Galileo statue in Florence

Experience all the comforts Rome, Florence, and Padua have to offer while exploring Italy’s pivotal role in the history of astronomy in our new tour.

Sky & Telescope offers you a chance to participate in an unparalleled tour of Italy, birthplace of the great theoretician and astronomer Galileo Galilei. We’re partnering with Royal Adventures, a company that specializes in custom travel experiences, to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to travel “in the footsteps of Galileo.”

Explore the culture and history of this beautiful country — from the heart of Rome to the hills of Tuscany and the Veneto — in luxury and comfort during a 10-day tour created with you in mind. This Italian adventure includes 4-star accommodations and fully escorted tours with a knowledgeable local guide. S&T Senior Contributing Editor Richard Tresch Fienberg will be on hand for the entire tour to answer questions related to astronomy today and historically. And you’ll have the option to tour Rome before the main tour begins to extend your visit to Italy.

Reserve your spot today! Register by completing this form.

Click below to get full details:
• Itinerary for our 10-day tour
• Itinerary for optional 3-day pre-tour exploration of Rome
• Pricing & Terms


Castel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo, not far from Rome, is home to the headquarters of Vatican Observatory, The town offers spectacular views across picturesque Lake Albano.

Welcome to Italy’s capital! In addition to visiting some of Rome’s greatest historical attractions, such as the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, you’ll see special sites — typically closed to the public — associated with the history of astronomy. For example, we’ll visit Castel Gandolfo, the modern headquarters of the Vatican Observatory, and enjoy a lunch at a fabulous location overlooking Lake Albano. Anyone interested in the history and technology of science will love our visit to the Copernican Museum. The Copernican Museum also offers beautiful views of Rome, making this stop on our itinerary even more special.

Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence
Although Galileo was initially buried in a nondescript alcove within the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, his body was later transferred to an elaborate tomb there.

Florence and Pisa
Immerse yourself in Florentine culture while you explore this capital city of Tuscany. Florence’s medieval core, the one-time home of the powerful Medici family, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. You’re certain to fall in love with this distinctive city as you travel its narrow streets and passageways during your stay. We’ll visit il Duomo — the engineering marvel that is the dome of the Florence Cathedral — and the Basilica di Santa Croce, final resting place of Galileo. Near Ponte Vecchio, we’ll stop at the Galileo Museum to view one of the scientist’s telescopes. We’ll also get a glimpse into Galileo’s private life during our visit to the Villa Il Gioiello, where the master spent the last years of his life. But our time with Galileo wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Pisa Campanile — the famous Leaning Tower — to see where (legend has it) he performed his famed experiments on falling bodies. While in Florence, we’ll also be treated to a taste of Italy’s contemporary astronomy research, with a stop at Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, part of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF).

Anatomy Theater, Padua
Having recently celebrated its 800th anniversary, the University of Padua boasts many historic facilities — including the striking Anatomy Theater in its Palazzo Bo.

The city of Padua is our entry point into the Veneto, a large region in northeastern Italy with its own distinctive dialect and cuisine. Here, we’ll visit Palazzo Bo, home to the renowned Anatomy Theater. And we’ll visit Scrovegni Chapel, where you’ll be amazed by the vibrant colors of the frescoes painted some 700 years ago by the early Renaissance artist Giotto. The largest operating optical telescope in Italy awaits your visit in Cima Ekar on the Asiago Plateau.


UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma in Rome (★★★★ 3 nights; 5 nights with optional pre-trip extension)
Trastevere is a characteristic and fascinating neighborhood — authentic, colorful, full of typical small artisan shops. Opened in 2022, UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma tries to interpret all this and does so by bringing the “outside” . . . inside. This 95-room property offers bright, fresh spaces that are rich in detail. The panoramic terrace, boasting a rooftop restaurant, offers an unrivaled view across the center of Rome.
Gallery Hotel Art in Florence (★★★★ 3 nights)
The contemporary Gallery Hotel Art is a boutique hotel dreamed up by Michele Bönan, a refined Florentine architect. Set in a quiet courtyard near the Arno and Ponte Vecchio and close to Palazzo Strozzi, it’s a favorite local meeting place in the heart of Florence. Enjoy the private art and photography exhibitions in the hotel, or take a few quiet moments in the lounge-library. You may also want to indulge in the culinary delights of the on-property Fusion Bar & Restaurant.
Hotel NH Padova lobby
Hotel NH Padova in Padua (★★★★ 2 nights)
Strategically located near the Padova Fiere exhibition center, this sleek and stylish hotel is close to the city center. It's a marriage of art and architecture, blending cutting-edge design and uncompromising comfort. Its rooms are comfortable, spacious, and elegantly furnished with many amenities. Its elegant restaurant on the 12th floor offers a breathtaking view over the city and offers creative international and Mediterranean gourmet cuisine.


