Florence at New Year

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria
The Basilica di Santa Croce
The Basilica di Santa Croce
Sarcophagus of Ferdinando I and Cosimo II, Medici chapel
Sarcophagus of Ferdinando I and Cosimo II, Medici chapel
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio
Aerial view of Florence and the Duomo
Aerial view of Florence and the Duomo
Typical street in Florence
Typical street in Florence
Ornate courtyard in the Palazzo Vecchio
Ornate courtyard in the Palazzo Vecchio
Beautiful view of Fiesole
Beautiful view of Fiesole

Discover how Florence, a small, swampy Etruscan settlement, prone to annual flooding, became the powerhouse of the Renaissance and the greatest city in Europe producing outstanding masterpieces of literature and art and reaching extraordinary levels of economic development.

Florence is a small city which makes its many examples of exquisite art and architecture easily accessible with most of the main sights within walking distance of each other. Opera, classical music and contemporary art thrive in this city and there is much to see and do.

  • The wonderful collection of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany in Florence’s Archaeological Museum
  • Explore the important Etruscan town and sanctuary of Fiesole
  • Pre-booked entrance to the Uffizi and Accademia with incomparable collections

Themes

  • Historic Churches
  • Great Cities
  • Cultural Excursion
  • Christmas - New Year
  • Romans

Practicalities

  • Just One Hotel

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We fly from London to Pisa and transfer to our hotel near the Ponte Vecchio.

Hotel: Overnight in Florence
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

Today we explore Florence on foot, walking from our hotel near the Ponte Vecchio and making our way to the Piazza della Signoria. At the heart of political life in Florence for many centuries, the sculptures here are redolent with political connotation. For example, the David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia) by Michelangelo was placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio as a symbol of the Republic's opposition to the dominance of the Medici. Here you will also see the Loggia della Signoria, which served the Republic as a stage for official ceremonies.

From here it is a short walk to the Baptistery. This magnificent, octagonal masterpiece is one of the oldest standing buildings in Florence today and it is believed that much of the marble facing used to decorate its walls was taken from the ancient buildings of Roman Florentia. It is a wonderful example of 12th century Florentine Romanesque style, based on rationality and geometry. Its magnificent gates by Ghiberti were Michelangelo “The Gates of Paradise”.

We continue to the Medici Chapel which forms part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo. Because the entrance is separate, it is often overlooked but is arguably the highlight of the complex. Not only is it the final resting place of the Medici family but also home to many great works of art, including Donatello’s “Passion Pulpit’ in the main sanctuary, The Tribune of the relics by Michelangelo, the Annunciation by Filippo Lippi, one of his great masterpieces, and many other sculptures, paintings, and frescoes.

In the afternoon, we visit Santa Croce. The church held the title of duomo for about 300 years, before the title was transferred to Santa Reparata, the present day Duomo. However, since it was the parish church for the Medici family it still maintained a high standing in the community, which can be seen by the prestigious works of art, richly frescoed chapels and many tombs of famous Florentines including Michaelangelo. Among the works contained in the Basilica is the unique wooden Crucifix by Donatello.

Hotel: Overnight in Florence
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We spend the morning at the National Archaeological Museum, one of the oldest and most important museums in Italy, renowned for its significant Etruscan collection and an extraordinary Egyptian section, displaying pieces from the Prehistoric to the Copt era. Among the Etruscan cinerary urns, sarcophagi and pottery you will find the big bronzes: the Arezzo Chimera, one of the best known pieces of Etruscan sculpture to survive from antiquity, the Orator and the Minerva of Arezzo.

This afternoon, we visit the mighty Uffizi. With world class art around every corner and forty-five halls spread over two floors of the museum, there is a lot to see. To make the most of your visit and avoid the ticket queue, we have pre booked our entrance slot but allowed for free time here so you can focus on what is interest and importance to you. Head for the top floor where you will find treasures by DaVinci, Michelangelo, and “The Birth of Venus” or linger among the Titians in hall 83. We will regroup for our pre-booked visit to the Accademia open till early evening. The entrance fee is again pre-booked to avoid the queues and you can spend as much or as little time as you would like before we meet again for our New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Hotel: Overnight in Florence
Meals: Breakfast & dinner included

Day 4

This morning there will be a leisurely start and a gentle walk to the Palazzo Strozzi in the heart of Florence, one of the unquestioned masterpieces of Renaissance architecture commissioned by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi. The appearance of the palace is similar to a small fortress built to a rectangular plan with three floors. Though much restructured internally, it is possible to still appreciate the original plan and beauty of the exterior and in the courtyard of the building. Now a major exhibition centre, life in the Palazzo revolves around its Renaissance courtyard, which is used as a venue for concerts, performance art, contemporary art installations and theatrical performances.

We continue to the Santa Maria Novella, one of the most beautiful churches in the entire city, no mean feat considering the competition. The inside of the church, the first example of Gothic architecture in Florence, is a treasure trove of artwork including Giotto’s spectacular Crucifix , standing at a striking height of 4.5 metres.

Later, we visit the Palazzo Vecchio, the symbolic monument of the city and, for over seven centuries, the seat of its government. Built on the site of the ancient Roman theatre (the ruins can be seen in the underground levels), Palazzo Vecchio bears extraordinary testimonies of all the salient phases of the history and art of Florence.

Hotel: Overnight in Florence
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Less than 10 miles from Florence, Fiesole clings romantically to the top of a hill and it is spectacular vantage point from which to view the Renaissance city. Most tourists travel here for the vista but we will visit the excavated sanctuary in the archaeological park. Here we will explore the 4th century Etruscan Temple, Roman theatre and bath complex before returning to the airport for our journey home.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

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