Enjoy the sun-drenched landscapes and lush, mountainous backdrops of the French and Italian Rivieras and islands, a glamorous retreat for artists, writers, nobility and gourmands. This unique, comprehensive itinerary immerses you in the region’s dynamic history, inimitable art and culture and stunning scenery, and features up to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Carcassonne’s medieval fortifications and the picture-perfect cliffside villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre.
Complimentary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
- Pricing from
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- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- May 29, 2019 - Jun 6, 2019
Oct 10, 2020 - Oct 18, 2020
John Meffert, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office from and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.
- day 1
Wednesday and Thursday, May 29 and 30. U.S. / Rome, Italy / Civitavecchia
Depart the U.S. for Rome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the epicenter of the vast Roman empire. From the iconic Colosseum and the Vatican to the Spanish Steps and the Catacombs, the remains of ancient Rome continue to astonish visitors. Embark Le Bougainville from the port city of Civitavecchia to begin your “Grand Tour” through scenery awash with pastel‑hued villas, Mediterranean sunsets and sparkling coastlines. (d)
- day 2
Friday, May 31. Bonifacio, Corsica, France
Homer’s Odyssey portrays the mythic giants who hurled boulders from the sheer white limestone cliffs of Bonifacio, sinking 11 Greek ships. Today, the island’s delightful French character embraces a strong Italian influence, manifested in the locals’ engaging French‑Italian dialect. Transfer by a small train to the medieval citadel and Old Town. Stroll the Rue des Deux‑Empereurs, where Charles V and Napoleon once lodged, and see the Gothic Church of St‑Dominique overlooking the striking Grain de Sable limestone formation. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Reception aboard the ship this evening. (b,l,r,d)
- day 3
Saturday, June 1. Livorno, Italy, for Florence or Lucca and Pisa
Arrive in Livorno, and choose between two quintessentially Italian excursions: En route to Florence, Firenze to locals, savor Tuscany’s cypress‑tree‑lined landscape and vineyards. The birthplace of the Renaissance, this treasured UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to great masters, unparalleled art, architecture and literature. Admire Michelangelo’s David, Brunelleschi’s iconic dome on the Duomo, and Ghiberti’s bronze‑cast “Doors of Paradise,” created for the Baptistery of San Giovanni, depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Or, enjoy a scenic drive to the consummate medieval Tuscan university city of Pisa and town of Lucca. See Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the legendary leaning tower where Galileo is said to have conducted some of his first gravity experiments. Visit the 11th‑century Duomo and the largest baptistery in Italy, which originated the unique Pisan Romanesque style. Walk along Lucca’s intact Renaissance city walls, now a pedestrian promenade, and see its 11th‑century Cattedrale di San Martino, a symbol of the city. (b,d)
- day 4
Sunday, June 2. Porto Venere for Cinque Terre / Portofino
Cruise by private boat to two of Cinque Terre’s picturesque villages. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a series of five colorful fishing villages that cling to remote cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea—discover the vivid nuances of Riomaggiore and Vernazza, linked by footpaths with views of the secluded coves and terraced vineyards renowned for producing the sweet dessert wine, Sciacchetrà. This evening, dock in Portofino, the perfect village for a leisurely evening on the Italian Riviera. You may choose to visit the 17th‑century San Giorgio Church, with the relics of the legendary dragon‑slaying saint; stroll the pedestrian‑only lanes; or sip a cappuccino on a café terrace. (b,l,d)
- day 5
Monday, June 3. Nice, France / Rock of Monaco
The modern epitome of Riviera Chic, Nice’s origins date back to the Lower Paleolithic‑period, and the city remains one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Known as the “capital of the Côte d’Azur,” today Nice reverberates with the colors, traditions and culture that inspired Chagall and Matisse. Enjoy a walking tour of Nice’s Old Town, panoramic views from the hill of Cimiez and a visit to the Musée National Marc Chagall. Admire the historic Rock of Monaco from the Exotic Garden and the celebrated belle‑epoque architecture of Monaco, the former home of beloved Princess Grace. Visit the neo‑Romanesque St. Nicholas Cathedral, where the Princess and Prince Ranier III are interred. (b,l,d)
- day 6
Tuesday, June 4. Marseille, France, for Aix‑en‑Provence
Romantic, medieval Aix‑en‑Provence captures the élan of France’s sun‑drenched Provence. Stroll through the Mazarin district and Old Aix and along the famous Cours Mirabeau, a grand boulevard lined with canopied plane trees and elegant 17th- and18th‑century townhouses. Visit the Cathedral St. Sauveur, a French national monument, where Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Gothic architectural styles ranging from the fifth to 17th centuries stand adjacent on the site of the first‑century Roman Forum of Aix. This afternoon, return to Marseille, designated the 2013 European Capital of Culture, where nearly three millennia of maritime heritage thrive in this natural port. Drive along the Corniche Kennedy, a boulevard dedicated to the late U.S. president, and the historic high street, Canèbiere, built by Louis XIV in 1666. See the city’s Old Town, the majestic 19th‑century Cathédrale de la Major and the Vieux Port (Old Port), often considered Marseille’s birthplace, and visit the neo‑Byzantine Notre Dame de la Garde with extraordinary city views from its grounds. (b,l,d)
- day 7
Wednesday, June 5. Sète for Carcassonne
The former frontier between France and Spain, occupied since the sixth century B.C., Carcassone is the largest walled city in Europe. It was fortified by the Romans, conquered by Visigoths, captured by Persians, invaded by Franks and overrun by Barbarians, each culture influencing the city’s architectural and artistic heritage. The medieval core of Carcassonne, La Cité, a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by cobblestone streets and the Romanesque‑Gothic‑style Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus. Explore the medieval Château Comtal, the archaeological museum and the Musée des Beaux Arts’ collection ranging from the 16th to 20th centuries. Continue to the nearby Corbières Mountains to tour the hallowed 12th‑century Cistercian Abbaye de Fontfroide. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (b,r,d)
- day 8
Thursday, June 6. Barcelona, Spain
Disembark the ship in lively Barcelona, with Europe’s greatest concentration of Gothic architecture and the works of Dalí, Gaudí and Picasso. Continue on the Barcelona Post‑Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (b)
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