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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide
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2016 The Rivieras: Italy, France & the Isles

16 Days from only $5995 including international airfare

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 50-PASSENGER M/V ARETHUSA DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS

Florence • Lucca • Livorno • Portoferraio • Bastia • Marina di Carrara • Porto Venere • Cinque Terre • Santa Margherita Ligure • Portofino • Nice • St. Paul de Vence • Cannes • Saint-Honorat Island

Courtesy Small World Productions
French Riviera

Trace France's Mediterranean coast as travel expert Rudy Maxa explores sun-dappled Nice and sophisticated Cannes.

Trip Itinerary

Get more information about your detailed itinerary, like optional tours, exclusive Discovery Series events, and more.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Genoa and the Italian Riviera

Trace Italy's Ligurian coast with travel expert Rudy Maxa, and discover the best of the Riviera.

Trip Extension: Aix-en-Provence

Experience the illustrious history and proud craftsmanship of this vibrant university city during our optional extension.

Discover our Mediterranean small ships

See how our award-winning, 50-passenger small ships will enhance your Mediterranean cruise experience.

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15 DAYS FROM $4895 Small Ship Cruise Tour Only
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Itinerary Overview

UPDATE ON NICE: We are operating all of our departures as scheduled. All of our travelers and associates in France are safe—we will continue to monitor the situation.

Come marvel at the lights of Paris, the capital of romance ... then explore France by River Cruise Tour, where you'll sail throughout the French countryside aboard one of Grand Circle’s private French river cruisers—which offer a more intimate cruising experience, with a maximum of just 46 American travelers. Along the way, you'll discover the lovely landscapes and enchanting villages that inspired the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries ... revel in picturesque scenery, like gently sloping hills and vineyards that sustain one of the greatest wine industries in the world ... visit ornate papal palaces, Gothic cathedrals, medieval fortifications, and ancient Roman ruins ... and cap off your explorations in the elegant Cote d’Azur, with its golden sands and opulent casinos.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 4 nights from only $795

    Either before or after your vacation to Italy and France's rivieras, perhaps you'll extend your stay in Bologna, Italy. For nearly a thousand years, the brightest minds of Italy have gathered in Bologna, the original university town. And the smartest travelers continue the tradition, soaking up the beauty of this city of porticos and towers. With ample time to explore the greatest sites of architectural splendor and religious devotion, you'll revel in a chance to experience Bologna at the pace you desire.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your flight to Florence, Italy. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension to Bologna, Italy.

  • Arrive in Florence, Italy where a Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to your hotel.

    This evening, you’ll meet your fellow travelers during a Welcome Briefing. You’ll also get acquainted with your surroundings when you venture out for an orientation walk.

  • Florence

    Explore Florence's medieval streets—and revel in Renaissance wonders—with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    After breakfast at your hotel, your vacation to Italy begins as you set off for a guided walking tour of Florence—capital of Tuscany, and birthplace of the Renaissance. For centuries, it has been a hub of art, fashion, business, and politics, and its history is as inspiring as the grand Tuscan landscape surrounding it. You'll begin with a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia where you'll have an opportunity to view Michelangelo's famous sculpture, David. After, you'll weave your way through the streets of the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you'll find the iconic Il Duomo, more formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Although constructed more than 600 years ago, it still has the world's largest brick-and-mortar dome, and this impressive building also includes a Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile, or bell tower.

    Tonight, enjoy an included Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers at a local restaurant.

  • After breakfast at your hotel, explore more of Florence at your own pace. Perhaps you will stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge” which spans the Arno River—it's the only bridge in Florence that wasn't destroyed by the retreat of Hitler's forces in 1944.

    Or, you may choose to join an optional tour of Chianti, world-renowned for its floral red wine, a region filled with seemingly endless expanses of rolling vineyards and fragrant olive groves. Several villages span its seven subdivisions, including Greve in Chianti—“in Chianti” being a 20th-century affixation to many village names as the region's boundaries were defined.  As you discover Greve in Chianti this morning you'll visit a ghiacciaia, Italian for “ice box,” an underground cellar where you'll witness how cheese and salamis are kept cool.

