The History and Mystery of Florence and Venice
Experience the art, culture and history of Florence and Venice, while sampling some of the world’s best cuisine.
Highlights: Historical walking tours of these two unique cities, art history tours of the great museums and churches, day trip to the Tuscan countryside, shopping on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and at Piazza San Marco in Venice, walking in the footsteps of the Medici in Florence, a “Murders and Mysteries Evening Walk” in Venice, and vaporetto rides along the Grand Canal and to Murano, the island of glass.
Overnights: We’ll stay 7 days in Florence and 6 days in Venice. You only have to unpack twice!
Included in your tour: 13 nights hotel accommodations in centrally located 3-star hotels based on two people sharing a room. Meals: breakfast daily, one lunch, and three dinners. Florence: welcome dinner, lunch on San Gimignano day. Venice: wine and appetizer evening, and farewell dinner. Admission to group sightseeing excursions. Expert local English-speaking guides. Transportation as it applies to the tour including airport transfers, train from Florence to Venice, and vaporetto pass. Group travel trip cancellation, interruption, and medical insurance. Airfare not included.
Day-by-Day Itinerary with Suggested Books
Day 1: Depart for Florence.
Day 2: Arrive in Florence.
Check into our centrally-located hotel. Tonight: walk to a wine bar for our welcome dinner complete with vino. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
Day 3: Get acquainted with Florence.
Lay the foundation for understanding Florentine history and the Renaissance. Visit the Duomo cathedral, the Campanile, the Baptistery, Orsanmichele, and Piazza della Signoria. Explore the Church of Santa Croce, with its tombs of famous Florentines and art by several masters. Tonight: choose from one of the wonderful neighborhood restaurants. Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Day 4: Tour the Duomo cathedral and museum.
Head to the hills above Florence to Fiesole, an Etruscan town, to experience the remains of this early Roman settlement and the unparalleled views of Florence. Tonight: dinner in Fiesole. Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art by A. Richard Turner
Day 5: Meet David, Michelangelo’s famous statue.
View the magnificent David from every angle (no pictures allowed!) and the other artwork at the Accademia. Visit the Medici family’s chapel, a hidden gem, at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. View fine art treasures and tombs, many by Michelangelo, at the Church of San Lorenzo. Tonight: experience the local restaurant scene. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
Day 6: Tour the Bargello.
View an amazing array of Florentine art in this former prison. Cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River to the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine to view the frescoes in the church’s Brancacci Chapel. The rest of the day is yours to explore. Visit the Pitti Palace and gardens. Hop a bus to the Church of San Miniato . Visit the apartment of British poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Tonight: try a trattoria on this side of the Arno. A Rich, Full Death by Michael Dibdin
Day 7: Hit the road into the Tuscan countryside.
Explore San Gimignano, a small, walled hilltop town with its medieval towers, narrow winding lanes and gated entrances. This is the perfect place to just wander or pop into shops featuring Tuscan art work. Then we’re off to a country house for an authentic Tuscan lunch, with plenty of wine tasting. Tonight: maybe a light supper at a wine bar. Art for Travellers: Italy by Ann Morrow and John Power
Day 8: Visit the treasures of the Uffizi.
View the greatest collection of Italian painting in the world in Florence’s most famous museum. All the big names are here: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Michelangelo and Botticelli. Move through the museum at your own pace. You’ll have the afternoon free for last minute shopping, more wandering, or even starting to pack. Tonight: one last meal in Florence. Dark Waters by Robert Clark
Day 9: Ride the train through the Tuscan countryside to Venice.
Hop on a vaporetto (water bus) for our first ride down the Grand Canal. Settle into our hotel and get acquainted with our neighborhood. Tonight: stroll to a local taverne for our first Venetian meal. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Day 10: Get acquainted with Venice.
Start at Piazza San Marco for a walking tour of Venice. Ride to the top of the Campanile, for the most incredible views of Venice and the lagoon. Ride a vaporetto to the island of Murano, birthplace of the art of glassblowing. Explore other areas of Venice. Tonight: walk to a nearby waterside eatery. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
Day 11: Explore Venetian architecture.
Visit several churches including the Salute on the Grand Canal and San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of Giudecca. See the famed La Fenice, the opera house recently rebuilt after a devastating fire. The afternoon is yours to shop or wander. Tonight: an early dinner in the neighborhood followed by a Vivaldi concert. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
Day 12: Visit the Venetian School of Color: Bellini, Titian and Tintoretto.
View the paintings on the walls and ceilings of the Frari Church and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, our “textbook” for this lesson about the three great masters of Venetian art. Stroll the Rialto Bridge, with its great views (and photo ops) and unique shops. Tonight: a wine and appetizer tour. Shylock’s Daughter by Erica Jong
Day 13: Experience the Accademia.
Explore Venice’s major art museum. Visit a Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal, now a museum that shows how the rich 18th century Venetians lived. Tonight: an early dinner at the famed Harry’s Bar, Hemingway’s favorite hang-out in Venice, and a “Murders & Mysteries Evening Walk” through atmospheric Venetian haunts. Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
Day 14: Tour the Doges’ Palace, seat of the Venetian government.
Walk through the public rooms and take a “Secret Itinerary” tour, including the prison cell of the infamous Casanova. Finish with a tour of the underground prison cells and a walk over the Bridge of Sighs. This afternoon you are free to explore or shop. Tonight: our Farewell to Venice Dinner. Venetian Dreaming by Paula Weideger
Day 15: Depart Venice.
Journey through the lagoon to the airport, where we’ll bid “arrivederci” to the unforgettable Venice.
For more Information or to Reserve Your Place on this tour, contact us.