Cradle the Renaissance in Florence before turning out to Tuscany’s fine cuisine and finer cities
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- Go behind the scenes of Florence’s Renaissance transformation with a guided visit through its terracotta maze of elaborate riverside churches and famed art galleries
- Strike out into Tuscany to learn why Pisa is much more than a sloping turret and discover Lucca’s graceful combination of bastion walls and leafy piazzas
- Enjoy a wine-paired gourmet cooking course in a picturesque Tuscan farmhouse
City | City-break | Short break | Summer
Florence – long a fixture on the cultural elite’s Grand Tour – is a jewellery box of Renaissance delights. You’ll stay right in its old town centre, overlooking one of its historic basilicas, as its medieval rabbit warren of laneways and centuries-old bridges bring you between marble-coated churches, country-defining piazzas and world-famous art galleries. And, before a private walking tour brings it all into sharper focus, you’ll cook your way through Tuscany’s gastronomic fineries on a wine-paired farmhouse visit, after turning out to nearby Lucca and Pisa. Here, your private guided tour will bring to life both backstreet basilicas and off-centre centrepieces.
Day by day itinerary
Flying into Florence you’ll transfer to your accommodation in the city’s historic centre. There’s Relais and Châteaux’s luxurious Santa Croce and its grand frescoed ceilings or the boutique Piazza Santa Maria Novella, whose cross-century spread of historic buildings sit pride of place overlooking its piazza basilica namesake. You’ll have the first day at leisure to acquaint yourself with Florence’s Renaissance charms. Wander its cobbled streets where heritage architecture peaks around every corner, take in an overview from the hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo or simply take some time out with a glass of Tuscan red and authentic food in one of its backalley trattorias.
Today, after your breakfast spread of freshly prepared Italian favourites, you’ll strike out to explore Florence’s famed surrounds on a private tour. Start with Lucca who hides its perfectly formed piazzas, shaded promenades and basilicas formed from reclaimed Roman amphitheatres behind imposing Renaissance walls. Highlights include the leafy Napoleon Square, its cathedral’s 14th century Gothic grandeur and the Church of San Michele’s elaborate wedding-cake of a Romanesque façade. Summit the 700-year-old Torre Guinigi for stunning views over it all from its rooftop garden. After lunch, continue to Pisa where your tour will move past its faded merchants’ houses that recall a once all-powerful maritime republic to its famous Piazza dei Miracoli. It’s here that you’ll find the white marble grandeur of the city’s cathedral, baptistery and, yes, that famous leaning tower. After, enjoy the scenic drive back to Florence.
Meals: B L
Today will be given over to experiencing one of Tuscany’s biggest attractions – its gastronomy. You’ll journey out into the surrounding countryside to a traditional farmhouse where, after a stroll through its accompanying vineyards, the chef will introduce you to some of the region’s favourites. The house’s speciality is fresh pasta, with pappardelle, tagliatelli and tagliolini – prepared with fresh ricotta and herbs – ranking among the highlights. Guests will also try their hands at making breads, pizzas and even ciaccini bread pasta. It will all form the basis of an indulgent lunch, served with whole spreads of honey, pecorino cheese and salami. This being Italy, courses will be accompanied with the estate’s selection of prestigious wines, from fresh aperetivos to exquisite dessert wines.
Meals: B L
On your last day in Florence, a private guide will bring you for a final in-depth appreciation of the city’s great sights. Your walking tour will branch out from its giant cathedral whose elegant brick dome – the world’s largest – descends onto a marble façade of pearly whites, accented reds and soft greens. From here, move on to the city’s squares where Renaissance sculptures look out over the scenes of such historic events as the Burning of the Vanities – in the case of the Piazza della Signoria – and Florence’s Roman forum, in the case of Piazza della Repubblica. And, after admiring the medeival bustle of the multi-tiered Ponte Vecchio Bridge, finish at the Uffizi Gallery. As one of the world’s greatest exhibitions of art, it houses works by everyone from Michelangelo to Leonardo da Vinci. You’ll then transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
4-day tailor-made city-break from £1,535 pp
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