Villa & Vineyard, April 2020

April 20 – 28, 2020

Three spaces left

$1950 double, $2200 single room

Villa Gamberaia
Villa Gamberaia


Day 1- Monday, April 20 – Arrivals

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.


6:30 Early Dinner at Sant’Agostino,  creative Tuscan cooking in a warm atmosphere.

Day 2 –Tuesday, April 21- Jet Lag Day

Sleep late – walk Boboli Gardens

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.

Osteria Toscanella and Fabrizio Gori

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.

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

Day 3 – Wednesday, April 22Downtown

gates of paradise
The Gates of Paradise

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.

11:30 – coffee break at Cafe Robiglio

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.

Florence Baptistery
Florence Baptistery

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 visit something else on your ticket in the Duomo square because your tickets are good for 48 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.

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 Il Tranvai

Day 4 – Thursday, April 23  Fiesole

9:00 Bus to Fiesole

 Coffee break at Alcedo, the best patsticceria in the whole Florence/Fiesole area. It does not disappoint.

Etruscan/Roman Ruins in Fiesole
Etruscan/Roman Ruins in Fiesole

10:30 – 1:30  The Etruscan hilltop village of Fiesole is charming and the vistas sublime. 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. 

**2:00  Lunch at Vinandro – This cozy trattoria serves Tuscan fare with local produce and original flair.

After lunch we will visit the Frescobaldi Vineyards for a tour and tasting afternoon.

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Frescobaldi Vineyards

Dinner – TBD  

Day 5 – Friday, April 24  – Castelvecchio

Palazzo Davazati, A medieval townhouse museum
Palazzo Davanzati

10:00 – 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.

12:00 – 2:00  Castelvecchio   My friend Manuela has invited us to her beautiful 14th 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 wonderful enhancement for this tour. Most people tell me that the day at Manuela’s was one of their favorite parts of the tour.

Lunch with Manuela at Castelvecchio

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 I Raddi

  Day 6 – Saturday, April 25 – Santa Croce

Pazzi chapel, Santa Croce
Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel at Santa Croce

10:00  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.

1:00  Lunch at la Divina Pizza

La Divina Pizza

Free afternoon

**7:30 Dinner at La Vecchia Bettola

Day 7  – Sunday – April 26 – The Uffizi

Uccello at the Uffizi
Paolo Ucello’s Battle of San Romano

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 Brac

Free Afternoon

**Dinner at La Vecchia Bettola

Day 8 – Monday, April 27   Villa Gamberaia

10am   Bus to Villa Gamberaia

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)

Lunch TBD – Perhaps a picnic

Free afternoon

**7:30  Dinner at Osteria Toscanella

Day 9 – Tuesday, April 28 – Departures

Tour price includes:

  • Airport pick up
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Transportation
  • Local guides
  • Entrance fees and reservations

You just show up.

Interested? For more info contact me at

$500 deposit saves you a space. Checks can be sent to:

POB 3000 PMB 3051
West Tisbury, MA 02575

For more info call Marsha Winsryg 
508 560 2620 or 508 693 4059