Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

Portrait of Italy

with Nick Patruno
April 18 – May 4, 2015

We invite you to join on this wonderful tour of Italy. From the breathtaking Amalfi Coast to eternal Rome, through the gentle Umbrian and Tuscan countryside to timeless Venice, this leisurely tour showcases ancient sites, contemporary life, priceless art and beautiful, natural scenery. You’ll especially appreciate the small size of your group as you stay in unique accommodations in the Tuscan countryside and a medieval village. Our faculty host is Nick Patruno, Professor Emeritus of Italian at Bryn Mawr College.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


Day 1: Depart US

Depart US for Naples, Italy

Day 2: Arrive Naples/Amalfi

After arriving in Naples this morning, we travel to seaside Amalfi, a popular resort and our base for exploring Italy’s Campania region. We dine at our hotel tonight, as we will throughout our stay here.

Day 3: Amalfi/Ravello

This morning we experience the breathtaking coast by sea as we cruise from our hotel to the Amalfi center (weather permitting). Here we enjoy a brief tour of the region’s largest town then have lunch on our own. Next we ascend to mountaintop Ravello, with its spectacular garden and coastal views. B,D

Day 4: Pompeii/Amalfi Coas/Sorrento

Our full day excursion begins in Pompeii, the city frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE but not excavated until 1748. After a tour and lunch on our own here we embark on a breathtaking driving along the winding Amalfi Coast high above the azure Mediterranean

Day 5:

En Route to Rome today we visit the town of Montecassino, whose Abbey is the mother church of the Benedictine order and a center of Medieval art. A German strong-hold during World War ll, the hilltop Abbey was destroyed by Allied bombing then rebuilt as replica of the 17th century original. We tour the Abbey, then continue on to the Eternal City. We arrive at our well-located hotel mid-afternoon; our tour director will lead an informal walk of the nearby area. B

Day 6: Rome

This morning we tour the ancient heart of Rome: the 55,000-seat Colosseum, built in 72 CE to stage gladiator spectacles; and temples of the forum, ancient Rom’s political and legal center. The afternoon is free to explore on our own; the possibilities are endless: shopping along the fashionable Veneto;; sipping espresso in beautiful Piazza Navona; seeing the Pantheon, the city’s best preserved ancient building; tossing a coin into the Trevi fountain or visiting any number of renowned museums and churches. B

Day 7: Rome

Another morning of touring followed by a free afternoon. Today we visit the Vatican for a tour of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican museums. Highlights include Michelangelo’s “Pieta” in St. Peter’s, considered one of the greatest sculptures of all times; his frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, now restored to its original glory; and art-filled St. Peter’s itself, the most important church in all of Christendom

Day 8: Rome/Umbria

Leaving Rome, we travel North through a pastoral landscape of gentle agricultural land bounded by mountain wilderness and dotted with traditional villages and Medieval hill towns. Mid-afternoon we reach Orvieto, perched high on a plateau above a vineyard-clad plain. After checking in at our hotel in the heart of the city’s medieval quarter, our tour director leads us on an informal walking tour. Tonight we attend a simple cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Zeplin Restaurant. B,D

Day 9: Orvieto

This morning we embark on a guided walking tour of this dramatically-set city. We visit the medieval Duomo featuring a frescoed chapel by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli’s masterpiece “The Last Judgment.” Next we explore the formerly secret passages of Parco delle Grotte, a labyrinth of underground caves used since Etruscan times. The remainder of the day is at leisure. B

Day 10: Orvieto/Assisi

Today’s excursion is to Assisi, considered a gem of Umbrian town with inviting plazas, abundant flowers, buildings of white marble, and a pervasive medieval air. We visit St. Clare church and the renowned Basilica di San Francesco, the burial place of St. Francis and a sacred pilgrimage site. Inside are Giotto’s priceless frescoes “The Life of St. Francis.” There’s time on our own to stroll the fountain-splashed piazzas and to enjoy local specialties for lunch. B

Day 11: Orvieto/Perugia/Siena

Continuing our journey, we leave Umbria for the equally alluring region of Tuscany. We stop along the way in Deruta, known for its prized hand-painted Majolica ceramics and in charming Perugia. Late afternoon we reach Villa Lecchi, our restored 18th century country villa hotel outside Siena. B,D

Day 12: Siena

Today we visit walled Siena, whose ochre-colored buildings and ancient ramparts evoke the city’s medieval past. Fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest public square s; its Duomo one of Italy’s finest. We set out on a guided walking tour that includes an inside visit to the Duomo, housing masterpieces by Michelangelo and Donatello, then have free time to explore on our own. B,D

Day 13: Florence

A living monument to the Renaissance, Florence is the crown jewel of Tuscany. We encounter this splendid city on a full-day excursion that includes a morning walking tour. Then we visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s sublime “David,” as well as his pieces for the papal tombs; and the revered Duomo, with its stupendous dome by Brunelleschi. This afternoon is free to enjoy Florence as we wish. B,D

Day 14: San Gimignano

We encounter classic Tuscany today as we visit the hill town of San Gimignano, known for the 13 watchtowers that have left its skyline virtually unchanged since medieval times. Later we visit a local winery and enjoy a tasting before returning to our lodgings mid-afternoon. B,D

Day 15: Siena/Venice

Leaving Tuscany today, we travel through the Veneto region to Venice, arriving early in the afternoon. Then we’re free to explore this wondrous city on our own. B

Day 16: Venice

This morning we take a guided tour through vast St. Mark’s Square and surroundings. Our afternoon is free to explore Venice independently; tonight we bid “arriverderci” to Italy and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 17: Depart for US

Depart for US

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Cost and program Inclusions

Price . . . . TBD

Program Inclusions
  • Includes round trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 15 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class and first Class hotels
  • 24 meals: 15 breakfasts and 9 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour director
  • Private motor coach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
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Faculty Study Leader

Nick Patruno
Nick 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. Hisbook, 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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