Cross Curricular

Florence, unanimously recognized as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, offers a plethora of museums, palaces and churches housing some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world.

This enchanting Tuscan capital is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with historical relics and artistic masterpieces by the greatest masters of Humanism and the Renaissance. These creative geniuses made an indelible mark on the world’s architecture and art: Giotto and Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and Vasari, Michelozzo and Leon Battista Alberti, just to mention a few.

01 Tour Highlights

Piazza del Duomo

The beating heart of Florence is the Piazza del Duomo, with its monumental complex of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence’s Cathedral) surmounted by Brunelleschi’s majestic dome; the Battistero di San Giovanni (St. John’s Bapistry), a magnificent example of the Florentine Romanesque; and Giotto’s Campanile (Bell Tower), a Florentine Gothic architectural master work. Behind the Duomo stands the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. Together this series of buildings and landmarks are of great historical, religious, architectural, artistic and cultural interest.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge

Spanning the narrowest point of the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge – “Old Bridge” in Italian – is the most famous bridge in Florence. The bridge is made of wood and stone and it is believed that it dates back to Roman times, although it has gone through at least two reconstructions since due to flooding.

Not just a functional structure for crossing the river, the bridge is also a road, a market place and piazza. There have been shops on Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century. Initially, there were all types of shops, including butchers, fishmongers and tanners, but due to the smell caused from some of the establishment’s, in 1593 Ferdinand I decreed that only goldsmiths and jewellers be allowed to have their shops on the bridge. As you walk across the bridge, the small shops are interrupted by two wide terraces which open out on to an impressive view of the river.

San Lorenzo Market

Located in the San Lorenzo quarter, just 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral, this market consists of two separate markets, an indoor market, known at the Mercato Centrale and the outdoor section that lines the surroundings streets of the large Mercato Centrale building. Worth a visit not only as a break from sightseeing but as a pit stop for a snack or lunch.

Open Monday-Saturday the outdoor section of the market which runs along several streets surrounding the Mercato Centrale has numerous stalls on either side of the street with vendors selling pottery, clothing, notebooks and various leather goods including bags, belts, wallets and jackets – ideal for gifts and souvenirs.

At the indoor market (Mercato Centrale) there are two levels. On the ground floor, you will find the butchers, fishmongers, fruit and vegetable vendors and small specialty shops selling local olive oils, meats, cheeses and more. This floor is open every Monday to Friday morning from 7am to 2pm, Saturday from 7am to 5pm and is closed on Sunday and public holidays.

Boboli Gardens

Behind the Palazzo Pitti lie the beautiful Boboli Gardens. A fine example of 16th century Italian landscaped gardens they extend from the hill behind the palace a far as Porta Romana. Commissioned by the Medici family, it became the prototype of the Italian-style garden for many European courts. Its huge green expanse is scattered with plenty of ancient and modern statues, monumental fountains and grottos. Entrance tickets include access to the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, Costume and Fashion Museum, Porcelain Museum and Bardini Garden.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The tower of Pisa is part of a cathedral complex called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli. Constructed of white marble it stands at 60 metres and until 1990 was leaning at about a 10 degree angle. Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, it started to lean during construction. The tower is eight stories in height and you have to climb 297 steps up a spiral staircase to reach the top!

Further Afield: Siena

Siena is one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval cities, the birthplace of St. Catherine and St. Bernadine and is dominated by its unique Duomo (Cathedral) and its striped Bell Tower. A tour includes a visit to the Duomo, including the beautiful Piccolomini Library, designed to house the church’s collection of illuminated manuscripts. This magnificent room features an unrivalled ceiling and large frescoes depicting the important events in the life of Pope Pius II. Continuing with a walk through the narrow and winding streets of Siena to the Piazza del Campo brings you to a vast and lively square in the heart of the city. Twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th, this Piazza del Campo is layered with straw and soil for the running of the dramatic bareback horse race known as the Palio di Siena. Visit the Basilica of St. Francis, containing the miraculous consecrated hosts that have remained intact since 1730 and then on to view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine at St. Dominic’s Basilica.

Further Afield: Lucca

Lucca, the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, is a lovely entirely-walled city. Its thick swathe of Renaissance walls, enclosing an almost entire medieval street plan, its palaces and houses make Lucca one of the most popular cities to visit in Italy. The most enjoyable way to get your bearings is to follow the path around the top of the walls and then delve into the medieval streets, walking past ancient house façades and making time for some shopping in one of the quaint shops in and around Via Fillungo. The 14th century cathedral Duomo of San Martino houses Nicola Pisano’s Descent from the Cross. Also, don’t miss the multi-patterned columns at “San Michele”, the church of the archangel. Climbing up the Guinigi Tower, where an old oak tree grows on top, is just as fascinating as entering the Piazza Anfiteatro, the ancient amphitheatre, with its marvellous façades and balconies.

02 Accommodation

Your group will stay in one of our carefully selected properties. Our range includes properties such as the Hotel Donatello, the Hotel Meridiana and the Hotel B&B Florence City Centre.

03 Further Information

Your Meals

Your package price includes continental breakfast each morning. For lunches and dinners you can choose to make your own arrangements, alternatively your Study Experiences Tours Specialist can pre-book packed lunches or arrange affordable, value for money meals from a selected number of restaurants in and around Florence.

Your Study Experiences Tour Manager

A Study Experiences Tour Manager will meet your group at the airport, transfer with you to your accommodation for check-in and provide a half day's service/guidance. Additional Tour Manager services can be added to your quote depending on your group's requirements.

Group Size

Our prices are based on a minimum group size of 30 students. If your group is below 30 we can adjust your quote for you accordingly.

Your Choice of Travel Dates

As our Florence trips are available throughout the year, during term time and also during half terms and holidays, you are able to select travel dates that suit you and your students. Please note that certain dates may carry a supplement to the prices shown. In particular, tours during the Easter Holidays are prohibitively expensive.

Your Educational Visits & Attractions

To ensure that you make the most of your trip to Florence your Tours Specialist is able to arrange a wide choice of educational visits, activities and dining options. Full details of everything you might wish to see and do are available in our Florence ‘Educational Visits and Attractions Guide’.

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