18647
Italy
The Hidden Treasures of Florence
See a side of Florence rarely shown to outsiders as you enjoy inside access to the Museo del Duomo, explore palaces and aristocratic mansions and attend lectures at private galleries.
Rating (4.88)
Program No. 18647RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,899
Flights start at
825
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11 days
10 nights
19 meals
9 B 7 L 3 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Florence, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Florence
L,D
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 12:00 Noon.

Morning: After checking-in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax as the remaining participants arrive.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a light buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All activities will be led by the Group Leader unless specified otherwise. Each day will have a minimum walking distance of 1 and half mile. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that 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. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Before dinner, we’ll enjoy a welcome cocktail together.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine, plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow road scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
3
Lecture, Cappelle Medicee, San Lorenzo, Accademia
Florence
B,L
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile on cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a breakfast buffet with choices including an egg dish, a variety of sliced cold cuts and cheeses, breakfast breads, jams, hot and cold cereals, and fresh fruit with coffee, tea and water.

Morning: To start us off, we will enjoy a lecture at the hotel given by a local professor focusing on Michelangelo, his genius, and his relationship with the town of Florence. With our professor we’ll walk and visit the Cappelle Medicee, an astoundingly beautiful chapel. Continuing our walking field trip led by our Group Leader and local expert, we will browse the Central Food Market of San Lorenzo.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our next stop on our walking field trip will be to the Accademia where we will admire Michelangelo's David. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
St. Annunziata Church, Santa Croce, Bargello museum
Florence
B,L
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles on cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will enjoy a lecture at the hotel given by a local professor on Florence war and flood. On our walking field trip to the Santa Croce District, we’ll make a stops at the Church of Santissima Annunziata to admire masterpieces of Mannerism, a style of art popular in the later years of the Renaissance but before it was replaced by the Baroque. We’ll then stop at Cenacolo di Santa Apollonia to admire The Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno led by a local expert. We’ll then proceed led by our expert to the Chiesa of Santa Croce — the richest medieval church in Florence — which features frescoes by Giotto, a chapel by Brunelleschi, and the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Machiavelli, and Dante Alighieri.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with the usual beverages.

Afternoon: We’ll walk to the Bargello Museum, which was formerly used as a palace and then a prison before finally becoming a National Museum of Art specializing in sculpture in the mid 1800s. We will return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Free time, Cathedral, Museo dell'Opera, Orsanmichele
Florence
B
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles on cobblestone streets

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll set out for a walking field trip of the Cathedral, the Museum of the Opera and Piazza Signoria led by our Group Leader and a local professor. On the way, we will stop at the Church of Orsanmichele. Originally built around 750 C.E. as a chapel for St. Michael and surrounded by the vegetable garden (orto) of a Benedictine monastery, the church retained the name even after it was rebuilt as a market grain storage facility in 1336. However, the first floor had become another chapel only shortly thereafter.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
St.Trinita Church, Palazzo Corsini, St. Maria Novella Church
Florence
B,L
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles on cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer by minivan to Santa Trinita' and Borgo Ognissanti to admire some of Ghirlandaio’s masterpieces. When we arrive at the Palazzo Corsini al Prato on our walking field trip, we will be greeted by the Princess Corsini, who will open her private garden and palace to meet us like long acquainted friends. Located near the Prato gate on the western side of the historic area, the Palazzo was designed in 1590 by Bernardo Buontalenti, a student of Michelangelo and Vasari. Acquired by the Corsini family in 1620, it was completed and enhanced to include a classically-designed Italian garden that has been remained largely unchanged to the present day. The Corsini are a noble Florentine family with deep historical roots in the city and a family tree that includes not only a pope but a saint as well. As lovely as the Palazzo is, the garden is the real jewel of the visit and, since the princess personally oversees the maintenance of the garden, she is uniquely suited to share horticultural and historical details that enrich your appreciation of its features.

Lunch: At Palazzo Corsini, we’ll have a light lunch buffet with a glass of wine and water included.

Afternoon: Leaving from Palazzo Corsini, we’ll continue our expert-led walk to the Officina Profumo- Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, an ancient pharmacy that has celebrated 400 years of uninterrupted business. Nearby, we’ll walk to the Church of Santa Maria Novella to admire the Giotto Crucifix, Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi frescoes, and Brunelleschi's wooden Crucifix. The basilica is one of the most important churches in Gothic style in Tuscany. The exterior is the work of Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti while the interior contains extraordinary masterpieces including the Trinity by Masaccio and frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Free time, private organ concert.
Florence
B,L,D
Hotel Cellai

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with the usual beverages.