    You'll then continue on to a local winery, where you'll enjoy a wine tasting. Per the DOC (an Italian wine regulation group), Chianti must contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes—a red, thinly skinned grape named for "the blood of Jove.” The wine appears today in several incarnations like Chianti Classico, Riserva, and the innovative Super Tuscan, made by producers who have contested the DOC's regulations—to much acclaim. As you taste the wine, you'll also sample some charcuterie (sliced meats).

    Lunch in a countryside villa will follow, and then you'll depart for Florence where the rest of the afternoon will be yours to enjoy.

    Tonight, dinner will be on your own.

  • After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a day at leisure, perhaps visiting Santa Croce Square in the center of Florence.

    Or, join us for an optional Vinci tour, where you'll have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, one of history's greatest artists and inventors. Enjoy a visit to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum and an included lunch at a local restaurant.

    Tonight, dinner will be on your own.

  • This morning after breakfast, you'll set off for a guided tour of Lucca. Nestled in a verdant valley, this gem of Tuscany features ancient architecture and customs that have withstood the tests of time. This can be seen most readily in the well-preserved city walls which have surrounded the city since the 17th century—they encompass a wide expanse of red terra-cotta roofed homes, and the eye-catching Case-Torri or “Tower Houses” of wealthy families.

    As you stroll along winding, narrow streets, you may see locals leisurely sipping cappuccinos outside of cafes, smell cornetto (croissants) or Buccellato (a sweet local bread) wafting in the air, and feel a sense of things moving spectacularly slower. And you'll pass through the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, where a ring of medieval buildings outline the site of the city's former amphitheater, which was used to hold thousands of spectators for gladiator games. You'll also have time to explore more of Lucca on your own, and see for yourself why its name means “illuminated glade.”

    After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Livorno, where you'll embark the Arethusa. The crew will greet you with a Captain's Welcome Drink and Dinner, and tonight, your ship sails to Elba Island.

  • OAT

    After breakfast onboard, you'll disembark the ship to explore Elba Island.

    At 14 miles long and six miles wide, Elba was once part of a larger stretch of land that connected Italy to Corsica. It is now the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, and it has long been rich in iron deposits, which explains why the port we'll dock in, Portoferraio, translates to “Iron Port." You'll enjoy an included tour here this morning featuring the Teatro dei Vigilanti, the theater commissioned to be built in a former church by the famous Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Next, you'll get the chance to experience the warmth of an Italian welcome during a Home-Hosted Visit with a local island family, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure. Return to your ship this afternoon for an exclusive Discovery Series conversation with your Program Directors about the complex dynamics surrounding immigration and refugees in Italy. Tonight, your ship sails to Bastia, Corsica. 

  • After breakfast this morning, learn more about Corsica's fight for independence during an insightful discussion on the Corsican Nation with a local expert, an exclusive Discovery Series event. Then, discover Bastia, one of the highlights of Corsica. Formed through volcanic explosions, two-thirds of the island is comprised of mountains, and during World War II it was nicknamed “USS Corsica,” as the U.S. military established several airfields there. (Pilot Joseph Heller later weaved his war experiences here into his novel, Catch-22.) And the majority of its acreage is protected through the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse nature reserve, which has allowed its natural beauty to thrive, undisturbed.

    You'll enjoy a guided tour of Bastia, the island's bustling cardinal port. While crossing through St. Nicholas Square, keep an eye out for its marble statue of Napoleon. Then you'll move on to the Vieux Port (Old Port), which is tucked into a narrow cove. It is host to the impressive St. John Cathedral and the city's 15th-century citadel, “Terra-Nova,” which overlooks the bay from a rocky incline.

    After an included lunch, enjoy free time this afternoon. Perhaps you'll visit the Musée de Bastia in the Governor's Palace, which showcases Bastia's fascinating history.

    Dinner onboard the Arethusa this evening.

  • This morning after breakfast, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series event as you explore the Carrara marble quarries.

