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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2017 NEW: Italian Coastal Odyssey: Hidden Italy, Sicily & Malta

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CRUISE COMFORTABLY IN SMALL GROUPS OF 25 ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 50-PASSENGER M/V ARTEMIS

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

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 CNN
Italy's Capital of Contradictions

Join a wine expert and a local musician on a stroll through some of the hidden gems of Rome.

©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 David Conover
Moving Beauty of Venice

Glide through the serene canals of Venice, and witness the beauty of this iconic city.

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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 Cruise Tours 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.

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 Duomo, within 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 Program Director 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.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    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 Program Director 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 and roses 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.

    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 Program Directors 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, and you’ll disembark by tender boat and journey to the shore. A tour by foot and boat 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 on 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 available on April-October departures.

    Enjoy free time here before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon of leisure. Should you choose, the island offers myriad swimming opportunities in its grottoes and along beaches. It also offers an abundance of freshly caught and prepared seafood in small, local restaurants.

  • The Bay of Naples and its islands are the result of millennia worth of volcanic activity—from ancient volcanoes now long gone; to Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on mainland Europe; to Monte Nuovo, the cone volcano that formed over the course of eight days in 1538.

    While centuries have passed since the last major eruption in the region, the area is still lively—and you’ll see this in action with this morning’s excursion. After docking in Pozzuoli, you’ll travel overland to the Phlegraean Fields, a regional park composed of craters, boreholes, and sulfuric fumes. As you explore the fields, including the Solfatara crater, you’ll understand just why the ancient Romans considered this the home of Vulcan, the god of fire.

    Then return to Pozzuoli for the chance to explore its oldest district, Rione Terra. Here, history has built upon itself—quite literally. During your walking tour, take note of the 17th-century Duomo: Its columns were originally part of a first-century temple, which was built to replace another structure that dates back to the second century B.C. 

    Freshen up and enjoy lunch onboard early this afternoon as the Artemis embarks for your next port of call: Procida, one of the Bay of Naples least known—and most treasured—gems. Disembarking by tender, you’ll discover a tiny island of kaleidoscopically hued buildings and sun-drenched narrow streets. Unlike some of its larger neighbors, Procida has held onto its tight-knight, local vibe—and offers an unfiltered glimpse into the traditional Italian way of life.

    Enjoy dinner onboard this evening. Your ship cruises to the Amalfi Coast overnight.

  • 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 walking tour 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 most 100 most-endangered sites.

    Dinner tonight will be aboard the Artemis.

  • Your ship will dock this morning among fishing vessels and sailboats in Agropoli, a small local port. Step off the ship and 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 meet the cheesemakers—who will share with you the secrets to making this Italian staple. Your visit here will include a special lunch.

  • After cruising south along mainland Italy’s western coast, the Artemis docks today in Cetraro, a cozy harbor of local vessels. After disembarking your small ship, 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.

    Back aboard your ship this evening, behold the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” during a scenic cruise around the island of Stromboli. One of the eight Aeolian Islands and one of Italy’s three active volcanoes, Stromboli is noteworthy for its mildly explosive, regularly paced volcanic activity—in fact, 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.

  • After breakfast, discover more of the Aeolians, perched off the shores of southern Italy and Sicily, after your ship tenders off the coast of Salina. Unlike the fiery Stromboli, Salina has maintained a stable and eruption-free state for millennia—while the island 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.

    You’ll explore Salina during a boat and walking tour, during which you’ll see volcanic cliffs plunging into the sea, and small villages teeming with local produce. Salina’s soil and climate are particularly well-suited for growing crops—fans of capers or figs would be well advised to sample some of the local produce here, while wine enthusiasts can try Malvasia, a sweet white wine unique to the island. You’ll then return to the ship for lunch onboard. Please note: Boat tour is available on April-October departures.

    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 Italy and Sicily. 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.

  • 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 UNSECO World Heritage Site. An included tour will introduce you to the city, with visits to the serene Barracca Gardens and St. John’s Cathedral.

