The Cultures and Archaeology of the Adriatic Sea

Detailed Itinerary
April 26-May 6, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday, April 27
Built on an archipelago of small islands in a lagoon, Venice rose to power and flourished, shaping and dominating for many years the affairs of the eastern Mediterranean. Upon arrival in this unique city, transfer to the pier to embark Corinthian II.

Saturday, April 28
Venice is unquestionably one of Europe’s most unusual and sublime cities, where water and light work a special magic on the ancient stones and canals. Today explore some of Venice’s main landmarks, including St. Mark’s Basilica, consecrated in 1094 and adorned with splendid marble and mosaics, and the Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian power. As an alternative, take an excursion to Basilica  Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari, with Titan’s magnificent paintings and other masters, and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, housing paintings by Tintoretto. The afternoon will be at leisure. Alternativey, take a full-day excursion to Aquileia, which was founded by the Romans in 181 B.C. and grew to become the fourth largest city in Italy by the end of the Roman Empire. Aquileia contains superb remains of its glorious past. Sail in the early evening for Slovenia.

Sunday, April 29
Built on a narrow peninsula that projects into the sea, Slovenia’s Piran is one of the most delightful towns of the Adriatic. Possessed by Venice in 1283, Piran is rich in well-preserved Venetian-inspired architecture, its arched alleyways lined with exquisite homes, palaces, and churches. Highlights of our tour of Piran include the spacious marble-surfaced Tartini Square flanked by historic buildings; the temple-like Church of St. George, originally built in the 14th century; and the Sergej Masera Maritime Museum, housed in the elegant Gabrielli Palace. There will be free time to explore Piran’s maze of streets. As an alternative, an excursion leads to Croatia’s Porec, a center of the Illyrians in 200 B.C., taken over by the Romans in 35 B.C. The outstanding building of Porec is the 6th-century Basilica of Euphrasius, which contains exquisite mosaics. Remains from the Roman period include the Temple of Mars. The Museum, housed in an 18th-century palace, contains archaeological objects.

Monday, April 30
Originally a Greco-Illyrian settlement called Aspalathos, Split is an ancient city centered around the formidable Palace of Diocletian, built in A.D. 295. An extensive structure, much of which is well preserved, the palace contains within its walls Split’s medieval town, making it the only palace that has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. Also visit the Archaeological Museum. Spend the afternoon at leisure to explore Split on your own, or drive to nearby Salona, which was the capital of the Roman province of Illyria. The sprawling remains of the city include amphitheaters, temples, as well as basilicas and other buildings from the early Christian period. On the return to Split, stop at the Archaeological Museum, which contains artifacts from Salona and other sites.

Tuesday, May 1
A tour of the once Venetian-ruled Dubrovnik includes the Rector’s Palace, the Gothic cloister, the garden of the Dominican Monastery, and the baroque cathedral, which contains works by Renaissance painters Titian and Andrea del Sarto.

Wednesday, May 2
KOTOR | RISAN | KOTOR, Montenegro
Located head of the bay beneath towering mountains, Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns along the Dalmatian coast. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the town’s fortifications and most of its monuments, which we will visit on a walking tour, date from the time of Venetian rule. In the afternoon, drive along the coastal road to Risan, the Roman Risinium, to visit the Villa Urbana, with its elegant mosaics.

Thursday, May 3
The fishing town of Monopoli is dominated by its 1552 castle. Explore the region’s unique trulli villages, with their curious whitewashed conical dwellings built without mortar. Focus on two of the main villages, Alberobello, where trulli line the streets, and hilltop Locorotondo. Also stop at Ostuni, an ancient town enclosed within ramparts. Return to Monopoli with lunch aboard ship. In the afternoon, tour the ancient Graeco-Messapian town of Egnathia, whose remains date from the 4th century B.C. to the early Christian period. The Museum contains finds from the site.

Friday, May 4
Arrive in Ancona, Italy’s principal port on the central Adriatic. Drive to nearby Urbino, one of Italy’s best-preserved Renaissance towns, overlooking the glorious countryside of the Marches. Visit the famed Palazo Ducale, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, which houses the National Gallery of the Marches. Also, see the Church of San Giovanni Battista, with its frescoes, and the house of native son Raphael, the great Renaissance master. Alternatively, drive to Gubbio, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved small medieval towns in Italy, whose narrow streets and alleyways are lined with old polished grey stone buildings.

Saturday, May 5
Today, Corinthian II enters the canal that leads to Ravenna and dock near the center of town. Ravenna is an ancient city that came to prominence in the early 5th century A.D., when it became the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Visit Ravenna’s famed Byzantine churches dating from the 5th and 6th centuries, including the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Basilica of San Vitale, and the Basilica of San Apollinare in Classe, all decorated with luminous mosaics and other pieces of art.

Sunday, May 6
Disembark in Venice and transfer to the airport for return flights to the U.S.

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