Italy and Greece can feel like portals to the past, brimming with cities and ruins seemingly frozen in a different era. Transport yourself to these timeless places on a journey through Tuscany to Delphi, Athens, and Náfplio. Alongside knowledgeable trip leaders and a National Geographic expert, immerse yourself in a world of ancient myths and legends, taste delicious Greek and Italian specialties, and photograph the rich traditions of the Mediterranean.
Arrive in Italy and settle into our traditional Italian villa, nestled into a hillside overlooking the beautiful city of Florence. Walk cobbled roads into the city’s well-preserved historic center—the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Visit the Accademia to marvel at Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece—the statue of David—and then wander down the city streets seeking out sculptures depicting figures from ancient Roman mythology, like Hercules and Medusa. Chat with vendors at an open-air market to learn the secrets of assembling the perfect Italian picnic, and then sit down to enjoy your lunch in a nearby piazza.
Travel by train to the picturesque villages in the Tuscan countryside. Climb Pisa’s legendary leaning tower, explore Machiavelli’s rural estate, or try your hand at making traditional, wood-fired pizza in a local farm’s brick oven. On hikes in the countryside, capture images of tapered cypress trees on the hilltops, or take portraits of local farmers framed by fields of sunflowers. In the evenings, play pickup soccer with Italian teenagers, or sample rich flavors in some of the world’s oldest family-run gelaterias. Then set out on a nighttime photo shoot to capture images of Florence in different light.
Fly via Athens to Delphi, an archaeological site perched dramatically on the shoulder of Mount Parnassus. Step into a world of ancient mythology and antiquity as you wander these remarkably well-preserved ruins. Stand beneath the towering Temple of Apollo, where the Greeks once worshipped the sun God and mythical son of Zeus. See the oldest gymnasium in all of Greece, as well as theaters, treasuries, altars, and stadiums. Imagine what life here was like more than 3,000 years ago, and use photography or writing to tell your own stories of the stone statues that immortalize ancient gods and heroes. Visit the site of the Delphic Oracle who, according to legend, spoke for the God Apollo and told many of the prophecies that shaped the Hellenic Period.
Return to Athens and immerse yourself in the city’s history as we visit some of its most famous sites. Climb the soaring rock of the Acropolis, crowned by the ruins of the Parthenon—the iconic temple honoring Athena, patron goddess of the city. Take in panoramic views of the ancient and modern structures sprawling below, and consider how Athens has changed during its 7,000 years of human occupation. Sample Greek specialties at the Athens Central Market, and then continue to the National Archaeological Museum, home to more than 11,000 relics of Greek antiquity, including ornate sculptures, pottery, and jewelry.
Cap off your experience in the charming seaport of Náfplio. Set on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese in the shadow of a cliff-top castle, Náfplio’s pedestrian streets wind down the hillside to a tiny beach. Join in the festivities at a town street fair, or stroll down to the beach for a swim in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Argolís. Take a day trip to Mycenae to discover the home of the legendary king Agamemnon, leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War as told in Homer’s Iliad. Visit one of the world’s best preserved Greek theaters at Epidaurus; and hike along the rugged seaside slopes on the nearby island of Hydra before enjoying a picnic lunch at a local farm. Spend the final days of your journey sharing photos and stories with your new friends as we celebrate along Náfplio’s beautiful beach.