The Italian Renaissance: Firenze and Arezzo

The Italian Renaissance: Firenze and Arezzo

The Italian Renaissance: Firenze and Arezzo

5 days - 2 nights in Florence/2 nights in Arezzo or Cortona

* VISIT FLORENCE, AREZZO AND THE BIRTHPLACE OF SOME OF THE GREAT ARTISTS OF THE PAST, MICHELANGELO AND PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA, WHO BLESSED THIS CORNER OF ITALY WITH THEIR ART TREASURES

* THE CASENTINO IS A MUST-SEE: IT TELLS STORIES OF FAMILIES THAT DOMINATED THE REGION FOR CENTURIES WITH FIERCE BATTLES BETWEEN GUELPHS AND GHIBELLINES

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  • Day 1 - Florence

  • With its museums, palaces and churches Florence is home to some of Italy’s most precious artistic gems. The heart of the city is Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio, headquarters of the city government, and displaying a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Take a stroll through the streets of the old town up to the Arno River, enjoy the views from the romantic Ponte Vecchio, before continuing to Palazzo Pitti with the grand Giardino di Boboli. Visit an artisan’s workshop and discover Florence through his eyes and tales.

  • Day 2 - Florence

  • A short walk from the Ponte Vecchio back towards the centre will take you to the Galleria degli Uffizi, one of the world’s most famous art galleries. It holds a stunning art collection, with works by Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo and Raphael. Reach Piazza Duomo with the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and Brunelleschi’s extraordinary dome, the neighbouring Baptistry of San Giovanni decorated with three wonderful gilded bronze doors by Pisano and Ghiberti, and Giotto’s bell tower. Stop at one of the many restaurants for a delicious bistecca alla fiorentina (T-bone steak). And don’t forget the Chianti region and its superb wines are just “around the corner”! The sweet-toothed  will be able to enjoy some home-made gelato, from the classic to the more sophisticated flavours, in one of the several gelaterias in the old town. If this is not your first time in Florence, head off the beaten path and visit Florence’s ‘less popular sights’ like the Chiesa di Santa Croce which holds the tombs and memorials of some famous, notable Italians who left a significant and lasting mark on Italian history such as Michelangelo and Galileo. Not far from here, beside the Mercato del Porcellino stands the bronze statue of a boar. It is supposed to bring good luck to those who rub its snout. Reach Piazzale Michelangelo for a magnificent view across the city.

  • Day 3 - Arezzo

  • Arezzo is a gem nestling among Tuscan’s rolling hills and birthplace of many illustrious personalities. The historic old town has preserved all the charm of its glorious past and its main monuments boast the works of great medieval and renaissance artists, the likes of Cimabue, Piero della Francesca, Andrea della Robbia and Giorgio Vasari. Arezzo has risen to international renown as the setting for Roberto Benigni’s movie “La vita è bella” (Life is Beautiful). Many of the scenes from the movie, which was awarded 3 Oscars, were filmed in Arezzo’s most charming locations. You will be amazed at the splendour of the city with the Church of San Francesco, home to Piero della Francesca’s celebrated fresco cycle in the choir, the Church of San Domenico with a Crucifix painted by Cimabue, the Pieve di Santa Maria with its unmistakable bell tower known as the “the tower of the 100 holes”, and Piazza Grande with the Palazzo delle Logge, designed by Giorgio Vasari, the famous architect born in Arezzo, which reminds of yet another masterpiece by the artist: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

  • Day 4 – The Casentino

  • Make Ponte Buriano your first visit of today, where you will admire  the bridge painted by Leonardo in his world-famous Mona Lisa. Travel then through the Casentino, a history-rich valley with a fascinating landscape of woods, lush pastures, mountains, rolling hills and small hamlets. If you are interested in fashion history, stop at Stia, at  the local Museo dell’Arte della Lana; the museum housed in a wool factory, tells about the history of the Panno del Casentino, a crisp and durable wool cloth, perfect for interior design and designer clothes. If you are a gourmet, do not miss a visit to the Pratomagno Dairy, an agricultural association where to buy fresh and seasoned pecorino cheese, pecorino flavoured with truffles, pepper and hot pepper, extra virgin olive oil, Tuscan salami, honey, red and white wines. In the heart of the Casentino is Poppi and its medieval castle owned by the Counts of the Guidi Family. On the ground floor is the Museum of the Battle of Campaldino between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Upstairs are the remarkable Great Hall and the Rillana Library, which holds 25 thousand ancient books and 800 manuscripts, of which 150 of Medieval origin. Of immense significance is the Chapel of the Guidi Counts with a 14th Century cycle of frescoes attributed to Taddeo Gaddi, Giotto’s pupil. Travelling across the woods that cover the mountains surrounding the valley you will come across the Verna Sanctuary, where St. Francis received his stigmata. These places are of remarkable significance for Michelangelo, who took inspiration from this corner of the Casentino to depict some of his works: the profile of Mount La Verna is easy to identify in his Tondo Doni, while at Chiusi della Verna you will see  the actual rocks that inspired him when he painted Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

  • Day 5 - Cortona

  • Cortona, "lying on a hilltop like a sleeping old man", dates back to the Etruscan period. The mighty Etruscan walls, honed by centuries and by the wind, enclose a huge treasure trove of art and culture; stroll through its ancient alleyways and discover monasteries behind small gates, ancient small churches and houses that climb to the top of the hill. Visiting Cortona means also tasting its excellent wines and genuine food at a winery or trattoria.