20096
Italy
The Hidden Villages of Tuscany
Tuscany’s culture extends far beyond its crowded cities. Join us as we go off the beaten path to explore timeless examples of architecture, crafts and cuisine in this idyllic region.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20096RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,499
Flights start at
900
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11 days
10 nights
24 meals
9 B 7 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Florence, To Anghiari, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Anghiari (AR)
D
Hotel La Meridiana

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

Afternoon: After checking-in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. We will have a light snack and welcome drink. 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. Our principal lecturer will be Professor Mario Carniani, an art historian who has taught at Georgetown University, Darmouth College, and the British Institute of Florence. These are the names of typical food courses in Italy: l'antipasto, a hot or cold appetizer; il primo piatto, the first course, often soup or pasta; il secondo piatto, the second course or main dish; il contorno piatto, a side dish such as vegetables or salad; and il dolce, dessert. Breakfasts in our program will be hearty buffets; most lunches and some other meals will be two courses featuring local dishes. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances such as museum and restaurant openings/closings, guest speaker schedules, and the like. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, 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 day ahead.

DAY
3
Anghiari, Misericordia Museum, Battaglia Museum
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile at moderate pace throughout the day, about 1 hour in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon; standing in museums; several flights of stairs with handrail (no elevator) at Museo Della Battaglia; hilly terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as meats (such as ham, salami), eggs, cheese, cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, bread, pastries, jam, milk, tea, plus espresso coffee or cappuccino served by the waiter.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to the to the Museo della Misericordia, a charitable organization originally founded in the 13th century to care for religious pilgrims. Today, the Misericorida operates the ambulance service. This small museum traces its history and heritage. . We’ll move on to the Museo della Battaglia (Museum of the Battle) and meet the Director who will introduce the museum. The Battle of Anghiari was fought on June 29, 1440, between forces of Florence and Milan. The Florentines won and it was significant because it helped to define the borders of Tuscany. The museum traces human habitation back to the prehistoric era and documents social as well as military history. We’ll learn why this was called the Battle for the Renaissance, although as Niccolò Machiavelli remarked, the only death was a soldier who fell off his horse! But the result was so significant that none less than Leonardo da Vinci painted a mural commemorating the battle, famous in its day and copied by many artists but since lost for centuries. Next, in the magnificent Council room of the Palazzo dei Priori — now the Town Hall — we’ll be greeted by the Mayor of Anghiari. The building is notable for its medieval origins and numerous works of art within.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a served plated meal featuring regional cuisine plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will walk through the historic center of Anghiari with a local resident expert. Anghiari has been officially designated as one of the “Borghi più belli d'Italia” (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy). Surrounded by walls dating from the 13th Century, it is a place of both history and culture. Characteristic stone buildings overlook colorful squares with historic churches, museums, and narrow streets with antique shops and furniture restoration laboratories for which the town has become known.

Dinner: At the local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Scuola del restauro, Taglieschi Museum, Caprese
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; standing; flights of stairs; steep hill to Michelangelo house in Caprese, about 1/10th of a mile; motorcoach cannot go to the top.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart on a walking field trip to the Scuola del Restauro, the public art college where we will learn about the traditional art of restoring antique furniture, for which Anghiari is known throughout Italy. One of the goals of the Scuola is teaching practical ways to preserve the cultural heritage of the town and region. This is considered so important that the Council of Ministers approved a bill governing the professionals working in the field of restoration and conservation. At the school, antique restorers and experts pass along their knowledge and skill to eager students, training them to become professionals on their own. We will observe old traditions of antique furniture restoration Next, we’ll walk to the Palazzo Taglieschi that houses the State Museum. It was originally the home of the wealthy, aristocratic Taglieschi family and has been beautifully maintained. The museum has 20 rooms on 4 floors with a fascinating collection of sculptures, paintings, and household items recreating the feeling of a Renaissance palace.

Lunch: Light lunch with wine and cheese tasting.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to the Busatti textile factory, in operation since 1842, where we’ll learn about antique weaving and manufacturing techniques from a member of the staff. We will also see the old weaving machines still used to produce fine linens and textiles. Transferring to the village of Caprese, we will and visit the Museo michelangiolesco (Michelangelo Museum). Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in Caprese on March 6, 1475, and baptized at the Church of San Giovanni Battista. The museum was founded in 1875 in what was formerly the mayor’s house. It has furniture representative of the Renaissance. The Group Leader will provide information about the life of Michelangelo and the museum. We'll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the pizzeria.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Free time in Anghiari, Sorci Castle
Anghiari (AR)
B,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: At the castle, 2 flights of stairs upstairs, 2 flights of uneven steps into the cellar.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity to browse through the weekly street market.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Regrouping at the hotel, we will depart mid-afternoon by motor coach to the Castello di Sorci, for two hands-on sessions — a demonstration of crafts, and hand-made pasta — under the supervision and with the assistance of local artisans and the cook. After these sessions, we will visit the castle with one of the owners, who will talk about the history of this ancient castle dating back to the 12th century. We will return to the hotel with a little free time to freshen up before dinner at the Locanda (Inn) castle restaurant, known also as the Accademia della Tagliatella.

