Few places in the world conjure up images of romance, beauty, art, and fine gastronomy as Italy does. You quite simply have to love this place – we certainly do. Italy boasts more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other nation, was the seat of the Roman empire granting us sites such as the Colosseum and Pompeii, is home to Venice and Florence, not to mention the rolling hills of Tuscany, the glitz of the Amalfi coast, the intrigue (and pizzas!) of Naples, and hilltop towns of Puglia (also arguably home to the best family resort in Europe – please inquire!).
For those wishing to extend a Jewish heritage tour, it will be important to interweave Italy’s considerable history of the Jews into a more traditional Italian experience. In Rome we will visit the Arch of Titus which forever commemorates the import of Jewish slaves from defeated Jerusalem in 70 CE, the former Medieval Jewish Ghetto, and the Great Synagogue and its Jewish Museum. In Venice, we will learn about the origin of the word Ghetto and visit the first Jewish Ghetto itself, as well as the ancient Jewish cemetery. We also offer participation in synagogue services and home hospitality meals with today’s small Jewish community. Ferrara is a fascinating city to visit en route from Venice to Florence, and inspired the writing of Giorgio Bassani’s celebrated novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. Florence itself tells of Jewish history dating back to the renaissance and golden age under the Medicis, with free citizenship eventually granted in the mid nineteenth century and giving rise to the Great Synagogue. Throughout your Italy tour, whether your interests are classical, artistic, or Jewish heritage, we will ensure you have the most suitable and outstanding guides for your personalised tailored experience.
Tel Aviv and Rome are separated by a mere 3.5 hour direct flight, so twinning the two countries is logistically simple. Please do contact us to ask for assistance with your Italy extension!
Spain & Portugal
Spain and Portugal are a treasure chest of European history and culture, and important Jewish heritage destinations. Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon are all connected to Tel Aviv by direct flights, placing them within easy reach of Israel. As you might expect from a major European capital city, Madrid is home to impressive architecture, palaces, and art, all of which are most profitably toured with expert guides and art historians. Spain’s cultural greats extend far outside her capital and sites such as the Alhambra at Granada, and Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia at Barcelona, are simply not to be missed. For those focused on Jewish history, visiting Madrid, Barcelona and cities such as Toledo and Cordoba help us understand the rollercoaster fate of the Jews in Spain, from Golden Age to Inquisition and ultimately expulsion.
Portugal, while smaller than neighbouring Spain, is also highly recommended for European adventure and discovery. Coastal Lisbon is a feel-good city, colourfully exhibiting thousands of traditional tiles (ask us about a tile painting workshop!), and flaunting its sites and excellent eateries. Porto is picturesque with brightly coloured houses, and Atlantic beaches. It is also home to a medieval synagogue and the newly renovated Jewish Museum of Porto which is run by the local community. If contemplating a Jewish heritage tour, it will additionally be important to visit towns such as Belmonte where a crypto Jewish community survived the centuries and has returned to Judaism, and the medieval Jewish quarter and old synagogue at Coimbra. Finally, close to Porto you will find the wonderful scenery and wine of the Douro Valley, don’t miss the chance to stay at the fabulous Six Senses Hotel whilst in the area!
Please do contact us to ask for assistance with your Spain and Portugal extension!
Greece is a fabulous destination to twin with Israel, or indeed to visit on a standalone basis. Frequent short haul flights connect Tel Aviv and Athens, making this duo logistically seamless. Greece will be especially important for those fascinated by the ancient world, the scale and significance of the antiquities is hard to overstate from the Acropolis of Athens, to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Temple of Poseidon at Aticca, and countless further sites. From cerebral to sensual, Greece is famously home to wonderful beaches, coastlines, romantic islands, and fabulous resorts for both couples and families. Israel tours are often action packed, and you might decide to let it all assimilate while taking in the iconic views of Santorini, or unwinding with the family on the Halkidiki coast (see our write up of Porto Sani in particular here). Cyprus is also incredibly close to Israel, really just a hop and a jump away, and offers fabulous family resorts. For those interested in Jewish heritage, Greece has a huge amount to offer – Jewish history can be traced back to Hellenic times, through the mass immigration of Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, and the horrors of the Holocaust. Thessaloniki is one of the most important cities to visit from this perspective and an expert Jewish history tour of the city is highly recommended.
Please do contact us to ask for assistance with your Greece extension!
The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island offers an abundance of unmissable sights and experiences, starting with London, one of the world’s great cities. London is home to iconic sights such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the houses of parliament, to some of the best museums in the world such as the British Museum and the Tate museums, and to world class shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Further afield lie picture perfect villages in the Cotswolds, the great University cities of Oxford and Cambridge, the mysterious Stonehenge, the wild grandeur of the Scottish highlands, and the manicured elegance of Georgian towns such as Bath. If Jewish history is your focus it will be important to visit specific sites in London such as the Bevis Marks synagogue and key biblical period artefacts at the British Museum.
Please do contact us to ask for assistance with your UK extension!
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