JOIN/RENEW

Greece: Mythical and Magical

STUDY TRIP ABROAD

March 12–20 & March 26–April 3, 2025

 

OPTIONAL EXTENSION

CRETE: AT THE INTERSECTION OF ANCIENT TRADE

March 20–25, 2025

We soak in the sun and sites of ancient Greece, investigating the Hellenic, Hellenistic, and beyond. Striking temples, as well as exquisite museums and landscapes, acquaint us with the long-standing impact of Greek culture and design. We walk in history’s footsteps to explore the birthplace of Western civilization and the most consequential sites of antiquity from the iconic to the unexpected. Our pursuit of timeless Classicism takes us to cities and scenic coastal locales from Athens to Nafplion to Mystras, with delectable Greek cuisine and libations along the way, making this Study Trip Abroad one not to miss.

Tour 1 is full. There is still availability for Tour 2 and the Optional Extension. Register using the button below or by calling 610.627.4970, and contact thetrust@decorativeartstrust.org with questions. 

ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Wednesday, March 12 and 26 

Gathering at the elegant King George Hotel, overlooking the majestic Acropolis, we enjoy an introductory lecture on Greek history and culture by Joshua Barley to set the stage for the exploration ahead. Walking up to Pnyx Hill, seat of the ancient Athenian democratic Assembly, we soak in the view of the Parthenon and Attic Plain, before retreating for a welcoming reception and dinner at Tudor Hall, the King George’s rooftop restaurant, to extend our gaze over the ancient city.

Overnight: Athens
Included: R, D 

Thursday, March 13 and 27 

The morning begins with a stroll to the Acropolis Museum, designed by Swiss-American architect Bernard Tschumi and completed in 2009. The glass and concrete structure houses untold archaeological treasures and is perched over the excavated remains of the once thriving settlement. Walking through the Agorà, the ancient commercial and administrative center of Athens, we reach the Theseion, also known as the Temple of Hephaestos, the best-preserved of all Greek temples. Following lunch at an authentic taverna, we continue to the Kerameikos, a cemetery organized in 1,200 BCE and also once the city’s potter’s quarter. The Goulandris Foundation houses an important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. Our day concludes with a reception at a recently restored private historic house in the Thiseio district.

Overnight: Athens
Included: B, L, R

Friday, March 14 and 28 

The Benaki Museum’s Nema Passementerie offers the rare opportunity to witness the production of ribbons, braids, and tassels using traditional methods, alongside the Director, George Manginis. At the Museum of Greek Culture, housed in one of the city’s most important Neoclassical Revival buildings, we discover exhibitions showcasing four millennia of art. After lunch at the museum’s rooftop restaurant, we investigate the collection of the Museum of Cycladic Art, which highlights a culture that flourished on the islands of the Aegean Sea from 3,300 to 1,100 BCE. Returning to the Acropolis, we revel in the privilege of a sunset tour of the Parthenon, Propylaia, and Erechtheion.

Overnight: Athens
Included: B, L

Saturday, March 15 and 29 

Departing Athens for the Peloponnese, we pause at the Daphni Monastery, the former location of a sanctuary of Apollo over which was built a superb Byzantine church and cloister of c. 1080. After a tour of the Skouras vineyards near Nemea, we enjoy lunch and a wine tasting. The famous Lion Gate and beehive Tomb of Atreus beckon us at Mycenae, the capital of the great Helladic civilization. Reaching the endlessly picturesque town of Nafplion, we settle into the Nafplia Palace Hotel, set under the ancient walls of the Palamedii with views over the crystal-clear waters of the Bay of Argolis. A lecture by James Heneage is followed by a pleasant dinner.

Overnight: Nafplion
Included: B, L, D

Sunday, March 16 and 30

We start with a morning wandering the handsome streets of Nafplion, considered one of Greece’s most attractive seaside towns, including a visit to the Archaeological Museum, housed in a dignified early-18th-century naval depot constructed during the Venetian occupancy of 1686–1715. Perched at the summit of a formidable outcrop overlooking the Argolis, the Fortress of Palamidhi, built for the Venetians by French military engineer Pierre de la Salle, also dates from that era. In nearby Epidaurus, we encounter the fine 4th-century BCE Theatre of Dionysos as well as the Sanctuary of Asklepios, a religious center as well as a resort spa with a full complement of temples and colonnades. Upon return to the hotel, James Heneage delivers as a second presentation prior to an independent evening.

