Italy Women – September 6-23, 2012

Italy Women 2012
Rome, Siena, Florence, Lucca, Venice
Ah, Bella Italia!  Wouldn’t we love to explore her majestic art, architecture, and cuisine, her serene villages and vineyards, her romantic coastlines and waterways for half of the rest of our lives?  Well, on this Women’s Adventure, we’ll have to settle for just a bit less than that, taking in some of the spectacular sights in the top half of “the boot”. 
We’ll begin in Rome, one of the most cultural cities in the world, and we will stay four nights here.  We’ll visit the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Vatican.  Throw your pennies in the Trevi Fountain and make your wishes come true.   Spend a leisurely evening eating dinner on the edge of the Piazza Navona or the Campo di Fiori (or both!).  Shop on the exquisite Via Condotti, sit on the Spanish Steps, and spend an afternoon at the Borghese Gallery, where Bernini’s statue of Apollo chasing Daphne will take your breath away. 
Then we’ll travel by train to begin our stay in Tuscany, beginning with one night in Siena, where the Palio is held each year at the Campo.  We’ll have a half-day private tour with my friend Viviana Girola, and explore the walkways, churches, shops and alleys of this old world town. We will then stay five days in Florence, strolling on the Ponte Vecchio to the other side of the Arno, listening to the monks chant their 5:00 Mass near the Piazale Michelangelo, stopping at a frutta e verdura market for a fresh afternoon snack.  After a half day private walking tour to get a feel for the history of Florence, we will visit the old masters in the Uffizi Gallery and the exquisite statue of Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia.  Franco treats us like queens at Il Porcospino, a local ristorante near the Medici Chapel.  And always there is espresso, cappuccino, gelato and other delicious culinary delights.
Day trips to Fiesole and Vinci will give us a taste of some northern Tuscany towns, and are easy to reach by train or short bus.  If we have time, we might even have a language lesson or two, taught by my Italian tutor, Leonardo d’Amato.
After kissing Florence goodbye, we will head to one of my favorite old Tuscan towns, Lucca.  Nestled just near Pisa, our Lucca stay (two nights) will allow us time to stop in Pisa on the way, to see the Leaning Tower, of course, as well as the Baptistry and the Duomo.  Siena and Lucca have become the happy substitute for Cinque Terre, since quite a bit of the Cinque Terre villages were damaged or destroyed by flood and mud slides last month. 

Finally, we will again travel by train to the waterways of Venice, where the common substitute for a car is a long boat called a vaporetto. Walking in Venice across the hundreds of footbridges is a treat, and easier with your StreetWise Venice map, a must in this maze of canals.  We’ll have a half-day tour here, through the Church of San Marco, the Ducal Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.  Mask shops abound, and I’ve discovered a little place that makes and sells wonderful journals for those of you who like reflective writing. 
If you choose, you can take a boat to Murano and Burano, famous for beautiful Venetian glass and lace.  Or you can just sit in any café that appeals to you and watch the people go by.  After four nights in Venice, we’ll bid farewell to the welcoming residents of Italy and head for home.
Our trip will include AIRFARE FROM DENVER, sixteen nights’ lodging (double occupancy), RailEurope passes, other private transportation and/or transfers to and from our hotels, Roma Passes for major sights, A Vatical visit, walking tours in Florence and Venice, vaporetto tickets in Venice, a half-day trip to Pisa, sixteen breakfasts, three lunches, seven dinners, Rome, Venice and Florence Street-wise maps, travel journals, and ME, your planner, guide, and all-around fire extinguisher!
Cost for above, (including airfare from Denver) is $5950.00**  A $500 non-refundable deposit holds your space. A referral discount of  $250 is yours for early registration by December 1 OR for bringing a friend not on my list . . .
For questions, please contact Joannah L. Merriman, Lifeprints, 970-481-6339 or 970-226-5676.  E-mail me at and check out this blog, for samples of previous trip adventures!
**Double occupancy.  Single occupancy available for additional cost. If you are flying from somewhere other than Denver, or if you have miles you’d rather use, please talk with me about arrangements.  Travel insurance is a must, I’ve found, but I will offer a group rate or individual policy for the full value of your trip as well as for lost luggage, trip delays, medical coverage etc.  Details about that upon registration.