MAY 28 - JUNE 1, 2006


Liguria & Tuscany


Depart Genoa at 8:30 AM. Motor coach to the picturesque fishing village of Camogli with its pastel-painted houses. In Camogli we will board a chartered boat to visit  Portofino, the most exclusive harbor and resort town in Italy. Above the town is the church of San Giorgio, said to contain the relics of the dragonslayer saint.



After a visit to Portofino we will return to Camogli for lunch after a brief stopover in San Fruttuoso. After lunch we will depart Camogli for Castell'arquato.





We will visit the medieval town of Castell'Arquato and there will be an optional dinner party in the Old Town that night (about 35 Euros per person for an elegant multi-course meal with various wines) for those who are interested. For those who do not wish to participate, there is a good restaurant in the hotel. Over night at the Hotel Le Ruote (15 minutes from old town).







Visit castle and church in Castell'Arquato. Depart mid-morning for San Gimignano, the city of the beautiful towers. 14 of the original 76 towers (the oldest going back to the early 13th century) have survived. In the early Middle Ages San Gimignano was a major stop on the pilgrim route from northern Europe to Rome, but suffered major economic decline when the Black Death of 1348 hit the city.

Among the cities primary sites are the Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta, the 166 ft Torre della Rognosa, the Museo Civico located in the Palazzo del Popolo (completed in 1311) and the Collegiata, a 12th century Romanesque Church with impressive frescos. Possibly the most impressive feature of this beautiful town is the authentic medieval ambience.

Late afternoon bus to Siena. Overnight in Siena at the Hotel Italia or Best Western Executive.







Morning walking tour of Siena. Among the major sites to be visited are; the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall completed in 1342 with its 330 ft bell tower, the 12th century shell-shaped piazza del Campo, the Gothic Duomo, one of Italy's most spectacular church with its unique inlaid marble floors. Intended to be the largest church in Christendom (1136-1382), the cathedral was never completed when Siena fell victim to both its rival Florence and the Black Plague.

Optional afternoon excursion to Montalicino and Pienza. You may chose to continue your exploration of Siena visiting some of its many museums, the 13th century San Domenico and the Fortezza Medicea built for Cosimo I in 1560.

Coach will depart hotel at 1:00 PM.

Montalcino is a picturesque hilltop town in the heart of the wine growing area. There is a 14th century castle built by Cosimo I in 1571 which offers spectacular views from its ramparts. There is also the monastery of  Sant Agostino with an impressive 14th century church and the 13th century Palazzo Comunale.

Pienza (Corsignano) was the home of the Humanist scholar and philosopher, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini who in 1458 became Pope Pius II. After he was elected pope, Pius II changed the name of the town to Pienza and commissioned building projects intended to turn his birthplace into a model Renaissance town. While the project was not fully realized, a papal palace, duomo, and town hall, all designed by the architect Bernardo Rossellino was completed. Leon Battista Alberti's Palazzo Rucellai in Florence influenced Rossellino's design for the papal palace. Pienza is also known for pecorino, a cheese made from sheep's milk.

Overnight in Siena.








Depart Siena in morning for San Galgano to visit the 13th century Cistercian Abbey. This remote Cistercian Abbey is one of the few Gothic structures in Tuscany. Near the abbey is the chapel of Montesiepi built around 1185 (4 years after the death of St. Galgano) on the site of St. Galgano's hermitage. The sword of St. Galgano is embedded in a stone inside the chapel.






From San Galgano we will proceed to the ancient Etruscan City of Volterra. Among the highlights of Volterra are the ancient Etruscan walls that still stand and the famous Museo Guarnacci which contains one of the best collection of Etruscan artifacts in Italy. The city is also famous for its craftsmen who produce white statues from locally mined alabaster.






From Volterra we will coach to Lerici with a brief stopover in Pisa on the way. Arrive in Lerici in the late afternoon. The lovely town of Lerici sits on the magnificent Gulf of La Spezia often called the Gulf of Poets because Shelley, Lord Byron, D.H. Lawrence and Yeats have all lived on the Gulf. Shelley drowned in the Gulf in 1822 when he was caught in the storm. Lerici has a magnificent medieval castle built by the Pisans.

There will be an optional farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Lerici that evening (about 25 Euros a person including wine).




Overnight in Lerici at the hotels Shelley and Byron.




Early morning explore Lerici and possibly visit castle.
Depart Lerici for Portovenere, named for Venus and possibly the loveliest village on the Ligurian coast. We will visit the 12th century church of San Lorenzo and Byron's Grotto when the poet set off on his swim across the Gulf of La Spezia. Bus from Portovenere to Riomaggiore, one of the towns in the Cinque Terre. We will take the 15 minute walk along the Via dell Amore to Manarola, another of the Cinque Terre, and then back to Riomaggiore. While this is not a difficult walk, for those who prefer, they may take an inexpensive boat ride from Riomaggiore to Manarola and back. We will depart Riomaggiore mid to late afternoon for Genoa. Estimated arrival time in Genoa 6:30-7:30 PM.






For those who have an early morning flight departure the bus can drop you at the Genoa Airport which is located about 6 miles west of the city center. There is an excellent Sheraton Hotel at the Airport. For those staying in Genoa overnight there will be a central drop-off point.


Cost per person (based on double occupancy): $495.
This includes luxury coach, hotel room (4 nights), breakfast.
This does not include meals (other than those noted above), tips for guides and driver, entrance fees to sites, spending money, hotel incidentals.

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Responsibility: Mediterranean Studies Association and other participating organizations act solely as agents in arranging transportation, hotel accommodations, and other services. We do not assume, and in fact, we expressly disclaim, any liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay due to any act, negligence or default of the tour guide or any company or person engaged in transporting the passengers or rendering any service, or carrying out the arrangements for any tour, or their agents, servants and employees.
Guarantee & Rate: Once we have received your full payment, your rate is secure. However, in the event of increases in operating costs, tariffs, or taxes prior to your departure date we reserve the right to add a surcharge. You would be notified prior to travel.
Insurance: Trip cancellation insurance for medical reasons is highly recommended.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are effective on date received in writing. Full refund (minus a $75 administration fee) will be made for cancellations up to 91 days prior to departure. After that period, additional cancellation fees will be assessed as follows:
– 90-61 days prior to departure – Loss of deposit
– 60-45 days prior to departure - 35% of total tour price
– 44-31 days prior to departure - 50% of total tour price
– 30-0 days prior to departure - 100% of total tour price
Please note: Any unused tour portions are non-refundable. Claims for a refund must be sent in writing within 30 days of completion of tour.

Questions: e-mail: or telephone: 508-999-8022.