    Carrara has been home to cavatori, or quarry workers, for centuries as it has long been rich in marble deposits. The naming of the city is still up for debate, but one of the more poetic hypotheses can be pulled from the records of Saint Girolamo. He referred to Carrara as the “City of the Moon on the Wagons”—its landscape a white and gray moonscape of marble, slabs were regularly excavated and wheeled out by Romans who shipped the stone to Rome. (Today, Carrara marble can be seen in Trajan’s Column and Michelangelo's world-renowned masterpiece, David.)

    You’ll set off for the Fantiscritti marble quarry, where Michelangelo spent long periods of time carefully analyzing the stone, later using his selections to carve out his sculptures. You’ll stop to seize breathtaking views from above the walls of marble, and then you’ll venture underground to see the quarries from within.

    This afternoon, you’ll discover Porto Venere on a walking tour, newly added for 2015. You'll stroll the city's tunnel-like narrow streets and enjoy the medieval character of its centuries-old walls, learning about its Roman history and Doria Castle, which sits high atop the village.

  • During all-day tours today, discover Monterosso and Vernazza, two of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre. Both feature centuries-old architecture, including charming churches, and are famous for wine and olive-oil production.

    Vernazza has no car traffic and remains one of the Rivieras' true fishing villages. The beach at Monterosso runs along most of the coastline, and paths formerly used by mules are now protected by the government and used by hikers who enjoy the sweeping views.

    This evening, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series event led by the Arethusa chef featuring one of the most famous of all Ligurian dishes: pesto. The basil- and pine-nut sauce originated here and is the classic accompaniment with pasta—not red sauce—in this region of Italy. Then enjoy dinner and a Port Talk.

    Please note: In March and November, and in case of adverse sea conditions, boat transportation will be replaced with bus and train transportation to Cinque Terre. Depending on season, you may visit different villages of the Cinque Terre than Monterosso or Vernazza.

  • Enjoy a guided tour of Santa Margherita Ligure early this morning.  Brightly colored houses line its small harbor—some featuring frescoes and trompe-l'oeil paintings. You'll then take a boat ride to Portofino, the charming town once known as “Port of the Dolphin.” Here, you'll enjoy a guided tour followed by free time to make further discoveries on your own.

    After lunch onboard this afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to explore Santa Margherita Ligure. Tonight, enjoy a Captain's Farewell Drink and Farewell Dinner.

    Please note: In case of adverse sea conditions we may dock in Genova instead of Santa Margherita and transfer to Santa Margherita by bus. It may also be necessary to replace the local boat to Portofino with a local public bus ride.

  • 36 Hours in Nice

    Witness the unique confluence of French and Italian cultures—the best of both worlds—on display in coastal Nice.

    After breakfast this morning, enjoy an insightful Discovery Series discussion on France Today with a local expert, before you set off for a guided tour of Nice. Once referred to by the Greeks as Nike for their goddess of Victory, Nice's soft light has captured the hearts of artists for centuries. During a panoramic drive via motorcoach, you'll witness highlights of the city, like the Promenade des Anglais along the coast of the sea and Roman ruins in Cimiez (a neighborhood of Nice). After, enjoy a walking tour of Nice's colorful Old Town.

    The afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. Perhaps you'll visit the public gardens situated at the peak of Castle Hill from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Cote d'Azur.

    Following this evening's Port Talk and included dinner, revel in the sound of traditional folk music during an onboard exclusive Discovery Series performance.

  • French Riviera

    Trace France's Mediterranean coast as travel expert Rudy Maxa explores sun-dappled Nice and sophisticated Cannes.

    This morning you'll disembark your ship and set off for a walking tour of St. Paul de Vence, one of the oldest towns on the French Riviera. Medieval walls still encase its narrow streets, and museums, artisanal shops, and art galleries abound.

    The town was once the residence of Russian-born Marc Chagall, one of 20th-century Europe's most prolific artists. He worked in a range of mediums ranging from stained glass, ceramics, and stage sets to fine art paintings, and he is laid to rest in the town's cemetery. According to Francoise Gilot, Picasso's mistress, Picasso once expressed, “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color is,” and he went on to compliment Chagall's expert interpretations of light. After, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    You'll arrive in Cannes this afternoon, enjoying an orientation walk this evening before an independent dinner.

