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Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

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A Tuscan Sojourn in Lucca

October 9 – 17, 2011

Imagine a beautiful little Tuscan town protected by massively thick 16th-century walls, featuring some of Italy's finest medieval and Renaissance architecture, superb dining, antique markets, classical and rock music festivals, easy access to stunning nearby villas in the surrounding hills and with endless beaches less than half an hour away. Lucca is one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets. Join us in exploring Lucca and its famous constellation of historic villas and gardens dotting the surrounding countryside in nearly all directions.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


Sunday, October 9: - Depart U.S. for Lucca

Depart for Italy on independent flights from the United States. From Lucca, the nearest airport is Pisa International Airport (Galileo Galilei), which is about 40 minutes by car from our hotel.

Monday, October 10: - Arrive Lucca

Meet the scheduled group transfer at the Pisa airport and journey to the San Luca Palace in Lucca, our home for the following week. Celebrate your arrival with a welcome dinner at the Buca di Sant’Antonio, imbued with true old Italian charm. Your meal will feature traditional Lucchese cooking, including the region’s famous olive oil. San Luca Palace (D)

Tuesday, October 11: - Lucca

Enjoy your first daily buffet breakfast on the hotel’s tranquil terrace, set amidst the ancient trees of the adjacent 200-year-old garden. Gather in the lobby after breakfast for an introductory walk atop Lucca’s most unique feature – its imposing circuit of Renaissance walls. Learn about the city’s fascinating past from your local guide, while viewing the city’s monuments from above. Continue your introduction to Lucca by visiting the city’s two finest churches from its golden age as a pilgrimage city during the 12th and 13th centuries. The Duomo di San Martino and the central church of San Michele (situated in the old Roman forum) are both beautiful, frosting-white examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture, filled with interesting artwork and relics. Break for lunch at a classic old trattoria near the piazza where Giacomo Puccini was born and raised. In the afternoon, discover the theater-like space of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, an oval square situated over what was the ancient Roman amphitheater – today surrounded by cheery pastel-colored houses. After viewing the ancient church of San Frediano, with its glittering medieval mosaics, stroll through the stately gardens of the Palazzo Pfanner, marked by a pleasing rhythm of statues and fountains. Your day in Lucca comes to a close with a special visit to a final church, the Chiesa di San Paolino, where Giacomo Puccini had his first official position as organist. Dinner and the evening are at leisure. San Luca Palace (B, L)

Wednesday, October 12: - Cinque Terre: Beauty by the Sea

Drive to the Mediterranean coast of Tuscany and neighboring Liguria to discover the incomparable natural and manmade beauties of the Cinque Terre. This string of five villages perched along the mountainous coast attracts hikers, gourmets, and poets from around the world. Our tour begins with a guided stroll through the colorful port town of Manarola. Next, walk along the Via dell’Amore to the village of Riomaggiore, and onto Vernazza – with jaw-dropping panoramas at every turn. The path is mostly paved and accessible to all ages. (Contingency plans will be made for those with limitations). In Vernazza, enjoy lunch at a lovely restaurant with a panoramic view. Returning toward Lucca, follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo as you climb into the Apuan Alps for a special visit to a Carrara marble quarry with a local expert. This precious stone has been excavated since Roman times, but the process is truly dramatic seen from up close. Upon returning to Lucca, the evening is at leisure. San Luca Palace (B, L)

Thursday, October 13: - Wineries and Villages of the Maremma

This morning, embark on an expedition to the Maremma, the sparsely populated coastal region south of Lucca that offers a tranquil, bucolic countryside. Start with an expert guide in the isolated hill town of Massa Marittima, built almost entirely from austere gray stone, with its magnificent medieval cathedral. The Maremma has gained attention over the last decade as many of Italy’s top luxury vintners have developed important new wineries throughout the region – finding excellent soils, good microclimates, and lower costs than inland Tuscany. As these have flourished, a series of contemporary vineyards designed by star architects has given the Maremma an extra cache. Your visit of the area will continue to Renzo Piano’s low-slung Rocca di Frassinello. Taste its fine red wine while enjoying a specially arranged lunch in the winery. This afternoon, visit Mario Botta’s sculptural “Petra” winery that has won numerous architectural accolades. Receive a special guided tour, followed by a private tasting of the estate’s best vintages. If time permits, stop by the handsome wine village of Suvereto. Upon returning to Lucca this evening, hit the town for an independent dinner in a restaurant of your choice. San Luca Palace (B, L, WT)

Friday, October 14: - Free Day in Lucca

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Lucca independently. San Luca Palace (B)

Saturday, October 15: - Etruscan Echoes: the Hills of Volterra

This morning set out for the sweeping hills around Volterra that 2,500 years ago formed the political and economic heartland of the Etruscan civilization. The hill town of Volterra gazes down on the surrounding landscape. After a stroll through olive groves and lush orchards, a local family invites you into their private villa to sample some of the Tuscan specialties grown on their organic farm. In the afternoon, follow a local historian on a guided walk through Volterra’s historic core. Highlights include the 13th-century- town square, the tiger-striped cathedral and baptistery, the ancient Roman theater, and the Etruscan Museum, one of the oldest public museums in Europe. This evening, return to Lucca for an independent dinner. San Luca Palace (B, L)

Sunday, October 16: - Villas in the Lucchese Countryside

Lucca is famous for its constellation of historic villas and gardens dotting the surrounding countryside in nearly all directions. This morning visit the Villa Torrigiani a Camigliano. The gardens are believed to have been designed by Le Notre, who also laid out Louis XIV’s magnificent grounds at Versailles. Next, continue to a tiny village in the surrounding countryside where two American authors have invited us to visit their award-winning private garden, subject of their bestselling book. Return to Lucca, where lunch and the remainder of the day are independent. Gather at the hotel this evening for a farewell dinner feast of both traditional and contemporary Tuscan cuisine at Ristorante all’Olivo, tucked away in one of the city’s most charming small squares. San Luca Palace (B, D)

Monday, October 17: - Buon Viaggio!

