Our study holidays are meticulously prepared. For city breaks, we use carefully chosen three or four star hotels, as close as possible to a city’s historic centre. Careful attention is paid to the location and amenity of each hotel selected, its proximity to the sites we want to visit, and the whereabouts of nearby restaurants and cafés. We inspect as many rooms as possible.
Wherever necessary we book special visits to famous sites of artistic interest. For example, an ordinary visitor to Giotto’s Arena chapel in Padua, even after booking in advance, is allowed only fifteen minutes to look at these complex and manifold frescoes. On a Learn Italy study visit, participants enjoy two unbroken half-hour sessions in the chapel, with the chance of an optional third visit.
When possible we supply our clients with season tickets to museums or modes of public transport. On our winter week in Venice we provide you with a ticket giving you unlimited access to all the vaporetti. Our hotel is only a hundred paces from the nearest vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal.
If you think that a chosen venue is too far away to be comfortably reached on foot, we will find suitable public transport, or arrange for a taxi to take you. Every customer is treated as a special individual, and people’s different interests and capacities are taken into account whenever possible. Learn Italy is a small enough company for us to get to know all our clients. We only organise half-a- dozen tours a year, with groups from six to a maximum of twenty-five persons; the average group size is fifteen.
Wherever possible we avoid bland modern hotels, while demanding high standards of cleanliness, comfort and reasonable luxury. Because our chosen hotels are often in old and interesting buildings, sometimes a variety of shapes and sizes of rooms are on offer, adding to the individuality of the experience. Those clients who book first will be given the ‘best’ rooms, but our aim is to accommodate everyone happily.
Learn Italy study weeks include ‘free time’, providing the opportunity to re-visit something that has fascinated you, to stray a little off the beaten track, or simply to rest and recuperate.
Our schedules combine group activities with the opportunity to explore on your own. There are always two group meals on offer at cost price, at the beginning and end of the holiday. On other days, the early evening meeting provides an opportunity to plan where to eat with new or old friends.
Learn Italy holidays are usually centred on a single city, so once you’re in your hotel you don’t have to keep unpacking and repacking your suitcase to cope with different locations. We believe you need time in one city to see and enjoy it properly, rather than hurrying through, on your way to somewhere else.
Preparation for your visit
We will send you a reading list some months before the start of your study visit, so you can start to familiarise yourself with what you want to see. Nearer the time of departure you will also receive joining notes about the holiday destination and your accommodation.
Informal but informative lectures
During your stay, the learning aspect of your holiday will take place in a hotel conference room or similar venue. Informal lectures with slides, including question and answer sessions, will prepare you for the visits to come. Then, at your own pace, you will be able to enjoy looking at beautiful pictures and buildings, while having access to expert advice from the tutor when you want it. We think that lecturing in situ, in front of paintings in an art gallery for example, is a teaching method only viable for very small groups. With more than half a dozen participants, it is often impossible to hear what is being said, or see properly what is being discussed. This is why, whenever possible, we prefer the pre-visit lecture, in the seated comfort of an appropriate teaching space.
Tutors and organisers
Learn Italy study tours are always accompanied by an expert art historian, and a dedicated organiser. Your tutors will not have to cope with hotel and transport arrangements, when they should be planning how to help you understand and enjoy a carefully chosen array of beautiful objects and places. Some of Learn Italy’s tutors are detailed overleaf.