  • After breakfast this morning, set off on a guided walking tour of Cannes. This city is the world-renowned host of the annual Cannes Film Festival since 1946, and each May when new films are previewed on an invitation-only basis, starlets and filmmakers descend upon this city en masse.

    Your tour includes a visit to the Promenade de la Croisette. A little over a mile long, this palm-fringed avenue lines the waterfront with a surplus of cafes, boutiques, and picturesque, sandy beaches. It's also where you can find the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, where the Cannes Film Festival is held. You'll also gain insight into a local pastime—Petanque. Akin to horseshoes, the players aim to get hollow hollow metal balls as close to a wooden ball as possible without stepping outside of a marked circle. Head to a Petanque court and meet members of a local sporting club for a up-close glimpse of the action.

    The remainder of the morning is at leisure to make further discoveries on your own. Perhaps you'll also explore Le Suquet, the Old Town of Cannes, where you'll discover narrow cobbled streets. Roman tombs from the eleventh century have been excavated here, and a well-preserved tower from that era rises over the bay. Rue St. Antoine houses a cluster of restaurants, which you may choose to explore when you enjoy lunch on your own.

    This afternoon, join your Program Director for an included excursion to Ile Saint-Honorat. This island is named after Saint Honoratus who established a monastery on the island sometime during the 5th century. Today, the island features pristine beaches and a fortified monastery where a group of monks still live.

    Tonight, dinner is on your own.

  • Enjoy the day exploring Cannes at your own pace.

    Or, you may choose to join an optional tour of Monaco and Monte Carlo. You'll take a panoramic drive to Monaco, a self-governing, independent state full of glamour, style, and wealth, where, according to legend, Hercules opened its roads.

    You'll stop by Old Monaco's Grimaldi Palace, where ruler Prince Albert II now lives, and where, every day, the changing of the guard takes place. You'll also pass through the Saint Nicholas Cathedral where Albert's famous parents are buried: Prince Rainer III and Grace Kelly, America's darling movie star. Then after lunch at a local restaurant in Monaco, you'll visit lively Monte Carlo—home of the famed Monte Carlo Casino.

    Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant.

    • Meals included:

    Following breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, extend your stay in the region with a post-trip extension to Aix-en-Provence, France or Torino & Lake Maggiore, Italy.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Aix-en-Provence, France

    4 nights from only $1195

    Perhaps you'll extend your stay in Italy and France in Aix-en-Provence, where you'll discover the winding lanes and relaxed atmosphere that inspired the paintings of Cezanne. In a four-night discovery that unveils the French countryside as well, you’ll explore the natural beauty of a region rich with deep springs, ochre canyons, and mountain slopes.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Torino & Lake Maggiore, Italy

    5 nights from only $1245

    The mighty Italian Alps watch over some of the most memorable locales on Earth. Torino, a cultural hub nestled on the River Po … Stresa, a thousand-year-old resort town on the shore of crystalline Lake Maggiore … and silvery Lake Orta, which Balzac described as a “grey pearl in a green jewel box.” You’ll discover all these and more as you stroll ancient streets and boat on the placid waters of Italy’s Alpine north.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 4 nights from only $1195

    Perhaps you'll extend your stay in Italy and France in Aix-en-Provence, where you'll discover the winding lanes and relaxed atmosphere that inspired the paintings of Cezanne. In a four-night discovery that unveils the French countryside as well, you’ll explore the natural beauty of a region rich with deep springs, ochre canyons, and mountain slopes.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 5 nights from only $1245

    The mighty Italian Alps watch over some of the most memorable locales on Earth. Torino, a cultural hub nestled on the River Po … Stresa, a thousand-year-old resort town on the shore of crystalline Lake Maggiore … and silvery Lake Orta, which Balzac described as a “grey pearl in a green jewel box.” You’ll discover all these and more as you stroll ancient streets and boat on the placid waters of Italy’s Alpine north.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your flight to Nice, France. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extensions to Aix-en-Provence, France or Torino & Lake Maggiore, Italy.

  • Arrive in Nice, France where a Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to your hotel in Cannes.

