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

The Queen Cypress of Fiesole


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

Sleep late

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.

Santo Spirito5:00 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.

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

Day 3 – Friday, Oct. 21 – City Center

Pal Dav10:00 – 11:30 –  Palazzo Davanzati, one of the few remaining examples of a wealthy family’s medieval town house, beautifully restored with glorious painted interior walls.

Cafe Robiglio 11:30 – coffee break

FT Bapt12:00 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.

Fabrizio Gori5:00 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

pieta10:00 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

alcide10:00  Coffee break at Alcide, the best patisseria in the whole Florence/Fiesole area. It does not disappoint.

Fiesole10:30 – 1:30  The Etruscan hilltop village of Fiesole is charming and the vistas sublime.

ruinsWe 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.

cypress3:30 Possible hike to the Ancient Cypress or return to Florence

Evening Free

Day 6 – Monday, Oct.24 – The East Side

filename-mercato-santambrogio9:30   San Ambroggio Market is located in one of the oldest parts of Florence and is where many locals prefer to do their daily shopping.

 S croce11:00  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.

Free afternoon

**7:30  Il Cibreo Dinner Theater

Day 7 – Tuesday, Oct.25 – The Uffizi 

botticelli9:00 – 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 

s. Marco angel9:30 – 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

DSCF4262.JPG copy11:30 – 1:30  Expedition to Villa Gamberaia

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

I Tatti Settignano, Italy Bernard Berenson4:00 – 6:00  I Tatti

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.

Evening Free

Day 9, Thursday, Oct. 27 – Manuela’s Garden Party

Free morning

manu garden12:00 – 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.

Cemetery at San Miniato al Monte2:00 – 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

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment