A Love Song
As you leave the Mediterranean coastline near Naples and board a cruise boat bound for the Isle of Capri, the moment virtually demands a love song.
Luciano Pavarotti on his native soil felt it when he sang his encores. He would invariably pour himself into it with all available passion and sing “La Torna Sorrento” as a kind of personal renewal. You can tune it in with Luciano on You Tube, Pavarotti with Sorrento. In the Italian the words mean “Return to Sorrento,” one of the loveliest seaside cities on earth, where we will spend two nights in our Springtime in Italy, April 3 through 13 in 2014.
You’re invited. If Italy translates to you as the land where the great Renaissance began, with its Michelangelo and Leonardo; and before that the Roman Empire whose legacy in Rome still stands in the sight of the Coliseum and the Pantheon, the Forum and more… then this is your trip.
If it means the magnificence of Florence, its renowned Duomo and Ponte Vecchio Bridge above the Arno River, and the sculpture of David; and on another day riding high above the Mediterranean along the spectacular Amalfi Coast, this is your trip.
If Italy for you also means the sight of quiet country roads in the Tuscany and Umbria flanked by rows of cypress trees marching silently toward the heights, taking you to historic and lovely cities like Siena, Assisi and Cortona—this is your trip. What else? Rome’s Trevi Fountain and wishing on a star, the Spanish Steps, discovering why it is the eternal city, and marveling at the timeless beauty of the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. It means bantering with shopkeepers, wondering how Italian folks can possibly converse with their hands, but knowing that they actually do.
It also means the Cinque Terre and its seashore, linking five ancient villages that have now become a wanderer’s dream whether you want to hike in the pines above the Gulf of Genoa or take a train or coastal boat and explore wherever you’d like; and then dine on the ocean front, listening to the surf and/or listening to music—without which there would be no Italy.
And finally there is Italy’s metropolis of the north, Milano, more than incidentally the site of Leonardo da Vinci’s epic “The Last Supper,” which we plan to see. After which, like all Italians, we will say grazie, e arrivederci.
Before much of this you will have visited Rome for two days. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it before. Rome unfailingly deepens and refreshes you. It is drama, art, the sounds and sweep of history with all of its glory and folly, in some ways the face of civilization and capital of the world. From Rome we travel south to turn back the centuries to the excavated site of Pompeii, the city buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in 79 a.d. 2,000 years ago. Parts of it have been restored remarkably, so that today the visitor can walk into the ancient markets and living quarters close to what they were before the torrents of lava that buried the city. Yes, Vesuvius is still there, as are the echoes of the busy workers of the 1880s who sang “Funiculi, Funicula” building the funicular cable car line for Vesuvius visitors. The mountain grumbled again 50 years later and blew down the cable car line. So today we stay on the ground and see Vesuvius safely from Pompeii and the sea. Modern science keeps tabs on the mountain.
And before our last night in Sorrento we’ll sail to the Isle of Capri, once the hideaway of Roman emperors; so inviting with its ocean front and its city above the sea it inspired a song that made the hit parades in America in the 1940s—Twas on the Isle of Capri that I found her, ’neath the shade of an old walnut tree…” But its most alluring gift is its Blue Grotto where we will boat in water touched by the azure of the Mediterranean sky. And who knows folks, what else or who else you will find on the Isle of Capri in April?
Your Springtime in Italy
In the 30 years Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures has organized world travel, prices obviously have climbed. Places and times have changed but not the urge and curiosity that binds many of us to find out what is around the bend or beyond the sea. From New Zealand to Nepal, Santorini, Switzerland, Norway, the Sahara and Lake Victoria and more we have kept the trips doable by avoiding needless expense and by making experienced decisions on what pleases travelers. And so our trips tend to attract a compatible group that often extends the shared experiences into lifelong friendships.
Italy invariably does all of the above. The land cost of this trip will vary depending on the number of passengers. If we have 20 participants the cost will be $2,875, for 18 passengers $2,975, and up to $3,775 for ten, which is the minimum number of passengers needed to make the trip. Those costs are based on the exchange rate of $1.45 Euro to $1 U.S. dollar and are subject to changes in the fluctuation of exchange rates. A deposit of $750 per person is due by November 20, 2013, to confirm your place on the trip. Once we have 10 participants confirmed and the trip is “a go”, the deposit is nonrefundable. Final payment for the trip must be made by January 28, 2014.
The current per person cost of round trip airfare, Minneapolis to Rome and return Milan to Minneapolis is about $1,360. If you choose, of course, you can make use of frequent flyer miles. Your contact person in registering for the trip and making payments is Suzanne Zapolski, highly respected in the field and our longtime partner in organizing international travel, now with the wide-ranging Borton Overseas Travel in Minneapolis. Her best contacts are Suzanne@bortonoverseas.com and phones 612-644-6404 or 612-661-4624. Suzanne will accept your registration and advise you on airfare, travel insurance, and possible trip extensions. You’ll be emailed or mailed a registration form that must be completed and returned to her as soon as possible. Suzanne will forward your contact information to me. Payment for the deposits and final payments for the land arrangements may be made by check or credit card. Payments for the airfare and travel insurance must be paid by credit card. Single supplements are available.
As the tour organizer and escort I’ll be glad to discuss all aspects of the trip at 763 258 1371 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been to Italy 12 times although I admit I still have trouble talking with my hands. I can offer some bedrock translations.
April 3, Thursday. Depart USA.
April 4. Friday. Arrive Rome. After going through customs and collecting your luggage you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel. You may be able to check into your rooms when you arrive in the morning so you can store your luggage and start a guided tour that will introduce you to some of Rome’s famous treasures including the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and more. Lunch included. The evening is free to explore on your own or with your fellow travelers. Overnight at Hotel Cardinal or similar.
April 5 Saturday. Rome. A full day guided tour with an historian that will include the Coliseum, the Vatican museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica and more. Plus free time. Breakfast and dinner included.
April 6, Sunday. Rome to Pompeii. After early breakfast, you’ll leave by bus for Pompeii, where you’ll have a tour of the ruins with a local guide. After lunch your bus tour includes part of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast en route to your hotel in Sorrento. Overnight at Hotel President or similar. Breakfast included.
April 7. Monday. You’ll take the early morning ferry from Sorrento to the Isle of Capri where you’ll visit the Blue Grotto and have hours of free time in Capri’s colorful city high above the sea. In the late afternoon you’ll return by ferry to your hotel, a la our Luciano singing “La Torna Sorrento.” Breakfast included.
April 8. Tuesday. Sorrento to Siena. Your bus drive from Sorrento to Siena takes you first to the Umbrian hill town of Orvieta and its marvelous cathedral; then into the renowned land of Tuscany. You’ll feel lifted back into Gothic times entering the walled city of Siena with its bell towers and colorful market places. There is an energy among the townspeople that reflects a pride in its antiquity—the gates out of the Middle Ages, the narrow streets, the ancient academies. Siena mingles the excitement of visitors making their discoveries with the townspeople’s’ savvy acceptance of their role as hosts, pleased by your excitement. And there is plenty to discover. We can explore the city on our own in the afternoon before meeting for dinner. Take some time. Order gelato at one of a hundred stands around town, sit at leisure with the people-watchers above the public square and soak it in. We may have to come to get you. Breakfast and dinner included.
April 9. Wednesday. Tuscany. The legacy of Francis of Assisi lives today in the worldwide commitments, adopted by millions since he lived, to help the helpless and to elevate compassion, love of nature and sharing in a world of violence and mistrust. The town of Assisi is forever linked with those movements, particularly in its Basilica, where you can view some of the finest frescoes of the pre-Renaissance era. On the way back we’ll visit the lovely Etruscan town of Cortona, preserved from the Middle Ages. It’s a place where Hannibal’s army marched in its doomed war with the Roman Empire, and a town which incidentally was the setting for the film “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Overnight in Siena. Breakfast and Dinner Included.
April 10. Thursday. Florence and Cinque Terre. We’ll start early from Siena for a tour of Florence led by a guide who knows all of this great city’s treasures. From there we’ll be driven to the Cinque Terre and the seaside village of Monterosso with time to explore after settling into our hotel quarters near the sea. Breakfast included.
April 11. Friday. Cinque Terre. We’ll spend the day soaking up old world atmosphere exploring some of the five villages. It’s relaxed, you have choices, and simply enjoy. Breakfast Included.
April 12. Saturday. Milano. We’ll ride from the Monterosso to Milan, one of the Europe’s major cities and the site of da Vinci’s “Last Supper“. Overnight at Cavalieri della Corona or similar. Breakfast and dinner included.
April 13. Sunday. Transfer to airport and, Arrivederci, sunny and beautiful Italy.