About your Host:
Bob Morse will be your host on this tour through the French and Italian Riviera. Bob currently teaches advanced Italian part-time at the Scuola Italiana di Portland, Oregon. He taught Italian language, culture, and literature full-time at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana for nine years, after earning his Master’s degree in Italian from the University of Virginia in 2007. Bob played on University of Pennsylvania Ivy League and Big Five champion basketball teams. Drafted in the third round in 1972 by the NBA’s Buffalo Braves, Bob opted to play professionally in Italy and France. In nine seasons of playing forward for the Pallacanestro Varese team, he won ten Italian and international titles and led the Italian League in scoring six times. In recognition of his contributions to the city on and off the court, the City Council made him an Honorary Citizen of Varese, his Italian “hometown”. Bob later played for three seasons in the French Basketball League in Antibes. He was named to the Penn Athletics and the Big Five Halls-of-Fame.
Bob looks forward very much to accompanying you on your journey of exploration of these areas he knows and loves: their spectacular natural, artistic and architectural beauty, the cultural and historical highlights, and the delicious cuisine of France and Italy as well an interesting up-close and personal view of Italian basketball in the city so close to his heart, Varese.
This trip will start on the French & Italian Riviera and will end in Varese, Italy where you will have a chance to attend an Italian league basketball game before heading to the Italian and French coasts. Varese is a lovely provincial capital (population circa 80,000) in the Lombardy region of Italy. It is rarely visited by American tourists. Varese lies nestled in the heart of the Italian Lake country, north of Milan and just south of Switzerland, centrally situated between Lakes Maggiore and Como in the Alpine foothills. In fine weather, it offers beautiful vistas of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Varese’s nickname is the Garden City of Italy because of its many stunning Liberty (Art Nouveau) villas and their lovely surrounding gardens.
Check out these beautiful photos from Bob’s previous trips, including photos of some of the destinations you will see on the 2020 trip!
*Please click on each day to view daily itinerary.
Fly from the USA to Nice, France
Upon your arrival in Nice, you will be picked up and transferred to the coastal town of Antibes. After check-in at your hotel, the group will meet for a welcome talk and dinner. Sleep in Antibes at the Royal Antibes or similar
Today we will explore fascinating and picturesque Antibes with its colorful local market. We will also visit the former Grimaldi Castle, now the Picasso Museum. The views from the terrace of the museum are spectacular. From the terrace you will see the sea and the village below. In addition, you will be able to enjoy 245 works by Picasso, including the fresco Les Cles d’Antibes, and the paintings Joie de Vivre and The Goat. Weather and energy permitting, we will also visit the unforgettable Sentier du Littoral, one of the most scenic hikes of the French Riviera. Sleep in Antibes at the Royal Antibes or similar
Today we will visit some of the most charming villages in the South of France starting with St. Paul de Vence. Contemporary art lovers will have the option of visiting the famous Maeght Foundation as well. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a beautiful stroll in medieval Haute de Cagnes where you will be taken you back in time. Before we leave, you can visit the charming Renoir Museum in the picturesque coastal town of Cagne-sur-Mer. Sleep in Antibes at the Royal Antibes or similar
Today we will visit the medieval French village of Eze perched high above the sea. You will enjoy the spectacular view of Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap from the Moyenne Cornich before visiting the historic center of Eze and along with its exotic botanical gardens. Next we will venture to the small nation of Monaco where you can take a stroll through the glamorous streets of Montecarlo. We will visit the Estate rooms at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco along with a visit the Cathedral where Princess Grace Kelly and her husband Price Rainer III are buried. Sleep in Menton at Hotel Napoleon or similar
After a walk around Menton, we will take a short ride over the border to visit the fabulous Villa Hanbury and Gardens situated above the town of San Remo. After our visit to the villa, we will venture to the village of Bussana Vecchia. This medieval village, likely founded by the Romans and inhabited until 1887, was destroyed by a violent earthquake and abandoned. In the late 1950s, artists from all over the world established a vibrant artist community. After a pleasant lunch in Bussana Vecchia, we will stop to visit the scenic views of Balzi Rossi and its quaint historical museum on our way back to Menton. Sleep in Menton at Hotel Napoleon or similar
Today we will leave the French Riviera and begin our exploration of Italy. We will visit the charming but lesser known village of Finalborgo before visiting the Noli along the Ligurian coast. We will arrive in Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and a surprising treasure trove of antiquities, in time for a lovely stroll through Genoa’s historical center. We will enjoy dinner tonight at a charming local restaurant. Sleep in Genoa at Bristol Palace Hotel or similar
Today we will continue our exploration of Liguria with a visit Portofino and Camogli, the two most famous villages on the Italian Riviera. Weather permitting, we will enjoy a boat ride today to take in another view of the Riviera towns. On the way back to Genoa, we will stop in Recco to enjoy a lunch of the city’s famous cheesy Focaccia. Sleep in Genoa at Bristol Palace Hotel or similar
Today we will visit the Piedmont region of Italy, with its tremendously rich food and wine traditions. We will visit a chocolate production, sample several different kinds of chocolate and pralines, and enjoy a wine tasting lunch at one of the most beautiful estates in Piedmont. After lunch we will travel north to the city of Varese. Sleep in Varese at Art Hotel or similar
This morning we will visit Sacro Monte (Italian for “Holy Mountain”). It lies only few miles north of Varese, among the pre-Alps. From its peak, on clear days, you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the Alps and of the many lakes that make this region so famous. You will learn why Sacro Monte has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and will be introduces to its 15th century church, chapels and terracotta statues. In the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a walking tour of Varese, before going back to the hotel for some relaxation time. In the evening, the Italian League Basketball Game will surely entertain you. Sleep in Varese at Art Hotel or similar
Today, we will visit two of Bob’s favorite places in all of the world! The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso (Saint Catherine of the Rock) is a 14th Century Roman Catholic Monastery clinging to a rock face directly overhanging the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore with stunning views and gorgeous frescos. After exploring Santa Caterina, we will enjoy a farewell lunch before visiting Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) on Lago Maggiore. The noble Borromeo family summoned the best architects, artists and gardeners to completely transform Isola Bella with opulent palaces and some of the most beautiful parks in Italy. After our visits today, we will end our tour near Milan Malpensa airport for an easy departure tomorrow. Sleep in near Malpensa Airport
Today, your tour is officially over after breakfast. Your airport hotel has a shuttle bus that will take you to the airport at a time convenient for your flight back to the US.
*The schedule might change in order to adjust to the schedule of the LBA regular season
3 nights in Antibes, France
2 nights in Menton, France
2 nights in Genoa, Italy
2 nights in Varese, Italy
1 night near Milan Malpensa Airport
Total: 10 nights / 11 days
**EXACT DATES AND PRICES COMING SOON**