Boboli Gardens
Boboli Gardens

Arts and Gardens of Florence and Tuscany

7 days From £1,995

22 April 2019

The Italian heartland of Tuscany represents perhaps the archetypal image of Italy, with its walled towns, hilltop villages, rolling vineyards and, of course, the beauty of Renaissance Florence itself. Stretched along both sides of the River Arno, with a skyline that has inspired countless artists, Florence seems somehow already familiar...

Exquisite Florence needs little introduction. We begin in the tranquil surroundings of the Giardino Corsini, which is off the main tourist trail which tends to be less crowded and forms an oasis of calm in the city centre. Dating back to 1594, the garden was commissioned by an aristocrat with a passion for botany, and later skilfully adorned with statues. Nearby is the splendid Palazzo di Corsini, one of the rarest and most prestigious examples of Baroque style in Renaissance Florence.

No visit would be complete without taking in the Boboli Gardens. A superb collection of sculptures sit amongst many fine trees and formal gardens. Ascending the great flight of steps at the Bardini Gardens, we stand upon a belvedere with expansive views over Florence.

Travelling out into the rolling hills of Tuscany, we visit the Villa Gamberaia, which is one of the most celebrated Italian gardens here and it’s easy to see why – with box hedges, topiary, yew pillars and stunning flower beds. At Villa La Pietra we will admire an exquisite collection of art, furniture, tapestries, books, silver and sculpture.

We are also privileged to be joined by a lecturer from the British Institute for historical walks around Florence and Siena and guided tours of the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell'Accademia, with a full day given over to exploring the delights of Florence at your own pace.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
Book Now £1,995 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £395

Tour highlights:

  • Get an unforgettable perspective on Florence's red-tiled rooftops and Renaissance skyline from the belvedere at the Bardini Gardens
  • Stray from the beaten track on a visit to the Giardino Corsini, a tranquil garden off the main tourist trail
  • Tour of the 17th century Villa Medicea di Lilliano with wine tasting and lunch
  • Guided tours of the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell'Academia with a British Institue Lecturer.

Tour details

Dates 22 April 2019 - 28 April 2019
Duration 7 days
Cost £1,995 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £395 Balance due by 28 January 2019
Activity Level Easy-Going
Tour code BWAGF19A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

22 April 2019: Itinerary

We depart on our flight from London to Florence. On arrival at Florence Airport, we join our comfortable coach and make our way to our first visit, the Corsini Gardens. The garden oasis lies within the Palazzo Corsini al Prato. The Baroque style garden plays host to large orangeries; a gorgeous main path lined with statues, pretty lemon trees potted in elegant vases; and sophisticated geometrical beds and box hedges.

We continue to the nearby Palazzo Corsini al Prato, one of the rarest and most prestigious examples of Baroque style in Renaissance Florence and one of the happiest moments of the Florentine painting periods. During our tour we will be able to admire the ground floor with the frescoed rooms of the Summer Apartments and the fascinating “Grotto” designed by the architect Antonio Ferri. The tour continues to the piano nobile with the majestic Throne Room, many rooms that are richly decorated with frescoes, stuccowork and paintings, and the terrace overlooking Lungarno Corsini that offers a unique view of Florence.

We continue to our hotel. 

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

Following breakfast, we visit the Boboli Gardens, particularly remarkable for their history, formal layout, fountains, grottoes and collection of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures. Begun in 1549 the original design was by Tribolo and included terraces and many fine deciduous trees: planes, limes, chestnuts, field maples, elms and oaks. The garden was enlarged in 1612 and an island was created as a flower and lemon garden. In spite of its long history the Boboli Garden preserves most of its original Renaissance and Baroque layout and the fine collection of statues still remains.

We don’t have to travel very far to our next stop, the Bardini Gardens and Villa which date back to the 14th century, and are something of an unknown treasure. Five years of hard work and 12 million euros went into their restoration – and the result is simply exquisite. The flower beds blossom with fragrant roses, crocuses and mimosa; while the luxuriant oak and cypress trees play host to wood pigeons, blackbirds and robins.

In the afternoon, we are in for a real treat, as we take a history-themed walk around the Piazza del Duomo with our lecturer from the British Institute, who will offer his fascinating insight every step of the way. Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

This morning, following breakfast, we begin our day at one of Florence's most iconic sites: the unmissable Uffizi Gallery. The marvellous collection here spans over 600 years and includes works by Lippi, Cimbue, Duccio, Giotto, Leonardo and several works by Botticelli, including his Birth of Venus, Primavera and Madonna and we are fortunate to be led in our discovery of it by our British Institute lecturer.

After free time for lunch (not included), we join our lecturer at another icon of Renaissance art: The Galleria dell'Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

Today, after breakfast, we begin with a visit to the gardens of Villa Gamberaia, which lie just to the east of Florence in unspoilt countryside. The intimate scale and irresistible charm of Gamberaia make this one of the most celebrated Italian villas and since its restoration in Edwardian times, the garden has been considered a masterpiece, with its box hedges, topiary, yew pillars and stunning flower beds. Gamberaia’s most famous feature is a water parterre to the south of the villa where, instead of flowerbeds, the box parterres contain pools of water. They are a twentieth century invention, but they are the crowning glory of a perfect baroque garden.

After an opportunity for lunch (not included), we move on to the Villa La Pietra. For centuries, the villa was home to a series of prominent Florentine families, until it was taken over by Chicago natives Hortense Mitchell Acton and Arthur Acton in 1903. The Actons were just two of a set of culturally passionate expats living in the area at the time, and their collections of art, furniture, tapestries, books, silver and sculpture are exquisite.

The evening is at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

Following breakfast, the day is at leisure in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Magnetic, romantic and endlessly charming, Florence’s narrow streets and wine-rich hills are home to hundreds of stories. This is a perfect place to explore at leisure.

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

This morning, following breakfast, we visit the Villa Medicea di Lilliano, nestled in the hills of Chianti Colli Fiorentini. The wine estate epitomises the Tuscan lifestyle and casual sophistication with tranquil terraced gardens surrounded by 70 hectares of vineyards and olive groves. We enjoy a wine tasting followed by a light lunch.

In the afternoon we continue to Siena, where we are met once again by our British Institute lecturer for a tour of the Piazza del Campo — the city's central square — and its Civic Museum. This evening we head to Castello di Verrazzano vineyard for a wine tasting and farewell dinner.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Athenaeum Personal Hotel

Following breakfast, we check out of our hotel – please ensure any extras are paid for prior to departure. We then travel to the airport in time for our return flights.

Meals include: Breakfast

22 April 2019: Additional Info

22 April 2019: Accommodation

The Hotel Athenaeum Florence is a 4 star hotel comprised of 60 high quality rooms, gourmet restaurant, hotel bar, conference facilities, fitness room and even a billiard room. As all of this wasn’t enough, the Hotel Athenaeum is also just a 10 minute walk from the magnificent Florence Cathedral and also within walking distance of the train station.

Comfortable and stylish, the hotel offers 60 designer guest rooms are available in a variety of occupancies and luxury including, single, twin, double, triple and superior double rooms. Each room also enjoys the latest mod cons including:

Private en-suite marble bathrooms with bath or shower, complimentary toiletries, bathrobe & slippers and hairdryer
Flat screen Satellite TV
Safety deposit box
Mini bar
Direct dial telephone
Air conditioning and heating Desk
Free high speed Wi-Fi internet access.

22 April 2019: Enquiries

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