Art & Architecture of Ravenna and Bologna Escorted Tour

3 nights starting from
£1125

  • Stay in the heart of exquisite Ravenna

  • Glorious Bologna - magnificent Basilica of Saint Dominic and fascinating 17th century Anatomical Theatre

  • Two lectures from renowned art historian, Clare Ford-Wille

Emilia-Romagna's Bologna and Ravenna boast wonderful but different artistic and cultural landmarks. Bologna is a medieval tour de force - a jumble of atmospheric streets, lined with red brick and arcades, leading to magnificent Renaissance palazzi and medieval piazzas. Ravenna, once an important city at the heart of the Roman Empire, has quiet antique lanes lined with an eclectic mix of late Roman and early Byzantine architecture, and a crowning glory in the finest set of Byzantine mosaics in the world. Join Clare Ford-Wille to discover the art and architecture of these glorious cities. 

Available Departures

From

20 - April - 2023 £ 1125.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Heathrow

Departing: 20th April 2023 at 07:40

Returning: 23rd April 2023 at 16:40

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly to Bologna and visit to the Basilica of Sant Apollinare in Classe. 
Fly from London Heathrow to Bologna. On arrival, transfer to Ravenna (approx. one hour) to check-in for a three-night stay at the Hotel Bisanzio. Afternoon visit to the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe with its characteristic cylindrical bell tower and lavish mosaics. Lecture at the hotel, 'Medieval to Baroque: the art and architecture of Bologna', followed by a welcome drink and dinner with wine at a local restaurant. 

Day 2: Full day Bologna.
Today is a full day in Bologna, with morning visits to the Basilica of Saint Dominic
- home to the exquisite shrine by Nicola Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio with additions from Michelangelo, the Basilica di San Petronio and the central Piazza Maggiore. Inside the unfinished Gothic-style San Petronio you'll find chapels with a wealth of frescoes. Next visit is San Giacomo Maggiore, which houses the Bentivoglio Chapel featuring numerous Renaissance artworks, followed by Santa Cecilia Oratory to view the beautiful 16th century frescoes. This afternoon we visit the Unicredit Bank, housed in the late Renaissance Palazzo Magnani, to examine the frescoed friezes inside, including work by the Carracci brothers. This will be followed by a visit to the 17th century Anatomical theatre in Bologna's medical school. Our final visit of the day is to the Pinacoteca Nazionale to view the likes of Raphael, Guido Reni and the Carracci family. This evening there will be a lecture, 'The Mosaics of Ravenna', followed by dinner with wine at a local restaurant. 

Day 3: Full day Ravenna.
Today is a full day in Ravenna, with morning visits to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and the Basilica of San Vitale, both highly important examples of Early Christian and Byzantine art and architecture, combining Roman and Byzantine elements and wonderful Byzantine mosaics. We will also visit the Domus Tappeti dei Pietra, one of the most important Italian archaeological sites discovered in recent decades and consisting of 14 rooms paved with polychrome mosaics and marble. In the afternoon there are visits to the Neonian Baptistery, the Arian Baptistery and Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, all built in the 5th and 6th centuries and replete with spectacular early Christian mosaics. 


Day 4: Mausoleum of Throdoric, Bologna and home.
This morning we visit the ancient Mausoleum of Theodoric, built in 520AD as a tomb before being converted into an oratory by the Byzantines. We then continue onto Bologna and to the Palazzo Poggi, home of the university museums followed by visits to the Basilica di Santo Stefano, the atmospheric religious complex that includes the city's oldest church. Afternoon transfer to the airport for the return flight home. 


NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Bologna
  • Three nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Hotel Bisanzio, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room 
  • Two dinners with wine at a local restaurant 
  • Two lectures at the hotel 
  • Airport transfers, tours and entrance fees 
  • Clare Ford-Wille and tour manager throughout 

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single supplement or double for sole use
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc 
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Hotel Bisanzio, Ravenna
The modern four-star Hotel Bisanzio is located in the centre of Ravenna, close to the historic quarter and a number of shops, restaurants and trattorie. Communal areas are stylishly decorated to recall the days when Ravenna was an ancient capital and there is a peaceful garden area to enjoy. Rooms are bright, well-furnished and comfortable, with air-conditioning, private bathroom with bath or shower, TV, minibar, safe and hairdryer. 

Hotel Bisanzio Website

MORE INFO 

Please click here to see full details of this tour 

Your Lecturer - Clare Ford-Wille
Clare has lectured in most areas of art history for over thirty-five years. She still teaches at the University of London, where she obtained her degree at Birkbeck, but also lectures regularly for Morley College, the City Literary Institue, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Branches of The Arts Scoiety throughout Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Every year since 1978 Clare has led art study tours to places of artistic importance throughout Europe and the USA, including Amsterdam, Padova and Vicenza.  

