Grand Tour & Retreat Explained

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Discover your self while discovering a new country

The 12 Day Discover Yourself in Italy Grand Tour & Retreat is a classic MCA tour that combines:

·  the Grand Tour of Historic Sites
·  the journey of Self-Discovery
· the flair of a Mindfulness Retreat.

The main aim of the tour is self-knowledge, i.e. TO DISCOVER YOUR SELF while discovering a new country.
Each day of the trip will be focused on a part or aspect of this journey inspired by the places we see and experience.
Four regions in Italy will become the backdrop for such an inner journey:
  1. Rome & the Lazio
  2. Assisi & Umbria
  3. Florence, Siena & Tuscany
  4. Venice & the Veneto
  5. Piedmont & The Lakes (Orta & Maggiore)
  6. The Italian Alps
Our journey companions will be:
·      Seneca
·      Marcus Aurelius
·      Plato
·      Michelangelo
·      Leonardo Da Vinci
·      St. Francis of Assisi
·      Nietzsche
·      Goethe
·      Carl Jung
·      John Ruskin
·      Lord Byron
·      and many more…

In Rome & the Lazio we shall learn about the philosophical life and what it means to live in the Eternal City by listening to the ancient stones of the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and Rome’s wise philosophers and by contemplating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and the symbolic frescoes of Raphael in the Vatican.
We shall also take the plunge into our own soul in the hermetic gardens of the Lazio.

We will follow the path of contemplation with St. Francis Assisi of Assisi in his home town. Assisi is a town cupped in celeshtial hands with picturesque plains spreading beneath it and Monte Subasio rising mightily above it. The rosy glow at dusk sends souls spiraling to heaven and is not to be missed. 

In Florence of the Medicis, the birthplace of the Renaissance, we will immerse ourselves in the spiritual philosophy that inspired the famous paintings of Botticelli and Michelangelo’s sculptures and Florence’s famous architectural masterpieces and then we shall explore the mystical Gothic town of Siena & the picturesque San Gimignano.

In Venice, the magical city with numerous bridges spanning the canals navigated by gondolas, churches, bustling piazzas, narrow alleyways, and silent waters we will journey into the literary and philosophical writings of the Grand Tourists such as Goethe, Ruskin, and others.

We will end the journey in the Alps at Lake Maggiore and Orta, famous as a refuge for the German philosopher Nietzsche.

Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, the lakes have been a sanctuary for writers, royalty, and adventurers alike. Their beauty has inspired writers from Goethe and Stendhal to DH Lawrence and Hemingway. But even their lavish praise of the lakes does not do them justice.


“All journeys have secret destinations
of which the traveler is unaware.”
—Martin Buber—

« What Our Clients Have to Say »


It has been almost 4 years since I went on the Italy trip and I still remember it vividly and talk about memories from it with my friends. Everything went so smoothly, which allowed the group to focus on having fun and taking in the beauty that is Italy – It was mind-blowing to be standing so close to some of the world's most notable art history, with classmates that became close friends. You can definitely sense the passion and hard work that went into creating an unforgettable trip. Highly recommend it! 

Rawan Kobeissi 
I remember being very excited when Dr. Samir Mahmoud announced we were going on a class trip to Italy back in 2015. He managed to take us to five cities in just a week. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena and Vicenza (and probably had a few more stops along the way that I don’t remember). The hotels we stayed in were more than welcoming, cozy and authentic. We visited many sites and still had time to do some individual sightseeing and shopping. We also spent a few nights in plazas under the stars and enjoyed some great italian food - especially gelato! I recommend this trip to anyone curious to spend some time in Italy! 
Helena Homsi 
To start of, the trip with Samir Mahmoud was both educational and fun. Visiting all the architectural sites and listening to his comments about each made me fall even more in love with the country and its architecture. Overall it was a great experience and definitely worth repeating.

Souha Boumatar 

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