DateItinerary at a GlanceAccommodationMeals
Saturday, October 19Depart for Rome(overnight flight)Meals aloft
Sunday, October 20RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere Romaaperitivo
Monday, October 21RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere RomaB, D
Tuesday, October 22RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere RomaB, L
Wednesday, October 23Rome, FlorenceGallery Hotel ArtB, D
Thursday, October 24FlorenceGallery Hotel ArtB, aperitivo
Friday, October 25Pisa, FlorenceGallery Hotel ArtB, L
Saturday, October 26Florence, PaduaHotel NH PadovaB, D
Sunday, October 27Padua, AsiagoHotel NH PadovaB, D
Monday, October 28Depart for U.S.B

Day 1  (Saturday, October 19) — Departure
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (meals aloft)

Day 2  (Sunday, October 20) — Arrival in Rome
Upon arrival, enjoy a private individual transfer to the hotel, then savor some free time to relax. In the afternoon, meet the rest of the group for a welcome aperitivo and an introduction to the main tour. Lunch and dinner are on your own.  UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma (cocktail reception/aperitivo)

Two historic books and meridian line in Rome
Left: Galileo's Starry Messenger and Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds in Rome's Angelica Library. Right: Researcher Constantino Sigsimondi explains the meridian line on the floor of the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome.
J. Kelly Beatty; Natalia Mandelli

Day 3  (Monday, October 21) — Astronomy in Rome
Begin the day with a walking tour of the Baroque Rome, including the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. Then head to the Angelica Library, full of rare astronomical publications, for a private visit. After lunch on your own, visit the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which features an incredibly accurate and ornate meridian line in its floor. At day’s end, the group gathers for a welcome dinner at a local trattoria to taste Roman specialties.  UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma  (B, D)

Day 4  (Tuesday, October 22) — Vatican Observatory, Copernican Museum
Start the morning with drive out of the city for a guided tour of La Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory), one of the oldest astronomical institutions in the world. Enjoy a group lunch at a local restaurant in Castel Gandolfo with a fabulous view overlooking Lake Albano. Return to Rome to visit the extraordinary Copernican Museum, whose beautiful collection of ancient instruments illustrates the evolution of research in astronomy. Dinner is at leisure.  UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma  (B, L)

Day 5  (Wednesday, October 23) — Rome to Florence
Depart for Florence (Firenze) by high-speed train. Upon arrival, board a private transfer to the city center. Enjoy a short orientation walking tour of the city’s historic center. In Piazza della Repubblica, discover the city’s beginnings as a Roman settlement. Wander through narrow streets and emerge onto the open Piazza della Signoria, the political center of Florence. Enjoy lunch at leisure and then settle into your hotel room. In the afternoon, visit Casa Buonarrotti (full of art by Michelangelo) and briefly stop at Villa dell Ombrellino, which was Galileo’s home from 1617 to 1631. This evening enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a Florentine family.  Gallery Hotel Art  (B, D)

Galileo telescopes and finger
The Galileo Museum in Florence has impressive collections of scientific instruments, including a pair of telescopes made by the famous astronomer and his mummified middle finger.
J. Kelly Beatty; Museo Galileo

Day 6  (Thursday, October 24) — Galileo’s Florence
This morning visit the Basilica di Santa Croce, where Galileo is entombed. Continue to the Galileo Museum, which houses important collections of scientific instruments — including telescopes made by Galileo. Lunch is at leisure. In the late afternoon, enjoy an Italian style aperitivo at your hotel. Then head to Villa Il Gioiello, where Galileo spent his final years, for a private visit. After that, tour the nearby Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory and end the day with a stargazing session at the observatory (permit pending).  Gallery Hotel Art (B, aperitivo)

