Art & History Lovers
Featuring: visit of Ravenna, the city of Mosaics
November 6th, 2016 sailing on the Costa Deliziosa from Venice
Upon your arrival you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel in Venice, the city of magnificent marble palaces on a lagoon. Just like its world-famous Carnevale, Venice thrives on mystery and awe, from the secret passageways that riddle Gothic Palazzo Ducale, to the esoteric powers of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and to Saint Mark's Basilica, recognized as one of the most refined and accomplished works of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world.

This morning walking tour is the perfect introduction to Venice, as it traces the history of this unique city from its origins to modern times. The first stop will be at Saint Mark's Basilica, symbol of the Venetian lagoon, and recognized as one of the most refined and accomplished works of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world. See here the awe-inspiring gold mosaics and marble inlays of the floors, walk to the Pala d'Oro (Golden Altar Piece), an exquisite example of the byzantine art with its thousands of gems and precious stones, and marvel at the diversity of Venetian culture, as your guide points out the spots where eastern architecture and western design have blended. Continue your tour with a visit of the magnificent Doge's Palace, once the center of the imperial power of Venice. Walk the corridors of history, and learn about the singular government of the Venetian Republic in its heyday. Admire the splendid chambers with their decorated ceilings and glorious paintings by Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others, gain insights into the dark side of the Serene Republic, and hear shocking stories of plot and intrigue, deadly power struggles and rough justice. See the famous Bridge of Sighs before hopping aboard a traditional gondola. Sit back and gaze at the landscape of Venice that surrounds you during this ride through the famous Grand Canal (Salute area) as well as the smaller canals around the neighborhood of Fenice. Admire enchanting palaces such as the lavish Palazzo Barberino and other Renaissance buildings, look out for iconic Venice attractions such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Rialto Bridge, before returning to the pier near Santa Maria del Giglio Square. After lunch at a local restaurant, board a comfortable motorboat, and speed along the Venetian Lagoon to three islands famous for their handicrafts and architecture. The first stop will be in Murano. During your walking tour you will learn about Murano's in the 15th and 16th centuries when the island was Europe's major glass making. Next is the island of Torcello. See here the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the circular baptistery in the Church of Santa Fosca, which showcases a delightful portico and striking Byzantine interior, before continuing your journey by boat to the beautiful island of Burano. Known for its picturesque houses painted in bright pastel colors, this miniature Venice is also famous for its lace making art, once considered the most refined in Europe. Browse local shops and find lace on display at a museum dedicated to the craft of lace making before your guide returns you to Venice. (B,L) 

Today you will be visiting Ravenna, the city of mosaics. This small town hides a glittering past. In 401AD, it became the capital of the western Roman empire, and that's when the first mosaic-decorated churches were built. It really flourished though during the early 6th century, under the Ostrogoths, who commissioned more splendid monuments. In 540AD, when it became the main outpost of the Byzantine empire in western Europe, it experienced another lavish period of patronage. Due to its historically important past and the originality of its architectural style (a unique and wonderful mix of Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic arts) the complex of the early Christian monuments of Ravenna has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it boasts some of the most splendid and best preserved mosaics. (B)

Transfer to the port of Venice. (B
  • First class hotel accommodation for 3 nights (Saturnia Hotel or similar)
  • 4 included meals consisting of:
    - 3 buffet breakfasts
    - 1 lunch
  • Assistance of Costa Cruises/Central Holidays local offices
  • Full day guided tour of Venice
  • Full day excursion to Ravenna
  • All transfers as per itinerary
  • Document holder and luggage tags
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
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