For a personal account of this holiday please follow the link below to a blog by Jeff Cotton, a recent traveller on our Ravenna and Bologna tour (April 2014). We would like to thank Jeff for this contribution


Click here to visit Jeffs blog post

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Overall Impression

Very pleased with this tour. Particularly grateful that at the last minute a replacement tour leader was found, and she did exceptionally well in the circumstances. Allowing for the changes made to prevent Covid transmission the arrangements made for entrance to busy sites were astonishingly smooth. Our lecturer was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of art history but seemed to have done little detailed preparation, relying on her prior knowledge. She was therefore sometimes discursive and pointing out aspects at random. I’m very well acquainted with Ravenna sites but it was clear that some people were a bit at sea and several of us were usually clustered at interpretation boards rather than listening. Such a shame. Tiny detail: the hotel has kettles in the rooms!

Review by Anonymous who travelled 07-April-2022


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It was an excellent tour, if even a little more packed than I had expected. The day in Bologna was good but very long, partly due ,I believe, to various things not being open so we had to retrace our steps at times. The lecture that evening had to be postponed to Saturday after seeing the mosaics which was not ideal. I'm not sure how that could be improved. Barbara was a star and Claire very well informed. Occasionally we were rushed from one site to another without time for buying postcards etc although the shop had been recommended. Everything essential was fitted into the 3 days but I think we would all have liked a little more time to look around and see other things as we passed by. If you feel it is useful, a comment to BA or LHR about the chaotic landing arrangements would be very relevant. The tour was busy, as I'd expected and the delay didn't help us getting home late on a Sunday night.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 07-April-2022


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Our tour manager coped patiently with changes to entry requirements and times booked. It was a difficult situation with the world only just emerging from lockdown. Our tour guide, Clare Ford-Wille, was outstanding in her knowledge and love of the art we saw. She is also a lovely person to spend time with at meals and moments of relaxation. The hotel staff were very helpful and the breakfasts plentiful. We enjoyed the trip enormously, though saddened to learn of the fall of one of our number just as we were about to find the coach that was to take us to the airport for our return journey.

Review by Noble who travelled 07-April-2022


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I would say that the brochure description of the hotel is rather too fulsome. My bed was, frankly, very hard and uncomfortable. My bathroom was fine but my friend's bath next door was very slippery.There was an area that could be described as a bar but I would not rate it as stylish and it was not evident that drinks could be served there. Any garden was a bush and a small area of grass. To be fair, however, the hotel was conveniently placed for visiting the sights and it was very clean.

Review by Goldstein who travelled 07-April-2022


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The tour manager, Barbara, was excellent as was the tour lecturer, Clare. I loved the trip and would recommend it highly.

Review by Hamilton who travelled 07-April-2022


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Clare is an amazing art historian and Barbara is a very efficient tour manager They responded very quickly to an unexpected art gallery closure on the final afternoon - we went to an excellent exhibition instead. Maybe using a hotel in Bologne would have been better?

Review by Moss who travelled 17-August-2022


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I thoroughly enjoyed the trip both because the organisation by the tour manager, Tessa, was so good and flexible when need be and because Claire Ford-Wille is such an enthusiastic and well-informed art historian. I should have liked a little time to wander independently in Bologna.

Review by Worsley who travelled 21-March-2019


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Claire and Tessa were excellent in all regards and very competent in their separate roles. Claire's knowledge and communication skills were outstanding.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 21-March-2019


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Always wanted to travel to Ravenna and was amazed at the fabulous early Christian and Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna. Bologna which is a medieval tour de force with grand medieval and Renaissance architecture, historic monuments and covered arcades that wind around the old quarter. Our tour manager Claire Ford Willie was very knowledgeable and gave us a wealth of information.

Review by Rudolph who travelled 21-March-2019


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Excellent and comprehensive tour of key historic sights with an emphasis on the mosaics. Claire was oustanding and paced the tour brilliantly. The lectures and Q&A sessions were excellent. One comment is that the choice of restaurants for included dinners should provide the opportunity to experience the local/regional cuisine.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 21-March-2019


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 21-March-2019


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Review by who travelled 12-April-2018


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A most enjoyable four days, efficiently and pleasantly managed. Clare Ford-Wille was a mine of interesting information, without ever telling us too much, so that we also had time to look round on our own.

Review by Wilson who travelled 12-April-2018


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This tour was very well arranged though for this short time it was a kind of tour de force. However, most enjoyable and educational. We saw so many absolutely beautiful things andI learned so much with an excellent lecturer and a very good and helpful tour manager. I am now looking forward to my next one, sometime this year, in the UK.

