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.
- Smithsonian Travelers Discover Machu Picchu's Sacred Spaces
- A Tailor-Made Journey to India and Nepal
- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
Save $250 *per person when you book by February 12, 2016! Use promotion code LASTCALL online or when speaking to our travel specialists to secure these savings.
- May 17, 2016
*Offer valid on new bookings only.
Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.
Join us for a springtime cruise showcasing some of the cultural highlights of the Dalmatian Coast, Italy, and France, including ten World Heritage sites! Plus, on most days you'll enjoy the opportunity to select from two fascinating shore excursions.
- Venice and Urbino: Enjoy an after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica and a walking tour of Piazza San Marco 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 and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the Galleria dell’Accademia and other treasures in Florence.
- Southern France: Walk the corridors of popes at the Palais des Papes in Avignon and discover cosmopolitan Monte Carlo, plus enjoy the southern French ambiance of the Riviera.
Day 1 — Depart U.S. Gateway Cities
Smithsonian Journeys Travelers depart on overnight trans-Atlantic 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.
Day 3 — Venice
Whether it is your first time or 15th in Venice, it is easy to lose yourself in the labyrinth of bridges, footpaths and small side canals. On an escorted walking tour, navigate the city and uncover the treasures of this remarkable city. Visit the Piazza San Marco or 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 Traveler’s 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, the palace cellars as well as the octagonal Mausoleum. This afternoon is at leisure to explore Split on your own. An optional shore excursion will be offered to Salona and Trogir (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 of natural beauty 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
Today there will be a choice of shore excursions.
Byzantine Corfu: From the port journey to Corfu Town, there is a 15th-century church that holds a surprise for all who venture inside. You’ll 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 Tempest.
Venetian Corfu: Begin with a drive to Corfu Town for a visit to the Old Fortress built on the ruins of a Byzantine castle. The fort was completed over a period of 400 years as protection again the Turks. Walk along the Venetian-built Esplanade and discover the Old Town’s stepped streets, Georgian mansions and the red-domed Agios Spyridon church built in 1589 and containing the remains of Corfu’s patron saint.
Return to the ship after touring ashore for dinner and evening shipboard activities. (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
Today there will be a choice of shore tours.
Taormina Walking Tour: Nowhere is the beauty of Sicily more apparent than in the hilltop town of Taormina. This morning go ashore for scenic drive to this idyllic town with its backdrop of Mt. Etna, lemon blossom scented air, and charming, medieval streets. On a walking tour stroll past the Cathedral and the 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its black and white lava decoration. 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. In the small lanes and twisting alleyways you can see colorful ceramics, delicacies, and prize-winning wines.
Sicilian Landscapes: Begin the excursion with a drive through Naxos, located on a lovely bay. See the town of Taormina and Mount Etna. Drive through magnificent coastal scenery before turning inland to the Peloritani Mountains, where the towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agro sit between two hills. These secluded towns were the spots selected by Francis Ford Coppola for the filming of The Godfather. See the Norman Castle and the Strait of Messina in the distance. See many of the places that served as locations for the iconic film.
This evening join fellow travelers for an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys pre-dinner Reception. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Sorrento
For choice today, travelers can select one of the following tours ashore.
Pompeii: Patricians who built their mansions in Pompeii came to escape the chaos of Rome, but a different sort of chaos awaited them. 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 the walking tour, discover spectacular site. Places not to be missed include the aristocratic mansions, temples, theaters, markets and the large forum. At every turn, inscriptions bring the hustle and bustle of this ancient city to life.
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, with far more lavish use of colored marble. The discovery in recent years of some 300 skeletons along the sea shore came as a surprise since it was known that the town itself had been largely evacuated.
After returning to the ship there’s dinner and on board evening activities. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Rome
Today there will be a choice of shore tours.
Eternal Rome: 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.
Ostia Antica: Less visited than Pompeii, the archaeological site at Ostia Antica is in many ways a more complete picture of everyday life in the Roman Empire. Located at the mouth or “ostia” of the River Tiber, the city was home to 100,000 people from all walks of life. See the Via delle Tombe and the Decumanus Maximus the main road. Visit the Baths of Neptune, the Roman Theater and Public Forum as well as other fascinating historic highlights including the Jewish Synagogue. Conclude your visit at the Museum Ostiense that showcases remarkable sculptures and mosaics.
After sightseeing, return to the ship in Civitavecchia (B,D)
Day 13 — Livorno
There is a choice of shore excursions from Livorno.
Renaissance Florence: Drive from Livorno to 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, to see the famous Duomo. Continue to see the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio.(B,D)
Florence and Pisa: Depart the ship in Livorno and travel to Florence. See the Doumo, the Campanile and the famed Baptistery. Visit the Piazza della Signoria and the Basilica of Santa Croce. After free time, drive to the town of Pisa to see the iconic Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral and Baptistery.
After returning to the ship, enjoy dinner and shipboard entertainment. (B,D)
Day 14 — At Sea
Enjoy a full day at sea cruising along the French Cote d’Azur. It’s a perfect day to relax and enjoy shipboard activities. (B,L,D)
Day 15 — Marseille
Today you have a choice of one of two tours ashore.
Avignon: Depart the port of Marseille for a tour to the remarkable city of Avignon. The tour will showcase the medieval marvels and historic highlights of Avignon including the famous Palace of the Popes, and the Pont St. Benezet. Enjoy some free time before heading back to the ship in Marseille.
Aix-en-Provence and Marseille: Begin exploring in the “Vieux Port” or Old Port of Marseille where the Greeks landed in 600 B.C. Drive along the JFK Corniche to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Continue to the shopping district and the Longchamp Palace that houses the Museum of Fine Art and the Natural History Museum. Continue to the town of Aix-en-Provence for a walking tour of the Cours Mirabeau built in the 1600’s. See lovely old mansions and note the architectural styles of Saint Saveur Cathedral and other historic sites. Return to Marseille and the ship.
This evening gather with fellow travelers for an exclusive Smithsonian Farewell Reception and Dinner. (B,D)
Day 16 — Cannes
In Cannes, you’ll have the opportunity to make your choice of shore excursions.
Grasse and St. Paul de Vence: Begin exploring at the main gate of St. Paul de Vence where the medieval ramparts remain intact to this day. Stroll the narrow cobblestone lanes lined with boutiques, museums and art galleries. You will be totally immersed in the ambience of beauty and history. Continue to the town of Grasse, the center of the French perfume industry. Learn how essential oils are extracted from the local flowers and combined with other biologicals to create wonderful perfumes.
Monaco and Monte Carlo: Begin exploring at the foot of the “Rock” then continue to the top discover the historic Old Town. The escorted walking tour takes you past the Prince’s Palace, the Oceanographic Museum and the 19th-century Romanesque Cathedral in which Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were married. Stroll through the ancient covered alleyways of the Old Town, before continuing to Monte Carlo. Drive along part of Monaco's famous Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit to Casino Square. There you have time to follow your own path and take in the highlights of your choice like the Casino de Monte Carlo, the opulent Hotel de Paris, or the chic international boutiques.
The ship will remain overnight in Cannes. (B,L,D)
Day 17 — Cannes, Nice, Return Flights to the U.S.
Depart the ship after breakfast and transfer from Cannes 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.