    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. First you’ll visit one of Malta’s best-known prehistoric temples, Hagar Qim, which means “free-standing boulders.” Malta boasts monumental remains of sites older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll also visit the Tarxien megalithic temples from 3200 BC.

    Then stop at 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 Program Director. 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.

  • This morning, your cruise continues to Italy, as you anchor off the coast of Roccella Ionica—a port town dotted with sailboats. You’ll tender ashore where you’ll then transfer to the village of Stilo, perched atop the slopes of Mount Consolino with breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. Named one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, Stilo is also home to many exquisite Byzantine churches, currently maintained by Stilo’s Romanian Orthodox community.

    Then head for Riace, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet with the town's diverse immigrant community—with people hailing from such disparate regions as North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. You’ll share lunch together and discuss the complexities of adjusting to life in Italy during this exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Return to the ship later this afternoon to set sail for our 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.

  • 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 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 Program Director. 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.

  • This morning your ship will anchor just two miles from Puglia’s beautiful Tremiti Islands—much closer than other cruise ships can get. You’ll tender to this stunning archipelago of three islands, each one offering picture-perfect sights of rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and lush woods—the Adriatic Sea glittering all around you. Enjoy a guided walk through one of the charming villages, strolling past white-washed buildings bathed in sunlight. You’ll also board a local boat for a scenic tour of the islands. If the weather permits, you may wish to enjoy a swim in the inviting sapphire waters.

    After your explorations, tender back to the ship for lunch. You may return to the islands later in the afternoon if you wish to make your own independent discoveries. Set sail this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Wake up in the small fishing port of Pescara 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 in a local restaurant.

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

  • This morning, dock in the Italian port town of Rimini and 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. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    Later this afternoon, 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 Sant’Apollinare Nuovo with its signature tower, Dante’s tomb, and the colorful mosaics adorning both the 1,400-year-old Basilica di San Vitale and the Mausoleo Galla Placida.

    Return to the ship for lunch. Then this afternoon, you may choose to return 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 Program Director 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 Program Director, 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 choose to 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 Program Director 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 Sant’Apollinare Nuovo with its signature tower, Dante’s tomb, and the colorful mosaics adorning both the 1,400-year-old Basilica di San Vitale and the Mausoleo Galla Placida.

    Return to the ship for lunch. Then this afternoon, you may choose to return 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.

    Dinner will be served onboard this evening.

  • This morning, dock in the Italian port town of Rimini and 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. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    Later this afternoon, 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 bustling fishing port of Pescara 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.

  • This morning your ship will anchor just two miles from Puglia’s beautiful Tremiti Islands—much closer than other cruise ships can get. You’ll tender to this stunning archipelago of three islands, each one offering picture-perfect sights of rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and lush woods—the Adriatic Sea glittering all around you. Enjoy a guided walk through one of the charming villages, strolling past white-washed buildings bathed in sunlight. You’ll also board a local boat for a scenic tour of the islands. If the weather permits, you may wish to enjoy a swim in the inviting sapphire waters.

    After your explorations, tender back to the ship for lunch. You may return to the islands later in the afternoon if you wish to make your own independent discoveries. Set sail this evening and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • After docking in Monopoli and enjoying breakfast onboard, depart for the town of Alberobello. During your visit, you’ll marvel at the town’s conical-roofed homes, or trulli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll gain an insider’s view of an authentic trullo, whose 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, you'll head back to Monopoli, where your Program Director will lead a discovery walk. 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 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, we’ll anchor off the coast of Roccella Ionica—a port town dotted with sailboats. You’ll tender ashore where you’ll then transfer to the village of Stilo, perched atop the slopes of Mount Consolino with breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. Named one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, Stilo is also home to many exquisite Byzantine churches, currently maintained by Stilo’s Romanian Orthodox community.

