Caravaggio On The Run

5 nights starting from
£1855

  • St John’s Cathedral Valletta with its two Caravaggio paintings – Beheading of St John the Baptist and St Jerome Writing

  • Stay in glorious Ortigia in Sicily at the superb 5* Grand Hotel Ortigia

  • Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, Ortigia to see the Burial of St Lucy

  • Museo Regionale di Messina for the The Resurrection of Lazarus and Adoration of the Shepherds

  • Two talks and day by day commentary from Dr Peter Higginson

Our Caravaggio tour in Italy has been extremely popular so we have put together a follow up tour with Dr. Peter Higginson to look at the artist’s flight to Malta and Sicily following his escape from Rome in 1606 after murdering a gangland rival. After some nine months in Naples, in his struggle to re-establish a firm artistic base and stable network of patronage, Caravaggio travelled in July 1607 to Malta to secure a position for himself among the prestigious, wealthy, and extremely powerful Order of Knights of St. John of Malta. And so began what was to turn out to be a deeply harrowing period for the remaining three years of his life, and in the process the production of an astonishing collection of new paintings.

Within some thirteen months of his stay in Valetta, Caravaggio had not only achieved the status of a knighthood, but also very soon after the condemnation for an assault on one of his fellow knights, leading to his imprisonment in a dungeon pit in the Order’s fortress. Reputedly inescapable, Caravaggio nevertheless managed to mysteriously escape and make a run for it to nearby Sicily. Here in rapid succession over some ten months he produced a series of extraordinary art works in Syracusa, Messina and finally in Palermo; and all the time constantly on the lookout for the Knights of St John death squads. From Palermo he was, once again, forced to move. This time back to Naples. with the hope of eventually securing a papal pardon; the relative safety of life in Rome; and the possibility of winning further lucrative commissions in the Mother city. It was while in Naples, in a notorious bar, that his face was brutally disfigured by a gang, arguably hired by the ever-revengeful knights of Malta.

Caravaggio’s art production during these three years was extraordinary, taking his already radical stylistic innovations to now unprecedented extremes. Often the works reveal a new harsh and dark tone. Most people agree that these artistic developments were indeed reflective of a deeply troubled man, undergoing profound spiritual, social and psychological crises of identity. It is a fascinating story, both personally and artistically with a wealth of paintings and sights explored on this wonderful new tour in the company of Dr Peter Higginson, a Caravaggio expert and enthusiast.

Available Departures

From

11 - November - 2024 £ 1855.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 11th November 2024 at 07:25

Returning: 16th November 2024 at 13:40

10 - March - 2025 £ 2299.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 10th March 2025 at 07:25

Returning: 15th March 2025 at 13:45

10 - November - 2025 £ 2299.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 10th November 2025 at 07:25

Returning: 15th November 2025 at 13:45

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Malta.
Transfer to the hotel for check-in. Flight timings permitting, afternoon walking tour of Old Valletta with a local guide. Evening welcome drink and talk at the hotel from Dr Peter Higginson – ‘Caravaggio as Artist and Knight of the Order of St John of Malta’ followed by dinner with wine.

Day 2: Full day Valletta
A full day exploring Malta’s fascinating and historic capital city, starting with a guided visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral and Oratory, which boasts two paintings by Caravaggio – Beheading of St John the Baptist and St Jerome Writing. Time for lunch at own expense before a guided afternoon visit of the Grand Masters Palace and Armoury. Evening talk at the hotel from Peter – ‘The Artist Takes Flight: An Itinerant Artist in Naples, Malta and Sicily.’ Evening free for dinner at own expense.

Day 3: Valletta and Ferry to Sicily
Morning visit to the Malta Experience, an audio-visual show which chronicles Malta’s unique 7,000-year history in 45 minutes, before visiting the Sacra Infermeria (The Knight’s Hospital). Free time for lunch at own expense before visiting Fort St Angelo to see the dungeon pit, where Caravaggio was imprisoned. From here to the ferry port for the crossing from Valetta to Pozzallo. On arrival in Pozzallo, we’ll enjoy a pizza dinner at a local restaurant before transferring to Ortigia and check in to the 5-star Grand Hotel Ortigia for a three-night stay.  Please note that there is a 15 minute walk from the coach park to the hotel (luggage to be transported by minivan).

Day 4: Full day Ortigia
Walking tour of Ortigia with Peter to include a visit to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia to view Burial of St Lucy. Free time for lunch (not included) before visiting the Museo Regionale di Palazzo Bellomo housed in an 14th century palace that is home to an important art collection. Evening free for dinner at own expense.