Day 7  (Friday, October 25) — Pisa
Walk to a waiting bus for transfer to Pisa. Set out on a walking tour of the city and discover landmarks such as Campo dei Miracoliwith its Duomo and Baptistry, the Camposanto Monumentale, and the Bell Tower, also known as the Leaning Tower. Not far away is Casa Ammannanti, where scholars believe Galileo was born. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit to Pisa University, where Galileo pursued his education. Return to the hotel and take the evening and dinner at leisure.  Gallery Hotel Art  (B, L)

Day 8  (Saturday, October 26) — Florence to Padua
Board a private coach near the hotel for transfer to Florence railway station, then climb aboard a high-speed train bound for Padua (Padova). Take in the city’s grandeur on a walking tour that strolls along its porticoed roads, splendid piazzas, and ancient bridges. Gaze upon the famous Astronomical Clock that adorns the imposing Piazza dei Signori’s Tower. Built in 1344, the clock marks the hours, minutes, days, months, day, and lunar phases. Lunch is at leisure. Then continue to Palazzo Bo, part of the university where Galileo taught and also home of the renowned Anatomy Theater. Just a 10-minute walk away is a private home that was once Galileo’s residence and where he made many of his revolutionary telescopic discoveries. Dinner is at a local restaurant. NH Padova  (B, D)

astronomy scenes in Padua
Left: Galileo lectured from this elaborate podium at the University of Padua's Palazzo Bo. Right; Nearby is Piazza dei Signori, which features this elaborate 14th-century astronomical clock.
J. Kelly Beatty / Sky & Telescope

Day 9  (Sunday, October 27) — Padua and Asiago
Start the morning by visiting the amazing Scrovegni Chapel, a masterpiece in the history of painting that contains the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto. Lunch is at leisure. In the afternoon, board a private coach to Asiago to visit the largest operating astronomical observatory in Italy. After a farewell dinner at a local trattoria in Asiago, return to the hotel. NH Padova  (B, D)

Day 10  (Monday, October 28) — Departure for Home
Breakfast at the hotel and transfers to Venice Airport for flights to the U.S.  (B)

Itinerary for Optional Pre-Tour Extension to Rome

Forum in Rome
Sometimes called the world's most celebrated meeting place, the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome for centuries.
Royal Adventures
DateItinerary at a GlanceAccommodationMeals
Thursday, October 17U.S. to Rome(overnight flight)Meals aloft
Friday, October 18Arrival in RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma
Saturday, October 19Sightseeing in RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere RomaB, L
Sunday, October 20Sightseeing in RomeUNAHOTELS Trastevere RomaB, aperitivo

Day 1  (Thursday, October 17) — Departure from Home
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (meals aloft)

Day 2  (Friday, October 18) — Arrival in Rome
Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO), enjoy a private individual transfer to the hotel. Take the rest of the day at leisure. Lunch and dinner are on your own. UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma

Day 3  (Saturday, October 19) — Vatican City
Begin with early-morning entrance to Vatican City’s famed museums. Visit the stunning Sistine Chapel, then St. Peter’s Square and its soaring Basilica before enjoying a traditional lunch at a local trattoria. Return to the hotel by private transfer, and spend the rest of the day at leisure. UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma  (B, L)

Day 4  (Sunday, October 20) — Roman Forum, Colosseum
In the morning, an archaeologist guide meets our group at the hotel lobby, then leads a stroll through the ruins of the Roman Forum. We start from Piazza Venezia, cross the Foro di Cesare and Foro Romano, then venture into the Colosseum. At the end of the visit, take a private transfer to the hotel, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. In the afternoon, meet the rest of the group for a welcome aperitivo and introduction to the main tour. (B)


  • Accommodation in 4-star hotels
  • English-speaking Tour Director exclusive to Sky & Telescope group
  • Sky & Telescope astronomy director
  • Professional English-speaking guides at all locations
  • Private transfers from airport to hotel and to airport on return
  • Land transport by private motor coach
  • Frecciarossa high-speed train Rome to Florence, standard class
  • Frecciarossa high-speed train Florence to Padua, standard class
  • All meals as indicated on the itinerary, including special welcome and farewell meals
  • Wine with all dinners and lunches
  • Bottled water during outings
  • Baggage handling
  • Tips to local guides, drivers, service charges and taxes
  • Entrance fees on itinerary excursions and visits
  • Customized luggage tags and name tags with Sky & Telescope logo
  • Pre-trip planning information and resources


  • International airfare to Rome with a return flight from Venice
  • Passport fees
  • Excess-baggage fees
  • Room service, meals, and snacks not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages, aside from wine included with dinners and some lunches
  • Personal items such as laundry, email, and telephone calls
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Medical expenses incurred during tour
  • Tip for the Tour Director is at participant’s discretion


This exclusive Sky & Telescope expedition ts designed for travelers who are interested in visiting of some of Italy’s most popular and remarkable sights.

