Road Scholar : Home
Italy: Classic Tuscany and the Treasures of Florence

Program Number: 19715RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/11/2015 - 10/24/2015; 4/17/2016 - 4/29/2016; 5/8/2016 - 5/20/2016; 5/22/2016 - 6/3/2016; 9/11/2016 - 9/23/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/30/2016; 9/25/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/21/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/28/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,889.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 28; 12 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

For centuries, the verdant landscapes and medieval villages of Tuscany remained frozen in time. Scarcely changed in appearance, today the entire region is a living cultural treasure. In the hills of northern Tuscany and the plain of Florence, discover the unparalleled artistic genius that blossomed into masterpieces of marble, canvas and architecture whose brilliance transcends time and place.


• Visit the famed quarries of Carrara to learn why this marble is the material of choice for great sculptors and architects.
• Explore the villa of Lorenzo de'Medici at Poggio a Caiano, and visit a winery in the Tuscan countryside to sample Tuscan wines.
• View the great masterpieces in Florence: works by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Caravaggio, Cellini and Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, “David.”

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day on uneven terrain. Towns and city centers have wide traffic-free areas. Expect inclines on walks in Siena.

Date Specific Information

4-17-2016, 5-8-2016, 5-22-2016, 9-11-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Pisa, coach to Lucca, 4 nights; coach to Siena, 4 nights; coach to Florence, 3 nights; departure

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Pisa, coach to Lucca
4 nights

Walk the streets of Medieval Lucca, tracing it nearly 2000-year history. Learn about the renowned white and blue-gray Carrara marble that was the medium of choice for Renaissance sculptors. Visit a quarry to see how the marble is extracted and an artist’s workshop (work schedule permitting) to view raw stone crafted into a work of art. Embark on a field trip to Pisa to explore the history of its famous leaning tower and baptistery and art in nearby museums.

Coach to Siena
4 nights

Begin to train your eye to discern the difference between work of art created by the Sienese and Florentine art schools, pay homage to the great Renaissance patron Lorenzo de'Medici at his villa. With an expert in Siena, view the Campo, Palazzo Pubblico and Duomo — the most famous in Italy. Learn about the incomparable Palio horse race and see why this centuries-old raucous tradition draws more than 100,000 spectators. Take field trips to the medieval city of San Gimignano and Renaissance Pienza. Sample great Tuscan wines.

Coach to Florence
3 nights

Illustrated lectures on Medieval and Renaissance art prepare you for independent explorations of the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. On-site lecture at the Bargello National Museum of Sculpture and the Accademia delle Belle Arti, home to Michelangelo's “David.”


“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.

Lucca: Four-star hotel just across the street from city walls. Siena: Four-star hotel in city center convenient to notable sites. Florence: Four-star hotel steps down-river from Ponte Vecchio. Choice hotel of Picasso when he was in Florence.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Umberto Cattani

Umberto Cattani is a licensed educational excursion leader in Tuscany. After completing his studies in finance, Umberto worked in Milan as a sales manager for a clothing manufacturer. He discovered his real passion for teaching — and completed the required courses in art history, archaeology and history to achieve his new goal. Umberto lives in Carrara with his wife and daughter.
Donatella Grilli

Donatella Grilli enjoys sharing her energy and enthusiasm for Siena and San Gimignano. Donatella has been a part of Road Scholar programs in association with Trinity College for more than 10 years and especially enjoys sharing stories of Tuscany’s rich history with thoughtful participants.
Linda Lorenzetti

Linda Lorenzetti is the president of a cooperative of art historians that leads explorations of the city of Lucca and the Tuscan countryside. She has been leading Road Scholar field trips in Lucca since 1987 and never fails to enthusiastically showcase her native town. Linda got her degree in English Literature from the University of Pisa and has worked with The Today Show, The Bachelor and other television programs as an interpreter and local expert for the crew.
Linda O'Brien

Linda O'Brien pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, where she was awarded an advanced degree in art history and archaeology with honors from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She completed post-graduate work in symbolic anthropology at Stanford University and is currently professor of art history for the European Division of the University of Maryland.
Bianca Obradovic

