Maurie McInnis, Professor of Art History

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$4,795 per person, double occupancy, land only
$5,195 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from NYC
$5,545 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Charlottesville

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This two-week tour of Italy will introduce you to Italy’s marvels of both nature and man–everything from the breathtaking coastline of the Amalfi Coast to the eerily frozen city of Pompeii in the wake of Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption to Rome’s infamous 55,000-seat Colosseum and works of art by Michelangelo and other Renaissance masters. Our journey begins with an exploration of the southern Italian coast, including stops in Amalfi, the largest coastal town and one of endless charm, before visiting Ravello, described by André Gide as being “closer to the sky than the seashore,” where you can behold the entire Coast. From the coast, we will journey to such historic cities as Pompeii, Montecassino and Rome. In Rome, you will have the opportunity to see renowned sites such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, among hundreds of other historic spots. We will leave the bustle of Rome for the gentle rolling hills of Umbria, the “green heart of Italy,” where we will also enjoy a cooking demonstration. From lush Umbria, we will make our way to the celebrated region of Tuscany, where we will enjoy beautiful gardens and traditional Tuscan fare. Our next stop will be Florence, the city of Renaissance artists and thinkers, unimaginable art treasures and splendid churches. This magical journey would not be complete without a visit to Venice and its drama and doges, canals and Canaletto.

Program Highlights

  • Stay in Amalfi, one of the most glorious southern Italian coastal towns with a 31mile stretch of coastline that has been the inspiration for numerous  films, music and books.
  • View the amazing panoramic view of the Amalfi Coast from 1,100 feet above sea level at Ravello.
  • Tour Pompeii, a Roman town “frozen” in time after being engulfed in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Pompeii features exquisite ruins that offer a glimpse into Roman life in the past.
  • Visit the infamous 55,000seat Colosseum in Rome.
  • Take in the splendor of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, whose ceiling is a Michelangelo masterpiece.
  • Explore Italy’s finest gothic duomos, or cathedrals, embodying Italy’s rich history and art.
  • See Michelangelo’s infamous “The David” statue at the Galleria dell’ Academia in Florence.


Maurie McInnis, Professor of Art History

Maurie McInnis has worked extensively on the connections between American and Europe during the colonial and early republic period, with a particular emphasis on the Grand Tour, that is, the educational journey undertaken by young men and women as they traveled in Italy in search of the ancient and Renaissance past. She has authored or co-authored four books, including ones that focus on Americans who collected art and objects while on the Grand Tour, and on artists who themselves were educated in Italy by the Grand Tour. She regularly teaches large lecture classes including the Art History survey class, survey classes on the history of American Art, and Arts and Cultures of the Slave South. Our travels will visit many of the same sites that were prized by those embarking upon Grand Tours in the 18th and 19th centuries and she looks forward to sharing that same sense of discovery with all of you as we travel throughout Italy


1 -

Depart the U.S. for Naples

This evening, you’ll depart the U.S. for Naples.

2 -

Arrive Naples/Transfer to Amalfi

You arrive in Naples this morning and transfer by motorcoach to our hotel just one-and-a-half miles from the town of Amalfi. Along the way, you’ll get your first glimpse of the glorious southern Italian coast. Amalfi has been noted as a seaside resort since Edwardian times when it was popularized by the British, and makes an ideal base for excursions along the coast.  Tonight we enjoy dinner together at our hotel.

Accommodations:  Marmorata Hotel
Meals:  Dinner

3 -


We begin our day with an exploration of Amalfi, the largest of the coastal towns (weather permitting, we’ll take a boat one way).  Our first stop is the Duomo, which dominates the main piazza. We’ll take note of the church’s bronze doors that date from 1066, along with the Arabian-style cloister. Then, you’re free to wander as you please through the town’s atmospheric waterfront or browse in the small shops that surround the square.  After lunch on your own, we continue on to hilltop Ravello, once described as being “closer to the sky than the seashore” by French author André Gide.  It’s widely agreed that, at 1,100 feet above sea level, the view from Ravello is stunning–you can see a splendid panorama of the entire Amalfi Coast.  We return to our hotel late this afternoon and dine there tonight.

