Ciao Bella Italy!

September 5, 2024 - September 15, 2024
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Journey Overview

Join us in beautiful Italy for a fascinating purposeful journey that features art, history, gastronomic, and cultural delights for which this European country has become known around the world.

Ciao Bella Italy offers a luxurious all-inclusive cruise that also includes land excursions.  You will encounter Italian art and culture in a way that promises to be as fun as it will be fascinating. We will engage the rich history of cities with their ancient past. Enhancing our delectable tastes of history, culture, and cuisine will be the wow factor of breath-taking scenery.

An optional journey extension to Rome for 4 nights is available.

Your Host for Our Journey

Our host for Ciao Belly Italy! will be Pastor Rich Elseroad. Pastor Rich will embark on this journey as a special opportunity to share in celebrating his more than four decades of parish ministry including three decades as pastor to the people of God at Grace Lutheran Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Pastor Elseroad looks forward to celebrating a lifetime of ministry through the joyful experience of art, history, gastronomic, and cultural delights on a cruise through Italy. by sharing with his fellow travelers the experience of the most significant sights and places in the birth, life, teaching, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

From his first days serving the people of God as pastor to his preparation for retirement, the power and sweetness of the Gospel has deepened for Pastor Rich and those he has served. This journey offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with Pastor Rich a lifetime of ministry.

Pastor Rich has been Senior Pastor of Grace since November of 1993. He was married to Susie (originally from Kankakee, Illinois). Pastor Rich and Susie had four children: Stephanie, Stuart, Stanton and Steven. He founded Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gardendale, Alabama and served there from 1979 to 1993. Pastor Rich is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Valparaiso University in 1975 and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri in 1979. He has loved being a pastor, especially teaching the Adult Inquiry Class and seeing people become Christians for the first time or recommitting themselves to Jesus Christ.

Pastor Rich warmly welcomes those who will join him in celebration on Ciao Bella Italy!

Day 1 – Wheels up!
Thursday, September 5, 2024

Ciao Bella Italy fellow travelers depart for an overnight flight to Milan, Italy.

Day 2 – Ciao! Welcome to Italy!
Friday, September 6, 2024

Following our arrival in Italy, we will transfer to our beautiful hotel in Milan or Lake Maggiore. After some rest and time to settle in, we will gather for a spectacular welcome dinner. D

Day 3 – A Famous Lake
Saturday, September 7, 2024

After breakfast, we will spend the day exploring Lake Como area, a world-famous resort and meeting area.  We will head to Como for a guided tour of the city, including the remarkable cathedral built over a period of 400 years.  After lunch in a local restaurant, we will take the Brunate funicular railway to the summit where you’ll have a splendid view of Lake Como and city below. We’ll return to Como and enjoy a boat tour of the lake. After our excursion, we’ll return to Milan by coach. Dinner at our hotel. B, L, D

Day 4 – New energy, deep roots
Sunday, September 8, 2024

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of Milan. Dynamic, trendy Milan offers old-fashioned charm, monuments, quaint neighborhoods, and a truly unique architectural and artistic heritage in sublime Italy. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. The afternoon will be dedicated to discovering the historic center of Milan, including a visit to the cathedral. Next we travel to Mantua to board our ship at 6 p.m. After comfortably settling into our cabins, we will meet our crew while we savor a welcome cocktail before gathering for our Bon Voyage dinner. B, L, D

Day 5 – A Wealth of Art and Autos
Monday, September 9, 2024

We will spend our morning in port with an option for a guided tour of Mantua.  It is here in Mantua the House of Gonzaga ruled for centuries. Although Mantua is a lesser known Italian city, this is one of the most artistically rich and romantic cities in northern Italy.  After passing by the Ducal Palace complex, we will stroll to the historic city center to visit the Rotonda di San Lorenzo and the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. Your afternoon will be free to enjoy and expole on your own.

In lieu of the Mantua city tour, you will have the option to enjoy a tour of the Ferrari Museum in nearby Modena. Car lovers will not want to miss this experience! This museum offers a spectacular immersive experience that features stunning cars and the fascinating life story of Enzo Ferrari. We will enjoy dinner onboard our ship. B, L, D

Day 6 - Romantic Verona
Tuesday, September 10, 2024

We will travel by coach to the City of Love, Verona, made famous by Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet. This morning offers you two optional excursions.