Dinner: at the castle, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; Other beverages available for purchase. . We’ll be serenaded with popular Tuscan music and songs performed by a local group.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Piero della Francesca, Monterchi, San Sepolcro
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile, flat terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In the fascinating small theatre of Anghairi, just in front of our hotel, Prof. Mario Carniani will give a lecture on Piero della Francesca, one of the foundational artists of the Renaissance, who was also a mathematical theorist. He was born in Borgo Sansepolcro and always maintained a connection with his home region, often including its vistas in his paintings. With this background, we’ll embark on a field trip to Monterchi, where della Francesca’s mother was born, and the Museo della Madonna del Parto to view one of the highlights of Renaissance art, his “Madonna del Parto” (Madonna of Parturition, i.e.,childbirth). Aside from its artistic power, the image of a pregnant Virgin Mary was associated with women praying for safe deliveries. Della Francesca supposedly completed it in only seven days. The painting includes a number of theological and religious symbols.

Lunch: At the local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continuing our study of della Francesca, we’ll go next to the Museo Civico di San Sepolcro to admire more of his legacy, in particular the “Resurrection” fresco, considered one of the most important works of art in the world. One of the images in this iconic masterpiece may be a self-portrait of the artist. We’ll conclude our afternoon at the Aboca Museum, the original and so far the only museum of herbs and health over the centuries. It covers two floors of the 18th century Palazzo Bourbon Del Monte and explores the relationship between people and medicinal plants in numerous cultures with a number of fascinating exhibits. The botanical library contains about 1,000 volumes from the 16th to the 20th centuries on everything from alchemy and ancient recipes to pharmaceutical botany. We will return to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Arezzo
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: The drive to Arezzo is about 18 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1.5 miles, approximately 2.5 hours; standing up to 1 hour; seating in churches and museum, restrooms available.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: En route to Arezzo, Professor Carniani will provide background information for our field trip. We’ll visit the Cathedral, the Church of San Domenico and the House of Vasari. During an expert led exploration of the Church of Saint Francis, we’ll admire masterpieces of Piero della Francesca.

Lunch: At the local restaurant.

Afternoon: FREE TIME. Return to the hotel

Dinner: At the local restaurant

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Citta' di Castello, Montone
Anghiari (AR)
B,L
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles throughout the day; Città di Castello is flat, Montone is hilly, smooth terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: En route to our field trip destinations this morning, the Group Leader will provide commentary and background information for self-directed explorations in both sites, where you can move at your own pace and see what interests you most. As we have seen and learned, Tuscany is dotted with cities, towns, and villages of ancient lineage. Cìtta di Castello is one of the most notable of these. Its origins are unknown but may have been as far back as the Etruscans. It has been a thriving city since the Roman era. Like its neighbors in Tuscany and elsewhere when Italy was a conglomeration of independent city-states and fiefs of the nobility, the people of Cìtta di Castello has lived under many different rulers. Little is left of the ancient city, but there are medieval, Renaissance, and baroque structures that carry the history and heritage of their makers as well as a number of museums.

Lunch: At the local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next is Montone, yet another of the “Borghi più belli d'Italia” (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy), may be more than 1,200 years old. It was owned by a series of noble families from the medieval era through the Renaissance, and its fortunes rose with them. Taken over by the Papal States in the 17th century, it joined the newly formed Kingdom of Italy in 1865. Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration in Montone 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. Return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Pieve di Sovara, Citerna, Castello di Gabino
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: The drive to Pieve di Sovara is about 1.5 miles, to Citerna 5.5 miles, to Casolare, 15 miles. Easy terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll begin the day with a field trip to the Pieve di Sovara. “Pieve” is a term identifying parish churches where baptisms were carried out in the early days of Christianity here. The Pieve di Santa Maria alla Sovara (Santa Maria of the River Sovara) is believed to date from the 7th or 8th centuries C.E. That it survived a turbulent history is something of a small miracle. We’ll then ride on to Citerna, another of the “Borghi più belli d'Italia” (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy). In existence since Etruscan times, it is another of those towns passed from one feuding power to another over the centuries. Today we see its authentic medieval character, enriched during the Renaissance with works of art and monuments by some of the greats of the day. Our next stop is Casolare, in the hills near Anghiari.

Lunch: With a local family in Casolare.

Afternoon: We’ll set out again on a field trip to the Castello di Gabino (Castle of Galbino), dating back to the year 1000 C.E. Nestled amid hills and woods, it has long been a family residence and today serves as a B&B. We’ll learn about the castle and its history. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: At the local restaurant in Anghiari

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Olive Oil Mill, Monastero di Montecasale
Anghiari (AR)
B,L,D
Hotel La Meridiana

Activity note: Walking according to personal preference, slight slope, smooth terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our first field trip of the day will be to an olive oil mill where we’ll have a lesson by the owner on its production, complete with recipes highlighting its use.

Lunch: At the oil mill, we’ll have a buffet lunch offering choices such as pasta, salami, ham, cheeses, vegetables, dessert, water, wine and coffee.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to the Monastero di Montecasale for a field trip in this small, peaceful monastery. One of the friars will welcome us with the warm Franciscan words “Pace e Bene” (Peace and Good) and will show us the monastery, speaking about Saint Francis who visited here. Returning to hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

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 your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (depending on departure time). 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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