Bianca is originally from Yugoslavia, but after studying at the American Business School in Rome 30 years ago, she decided to make Italy her home. She is fluent in English, Italian, French and Arabic among other languages. Bianca has worked as the site coordinator and group leader for numerous educational travel companies in Italy and in the Mediterranean.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Ilaria
  Lucca, Italy 4 nights
   NH Excelsior
  Siena, Italy 5 nights
   Hotel Corona d'Italia
  Florence, Italy 3 nights
 Hotel Ilaria
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A comfortable hotel on a quiet street in the heart of Lucca within the city walls
  Contact info: Via del Fosso, 26
Lucca,  55100 Italy
phone: +39 0583 47615
  Room amenities: satellite TV, mini bar, safe for valuables, free wifi, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries
  Facility amenities: Conference center, spacious terrace, bar, lounge and snack bar in the lobby. Internet point in the lobby, complimentary newspapers. Browse the lobby's collection of fine art and photography books. Free wifi connection. Bicycles on loan to explore Lucca along the scenic path on the wide wall that encloses the town.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online hotel consolidation sites such as or Expedia.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 NH Excelsior
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel with excellent central location overlooking the city's main park.
  Contact info: Piazza La Lizza 1
Siena, NA 53100 Italy
phone: +39 0577 38 211
  Room amenities: air-conditioning, telephone, satellite television, room safe and mini-bar. All rooms have private bathroom with hair dryer and complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, fitness center, complimentary wi-fi in the rooms and common areas, internet point in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Corona d'Italia
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated at the edge of the San Lorenzo market, the hotel is centrally located and convenient to the Santa Maria Novella train station, the Duomo and Accademia.
  Contact info: Via Nazionale 14
Florence, NA 50123 Italy
phone: +39 055 261 501
  Room amenities: All rooms have private bathroom, individual AC/Heat controls, safe box for valuables, mini-bar, direct dial telephone, satellite TV, wi-fi access (hourly rate applies), hair dryer
  Facility amenities: Spacious lobby, marble and terracotta floors, wi-fi accessibility (hourly rate applies), meeting room, bar in the lobby open afternoon and evenings.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to reserve through online hotel consolidator services such as or expedia.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in 1:00 pm. Meet in the lobby at 4 pm for Neighborhood Walk. You will be staying at Hotel Ilaria that night.
  End of Program:
Check out of hotel by 11:00 am. No activities other than departure transfers to Florence airport You will be staying at Hotel Corona d'Italia the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Regular public bus service to Lucca from Florence, Pisa and Pisa Airport. Train service from Lucca to Pisa and Florence. Check for timetables
To Start of Program
  Location:  in flight
  Transportation to site: To reach the program site in Lucca on your own you have two public transportation options: bus or train. At the information desk in the airport arrivals terminal you can get the most updated bus and train timetables and purchase your ticket. Buses to Lucca depart every hour from the airport terminal. The ride takes 50 min.; fare is about EUR 4. The train terminal is located just outside the airport terminal as well. Tickets to Lucca are about EUR 4. You may have to change trains in Pisa Centrale. When you arrive in Lucca by train or bus it is advisable to take a taxi to the hotel (fare about EUR 12) especially if you have luggage in tow. Taxi fare direct from the Pisa airport to Lucca (about 20 miles) will be approx. EUR 85.
  From End of Program
  Location: in flight
  Transportation from site: To reach the Florence airport on your own, taxis from the hotel to the airport are about EUR 25 depending on time of travel, number of persons and luggage. There is a public bus that runs twice an hour from the main train station in Florence to the airport. Tickets are EUR 6. The hotel is less than 500 yards from the train station.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit to Program
(Sunday, October 11)
 In Transit: Flight to Pisa

Day 2: Arrival Transfer, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
(Monday, October 12)

Note: Hotel check-in is available from 1:00 p.m. Pisa Airport is 20 km (12.5 miles) from Lucca. The road winds around a small mountain that separates the two cities.