Afternoon: Late afternoon we’ll leave from the hotel on foot to attend a concert at the Church of San Francesco. Our program was planned far in advance when some details of performances were not available. The information will be posted on our website when available and included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with the usual beverages.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Palazzo Gondi, Palazzo Vecchio
Florence
B,L
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles on cobblestone streets

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll walk to Palazzo Gondi where Marchese Gondi will take us on a field trip of his elegant renaissance palace with definitive architectural, historical and familial explanations. The palazzo was designed for the Gondi family in 1490 by Giuliano da Sangallo, a favorite architect of Lorenzo de Medici. The exterior of the Palazzo displays the classic layered design with each successive story a smoother, more subtle reflection of the one below. The open, central courtyard features a lovely fountain and columns with delicate and varied Corinthian capitals. A monumental staircase with detailed carvings on the steps leads to the upper stories with personal treasures of the Gondi family. A terrace garden on the top floor provides privileged rooftop views of the Duomo and the central city.

Lunch: At Palazzo Gondi, we will be treated to a tasting of regional Tuscan wines from the Marchese’s own vineyards, each specially paired with a light appetizer

Afternoon: Still used as the city hall of Florence, the famous Palazzo Vecchio, built in 1299, became Duke Cosimo de’ Medici’s palace and was highly renovated by Giorgio Vasari in the 17th century. Following a specially set itinerary thanks to private admittance, we will be led by local experts through the palace and allowed to peep into rooms where the Grand Duke and his family lived, kept treasures, met spies and showed their power. Francesco I’s ‘Studiolo’, or study room, Eleonora and Bianca Cappello’s room overlooking the huge hall of the palace, and Giorgio Vasari’s amazing construction of Palazzi Vecchio’s wooden ceilings are only a few of the surprises one can experience inside the political heart of Florence.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Brancacci Chapel, Palazzo Spinelli, Scuola del Restauro.
Florence
B,L
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile on cobblestone streets

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer by minivan to Piazza del Carmine and then to the Santa Maria del Carmine Church for an expert-led field trip to Brancacci Chapel, which is well-known for its frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino. We will enjoy a lecture given by a local professor. The Brancacci chapel of the Santa Maria del Carmine Church has been called the birthplace of Renaissance painting and “the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance.” Its fresco cycle on the life of St. Peter alternates scenes by Masolino in a late Gothic style with fresh, ground-breaking work by the young Masaccio. The tactile, expressive figures and realistic perspective in Masaccio's frescoes excited other painters, so that his work became a model and a challenge to the great artists who followed. Later additions to the fresco cycle by Filippino Lippi included portraits of Masaccio, Masolino and other contemporary artists. Restoration in the late 1980s revealed hidden details, so that today we can see these marvelous works with great color and clarity. Our expert guide will provide valuable insight into the creative process, history and significance of these amazing Renaissance masters. We will then continue our expert-led walking field trip and visit the Church of Santo Spirito to admire Michelangelo's wooden Crucifix.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with a glass of wine, water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will then walk to Palazzo Spinelli for field trip to the Scuola del Restauro, or School of Restoration, where we will learn from expert staff about some techniques and recent developments in the science of conserving and restoring works of art. We will return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Uffizi Gallery, lecture,Torrigiani, San Miniato
Florence
B,D
Hotel Cellai

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles on cobblestone streets

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will then walk to the Uffizi Gallery. We will hear a lecture about the artists who inspired Michelangelo by a local professor. Notable components of the gallery include Botticelli, Titian, Cimabue, Giotto, Rembrandt, Masaccio, and da Vinci.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: By minivan, we’ll travel to the Torrigiani Gardens — the largest private garden inside any European city — hidden in the heart of Florence. Starting in the 16th century as a famed botanical garden, it was expanded in the 19th century into an English-style romantic park. The gracious Marchese Torrigiani will lead your walk through this enchanting landscape pointing out the characteristic features of the Roman gardens. By minivan, we’ll then travel to San Miniato al Monte to visit the church, enjoy the view of Florence and assist to the Mass in Latin with Gregorian chants

Dinner: We’ll have a plated and served farewell meal with wine, coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with your fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See the travel information section regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure time

Morning: This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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