Splendors of Italy
A Cruise from Venice to Nice
Sail from the once powerful city-state of Venice to the historic ports of the Adriatic and Mediterranean during this cruise of discovery aboard the intimate Aegean Odyssey.
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Join us for a springtime cruise showcasing some of the cultural highlights of the Dalmatian Coast, Italy, and France, including ten World Heritage sites!
- Venice and Urbino: Enjoy an after- hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica and explore the Doge’s Palace during a two-night hotel stay in Venice. You’ll also stop in Urbino to tour the Ducal Palace and Raphael’s House.
- Dalmatian Coast: Experience medieval Dubrovnik, considered the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” and gaze upon spectacular coastal landscapes during a day of cruising.
- Southern Italy: Take in the views of Sicily’s Taormina from the Greek theater and walk along the streets of Pompeii or Herculaneum.
- Rome and Florence: Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the Galleria dell’Accademia and Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
- Southern France: Walk the corridors of popes at the Palais des Papes in Avignon and continue to Nimes to visit the best-preserved Roman theater in France. Enjoy the southern French ambiance of Nice in your final port of call.
Day 1 — Depart U.S. Gateway Cities
Smithsonian Journeys Travelers depart on overnight transatlantic flights for Venice, Italy.
Day 2 — Venice
Upon arrival in Venice, transfer to the Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal, beautifully located facing the Grand Canal. The afternoon is free to rest or explore Venice independently. Gather with fellow travelers this evening for a Welcome Reception at the hotel. (R)
Day 3 — Venice
On an escorted walking tour, navigate the city and uncover the treasures of this remarkable city. Visit the St. Mark's Square, where you will see the Campanile and the 15th-century Clock Tower where two huge bronze statues strike the hour. Walk to St. Mark’s Basilica and admire the beauty of the Doge’s Palace, seat of the Venetian government for nearly a millennium. Spend some time exploring the shops and cafes that surround the square. This evening Smithsonian Journeys Travelers will have an exclusive visit inside St. Mark’s Basilica. During this private tour, admire the breathtaking sight of the famous mosaics illuminated by a spectacular light show. The church was built in 828 A.D. as a tomb for St. Mark. After a fire it was rebuilt and served as the Doge’s private chapel. (B)
*During the cruise your Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer exclusive lectures. Smithsonian Travelers will get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers' Corner during the cruise to exchange experiences and lively conversation. Times and location will be advised during the cruise.
Day 4 — Venice
Early today, there is free time for exploring on your own in Venice. This afternoon, transfer to the pier and embark the Aegean Odyssey. (B,D)
Day 5 — Ancona and Urbino
Discover the Renaissance spirit of Urbino, with its towering city walls built according to designs by Leonardo da Vinci. Visit the Ducal Palace, an architectural masterpiece in the Piazza Duca Frederico. Continue the tour to the home and birthplace of the great artist Raphael. Take some time to explore local galleries and shops. This evening you’re invited to meet the Captain of the ship at his Welcome Aboard Reception. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Split
Located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, Split was originally built around the magnificent Palace of Diocletian in preparation of his retirement. Visit the historical complex which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. See the medieval fortifications, gates, and the palace cellars, as well as the octagonal Mausoleum. This afternoon is at leisure to explore Split on your own. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Dubrovnik and Kotor Bay
On a shore excursion of Dubrovnik, explore the 10th-century City Walls, the Baroque Church of St. Blaise, and the Cathedral. After returning to the ship, enjoy a relaxing day as you cruise along the Dalmatian Coast and beautiful Kotor Bay. This evening, gather with other Smithsonian Journeys Travelers for an exclusive pre-dinner Reception. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Corfu
Visit Corfu Town and discover one of Greece’s most extensive collections of Byzantine art. The Republic of Venice once controlled Corfu and left a very distinct Venetian flavor. Northernmost of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is renowned for its natural beauty and as a crossroad of Aegean civilization. The island figured prominently in Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — At Sea
Sail through the azure Ionian Sea on a heading toward the Island of Sicily. Enjoy a full array of shipboard activities. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Taormina, Sicily
Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. This morning go ashore for a scenic drive to this idyllic town. On a walking tour, stroll past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja. A highlight of the tour is a stop at the Greek Amphitheater. Originally built by the Greeks in the 3rd-century B.C. and then rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd-century A.D., the site offers panoramic views of the sea and Mt. Etna. The excursion concludes with a stroll along the pedestrian Corso Umberto. This evening join fellow travelers for an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys pre-dinner Reception. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Sorrento
Today, travelers can select one of the following tours ashore:
Pompeii: In 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted in mid-morning and, within three hours, extinguished this affluent community. Begin with a scenic drive along the Bay of Naples to the excavations. On a walking tour, discover the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, markets, and the large forum.
Herculaneum: A scenic drive takes you to Herculaneum, which was engulfed by volcanic mud in the same eruption that claimed Pompeii. Fortunately for archaeologists, this mud sealed and protected entire buildings. Today inlaid marble floors, paintings, mosaics, and carbonized woods can all be seen. Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii with an extraordinary density of fine houses and far more lavish use of colored marble. Following the visit, return to central Sorrento where you have the option of exploring independently.
After returning to the ship, enjoy dinner and evening activities on board. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Rome
Depart the port of Civitavecchia and motor to the Eternal City of Rome. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 200, Rome was the undisputed center of an enormous empire. During the tour, discover the Flavius Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum, the largest stadium in the Roman world. In the afternoon, explore St. Peter’s Basilica the most important basilica in Christianity. The basilica is built on the site of a church that is said to hold the tomb of St. Peter. Walk along the Via del Corso to the Pantheon and on to the Piazza Navona. (B,D)
Day 13 — Florence
This morning, depart the port of Livorno for the drive through the Tuscan countryside on a full-day guided excursion of Florence. The tour begins with the Accademia, Europe's first school of drawing to see the famous David by Michelangelo and other masterpieces. After visiting the museum, walk to Piazza del Duomo; the Piazza della Signoria, to see the Palazzo Vecchio; and the Ponte Vecchio. Return to the ship in late afternoon. (B,D)
Day 14 — Marseille
Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and enjoy shipboard activities. In early evening, arrive at the port of Marseille. (B,L,D)
Day 15 — Marseille
Depart the port of Marseille for a full-day tour of the region of Provence and the cities of Avignon and Nimes. In the morning, explore the medieval marvels of Avignon, including the famous Palais des Papes. Continue on to explore Nimes and the stunning well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre. (B,L,D)
Day 16 — Nice
The day is at leisure in Nice. Located on the magnificent French Riviera, the beautiful city of Nice is the perfect place to relax and stroll along the captivating seaside Promenade des Anglais or visit the Old Town and its Opera de Nice. The ship will remain overnight in Nice. (B,L,D)
Day 17 — Return Flights to the U.S.
Depart the ship after breakfast and transfer to Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport for homeward flights. (B)
Please Note: Itineraries, included features and schedules are subject to change due to operational considerations.