Art, Food & Wine Tour – Oct 2016
10 Day Cultural Tour of Florence, Italy
October 19 – 29, 2016
$1750 dbl. occupancy, $2100 single
6 places (4 remaining)
“If you’d like to find yourself surrounded by extraordinary art, mesmerized by historical sites (some dating back to Roman and Etruscan times), and all the while enjoying delicious Italian food and wines, join Marsha on her tour of Florence. Each day brought a new delight. The trip exceeded our dreams.”
Shakti Reynolds and John Early Chilmark, MA
October 19 – 29, 2016
Day 1- Wednesday, Oct. 19
Arrivals – I will meet you at the airport
Settle into rooms at one of two fully-equipped apartments in the lovely, quiet Oltrarno district, 15 minutes from downtown.
See “Accommodations” under “Tours” button on home page.
6:30 Early Dinner at Tattoria di Ginone, traditional Tuscan cooking in a warm atmosphere.
Day 2 -Thursday, Oct. 20 – Jet Lag Day
1:30 Light lunch at my apartment
3:00 Meet at Osteria Toscanella for tea and Q and A with Giovanna Bossi, historian and guide.
5:00 Stroll through Santo Spirito, then across the Ponte Trinita and make a slow tour of the heart of old downtown Florence, where every corner turned offers the visual delights of a city that has always honored her craftsmen.
Day 3 – Friday, Oct. 21 – City Center
Cafe Robiglio 11:30 – coffee break
12:00 The Baptistery is the heart and soul of Florence and the oldest building, begun in the 4th century on top of a Roman temple. Brunelleschi’s Duomo may dwarf the little black and white Baptistery but cannot compare with its powerful and strange geometry.
**1:00 – Lunch at Il Porcellino Il Porcellino means the dear pig and the restaurant is named after a beloved bronze sculpture nearby of a wild boar. Local tradition is to stroke the snout for good luck.
After lunch until 5 is free- you may want to relax or revisit something in the Duomo square because your tickets are good for 24 hours. For those seeking aerobic exercise the tickets cover both the climb up into the dome and also to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower. Both are some 400 plus stair steps.
Also intriguing below ground inside the Duomo is a fascinating archeological site, years in the making, that reveals the footprint and remains of a fifth century Roman church, Santa Reparata, over which the Duomo was built. Again, the interactive videos explain clearly the order of events and the shape of the original roman city.
5:00 Optional stroll with Fabrizio Gori through the Oltrarno neighborhood where we are staying. A seventh generation Florentine, Fabrizio knows the history and details of this quiet section of Florence and will open your eyes to its secrets. Fabrizio is one of my oldest friends in Florence and I know you will appreciate his quiet manner and original insight.
7:30 – Dinner at Casalinga
Day 4 – Saturday, Oct. 22 – City Center Continued
10:00 to 11:30 – Museo dell’Opera This newly renovated museum contains many of the original works from the Duomo and Baptistery, including the magnificent “Gates of Paradise” and Michelangelo’s last Pieta. The new space is airy and beautifully lit and there are well designed interactive videos strategically placed.
Coffee Break at Giubbe Rosse
12:00 – 4:00 Lunch and free time
4:30 Walk with me through Borgo San Frediano, the artisan section of Florence, to Monte Uliveto, up winding roads past olive orchards and villas, gardens and palazzos
**7:30 – Dinner at La Vecchia Bettola, famous for having brought back true Florentine culinary traditions since the late seventies.
Day 5 – Sunday, Oct.23 – Fiesole
We will wander through the town, see the Roman and Etruscan ruins and then, enjoy the small lovely collection of Etruscan and Roman art in the Museum there. If there is time before lunch, we can visit the lovely small church of San Francesco, with it’s wonderful museum of artifacts collected by the monks who traveled the world over 300 years ago.
**2:00 Lunch at Vinandro – This cozy trattoria serves Tuscan fare with local produce and original flair.
Day 6 – Monday, Oct.24 – The East Side
11:00 Santa Croce is a 13th century Franciscan Basilica full of great art- Giotto, Gaddi, Donatello- as well as burial monuments to Galileo, Michelangelo and Dante. There is a beautiful courtyard by Brunelleschi and lovely gardens beyond it.
**7:30 Il Cibreo Dinner Theater
Day 7 – Tuesday, Oct.25 – The Uffizi
9:00 – 12:00 Uffizi – We can walk as a group through the first few of the many rooms of one of the most famous collections of western art in the world. This is where you can see the transition from byzantine/medieval art styles to full on renaissance as exemplified by the greatest masters of both. After these rooms, you may prefer to wander on your own through what were originally the vast and magnificent offices of the powerful Medici family.
**1:00 Lunch at Vini e Vecchie Sapori
Free Afternoon –
Suggestions: Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello, Academia, Santa Maria Novella, Horne Museum,Shopping
Day 8 – Wednesday, Oct. 26 – San Marco and I Tatti
9:30 – 11:00 Walk through downtown to San Marco, a perfectly preserved 15th century convent, based on Brunelleschi’s concepts of space and architectural rhythm, and beautifully frescoed by Fra Angelica
This nearby villa is a delightful example of Italian architecture united with ingenious landscaping. Here’s how Edith Wharton described it:
“Probably the most perfect example of the art of producing a great effect on a small scale… because it combines in an astonishingly small space, yet without the least sense of overcrowding, almost every typical excellence of the old Italian garden: free circulation of sunlight and air about the house; abundance of water; easy access to dense shade; sheltered walks with different points of view.” Italian Villas and Their Gardens (London, 1903)
**2:00Lunch at Osteria Osvaldo
Here is a unique opportunity to see Bernard Berenson’s personal collection within his home, a beautiful villa outside of Florence. In 1959 the renaissance art expert bequeathed I Tatti to Harvard for Renaissance studies.
Day 9, Thursday, Oct. 27 – Manuela’s Garden Party
12:00 – 2:00 Castelvecchio My friend Manuela has invited us to her beautiful14th century villa for lunch in her garden surrounded by olive orchards. I have known Manuela since our children were in school together in Florence, and she has always been a strong supporter of my non profit, the AACDP. These idyllic luncheons are a gift to the non profit and a beautiful enhancement for this tour.
2:00 – 5:00 Optional walk through hills to the 12th century Romanesque church San Miniato al Monte. Some may want to take a taxi , if the walk seems too much. It takes about an hour and we travel through Arcetri, where Galileo lived and worked in his last years. The views are a pleasure. San Miniato is full of mosaic symbolism, both Christian and pagan, with a huge Astrological chart embedded in the floor. Back home by bus, foot or taxi.
5:00 – 8:00 Free
**8:00 Dinner at Cafaggi –My favorite fish restaurant in Florence
Day 10 – Friday, Oct. 28- Last day is free for returning to your favorite site, shopping, exploring…..
**8:00 Wine-tasting Dinner at Osteria Toscanella
Day 11 – Saturday, Oct. 29 – Departures