DAY 1: BOLOGNA – Check-in at Grand Hotel Majestic Bologna & Welcome Dinner

DAY 2: PADOVA – Scrovegni Chapel & St. Anthony’s Basilica

DAY 3: MODENA – Cathedral & Balsamic Vinegar Cellar

DAY 4: MANTOVA: Sant’Andrea Basilica, Palazzo Ducale & Palazzo Te

DAY 5: PARMA – National Gallery, San Giovanni Evangelista Church, Parma Cathedral and Baptistery, Camera di San Paolo & Parmigiano Reggiano Cheesemaker

DAY 6: MILAN – Pinacoteca di Brera, Leonardo’s Last Supper & Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pietà

DAY 7: Check-out of Grand Hotel et de Milan

This week-long program in Italy will examine the Renaissance art and architecture of Northern Italy. Although Florence and Rome are usually considered to be the centers of Renaissance art, many cities north of the Apennines were also centers of extraordinary artistic production. Many believe that this was the result of an artistic “contamination,” as many of Florence’s greatest artists, such as Giotto, Donatello, Alberti, and Leonardo da Vinci, traveled to northern cities, exposing them to the ideas and movements of the Renaissance. Cities such as Parma would instead produce their own local geniuses such as Correggio and Parmigianino, whose work would rival that of any central Italian master. Regardless of the reason, by the end of the 15th century, much of Italy’s greatest art was being produced in cities that are better known today for their industry or culinary traditions. By examining this art, history, and culture of these cities firsthand, we will define the meaning of the Renaissance in Northern Italy.

Accompanied service

Hotel Main Attractions Guide Sightseeing Tickets Meals

Special offer


Join us for a luxurious and customized experience in Northern Italy where participants will

  1. Explore the great artistic and architectural treasures of the area with Dr. Rocky
  2. Come up close and personal with the art treasures in the various museums and churches of six different Northern Italian cities – Bologna, Padua, Modena, Mantua, Parma, and Milan – including works by Renaissance masters such as Giotto, Donatello, Mantegna, Correggio, and Leonardo da Vinci
  3. Taste the food and wine of three different Northern Italian regions – the Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Lombardy – in hand-picked restaurants for daily group lunches and welcome and farewell dinners
  4. Enjoy and learn about two of Italy’s most celebrated culinary treasures – Balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – directly where they are produced at a selected acetaia (vinegar cellar) and caseificio (cheese farm)
  5. Enjoy a private visit of one the world’s most famous works of art – Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
  6. Experience an extended visit of Giotto’s breathtaking Scrovegni Chapel
  7. Travel between cities in private luxury minivans
  8. Sojourn at three different historic luxury five-star hotels in Bologna (Grand Hotel Majestic), Modena (Hotel Rua Frati 48), and Milan (Grand Hotel et de Milan)

Activity Level: Moderate

Walking tours and on-site visits may entail uneven terrain such as cobblestones and city hills, as well as challenging environments with stairs without handrails and/or the absence of elevators).



Arrival in Bologna and check-in at the Grand Hotel Majestic.

7:30 pm Welcome Dinner


DAY 2: MONDAY, MAY 30, 2022 – PADOVA

9:30 am Depart for Padova in private minivans

11:00 am – Visit of the Scrovegni Chapel
Giotto’s 14th-century fresco cycle in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy, is perhaps the seminal motion picture in Western Art and Dr. Rocky’s favorite work of art! In the frescoes of the chapel, Giotto transformed the iconic, sacred subjects of his contemporary painting world into an incredibly human story – or what I like to call the “visual vernacular.” Drama, psychology, movement, suspense, and raw human emotion transform the entire picture cycle into a veritable Medieval movie.

12:30 pm Group lunch in Padova’s historic center

2:30 Visit of the Basilica di Sant’Antonio
In 1455, the great Florentine sculptor, Donatello, also went to Padua in order to create a large, bronze equestrian monument to the mercenary general Erasmo dei Narni, whose nickname was Gattamelata, or “Honey Cat.” Donatello’s majestic sculpture was the first equestrian monument since Roman times, and today still stands outside of the church of the Santo, which is the nickname for the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua and is one of Europe’s most important pilgrimage churches. Donatello was then commissioned by the friars of the church to produce a series of bronze sculptures to decorate the high altar of their church. These often-overlooked sculptures are not only some of Donatello’s finest, but are also some of the most influential works of the Renaissance.

