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zItaly’s Jewish Legacy

8 days

An Alexander+Roberts Original Event

Original Event Discoveries for our World Travelers

+ Our Trip Leader Dr. Marcella Simoni and carefully selected city guides are all well versed in Italy’s rich Jewish heritage and will enrich each day with their deep knowledge and fascinating insights.
+ Explore three of Central Italy’s loveliest hill towns including Pitigliano, fondly known as Little Jerusalem, and Orvieto, home to a thriving Jewish community as early as 1297.
+ Visit Tempio Israelitico, Florence’s 19th-century synagogue, and tour Rome’s Jewish Museum to learn about the faith and resilience of the city’s Jewish community.
+ Get an intimate look into the Assisi Underground… Our special visits and personal meetings with those who can attest to the dramatic events of 1943 will reveal the heroism and courage of Father Rufino Niccacci, Don Aldo Brunacci and their fellow patriots.
+ 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

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Oct 17, 2015: Arrive Rome and Travel to Florence

Upon arrival in Rome, we’ll be warmly greeted by our Italian Trip Leader, Dr. Marcella Simoni. A scenic drive through the Italian countryside brings us to glorious Florence where we’ll check in to the Santa Maria Novella Hotel, an outstanding superior first class property in the heart of the city. After time to refresh and relax, we’ll gather together for a festive dinner with wine.  Meals D


Oct 18, 2015: Discover Florence c

The city’s Renaissance glory and the fascinating history of its ancient Jewish community come to life today as we explore with Dr. Simoni and our specialized Jewish city guide.  Our sightseeing begins in the center of Florence, the site of the former Jewish Ghetto as early as the 14th century. In 1861, Florence became a part of the Kingdom of Italy and Jews were recognized as citizens; soon after, the Ghetto was demolished as part of the city’s redevelopment. We’ll continue to the Tempio Israelitico, a 19th-century Synagogue distinguished by its unusual Moorish architectural motifs. We’ll also tour the comprehensive collection at the Museum of Jewish Art and History before visiting the medieval Basilica di Santa Croce, famed for its fabulous frescoes by Giotto and as the final resting place of Michelangelo. Our sightseeing ends with the renowned art collections of the city’s two most famous museums: The Uffizi Gallery and the Academia, home to masterworks including Michelangelo’s David.  Meals B


Oct 19, 2015: From Florence to Siena and Torgiano

Home to a vibrant Jewish community as early as 1229, historic Siena c is also famed for its splendidly preserved medieval architecture. Indeed, many consider this to be one of the most enchanting towns in all of Tuscany.  Departing Florence after breakfast this morning, we’ll make a stop here in Siena to see the former Jewish Ghetto and to visit the Synagogue, built in 1756.

We’ll continue to Torgiano, a fine medieval walled town surrounded by vineyards and olive groves in the heart of the Italian province of Perugia. Clustered in a small collection of medieval houses in the heart of town, we’ll visit the unique Olive and Oil Museum to learn about one of Italy’s most revered culinary products. At the Wine Museum of Torgiano, described by the New York Times as “the best wine museum in Italy,” a fascinating collection of art and artifacts traces more than 5,000 years of viniculture history and culture. Of course, we’ll also enjoy a tasting of the fine wines produced by the esteemed Lungarotti family.

This evening we’ll dine at our hotel, Le Tre Vaselle, an enchanting resort set in a 17th-century building within the medieval walls of Torgiano.  Meals B+D


Oct 20, 2015: The Story of Assisi c

The moving story of Father Rufino Niccacci, Don Aldo Brunacci and the town of Assisi has been recounted in both novel and film. At the height of the Holocaust, these two courageous men were largely responsible for saving the lives of 300 Italian Jews, dressing many of them as monks and nuns and teaching them Catholic ritual so that they could be successfully sheltered in local churches and monasteries. The town’s printing press, which was used during the day for greeting cards and posters, was used clandestinely at night to print false documents that were sent by courier to Jews all over Italy – thus helping to save countless more lives.

Today, our expert guide will illuminate this fascinating chapter of Italy’s World War II history as we visit the monasteries, churches and sites associated with the heroic efforts of Father Niccacci and Don Brunacci. Special arrangements have also been made for us to meet with Assisi residents (or their descendents) who remember these dramatic events of 1943 – providing a highly personal and moving dimension to our day’s sightseeing.  We’ll return to our hotel in Torgiano with time to refresh before dinner.  Meals B+D


Oct 21, 2015: Umbria’s Hill Towns

Today we’ll visit two of Italy’s loveliest hill towns. Traveling deep into the picturesque landscapes of Southern Umbria, we’ll begin in Orvieto. Set on an imposing plateau high above the verdant valley, this historic town produces one of Italy’s most famous white wines and is home to a magnificent Romanesque-Gothic cathedral. As early as the 13th century, Orvieto was also home to a thriving Jewish population that was granted both citizenship and the right to carry weapons – unusual for the period. We’ll also visit Todi, considered by many to be one of Italy’s prettiest towns. Standing in the handsome Piazza del Popolo and wandering through the town’s other charming piazzas, we’ll be able to experience Todi’s fine medieval architecture and its picture-perfect setting in the Umbrian countryside. This evening is free to dine in Torgiano and to enjoy its ambience as you wish.  Meals B


Oct 22, 2015: Journey to Rome c

Departing Assisi after breakfast this morning, we’ll travel into southern Tuscany to visit Pitigliano. This handsome, well-preserved medieval town is in the Maremma region, which sees far fewer tourists than the better-known hill towns of central Tuscany. But it has a breathtaking location with commanding views over the countryside and is often fondly referred to as Italy’s “Little Jerusalem” in recognition of its once-thriving Jewish community and its fine Synagogue and Museum. We’ll visit both of these sites as well as the town’s former Jewish Ghetto before continuing on to our hotel in the heart of Rome, the superior first class Rose Garden Palace Hotel.  Meals B


Oct 23, 2015: Rome’s Jewish Community… Past and Present

Today we’ll be joined by Daniela and Micaela, two specialty guides from Rome who are particularly well-versed in both Jewish history and the contemporary culture of their native city. We begin in the morning in Rome’s former Jewish Ghetto, visiting both the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum, home to an inspiring collection which demonstrates the faith and resilience of Rome’s Jewish community in the face of centuries of effort by the Church to convert them to Catholicism. Among the treasures on display are silver-covered prayer books from the Renaissance, antique Torah curtains and ancient scroll covers. From here, we’ll explore the city’s most famous Imperial sites, including the Forum, Colosseum and Arch of Titus – focusing on their role in the city’s Jewish history.

In the afternoon, our comprehensive exploration continues with a specially-arranged Jewish Tour of the Vatican c. This evening’s farewell dinner will be in a popular restaurant in Rome’s vibrant Jewish quarter.  Meals B+D


Oct 24, 2015: Depart Rome

Our journey ends this morning after breakfast.  Meals B


Meet Our Trip Leader,
Dr. Marcella Simoni

Both a respected scholar at the University of Venice and an experienced travel professional, Dr. Marcella Simoni’s professional focus is Jewish history with an especially avid interest in the Judaic history and contemporary Jewish culture of her Italian homeland. Marcella is also an enthusiastic amateur chef with a passion for exploring cuisines that incorporate Mediterranean, Jewish and Italian traditions. With her engaging manner, broad knowledge and keen insights, Marcella and our specialist city guides will bring a rich dimension to
your travels.

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