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12 days, 11 nights
September 27th – October 8th, 2018
The Inner & Outer Landscapes: The Art, Philosophy, & Psychology of Travel.
We arrive in Rome and will check into our hotels and have dinner together while I deliver the first of my talks titled The Inner & Outer Landscapes: The Art, Philosophy, & Psychology of Travel.
We will take a stroll through the streets at night, sampling the food, and enjoying the street performances.
This is a typical Roman experience and is a must. Highlights of this evening walk usually include: Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain.
Classical Rome & Stoicism
The Eternal City: Rome, Classicism, & Stoic Philosophy of Mindfulness.
After breakfast we will leave at 8:30 am to the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and Piazza Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo. We will be immersed in the glory of classical Rome: its history, architecture, & politics.
In the afternoon we will stroll across the Tevere river at the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge to see Castel Sant’ Angelo. The top of the castle offers the most panoramic views of above Rome. You are then free to have lunch and a nap.
At night we will take yet another stroll through the streets, sampling the food and enjoying the street performances.
Tonight at dinner I will deliver a talk The Eternal City: Rome, Classicism, & Stoic Philosophy of Mindfulness.
Baroque Rome, the Vatican & Sacred Music
Music, Architecture & the Landscapes of the Soul.
After breakfast we will leave the hotel at 8:30 am and head for the Vatican starting with the Piazza San Pietro, St. Peter’s Cathedral, and then a guided tour of the Vatican museums including Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s famous frescoed ceiling and the Raphael rooms, which contain Raphael’s famous work The School of Athens, a mural depicting Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Ibn Rushd among others finishing at approximately 2:30 pm.
In the early evening at 6pm we will explore the symmetrical Piazza del Popolo and the romantic Spanish Steps at sunset. We will have coffee at Café Greco, a café frequented by writers and musicians such as Keats, Goethe, Lord Byron, Liszt, and Wagner.
We will then backtrack through the narrow alleyways and cobbled streets of Rome to attend a Baroque musical concert. After the concert I will give a brief talk titled Music, Architecture & the Landscapes of the Soul.
Rome - Viterbo - Assisi - Florence
Gardens of the Soul: Renaissance Garden Design & the Hermetic Tradition.
After an early breakfast we will head off at 8:30 am from Rome by private bus to two garden villas in the Lazio region not far from Rome.
These villas are masterpieces of Renaissance and post-Renaissance garden design. We will immerse ourselves in these lush gardens and in the journey of the self that they unfold. Here I will give you a brief talk about the relationship between gardens, self-development, and Renaissance symbolism titled: Gardens of the Soul: Renaissance Garden Design & the Hermetic Tradition.
Then, we will head Assisi this sacred destination as spiritual pilgrims.
Assisi is a town cupped in celestial hands with picturesque plains spreading beneath it and Monte Subasio rising mightily above it. The rosy glow at dusk sends souls spiraling to heaven and is not to be missed. We will walk through the Porta Nuova and explore the Basilica of Santa Chiara and Basilica of San Francis (where the saint is buried) and then have lunch.
After lunch we will head to the caves where monks once withdrew from the world.
Then we will continue onwards to Florence arriving in the late afternoon at 6:30 pm. We will check into our hotels, rest, and then go for a leisurely stroll through the city at 8:30 pm to have dinner and see the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio and over the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.
Siena, San Gimignano & a Tuscan Vineyard
Today at 8:30 am we will do a spiritual mystical tour of Tuscany that will include San Gimignano and Siena, one of the last surviving gothic towns still intact since the Middle Ages in Europe.
We will start with Siena and its famous Cathedral and Piazza del Campo.
Then we will arrive at a Tuscan country estate for a light lunch and wine & cheese tasting.
After lunch the tour continues with a spectacular drive through the middle of vineyards to San Gimignano.
We will explore this picturesque medieval town, have coffee overlooking the countryside and head back to Florence at 6 pm passing the Piazalle Michelangelo to get a panoramic view of Florence at sunset and have dinner at 8:30 pm.
Florence, Art & Renaissance Symbolism
Beauty & Love in Renaissance Philosophy & Symbolism.
