April 2017: ITALY, MONACO & FRANCE With KCBX Public Radio



With KCBX Public Radio

April 23 – May 3, 2017


“Some spots are the cradle of genius. Provence is one.”
Lawrence Durrell


Join KCBX General Manager and host Frank Lanzone and fellow public radio listeners on an in-depth exploration of the Italian Lake District, Monaco, the Italian and French Riviera and Provence. Your cultural expedition begins on the shores of Lake Como where you will stroll through stunning gardens, gorgeous villas and charming lakeside towns with breathtaking views. Our adventure continues as we head south toward Menton on the French Riviera. We’ll explore the Côte d’Azur, some gorgeous gardens and glamourous Monaco. We will then make our way to Arles, one of Van Gogh’s homes in Provence, and a charming town full of great restaurants and Roman archeological treasures. It was here that Van Gogh painted his famous café scenes and lived with Paul Gaugin in the Studio of the South. Along the way, visit delightful Aix-en-Provence, the walled city of Avignon with its towering Papal Palace and see the breathtaking Pont du Gard aqueduct, built by the Romans in 60AD.

Join KCBX General Manager and host Frank Lanzone and savor all that Provence, the Riviera, Monaco and Lake Como have to offer: wine tastings, world-class art, Roman ruins, lush gardens and open air markets are all included.



3 Nights Lake Como, Italy’s Lake District
3 Nights Menton, French Riviera
4 Nights Arles, Heart of Provence



Visits to stunning lakeside villas on Lake Como  ♦ Colorful Provençal markets  ♦ A private tour of Van Gogh’s legendary asylum in St. Remy ♦ Wine tastings in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape ♦ The Roman arena of Arles ♦ Dining in charming cafés and bistros ♦ The legendary le Pont d’Avignon ♦ The Roman ruins of the Pont du Gard ♦ Cezanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence ♦ Historic walks with local experts ♦ Time for personal discovery



  • Travel with KCBX Public Radio General Manager and host Frank Lanzone
  • Guided by an Earthbound Expeditions expert guide
  • Ten nights of accommodations in a historic lakeside monastery and 4 star centrally located hotels
  • Transport by luxury coach (private group airport shuttle included for those arriving on the designated flight)
  • All breakfasts plus ten additional multicourse meals featuring regional specialties
  • Wine and hors d’oeuvres Happy Hours with your host
  • Museum entrances and tours led by knowledgeable guides
  • All entrances as listed in your itinerary
  • Outings to village markets, Roman ruins, wineries and villas
  • Wine tastings with producers in Provence
  • Gratuities for your driver and guides
  • A specially prepared reading list



11 Days/ 10 Nights
*$4,195 per person double occupancy Land (limited to 21-29 KCBX guests)
$795 Single Supplement (waived if you are willing to share and a roommate is found)
Journey begins in Lake Como at 6:00pm on Sunday, April 23, 2017
Journey ends in Arles after breakfast on Wednesday, May 3~
*Small group comfort charge of $250 will be added to groups smaller than 21


SAVE $350!
Sign up by January 15, 2017 and save $150 ♦ Pay your final balance by check and save $100 ♦ Travel alumni save $100.


ACTIVITY LEVEL: This is a walking tour. Plan to walk on cobblestone streets, visit terraced gardens with steps, uphill walks, city and museum tours with stairs, standing and walking, and stay in a 3 story hotel with no elevator. All guests should be able to walk independently (unassisted) for at least 1 hour at a time and up to 3 miles at a leisurely pace.


Click Here to view a printable PDF version of this itinerary.




“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”
Richard Brinsley Sheridan




Depart the USA for Bella Italia by or before April 22-
Today say “arrivederci” to the USA and make your way to Italy’s majestic Lake District. Remember you must depart the USA no later than April 22, in order to meet the group at Lake Como.


DAY 1: Sunday, April 23 – Buongiorno! Meet in Bella Italia on the Shores of Lake Como
Many identify the Lake District as Italy’s most beautiful region and Lake Como certainly is a wonderful place to start our garden journey. Take some time to enjoy the rich atmosphere of this northern Italian gem. Garden lovers might wish to tour the nearby gardens of Villa Cipressi before meeting your guide and host this evening for a welcome orientation and multicourse dinner. Sleep in Varenna at the historic Villa Cipressi (D)


Note: Earthbound Expeditions will be offering a complimentary morning transfer from Milan Malpensa airport to the first hotel in Varenna on Lake Como. For those who do not mind a little adventure, you may opt to arrive a few days early, in which case you would transfer independently to the hotel. From Malpensa airport in Milan, simply catch the public bus or light rail train from the airport to the Milan Central Station, where you can purchase tickets for the nearly hourly departures to Varenna. Be sure and disembark at Varenna-Esino station.


