also our director and guide taking us on walking and bus tours, arranging for local guide Antoinella and a fun dinner in Trastavere, plus a Tanagra dinner theater experience to remember.

Before we knew it, Program Director  Lucio arrived at Hotel Victoria (Rome) and introduced himself while greeting new arrivals for the main trip. Lucio is quite the director, always telling us what to expect the next day, making schedule changes (few) to work around weather conditions such as moving the Dolomites discovery by a day to avoid rain. What a historian and story teller is Lucio! He also arranged for local guides who really share what they know and love about Florence, Siena, Rome, Venice, Bolzano, etc. Both Lucio and the guides explained much about languages (do you know Ladino? and that it is taught in schools of South Tyrol Ladinia towns such as Ortesei-St. Ulrich?) and dialects for each region, interwoven with national and regional politics and cultures.

Selected program Highlights: Borghese Gallery (especially the Bernini sculptures 'David' and 'Apollo and Daphne' and 'Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius') in Rome; Michaelangelo's 'David' and Simone's commentary in Florence; the countryside, farmhouse dinner and conversation with our hosts Elisabetha and her family in Tuscany; Sta. Margherita, Potofino, and Cinque Terre villages Vernazza and Manarola, all on the Italian Riviera; the Dolomites and Otzi the iceman in Bolzano; the views from San Giorgio bell town in Venice (thank you, Stefania!)

And thank you, our traveling companions! We had a blast and learned much from experienced GCT travelers especially those with thirteen GCT adventures!

Recommended reading and viewing:

Films: 'Enchanted April' set in Portofino; 'Brad and Roses'; 'Roman Holiday'; 'Bicycle Thief'; 'La Dolce Vita'; 'A Room With a View.'

Books: 'Italian Hours' (Henry James); 'A Room with a View' ( E. M. Forster ); 'Death at La Fenice' and other Guido Brunetti mysteries by Donna Leon; 'The Shoemaker's Wife' (Adriana Tagliani); 'The Four Seasons: a novel of Vivaldi's Venice' (Laurel Corona); 'The Passion' (Jeanette Winterson); 'The Savage Garden' (Mark Mills); 'A Thousand Days in Venice' (Marlena de Blasi); 'A Thread of Grace' (Mary Doria Russell); 'Gestures' (H.S. Babra); 'The Marble Faun' (Nathanial Hawthorne).

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 486
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 05, 2013

 Steve,

This was an excellent review. Please repost it under Travelere Reviews for the trip. More people will see it there. If you plan to enhance it, wait until you do the enhancements, as it is difficult to modify a review once posted

Author: sarahshea

Joined: 3/19/2010
Posts: 6
Countries Visited:

I lived in England and Australia many years ago and it put the travel bug within me that I treasure! I have also been to Holland and Ireland and many places here in the USA. I finally visited New York twice in 2007 and still long to go back there...what a fun city! My husband and I are going to Italy this October together for 2 weeks and then I will stay an additional 2 weeks for my GCT tour to the Amalfi Coast! Anyone want to go along??

Traveler Since: 2009

June 06, 2013

We are leaving in 15 days for this trip and are now even more excited after reading your review Steve!  Thank you!  I love Grand Circle and the way they provide just the right interests for us and always so great to read others feel the same.

Nanaandpapa: Is the "Travelere Reviews" page something through GC or on another site?  I must find it and read more reviews.

This will be my 3rd trip to Italy and I hope for many more because there is something so special about it.  Agreed?  Now I just gotta find someone who wants to swap homes with me for a few months at a time!

Andiamo! 

Sarah 

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 486
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 06, 2013

 Sarah,

The Travelers Reviews is a tab under each trip on the GCT site (and the OAT site). It is nor a discussion board, but rather a place for travelers to post a review on the trip.  You must have takes the trip to post, but it is available to everyone  to read.

Author: sarahshea

Joined: 3/19/2010
Posts: 6
Countries Visited:

I lived in England and Australia many years ago and it put the travel bug within me that I treasure! I have also been to Holland and Ireland and many places here in the USA. I finally visited New York twice in 2007 and still long to go back there...what a fun city! My husband and I are going to Italy this October together for 2 weeks and then I will stay an additional 2 weeks for my GCT tour to the Amalfi Coast! Anyone want to go along??

Traveler Since: 2009

June 07, 2013

Ahhh yes, I have been on that site before, but when I read "Travelere Reviews" I thought maybe it was something different than Traveler Reviews.  Sounded like an Italian Review site that way! 

I am studying some Italian words and hope to use some while there but I know most Italians speak some English in the touristy places anyway. 

Andiamo!  Fourteen days and counting!

 

Ciao and Happy Travels to all.

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