October in Italy is typically pleasant, with typical daytime temperatures near 70°F and evening temperatures near 55°F. So everyday clothing plus a light jacket or windbreaker are recommended.

To enjoy this experience, participants must be in good physical and mental health and be able to keep up with the pace of the group. Participants requiring extraordinary assistance must be accompanied by someone who can and will provide all required assistance. Travel segments by train and/or private motorcoach will be up to 2 hours long. Daily activities will often involve some walking over uneven terrain for distances of up to ¼ mile; a few locations are not suitable for traversing by wheelchair. In certain situations, deviating from the marked pathways could put you at risk of injury.


Main Tour (“Galileo’s Italy”)$8,490$10,490
Pre-Trip Extension in Rome$1,950 $2,450

Note: All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting. As such, prices listed here are subject to change. Sky & Telescope and/or Royal Adventures will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.


  • To make a reservation: A reservation request can be submitted by completing this form. Reservations are recorded and acknowledged in order of receipt. Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40) handles all invoicing.
  • Deposits: An initial payment of US$1,000 per person, along with US$250 per person for the pre-tour extension, if applicable, is required to secure your reservation. Please make your check payable to "Royal Adventures" and mail to: Royal Adventures, 9 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 205, San Ramon, CA 94583. Initial deposits may be charged to a credit card. All subsequent payments must be made by check. Final payment (by check only) is due by July 8, 2024.
  • Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be received in writing by Royal Adventures. Cancellations received within 7 days of booking: full refund of the trip deposit. Cancellations received before July 8, 2024, incur a $500 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations received on or after July 8, 2024, are subject to a 100% penalty of all deposits and payments, regardless of booking date. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features or for any part of the program in which you choose not to participate.
  • Itinerary: The itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Sky & Telescope and Royal Adventures. All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting. As such, the prices listed here are subject to change. In particular, any increases in the fares for in-tour transportation, security, and/or fuel surcharges will be paid by the participants. Sky & Telescope and/or Royal Adventures will inform participants of any changes prior to departure.
  • Travel insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance including “Cancel for Any Reason” because the cancellation penalty listed here will apply. Trip-cancellation insurance can be purchased through our recommended provider, Travel Insured International; click here to get a quote or call 800-243-3174 and mention Royal Adventures #53140. Most insurance plans need to be purchased within 14 days of paying the initial deposit in order to waive preexisting medical conditions as well as to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance. Neither AAS Sky Publishing LLC nor Royal Adventures accepts liability for any airline-cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for the tour.
  • Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented here. Royal Adventures, AAS Sky Publishing, LLC, and Sky & Telescope are not responsible for errors in or damages resulting from use of the information contained herein. Information contained here is subject to change.
  • Responsibility Statement: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners, and employees act only as agents for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant, and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services, and transportation are offered or provided; AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages, or expenses of any kind due to sickness, epidemics, pandemics, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, quarantine, force majeure, animal or insect bites, or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of the tour participants. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and/or Royal Adventures shall not be deemed to be in breach of these terms and conditions or otherwise be liable to you, and shall not provide any refund, by reason of delay in performance, or by nonperformance, of any of our obligations hereunder to the extent that any such delay or non-performance is due to any force majeure event. A force majeure event, in relation to this tour, shall mean any circumstances beyond our control, including, but without limitation, to acts of God, explosion, flood, forceful wind, fire or accident, war or threat of war declared or undeclared, acts of terrorism, sabotage, insurrection, riots, strikes, civil disturbance, sickness, epidemics, pandemics, quarantines, government intervention or other unforeseeable events. If this tour is affected by a force majeure event, AAS Sky Publishing and Royal Adventures shall be entitled to, and may in their sole and absolute discretion, vary, cancel or postpone any itinerary or arrangement in relation to this trip. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, security surcharge or fuel increases will be passed on to participants. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release, an assumption of risk, and a hold-harmless agreement.
  • Questions: Please contact Royal Adventures at [email protected] or call 800-453-4754 or 925-820-6260 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time).
Reserve your spot today! Register by completing this form.