DAY 2: Monday, April 24 – Villa Carlotta
Today we’ll hop a ferry and cruise to the stunning lakeside Villa Carlotta. This gorgeous villa was built at the end of 17th century by the Milanese marquis Giorgio Cleric. With an Italian garden decorated with sculptures, stairs and fountains, this romantic spot is not to be missed! Sleep in Varenna at the historic Villa Cipressi (B)


Note: It’s often said that there are two types of travelers:those who prefer to take it slow and soak up every beautiful moment at a leisurely pace and those who define the perfect vacation by the number of activities they can squeeze into each day. This is one of those days where you’ll have a choice. Soak up the gorgeous beauty of Lake Como and the Lake District or head to Lugano, witzerland for a fun filled day of sightseeing. No matter what you choose, it’s a win-win!


DAY 3: Tuesday, April 25 – Stunning Lakefront Villages
Today set out to discover some of Italy’s beautiful lakeside villages. Traveling by small ferry you may wish to visit the world-renowned town of Bellagio or perhaps the gorgeous Villa Melzi. Your guide will provide you with a mid-lake ferry pass which will allow you to explore the stunning villas and villages at your own leisurely pace. Enjoy dinner with your host and fellow travelers these evening in town. Sleep in Varenna at the Villa Cipressi (B, D)


DAY 4: Wednesday, April 26 – The Italian Riviera and Menton, France
After breakfast, we say “arrivederci” to Italy and bonjour to France as we drive south to the Mediterranean Sea. Before crossing into France, we’ll have a hearty lunch in the province of Imperia, Italy, then make our way to Menton, beautifully located on the sparkling Mediterranean.

Located in Europe’s mildest climate and sheltered by the high Maritime Alps, orange and lemon trees bloom here even in winter. (It is said that Menton’s first lemons were planted by Eve.) Picture-postcard pretty and with year-round seaside sunshine, Menton is where the British inadvertently invented the French Riviera. When the widowed monarch Queen Victoria arrived in 1882, the city already boasted 5,000 British residents busy building mansions and planting tropical gardens. Enjoy a stroll on the promenade and relax in your beautiful surroundings. Join the group this evening for your first dinner in France. Sleep in Menton at the **** Hotel Napoleon (B, D)


DAY 5: Thursday, April 27 – Exploring Menton
Join your guide this morning for a stroll down to the main pedestrian street, the Rue St Michel. This central street is a must for all visitors as it is packed with shops and restaurants. You should also be sure and make a stop in the colorful daily food market in the Market Hall, between the old port and the old city. Overflowing with colors, exotic aromas and flowers from the South of France, look out for Mentonnaise specialties such as lemons, spices, “barbbajuans” (fried vegetables and rice), and Socca (flat cake made of chickpea flour and olive oil). The warm welcome you’ll receive from the shopkeepers gives you a glimpse of the friendliness of the locals. You may wish to gather a picnic and have it on the beach, or enjoy lunch in one of the many beachside bistros.

Your afternoon is free to stroll along the ocean, visit the Jean Cocteau Museum or people watch from a café. We’ll gather together this evening for dinner. Sleep in Menton at the **** Hotel Napoleon (B, D)


ABOUT MENTON, FRANCE – “Ville des Jardins”
“My city is a garden” – The slogan for the city was not chosen at random. With an exceptionally mild climate and 316 days of sunshine a year, Menton is a paradise for botanists who have acclimatized exotic plants brought from far away destinations. The sub-tropical species flourish and grow at ease in sun-soaked Menton.


DAY 6: Friday, April 28 – An Outing to Villa Ephrussi and Monaco
This morning, we’ll drive west along the magnificent coastline of the Côte d’Azur for a visit to the extraordinary villa of Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. The gardens here are laid out as a series of ‘rooms’: Spanish, Florentine, Japanese and Provençal – an absolute delight! Set in front of the villa is a formal French water garden, which leads up to a temple surrounded by Aleppo  pines. The villa is equally fascinating with its original Ephrussi furnishings, paintings and collections.

After lunch, we will stop in the regal principality of Monaco. With an area of just 0.78 square miles and a population of 36,371, Monaco is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Prince Albert of Monaco resides in the 12th century Palace of Monaco along with his family as the Grimaldis have done for the last seven centuries.