 Arrive To: Pisa airport and clear customs. In the first public area of the arrivals hall, meet the Road Scholar representative who will lead you to the coach. The group leader will be in the lobby of the hotel to greet arriving travelers.
 Lunch: Light buffet lunch for those with arrivals before noon or soon thereafter. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: After you settle into your room, freshen up and relax, meet back in the hotel lobby at 4:00 p.m. for an orientation walk in the neighborhood to identify ATMs, pharmacies, stores, restaurants, etc., The short walk circles back to the hotel where you will gather in the meeting room for a briefing session. The group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions with a Welcome Cocktail (or fruit juice). We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant a set menu with samples of traditional Tuscan cooking. Plated table service; water is included. A glass of wine is included as well to welcome you to Tuscany.
 Evening: Explore briefly the area around the hotel or stroll around the quiet town of Lucca.
Accommodations: Hotel Ilaria
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: From Origins to the Present, Puccini Opera Arias
(Tuesday, October 13)

Note: Extended periods of standing during the expert-led walk in the heart of the pedestrian only small city.

 Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: A local expert will lead a walk to discovery through Medieval Lucca with visits to the Basilica of S. Martino Admire its marble facade decorated with Romanesque statues and motifs. In the Middle Ages the city was a destination of pilgrims traveling to view relics housed within the basilica. Take a walk on a segment of the walls that surround Lucca. Continue your walk around the entire 2.5 mile path anytime you have free time during your stay in Lucca. The hotel has bicycles for guests to borrow.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant enjoy a set menu with regional fare. Water is included; other beverages are available for purchase.
 Afternoon: In the meeting room of the hotel learn about Lucca’s city planning from its origins in 180 BCE to the present.
 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.
 Evening: Attend a performance of "Puccini's Women" arias by composer Giacomo Puccini, native son of Lucca. The program begins at 7:00 and lasts an hour and a half. Your choice whether to have supper before or after the musical program.
Accommodations: Hotel Ilaria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Calcium Carbonate to Art: Carrara Marble, Tuscan Cooking Traditions
(Wednesday, October 14)

Note: Coach one hour to Carrara and the quarries. Not a strenuous day in terms of distances covered on foot, but extended standing when the local expert stops to point out interesting sites in the quarries and in Carrara center. According to the ongoing projects, the artist workshop may be dusty and noisy with the power tools in action.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to the quarries above the town of Carrara. See the massive machinery used to extract the marble, then wonder how it was accomplished since antiquity prior to the invention of mechanized equipment.
 Lunch: At an winebar/restaurant in the center of Carrara. Enjoy some local Tuscan dishes. Set menu with plated table service. Water and wine are included.
 Afternoon: Learn about marble as the medium for artists. Working schedule permitting, visit a workshop where artists rent space and equipment for their creations with marble. Return to Lucca mid to late afternoon for a talk about the traditions of authentic Tuscan cooking.
 Dinner: At a characteristic trattoria a 3 course set plated meal. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Ilaria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Piazza dei Miracoli, Duomo, Baptistery, Tower of Pisa
(Thursday, October 15)

Note: Light exertion in Pisa for the visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Duomo complex comprised of the famous Leaning Tower and Baptistery. In high season reservations are required to climb the tower. 10 min. walk on flat terrain due to the wide traffic free area surrounding the Duomo complex.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel.
 Morning: A local expert leads a visit to the oval shaped piazza which conforms to the old Roman amphitheater. The walk concludes at Palazzo Pfanner with its elegant receiving rooms and formal gardens.
 Lunch: On your own.
 Afternoon: Train to Pisa and short walk to the Piazza dei Miracoli. Expert-led visit of the Duomo and Baptistery. See the exterior of the famous Leaning Tower, part of the same Duomo complex. The lacy white marble tiers of the buildings contrast with the wide green lawns, which is unusual for a city cathedral. Until the port of Pisa silted up, the city was a strong maritime republic (along with Genoa, Amalfi and Venice) and the wealth of the city is demonstrated by the civic and religious pride the inhabitants had by funding such a grandiose construction. Train back to Lucca late afternoon.
 Dinner: At a characteristic trattoria in Lucca. Plated table service, set 3 course regional menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
Accommodations: Hotel Ilaria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Siena, Chianti Wine Production, Medieval Civic Pride
(Friday, October 16)

