Our Journeys

Experiencing the Etruscans: A special guided tour by Archaeologist Louise Maciejewski
October 3-13, 2016


Experiencing the Etruscans – Fall 2016

11 days, 10 nights
2 nights in Rome
3 nights in Viterbo
4 nights at a resort in the Tuscan country side
1 night in Florence

Price: $3,785
Single room supplement: $680
Extension in Florence: 1 hotel night and special visit to Uffizi Museum and Vasari Corridor: $265 per person – $115 single room supplement

About Your Archaeologist/Guide:
Louise Maciejewski earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology in London, England, and completed her Masters degree in the study of Etruscans and Etruria at the University of Siena (Italy). She has also studied the art of biography and has broad experience in fine arts conservation, having worked at a renowned studio in Milan, as well as the Italian Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali. In the last few years she has published various articles on the history and prehistory of Cortona and its surrounding area. She has also a close connection to the MAEC (Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona) where she is often asked to participate in local projects. Learn more about Louise below.


DAY 0 - October 2 - Departure from the US

Please depart from the US on October 2nd.

DAY 1 - October 3 - Arrival in Rome

Upon arrival in the immortal city of Rome you will be transferred from the airport to a charming centrally located hotel. You will join your fellow travellers for a welcome talk and dinner. You will also meet Archaeologist Louise Maciejewski, who will be with you guide throughout the trip. Sleep in Rome

DAY 2 - October 4 - Rome and Villa Giulia

This morning you will start your Etruscan discovery with a visit to the amazing treasures of the Villa Giulia museum, which houses the largest collection of Etruscan artifacts in the world. You will see the famed archaic life size sarcophagus of the married couple as well as the archaic free standing Apollo of Veii. You will have the afternoon on your own to relax, visit something you have yet to see in Rome or enjoy an optional walking tour with a very special and informative local guide. Sleep in Rome

DAY 3 - October 5 - Cerveteri and Viterbo

This morning you will say good-bye to Rome and will spend the day discovering ancient Caisra, modern Cerveteri. You will first visit the famous Banditaccia necropolis where you will spend the morning going in and out of tombs from the Archaic to Classical periods (wear comfortable shoes!). We will lunch in an Etruscan trattoria and then tour the charming museum in the historical center of the town which houses some of the finest artifacts that have surfaced from Cerveteri. At the end of your visits you will transfer to Viterbo and will check in at your beautiful hotel, where you will stay for the next three nights. Sleep in Viterbo

DAY 4 - October 6 - Tarquinia

You will visit Tarquinia today and see the largest collection of archaic tomb painting in all of the Mediterranean! The tombs are located on a hill where more than 6000 burial chambers have been located and where about 200 are beautifully painted – in a time frame of about five centuries. Please wear comfortable shoes once again – we will be going in and out of tombs that date from the archaic to the Hellenistic periods! After the visit to the necropolis we will visit the museum in the historical center of town in the Palazzo Vitelleschi. Once back in Viterbo you will have some time on own to shop or just relax and enjoy this very special city. Sleep in Viterbo

DAY 5 - October 7 - Orvieto

This morning you will head to Orvieto, which is one of the most beautiful small towns in Central Italy. Built on a high plateau of tufa rock, this historic town will surely be a cultural highlight of your trip. Louise will show you the very interesting necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo and the National Archaeological Museum. You will then visit a pastry shop that rests above a secret, mile-long Etruscan tunnel. One of our friends, Maurizio, the shop's owner and an early proponent of the Slow Food Movement, will teach you a few Umbrian cooking secrets after showing you the private tunnels his father has been renovating for over 20 years. After a delicious lunch at Maurizio’s, you will have time to visit Orvieto’s beautiful duomo and the very frescoes that inspired Michelangelo to paint his “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel. Tonight you will pack and get ready for your transfer to Tuscany tomorrow. Sleep in Viterbo

DAY 6 - October 8 - Sarteano and Chiusi

This morning you will head to the small village of Sarteano. Strategically located between Val D’Orcia and Valdichiana in Tuscany, it has been inhabited for millennia. Some of the most important Etruscan tombs of the region are located here – and you will visit one of the most recent painted tombs to be unearthed. This tomb presents some extremely unique subject matter, hence the name of the tomb, The Tomb of the Infernal Quadriga. You will then visit the local Archaeological museum and have time to meander in the centre – where you will jump ahead in history to enjoy a totally medieval atmosphere!

