Italy Revealed: Culture, Cuisine,  Church, Countryside

Two back-to-back tours in Italy

May 11–May 23 or May 20–June 1

Visit Italy with University of Texas Professor of the Year Sean Theriault, who teaches a university course on the Catholic Church, and his former student Flaminia Chapman, now a top tour guide in Italy.

Sean has visited Italy many times and has excellent contacts there. He will take us behind the scenes to visit some of Italy’s most treasured sites and to understand the politics of the Catholic Church and the Vatican’s relationships with the United States. A highlight of our four days of sightseeing in Rome will be a private visit for our group of 28 to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel after closing hours. Sean is also arranging discussions for our group with Vatican and U.S. Embassy officials to enhance our understanding of the church, its inner workings, and its relationships abroad.

Flaminia will take us to stay at her family villa in Umbria and into the countryside to meet the people, tour wonderful small towns, and have an up-close-and-personal look at the art and architecture, the wine, the cuisine, and the countryside. Our week in Umbria and Tuscany is currently scheduled to include visits to Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto, Pienza, Montalcino, and the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo, plus a boat trip on Lake Bolsena, a cooking lesson at our villa in Ficulle, a tour of the remarkable restored 13th-century private Villa la Scarzuola hosted by the owners, and dinner at a winery.

  • Each group of 14 will have a week in Umbria, and the two groups will overlap in Rome.
  • Price: $5,850 per person (single supplement $800) not including airfare, some meals, alcoholic beverages other than wine at dinner, gratuities, or trip insurance.
  • A limited number of single rooms is available.
  • Note: parts of the tour will require walking on rough or uneven terrain.
  • Half of the payment for the trip, a total of $2,925, was due on November 1, 2012 and is due immediately for later registrants. The remaining half payment of $2,925 will be due on March 1, 2013. Once made, payments are non-refundable. You will receive a refund only if The Houston Seminar cancels the entire trip.

The reason for this strict refund policy is that The Houston Seminar is a small non-profit organization, and cancellations for a trip of this duration and extent would significantly affect its ability to cover expenses.  We therefore strongly recommend that registrants purchase travel insurance upon signing up for the trip.



Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.