You may visit Visit Verona and its amphitheater.  Your experience includes a visit to Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta) where you may imagine the declaration of love by Romeo for Juliet.

Instead of experiencing Verona through the eyes of Shakespeare, you may choose to explore the charming streets and squares of this 2,000 year old city through a gastronomic tour of Verona that explores Italian cuisine from the Roman empire to the present. Our tour includes Italian delights of cheeses, meats, and a glass of local wine. B, L, D

Day 7 - Finding the Lost
Wednesday, September 11, 2024

We will spend our morning cruising and enjoying the beauty of Italy. You may join us on an optional excursion of A guided tour of Padua. The modern city of Padua surrounds the medieval center of its past that features charming squares and palaces that includes Il Santo, the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony the city’s patron saint renown for helping people find lost items.

Those who decide to opt out of the excursion will travel to Chioggia for some free time as the ship  cruises to Chioggia. We will return to the ship for our cruise to Venice and a free evening to explore the city. B, L, D

Day 8 – Venetian Classics
Thursday, September 12, 2024

Today offers two excursions in Venice. You may choose to take a guided tour of the picture perfect sights of the Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Square.  You may enjoy a tour of Saint Mark’s Square and the exterior of its famous basilica and take a tour of Doge’s Palace. The palace dates back to the fourteenth century and is considered by many to be the most beautiful palace in the world. Venture to the top of the Golden Staircase to encounter massive works by Tintoretto and Veronese and a magnificent view from the balcony.

You may enjoy a free afternoon in Venice to discover, or rediscover, what many consider to be the most romantic city in the world. You may cross the Rialto, the city’s emblematic bridge on the Grand Canal for a breathtaking view of the canal and the historic buildings that surround it. B, L, D

Day 9 – Exquisite Craftsmanship on the Islands
Friday, September 13, 2024

We will enjoy a morning  cruise in the Venice lagoon with a labyrinth of canals and islands. You are invited to enjoy the view of churches and palaces silhouetted against the horizon while admiring landscapes and ballet of boats using the channels. When we reach the island of Mazzorbo we will venture across the pedestrian bridge to the charming island of Burano. Explore Burano on your own to enjoy traditional lacemaking and picture-perfect homes for which this island is known.In the afternoon, depart by private boat to the island of Murano, famous for its glass production. for a visit to a workshop and a glassblowing demonstration. We return to the ship for the Gala. B, L, D

Day 10 – One Last Look
Saturday, September 14, 2024

We will enjoy breakfast on board this morning before disembarking.  We will take the time available to explore and take one last look at Italy before checking into our hotel and a farewell dinner on our final evening in Italy. We will travel to our hotel for our final evening in Italy and enjoy a sumptuous farewell dinner. B, L, D

Day 11 – The Formal End to our Purposeful Journey
Sunday, September 15, 2024

The memories will indeed last a lifetime. We hope your conversation, and therefore your journey, will continue with your new friends. Our journey concludes, formally, with the departure of our flight home.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included


There are many ways in which encounters with the past can help us to better understand who we are in the present. The purpose of this fun, fascinating encounter with Italian history, art, culture and cuisine is to stimulate thoughts about who we are today in light of this culture. Even our engagement with the fictional creation of Shakespeare’s imagination, which has at least some roots in authentic history, can be a fun way for us to stimulate thoughts of what is important in life.

Join us in beautiful northern Italy for a fascinating purposeful journey that features art, history, and the gastronomic and cultural delights for which this European country has become known around the world.  Enhancing our delectable tastes of history, culture, and cuisine we will be wowed with beautiful scenery, a luxurious cruise, and unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

Our Philosophy

We hope you will measure the quality of your journey not by the quantity of sights you see, but by the invaluable experiences you absorb.

Balance of stimulating experience, serious reflection…and just plain fun.

One word describes our intention for your journey: balance. We believe each place we visit should relate to whole story, the arc of a narrative. We believe in creating journeys formed and shaped as narratives; journeys that are serious, purposeful, and fulfilling with time to reflect with fellow travelers or alone while providing opportunity for experiences that are just plain fun.

Expert interaction and rich personal encounters

Rather than a trip led by a tour guide trained to disseminate information from a script, we endeavor to seek experts to lead you on a journey who are available as a resource for as much depth as you desire or to leave you to your own reflection.