3:30 pm Return to Bologna in private minivans

5:00 pm – Free evening in Bologna



9:30 am – Check-out of Bologna hotel; Depart for Modena in private minivans

11:00 am – Walking Tour of Modena and Visit of the Duomo di Modena
Enjoy the beautiful medieval historical center of this great city with its characteristic loggia-covered sidewalks, late 15th-century Tower of the Clock and stunning Romanesque-style cathedral.

12:30 pm Group lunch in Modena’s historic center

2:00 pm – Depart for Acetaia in private minivans

2:30 pm – “Black Gold” – Exclusive Visit of a Modena Acetaia (Balsamic Vinegar Cellar)
Modena is home to this exquisite culinary product and enjoys a “Protected Geographical Indication.” Learn about the art of crafting and history of this most refined of condiment delicacies – balsamic vinegar – and then indulge in a private tasting in order to acquire the skills to be able to evaluate its quality.

3:30 pm Return to Modena in private minivans

4:30 pm – Hotel check-in; Free evening in Modena
Arrival in Modena and check-in at the Hotel Rua Frati 48.




9:30 am – Depart for Mantova in private minivans

10:45 am –Visit of the Façade of the Basilica di Sant’Andrea
The Basilica of Sant’Andrea was designed by the great Florentine architect, Leon Battista Alberti and is the first great Renaissance-style church in northern Italy. Its façade best embodies the return to classical architectural philosophy that characterized the Renaissance. Sant’Andrea is also celebrated for housing one of Christianity’s greatest relics – the blood of Christ brought to Italy by St. Longinus himself.

11:30 am –Visit of Camera degli Sposi in Mantova’s the Palazzo Ducale
The Camera degli Sposi (1465-1474) is celebrated Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna’s most famous work. Decorating the reception room of the Marquis of Mantua, Ludovico III Gonzaga, Mantegna created an incredibly vivid “picture” of life at a Renaissance court. In addition to the various portraits of the royal family that Mantegna included in his fresco, he also captured the less “noble” elements of court life such as the dwarf jesters and actual portraits of the royal dogs.

12:45 pm – Group lunch in Modena’s historic center

2:30 pm –Visit of the Palazzo Te
The Palazzo Te (1526-1535) was both designed and decorated by the great Mannerist artist and Raphael pupil, Giulio Romano. Built as the new royal summer residence and pleasure palace of the Marquis-turned-Duke of Mantua, Federico II Gonzaga, every detail of the building was intended to delight the visitor. From the Sala dei Cavalli where the Gonzaga and their guests would banquet surrounded by actual portraits of their prize-winning horses, to the scandalously erotic paintings in the Sala of Psyche, and, finally, to the staggering Sala dei Giganti, with its colossal-scale figures that create a veritable sense of virtual reality, the Palazzo Te is one of the world’s most unique and beautiful buildings.

3:45 pm – Return to Modena in private minivans

5:00 pm – Free evening in Modena



9:00 am – Check-out of Modena hotel; Depart for Parma in private minivans

10:15 am – Visit of the National Gallery of Parma
The Pinacoteca of Parma contains an amazing collection of works by Correggio, as well as Parmigianino’s celebrated Turkish Slave and one of Leonardo’s most beautiful female figures, known as La Scapiliata.

11:15 am – Visit of San Giovanni Evangelista
Correggio’s first great dome painting (1520) was for the Benedictine church of San Giovanni Evangelista. Here he painted an ambiguous subject of Jesus flying through the air in a daring di sotto in sù perspective and surrounded by the twelve apostles. Surprisingly, one of the apostles was intentionally hidden from public view and was only visible to the celebrating clergy.

11:30 am – Visit of the Duomo di Parma and Baptistery
Correggio’s other breath-taking dome fresco is the Assumption of the Virgin (1526) in the dome of Parma cathedral. Gigantic figures of the apostles stand below an explosion of heavenly clouds and hundreds of writhing angels that create a kind of celestial architecture upon which the Virgin Mary is assumed into heaven. The dramatic energy and theatricality of the painting is a clear harbinger of the great Baroque paintings of the following century.

12:30 pm – Group lunch in Parma’s historic center

2:00 pm – Visit of the Camera di San Paolo
The Camera di San Paolo (1519) was Correggio’s first major commission in Parma. In the private quarters of a Benedictine abbess named Giovanna Piacenza, he executed a decorative fresco program filled with mythological and festive motifs. The particularly beautiful illusionistic ceiling decoration was a sort of a warm-up for the stunning domes he would paint in the following years.