Accommodations: Marmorata Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

4 -

Pompeii/Amalfi Coast/Sorrento

Today’s full-day excursion begins in Pompeii, the wonderfully preserved Roman town that tells a tale both tragic and fascinating.  Just before Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., many citizens of Pompeii heeded the warning signs and fled the town.  But some 2,000 remained to be caught in the eruption’s wake, and became engulfed in volcanic ash.  The ash literally “froze” the town in time, leaving exquisite ruins that show us how these ancient Romans lived: vivid frescoes, a forum and one of the largest surviving Roman amphitheaters in existence.  After a two-and-a-half -hour walking tour of this incredible site, you will enjoy lunch on your own.  Then, we move on to another spot equally renowned:  the world-famous Amalfi Coast.  This 31-mile stretch of coastline from Sorrento to Salerno has inspired films, music and books and is one of the most glorious drives in Europe–or anywhere, for that matter.  During our leisurely excursion, we’ll make several photo stops along this spectacular, hair-raising coastline and also stop in Sorrento. After this full day, we return to our hotel late this afternoon and dine there tonight.

Accommodations: Marmorata Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

5 -


A full-day transfer takes us to noble Rome. We pay a brief visit to the town of Montecassino, whose Abbey is the mother church of the Benedictine order and a center of medieval art.  A German stronghold during World War II, the hilltop Abbey was destroyed by Allied bombing then rebuilt as a replica of the 17th-century original.  After a tour of the Abbey, we continue on to Rome, arriving mid-afternoon.  After checking in at the hotel, your tour director will lead an informal walking tour of the surrounding neighborhood.  Dinner tonight is on your own in this sophisticated city with a multitude of restaurants.

Accommodations:  Empire Palace Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast

6 -


From St. Peter’s Square to the Spanish Steps, the Forum to the Trevi Fountain, Rome is filled with some of the greatest monuments, museums and ruins in Western civilization.  This morning’s half-day tour, which involves considerable walking, takes us to the ancient city to explore the 55,000-seat Colosseum, completed in 80 A.D. and the temples of the Forum, once the seat of Rome’s political power.  This afternoon is free to do as you like:  perhaps visit the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain; walk through the ancient Jewish Ghetto, an interesting area of town with a wonderful synagogue that opened in 1904 or learn more about Rome’s ancient history at the Museo di Roma.  The choice is entirely yours, as is the selection of wonderful restaurants for lunch and dinner on your own today.

Accommodations: Empire Palace Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast

7 -


On this morning’s half-day tour we visit the monumental St. Peter’s Basilica, where you’ll see Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” considered one of the greatest sculptures of all time.  Another highlight is our visit to the Vatican Museums and the splendidly restored Sistine Chapel, whose ceiling is another Michelangelo masterpiece.  (For the best views, remember to bring your binoculars!)  The afternoon is free to experience Rome’s myriad of delights as you wish.  For solitude, the grounds of the Villa Borghese offer a brief respite from the bustle of the city.  For shopping, you’ll find fabulous designer stores (and great people watching!) on the famed Via Veneto or the Via del Corso. And lovely Piazza Navona is the perfect spot to sit at a sidewalk café and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this incredible city.

Accommodations: Empire Palace Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast

8 -

Rome/Orvieto/Todi, Umbria

Leaving Rome this morning, we travel through the gentle rolling hills of Umbria, known as the “green heart of Italy.”  Passing tiny hill towns and valleys en route, we reach Orvieto, best known for its wine.  Orvieto is also home to one of Italy’s finest Gothic duomos, or cathedrals, which we will see during our walking tour there.  Next we attend a cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Ristorante Zeppelin, a Culinary Art Institute in the heart of Orvieto’s historic district.  Later this evening, we reach the ancient Umbrian town of Todi and our intimate hotel, set in the heart of this atmospheric medieval village.

Accommodations:  Hotel Fonte Cesia
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

9 -


This morning we devote to Todi, which sits in the heart of Umbria and has remained relatively unchanged through the centuries.  We visit the Piazzo del Popolo, renowned as perhaps the finest medieval square in Italy, and its 16th-century duomo, containing a beautifully carved choir.  There are three palazzos (public palaces) surrounding the square, all well worth exploring.  We also stop into a nearby museum housing Etruscan and Roman artifacts.  After returning to your hotel in time for lunch on your own, the remainder of the day and this evening are at leisure.

Accommodations:  Hotel Fonte Cesia
Meals:  Breakfast

10 -


Today’s full-day excursion travels through lovely scenery on our way to Assisi, the birthplace in 1182 of Saint Francis. Though the town itself, with its inviting plazas and narrow streets, is stunning, the highlight of our day is a tour of the famed Basilica of St. Francis, which has been fully restored after an earthquake caused serious damage to the upper church several years ago.  Fortunately, the lower church and much of the art, including priceless frescoes by Giotto and Cavellini, were not damaged.  Most dazzling of all are a series of Giotto frescoes depicting life in St. Francis. We also visit the Church of St. Claire, displaying possibly the world’s most famous cross. You’ll have the opportunity to explore Assisi on your own before we return to the hotel late this afternoon.  Lunch and dinner today are on your own.

