Colosseum in Rome, Italy

The Heart of Italy

Spring 2023


Students will be provided a rich introduction to four historic Italian city-states—Venice, Bologna, Florence, and Rome—through their unique contributions Bell'Italia’s art, history, education, and geo-politics. Not only will you visit iconic monuments and masterpieces, you'll experience each region’s daily life, custom and cuisine for a real sense of what “la doce vita”—the sweet life—truly means.  Students will also take a gondola ride on one of Venice’s canals, visit the Duomo and Michelangelo’s David in Florence, and the Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum and Colosseum in Rome

Students interested in the Tour of Italy trip can register for the class (IS200 with Dr. Scates) any time after registration begins in March 2022.  Students are advised to register early as popular trips fill up quickly.

Group Leader:  Dr. Virginia Scates

Sign up for the waitlist

Developed in Italy, the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool and primary education has inspired countless teachers around the world. Learn more about its international influences when you visit the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, named for the philosophy’s creator. You’ll also connect with other passionate students and teachers during visits to local schools, and gain insight into how educational practices have changed over time when you visit the oldest university in the world. 


Explore Italy destination map
Explore Italy destination map

Students interested in the Explore Italy trip can register for the class (IS200 with Dr. Scates) any time after spring registration begins (March 14, 2022). Students are advised to register as early as possible as popular trips will fill up quickly.  

Your Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Italy

Meet your group and travel on an overnight flight to Venice.

Day 2: Venice

Arrive in Venice

Welcome to magical Venice, home of Marco Polo. Known globally for its gondoliers and glassware, Venice is also a heady mix of busy piazzas, thronging with pizzerias and cafes, as well as deserted streets, alongside canals, leading to hidden gems such as churches or local-dominated restaurants serving regional delicacies.


Tonight, gather with your group for a delicious meal.































Day 3: Venice

Guided sightseeing of Venice

Hop on a water-taxi and boat across the lagoon to Venice where you will meet your local guide and embark on a walking tour of the city’s narrow walking streets and winding canals. Attend a glass-blowing demonstration and discover why this chain of islands is famous for its glassware and has a long history of successful merchants and mariners. Take in all the hustle and bustle going on at sea level as people, equipment, and supplies navigate the Grand Canal, the main thoroughfare. Visit the grand 14th century pink and white Doge's Palace, from which mighty Venetian dukes once ruled.

Take a gondola ride

This afternoon, you will enjoy a truly idyllic experience and ride in one of the city’s many gondolas along some of its finest canals. There is no better or more scenic way to explore this city of canals than by gondola!




























Day 4: Venice | Bologna

Guided sightseeing of Bologna

Your tour begins in the Piazza del Nettuno, which features a once controversial statue of Neptune and the seductive sirens. Continue to the Basilica di San Petronio, which was left unfinished after the Vatican got word that the city planned to erect a church larger than St. Peter’s. Also pass by the Palazzo Comunale, Bologna’s 14th-century town hall, and see the city’s landmark leaning towers.

Visit the Bologna University

Founded in 1088, Bologna University is currently recognized as the oldest continuously operating university in the world. It has an enrollment of approximately 85,000 students and is considered one of the most prestigious schools in Italy. The University is particularly noted for its excellent law program.

Basilica di San Petronio
Fontana del Nettuno, Piazza del Nettuno

Day 5: Bologna | Florence

Visit the Loris Malaguzzi International Center

The Loris Malaguzzi Centre is an international meeting place for people of all ages interested in the innovation of education and culture. During your visit today you will have a chance to explore the center as well as have a guided experience in the Ray of Light Atelier. (Please note: Group bookings are difficult to secure. If not possible, another education-related visit will be arranged.)

Travel to Florence

Set deep in the heart of Tuscany is one of Italy’s jewels. The city of Florence has delighted visitors for centuries with its remarkable architecture. Whether sitting by the River Arno, strolling the beautifully housed streets or viewing the renaissance masterpieces that fill the city’s churches and museums, one can only be astonished by the feeling of true beauty.

Florence - Ponte Vecchio
Florence, Piazza Della Signoria

Day 6: Florence

Guided sightseeing of Florence

Fall under the spell of the powerful Medici family on your guided walking tour of Florence. See Giotto’s Bell Tower and the imposing marble cathedral of the Duomo, the Cathedral that rises far above this city’s otherwise low skyline. Stand before Ghiberti’s legendary Gates of Paradise and pass the classical statues in the main square: Piazza della Signoria. Here you can see where Michelangelo’s David originally stood.

Visit the Accademia

This simple building, located on Via Ricasoli, houses one of the world’s true masterpieces in Michelangelo’s statue of David. Elsewhere, you can see unfinished works by the great artist along with other Renaissance treasures. Make sure to visit the ‘workroom’ and learn more of the skills required to bring images out of marble.

Tuscan cooking class and dinner

Try your hand at local cooking practices in a Tuscan cooking class, followed by dinner.





























Day 7: Florence | Rome

Travel via Assisi to Rome

As you head south into Umbria you will pass the city of Perugia. Shortly afterwards stop in Assisi, birthplace of both St. Francis and St. Clare. On your visit to the basilica of St. Francis, follow the life of one of Italy’s most beloved saints through Giotto’s frescoes. Continue south to Rome, the Eternal city.

Arrive in Rome

Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. The city is an incredible mix of archeological gems, Roman genius, Renaissance art and religious treasure. As Italy’s capital, it is also the bustling heart of this exciting country. With its fashionable shopping and café-culture, Rome really is a unique European experience.

Explore the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Piazza Navona

Climb the staircase to view the city below or take the time to wander through one of Rome's most popular shopping areas. Alternatively, snag a moment to relax amongst the hustle and bustle of the city while enjoying a traditional Italian treat- gelato. You should also make sure to wander over to the famed Trevi Fountain and toss in a coin to ensure your return to Rome.
































Day 8: Rome

Guided sightseeing of ancient Rome

Your guided sightseeing of ancient Rome takes you into the ancient Roman Forum, once the heart of the Roman Empire. You will also visit the Colosseum, where gladiators once battled for their lives in front of 50,000 spectators.

Guided food-themed walking tour

Join an expert local guide as you stroll through the streets of Rome and learn about the many different cuisines offered. Sample some of the delicacies native to Italy.

The Roman Forum, Rome
Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Day 9: Rome

Transfer to the Rome airport for your return flight

Your Tour Director assists with your transfer to the airport, where you’ll check in for your return flight home.















Day 10: Depart for home

Transfer to the airport and check in for your flight home.