    This evening, you'll meet your fellow travelers over a Welcome Drink and enjoy an orientation walk.

  • After breakfast this morning, set off on a guided walking tour of Cannes. This city is the world-renowned host of the annual Cannes Film Festival since 1946, and each May when new films are previewed on an invitation-only basis, starlets and filmmakers descend upon this city en masse.

    Your tour includes a visit to the Promenade de la Croisette. A little over a mile long, this palm-fringed avenue lines the waterfront with a surplus of cafes, boutiques, and picturesque, sandy beaches. It's also where you can find the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, where the Cannes Film Festival is held. You'll also gain insight into a local pastime—Petanque. Akin to horseshoes, the players aim to get hollow hollow metal balls as close to a wooden ball as possible without stepping outside of a marked circle. Head to a Petanque court and meet members of a local sporting club for a up-close glimpse of the action.

    The remainder of the morning is at leisure to make further discoveries on your own. Perhaps you'll also explore Le Suquet, the Old Town of Cannes, where you'll discover narrow cobbled streets. Roman tombs from the eleventh century have been excavated here, and a well-preserved tower from that era rises over the bay. Rue St. Antoine houses a cluster of restaurants, which you may choose to explore when you enjoy lunch on your own.

    This afternoon, join your Program Director for an included excursion to Ile Saint-Honorat. This island is named after Saint Honoratus who established a monastery on the island sometime during the 5th century. Today, the island features pristine beaches and a fortified monastery where a group of monks still live.

    Tonight, enjoy an included Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

  • OAT

    Enjoy the day exploring Cannes at your own pace.

    Or, you may choose to join an optional tour of Monaco and Monte Carlo. You'll take a panoramic drive to Monaco, a self-governing, independent state full of glamour, style, and wealth, where, according to legend, Hercules opened its roads.

    You'll stop by Old Monaco's Grimaldi Palace, where ruler Prince Albert II now lives, and where, every day, the changing of the guard takes place. You'll also pass through the Saint Nicholas Cathedral where Albert's famous parents are buried: Prince Rainer III and Grace Kelly, America's darling movie star. Then after lunch at a local restaurant in Monaco, you'll visit lively Monte Carlo—home of the famed Monte Carlo Casino.

    Tonight, dinner will be on your own.

  • This morning you'll venture to St. Paul de Vence, one of the oldest towns on the French Riviera. Medieval walls still encase its narrow streets, and museums, artisanal shops, and art galleries abound.

    The town was once the residence of Russian-born Marc Chagall, one of 20th-century Europe's most prolific artists. He worked in a range of mediums ranging from stained glass, ceramics, and stage sets to fine art paintings, and he is laid to rest in the town's cemetery. According to Francoise Gilot, Picasso's mistress, Picasso once expressed, “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color is,” and he went on to compliment Chagall's expert interpretations of light. After, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    Later, you'll board your ship in Nice, where the crew will greet you with a Captain's Welcome Drink and Dinner.

  • After breakfast this morning, enjoy an insightful Discovery Series discussion on France Today with a local expert, before you set off for a guided tour of Nice. Once referred to by the Greeks as Nike for their goddess of Victory, Nice's soft light has captured the hearts of artists for centuries. During a panoramic drive via motorcoach, you'll witness highlights of the city, like the Promenade des Anglais along the coast of the sea and Roman ruins in Cimiez (a neighborhood of Nice). After, enjoy a walking tour of Nice's colorful Old Town.

    The afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. Perhaps you'll visit the public gardens situated at the peak of Castle Hill from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Cote d'Azur.

    Following this evening's Port Talk and included dinner, revel in the sound of traditional folk music during an onboard exclusive Discovery Series performance as your ship cruises to Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy.

  • Enjoy a guided tour of Santa Margherita Ligure early this morning.  Brightly colored houses line its small harbor—some featuring frescoes and trompe-l'oeil paintings. You'll then take a boat ride to Portofino, the charming town once known as “Port of the Dolphin.” Here, you'll enjoy a guided tour followed by free time to make further discoveries on your own.

