Western Option Travel Itinerary 2014




27 S   

London to Paris

Travel to London by coach to take the Eurostar train to Paris. DInner in a characteristic Parisian restaurant. Hotel located in the old quarter of the Marais.


28 Su


Morning visit to the Ile de la Cite, heart of royal medieval Paris, to see important Capetian commissions and explore the development of French Gothic architecture: Notre-Dame and King Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle, built to house his relic of the Crown of Thorns. Afternoon opportunity to visit the D'Orsay Museum.


29 M


Visit to the Louvre Museum to study the unparalleled collections of Classical sculpture, Renaissance painting and medieval Objets d'Art. Dinner in a small cafe located on a picturesque square in the Marais. 


30 T

Paris to Chartres

Full day's visit to Chartres by coach to see one of the finest High Gothic French cathedrals.  It is famous for its magnificent collection of stained glass windows as well as stunning examples of Romanesque and Gothic sculpture.


1 W


Morning visit to the Musee de Cluny to study one of the best collections of ecclesiastical and secular Medieval art and artifacts, housed in the 15th century town house of the abbots of Cluny on the site of a Roman bath complex. Lunch at a well known restaurant in Saint-Germaine-des-Pres. Afternoon free.


2 Th

Paris to Beaune via Autun

Morning departure from Paris by private coach. Travel south to Burgundy, stopping at Autun in the afternoon, to visit the Romanesque church dedicated to St. Lazare, to study the fine program of sculpture by Gislebertus.


3 F

Beaune to Vezelay and Fontenay Abbey

Day trip by coach to visit two important Romanesque World UNESCO sites in Burgundy; the Benedictine Abbey Church of Vezelay, an important pilgrimage site that housed the relics of Mary Magdalen, and Fontenay Abbey, one of the oldest and most complete Cisterican monasteries in Europe founded in 1118.


4 S


Free day in Beaune to hire bikes and explore local vineyards. Viticulture session in the late afternoon at Bouchard, one of the largest and oldest wine producers in Burgundy.


5 Su

Beaune to Rome via Autun

Visit to the Hotel Dieu, a late medieval hospital,in Beaune, which houses the spectacular Last Judgement triptych by Rogier van der Weyden, one of the Netherlandish painters patronized by the Dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century. On to Dijon in the afternoon to visit the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Chartreuse de Champmol (Well of Moses) to view works created for Duke Philip the Bold by the outstanding late 14th century Netherlandish sculptor Claus Sluter. Night train to Rome.


6 M


On arrival in Rome, we will take our luggage to our hotel located on the Campo de' Fiori, then begin to explore this magnificent city. The day will include a walk to view San Clemente, a 12th century basilica that sits above a 5th century basilica, which in turn was built upon a 1st century Roman domestic dwelling. We will explore the areas around the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. Dinner in a traditional pizzeria in the evening.


7 T


Early morning visit to the Pantheon, one of the best preserved buildings of ancient Rome. It is one of the architectural wonders of the world and hugely influential throughout the Renaissance. Visit to three medieval basilicas on the Esquiline Hill, Santa Pudenziana, Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Prassede, to study the development of early church buildings and their splendid cycles of mosaics. Afternoon free.


8 W


Free day in Rome - a chance to see as much of the city as possible. Dinner in the evening.


9 Th


Morning free. Late afternoon visit to St. Peter's, followed by an exclusive private opening of the Vatican Museums to our group. Study Greek and Roman sculpture in the Cortile Belvedere, Raphael's frescoes in the private Papal apartments, and the Sistine Chapel, the Pope's private chapel, to see Michelangelo's great frescoes.


10 F

Rome to Florence via Siena 

By private coach from Rome to Florence, stopping en route in the Tuscan medieval hilltop city of Siena, to visit the cathedral and Duccio's magnificent altarpiece known as the Maesta, and the Palazzo Pubblico to view the work of other Sienese painters such as Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Dinner in a small trattoria near our hotel on the via Tornabuoni.


11 S


A short walk to the Duomo to study the Baptistery doors designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, en route to the Bargello and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, two museums specialising in Florentine sculpture. The two collections contain famous works by Donatello and Michelangelo. Afternoon visit to the Accademia to see further sculpture by Michelangelo, including the David.


12 Su


Morning study in the Uffizi Gallery, concentrating on works by Florentine painters such as Cimabue, Giotto, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Free afternoon. Dinner in hotel.


13 M


Morning visit to Santa Croce, the main Franciscan church in Florence, decorated with frescoes by Giotto, and the adjoining Pazzi Chapel by Brunelleschi. Afternoon free to walk up in the surrounding Tuscan hillside overlooking the city and explore the area around S. Miniato.