Note: Coach travel and minimal walking at the winery. The road from the hotel to the Campo is pedestrian only and has some inclines as you near the wide Campo which slopes down to the Town Hall.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel. Bags will be loaded onto the coach. Ride to a winery (about an hour and a half) along a scenic route through olive orchards and vineyards in the Chianti hills near Siena.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch in the Chianti region and sample the local red wine.
 Afternoon: Coach ride (about 45 minutes) south to Siena through the Tuscan countryside. Check into the hotel located in the historical center of town. After settling into your room meet the local guide in the lobby to set out on a city orientation walk that ends up in the Piazza del Campo. The perimeter of the wide square is the site where the famed Palio horse race takes place in July and August.. Expert-led visit continues to the Palazzo Pubblico. The great hall of the medieval Palazzo, still serving today as the town hall, contains an important fresco cycle depicting an allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Of note is Simone Martini's fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano on horseback.
 Dinner: Sample some regional dishes (and enjoy the view) at a restaurant in the Campo. Set menu, glass of Chianti is included in addition to water. Plated table service.
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Italy Today, Duomo and Museum
(Saturday, October 17)

Note: Leisurely walk around town to visit one or more contrade, or districts. Note that Siena was settled on 3 hills and the walking path may include steep inclines of the pedestrian only streets.

 Breakfast: This day and for the next five mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: A classroom session explores the regional aspects of Italian society and the national institutions that shape the lives of residents today. After a break, an expert-led walk to and visit of Siena's elaborately decorated cathedral (il Duomo). The floors are paved with inlaid marble depicting figures in religious and allegorical scenes. The visit continues to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo to admire Duccio di Buoninsegna's Maesta'.
 Lunch: On your own. The group leader and guide will have suggestions where to go for a light lunch or full course meal.
 Afternoon: Meet at the designated point and time. The guided visit continues to part of the collection of the museum complex Santa Maria della Scala. At the conclusion of the guided visit, you can stay on at the museum della Scala to visit the section where Etruscan artifacts are displayed.
 Dinner: At a characteristic restaurant in the market square enjoy a 3 course dinner with typical Tuscan dishes. Water and wine included.
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: San Gimignano: The Manhattan of Tuscany
(Sunday, October 18)

Note: Coach to San Gimignano and walk around the small hill town. Not a strenuous excursion but the town roads are inclined. During free time, those with stamina may choose to climb one of the open towers to gain a commanding view of the countryside below.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Excursion by coach to San Gimignano for an expert-led visit of the medieval city. An original Etruscan town, this town retains much of its medieval aspect. At one time 77 towers were standing in the city. They were used in family rivalries in order to attain the advantage of higher ground. In the Duomo there is a fresco cycle depicting scenes from Dante's Inferno as a way of visually entreating the people to repent from their evil ways.
 Lunch: At a local organic farm, the host explains the production of extra virgin olive oil, wine, saffron and the characteristics of Chianino cattle. Enjoy a farm to table set menu and the opportunity to sample Vernaccia di San Gimignao, one of the few Tuscan white wines produced in the area.
 Afternoon: Coach to Siena late afternoon.
 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: The Palio: More Than a Horse Race
(Monday, October 19)

Note: Negotiating the inclines and descents of the hill town of Siena will require more effort than the walks in Lucca or Florence. The historical city center is restricted to car traffic so that you can walk freely, but every walk is up or down an incline.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: In the hotel meeting room, an illustrated presentation on The Palio: More than a Horse Race. Learn about this centuries old tradition where each of the city's districts, called contrade, sponsor a horse to represent their neighborhood. The shame of losing is enough to encourage cheating. Even though there is one race in July and another in August, the competitive spirit between the contrade is manifest all year round.
 Lunch: On your own.
 Afternoon: A local expert leads a walk through a contrada pointing out the various symbols (Goose, Turtle, Tower, etc.) identifying the boundaries between the contrade. Get an intimate look at the pride and sense of community during an exclusive visit to a contrada meeting hall, chapel and small museum.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant a 3 course set menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Pienza and the Tuscan Hills
(Tuesday, October 20)