    After lunch onboard this afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to explore Santa Margherita Ligure. Return to your ship this afternoon for a candid conversation with your Program Directors about the complex dynamics surrounding immigration and refugees in Italy. Tonight, dinner is onboard. Tonight, dinner is onboard.

    Please note: In case of adverse sea conditions we may dock in Genova instead of Santa Margherita and transfer to Santa Margherita by bus. It may also be necessary to replace the local boat to Portofino with a local public bus ride.

  • During an all-day tour today, discover Monterosso and Vernazza, two of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre. Both feature centuries-old architecture, including charming churches, and are famous for wine and olive-oil production.

    Vernazza has no car traffic and remains one of the Rivieras' true fishing villages. The beach at Monterosso runs along most of the coastline, and paths formerly used by mules are now protected by the government and used by hikers who enjoy the sweeping views.

    This evening, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series event led by the Arethusa chef featuring one of the most famous of all Ligurian dishes: pesto. The basil- and pine-nut sauce originated here and is the classic accompaniment with pasta—not red sauce—in this region of Italy. Then enjoy dinner and a Port Talk.

    Please note: In March and November, and in case of adverse sea conditions, boat transportation will be replaced with bus and train transportation to Cinque Terre. Depending on the season, you may visit different villages of the Cinque Terre than other months.

  • This morning after breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Porto Venere, newly added for 2015. You'll stroll the city's tunnel-like narrow streets and enjoy the medieval character of its centuries-old walls, learning about its Roman history and Doria Castle, which sits high atop the village. You'll have free time here before lunch onboard.

    This afternoon, you'll enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series event as you explore the Carrara marble quarries.

    Carrara has been home to cavatori, or quarry workers, for centuries as it has long been rich in marble deposits. The naming of the city is still up for debate, but one of the more poetic hypotheses can be pulled from the records of Saint Girolamo. He referred to Carrara as the “City of the Moon on the Wagons”—its landscape a white and gray moonscape of marble, slabs were regularly excavated and wheeled out by Romans who shipped the stone to Rome. (Today, Carrara marble can be seen in Trajan’s Column and Michelangelo's world-renowned masterpiece, David.)

    You’ll set off for the Fantiscritti marble quarry, where Michelangelo spent long periods of time carefully analyzing the stone, later using his selections to carve out his sculptures. You’ll stop to seize breathtaking views from above the walls of marble, and then you’ll venture underground to see the quarries from within.

    Tonight, you’ll enjoy a Port Talk and dinner onboard, and your ship will set sail for Corsica, France.

  • OAT

    After breakfast this morning, learn more about Corsica's fight for independence during an insightful discussion on the Corsican Nation with a local expert, an exclusive Discovery Series event. Then, discover Bastia, one of the highlights of Corsica. Formed through volcanic explosions, two-thirds of the island is comprised of mountains, and during World War II it was nicknamed “USS Corsica,” as the U.S. military established several airfields there. (Pilot Joseph Heller later weaved his war experiences here into his novel, Catch-22.) And the majority of its acreage is protected through the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse nature reserve, which has allowed its natural beauty to thrive, undisturbed.

    You'll enjoy a guided tour of Bastia, the island's bustling cardinal port. While crossing through St. Nicholas Square, keep an eye out for its marble statue of Napoleon. Then you'll move on to the Vieux Port (Old Port), which is tucked into a narrow cove. It is host to the impressive St. John Cathedral and the city's 15th-century citadel, “Terra-Nova,” which overlooks the bay from a rocky incline.

    After an included lunch, enjoy free time this afternoon. Perhaps you'll visit the Musée de Bastia in the Governor's Palace, which showcases Bastia's fascinating history.

    Dinner onboard the Arethusa this evening.

  • OAT

    After breakfast onboard, you'll disembark the ship to explore Elba Island.

    At 14 miles long and six miles wide, Elba was once part of a larger stretch of land that connected Italy to Corsica. It is now the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, and it has long been rich in iron deposits, which explains why the port we'll dock in, Portoferraio, translates to “Iron Port." You'll enjoy an included tour here this morning featuring the Teatro dei Vigilanti, the theater commissioned to be built in a former church by the famous Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Afterward, you'll experience the warmth of an Italian welcome during a Home-Hosted Visit with a local island family, an exclusive Discovery Series event. After an included lunch, you'll then have time to make your own discoveries.

