Your detailed Florence add-on itinerary
- Late morning/lunchtime: You arrive at Pisa airport and take the coach from Pisa Aeroporto to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station (we'll have sent you tickets in advance). Bill or Lois will meet you at Florence SMN station and take you by taxi to the specially selected, centrally located, three-star hotel Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti.
- Afternoon: Settling in. Stroll in the city at leisure: you are so close to the Cathedral and ther famous buildings.
- Early evening: Bill will meet you at the hotel, show you the historic square in which it is located (and count the bees on the Grand Duke’s statue), take you out for a prosecco, discuss the itinerary and answer any questions. He’ll also make suggestions for dinner in a local traditional trattoria, or elsewhere, and for places to see in your spare time during your visit when you are not on Freya’s private tours.
Breakfast at the hotel
- Morning: Freya or a hand-picked member of her team will meet you at the hotel and walk with you round the corner to the Galleria Accademia* (to see Michelangelo's David) where pre-booked entrance tickets enable you to avoid the longer queues. Then she’ll take you on an outdoor guided tour of the City centre including the cathedral complex: Giotto's bell tower; the baptistry with its famous bronze doors and the interior of the cathedral* with Brunelleschi's magnificent cupola. Other options that morning include San Marco* with its famous Fra Angelico frescoes.
- Lunchtime, afternoon and evening: free for your own sightseeing/relaxation. We'll have given you a map of Florence, made suggestions for interesting places you may want to see that afternoon/evening, such as the view over the city from Piazalle Michelangelo and the church/monastery of San Miniato al Monte (where there are Gregorian chants at around 5.30pm;we’ll check the times together) See also a few of our recommendations below for other fascinating places not on Freya's Thursday and Friday tours. There are also often free musical concerts in the city in the evenings: we'll tell you about them. We also recommend you follow the Florentine tradition of an aperitivo at around 6pm, where you will get little snacks with your drinks.) Choose your own ristorante/trattoria/pizzeria/spaghetteria for supper.
Breakfast at the hotel
- Morning: Freya or a member of her team will come to your hotel just after breakfast for a short walk through historic Florence to the Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio and the magnificent statues in the square and the Loggia dei Lanzi. Then we’ll take you on guided tour of the Galleria degli Uffizi* to admire the paintings by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and others. We will pre-book the tickets and time our tour for late afternoon to avoid – as far as possible – the worst of the crowds. This is followed by a walk in the old city to visit the Franciscan church of Santa Croce, with its Giotto frescoes, tombs of famous Italians and beautiful cloisters.
- Afternoon: at leisure. See below for some suggestions of other interesting places to see.
- Evening: at leisure. Choose your own restaurant/trattoria/pizzeria for supper. We'll make suggestions. There are also often musical concerts in the city in the evenings: we'll tell you about them.
Breakfast at the hotel
- Morning: Bill or Lois will meet you at your hotel and take you to Florence Santa Maria Novella for the direct express coach to Pisa Aeroporto. There you’ll be picked up by our own minibus of car to take you to The Watermill for the beginning of your creative holiday there.
* These venues are usually open but may occasionally be closed for national holidays or for reasons beyond our control. An alternative venue will be arranged if necessary.
Among the other sights / museums we highly recommend are:
- The Bargello with some magnificent sculptures, including masterworks by Donatello, Verrocchio, Giambologna and Michelangelo;
- The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, recently refurbished, telling the story of Brunelleschi’s famous dome of the cathedral, with the originals of the bronze ‘Gates of Paradise’ by Ghiberti and more masterpieces by Donatello and Michelangelo;
- San Miniato al Monte church, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. There are Gregorian chants by some of the six Benedictine monks every evening at around 5.30pm. Check with the hotel
- Orsanmichele, church of the powerful Florence guilds, wonderful statues outside
- San Ambrogio market, marvellous food stalls inside and outside
- Palazzo Davanzati (Museo della casa antica fiorentina), a wealthy merchant home from the 1300s. You’ll need to book: the hotel will help
- Palazzo Pitti – the granducal palace of the Medici. Visit the Palatina gallery, and its Medici rooms with frescoed ceilings by the Baroque master Pietro da Cortona, and the wonderful painting collection
We'll discuss other venues with you, too: there's so much to see!
There are lots of them and we'll talk to you more about them. But to whet your appetite:
- Accademia Gallery in Piazza San Marco: wood-fired pizza served at lunch time only
- Vini e Vecchi Sapore in via dei Magazzini: traditional osteria with unusual food
- Pepò in via Rosina: warm and welcoming with a bistro atmosphere
- Zeb in the San Niccolo area: (lunch only) a stylish 50s-style diner and food shop
- Hostaria del Bricco in San Niccolo area: a welcoming family-run restuarant
- Hostaria il Desco in via delle Terme: family-run, great atmosphere, romantic.