Launched this month, the new highly anticipated BBC Arts series Civilisations, inspired by Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking 1960’s namesake, is being hosted by expert presenters Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga.

Spanning history from 35,000-year-old rock paintings through to more modern representations of art, the programme covers some 31 countries across six continents, as it explores themes of human creativity and what makes a civilisation.  Such is the level of interest that a festival of events has been created at museums and sites around the country. For those inspired by the series to delve a bit deeper, archaeological and cultural holiday experts Andante Travels offers a unique range of expert-led escorted tours which enable clients to make their own voyage of discovery, visiting many of the destinations featured on the programme.

ROCK ART OF ALTAMIRA (as featured in Episode 1 – The Second Moment Of Creation)
Decorated some 15-35,000 years ago, the caves of Altamira still display some of humankind’s first great artistic achievements with vivid images of horse, bison and deer. Led by rock art expert Dr Paul Bahn with special access to some of the most beautifully decorated caves in Northern Spain, enjoy the tremendous privilege of standing in the footsteps of the original artists.  Covering ten different sites as well as Altamira, other highlights include Tito Bustillo with its Ice Age friezes, the art of El Castillo and the contrastingly modern Guggenhiem Museum in Bilbao. Andante Travels Rock Art of Altamira starts from £2,395/person including flights, hotels, expert guide lecturer Dr Paul Bahn, tour manager, local travel, all meals included with wine at dinner, entry to all sites in programme/tips. Departure 11 June 2018, 27 May 2019, 2 September 2019.
EGYPT – LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (as featured in Episode Two – How Do We Look?)

Travelling with Lucia Gahlin, a specialist in Egyptian archaeology, explore the pyramids, tombs and mummies of ancient Egypt.  Uncovering their stories on a journey from Cairo and Giza in the North to the hidden El- Cab rock-cut tombs at Edfu in the South with their amazingly colourful interiors.  With a private tour and access to rare treasures at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the 11 day trip takes in many well-known sites as well as lesser known gems such as the collapsed three step pyramid at Meidem, Beni Hasan cemetery of tombs and the workers village of Deir el Medina.  Highlights also include special access to the inner chamber of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.   Andante Travels Egypt – Land of the Pharaohs tarts from £3,396/person including flights, accommodation, all meals – some with wine, Guide Lecturer Lucia Gahlin, Tour Manager, Local Travel, entries/tips.   Departures , 29 February 2018, 23 November 2018, 22 February 2019, 18 October 2019 and 8 November 2019. 


MEXICO – THE MAYA (as featured in Episodes 1 – The Second Moment Of Creation and 6 – First Contact)

Of all Mesoamerican civilizations, the Maya have enjoyed the most enduring hold on the popular imagination. Explore jungle-clad ruins shrouded in mystery with archaeologist, writer and broadcaster David Drew as he unlocks the many secrets of Mayan society, their art and architecture.  Taking in lost cities, spectacular temples and vibrant art, this adventurous trip startswith the superb museums of Mexico City, travels via the uplands of Chiapas, into the jungle and the great river Usumacinta, before driving up the Yucatan peninsula. Highlights include special access to the colourful mural and carved stelae at Bonampak, a ride to the jungle site of Yaxchilán and a visit to Mexico city’s artisan quarter to see Frida Kahlo’s house. Andante Travels Mexico – The Maya starts from £4,450/person including flights, hotels, expert guide lecturer David Drew, tour manager, local travel, all meals included with wine at dinner, entry to all sites in programme and tips. Departure 12 November 2018. 

ROME – THE GREAT MASTERS (Italian Renaissance as featured in Episode Five – The Triumph of Art)
The perfect introduction to Renaissance art and some of the world’s greatest masters, examining famous paintings and sculptures from the 12th through to the 18th centuries, this 5 day tour is guided throughout by archaeological scientist Diana Blumberg.  Highlights include a private viewing of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’; a special reception to see one of the world’s best collections of renowned Italian masterpieces at Galleria Doria Pamphilj; a visit to the National Gallery of Ancient Art, the 17th-century Palazzo Barberini which houses many of Italy’s greats; Galleria Borghese famed for its magnificent Bernini sculptures; and Basilica di Santa Maria, one of the oldest churches in Rome, with its glittering 13th-century Cavallini mosaics. Andante Travels Rome – The Great Masters starts from £2,295/person including flights, hotels, expert guide lecturer Diana Blumberg, tour manager, local travel, all meals included with wine at dinner, entry to all sites in programme and tips. Departure 12 November 2018. 
JAPAN (as featured in Episode 7 – Radiance)

The closed society of pre-19th century Japan was the last major civilisation to engage with the rest of the world and yet Japanese culture and history have had an extraordinary influence on the progress of the modern world. Its archaeological sites are still difficult to visit, especially as an independent traveller but in the company of Andante Travels and with their expert in East Asian archaeology Ilona Bausch leading the tour, participants have access to remarkable monuments from the fiery ceramics of the Jomon Neolithic to temples and Shoguns’ castles. Traversing astonishingly diverse landscapes by bullet train this 16-day tour seeks out the unique archaeology, history and culture of Japan.Andante Travels  Japan starts from £6,995/person including flights, hotels, expert guide lecturer Ilona Bausch, tour manager, local travel, all meals included with wine at dinner, entry to all sites in programme and tips. Departure 9 November 2018.

PICASSO AND MODERN ART ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA  (Matisse’s Chapel as featured in Episode 7 – Radiance)

Journey along the French Riviera with Dr Agata Chrzanowska, an art historian specialising in Early Modern painting, soaking up the glorious light reflected from the Mediterranean whilst taking in the seaside villas of some of the most influential 20th century artists on this week long pilgrimage to modern art.   Exploring the playground of Picasso, Matisse, Cocteau, Renoir, Léger and Bonnard, who all left their mark on the province, highlights include the Rosary Chapel -that Matisse designed for the Dominican sisters; an introductory lecture and grand tour of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the superbly located Fondation Maeght which houses Miró’s spectacular garden labyrinth.  There are is also a private visit to a local pottery workshop to see first-hand the regional techniques that influenced Picasso’s ceramics and the 14th century Chapelle Saint Pierre, the church which was lavishly redecorated with surreal and mystical scenes by Cocteau in the 1950s. Andante Travels Picasso and Modern Art on the French Riviera  seven day all-inclusive tour starts from £2,450/person including flights, hotels, expert guide lecturer Dr Agata Chrzanowska, tour manager, local travel, all meals included with wine at dinner, entry to all sites in programme and tips. Departure 15 May 2018.  

For more information and to book please contact; 01722 713800)