Venice and Florence
Burano's colorful houses
Arrive in Venice.
Transfer on your own to our ideally located hotel just a short walk from St. Marks and a close by vaporetto stop.
Late afternoon...Private water taxi tour of the glorious Grand Canal with its magnificent palazzi, the Rialto Bridge and secluded canals. We toast this glorious city with a glass of prosecco, the sparkling white wine that is the champagne of the region.
Next, it’s Tea at Jeremys in his private apartment overflowing with books, antiques and hospitality.
It’s a Sunday Salon where Jeremy, a Brit who teaches at Foscari University, welcomes other ex-pats.
Writers and entrepreneurs living la dolce vita in Venice. Warm and friendly.
Meet our guide extraordinaire, Luisella, perhaps the best guide in my roster of great guides. Enjoy a tour of Venice’s iconic museums: Doges Palace & the Frari.
Afternoon: A typical Venice walk from St. Mark’s to the Rialto Bridge through many of Venice’s neighborhoods. A Venice walk is unstructured, expect to get lost,discover hidden squares, bridges and churches.
Visit the Islands of the Lagoon: Burano, the lace island with its multi-color houses; Torcello: see the 12th century Byzantine Cathedral and Murano where Venice’s incomparable glass is manufactured.
You may want to opt for a bellini at Harry’s Bar. Outrageously expensive but the ghost of Hemingway lingers.
To cross the Grand Canal, take the gondola
called a traghetto.
The challenge: you must stand and balance
yourself, weight distribution is the secret
Surprise views everywhere as you walk through Venice...
Views of Basilica of San Marcos from the Grand Canal
Visit the Rialto Market, Venice’s outdoor food market featuring dozens of varieties of fish and
Fresh vegetables, cheeses and pasta. For lunch, we’ll do as the Venetians do: a stand-up lunch at a couple of Venice’s famous wine bars where we’ll sample various chichetti (small bites) with a glass of wine.
Afternoon free to visit on your own the Accademia and/or Scuola Grande di San Rocco with its
incredible collection of Tintorettas.
Morning express train to Florence arriving about 1:30 pm.
Lunch at my favorite rowdy, workingmen’s lunch spot.
Then guided private tour…See the David, the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria,and more.
The Straw Market.
Then investigate My Personal Favorites list…
Tiny café that is reputed to have the best cappuccino in Florence…designer owned, chic
And a favorite of glamour gals and guys. The best gelato. Costume jewelry atelier, original jewelry with great panache.
St Mark's Square
The glorious & historical streets of Florence
Florence panorama with Duomo
Be dazzled by this Florentine designer's jewelry
Day trip to Siena & San Gimignano… We can’t attend the Palio but we can visit the square where one of the most famous races, The Palio, is run. Who would think a 90 second race could be one of the great spectacles of the world. I will share my tumultuous memories of the Palio with you.
San Gimignano is one of the classic hill towns of Tuscany. It’s where I bought 3 of the most beautiful bowls I own. Doubtful that I will find them again but I will try.
Florence: Duomo & Bell Tower
The Medici: Portrait of a Family walking tour: Visit 3 major sites that illustrate the history
of the Medici from rich merchants to rulers. See Medici family chapel designed by Michaelangelo
and works of Fra Angelico.
Leave for home or your next stop
Optional evening activities: Vivaldi concert in Venice, cooking class in Florence.
Two comments from good friends who are passionate about Florence:
"Florence, to me, captures the spirit of the Renaissance, One sees the
art of Michelangelo and Leonardo da vinci, the words of Dante, in the
public squares, the old palaces,the, museums,the historical
architecture,and the 17th century bridges crossing the river. In
addition, the food is fabulous, and shopping is great".......Dorothy Gray
Stan Burnett who is travelling in Europe for all of 2012
With his wife Fiona offers us late night adventure on the streets of Florence:
"When one has finished imagining oneself in Parisian salons, the Roman senate, and Venetian
Palazzo, it’s Florence that returns one to city streets.This is the Florence of the Medici and other great
Florence didn’t always live in the streets, It was a tower city. The towers had bridges between them on the upper floors with connecting hallways. It was an architecture ideal for conspiracies. The ruling families ordered all the towers cut off, reduced to the low stumps one finds here in the city.
The best way to feel the life of pre-Renaissance and then Renaissace , Florence is to walk these streets very late at night.Those same streets are full of much of Florence’s great art. No city, not even Bernini’s Rome has so much of its great sculpture out of doors, with the giant David and the fountain in the piazza, and the writhing statues on the Loggia dei Lanzi, and Ghiberti’s Doors of Paradise on the Baptistry of the Duomo.
Our late night walk will probably not be at midnight but we will surely try to capture the spirit of Florence that Stan’s words inspire."
Costs: $3450...7 nights hotel, single occupancy, no single supplement,
breakfast, 3 dinners, day in Siena & San Gimignano, vaporetto ticket for
3 days that includes entrance to Doges Palace, fast train to Florence,
private taxi down the Grand Canal.
Not included: airfare, airport transfers, lunches, 4 dinners. coffee stops,
entrance to museums when you are on your own.
Note about our hotels: both 3 star hotels; hotel in Florence is only 24 rooms
so book early.
Alternative hotel in Florence is a posh 4 star with a swimming
pool. We love it but this hotel increases overall cost a few hundred dollars
so if cost matters to you, book early.
Expect changes in itinerary due to scheduling with vendors but basic