Travel to the Italian Lake District, the Riviera, and other gems of Northern Italy as you soak up Italian culture.

Starting at: $5,874 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Vernazza, the Cinque Terre  The lovely Borromean island of Isola Bella, located on Lake Maggiore  The village of Stresa, located on Lake Maggiore  Milan's renowned cathedral  The village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera  The seaside town of Vernazza, one of the Cinqueterre villages  The iconic Duomo of Florence  Michelangelo's <i>David</i> in the Accademia in Florence  The Campo in Siena  The facade and distinctive belltower of Siena's cathedral  The Tuscan hill town of Volterra  The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers  The quintessential Tuscan landscape with rolling hills, cypress trees, and farmhouses   Vista of Verona  View of the Doge's Palace and Campanile from the canal in Venice  The Grand Canal of Venice  Venice

Northern Italy

Featuring the Italian Lake District, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Alpine Tyrol, and Venice

15 days from $5,874 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Travel to the Italian Lake District, the Riviera, and other gems of Northern Italy as you soak up Italian culture.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

La Palma Hotel

Lake Maggiore, Italy

Situated on the shores of Lake Maggiore, the 120-room La Palma Hotel is surrounded by lovely Italian gardens. It features a garden-view restaurant; bar; lounges; internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; fitness room with panoramic views; solarium; Jacuzzi; sauna; and heated lakeside swimming pool with a view of the Borromean islands. Air-conditioned guest rooms offer balcony, private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Metropole

Santa Margherita, Italy

An intimate, family-owned and operated 58-room hotel located just a short walk from the bay and a private beach, the Metropole features a restaurant and bar; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; fitness center with massage services and Turkish bath; and outdoor pool. Each air-conditioned room has a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Rivoli

Florence, Italy

Located in the heart of Florence, the Hotel Rivoli is set inside a restored 14th-century Franciscan convent, and features original architectural details dating back over 500 years. Amenities of this boutique hotel include a restaurant and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and an internal garden patio featuring a hot tub. Every Air-conditioned guest room has been skillfully restored and each offers unique touches, while all include private bath with hair dryer, classic Tuscan-style furniture, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. Please note that due to the unique nature of this hotel, room size and décor will vary.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Scala Stiegl

Bolzano, Italy

This Liberty-style hotel in an updated 1898 coach station sits a short walk from the Bolzano train station and the South Tirol Museum of Archaeology. This hotel boasts a restaurant and bar, sun terrace, garden, fitness center, and sauna, and offers complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and laundry service. All 65 air-conditioned guestrooms feature a private bath with hair dryer, TV, in-room safe, and phone. 

Number of nights: 2

Palazzo Veneziano

Venice, Italy

Opening in Spring 2017, the Palazzo Veneziano sits in the trendy Venice neighborhood of Zattere. It overlooks the Giudecca Canal, the widest promenade in Venice with numerous bars and restaurants. Hotel amenities include a bar, library, internal courtyards, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each of the 84 guest rooms have Venetian furnishings, private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems, and various regions. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and five different hotels. Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours, with nine afternoons at leisure. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain that includes cobblestones and city hills (especially in hilltowns), uneven pavement (especially at archaeological sites), stairs without handrails, and absence of elevators; longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. There are three longer coach rides of approximately three hours duration. This tour also features three boat trips in the Lake Disrict and along the coast of the Cinque Terre.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Tour Extension

Venice Post-Program Option  3 Days, 2 Nights

End your journey with a longer stay in this most beautiful of cities. Your tour price includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations at Palazzo Veneziano (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Palazzo Veneziano
Opening in Spring 2017, the Palazzo Veneziano sits in the trendy Venice neighborhood of Zattere. It overlooks the Giudecca Canal, the widest promenade in Venice with numerous bars and restaurants. Hotel amenities include a bar, library, internal courtyards, and complimentary WiFi internet access. Each of the 84 guest rooms come with Venetian furnishings, private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

If you like to learn and have fun at the same time, take a Smithsonian tour. 