From the hill where the Palace is perched, you can soak up the fantastic views of the bay of Monaco and the high-rises of Monte Carlo. We’ll stroll through the narrow streets and pay our respects to Princess Grace before returning to Menton. Sleep in Menton at the Hotel Napoleon (B)


DAY 7: Saturday, April 29 – West to Provence via Aix-en-Provence
We depart today for Provence, where we’ll make a stop in the delightful university town of Aix (pronounced like the letter “X”). You may wish to visit the Saturday market stalls, have lunch and take some time to wander before we continue on to our home for the next four nights: Arles. Sleep in Arles at the ****Jules Cesar or ****Forum Hotel (B, D)


DAY 8: Sunday, April 30 – A Day in Arles
Today you’ll enjoy an in-depth walking tour of Arles. The Roman arena is included in your visit. A gem of Provençal history, ancient Arles, with its seven UNESCO World Heritage monuments and sites, roused the passion of Picasso. Arles inspired the artist with its arenas and corridas, reminding him of his Spanish roots. Picasso’s works, including his famous l’Arlésienne, focused on the town starting in 1960 and the artist bequeathed 57 drawings to the Réattu Museum. After a group lunch, the afternoon is yours to explore the narrow and twisting streets of this ancient Roman
town, or we may propose an afternoon wine tasting! Sleep in Arles (B, L)


Wine, Food and Terroir in France
The French word “terroir” (from terre, “land”) is the set of special characteristics of geography, geology and climate of a certain place, that interact with a plant’s genetics, and is now often found mentioned on packaging of many agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat, and tea. The concept has also crossed to other Protected Appellations of Origin (PDOs a form of geographical indication), products such as cheeses.

Terroir can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place,” which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the production of the product.

The concept of terroir is at the base of the French wine Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system, which has been the model for appellation and wine laws across the globe. At its core is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that growing site. The amount of influence and the scope that falls under the description of terroir has been a controversial topic in the wine industry.


DAY 9: Monday, May 1 – Le Pont du Gard, Avignon and the Wines of the Côtes du Rhône
This morning we make our way to Europe’s best-preserved Roman ruin, the 2,000-year-old aqueduct, le Pont du Gard. We’ll admire this aesthetic feat of Roman engineering and beauty before continuing on to Avignon. We’ll lunch together before exploring the summer palace of the popes. After our visit to Avignon, we are off to taste some wines of the Rhône Valley. This fertile area was the first region to produce wine in France. It is said that the first vine was planted by wine growers from Marseille (known then as “Massilia”). Using the nearby Rhône River, the bottles of wine could then be easily transferred to the harbor of Marseille. The Romans were next to further develop the vineyards, with the oldest remaining vineyards being “Côte Rôtie” and “Hermitage.” During the Middle Ages, monasteries began to manage vineyards such as “Châteauneuf,” which was renamed “Châteauneuf du Pape” when the popes began spending their holidays there. Sleep in Arles (B, L)


DAY 10: Tuesday, May 2 – Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Monastery
This morning, we will make our way to the Mausole de Saint-Paul, a psychiatric asylum. Unable to live securely on his own in Arles, Vincent Van Gogh voluntarily entered this asylum on May 8, 1889. At that time, his condition was diagnosed as a form of epilepsy. As long as he remained stable, the doctors allowed Vincent to paint, and it was here that he painted his famous Irises. On display on the grounds is a collection of works that Vincent van Gogh painted when he was a patient.

Today, it is still a quiet place to rest and recover, and the gift shop sells works created by current patients. We’ll explore more of this lovely countryside before returning to Arles for our farewell feast this evening, where we toast to our beautiful journey. Sleep in Arles (B, D)


DAY 11: Wednesday, May 3 – Your Journey Concludes
Stay on in Nice and enjoy the surrounding area, or perhaps you’d like to zoom up to Paris via high speed train. High speed trains depart for Paris from Avignon several times a day. Your guide will  be happy to help organize transfers to airports or train stations this morning. Return home with a lifetime of memories!


Bon Voyage!

-Itinerary Subject to Change-


“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”

Paul Cezanne



frank-lanzoneFrank Lanzone has been involved in public radio for all of his adult (and not so adult) life. Frank has been President & General Manager of Public Radio KCBX since 1980. Before that he was manager of Public Radio KCSM serving the San Francisco Bay Area. For several years he instructed TV and radio operation and production classes on the faculty of the Telecommunications Department at the College of San Mateo before moving to California’s Central Coast.

Frank was a founding board member and President of SLONET Regional Information Access, one of the nation’s first community access networks. SLONET became a subsidiary of KCBX and is now known as KCBXnet. It provides computer related classes, for novices and advanced users. KCBXnet is also an Internet Service Provider. KCBX and KCBXnet are media partners housed under the same roof.

Frank was a co-founder of the Live Oak Music Festival in 1988. The festival is a major revenue generator for KCBX, but just as important is the community and family nature of the event. Frank is currently the President of California Public Radio, an organization that represents the interests of most public radio stations throughout the State. Frank represents other California stations with NPR, the FCC, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other organizations that affect what we provide to our communities.

Frank has two grown children. Brian, his wife Emily and their son Kieran live and work in the San Luis Obispo area. Son Paul and his husband Michael live and work in Washington, DC.


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