- Explore Florence’s magnificent gothic Duomo and Baptistery on a private after-hours visit
- Visit the city’s incomparable art collections such as the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, and the Uffizi, to see works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo
- Take a day trip to Arezzo to visit the Legend of the Cross fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca in the Church of San Francesco
Day 1: Thursday, 21st September
London / Pisa / Florence
Morning departure from London Heathrow on a British Airways flight to Pisa Airport. Transfer to Florence and check in to the Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci, a delightful family-run hotel on the elegant Via Tornabuoni, where four nights are spent. Afternoon orientation walk. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Friday, 22nd September
Depart on foot for the Uffizi, designed by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I dei Medici to serve as government offices (‘uffizi’), but now world-famous for its superb art collection including the famous Florentine Renaissance artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Continue to the Brancacci Chapel at Santa Maria del Carmine, to see the exquisite 15th century frescos. Though damaged when the main church was destroyed by fire, they have been restored to their former glory and are now considered one of the seminal works of the early Renaissance.
Private lunch at Palazzo Torrigiani by kind arrangement with Marchesa Elena Torrigiani (subject to confirmation). Afternoon visit to the Museum of the Cathedral to see Michelangelo’s hauntingly beautiful, Pietà. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Early evening private visit to the Baptistery and Duomo, after it has closed to the public (by special arrangement). Dinner under own arrangements.
Day 3: Saturday, 23rd September
This morning is devoted to one of the city’s most famous sons and master of Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo. Beginning with the Accademia Gallery which houses Michelangelo’s renowned David and the Prisoners, we follow Michelangelo’s career through his works for Popes and Princes at the Medici Church of San Lorenzo. We will also visit The Magi Chapel in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi with its walls almost entirely covered by a famous cycle of frescoes by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, painted in 1459-1461 for the Medici family.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Bargello Museum, which now accommodates the National Museum, part of which houses one of the richest and most impressive collections of Renaissance sculpture anywhere in the world. It is housed in the famous Palazzo del Podestà and contains minor works by Michelangelo, Donatello’s Saint George and David, and the celebrated panels presented by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti for the competition to design Baptistery doors in 1401. Dinner under own arrangements.
24th September, Florence & Arezzo
Leave by coach for Arezzo. Visit the Piazza Grande to see the Loggia designed by Vasari and the Pieve di Santa Maria. Also visit Casa del Vasari, bought, furnished and frescoed by Vasari in the 1540s. It houses his archives which include letters written to him by Michelangelo and Cosimo I. Here visit the exhibition dedicated to the artist. Lunch at a local restaurant.
Afternoon visit the Legend of the Cross fresco cycle painted Piero della Francesca in the Church of San Francesco. Return to Florence and the hotel. Private evening drinks at Palazzo Gondi by kind arrangement with Marchesa Vittoria Gondi (subject to confirmation). Dinner at a local restaurant.
25th September, Florence / Pisa / London
Visit the Church of Santa Trinita which was commissioned by Vallombrosan Benedictine monks in the middle of the 11th century and subsequently patronized by many of Florence’s wealthiest families; as a result it was rebuilt many times and is extremely rich in art work. Leave by coach for Pisa with a stop en route for an early lunch. Continue to Pisa Airport for a British Airways afternoon flight to London Heathrow.