- Irma C.
Reading List
The City of Florence: Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings
By: R.W.B. Lewis
A New York Times Notable BookIn this deeply personal and learned labor of love, R.W.B. Lewis provides a new look at the glories of Florence, the smallish Tuscan city which has been a prime source for modern Western culture and which has also been his second home for fifty years. With a scholar's eye and a lover's passion, he invites us to share his vision of a city and the way of life it has engendered and inspired.
Italy in Mind: An Anthology
By: Powers, Alice Leccese (EDT)
Comprised of short stories, novel excerpts, essays, poetry journals and letters, this work will delight anyone who loves Italy or great travel writing. Pieces include Barbara Grizzuti Harrison marveling at baroque Sicilian confections, Mary McCarthy celebrating Venice's threadbare dignity, and Henry James's Isabel Archer succumbing to the treacherous antiquities of Florence.
La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
By: Beppe Severgnini
Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors—la bella figura—and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation—Stop! An Italian red light doesn’t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection. The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That’s the price of gazing upon perfection.The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: “a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone.”The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that “has too much style to be hell” but is “too disorderly to be heaven.” Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy—as Beppe says—“can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.”
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Italy
By: DK Travel
Smithsonian Journeys Cultural Guide: Venice
By: Smithsonian Journeys
For the savvy, cosmopolitan traveler who wants to delve into Venice's history and cultureSmithsonian Journeys Cultural Guide: Venice is a travel guide like none other: it gives a vital overview of the history, geography, foodways, and culture of this remarkable destination. This e-book original from Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's worldwide educational travel program, provides all the cultural and historical information travelers need to inform their visit to Venice.Readers study the city’s influential architects to appreciate every building from the humble villa up to the towering basilica. They are immersed in the rich artistic tradition of Titian, Mantegna, Tintoretto, and other Venetian Renaissance masters to enrich their museum and cathedral visits. They learn the history of Venice’s trading and banking empire to find out how it shapes the food, spices, and silks offered at the Rialto markets. And they discover the origins of Venice’s iconic gondolas and Carnevale masks.Smithsonian Journeys Cultural Guide: Venice lives up to the reputation of the Smithsonian by providing travelers with the knowledge they need to make the most of the journey of a lifetime.
City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
By: Roger Crowley
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times   The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today.   “[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times   “Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
Piazza San Marco (Wonders of the World)
By: Iain Fenlon
The Piazza San Marco, one of the most famous and instantly recognizable townscapes in the West, if not the world, has been described as a stage set, as Europe’s drawing room, as a painter’s canvas. This book traces the changing shape and function of the piazza, from its beginnings in the ninth century to its present day ubiquity in the Venetian, European, as well as global imagination.Through its long history, the Piazza San Marco has functioned as civic space that was used for such varied activities as public meetings; animal-baiting; executions; state processions; meat and produce markets; a performance venue for rock concerts; as well as, more recently, a cafe to enjoy a leisurely Campari. Constantly alert to the question of function, this book recreates not only rituals of the past but also activities of the present, from the coronation of the doge to the legendary Pink Floyd concert of 1989, with much fanfare in between. Iain Fenlon recreates the dynamic, colorful, and noisy history of the piazza―a history that is also the history of Venice and, indeed, of Europe.
The Italians
By: John Hooper
Washington Post bestsellerLos Angeles Times bestsellerA vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover?   John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper’s observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians’ bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera. Brimming with the kind of fascinating—and often hilarious—insights unavailable in guidebooks, The Italians will surprise even the most die-hard Italophile.From the Hardcover edition.
Venice: A New History
By: Thomas F. Madden
An extraordinary chronicle of Venice, its people, and its grandeurThomas Madden’s majestic, sprawling history of Venice is the first full portrait of the city in English in almost thirty years. Using long-buried archival material and a wealth of newly translated documents, Madden weaves a spellbinding story of a place and its people, tracing an arc from the city’s humble origins as a lagoon refuge to its apex as a vast maritime empire and Renaissance epicenter to its rebirth as a modern tourist hub.Madden explores all aspects of Venice’s breathtaking achievements: the construction of its unparalleled navy, its role as an economic powerhouse and birthplace of capitalism, its popularization of opera, the stunning architecture of its watery environs, and more. He sets these in the context of the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire, the endless waves of Crusades to the Holy Land, and the awesome power of Turkish sultans. And perhaps most critically, Madden corrects the stereotype of Shakespeare’s money-lending Shylock that has distorted the Venetian character, uncovering instead a much more complex and fascinating story, peopled by men and women whose ingenuity and deep faith profoundly altered the course of civilization.
The Food of Italy
By: Waverley Root
