Art, Food & Gardens Tour March 2018

Art, Food & Gardens Tour

March 11 – 19, 2018


Day 1- Sunday, March 11 – Arrival

Arrivals – I will meet you at the airport

Settle into apartments/Rest/Relax

Boboli Gardens?

6:30 Early Dinner at Angiolino’s, traditional Tuscan cooking in a warm atmosphere.

Day 2 – Monday, March 12 – Downtown

Late morning to help with jet lag.

10:00 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.

2:00 Light lunch at Robiglio’s

1:00  The Baptistery is the still beating heart of Florence, and perhaps its oldest building, begun in the 5th 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. My personal favorite.


4:00    Giardino Torrigianni  was a huge,mysterious and very private garden that I frequently passed when I lived in Florence. I fantasized about what lay on the other side of those high walls. Then, last year I discovered that one could indeed see the garden, if you emailed the courtly and very approachable Signore Vieri Torrigiani-Malaspini and found a mutually convenient time to visit. And one can stay for tea.

**7:00 Dinner at I Raddi

Day 3 – Tuesday, March 13  The Stibbert Museum and Gardens

9:30 Frederick Stibbert inherited a massive fortune from his family and spent the next fifty years traveling through Europe to collect precious treasures from all over the world. Over the years he also transformed the existing garden into a romantic fantasy with temples and fountains.

12:30 Return to town for lunch at Bondi


4:00 Meet at Osteria Toscanella for tea with Fabrizio Gori, who has Florence’s history in his genes and is an artist, restauranteur and philosopher.

Stroll through Santo Spirito and neighborhood with Fabrizio. Santo Spirito is Brunelleschi’s finest architectural achievement and is a distillation of his purist aesthetic.

**7:30  Dinner at Osteria Toscanella (** means this is the covered meal of the day)

Day 4   Wednesday, March 14 – Santa Croce

Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel and courtyard are very fine examples of his austere genius.

10:00   Sant’Ambroggio Market (Where Florentines shop)

12:00   La Divina Pizza (Best in the World, truly)

1:30   Santa Croce (Everyone is buried there, Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, but more interesting are the 16 chapels, some with frescoes by Giotto)

Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel and courtyard are very fine examples of his austere genius.


**7:30 Dinner Il Tranvai

 Day 5   Thursday, March 15   Fiesole

9:30     San Marco, Fra Angelica’s monastery or Ospedale degli Innocenti, a brand new museum celebrating Florence’s astonishing social services begun in the enlightened 1400s.

11:30   Bus to Fiesole

12:00  Check in at Bencista (“Room with a View” Hotel from the past where we will spend the night)

1:00     Tea/Light Lunch at Bencista

2:00      Walk the scenic streets of Fiesole and/or visit San Francesco, a tiny monastery high on the hill overlooking Florence.

**7:30pm   Dinner at Vinandro

Day 6   Friday, March 16   Etruscan/Roman Ruins

10:00   Visit ruins dating from 30 BC and outlining the precepts of Roman life, “Healthy mind and a healthy body are equally important”,  an idea taken from their predecessors, the admirable Etruscans.

There is a wonderful intimate Museum with Etruscan, Roman and Greek sculpture and pottery.

1:00     Lunch in Piazza Mino2:30       Bus to Settignano and the Villa Gamberaia

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning had this to say about 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)

**8:00   Dinner at Cafaggi

Day 7   Saturday, March 18   The Uffizi

8:30       Uffizi(Florence equivalent of the Met in NYC)

**1:30   Lunch at Brac

Break (Shopping?)

7:30       Dinner at Osteria Toscanella

Day 8– Sunday, March 18 – Poggio di Caiano

Free Morning


Villa Poggio di Caiano

1:00 Taxi to Poggio di Caiano, just outside of Florence. Lorenzo the Magnificent created an unusual renaissance villas based on classical Greek architecture and art.

Not a Madonna and Child in sight. Light and airy, elegant and serene, it is my favorite Medici villa, and there are at least 20 around Florence.

5:00   Drive to Carmagnano, a small town near Florence where one can see Pontormo’s “The Visitation” in the little church that commissioned it.

**7:30 Dinner at La Delfina

Day 9   Monday, March 19    Departures