Accommodations:  Hotel Fonte Cesia
Meals:  Breakfast

11 -

Todi/Perugia/Siena, Tuscany

On today’s full-day transfer, we leave Umbria for the celebrated region of Tuscany.  En route, we stop in Deruta for a demonstration of traditional ceramic decoration and then in Perugia, a charming medieval town where there’s time for lunch on your own.  Late this afternoon we reach the outskirts of Siena and the Villa Lecchi, our base for touring Tuscany.  There’s time before dinner to explore the grounds and gardens of this restored 18th-century estate with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.  This evening we enjoy the Villa Lecchi’s traditional Tuscan fare for dinner.

Accommodations:  Hotel Villa Lecchi
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

12 -


Today we visit Siena, another gem of Tuscany, with well-preserved city walls; splendid architecture; the lively Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest public squares and an extraordinary duomo, featuring masterpieces by Donatello and Michelangelo.  After a walking tour visiting the highlights, you’re free for lunch on your own.  Following lunch, we enjoy a guided walking tour that includes an inside visit of the duomo.  Then we return to Villa Lecchi where we dine together tonight.

Accommodations:  Hotel Villa Lecchi
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

13 -


An hour’s drive this morning brings us to Florence, city of Renaissance artists and thinkers, filled with unimaginable art treasures, splendid churches, smart boutiques and an incredibly storied history.  Since buses are not allowed in the historic city center, we’ll be dropped off a short distance from the start of our walking tour, which includes Michelangelo’s masterpiece “The David” at the Galleria dell’Academia; the soaring duomo with the dome by Brunelleschi and the Piazza della Signoria, Florence’s ancient main square. Then the afternoon is free for lunch and exploring on your own.  Shopping, of course, is a popular activity here; leather goods and gold jewelry are among Florence’s modern-day treasures.  Or, you may prefer to continue admiring the city’s great art at various museums and churches. We walk back to the bus for the return journey to Villa Lecchi.    We dine tonight at Villa Lecchi.

Accommodations:  Hotel Villa Lecchi
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

14 -

Tuscany/San Gimignano/Chianti Region

Wear your most comfortable shoes today–we’ll be doing a lot of exploring and a great deal of it is on foot. This morning we depart for hilly San Gimignano, where you have free time to explore this well-preserved medieval town and enjoy lunch on your own. Take note of the 13 remaining bell towers that have left the 8th-century skyline little changed since medieval times–on a clear day, you can even see them from the terrace of the VillaLecchi.

Following lunch, we drive to a local winery where we taste several vintages paired  with  hors d’oeuvres.  This region may be best known for the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a white wine made from grapes grown around Tuscany, and for the most well known of all Italian wines, Chianti.  Tonight we dine at Villa Lecchi.

Accommodations:  Hotel Villa Lecchi
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

15 -


This morning we bid farewell to Tuscany as we travel through the Veneto region to Venice, city of drama and doges, canals and Canaletto.  After our early afternoon arrival, the remainder of the day and evening is free to begin your explorations of this wondrous city. For dinner on your own tonight, you may wish to sample the seafood dishes for which Venice is known.

Accommodations:  Dei Dogi Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast

16 -


This morning’s guided walking tour reveals a host of Venetian delights:  Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), with its fantastic Basilica; the romantic Bridge of Sighs and  the Rialto district with its bustling market.  Your afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this timeless city as you wish. This evening we gather at our hotel for a farewell dinner to bid “arrivederci” to Italy and to our fellow travelers.

Accommodations:  Dei Dogi Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast, Dinner

17 -

Return to U.S.

Early this morning, you depart Venice for your connecting flight to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast


Days 17 & 18October 1 – 2
No need to transfer anywhere, as you will remain at the Dei Dogi Hotel or the next two nights.  The options truly are endless; possibilities include admiring the fine Renaissance art in theAcademia or the striking contemporary pieces at Peggy Guggenheim’s former home.  You can wander Venice’s winding streets, sit and watch the crowds in St. Mark’s Square or visit the colorful nearby islands of Murano and Burano.  Whatever you do, you’re sure to be enchanted by this ageless, romantic and decidedly singular city.

Accommodations:  Dei Dogi Hotel
Meals:  Breakfast

Day 19October 3
Return to the U.S.
This morning you’ll transfer to the airport and board your return flight to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast


This trip involves considerable walking: uphill, on uneven or cobblestone streets, and at sites of ancient ruins.  In addition, Italy does not allow buses to enter many historic city centers, meaning that we will be walking to and from our tour bus, which must park in designated areas. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary.  Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, or opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written.  We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly.  In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change.  We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

For Land Only Guests

If you choose to purchase Portrait of Italy tour as “land only,” you will be making your own international air arrangements and will join the tour at the first hotel.