    Tonight, you'll gather for a special Farewell Dinner with your Captain and crew, and your ship will cruise to Livorno.

  • OAT

    This morning after breakfast, you'll disembark your ship and set off for Florence, stopping in Lucca for a guided tour. Nestled in a verdant valley, this gem of Tuscany features ancient architecture and customs that have withstood the tests of time. This can be seen most readily in the well-preserved city walls which have surrounded the city since the 17th century—they encompass a wide expanse of red terra-cotta roofed homes, and the eye-catching Case-Torri or “Tower Houses” of wealthy families.

    As you stroll along winding, narrow streets, you may see locals leisurely sipping cappuccinos outside of cafes, smell cornetto (croissants) or Buccellato (a sweet local bread) wafting in the air, and feel a sense of things moving spectacularly slower. And you'll pass through the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, where a ring of medieval buildings outlines the site of the city's former amphitheater, which was used to hold thousands of spectators for gladiator games. You'll also have time to explore more of Lucca on your own, and see for yourself why its name means “illuminated glade.”

    After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Florence, arriving in the afternoon. Get acquainted with the neighborhood surrounding your hotel during an orientation walk with your Program Director. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • After breakfast and an orientation briefing at your hotel, you'll set off for a guided walking tour of Florence—capital of Tuscany, and birthplace of the Renaissance. For centuries, it has been a hub of art, fashion, business, and politics, and its history is as inspiring as the grand Tuscan landscape surrounding it. You'll begin with a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia where you'll have an opportunity to view Michelangelo's famous sculpture, David. After, you'll weave your way through the streets of the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you'll find the iconic Il Duomo, more formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Although constructed more than 600 years ago, it still has the world's largest brick-and-mortar dome, and this impressive building also includes a Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile, or bell tower.

    Tonight, dinner will be on your own.

  • After breakfast at your hotel, explore more of Florence at your own pace. Perhaps you will stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge” which spans the Arno River—it's the only bridge in Florence that wasn't destroyed by the retreat of Hitler's forces in 1944.

    Or, you may choose to join an optional tour of Chianti, world-renowned for its floral red wine, a region filled with seemingly endless expanses of rolling vineyards and fragrant olive groves. Several villages span its seven subdivisions, including Greve in Chianti—“in Chianti” being a 20th-century affixation to many village names as the region's boundaries were defined.  As you discover Greve in Chianti this morning you'll visit a ghiacciaia, Italian for “ice box,” an underground cellar where you'll witness how cheese and salamis are kept cool.

    You'll then continue on to a local winery, where you'll enjoy a wine tasting. Per the DOC (an Italian wine regulation group), Chianti must contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes—a red, thinly skinned grape named for "the blood of Jove.” The wine appears today in several incarnations like Chianti Classico, Riserva, and the innovative Super Tuscan, made by producers who have contested the DOC's regulations—to much acclaim. As you taste the wine, you'll also sample some charcuterie (sliced meats). Lunch in a countryside villa will follow, and then you'll depart for Florence.

    The rest of the afternoon will be yours to enjoy. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

  • After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a day at leisure, perhaps visiting Santa Croce Square in the center of Florence.

    Or, join us for an optional Vinci tour, where you'll have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, one of history's greatest artists and inventors. Enjoy a visit to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum and an included lunch at a local restaurant.

    Tonight, dinner is on your own.

    • Meals included:

    Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. Or, extend your stay in the region with a post-trip extension to Bologna, Italy.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Bologna, Italy

    4 nights from only $795

    Either before or after your vacation to Italy and France's rivieras, perhaps you'll extend your stay in Bologna, Italy. For nearly a thousand years, the brightest minds of Italy have gathered in Bologna, the original university town. And the smartest travelers continue the tradition, soaking up the beauty of this city of porticos and towers. With ample time to explore the greatest sites of architectural splendor and religious devotion, you'll revel in a chance to experience Bologna at the pace you desire.

    View Extension Itinerary

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