After breakfast we will leave the hotel at 8:30 am and head straight for the famous Uffizi Gallery, the home of the greatest art collection in the world including the works of Botticelli, Raphael, and Leonardo Da Vinci. We will pass by the famous Duomo of Florence and our guide will explain its remarkable history.
It will take us a few hours to get through the Uffizi collection depending on the group’s choice of art collections.
Our focus will be on the works of Botticelli and a few other Renaissance artists like Leonardo & Raphael.
We will then head for lunch at 12.
In the afternoon at 3 pm we will reconvene to visit the Pitti Palace, the luxurious home of the Medicis. After the Pitti Palace you are then free to roam, shop, and sample the tastes of Florence for the rest of the day.
In the evening we will have dinner at 8:30 pm during which I will give a short talk titled: Beauty & Love in Renaissance Philosophy & Symbolism.
After breakfast we head in the direction of Venice leaving the hotel at 8:30 am arriving in the late morning (12 noon) at our lovely waterside hotel.
We will leave our bags at the hotel and go on a leisurely walk through its narrow streets and canals and have lunch near the Ponto Realto.
You are free for the afternoon to rest or shop.
In the evening I suggest you spend time going through the Guidebook and collecting yourself. This is a perfect time to take stock of the trip so far.
After breakfast we will start our day at 8:30 am with a full 4 hour morning tour of Venice with visits to St. Marco, the Doge Palace, & San Zaccaria. The rest of the day is of your own time exploring this outdoor museum with its winding water canals, bustling markets, antique shops, and lively piazzas.
Otherwise you can join me on a literary tour of the city following in the footsteps of famous authors, artists, and philosophers.
We will meet at sunset for coffee in Piazza San Marco and then stroll to have dinner.
Venice- Orta San Giulio, Lake Orta & Sacre Monte
Wandering and Wondering: Finding Yourself
We leave Venice at 8:00 am onwards on a 4 hour bus ride towards Orta San Giulio arriving at 12 pm where we will spend the day visiting this picturesque town and the mystical island in the middle of the lake.
We will have lunch at 2:30 pm, stroll around, and climb the gentle hill of Sacre Monte (the Sacred Mountain). Orta is a picturesque town shrouded in medieval myth and lore. During our walks I will give a talk titled: Wandering and Wondering: Finding Yourself.
Then we will head to our final destination, the belle époque town of Stresa, Lake Maggiore arriving at 6:30 pm to watch the sunset.
We will check in to our hotel and have a quiet dinner together at 8:30 pm.
The Borromean Islands & Santa Caterina del Sasso, Laggo Maggiore
Today we will head out at 8:30 am after breakfast. It will be a relaxed day exploring the hanging monastery of Santa Caterina del Sasso and the beautiful Borromean Islands (Isola Madre, Isola Bella & Isola Pescatori), which are a stone’s throw from our hotel.
We will have lunch on Isola Pescatori at 2pm.
At 4pm we will head back to the hotel at which point you are free to explore the lovely town of Stresa and relax by the side of the lake taking in its picturesque views and reflecting on the tour and have our group dinner.
The Alps, Piedmonte & Nature
Returning Back to Reality: Tips on Keeping Your Journey Alive
We will leave at 8:30 immediately after breakfast to take a hike in the Alps on the Northern edge of Lake Maggiore near the Swiss border.
The walk is a medium gradient walk that is not too tiring. We will pack snacks and have lunch along the way. We will be accompanied by 2 local mountaineers who will explain the flora and fauna for us.
We will ‘feel’ the beauty of nature guided by readings of Goethe and Henry David Thoreau. On our hike through nature our whole journey of self-discovery will come together.
In the late afternoon we will head back to the hotel for dinner at 8:30 pm and wrap up the trip while I give my final talk titled: Returning Back to Reality: Tips on Keeping Your Journey Alive.
Milan - Home city
We say our farewells to Italy, leave Stresa and head towards Milan Linate Airport, an approximately 1 hour drive, and fly out to our home destinations.
End of Summary Itinerary
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