While airport transfers and luggage handling at the arrival and departure airports are not included when you purchase a tour as land only, you are welcome to join our motorcoach transfer to the hotel.  This service will be provided to you on a complimentary basis.

To join in the transfer, you must be at the Naples airport concurrent with the group of arriving guests.    Please note that you must be present when the coach is preparing to leave.

For Portrait of Italy, the currently scheduled flights are as follows:

Day 1 Depart New York 5:35 p.m. Lufthansa flight #411
Day 2 Arrive Munich 8:10 a.m.  
  Depart Munich 9:35 a.m. Lufthansa flight #4050
  Arrive Naples 11:10 a.m.  

Please remember that all flights and schedules are subject to change.

Upon the tour’s completion, you are also welcome to join the group transfer to the airport for your flight home.


Marmorata Hotel

Amalfitana St., Loc. Marmorata
84010 Ravello, Italy
Phone:  011-39-089-877-777

A former paper mill owned by the Camera d’Afflitto family, the Marmorata has been converted into a hotel overlooking the romantic Amalfi Coast.  It boasts a tranquil, secluded atmosphere just one-and-a-half miles from the town of Amalfi.  Still owned and personally run by the d’Afflitto family, the hotel features a restaurant, bar, Internet access, fitness center with jacuzzi, outdoor swimming pool and access to the sea.  Each air-conditioned room comes decorated with a navy theme and is fully equipped with a private bath with a hair dryer, as well as a mini-bar, TV and phone.

Empire Palace Hotel

Via Aureliana 39
00187 Rome, Italy
Phone: 011-39-06-421-281

A well-located hotel just a two-minute walk from the Via Veneto, the 110-room Empire Palace is an actual palace, built in 1870 and completely refurbished and converted to a hotel that offers a restaurant and bar, fitness center, Internet access and laundry service.  Air-conditioned rooms feature private baths with a hair dryer, as well as an in-room safe, mini-bar, TV and phone.

Hotel Fonte Cesia

Via Lorenzo Leonj, 3
06059 Todi, Italy
Phone: 011-39-075-894-3737

Located amid the 14th-16th century buildings in the medieval town of Todi, the Fonte Cesia harkens to another era.  With just 42 rooms, an intimate atmosphere prevails in this nonetheless contemporary lodging.  Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, and Internet access; air-conditioned guestrooms have private baths with a hair dryer, along with an in-room safe, mini-bar, TV and phone.

Villa Lecchi

Loc. Lecchi, Staggia Senese (Siena)
53036 Poggibonsi, Italy
Phone: 011-39-0577-930-090

An 18th-century villa set amid five acres of private and secluded gardens, this restored hotel is located in Poggibonsi, 11 miles (a 30-minute ride) from Siena, and close to the Chianti Classico region of Italy.  The hotel features a restaurant and bar, Internet access, gardens perfect for strolling, sauna and spa, Turkish bath, heated swimming pool with hydromassage, spa shower with hot and cold water, massage services and an outdoor swimming pool.  There are no elevators.  Rooms have private baths with a hair dryer, as well as a mini-bar, TV and phone.

Dei Dogi Hotel (also used for Optional Post-Tour Extension)

Fondamenta Madonna dell’Orto 3500
30121 Venice, Italy
Phone: 011-39-041-220-81-11

The 72-room Dei Dogi is the only hotel in Venice with its own historical garden: a 2,000-square meter space lush with plants and flowers that has been preserved to create a park amidst the narrow alleys of the city.  Situated in a palatial 17th-century building that once served as the French embassy, Dei Dogi occupies an exclusive spot overlooking the Venice Lagoon, close to the Rialto and the center of Venice. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, Internet access and spa.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private baths with a hair dryer, along with a mini-bar, in-room safe, TV and phone.


15 Breakfasts 9 Dinners

Program Fees

$4,795 per person, double occupancy, land only. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $995 per person, double occupancy rates.
$5,195 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from New York.

Price includes:

  • Exclusive departure for the University of Virginia
  • Small group size limited to 22 guests
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities if air included option is selected
  • 15 nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 24 meals: 15 breakfasts, 9 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described in day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a dedicated Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides (if applicable), dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Price does not include:

  • Airline taxes and departure fees (listed as separate item on invoice)
  • Gratuities for the Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director (left to individual discretion)

General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (June 12, 2012) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare when purchasing a land only package; costs of passports and visas; airport, port, and departure taxes, which will be listed as separate items on your invoice and are subject to change; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; excess baggage fees; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in fairly good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.