Overnight: Nafplion
Included: B, L

Monday, March 17 and 31 

The day is devoted to the remarkable site of Mystras, considered a Byzantine Pompeii. The ruins of churches, monasteries, palaces, and houses line the narrow winding streets of this Medieval walled town, including some of the finest examples of 14th and 15th-century architecture in Greece. From 1349 to 1460, this settlement was governed by a brother or son of the emperor in Constantinople with enormous resources lavished on building projects. The Cathedral of Ayios Dhimitrios was finished in 1309 but received a new roof with five domes and a cycle of interior painting in the 15th century. The Palace of the Despots is a rare example of a civic Byzantine structure and includes an immense vaulted audience hall. Upon reaching the charming Kyniska Palace Hotel, James Heneage adds context to our travels through a final round of pre-dinner remarks.

Overnight: Mystras
Included: B, L, D

Tuesday, March 18 and April 1

During a day-long outing to Messene, we delve into an ancient city with outstanding examples of 4th-century military architecture. The town developed in a hollow amidst three hills, with the Acropolis sighted atop Mount Ithome to the north. The footprint of the Hellenistic Sanctuary of Asklepios is a nearly 250-foot square surrounded by a Corinthian colonnade with winged Nike figures rising from the acanthus-leaf capitals. The tripartite Temple of Artemis and the peripteral Temple of Asklepios are particularly impressive, and archaeologists have uncovered superb inlaid marble and mosaic floors within the complex.

Overnight: Mystras
Included: B, L

Wednesday, March 19 and April 2 

A morning journey back towards Athens brings us to the ancient spa town of Loutraki for a lunch- time respite overlooking the Bay of Corinth. Upon reaching Paiania, we devote an afternoon to the Vorres Museum, a private foundation featuring traditional architecture and a collection of folk art and furnishings encapsulating 4,000 years of Greek history. Established by philanthropist Ian Vorres, we are welcomed to the site by the founder’s grandson. The Margi, a lovely boutique hotel, offers superb lodgings and a special dinner to celebrate our final evening of the tour.

Overnight: Vouliagmeni
Included: B, L, D

Thursday, March 20 and April 3

Guests depart from the Athens airport for stateside departures or enjoy an independent morning before commencing the Optional Extension (Tour 1 only).

Included: B

OPTIONAL EXTENSION Crete: At the Intersection of Ancient Trade

The island of Crete is perched in the Mediterranean Sea south of mainland Greece and is the largest of the archipelago along the southern boundary of the Aegean Sea. Crete is home to the Minoan civilization, Europe’s oldest, which peaked in the second millennium BCE. The island’s strategic location at the crossroads of trade routes rendered it an essential stronghold for successive rulers, from the Greeks to the Romans, the Byzantines to the Venetians, and the Axis to the Allied forces of World War II. The opportunity to see the remnants of an impressive prehistoric culture while also enjoying Crete’s natural beauty across an extensive five-day program should not be missed.

Thursday, March 20 

Connecting in Athens, guests gather in the evening at the luxury boutique hotel Margi for welcome drinks and dinner as well as an introductory lecture by Joshua Barley to prepare for the adventure ahead.

Included: R, D

Friday, March 21                                                                                                                                                         

Spending the morning on the mainland, we visit the Byzantine Kaisariani Monastery, constructed in the 12th century near the site of an ancient fertility spring. In the town of Brauron, upon a Minoan port and one of the 12 cities of ancient Attica, we patronize a lovely taverna for lunch before continuing to the airport. Upon arrival in Heraklion, Crete’s administrative capital and gateway to the island, we transfer to the Hotel Megaron, a historical monument overlooking the harbor, to take in the pleasant atmosphere and a lovely dinner.