In this thoroughly comprehensive, utterly captivating culinary guidebook, acclaimed food writer Waverley Root traverses Italy from Lombardy to Sicily, and across 3,000 years of invasions. An exhaustive catalog of the country’s gastronomic legacy, The Food of Italy explains the regional delicacies, the traditions, and the history that define the way Italians eat. From the legally enforced frugality of the Renaissance table to the enduring Saracen luxury of Sicilian desserts, from the lasagna of Bologna to the saltimbocca of Rome, Root explores the secrets and customs of a cuisine so nuanced that even the basic ragu Bolognese has some two hundred variations. A culinary adventurer who made his mark decades before Anthony Bourdain appeared on the scene, Root shares the stories of an elephant forced to spend the winter of 1551 in the South Tyrol and the dishes named after him, the proper way to bottle Chianti, and the mysteries surrounding the origin of tortellini. Essential reading for travelers—of the armchair and ticketed variety, alike—The Food of Italy, which features decorative maps (that may not be legible for all readers) and illustrations, brings the subtleties of the Italian palate into any home.
The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance
By: Paul Strathern
A vivid, dramatic, and authoritative account of perhaps the most influential family in Italian history: the Medici.A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage.Strathern also follows the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello; as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola; and the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Médicis, who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.
Siena: City of Secrets
By: Jane Tylus
Jane Tylus’s Siena is a compelling and intimate portrait of this most secretive of cities, often overlooked by travelers to Italy. Cultural history, intellectual memoir, travelogue, and guidebook, it takes the reader on a quest of discovery through the well- and not-so-well-traveled roads and alleys of a town both medieval and modern.           As Tylus leads us through the city, she shares her passion for Siena in novelistic prose, while never losing sight of the historical complexities that have made Siena one of the most fascinating and beautiful towns in Europe. Today, Siena can appear on the surface standoffish and old-fashioned, especially when compared to its larger, flashier cousins Rome and Florence. But first impressions wear away as we learn from Tylus that Siena was an innovator among the cities of Italy: the first to legislate the building and maintenance of its streets, the first to publicly fund its university, the first to institute a municipal bank, and even the first to ban automobile traffic from its city center.           We learn about Siena’s great artistic and architectural past, hidden behind centuries of painting and rebuilding, and about the distinctive characters of its different neighborhoods, exemplified in the Palio, the highly competitive horserace that takes place twice a year in the city’s main piazza and that serves as both a dividing and a uniting force for the Sienese. Throughout we are guided by the assured voice of a seasoned scholar with a gift for spinning a good story and an eye for the telling detail, whether we are traveling Siena’s modern highways, exploring its underground tunnels, tracking the city’s financial history, or celebrating giants of painting like Simone Martini or giants of the arena, Siena’s former Serie A soccer team.           A practical and engaging guide for tourists and armchair travelers alike, Siena is a testament to the powers of community and resilience in a place that is not quite as timeless and serene as it may at first appear.
The Art of the Renaissance (World of Art)
By: Peter Murray, Linda Lefevre Murray
The Renaissance began in Italy, but it grew out of European civilization, with roots in Antiquity, in Christian dogma, and in Byzantium. The artistic ferment which had taken hold of Florence by 1420 was also reflected in the regional schools of Siena, Umbria, Mantua and Rome; and the new ideas spread from Italy through France, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Portugal. The book includes artists as diverse as Piero della Francesca, Van Eyck, Durer, Mantegna and Bellini, as well as the High Renaissance masters Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. With superb illustrations of the artists' work and crucial historical information about the "rebirth" of arts and letters, the authors illuminate one of the most important periods of art history. 251 illus., 51 in color.
The Genius of Venice: Piazza San Marco and the Making of the Republic
By: Dial Parrott
An ideal volume for lovers of Venice and architecture aficionados, combining in-depth history of this singular city with more than 100 color photographs and maps. Of Venice’s many majestic spaces, none is as evocative and significant as the Piazza San Marco. An authoritative account of the development of the entire piazza complex, through which unfolds the history of the Republic in general, The Genius of Venice celebrates the city’s oldest and most important architectural site. Dial Parrott’s view of Venice is a heroic one. From their lagoon, the bold and calculating Venetians forged a city that stands today not merely as an attraction for millions, but as a testament to architectural genius: the epitome of what we now call New Urbanism and a shining example of Western communal art. Enhanced by more than 100 illustrations, The Genius of Venice presents the magnificent edifices of the piazza as, in the words of John Ruskin, the "living books of history" of this iconic urban environment.
Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide
By: Robert Rodi Dario Castagno
