The great names of the Florentine Renaissance need no introduction: Giotto, Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo. This new 14-day study tour provides a detailed examination of their works and of Tuscany’s cultural rebirth in the Middle Ages. Chart the impact of technology, luxury trade, self-government and a renewed interest in classical learning, and admire lesser-known masterworks in Pisa, Lucca, Prato and Fiesole. Explore the recent revival of Florence beyond mass tourism, with the redesign of iconic museums, and visit new collections of modern art and design. This tour is ideal for the independent traveller: group visits are carefully balanced with time for independent exploration.
Revolutionary art from medieval Pisa to Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo in Renaissance Florence
The rise of the Medici, their power and enduring artistic legacy
The other Renaissance, from women, children and the poor to the emergence of a welfare state
“Forgotten Florence”: the Grand Dukes, Galileo and the emergence of a modern art market
The New Florence: modern art and fashion design, from Ferragamo and Gucci to the new Casamonti collection
While study tours are full of group activities, a reasonable degree of independence is also required. You will need to make trips to the neighbourhood laundromat, and there is a nearby supermarket and grocery stores for any “hotel picnics”. We also use local public transport and there is a significant amount of walking. However, your tour leader will of course show you around the neighbourhood and will provide full assistance if you encounter any difficulties.
World-famous collections: the renovated Uffizi Galleries, Brunelleschi’s dome, the new Museo degli Innocenti
Florence’s lesser-known gems, from superb Last Supper frescoes to pietra dura mosaics and Galileo’s telescopes
Excursions to Etruscan Fiesole, Romanesque Pisa, Renaissance Prato and elegant Lucca
The Medici’s Florence: Fra Angelico at San Marco, Benozzo Gozzoli in the Medici Chapel, Michelangelo at San Lorenzo
Detailed lecture series providing you with extensive knowledge of the city and its past
Modern Florence: Italian modernists at the Collezione Casamonti, contemporary art at the Museo Ferragamo
Days 1–3: Explore medieval innovation: superb sculpture at Orsanmichele and the Bargello, Brunelleschi’s dome and Giotto at Santa Croce.
Day 4: Excursion to Pisa.
Days 5–7: Survey the redesigned Uffizi, and admire the Etruscans at archaeological museums in Florence and Fiesole. Explore the Medici’s rise and their early patronage of Brunelleschi, Benozzo Gozzoli and Fra Angelico.
Days 8–11: Encounter the women and children of the Renaissance, at the Brancacci and Innocenti museums. Marvel at grand ducal commissions, from pietra dura, to Michelangelo’s Night and Day and Galileo’s discoveries.
Days 12–14: Appreciate Florence’s revival at new museums of art and contemporary design. Excursion to elegant Lucca.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Emirates offers daily flights into cities suitable for this tour. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming months. Bookings are open for this tour, however if you would like to receive the detailed itinerary booklet once available, please register your interest below and we will send you a copy.
Dr Kathleen Olive
Has a PhD in Italian Studies, speaks fluent Italian and lectures on the art, history and culture of Europe. Kathleen has an outstanding knowledge of Italy.
Dr Kathleen Olive is a literary and cultural historian with close to 15 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Japan and the United States. She has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, interior design, fashion history and contemporary fiction.
Kathleen holds a BA with first class Honours and a PhD, both from the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Sydney. For a number of years she worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney, teaching Italian language, literature and history. Kathleen continues to teach, as a national lecturer for the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS), and in adult education courses in Sydney. In 2015, her edition of the Codex Rustici (a 15th-century commonplace book that Kathleen worked on with Nerida Newbigin, for her doctoral studies and for publication) was presented to Pope Francis on his first official visit to Florence.
Kathleen’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through to the early 20th century. In Italy she has led numerous tours focusing on the medieval and Renaissance periods. In Spain she has a particular concentration on the “Convivencia” of Islamic, Christian and Jewish cultures in the south, and on the medieval pilgrimage routes of the north. Her tours of the USA’s north-east have focused on American collectors and their Gilded Age reinventions of European glory days, and in Japan she is particularly interested in contemporary design, from fashion to architecture. Kathleen speaks fluent Italian, is conversant in Spanish and understands French.
Kathleen was first involved on a tour to Italy in 2003 and it sparked her passion for on-the-spot communication of art and history. Since 2010 she has worked exclusively for Academy Travel, leading 6 tours a year. She has designed a number of our popular tours, from the Florence residential, to surveys of the courts of Renaissance Italy and of central Italy’s villas and gardens, as well as “twin city” tours to Palermo and Naples and to Florence and Rome. Closer to home, Kathleen is leading Academy Travel’s inaugural tour to Japan and our popular tours to Tasmania.
We asked Kathleen, what do you enjoy most about leading a group tour?
“I really enjoy travelling with groups who share interests in the history, culture and even food of a destination. It means that those personal connections are there right from the beginning, just waiting to be made.”
“There’s nothing I enjoy more than finding out the particular interests of my fellow travellers – an artist, a dish they love eating, their memories of a particular place – and finding a way to make an experience happen for them. That might mean recommending a particular wine bar, directing them to a museum that features artists they already like, or suggesting the best time of day for a view over a town. It’s so satisfying to be involved in making these kinds of memories for people.”
“Many of the people I travel with comment on my passion for the places I visit. It’s not just that I know my names and dates – it’s that I really enjoy bringing out the connections between history and art, for example, or between landscape and food. I never grow tired of injecting this kind of life into ‘dry’ academic knowledge.”
For the duration of the tour we stay in the exceptionally well-located Hotel Pendini, a recently renovated 3* hotel located in the city’s heart. This 19th-century palace above Piazza della Repubblica offers simple but stylish rooms, that are well-sized for the centre of the city. All classic rooms have wifi access and breakfast is included in an elegant room overlooking the square. There is also a separate tea room – a touch of Room With a View! We are holding a limited number of deluxe rooms for upgrade, with views over the square and beyond to the cathedral and other historic buildings. www.hotelpendini.it
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.