One beautiful base location

Too often, group travel can leave you feeling like you are part of a herd of a large group of strangers hustled from sight to sight, packing and unpacking every day of your trip. With us you will stay in one beautiful base location that serves as a base for our excursions. Changing hotels as few times as possible during a journey allows greater opportunity to experience people and culture.

Meticulously planned; yet flexible journey

How does a trip become a journey? Carefully selected excursions that form a narrative, staying in one beautiful base location, with time and flexibility for reflection, and activities that are just plain fun.

Cuisine as a delectable complement to culture and conversation

Cuisine, and the wonderful dining experiences we share in an eclectic array of venues, provide a delectable complement to your rich encounters with the culture and the delightful conversation you enjoy with fellow travelers.


Flight Information

Purposeful Journeys may arrange a group flight departing from a major airport, most likely Nashville International Airport—Nashville, Tennessee or possibly Knoxville as some have expressed interest. While the specific price of the group flight cannot be determined until the flights are booked, based on current market conditions, flights will likely cost around $1,400.

Cruise Information

Our cruise will be administered by CroisiEurope. This beautiful river cruise is all-inclusive of meals, select adult beverages including beer, wine, and selection of liquors, and all excursions.

Hotel Accommodations

We will stay at a hotel near where we will embark on our river cruise. This will offer fellow travelers the opportunity to acclamate to the time change before begining our cruise.  In order to ensure that we meet our flight schedule we will stay one night in Italy following the cruise.


Nearly all meals you are likely to desire are included in this purposeful journey. We believe that dining experiences offer a window into the local culture. Breakfast and Dinner is included each day with only a couple of noted exceptions in the itinerary. Meals provide time for us to relax, take in the culture, and discuss all that we have seen and experienced as fellow travelers that day. See the current, tentative itinerary for details.

Ground Transportation

Transfers to and from the arrival flight into and departing flight from Europe will be provided. Other ground transportation will be provided throughout the journey.

Sightseeing and Events

This purposeful journey includes several premium sight seeing opportunities and tours. As details emerge, specific information will be shared with fellow travelers.

A Miraculous Journey Land Only Cost—$4,300
(Up to $600 in discounts available!)

Current Incentives:
  • Save $300 with a special journey host discount code
  • Apply by the early application deadline and save $150 (see your journey host for details)
  • Save $150 if you choose to settle your balance prior to the due date of your first payment
Your journey includes:
  • All-inclusive river cruise on a CroisiEurope ship
  • Taxes and airline surcharges
  • Deluxe coach transportation throughout your itinerary
  • Double occupancy hotel room ($1,100 single supplement)
  • Meals as specified in the final itinerary
  • Admission fees as specified in the final itinerary
  • Only goods, services, or activities as explicitly included in the General Terms and Conditions.
Your journey does not include:
  • Round trip airfare
  • Gratuities for service staff, coach driver(s) and guides
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, after dinner drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Any goods, services, or activities expressly excluded in the General Terms and Conditions.
Remittance Schedule:
  • Once your application is approved, you will receive an invoice/statement that reflects your choice for settling your balance. Your first payment will be due approximately 60 days after your application has been approved.
  • If you choose to avail yourself of the Pay-in-Full discount, you must settle your balance in full before your first payment is due as reflected on your invoice/statement.
  • If you choose to make payments, your payments will be divided into monthly payments with a final payment due as specified on your invoice/statement.
  • Payments will become due as specified in your remittance schedule.
  • Final payment must be received no later than the date specified on your invoice/statement and remittance schedule.
When approved as a fellow traveler…

…you will receive an invoice and a remittance schedule from Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC along with a link to a password protected page on our website that will offer details and updates about your journey.

General Terms and Conditions

Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC will administer your journey. You must accept the General Terms and Conditions at the time you submit your application. Please refer to the General Terms and Conditions for any applicable additional fees that may apply in certain situations and circumstances such as any deviation from the group flight itinerary or your requirement of a single room.

We cordially invite you to apply to join us as a fellow traveler

Please complete the application form. You will be prompted to make a choice about your purchase of Cancel for Any Reason NTA Travel Protect Insurance at the bottom of your application. We are delighted you are taking the step of submitting your application to become a member of a journey with us. We look forward to notifying you of your acceptance as a fellow traveler.

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