This might be the best tour of Florence you will ever find.
Jane Norton, Anusara teacher extraordinaire, will be joining us. Jane is the yoga teacher who relieved me from yearly episodes of debilitating back spasms dating back to my childhood. I have fantasized about having her classes be a daily part of my tour in Florence because traveling is very hard on me and on most people. Jane can tailor this therapeutic yoga for any and all levels of experience and age. I have seen her do this for 4 years. She’s a pro.
And that’s just one way you could choose to begin the day.
The other reason is best stated by Ruth Kirchmeier, West Tisbury artist and art tour participant in October 2014:
“You are in for a feast of the senses. When you travel to Florence with Marsha, you are going with someone who is at ease with the language and the labyrinthine streets, and whose connections there are like her family and so you are warmly welcomed into their lives. Her high card is the fabulous Fabrizio Gori, whose unusual insights on art, architecture, history and culture in Florence are belied by his gentle, wry tone. Did I mention his restaurant is one of the best in the city?”
You will stay in one of two apartments very near to one another, and one is in the same building as the salon where we can do our yoga. (Also in the same building as Fabrizio’s restaurant.)This is a beautiful 14th century palazzo on via Toscanella, 2 minutes from the Pitti Palace and 5 minutes to the Ponte Vecchio, gateway to the old city.
Apartment on via Toscanella
Because it is on a very narrow street behind Via Romana, it is quiet. At one end is the tiny, charming Piazza delle Passera (Plaza of the Sparrows) where you will find the even tinier Cafe degli Artigiani , a lovely place to have your first cappuccino and pasta crema of the day, or perhaps, spremuto, fresh squeezed juice from blood oranges. In the same square can be found home-made gelato in heavenly flavors like blood orange sorbetto and espresso gelato using the same coffee used at the Café degli Artisti across the street. These and three little restaurants are literally 50 feet from your door.
Breakfast will be available at the large apartment on Via Toscanella every morning right after yoga, during which we can look at the day’s plan and either follow or amend what has been scheduled.
Typically, I will guide you into town winding around the medieval streets with a museum or church as our destination. After a café or lunch break in town, you have 2 to 3 hours of free time which might be employed in resting on the first day, but is yours to design.
After 2 or 3 days, you will want to explore on your own a bit with the map I will provide for everyone. A city bus pass is part of your packet too. Later we meet for a stroll around the historic neighborhood in which we are staying (called the Oltarno, other side of the Arno) sometimes with my dear and knowledgeable friend Fabrizio Gori.
Fabrizio Gori explains the origins of perspective
On other days we will use the whole day to make trips to the exquisite Etruscan hilltop town of Fiesole for a hike through the countryside to the magnificent 350 year old Queen Cypress, as this venerable tree is officially named. Or to the gardens of Villa Peyrun. Or to the Etruscan/Roman ruins. It depends on the group’s choice. What is certain is that we will have a reservation for dinner at Vinandro, a unique little restaurant in Fiesole that prepares Tuscan and Florentine dishes with a seasonal and local menu that changes daily.
Villa Peyrun, Fiesole
We are also invited to Castello Vecchio, a beautiful villa up in the hills above Florence and owned by my gracious friends Manuela and Lucca Brofferrio. They have been supporters of my work in Zambia and when Manuella heard that I was bringing tour groups to Florence to raise money for the AACDP, she offered to open her house and garden to us. It is a rare privilege to enter through those gates!
Lunch at Castel Vecchio
Come enjoy “la dolce vita” in a way no tourist is able to do. At the same time help me support the Mama Bakhita Center for disabled children in Livingstone, Zambia. It’s all very, very good.