Two Florence Tours in April, 2019

Two Florence Tours in April 2019 

Crossing Ponte alle Grazie

Crossing Ponte alle Grazie

See Florence as though you were visiting good friends who live there. Skip the Uffizi and the Academia (or go on your free hours with a reservation that I will procure for you) and come with me to the lesser known private museums, villas and gardens that are not on the big tours.

Enjoy the warmth of old connections and friends from the days when I lived there and stroll the same narrow cobblestone streets that Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and Donatello once walked.

Slow down to savor the Italian way to enjoy life, in all its richness, beauty and craftsmanship. You will never be the same.

 

Gelato Tasting Tour/La Dolce Vita

March 29 – April 5, 2019  7 Days

$2200 dbl. occupancy, $2600 single

Florence is compact and dense with places and sights  that feed all the senses.

I have often thought how much fun it would be to each day try one of my favorite Florentine gelaterias with a group. So, why not? There are so many excellent gelato places and  each of my favorites is steps away from a garden, a monastery, a museum. Carabé Gelateria is near San Marco, a beautifully renovated monastery designed by Cosimo di Medici the elder for the painter-monk, Fra Beato Angelica who painted murals in every cell for his brother monks’ contemplation.

Annunciation by Fra Angelico

Annunciation by Fra Angelico

The famous gelateria Vivoli is near Santa Croce and the private renaissance art collection at the Horne Museum.

Pazzi chapel, Santa Croce

Pazzi Chapel, Santa Croce

Fabrizio Gori, restauranteur, artist and historian-philosopher, is one of the best parts of these tours, as is the food at his unique osteria that specializes in renaissance fare. To see Florence through his eyes is like wearing 3-D glasses, seeing the history and life beneath the surface.

Fabrizio Gori at Osteria Toscanella

Fabrizio Gori at Osteria Toscanella

City & Country / Florence & Fiesole

April 7 – 16  10 Days

$3000 dbl. occupancy, $3400 single

The first 6 days in Florence are spent exploring her streets, gardens and museums, following our interests. Perhaps we check out the Bargello Museum and its extensive collection of renaissance sculpture and medieval household objects and textiles or the Horne Museum, a small renaissance townhouse whose exquisite art collection is human scale and meant to be lived with.

Bargello key collection

Bargello key collection

The Torrigiani gardens near Palazzo Pitti are still owned by the family and tours are lead by Vieri Malaspini-Torrigiani, who regales us with stories of his family’s history.

Vieri Torrigiani-Malaspina at Giardino Torrigiani

Vieri Torrigiani-Malaspina at Giardino Torrigiani

On Day 7 we rent 2 cars in the morning and drive up to a villa in Fiesole, a small Village with Etruscan-Roman ruins. We can visit the Frescobaldi winery, see lovely villas and a charming hilltop retreat where three young girls in the 14th century had a vision of Santa Maria.

Il Santuario Madonna al Sasse

Il Santuario Madonna al Sasse

We can walk on paths that lead through olive orchards, by running streams, next to small vegetable gardens and 14th century homes in a springtime landscape of green valleys and flowering almond trees. April in Tuscany is pure heaven.

Landscape in hills of Fiesole

Landscape in hills of Fiesole