Florence & Tuscany
Italy’s artistic contribution surpasses that of any other nation, whilst Tuscany’s bucolic scenery is home to more historical monuments than any other entire country on earth. For centuries Italy has attracted visitors in search of culture and romance and there are few countries that can rival its renowned Classical origins, its art, music, architecture, scenery, food and wine. As home to the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, its contribution to the arts surpasses that of any other nation.
Tuscany embodies much that Italy is famous for, possessing more historical monuments than any other country, let alone province, on earth. Its cities, Florence, Siena and Pisa, together with smaller towns and medieval villages like Lucca and San Gimignano, house some of the world’s finest artistic treasures. Combine this with the haunting beauty of the local countryside, an enviable climate, one of the world’s great cuisines, and you have all the ingredients for a superb holiday.
Florence defies description, arguably the finest city of the Renaissance and often described as the most beautiful city in Italy. Browning sighed over its idyllic charms and E.M. Forster described it in “A Room with a View” as the perfect antidote to Anglo- Saxon life. It owes its wealth to the commercial explosion that emerged after the Dark Ages when wool and other textile industries, backed by some of the very first international banks, turned Florence into one of the world’s richest cities.
Political power was in the hands of just a few families, in particular, the Medici, who married into most European royal families, including our own. Florence thus became the cultural and intellectual heart of the continent: architects, artists and sculptors flocked here and once engaged by the nouveau riche, were soon busy filling the churches and palaces to bursting point with some of the world’s most outstanding works. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian plus countless others, created many of the masterpieces now on display in the Uffizi, one of the world’s greatest galleries. Then there is the city of Pisa, famous for its leaning tower, situated in a complex of ecclesiastical buildings, as remarkable today as they must have seemed to the medieval pilgrims on their way to Rome.
Next we visit San Gimignano one of the best preserved medieval villages you will find anywhere in Europe, famous for its immense stone towers, dramatically rising upwards, creating its unique skyline. Siena is the other great Tuscan city enclosed behind vast defensive walls, dominating the surrounding countryside like the fortress it is. The city is quite outstanding and has arguably the most gracious square, the Campo, in the world.
Tuscany and its classic countryside is the very essence of Italy. Gently undulating, biscuit coloured hillsides often covered with vineyards flow and disappear into the distance. Punctuated by isolated farmhouses, unchanged for centuries and studded by tall cypress trees, these wonderful landscapes yield a rich harvest of superb food and wine. Tuscan cuisine is simple, using the finest ingredients such as grilled succulent meats, fresh vegetables, the unique pecorino cheese, thick wholesome soups, a hint of olive oil and garlic, creating tasty, healthy menus. In Tuscany you have some of the world’s finest wines too, such as Brunello, Montepulciano and of course Chianti. Tuscany embodies the true characteristics of Italy and the Italians themselves. Stylish, always ready to help, justifiably proud of their heritage, vibrant, expressive and just – different!
- Guided sightseeing tour of the city of Florence, the 'Pearl of the Renaissance'
- A reserved timed visit to the Uffizi, one of the world’s finest art galleries - entrance fees included
- Guided tour of Siena, one of the finest medieval cities
- Visit San Gimignano, one of Italy’s most beautiful hilltop villages
- Visit Lucca and Pisa, home of the Leaning Tower and its amazing cathedral
- Experience the beautiful Tuscan countryside
- Stay in Florence and enchanting Tuscany
- Return travel from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers
- Seven nights in 4-star and 3-star superior accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and four dinners
- Services of our experienced tour manager
- Selected departures from April to October 2019
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and four dinners, all tours as mentioned, entrance to the Uffizi gallery, airport departure taxes and transfers, flights as mentioned, all local accommodation taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
- Not included in the price is the entrance fee to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Should you wish to do so, the cost is approximately €18 and is payable locally.
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