14 T


Free day for independent study.


15 W 

Florence to Venice via Ravenna

By private coach from Florence to Ravenna, capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, to see Early Christian and Byzantine mosaics in the "Mausoleum of Galla Placidia", San Vitale, the Neonian Baptistery and Sant' Apollinare Nuovo. Continue to Venice in the late afternoon and on to our hotel located directly behind the Accademia. Dinner at a nearby restaurant.


16 T


Morning introduction to the unique city of Venice, the meeting point of various exotic cultural influences. Walk to St. Mark's Square and visit the Basilica to see the extensive cycle of mosaics. Continue a short distance to look across the mouth of the Grand Canal at Palladio's great facade of San Giorgio Maggiore. Afternoon free.


17 F

Venice to Padua

Day visit to Padua to study Giotto's early 14th century narrative fresco painting, commissioned by Enrico Scrovegni for the Arena Chapel. Afternoon visit to the Basilica of St. Anthony to view the works of Donatello.  Return to Venice in the late afternoon. DInner at a local restaurant.


18 S


Morning study-visit to the Accademia painting gallery to see a selection of work by the finest Venetian painters such as Carpaccio, Bellini, Giorgione, Mantegna and TItian. Afternoon free to explore the city and outer islands in the lagoon.


19 Su

Venice to Cortina d'Ampezzo via Vicenza

Morning departure by private coach to Vicenza to see works by Andrea Palladio, including the Villa Rotonda, one of many works that exerted considerable influence on the architecture of England and the ante-bellum American South. Then on to the famous Alpine resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, high in the mountains, for a much deserved break. Dinner in a local restaurant.


20 M

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Day free to explore the surrounding valleys and mountains.


21 T

Cortina d'Ampezzo to Diessen-am-Ammersee via Innsbruck

Drive over the Alps into Germany, through a slice of Austria (stopping for lunch in Innsbruck) and exhilarating alpine landscape to the lakeside town of Diessen-am-Ammersee,located just outside Munich. DInner in the lakeside hotel.


22 W

Diessen-am-Ammersee to Munich

Day trip into Munich to visit the Alte Pinakothek, which houses one of the very finest collections of Northern (especially German) Renaissance paintings; we will study important works by, among others, Duer, Altdorfer and Cranach. Free afteroon in  Munich, returning to Diessen in the early evening.


23 Th

Diessen-am-Ammersee to Nuremberg via Nordlingen and Rothenberg

Depart Diessen by private coach and drive along the Romantic Road to Nordlingen, where we will see sculpture by Nicolaus Gerhaert and have lunch in a local inn. From there, we travel on to Rothenberg-ob-der-Tauber to visit the Jakobskirche and study Tilman Riemenschneider's "Holy Blood Altar" before departing for Nuremberg, home town of Albrecht Durer. Hotel in central Nuremberg and one of the few buildings to survive the devastation of WWII.


24 F


Morning visit to the two parish churches of Nuremberg, St. Sebaldus and St. Lorenz, to look chiefly at German Renaissance sculpture, and think a little about the impact of the Reformation. Afternoon free. Dinner in a local restaurant.


25 S

Nuremberg to Bruges via Aachen
All day journey to the lovely medieval town of Bruges with a stop in Aachen to visit Charlemagne's Paletine Chapel and Treasury Museum that houses a splendid collection of Carolingian art objects.


26 Su


Morning visit to the Groeninge Museum and the St. John Hospital to study Netherlandish painting, including superb works by Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. Afternoon free to explore the city.


27 M

Bruges to London via Ghent

Morning departure to Ghent to see Jan and Hubert van Eyck's astonishing "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb", often referred to simply as the Ghent Altarpiece, in the Sint Baafskathedraal. Continue by coach to Calais to take the Chunnel across to England and on to London. Hotel in central London where the two options are re-united.


28 T


Morning visit to the Houses of Parliament for a guided tour followed by a talk given by a Member of Parliament followed by lunch. Afternoon and evening free.


29 W


Final morning study visit, to the National Gallery to study its outstanding collection of late medieval and Renaissance paintings. Afternoon free. Evening visit to see a ballet at the Royal Opera House, followed by Final Dinner.       


30 Th

London to Home

Morning transfer from hotel to Heathrow airport for flight to the United States.





November 2012

N.B. The above itinerary is as complete as advance planning permits, but unforeseen circumstances may necessitate adjustments to be made.        
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