Day 5: Full day Messina
This morning we drive to Messina with a talk from Peter on the coach. Here we will visit the Museo Regionale di Messina for The Resurrection of Lazarus and Adoration of the Shepherds. Return to Ortigia for a farewell dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 6: Return flight to London Gatwick
Some free time this morning (flight times permitting) to spend exploring Ortigia or Siracusa at leisure before transfer to Catania Airport for return flight to London Gatwick.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 24 passengers.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion.
Please note that some Caravaggio paintings may be removed from museums due to prearrange loans. 

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Valletta, returning from Catania
  • Two nights' accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the four-star Embassy Hotel, Valletta,  based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room 
  • Three nights’ accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the five-star Grand Hotel, Ortigia, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room 
  • One dinner with wine at the hotel in Valletta 
  • One dinner at local pizza restaurant in Pozzallo
  • Farewell dinner with wine at local restaurant in Ortigia
  • Two lectures at the hotel in Valletta
  • Transfers, tours and all entrance fees 
  • Ferry from Valletta to Pozzallo
  • Dr Peter Higginson throughout 

NOT INCLUDED

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

HOTELS

Embassy Hotel, Valletta (2 nights)

Stylish four-star hotel in the heart of the city overlooking the Cathedral, the Embassy boasts a rooftop bar and restaurant, Japanese restaurant, Courtyard Bar, outdoor pool, cinema and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities including en-suite bathrooms, TV, telephone, air-conditioning, safe, hairdryer, tea/coffee making facilities and complimentary water.

Hotel Website 

Grand Hotel Ortigia, Ortigia (3 nights)

The superb, five-star Grand Hotel Ortigia is a classical, traditional luxury hotel, located in the heart of the island of Ortigia, the ancient and picturesque neighbourhood of the regional capital, Siracuse, surrounded by the sea. Facilities here include a wonderful terrace bar, restaurant, grand public areas, spa (at extra cost) and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities including en-suite bathroom, TV, telephone, wifi, safe, minibar and hairdryer. 

Hotel website

MORE INFO - Please click here for more information on this tour

Your lecturer and tour guide - Dr Peter Higginson
Dr Peter Higginson specialises in the art and culture of early modern Europe, and the modern period.  He has taught numerous university courses abroad and has wide experience in leading cultural tours to different parts of Europe including Bilbao, Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris and further afield to Cuba. Caravaggio is probably his greatest artistic passion and formed the focus of his doctoral research.  His enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment have earned him rave reviews from the many clients who have travelled with him on a Travel Editions’ tour over the past seven years.

Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Excellent action packed follow up to the equally excellent Rome/Milan Caravaggio tour two weeks earlier. Dr Peter Higginson is an expert lecturer and intriguing, a good combination, and opened up Caravaggio's world of splendour, artistry, religious controversy and backstreet thuggery with enthusiasm. We were very well looked after and had a really good time.

Review by anonymous who travelled 18-March-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Peter Higginson is an excellent lecturer on art history, but is also very good on local history. Good local guides in Malta, particularly for the walk round Valletta. Accommodation much better than in Rome 2023 on the spring Caravaggio tour.

Review by anonymous who travelled 18-March-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

No question about the meals provided, one which was poor (first night in Sicily) and the other which included cheese which was off. Shame when the first night’s meal was so good. I think you could also offer a more detailed timetable in advance so there’s less hanging around.

Review by Bishop who travelled 18-March-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Peter was above great, despite 1 day of concerning illness. Hotel best I've had on any TE tour. I am deeply grateful to Neil, who took my @6am anxiety-ridden call after I slept in, & had me booked on an alternate flight within the 1/2 hour! KUDOS!!

Review by Stewart who travelled 18-March-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

I enjoyed finding out about Caravaggio. Peter was an enthusiastic informative and interesting guide. The combination of Malta and Sicily enticed my booking as I hadn’t been to either before. The hotel in Malta exceeded expectations in all areas. The hotel in Sicily fell below standards as I had to call maintenance staff on several occasions to mend the toilet. At one stage I filled leaky waste paper bins to preserve hygiene. However this did not detract from the satisfying lectures and tours. A special mention of “The Malta Experience” film, this consolidated history in a visual sense. I was very impressed with the other guests’ knowledge of art and we all enjoyed each other’s company. Thank you Travel Editions for enlightening me.

Review by Wiles who travelled 18-March-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Really needed more detail about programme each day with timings. Malta hotel excellent, poky room in Ortigia, meals, other than first night in Malta, poor. It may be the nature of group tours, but too much hanging around for the tardy. Hotel on arrival in Sicily said no wine ... outrageous!

Review by Bishop who travelled 18-March-2024


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