Florence in Depth

Join us in Florence where art and architecture, past and present are interwoven. Leisurely walking tours plus visits to the Uffizi, Accademia, Medici Chapel, Sante Croce, Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, etc. Sidetrips to Siena, San Gimignano, Fiesole, and Pisa are also included. Savour Tuscan food and wine with a twist! With Michael Quinn.

BOOKING INFORMATION

February 22 - March 03, 2017

$2,375.00

Land only Single supplement: $275.00 Optional group airfare available for $298.00 + taxes ($618.00) = $916.00 total.

Guaranteed Departure

VIEW TERMS & CONDITIONS DOWNLOAD PDF OF ITINERARY

*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


ITINERARY

Day 1 - Wednesday, February 22:

Evening departure from Toronto to Paris with Air France. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 - Thursday, February 23: (D)

Early morning arrival at Charles De Gaulle Airport and brief connecting flight to Florence and coach transfer to the comfortable centrally located three-star Hotel Corona d’Italia (www.hotelcoronaditalia.com). Time to settle in, a light late lunch and rest after the overnight flight before a late afternoon orientation walk in the local community introduces us to the city’s renowned cathedral, the Duomo, capped by Brunelleschi’s massive Dome, the adjoining Baptistry with Ghiberti’s famous bronze doors and the nearby Medici Chapel, Palazzo, San Lorenzo and the Leather Market! Dinner in a nearby typical trattoria. 

Day 3 - Friday, February 24: (L)

A full day of exploration begins after breakfast. Our Florentine introduction continues through its foods...we visit and graze the sites, tastes, smells and experiences of the pleasures of a Tuscan cuisine...up close and personal! In the afternoon we travel by local bus from the city's centre following the Florentine Passeggiata Ai Colli. This nineteenth century road, flanked by rows of pines and cypresses and interspaced with magnificent mansions, passes through the city’s southern hills. Enroute we stop at the Piazzale Michelangiolo where the eye is given a marvelous view of the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio and the city’s roofscape. A brief walk brings us to the site of the 11th C Benedictine monastery now a superb setting for the exquisite Church of San Miniato. We return to the city by way of the Porta Romana with opportunity to stroll and absorb the atmosphere of the Oltrarno area with its antiques and alleyways before crossing the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge spanning the Arno River, lined with goldsmith shops to the Piazza della Signoria, traditional focal point of the city’s political and social life. The pedestrian Via del Calzaiolo will take us to the Piazza della Republica for perhaps a late afternoon latte or gelato before we return to our hotel. Dinner at leisure.

Day 4 - Saturday, February 25:

A brief walk and tour of the Dominican preaching church of Santa Maria Novella before an excursion - by city bus! - to nearby Fiesole, a small town set high above the Arno Valley, filled with Roman and Etruscan ruins, monasteries, villas, gardens, and wonderful views of Florence below... to be enjoyed over a late lunch! Individual return to Florence at any time in the afternoon but a visit to the Archeology Zone with its excellent Museum and Roman Theatre is well worth the time! Evening for individual activities and choices: possible opportunity to attend an optional concert of classical music, an opera, or a ballet performance in the prestigious Teatro Communale. (Details to be advised later.) Michael will be available for options including local Florentine dining venues.

Day 5 - Sunday, February 26:

Full day excursion into the Tuscan countryside where we begin our day with a stroll through the unique hilltop town of San Gimignano, whose skyline is dominated by a multitude of tall towers and its shops filled with art, artifacts and products of the community. As we leave and weather permitting, an alfresco tasting of Vernacchia- the region’s delicious white wine. On to Siena, the superb Tuscan city with an almost mystical atmosphere, featuring a magnificent black-and-white marble clad cathedral and one of the finest squares in all of Italy, the breathtaking Piazza del Campo. Late afternoon departure to our hotel via the Chianti wine country, stopping briefly (time permitting) in the medieval hilltop fortress of Monteriggioni, mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy, to taste a glass of that most famous of Italian wines. Evening at leisure.

Day 6 - Monday, February 27:

We begin our day with a visit to the Ognissanti, the parish church of the Vespucci family. Here we find a family portrait that includes a young Amerigo, whose Christian name will be forever identified with America! Also close by in a side altar, the tomb of the great Renaissance painter, Botticelli. And in the adjoining Refectory a truly magnificent Ghirlandaio masterpiece, the superb Last Supper fresco. Later, a brief walk will take us to the 14thC Palazzo Davanzati. Built for the Davizzi family, it provides a rare example of the architectural shift from Mediaeval tower residence to Renaissance palace. The visit  will give a very real glimpse into life in that time. After lunch, perhaps in the pied à terre cellar of the famous Antinori wine family we briefly visit the Strozzi home before entering the vibrant local shopping scene from the elegant Via Tornabuoni with its full spectrum of possibilities ranging from Gucci, Versace, Feragamo et al. to the market bargains of nearby San Lorenzo. Dinner at leisure.

