Discover the beauty and cultural wonders of Tuscany on this romantic seven-night tour. See the exquisite façade of the Church of San Michele and many other treasures in the walled city of Lucca, our home base. Take a sea tour of the French Riviera’s Cinque Terre and its colorful seaside villages, then enjoy a delicious seaside luncheon.
Stand before Pisa’s famous leaning tower. Explore the grounds of a centuries-old villa and visit Carrara, home to Michelangelo’s prized ivory marble. Take in an Italian operetta and visit a Tuscan winery to sample the area’s renowned viniculture. Visit the beautiful Garfagnana region and the medieval village of Barga.
Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.
AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Pisa, Italy. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: PSA.
Arrive at Galileo Galilei Airport (Pisa International Airport). Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.
Transfer to the Hotel Ilaria. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
Tonight, get acquainted with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception, followed by a Welcome Dinner.
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Enrichment: The History of Lucca. Delve into this beautiful region’s alluring history and culture, from its Roman origins to present-day society.
Discovery: Lucca Walking Tour. The charismatic walled city of Lucca is home to numerous examples of brilliant Romanesque architecture, including the magnificent Duomo di San Martino. Step inside the church to view breathtaking carvings by Nicola Pisano. Two well-known carvings are Adoration of the Magi and Volto Santo di Lucca, or Holy Face of Lucca. Then follow the storied footsteps of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus and Puccini while exploring Old Town, and witness the Basilica of San Frediano and the Church of San Michele. (Moderate)
Dine on classic Tuscan cuisine for lunch at a trattoria, a traditional Italian restaurant.
Free Time: Carve your own path through Lucca for the remainder of the day. Visit the house of famous composer
Puccini, ascend the looming 232 steps to the rooftop garden of Torre Guinigi or cycle on the surrounding medieval walls for different perspectives of this charismatic city.
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Discovery: Carrara. Travel to Carrara, home of legendary marble quarries used for more than 2,000 years. Throughout the centuries, Carrara’s famous white marble has been sought after by discerning sculptors, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, who went to the quarries to choose the best marble available for his now priceless works. Tour the Fantiscritti Quarry, a privately-owned working quarry, and see local artisans in their studios as well as the museum showcasing the marble industry. You may have an opportunity to test your skills at stone carving! Continue to the city’s ornate Duomo, whose marble rose window and façade are considered to be sculptural masterpieces. (Moderate)
Enjoy lunch in town before returning to Lucca.
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Discovery: Villa Reale and Montecarlo. The sprawling grounds of the Villa Reale di Marlia are steeped in history and flaunt over 40 acres of neatly landscaped gardens. Once home to the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, the villa reveals centuries-old fountains, statues crafted from Carrara marble, tiny lakes and immaculately trimmed hedges. Continue to the picturesque village of Montecarlo and visit the Teatro dei Rassicurati, an intimate 18th-century theater built entirely of wood. Visit the Collegiata of Sant’Andrea with a 16th-century baptismal font and a 15th-century fresco, “Our Lady of Soccour.” (Moderate)
Discovery: Tuscan Winery. Revel in stirring panoramas of Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards from a hilltop perch. Your visit to a local winery includes a tasting of the property’s vintages. During lunch, enjoy a meet-and-greet with the owners. (Moderate)
Enrichment: The Life and Music of Puccini. A writer of countless 19th-century operas and impressionist music, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) is known as one of the most significant composers in Italian history. Born in Lucca, opera composer Puccini’s works — “La Bohème,” “Tosca,” “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot” — are counted among the most frequently performed operas in the world.
Discovery: This evening, delight in an operetta, a musical-dramatic production, in Lucca followed by dinner in town. (Mild)
Free Time: Enjoy a day at leisure in Lucca.
Enrichment: The Cinque Terre: A Tasteful Encounter of Land and Sea. Learn about the Cinque Terre through a lesson in its unusual geography and economy. Then enjoy a tasting of local wine and foods.
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Discovery: The Cinque Terre. Journey to the dramatic terraced landscapes and delightfully colored villages of Cinque Terre National Park. Begin with a visit to the ancient Roman seaport of Porto Venere. After a guided tour, enjoy some free time to explore on your own before continuing to Manarola, an authentic fishing village that is the center of the region’s wine and olive oil production. Standing in a towering group atop a huge rocky promontory, Manarola slopes steeply down to a tiny harbor and a rocky shore, creating a truly picturesque vista. Continue by boat to witness the pastel-colored buildings and verdant backdrops of Corniglia and Vernazza from the Ligurian Sea. (Moderate)
Discovery: A Seaside Lunch. Take a seat at a waterfront trattoria in Vernazza for a delectable lunch, featuring seafood just plucked from the sea! The Taverna del Capitano serves cucina tipica, traditional cuisine.
Free Time: After lunch, stretch your legs and take a leisurely stroll through Vernazza at your own pace. Then return to Lucca.
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Enrichment: A Contemporary View of Italy. Explore the current events shaping contemporary Italy and its place within the European Union.
Discovery: The Miracles of Pisa and its Environs. Delve into the fascinating maritime history of Pisa, one of the most important harbors of the ancient Mediterranean and a Roman naval asset. Visit the Museum of Ancient Ships, home to archaeological finds and well-preserved Roman and medieval ships. In Miracle Square, visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Baptistery, and admire the iconic Leaning Tower. (Moderate)
Free Time: The rest of the afternoon is at leisure in Lucca. Visit local shops for unique souvenirs or gather picnic fixings for a relaxing lunch in one of the city’s many squares.
Join your fellow travelers and share stories of your Tuscan adventures at a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
After breakfast, bid farewell to Lucca and Tuscany. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.
By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.