Bid farewell to Lucca and transfer independently to the airport for flights home. (B)

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Cost and Program Inclusions

Land Only Package $3,595*
Single Supplement $495

Program Inclusions

  • Seven (7) nights’ accommodations, based on double occupancy, in the first-class, four-star San Luca Palace, Lucca
  • Meals in carefully selected restaurants which offer excellent cuisine and settings:
    • Breakfast Daily
    • Four (4) Lunches
    • Two (2) Dinners (the welcome and farewell dinners)
    • One (1) Wine Tasting
    • Wine is included at lunches and dinners
    • Coffee and tea are included at lunches and dinners
  • Entrance fees to all sites listed in the itinerary
  • All land transportation by deluxe private motor coach
  • English speaking guides to accompany the tour throughout planned sightseeing tours
  • Handling of two pieces of luggage per person at the hotel (airport porterage is not included as it is a security issue)
  • Gratuities for guides and for motorcoach drivers
  • One group transfer to the hotel from the Pisa airport on October 10th
  • Services of an ISDI Tour Manager throughout
  • Complete pre-departure documentation and materials, including recommended reading list, destination information and luggage tags


  • International or domestic air arrangements
  • Any group transfer to the Pisa airport on October 17th
  • Gratuities for chamber maids
  • Passport fees or visa fees
  • Airport porterage
  • Any personal items not listed as included such as telephone calls, personal services and travel extensions, room service and valet service; items such as wines, liquors, mineral water, à la carte orders and laundry charges. Other items not specifically mentioned as included
  • Excursions or meals marked optional on the itinerary
  • If due to weather, flight schedules, or other uncontrollable factors, participants or representatives from the sponsoring organization are required to spend any additional nights, they will be responsible for their own hotel, transfers, and meal costs.
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Bryn Mawr Enrichment Leader

Professor Patruno
Professor Patruno

Professor Patruno retired in May 2008 after almost 40 years of service. His main academic interests focus on 19th and 20th century Italian literature, translation, and on the pedagogical aspect of language teaching (with the aid of computers). He has published works on Giovanni Verga, Elio Vittorini, Eugenio Montale and on Primo Levi. His most recent work deals with Primo Levi and Italian women voices of the Holocaust. His book, Understanding Primo Levi(University of South Carolina Press, 1995) originated with a call from the press. He has appeared on NBC's The Today Show to comment on Primo Levi's life.

Professor Patruno's teaching has been recognized by a prize awarded by the American Institute for Italian Culture for "outstanding teaching at the college level" and by the American Association of Teachers of Italian of the Delaware Valley and vicinity. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society. He has directed the Bryn Mawr-University of Pennsylvania Summer Institute in Florence, Italy, for several years and was the Co-Director of the Summer Study in Pisa Program.

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Hotel San Lucca Palace

In a medieval square, dating back to 1540, placed at the start of Via San Paolino, an ancient tract of the "Decumano" which runs from Piazzale San Donato to Piazza San Michele, the doors of San Luca Palace Hotel have opened. A large superior 4 star hotel on 4 floors with 17 Junior Suites, 3 Suites, 4 doubles and 2 singles; sought-after for its elegant furnishings and technology, offering maximum comfort and more aligned to the demands of national and international tourism.

The hotel situated inside the walls of Lucca in the town centre, is a brief distance from the shopping district and train station, is devoid of restaurants and the formula of our offer is a hotel with bed and breakfast

Every morning the "Nottolini" breakfast room is prepared with a rich buffet of fragrant brioches, assortment of cereals, cheeses, fruit juice, selection of meats, scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh and cooked fruit, sweet and savoury cakes. The bedrooms of Hotel San Luca Palace of Lucca are accessed by magnetic cards. All with air conditioning and heating with independent control, LCD TV with satellite channels and PAYTV, direct telephone, PC internet wi-fi connection, minibar, safe, relax or work area, parquet flooring, bathroom with telephone, shower and bath, hairdryer and cable radio. The Puccini bar lounge is an area where you can talk and relax sipping a drink or cocktail in an elegant atmosphere listening to soft music.


The 1540 square, rising in the area where you can stop with good probability in following recent archaeological findings, was the site of the Marchese Palace when, in the centuries prior to 1000, Lucca was the capital of the Marquis of Tuscany.Successively, the zone was destined to the hospital of San Luca, founded by the Court of Mercanti in 1262. This era was present of 11 of these so-good called hospitals in the town, reserved to welcome merchants and wayfarers. Nevertheless, this in particular drew great trust, as they were directly administered by the Merchants Court.

The grand complex was divided into two sections: one part reserved for men that dwelled between the crossroads and the medieval walls, and the other dedicated to the welcome of women, opposite the Santa Giustina monastery (current Registry Office). Close to the lodgings, were artisan businesses such as barbers, craftsman, bakers and tailors.

Annexed to the building there was also a church, demolished at the start of the 20th Century; this was officiated by the Curia, but the access of the clergy was subordinated by permission from the Merchants Court.

Thanks to the attentive restoration work and to the creation of the San Luca Palace, the Palace returns today to its ancient vocation of hospitality.

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