In the afternoon you will visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Chiusi—one of Tuscany secret treasures. This Museum is a lasting testament to the once great city that was Chiusi and houses some of the famed canopic urns fashioned to replicate the deceased. At the end of this intense day you will transfer to a beautiful resort in the hearth of Tuscany, your home for the next four nights. Sleep in the Tuscan countryside

DAY 7 - October 9 - Cortona

This morning you will start your exploration of Tuscany with a visit of Cortona. You will enjoy a visit of MAEC museum, combination of the very historical collection of the Etruscan Academy and the lately found artifacts and modern display of the city of Cortona. Here, among other interesting objects, you will see the famous Tabula Cortonensis, one of the few long texts written in Etruscan language ever to be found. You will then have time to enjoy the city centre or just relax at our countryside resort. Sleep in the Tuscan countryside

DAY 8 - October 10 - Tuscany relaxation and cooking class experience

No Etruscans today – as we have other plans for you this morning! You will enjoy a relaxed departure and drive from your resort to a small farmhouse, where you will spend several hours in a hands-on cooking class in a super-friendly environment. You will sample some of the fresh products from the farm, including honey and olive oil, and enjoy a great lunch. You will have the rest of your day to enjoy the pool at your resort and/or just relax and sip a great glass of wine overlooking the vineyards. Sleep in the Tuscan countryside

DAY 9 - October 11 - Volterra

Today you will visit the very charming Volterra. You will surely enjoy walking through this lively town, with its many shops, restaurants and cafes. Today you will soak in the city’s Medieval past, but this area has been inhabited for millennia. The most important element for us will be its Etruscan heritage. After a stroll to the imposing Porta dell’Arco you will visit the Guarnacci Museum – which houses the celebrated ombre della sera—abstract statuettes related to cult and ritual of the Etruscans (These statuettes inspired the famous Swiss Italian sculptor Giacometti). In addition, we will see the Volterran alabaster urns that were mass produced at this city during Etruscan times. Today the city still produces artifacts in alabaster, widely available in the many workshops all around town.

You will end your exploration with a visit of Le Balze, steep slopes of rock that surround the city. You will then see examples of the incredible erosion of the land around here – and why it is so important to preserve it all! Sleep in the Tuscan countryside

DAY 10 - October 12 - Firenze

This morning you will head to the final destination of your trip – the city of Florence. You will first enjoy a visit of Museo Archeologico Nazionale where some of northern Etruria’s most famous works of art can be found. In the afternoon you will have time on your own to just people watch or visit some museums or sights you have not seen before. Tonight you will enjoy a great, gourmet farewell dinner. Sleep in Florence

DAY 11 - October 13 - Fly out or extend your stay of one day

If you are flying out this morning you will be transferred to the airport – and if you are catching a train for another destination in Italy we will transfer you to the train station. Otherwise you can decide to spend one more day with us and visit the Uffizi Museum – with the addition of a very unusual and special visit to the Vasari corridor. Sleep in Florence (if extending your trip)


What is included in the trip

All accommodation in comfortable and charming hotels and country inns with private bathroom, all breakfasts, either lunch or dinner every day including wine, all sightseeing and guided tours as per the itinerary, all entrances to the sights, all transportation in a deluxe bus with air conditioning, professional tour leader, local guides where needed, post-departure travel insurance, the presence of archaeologist Louise Maciejewski throughout the trip with daily lectures/visits

What is not included

International air-fare to and from Italy, personal expenses, tips for guides, tour leader and driver.

Group Size

Group size will not exceed 18 travelers, with a minimum of 6.

More About Your Guide

Louise is a renaissance woman with a passion for Italian history, art and culture. Her in-depth knowledge of the Etruscans and of Rome’s early history provides visitors with a more authentic experience as she leads them on excursions throughout Tuscany and Umbria. She brings to her lectures an understanding of the peoples who have inhabited this part of the world for thousands of years; her knowledge of art restoration and conservation inspire her work as a lecturer.

While facilitating tours and lecturing on Italy’s history fulfils Louise’s intellectual interests, owning and managing an organic olive tree farm allows her to truly appreciate all that her adopted land offers. The ancient olive trees thrive under her care – for three years running, her organic farming methods have yielded prize-winning olive oil.
Since coming to Cortona since she was seven years old; for the past eighteen years she has called this area home. She has built a network of personal and professional connections, including a rapport with the local museums that enhance her work as a tour guide and manager, campus director, lecturer, and olive farmer. In her free time, Louise’s interests include acting, hiking, painting, Italian Art History and Italian cuisine.

How to Sign Up for the Trip

This journey has been designed for you by Museo Italo Americano and Customized Journeys.
If you decide you would like to be part of this adventure, you will need to fill out the booking form as well as the medical form. Please send them to the Museo Italo Americano together with your deposit check ($500 per person).

The address of Museo Italo Americano is: Fort Mason Center – Building C – San Francisco CA – 94123
If you would like to receive the sign up form please contact the Museo at 415 – 673 2200 or email the Museo at sfmuseo@sbcglobal.net

If you need any information regarding the trip, please contact Customized Journeys by phone or email.

Customized Journeys by phone: 503 914 6452
Email: info@customizedjourneys.com