Review by Bierau who travelled 12-April-2018


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Review by who travelled 12-April-2018


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Clare was excellent - unbelievable range of knowledge. Good at getting on with people. Tessa was also excellent - always checking that everything was going according to plan, and also very personable. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. The siting and the quality of the hotel was terrific, and the staff were helpful. The arranged meals were good too, although the second one was a bit disappointing. All in all, it worked very well. Very pleased that I went on this trip.

Review by Turner who travelled 12-April-2018


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Actually 22 people,your website only went to 10! Superb trip,thought I was going to see eg. Roman mosaics that they walked on.No idea that interior wall and rooves could be so colourful and beautiful. Tess and Clare were just superb.Tess was particularly helpful and kind to my wife on the longer walks. Back home we are doing the washing and garden,and perhaps next week we can have a rest. Thanks for a great trip.

Review by Nelson who travelled 12-April-2018


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I enjoyed the trip very much. Clare is an excellent guide, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and always willing to answer questions with patience. Tessa is efficient and pleasant and looked after the group very well. I will certainly choose these ladies again.

Review by Lewis who travelled 12-April-2018


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Both tour manager, Tessa, and art historian, Claire, were brilliant - efficient, knowledgeable, endlessly patient and very good company, The holiday was a great success

Review by Mrs Anne Sullivan who travelled 06-April-2017


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Claire's depth of knowledge made everything extra enjoyable. A plus being the audio set so you could hear clearly what she was saying even if she was not visible. Tessa was an excellent TM & especially helpful to me. Ravenna & Bologna are 2 delightful Italian towns & we were given the opportunity to see so many beautiful treasures. A friendly group & I enjoyed eating in local restaurants with very good food. A very enjoyable 4 days & would recommend this to anyone.

Review by Mrs Patricia Fuller who travelled 06-April-2017


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A wonderful tour to a destination I had wanted to see for years; it did not disappoint. Bring on Urbino!

Review by Mr Trevor Davis who travelled 07-April-2016


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This Tour surpassed my expectations. Barbara made the arrangements with the minimum of fuss and Clare was an ideal guide to the wonderful art treasures visited. The accommodation was comfortable and the dinners provided were excellent. All in all a very enjoyable and enriching experience.

Review by Mrs Elizabeth Edwards who travelled 07-April-2016


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Very impressed with whole tour. Days very full, but varied and interesting visits. Hotel and restaurants excellent.Clare Ford Wille very knowledgeable and Barbara supremely well organised and really looked after us. Five stars plus!

Review by Miss Christine Brown who travelled 07-April-2016


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The dedication, energy, enthusiasm and people skills of the tour manager were outstanding. The hotel room while just right for single occupancy would have been too small for two. Also there was no cupboard space. Overall - an enjoyable trip.

Review by Dr Christiane Brown who travelled 07-April-2016


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A lovely tour based in Ravenna with wonderful sights,a good hotel well located and some great restaurants.

Review by Mrs Wendy Rushton who travelled 07-April-2016


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Review by Mr Probo Bernie who travelled 07-April-2016


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Both Claire and Barbara were excellent in their respective roles.

Review by Mr Michael Salt who travelled 07-April-2016


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Absolutely first class.

Review by Mrs Morag Collyer who travelled 07-April-2016


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Both art historian Clare Ford-Wille and tour manager Barbara were wonderfully kind and efficient

Review by Mrs Wendy Crozier who travelled 08-April-2015


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Clare Ford-Wille is an excellent Art and History lecturer whose knowledge is inexhaustible, and whose enthusiasm and energy hold a group together. Barbara Santarelli is a meticulous tour manager who has the skill of attending to every detail while presenting a wonderful sense of humour. The combination of this pair was a major advantage to the content of this tour. I shall seek out your tours led by Clare and Barbara in the future. I think it would be a help to the readers of your brochure to know who the lecturers will be when you compile "A Guide to our Tours" 2016-2017, instead of having to get this information from the web of each specific holiday category.

Review by Mrs Cecile Goorney who travelled 08-April-2015

Travel Editions feedback:

Thank you for the feedback and we were pleased you enjoyed the tour. We do publish the name of the 'lecturer' for the majority of our Art&History tours but unfortunately we do not know at the time of printing the brochure who the Tour Manager will be and so, to avoid disappointment, we do not promise a particular guide.


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I enjoyed this tour very much but I think it would have been preferable if the second day had been spent in Ravenna. We had all had very early starts on the first day so a 6.15 wake-up call to go to Bologna was not appreciated! It would also have made assimilating the information easier with two consecutive visits to Bologna as the things we were looking at in the two centres were completely unconnected. As always Clare Ford-Wille did a fantastic job with her incredible breadth of knowledge and expertise.

Review by Mrs Vivien Herring who travelled 08-April-2015


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Review by Mr G Kerslake who travelled 08-April-2015


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Review by Russell who travelled 08-April-2015


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