Overnight: Heraklion
Included: B, L, D

Saturday, March 22 

The renowned Archaeological Museum greets us in the morning with a tour of the impressive collection of Cretan artifacts, focusing on the most important emblems of Minoan culture. The kamares wares illustrate the refined skills of local potters. Just south of Heraklion lies the great Minoan city of Knossos. Archaeological collections demonstrate the connectivity of this palace complex with trading partners on the Greek mainland, the Cyclades, and the Levant. This glimpse at the grandeur of Minoan civilization is followed by a visit to the traditional Cretan village of Archanes, where we start with a restorative lunch. Set amidst vineyards and containing one of the most important prehistoric cemeteries in the Aegean, we enjoy a stroll through this quaint community.

Overnight: Heraklion
Included: B, L, D

Sunday, March 23 

Departing Heraklion, we venture across the island to the 16th-century Eastern Orthodox Arkadi Monastery, which features a notable Renaissance façade and was an important center of science and art. In the lovely village of Margarites, the ceramics tradition remains vibrant, as evidenced during a pottery demonstration. Continuing along the north coast, we reach Crete’s third largest town and the island’s intellectual and cultural capital, Rethymnon, an important center of the Venetian occupation. Construction on the Fortress began in 1573 to thwart the growing threat of Turkish corsairs in the waters surrounding Crete. Our second island home is located in Chania, where we are welcomed at the esteemed Hotel Domes Zeen Chania.

Overnight: Chania
Included: B, L, D

Monday, March 24

Chania has Bronze Age roots extending back to the mid-3rd millennium BCE. Venetian settlement from 1252 onward and the subsequent Ottoman occupation generated the range of architecture encountered in the beautiful Old Town. The Archaeological Museum is housed in one of the largest Venetian churches built on the island and contains the most important artifacts recovered from the west end of Crete. Etz Hayim Synagogue occupies the Venetian Church of St. Katherine. Located in the heart of the small, centuries-old Jewish neighborhood, it is the only surviving remnant of the island’s Romaniote Jewish community. Following an independent afternoon, we reconvene in the evening for a traditional Cretan musical performance before sharing a convivial closing dinner.

Overnight: Chania
Included: B, D

Tuesday, March 25 

Guests depart from the Heraklion airport for stateside connections or continue to Athens for the start of Tour 2.

Included: B

TERMS & CONDITIONS 

Land Arrangement Cost: $8,950 per person, based on double occupancy for 8 nights. For the Optional Extension (see next page), $4,975 per person, based on double occupancy for 5 nights.

Included in Trip Cost: Hotel accommodations in 4-and 5-star hotels, 8 breakfasts (B), 7 lunches (L), 2 receptions (R), and 4 dinners (D) for the Main Tour and 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 reception, and 5 dinners for the Extension. Private coach transportation; local guides; admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens; gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers; and porterage.

Not Included in the Trip Cost: Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included. Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust. 

Reservations: A deposit of $2,500 per person for the Main Tour and $1,000 per person for the Extension is required at time of registration. Reservations and deposits are taken on an as-received basis. You will receive written confirmation from the Trust when we receive your registration.

Single Supplement: The single supplement is $1,000 for the Main Tour and $425 for the Extension, to be paid with the final balance.

Final Payment: Will be due by November 15, 2024.

Membership: Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is tax-deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment.

Contribution: A $500 donation to the Trust per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

Itinerary: The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted at this time but subject to change as necessary.

Participation: The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 members and requires a minimum of 20. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. While proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required, participants should be prepared to test and wear masks if requested.

Activity Level: The Trust’s Study Trip Abroad itineraries are planned with care and attention to detail to ensure a memorable and rewarding trip for all participants. This itinerary is strenuous and includes standing for long periods of time, walking on uneven surfaces, and ascending and descending stairs without hand- rails. Please consider if this program is suited for your health, physical condition, and individual circumstances.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to the Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $500 administrative fee per person. Deposits are non-refundable after September 30, 2024. Cancellations arriving by December 13, 2024, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by January 17, 2025, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after January 17, 2025. The Trust strongly encourages all participants to purchase travel insurance to protect against cancellations due to illness, injury, and disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

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