Note: One hour coach ride to Pienza and a coach ride through the Tuscan countryside on the return. Short walks in Pienza, a very small hill town, but there are inclines at every segment.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach excursion to the town of Pienza. Pope Pius II Piccolomini (1458-1464), a humanist scholar and poet, was born in the nearby village of Corsignano, and once he became pope he began a building project to transform his home town into an idealized Renaissance city. He built his palace near the main piazza and renamed the town after himself.
 Lunch: On your own. In the small town of Pienza there are wine bars, cafés and restaurants from which to choose.
 Afternoon: On the coach ride back to Siena, sit back and admire the rolling hills of vineyards dotted with isolated farmhouses
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant a fixed menu with plated table service. Water is included. You can select and pay for on your own wine from the list of local red and white wines.
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Coach to Florence, Accademia Gallery
(Wednesday, October 21)

Note: Transfer to Poggio a Caiano by coach. The ride is about an hour and 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Some walking and standing at the Medici Villa visit. Walk to the Accademia along narrow sidewalks. The sculpture gallery is at ground level; the picture gallery on the upper level. The ride from the Medici Villa to Florence is about 45 minutes.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Bags are loaded onto the coach. Transfer to Florence with a stop in Poggio a Caiano for an expert-led visit of the Villa of Lorenzo de'Medici. The architect Sangallo incorporated elements of classical antiquity: an arched portico which served as a porch and a shaded area around the building; an entrance flanked by grand staircases leading to the main entrance. The main halls are decorated with frescoes by Pontormo and Andrea del Sarto. Coach continues to the hotel in Florence.
 Lunch: Before settling into the hotel, a light lunch in the market area of Florence. Enjoy an individual salad and various types of pizza served family style. Water and a soft drink or glass of beer are included.
 Afternoon: Walk to the Accademia delle Belle Arti to marvel at Michelangelo's David. A local expert leads the visit of the sculpture collection in the main hall which includes the David as well as the unfinished pieces called the Prisoners which seem to be still imprisoned in the block of Carrara marble. There are other small collections in the museum that you might want to browse on your own, such as the collection of early string instruments or the painting gallery with works from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and early 17th century.
 Dinner: At a restaurant near the Accademia and Duomo enjoy a 3 course set meal with plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Market Walk, Uffizi Gallery
(Thursday, October 22)

Note: The historical center if Florence is closed to traffic and the terrain is level, but the walk to the Uffizi is about 3/4 of a mile. A small elevator (cap. 3 persons) for disabled visitors may be accessible at the Uffizi Gallery. There is a long flight of stairs to reach the exhibition rooms of the gallery. Expect some crowding in the museum; it is a popular destination for art aficionados.

 Breakfast: This day and for the next three mornings, the breakfast buffet at the hotel offers juice and water, an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
 Morning: Some time in the morning for a Market Walk in the area of Brunelleschi's church of S. Lorenzo. Along the streets vendors set up carts with leather goods, pottery, scarves, souvenirs, etc. In the late 1800's the Central Market was built. Stalls display and sell fresh and cured meats, cheeses, breads, and other foods. In addition there is a fresh 'fast food' court where you can get sandwiches, pizza, focaccia, or hot dishes. You might want to try one of the eateries for an excluded lunch to have an idea of how some Florentines eat if they do not have time to go home. Mid morning in the hotel classroom an art historian gives an overview of Renaissance Art, and with an illustrated presentation, describes highlighted works of art of the collection of the Uffizi Gallery.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in the Piazza della Signoria. Set menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.
 Afternoon: Reserved entrance time to the Uffizi eliminates the wait to enter. Once inside, visit the rooms of art treasures at your own pace. In the Gallery works are arranged in an order that illustrates the progression from the International Gothic style to Mannerism and examples of Baroque art with pieces by Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentilleschi.There is a coffee/refreshment bar at the end of the corridor on the upper level where you can relax and purchase refreshments while enjoying a commanding view of the bell tower of Palazzo Vecchio and the Cupola of the Duomo.
 Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Walk of Discovery, Bargello Museum
(Friday, October 23)

Note: The walk from the hotel to the Bargello is a little less than 3/4 of a mile. The Bargello has a flight of stone stairs to reach the upper floor. A small elevator is in service for the truly needy.