2:30 pm – Depart for Parmigiano Reggiano cheesemaker in private minivans

3:00 pm – “The King of Cheeses” – Visit of Local Caseificio Parmigiano Reggiano
Only 329 dairy farms in the world can produce Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and they are all located around the city of Parma, from which the cheese takes its name. We shall spend the afternoon learning about the complex art of producing this cheese and then enjoy an exquisite tasting of its various aged forms. There is nothing in the world like eating Parmigiano Reggiano directly from a freshly cracked wheel at the very dairy farm that produced it!

4:00 pm – Depart for Milan in private minivans

6:00 pm – Hotel check-in; Free evening in Milan
Arrival in Milan and check-in at the Grand Hotel et de Milan.




9:30 am – Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera
The Brera Gallery includes works by the Bellini brothers, Tintoretto, Raphael, Piero della Francesca, and Caravaggio. We shall explore this extraordinary collection of Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings in the majestic setting of the Palazzo Brera.

12:00 pm – Group lunch in Milan

1:30 pm – Visit Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
Seeking to soften the militant and belligerent reputation of the Lombard capital city, Duke Ludovico “the Moor” Sforza sought the services of an extraordinary artist and inventor from Florence by the name of Leonardo da Vinci. The artist’s arrival in Milan in 1481 marked a turning point in Milan’s history, introducing the Renaissance to the great northern city. The 18 years that Leonardo spent in Milan were some of his most productive and where he produced his Last Supper. We shall visit the Cenacolo, or “refectory” of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria to view Leonardo’s great mural of the Last Supper firsthand.

2:30 pm – Visit the Castello Sforzesco – Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pietà and Leonardo da Vinci’s Sala delle Asse
The so-called Rondanini Pietà was Michelangelo’s last sculpture. Intended as his own funerary monument, the artist worked on the piece over the last decade of his life. Tragic and frail in appearance, the sculpture is often interpreted as reflecting the fragile state of mind of an extraordinary artist in the twilight of his life. We shall also visit Leonardo da Vinci’s absolutely unique example of painted “arboreal architecture” in the recently restored Sala delle Asse, where he panted 16 trees on the walls of the room, whose branches form a complex illusionistic pergola above the viewer’s head.

3:30 pm Free time

7:30 pm Farewell Dinner



All participants will be staying at three different historic luxury five-star hotels:


Grand Hotel Majestic – 5 Star

Via dell’Indipendenza, 8

40121 Bologna


+39 051 225 445









Hotel Rua Frati 48 in San Francesco – 5 Star

Rua dei Frati Minori, 48

41121 Modena


+39 059 747 4411









Grand Hotel et de Milan – 5 Stars

Via Manzoni, 29

20121 Milan


+39 02 723 141









  • Participants will enjoy a DELUXE DOUBLE ROOM (possibility to upgrade room)
  • Breakfast is included







All transportation will be provided by private luxury vans with drivers.


Dates & Prices

MAY 29 – JUNE 4, 2022

Double Occupancy – $6,790.00/person

Single Occupancy – $7,590.00/person


–        6-night accommodations in Deluxe Double rooms in all hotels (breakfast included)

–        All lectures with Rocky

–        All admissions

–        All group lunches and welcome and farewell dinner

–        All ground transportation on between May 29 and June 4, 2022

–        Welcome and Farewell dinners


Not included:

Airfare to Italy and transportation to Bologna/from Milan.

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of 30% of the course fee is required to reserve a space on a program. All payments may be made by credit card or check. Deposits are applied to final payment of the program price.

The balance is due 60 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the program.

Wait List:
If the program of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting us at [email protected] or by phone. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about program status by contacting us. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the program for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Rocky Ruggiero. We will refund on the following basis:
– Cancellations within 10 days of booking: Full Refund
– Cancellations after 10 days of booking: Full Deposit Retained
– Cancellations made within final payment date, 60 days before departure: No Refund
– Cancellation by Rocky Ruggiero: Full Refund or Credit

COVID-19 Cancellation Policy:
In light of the current worldwide pandemic, should a program be postponed or cancelled due to covid-19:

– we can transfer your reservation to a rescheduled date, or
– if you prefer a refund, we will provide you with one.

We will communicate any changes as they happen, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Special Travel Arrangements:
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. We will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the program, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the program.

Neither Rocky Ruggiero nor faculty shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. Rocky Ruggiero and other faculty reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

Rocky Ruggiero and designated faculty also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the program announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a program, or to require any participant to withdraw from the program at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by program staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the program group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, are subject to change and revision.

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this program, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the program materials and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the program and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the program materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel program, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of program staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the program, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release Rocky Ruggiero, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of program staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this program, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a “Rocky Ruggiero Program in Italy”, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.