**Three additional opportunities that require travel outside of Florence are also available for today.

- The Mall Luxury Outlet: Return by Bus - Euro 10.00 Full or half day excursion.
- Pisa: the Campo dei Miracoli with the world famous Leaning Tower, the Duomo and Baptistry as well as the Camposanto, a fascinating medieval cemetery Return Train -Euro 20.00 approx. Full day excursion.

If interested, please contact the Bureau a week prior to departure for either Pisa or the Mall. Confirmation can be completed onsite.

- Cinque Terra: Please advise Bureau by January 31 in order to ensure mode of transportation availability. Minimum 2 persons - maximum 4. Full day excursion.

Day 7 - Tuesday, February 28: (D)

Today you will receive a three-day museum pass valid for admission not only to the Uffizi but also to a wide range of Florentine museums, art galleries, and monuments including: the Accademia, the Bargello, Gallery of Modern Art, the homes of Dante and Michelangelo, the Boboli Gardens...several have been chosen for group visits over the next three days. The Pass begins to-day and is valid for Wednesday and Thursday. Michael will be available to assist with planning personal visits/choices to museums, galleries, shops and restaurants over the next three days. The pass is also valid for local transit.

Our focus today will be Michelangelo. A walk to the Galleria dell' Accademia where not only his masterpiece, the magnificent marble statue of David awaits, but also the unfinished Slaves, clearly demonstrates his sculpting vision and genius. On, by way of Dante's House, to the home of Michelangelo. After lunch in the neighbourhood, the Church of Santa Croce where we find not only the tomb of this dominant Renaissance artist but also other famous Florentines, such as Ghiberti, Galileo, Machiavelli and modern day Fermi! Shoppers may want to linger in the Santa Croce district, where many establishments specialize in leather goods. Remainder of the day for individual pursuits. Dinner this evening in a local ristorante.

Day 8 - Wednesday, March 01:

This morning is reserved in its entirety for our obligatory self-directed visit to the Uffizi, truly one of the greatest art galleries in the world, with works by many of the great Italian (and other) masters of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Ample time and opportunity to contemplate according to one’s own artistic pleasures. Following lunch we gather in the Piazza della Signoria and walk to the centre of Medici religious life; the family church of San Lorenzo with its exquisite refined interior, the richly decorated Cappelle Medici Mausoleum, the Cloister for a glimpse of the Laurentian Library (if re-opened to the public) and its spectacular Michelangelo designed monumental staircase, designed for Pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Remainder of afternoon and early evening for additional individual Pass choices. 

Day 9 - Thursday, March 02: (D)

Following breakfast, we cross into the Oltrarno district to view the church of Santa Maria del Carmine featuring its Brancacci Chapel and the superb Masaccio frescoes before returning by way of Santo Spirito and its Brunelleschi designed interior to the Ponte Vecchio. Remainder of the day is free in order to accommodate museum, church, or monument visits of personal interest using the Florence Pass. Strongly recommended are:
- The Bargello Museum.
- The Pitti Palace (the magnificent Renaissance residence of the Medici rulers of Florence).
- The wonderful Boboli Gardens, considered to be among the finest horticultural creations in Europe.
- Archaeological Museum with its Etruscan treasures.

Again I will be available to assist with planning personal visits/choices to museums, galleries, shops and restaurants for this day.

But tonight, our “Arrivederci” dinner in a typical Florentine trattoria 

Day 10 - Friday, March 03:

After breakfast, coach transfer to Peretola Airport and our domestic flight to Paris in time to connect with the transatlantic flight to Toronto. Lunch and snack will be served before the late afternoon arrival at Pearson International. 

ITINERARY PDF

EXPLORE THE AREA

INCLUDED

Accommodation in an excellent, centrally located superior tourist-class (3-star) hotel, based on double occupancy (Single room supplement: $275.00). Airport transfers in Europe. Meals: buffet-style breakfast daily and a total of four full-course dinners or lunches. Sightseeing, visits, and excursions as indicated in the itinerary, including admission. Hotel taxes and gratuities.

NOT INCLUDED

Optional group airfare available for $298.00 + taxes $618.00 = $916.00 (Based on 10 minimum) All expenses of a personal nature. Coach driver gratuity approx. $15.00 CAD Travel insurance, please call for rates.

RECOMMENDED READING

An history of the city:
Florence: A Portrait. Michael Levey.

Art and society of the Renaissance, in Italy in general and in Florence in particular:
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Jacob Burkhardt. A classic study
Renaissance in Florence. Gene Adam Brucker, Recent.

The House of Medici:
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall. Christopher Hibbert

Travel guides to the city and the region:
Baedeker’s Florence.
The Michelin Green Guide, Tuscany.

A personal experience:
A Summer in Tuscany. Sandra J. Swanson

Movies set in Florence:
A Room with a View.
Tea with Mussolini.


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