 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: A guided walk to major squares in Florence: Santa Maria Novella, Repubblica, Strozzi ends at the Bargello. Expert-led visit of the Bargello National Museum. The collection includes sculptures by Donatello (St. George, David), the competition pieces between Brunelleschi and Ghiberti for the north doors of the Baptistery and sculptures by Michelangelo, Giambologna and Cellini. In addition to sculpture there are rooms with fine examples of decorated pottery and armaments: swords, lances, early pistols, and suits of armor.
 Lunch: On your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Florence at your own pace.
 Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Set 3 course regional menu, plated table service. Wine is included with this meal to toast new friendships and bid arrivederci Firenze.
Accommodations: Hotel Corona d'Italia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Program Concludes
(Saturday, October 24)
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.Continental breakfast for early departures. This concludes the program.
 Morning: Transfer to Florence Airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Florence Boboli Gardens
At the Boboli Gardens which extend behind the Pitti Palace enjoy a stroll along the stone and dirt paths paths lined with shrubs and copies of statues from the Medici collection and take in a unique view of Florence from the hill. Green lawns are artfully placed among the geometric walking paths of this peaceful Renaissance garden.
  Botanical Gardens
extensive gardens and greenhouses where the Univiversity of Florence maintains 4 million botanical specimens in a wooded urban park, the "Giardino dei Semplici"
Visit other museums in Florence such as the Palazzo Pitti, residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The museum complex includes collections of silver and porcelain, period dress and decorative arts, and an impressive collection of paintings by Perugino, Tiziano, Bronzino, and Rubens.
  Siena General Overview
Explore Siena's numerous cultural icons: the Painting gallery, bell tower, baptistery, or Santa Maria della Scala museum's Etruscan collection. The guide will have details on opening times and ticket information. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Brunelleschi's Dome

Author: Ross King

Description: The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.

Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life

Author: Frances Mayes

Description: Twenty years after "Under the Tuscan Sun," Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.

Fodor's Florence's 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map and essential information on the city's highlights, including sightseeing, restaurants and shopping.

Insight Guide Tuscany

Author: Insight Guides

Description: An illustrated guide in the popular series, noteworthy for its maps and illuminating essays on history, art, food and culture.

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

Author: Beppe Severgnini

Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.

La Bella Lingua

Author: Dianne Hales

Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.

Seven Seasons in Siena

Author: Robert Rodi

Description: Rodi chronicles with self-deprecating hilarity his increasingly desperate and finally successful efforts over seven years to belong in Siena.

Siena: City of Secrets

Author: Jane Tylus

Description: Combining literary flair with impressive scholarship, Tylus transforms the aloof, frozen-in-time city of Siena into a living organism by exploring its history and culture, forgotten innovations and artistic and architectural accomplishments.

The Art of the Renaissance

Author: Peter Murray

Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.

The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy

Author: Hugh Johnson (Foreword), Nicholas Belfrage

Description: This astute guide to wine-making regions and villages in Tuscany includes a history of Tuscan grapes and culture, excellent color maps and profiles of select vintners and wines.

The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall

Author: Christopher Hibbert

Description: A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.

The Raphael Affair

Author: Iain Pears

Description: In the first of the popular Jonathan Argyll art mysteries, Argyll sneaks into a small church near Campo dei Fiori identify an undiscovered Raphael -- unfortunately for him, the painting has disappeared.

The Renaissance, A Short History

Author: Paul Johnson

Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.

The Stones of Florence

Author: Mary McCarthy

Description: The classic history of the art, architecture and culture of Florence. Novelist McCarthy takes us on a quick and vivid tour of the history of the Medicis and the city of Florence, focusing on Renaissance art.

Tuscany Map

Author: Touring Club Italiano

Description: This regional map is even better, now printed on water- and tear-proof paper. 1:200,000.

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