    Then head for Riace, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet with the town's diverse immigrant community—with people hailing from such disparate regions as North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. You’ll share lunch together and discuss the complexities of adjusting to life in Italy during this exclusive Discovery Series event.

    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 begins with visits to the serene Barracca Gardens and St. John’s Cathedral. 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.

    First you’ll visit one of Malta’s best-known prehistoric temples, Hagar Qim, which means “free-standing boulders.” Malta boasts monumental remains of sites older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll also visit the Tarxien megalithic temples from 3200 BC.

    Then stop at the quiet fishing village of Marsaxlokk, home to the largest fishing fleet in Malta, among which there are still many characteristic luzzuships 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 Program Director. 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.

  • Today, discover the Aeolian Islands, an archipelago of eight islands perched off the shores of southern Italy and Sicily known for a long history of volcanic activity. After breakfast, your ship will tender off the coast of Salina. Home to six volcanoes, this island has maintained a stable and eruption-free state for millenia. The last known eruption here was more than 13,000 years ago, but its storied past has earned the island a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

    You'll explore Salina on a boat and walking tour, during which you’ll see volcanic cliffs plunging into the sea, and small villages teeming with local produce. Salina’s soil and climate are particularly well-suited for growing crops—fans of capers or figs would be well advised to sample some of the local produce here, while wine enthusiasts can try Malvasia, a sweet white wine unique to the island. You’ll then return to the ship for lunch onboard. Please note: Boat tour is available on April-October departures.

    After dinner onboard and your evening Port Talk, 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.

  • Today, you'll reach mainland Italy and dock in Cetraro, a cozy harbor of local vessels. After disembarking your small ship, 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.

    Return 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 dock this morning among fishing vessels and sailboats in Agropoli, a small local port. Step off the ship and 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 meet the cheesemakers—who will share with you the secrets to making this Italian staple. Your visit here will include a special lunch.

  • 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 walking tour 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 most 100 most-endangered sites.

    Dinner this evening will be aboard the Artemis.

  • The Bay of Naples and its islands are the result of millennia worth of volcanic activity—from ancient volcanoes now long gone; to Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on mainland Europe; to Monte Nuovo, the cone volcano that formed over the course of eight days in 1538.

    While centuries have passed since the last major eruption in the region, the area is still lively—and you’ll see this in action with this morning’s excursion. After docking in Pozzuoli, you’ll travel overland to the Phlegraen Fields, a regional park composed of craters, boreholes, and sulfuric fumes. As you explore the fields, including the Solfatara crater, you’ll understand just why the ancient Romans considered this the home of Vulcan, the god of fire.

    Then return to Pozzuoli for the chance to explore its oldest district, Rione Terra. Here, history has built upon itself—quite literally. During your walking tour, take note of the 17th-century Duomo: Its columns were originally part of a first-century temple, which was built to replace another structure that dates back to the second century B.C.

    Freshen up and enjoy lunch onboard early this afternoon as the Artemis embarks for your next port of call: Procida, one of the Bay of Naples least known—and most treasured—gems. Disembarking by tender, you’ll discover a tiny island of kaleidoscopically hued buildings, sun-drenched narrow streets. Unlike some of its larger neighbors, Procida has held onto its tight-knight, local vibe—and offers an unfiltered glimpse into the traditional Italian way of life.

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

  • This morning, discover the Pontine Islands, an archipelago of islands 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, and you’ll disembark by tender boat and journey to the shore. A tour by foot and boat 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 on 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 available on April-October departures.

    Enjoy free time here before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon of leisure. Should you choose, the island offers myriad swimming opportunities in its grottoes and along beaches. It also offers an abundance of freshly caught and prepared seafood in small, local restaurants.

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

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    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 and roses 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.

    Arrive in Rome this afternoon, and enjoy an evening of leisure, whether you'd like to relax in the hotel or set off on your own discoveries. Your Program Director will be happy to provide recommendations for dinner.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    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 Program Director 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. Behold artistic treasures, from the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo, within 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

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