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Meet your licensed English speaking guide at your Florence accomodation at an agreed time.
Begin your morning with a visit to the religious center of the city, dominated by Brunelleschi’s famous pink, white and green marble dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Dome of Florence. The adjacent bell tower was designed by Giotto. A few paces west is the Baptistry famous for its elaborately carved bronze doors.
You will come into the Piazza del Duomo and if you haven’t heard the stories of the Doors of Paradise or seen the inside of the cathedral, you will stop to catch up with stories of medieval Florence. You will see the “fix-it” shop of the cathedral and head down a couple of the oldest streets of Dante’s Florence.
Next, take in the neighbouring Piazza della Signoria. For generations this square has been the gathering place for Florentines. It’s dominated by the 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio, once the palace of Cosimo I and now the city hall. A copy of Michelangelo’s statue David, (the real one is in the Galleria dell’Accademia) and Ammannati’s Neptune’s Fountain are just two of the masterworks on this square. You will walk straight through the Piazza Signoria to the Loggia dei Lanzi where you will sit on the historic porch and learn the history of the Medici family and the art in the square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio (City Hall). You will hear stories of Greek gods and Old Testament heroes (and heroines) – all of whom are carved in marble and can be found in the piazza.
The tour also includes Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), home to some of the city’s highest quality jewelers. The history of the Bridge touches on the 1500s and the years during World War II and the great flood of 1966.
Tour duration is approx 3 hours
Meet your licensed English speaking guide at your Florence ccomodation at an agreed time.
Start with Piazzale Michelangelo. It is on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, just east of the center of Florence. Designed in 1869 by Poggi, it offers a great view of the city, and is a very popular destination. From here you can take in the whole city, and much of surrounding countryside, in one breathtaking vista. You can get up to the Piazzale Michelangelo by taxi
Explore the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross), which is the principal Franciscan church of Florence. Situated on the Piazza Santa Croce to the east of the Duomo, it is best known for its Florentine artwork and its tombs of illustrious dead, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. This is one of the neighborhoods of the artisans. You will see iron workers, artists working with Venetian glass, print and map makers, inlaid stone craftsmen who can make a table or a butterfly of stone, and Florentine papermakers.
End the day with a tour of the Uffizi Gallery with pre-booked entry tickets. You will have a nice review of the history, more attention to the stories behind the paintings and the most relevant info on the important artists.
Tour duration is approx 3 hours
Begin your morning at the Mercato Centrale, Florence’s Central Food Market, built in 1865. You will see handcrafted pasta, fish caught that morning, the famous Florentine steak, fruit and vegetables under the tent. You will have a chance to taste balsamic vinegar, olive oil and other items (if there is interest).
You will move on to the outside stands and get a quick overview of the shopping bargains there as you move on to the cloister of San Lorenzo church and the Medici-Riccardi Palace.
Designed by Brunelleschi for the Medici Family, San Lorenzo houses Brunelleschi's old Sacristy, with decoration by Donatello; the Medici Chapels, with the tombs designed by Michelangelo for the Medici family; and the ornate Chapel of the Princes, where the Medici Grand Dukes are buried. This can also be combined with a visit to the Laurentian Library, which Michelangelo designed for the Medici's collections of books and manuscripts.
Enjoy a wonderful introduction to the Accademia with your private English speaking licensed guide and pre-booked tickets. The Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1563, was the first school established inEurope specifically to teach the techniques of drawing, painting and sculpture. The art collection displayed here was formed in 1748 with the aim of providing material for students to study and copy. Obviously the most famous work on display is Michelangelo’s David (1504), a colossal nude of the biblical hero who killed the giant Goliath. Other masterpieces here include the Quattro Prigioni sculpted between 1521 and 1523 and meant to adorn the tomb of Pope Julius II.
Tour duration is approx 4 hours
EXCURSION TO SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO
Today you will have a private luxury vehicle with professional English speaking driver at your disposal.
Begin with an introductory tour to the city of Siena to include the Campo, the spectacular shell-shaped Piazza where the world famous Palio horse race is run twice every year and which converges on Palazzo Pubblico – the seat of Siena's government since the 13th century; the Duomo, the city’s magnificent Romanesque/Gothic Cathedral which houses numerous works of art – paintings and sculptures that span several centuries and, if it’s the right time of year, as it is only visible for short periods, the extraordinary marble inlay floor – a unique example of a series of coloured and engraved marble pictures that were created over two centuries (plus 19th restauration) to decorate the floor of the cathedral
After a break for lunch head to San Gimignano. This is a perfectly preserved example of medieval architecture with its still intact walls and gates as well as the very famous 13 tower houses which makes it one of the most intriguing views as you approach it from afar and see its bristling towers on the skyline.
The most important things to see here are the Collegiate Church with its 14th century frescoes of old and New Testament stories and the cycle of frescoes by the Florentine artist and teacher of Michelangelo, Ghirlandaio, in the little chapel dedicated to Santa Fina. The town museum also has a fascinating collection of mostly Sienese but also some Florentine artists and finally it is worth visiting the church of Sant'Agostino at the very end of the main street as this houses a major cycle of fresceos again by Ghirlandaio with stories of the life of Saint Augustine, considered one of his masterpieces.
Tour duration: 8 hours
Pick up: Florence
EXCURSION TO PISA AND LUCCA
Today your professioanl English speaking driver will take you to discover Pisa, one of the ancient maritime republics at a time when Italy was divided into independent city states.When you think of Pisa, of course the world famous Leaning Tower springs to mind, which has only recently been reopened to the public after several years of restoration work.
If you would like to experience the climb to the top and the “lean” in the tower as you go up, you will need to book in advance which can be done on-line at http://www.opapisa.it/boxoffice/index.jsp
Adjacent to the tower is in fact the Piazza dei Miracoli with the complex of the church and the Baptistery,one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy Next, your driver will take you to Lucca.
If you want to see a still perfectly preserved encompassing city wall Lucca is the city for you. Built in the 16th century over 150 years to withstand heavy artillery attacks, it is so massive that you can walk along its top and admire the whole panorama of the city from above!But Lucca is also characterized by elegant medieval streets, lovely shops and restaurants ideal for a typical Tuscan lunch. Don’t miss the Cathedral of San Martino and San Michele al Foro, as well as the Roman amphitheatre and the birthplace of the famous composer Giacomo Puccini
At the end of the day your private driver will take you back to Florence
Tour duration: 8 hours
- Pick up: Florence
- Arrival airport/train transfer by private Mercedes vehicle with professional English speaking driver
- Professional guide service as noted
- Private transportation with English speaking driver in Siena/San Gimignano and Pisa/Lucca
- Prearranged tickets to avoid all major lines at the entrance
- International and domestic airfare
- transportation and meals
- Airport entrance and exit fees
- Visa (if required)
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Items of a personal nature
- Entry fees and transfers for optional activities
- Vat taxes
- please be noted that museums are closed on Monday
- the order of sites visited may change