The Maldives islands are home to some of the very best scuba diving in the world. Even if you’re not a diver, snorkelling in the warm waters offers wonderful opportunities to spot a wide variety of marine life. Some resorts have their own diving schools, whilst others have their own reefs and you may even see whale sharks.
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and birthplace of the Renaissance
For any lover of the visual arts there is no greater experience than a visit here where masterpieces of architecture, painting and sculpture by many of greatest artists of the western tradition are concentrated in the centre of this beautiful city.
It is our aim to maximise your understanding and enjoyment of this treasure trove of art with the aid of art historians visiting all the major sites with you.
Between 1300 and 1500 an extraordinary transformation in European civilization took place, known as the Renaissance. This cultural movement was centred in Florence and from there it spread throughout Europe. It was a revolution in thought which broke the medieval mindset forever and created the intellectual climate which gave rise to the modern world. Florence produced men of the stature of Dante, Giotto, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Leonardo and Michelangelo during this golden period of cultural activity.
Your visit will take you to the religious and political centres of Florence visiting the Duomo, the Baptistery, the Monastery of San Marco with the paintings of Fra Angelico as well as the famous Uffizi art gallery, the great churches of Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, and San Lorenzo as well as the Medici and Pitti palaces. You will examine fresco cycles by Masaccio, Ghirlandaio, and Andrea del Sarto, and some of the greatest sculptures from the hand of Michelangelo.
Away from the world of art, a visit to Florence is a culinary experience par excellence. Tuscan cuisine is justly famous as are the wines of the region, notably Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano. There will be an opportunity to visit the lively markets and shops in the city exhibiting the traditional crafts of Florence selling wonderful leather and gold-work in particular.
This tour will leave you inspired, invigorated and marvelling at man’s ability to create such incredible works of art.
Monastery of San Marco
Cathedral and Bapistery
Santa Maria Novella
Itinerary in brief
5 nights/6 days Florence
4* hotel in the historic centre of Florence
Fully escorted tour
British Airways flights
Services of Florence specialist art historian
2 x Tuscan dinners
Day 1 – Depart UK for Pisa followed by escorted tour of House of Medici and San Miniato al Monte
Morning flight from London to Pisa. On arrival you will be met and taken by private coach transfer to Florence. Check into hotel located in the heart of the old city. This afternoon there will be an introductory walk around the main centres of Florence concentrating on a broad brush history of the city and the house of Medici, then undertake a short climb up to San Miniato al Monte. From there enjoy an incomparable view over the city and see the lovely interior including the tomb of the Cardinal of Portugal. Welcome dinner.
Day 2 – Bargello Sculpture Museum, Early Renaissance paintings, St. Trinita
After breakfast walk over to the Bargello, the sculpture gallery of Florence. This will provide a perfect introduction to Florentine art and the birth of the Renaissance. Start with the Brunelleschi and Ghiberti competition panels. Other highlights include works by Donatello, Verocchio, Michelangelo and Giambologna. Stop for lunch. Continue with a survey of paintings from the Uffizi focussing on the Quattrocento. This is without doubt the greatest collection of Early Renaissance paintings in the world and it is hugely rewarding to proceed through the gallery to see the development of Florentine painting from Cimabue to Michelangelo and beyond. Finally walk to the Accademia Gallery to see Masterpieces by Michelangelo, the David and Slaves.
Day 3 – Raphael, Monastery of San Marco, Santa Maria Novella
Having seen many of the most famous works of art in the city and having covered the historical and art historical background you spend the first part of the day visiting some of the lesser known sites of Florence, starting with the marvellous fresco by Perugino, Raphael’s master of the crucifixion and one of the last supper. Then walk up to the monastery of San Marco to look at the paintings of Fra Angelico. Stop for lunch. Remaining in the area we can see the architecture and painting at Santa Annunziata and also the last supper of Castagno at the church of Sta Apollonia. Finally to complete the day we will go to the church of Santa Maria Novella to see the church and the cloister with the magnificent frescoes by Massacio, Paolo Uccello and Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Day 4 – Church of San Lorenzo, Medici Chapels, Santo Spirito
First stop will be the church of San Lorenzo, a masterpiece of Brunelleschi and apart from the architecture, the contents will deserve a great deal of attention. Your first stop will be the Old Sacristy followed by the pulpits of Donatello, then the magnificent Medici tombs by Michelangelo and finally the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo. Nearby is the Medici Chapel in the Medici Riccardi Palace. The famous fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli which you will visit briefly before lunch. Stop for lunch. After lunch we cross the river to visit the Brancacci Chapel with its famous frescoes by Massacio and Masolino and the famous church of Santo Spirito by Brunelleschi.
There will be a wine tasting early this evening.
Day 5 – Santa Croce, Duomo
Today you will concentrate on the church of Santa Croce with its famous tombs and frescoes. Here we have masterpieces of sculpture, painting and architecture including the Pazzi Chapel by Brunelleschi and the Peruzzi chapel by Giotto. Then proceed to enter the Duomo and the Baptistery. If you are interested in climbing either the Tower or the Dome then you have time to do so. Stop for lunch. After lunch visit the church of the Holy Trinity and Oggnisanti both with frescoes by Ghirlandaio.
Day 6 – Uffizi, Pitti Palace then depart Pisa to return to UK
Walk along the famous Vasari corridor from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti. This famous corridor was built so that the Grand Duke Cosimo the first could travel from his palace to the offices of state without walking the streets where he was afraid for his security. The Galleria Palatina in the Pitti Palace is a marvellous collection of art boasting some of the finest paintings in Florence and it is a suitable place to finish the tour. This will take us up to lunch. Stop for lunch.
In the afternoon transfer to Pisa airport to fly back to the UK.
Map and travel information
Direct flights from the UK to Florence in 2 hours 10 minutes