Enjoy a drink with a view in Florence.
With five nights in Florence, a feast of art and architecture, an insight of medieval life under Medici rule, and every romantic, Renaissance monument within walking distance, this tour combines detailed discovery with ample time to enjoy the city on the Arno River
Florence - 5 nights
From the all-encompassing influence of the Medici family (1434-1737) to the intriguing machinations of Machiavelli (1469-1527), the exquisite artistry of Michelangelo (1475-1564), and the polymath ingenuity of Galileo (1564-1642), 15th-17th century Florence was a focus of philosophy and physics, academia and art. Fortunately for 21st century visitors, many of the masterpieces and much of the cultural heritage can still be enjoyed today. With churches like art galleries, palaces now renowned museums, and the Ponte Vecchio not so much a bridge as a jewellery district, Florence is adept at maximising every aspect of its unique enclave, from its medieval heart to its treasure trove of art, and the romance of its riverside setting. On this tour, visits to the famous sights, and viewings of the Florentine collections are all within reach on foot, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. They include Duomo, San Lorenzo Basilica and San Marco church; the palazzi of medieval dignitaries, with a guided tour of the Uffizi; and less-visited landmarks in Oltrarno (‘beyond the Arno’), from little frescoed chapels to the huge Palazzo Pitti and the fountains, flowers and foliage of the Boboli Gardens. A final day in Siena is an optional extra experience.
All visits are guided and reached on foot. Priority entrance is included plus free public transport (Days 2–4).
Cultural Short Break
Jules Verne Sightseeing
Group Size: 10 – 18
Day 1 Fly from London Heathrow to Pisa and transfer to the 4-star Hotel Kraft in Florence for five nights. Enjoy an aperitif with a view.
Day 2 Discover the city’s churches today, beginning with San Lorenzo Basilica, decorated by Donatello and Lippi, and containing the ‘Medici Chapel’ tombs. San Marco combines the church, with the chapel of St Antony, and its former Dominican monastery, now a museum, the home of painter Fra Angelico, with his fabulous frescoes in the forty monks’ cells. Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, where Michelangelo’s ‘David’ tops the bill among priceless artworks; continue to the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Gothic structure dominating the city skyline, its stark interior carpeted in mosaics; and to the octagonal Baptistry of St John, the city’s earliest religious site; and then to the 13th century church of Santa Maria Novella, its distinctive style complemented by the rose-window, the oldest in Florence. (B)
Day 3 A walking tour to the pick of the palaces includes the Palazzo Rucellai, lauded for its symmetry and elegance, and still the private home of the Rucellai family; the Strozzi, considered the city’s finest Renaissance palace, built by the 16th century merchant Filippo Strozzi, with an emphasis on meticulous workmanship; and the Bargello (Palazzo del Popolo), Italy’s first National Museum outside the Vatican, its fortress-like façade confirming its former use as a prison. Walk to Santa Croce church, with a feast of frescoed side-chapels and the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo. Later visit Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria, lavish with Medici treasures; and enjoy a guided tour of the vast and revered Uffizi, home to Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’, Raphael’s ‘Portrait of Pope Leo’ and, Da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation’. (B)
Day 4 Less is more on a walking tour of Oltrarno, less known, less heralded, less crowded than sights across the Arno. We see the beautiful Brancacci Chapel with its intensely colourful 15th century frescoes of biblical scenes; enjoy a relaxing and refreshing interlude amid the 45 hectares of the Boboli Gardens, and visit the largest palace in Florence, Palazzo Pitti, now divided into four museums. (B)
Day 5 Enjoy a day at leisure in ‘the birthplace of the Renaissance’ or join us on an optional excursion to Siena. Set amid Chianti vineyards, the astonishingly well-preserved city forms a Y-shape on its three hills, spills into the connecting valley via steps and steep alleys, and meets at the huge expanse of the Piazza del Campo. Encircled by 7km of fortified walls, the city’s churches, palaces, and fountains are cultural landmarks, and modern eateries in medieval buildings enhance the UNESCO listed ‘living museum’. Enroute back to Florence, visit a wine cellar to taste the local vino (£115, pre-bookable). (B)
Day 6 Transfer to Pisa for your return flight to London Heathrow.
Visits are on foot in central Florence.
This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of the city walking distance from the Arno River and main historical monuments. Terrace restaurant, bar and WiFi (free). 77 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently per person per night: €4.80
per person in a twin/double room
British Airways from Heathrow
Supplements per person
Single supplement £395 (Mar & Nov 2023 £265; May & Sep 2023 £445)
Air travel and taxes, entrance fees, transfers, 5 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, itinerary as described, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government and local tourist taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
An accommodation tax is payable locally by all guests. Currently €4.90 per person per night.
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