Over the past several years, "the American in Tuscany" has become a literary subgenre. Launched by the phenomenal success of Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, bookstores now burgeon with nimble, witty accounts of this clash in cultures-Americans trying to do American things in Italy and bumping against a brick wall of tradition.Before this subgenre exhausts itself, it's only fair that we hear the other side of the story-that of a native Tuscan and of dozens of Americans who have stormed through his life and homeland, determined to find in it whatever they are looking for, whether quaintness or wisdom, submission or direction.There is no one better to provide this view than Dario Castagno. A Tuscan guide whose client base is predominantly American, Dario has spent more than a decade taking individuals and small groups on customized tours through the Chianti region of Tuscany. Reared in Britain through early childhood, he speaks English fluently and is therefore capable of fully engaging his American clients and getting to know them. Too Much Tuscan Sun is Dario's account of some of his more remarkable customers, from the obsessive and the oblivious to the downright lunatic.It is also a primer on Tuscany--its charms and its culture. Structured around a typical Tuscan year, Dario takes us through the sights, smells, and sounds of Chianti during each of the twelve months, including the festivities and pageantry that accord with the season, most notable the Palio-the bareback horse race that consumes the social energies of the people of Siena for all of July and August.Dario also intersperses an account of his own life and times-that of a transplanted British "little lord" who learns to love the wilds of Chianti; of his discovery and adoption of abandoned peasant farmhouses; of his apprenticeship in the wine industry; and of his arduous transformation from bohemian layabout to thriving Tuscan guide.But the bulk of the book is devoted, with humor and affection, to the Americans he has met-the vain, the silly, the ignorant, the ambitious, the horny, the condescending, the charming, and the outright pathological. Some of them have made his life hell and live in his nightmares; others became lifelong friends.
Italian Days
By: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
"Italian Days" is one of the richest and most absorbing travel books written--a journey that traverses the Italian peninsula and immerses readers in a culture which provides the reader with a definition of the good life.
Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted
By: Annie Hawes
In 1983, a pale Annie Hawes and her equally pale sister leave England for the sun-drenched olive groves of a small Italian town in Liguria. With fantasies of handsome tanned men and swimming in the sea urging them on, they are hired to work for ten weeks to graft roses -- of which they have little knowledge -- along the Italian Riviera, board and lodging included.But none of the men seem to be under forty, and Ligurians have particular ideas about life, including swimming ("To go swimming in seawater outside the month of July or August is even worse for your health than drinking cappuccino after twelve noon!"). But Annie and her sister are captivated by San Pietro's quirkiness and beauty, and suddenly their brief stay stretches into years, as they are bemused, charmed, and ultimately accepted by the eccentric inhabitants of their adopted home.Resonating with captivating verve and humor, Extra Virgin dishes up a sumptuous sampling of Italian life from an irresistible new voice.
D. H. Lawrence and Italy: Sketches from Etruscan Places, Sea and Sardinia, Twilight in Italy (Penguin Classics)
By: D. H. Lawrence
In these impressions of the Italian countryside, Lawrence transforms ordinary incidents into passages of intense beauty. Twilight in Italy is a vibrant account of Lawrence's stay among the people of Lake Garda, whose decaying lemon gardens bear witness to the twilight of a way of life centuries old. In 'Sea and Sardinia', Lawrence brings to life the vigorous spontaneity of a society as yet untouched by the deadening effect of industrialization. And 'Etruscan Places' is a beautiful and delicate work of literary art, the record of 'a dying man drinking from the founts of a civilization dedicated to life.'For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
By: Frances Mayes
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A TIMELESS CLASSIC FROM THE AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opnes the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.
Women in Sunlight: A Novel
By: Frances Mayes
By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for? Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results.
The World of Venice: Revised Edition
By: Jan Morris
A fascinating exploration of the history, sights, seasons, arts, food, and people of an incomparable city. “A highly intelligent portrait of an eccentric city, written in powerful prose and enlivened by many curious mosaics of information...a beautiful book to read and to possess” (The Observer). New Foreword by the Author. Index.
Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery
By: Donna Leon
There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice. But as the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape—a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma for Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect, but rather narrowing the choices down to one. . . .
Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly (Winter 2015 - Venice)
By: Victoria Pope
Seeing The World In A New Light!
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad (for air inclusive guests)
  • All on-tour transportation including flights within the itinerary, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, surcharges, and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made (for air inclusive guests only)

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance (learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys)
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Transfers and baggage handling abroad when purchasing “land only” package
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city (for air inclusive guests only).

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days (180 for Alaska) of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu and SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.  

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If your flights are delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown.  Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, the tour operator  will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignments for your international flights is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. Tours can also be canceled due to low enrollments. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  . For participants using air, only post tour extensions are offered. Tour operator may be able to assist land only participants with pre-tour arrangements.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.