October 22-30, 2009


In the 1400s, Italian artists and architects sought to revive the glories of classical design that had been ‘lost’ since the fall of the Roman Empire. This Renaissance reached its zenith in the 15th-century and is nowhere better seen than in Florence where the achievements of Giotto, Brunelleschi, Angelico, Mossacio and Michelangelo are so strongly in evidence. In a similar way, the entire region of Tuscany abounds in artistic achievement making for a truly extraordinary concentration of art and architecture. Join celebrated artist Dan McCleary on a journey to Renaissance Florence and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Dan’s long-standing love affair with Florence and Renaissance art will offer a fascinating and personal perspective on Italian culture and life. Begin your discovery of Renaissance Florence with special guided visits to some of the city’s lesser known artistic jewels. You’ll then head into the beautiful Tuscan countryside for four wonderful days to discover the riches of the Tuscany region.

Day One: Thursday, October 22
Upon arrival at either the Florence rail station or airport, you will be met by one of Art du Voyage’s local representatives and taken to the Hotel Degli Orafi, your home in Florence for the next four nights. We’ll convene in the lobby at 6pm for our first meeting and then head off to dinner. Over the course of the evening, Dan will review the exciting plans for the wonderful days ahead. (D)

Day Two: Friday, October 23
After breakfast, we’ll head off to see Santa Croce with its magnificent chapels decorated in the 14th-century by Giotto, regarded as the founder of Western painting. We’ll then go next door to the Cappella dei Pazzi, one of Brunelleschi’s main architectural works that houses twelve beautiful tondos by Luca della Robbia. We’ll continue on to the Casa Buonarroti, the historic home of Michelangelo’s family where we will be given a personal tour by Pina Ragionieri, the museum’s director and see many sculptures and drawings by the artist and his followers. We’ll enjoy lunch at Cibrea, one of Dan’s favorite cafes in Florence. Then, we will walk back across the river and head towards the Brancacci Chapel, a small jewel housing the recently restored frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino and completed by Filippino Lippi . You’ll learn how the work of Masaccio revolutionized the art world with his perspective technique. Back to the Hotel Degli Orafi to relax. We’ll meet up for dinner to discuss the day’s events. (B,L,D)

Day Three: Saturday, October 24
When Cosimo de Medici financed the renovation of the San Marco Monastery in 1437, he commissioned Fra Angelico to decorate the monks’ cells and corridors with his frescoes. His restrained imagery and bareness of the rooms provides for one of the most beautiful settings in the city. We’ll next visit the Uffizi Gallery which houses the most important collection paintings in Italy. The forty-two rooms display work of giants like Michelangelo, Titian, Giotto and Boticelli We’ll next have lunch in the Piazza della Signoria. Our touring today ends with the fourth largest church in the world, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore better known as the Duomo. The church’s giant cupola designed by Brunelleschi is the symbol of Florence’s artistic and architectural achievements. We’ll walk back to the hotel and meet up later for dinner and discussion. (B,L,D)

Day Four: Sunday, October 25
After a leisurely morning, we’ll head out of Florence to visit the beautiful Badia a Passignano monastery which houses a Ghirlandaio fresco of the Last Supper. We will be accompanied by the distinguished art connoisseur Federico Frediani. Afterwards, we will enjoy a leisurely lunch in the surrounding region. (B,L)

Day Five: Monday, October 26
After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and head into the countryside for a wonderful four days to discovery the riches of Tuscany. Our first destination is the medieval village of San Gimignano which has managed to amazingly conserve fourteen stone towers of varying height, today the city’s international symbol. There are many churches in the town: the Collegiata, formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino, housing a wide representation of artworks from some of the main Italian Renaissance artists. While in San Gimignano, we’ll visit the printer, Walter Sarfatti with whom Dan has worked on several projects. Then, we’ll head south to Cortona and enjoy a superb welcome dinner at the Villa di Piazzano, our home in Tuscany for the next four nights. (B,L,D)

Day Six: Tuesday, October 27
Arezzo is set on a steep hill and was one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities. While here, we’ll visit the Basilica of San Francesco with its amazing fresco cycle, the History of the True Cross, by Piero della Francesca. The frescos have recently undergone a ten-year restoration and are considered the best examples of Renaissance painting in Tuscany. Afterwards, we’ll have lunch next door at the excellent Buca di San Francisco (meal paid locally). From here, we’ll travel to Perugia, a notable artistic center and home to Pietro Perugino, one of the earliest Italian practioners of oil painting and a teacher to the great Renaissance master Raphael. We’ll see another beautiful painting of the annunciation by Piero. (B,D)

Day Seven: Wednesday, October 28
Just a short distance away, we’ll take in a leisurely morning and then walk or drive to nearby Cortona, one of Italy’s most ancient towns. This might be a good day to leave open to wander through the city, visiting the Museo Diocesano which contains the beautiful Annunciation by Fra Angelico, seeing its beautiful cathedral, and taking in the views. The prevailing character of Cortona’s architecture is medieval with steep narrow streets situated on a hillside, affording great views of the region. Weather and stamina permitting, we will walk back to our hotel. (B,D)

Day Eight: Thursday, October 29
“Cor Magis Tibi Sena Pandit”…Siena opens its heart to you more than its gates…written on the arch of the city walls, this welcome marks our entry into the beautiful Tuscan town of Siena. The city’s Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Duomo, was begun in the 12th-century and remains one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. Opposite the Duomo is an archeaological museum, housing rare Greek and Roman antiquities. Siena and Siennese art have a whole different feel than the Florentine art of the Renaissance. The nearby Pinacoteca Nazionale, which we will visit next, houses many beautiful examples of this unique style. We’ll have lunch in the city (meal paid locally) and then head back to our hotel for a few unscheduled hours before our final dinner and discussion of what we have seen. (B,D)

Day Nine: Friday, October 30
After breakfast, we’ll depart the Villa di Piazzano one last time and head back to Florence for your onward journey from either the airport or rail station.


Package Price of $5550* per person includes:

  • 4 nights executive room accommodation at the Hotel Degli Orafi in Florence
  • 4 nights superior room accommodation at the Villa di Piazzano near Cortona
  • Daily breakfast, four lunches, seven dinners (drinks not included)
  • Two full-days of guided touring in Florence
  • Half-day guided tour to the Badia a Passignano monastery just outside Florence
  • Four full-days of guided touring of Tuscany, including San Gimignano, Arezzo, Cortona, & Siena
  • Private individual arrival transfer Florence rail station/airport – Hotel Degli Orafi
  • Private group departure transfer Villa di Piazzano – Cortona/Florence rail station/airport
  • Entrance fees as per detailed program
  • Hotel service charges and VAT

*Price is per person, double occupancy based upon 6 total participants. Single supplement = $1200. Rate subject to change due to currency exchange rate and final number of confirmed participants.

©2008 Art du Voyage