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Tour Director
Practical Information

  • Delve beneath the surface of one of the most important cities of the Renaissance, to explore both famous and less well-known churches, museums and galleries, and enjoy beautiful views of Florence from Fiesole and San Miniato

  • Trace the development of the Renaissance, viewing major works of art by masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli and Michelangelo

  • Learn about the influence of the Medici family and other leading patrons on artistic production in Quattrocento Florence

"Tour Director Sarah Burles amazingly well-informed and enthusiastic throughout"

ACE customer on a 2021 tour with Sarah Burles

The city of Florence is rightly considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and this new tour will focus on the transformation that took place there in art and architecture during the 15th century. To tell this story, we will, of course, visit Florence’s most famous museums, galleries and churches, but also some of the city’s less well-known treasures.


We particularly look forward to viewing the individual ‘cenacoli’ (Last Suppers) by artists such as Castagno, Ghirlandaio and Andrea del Sarto, some of which were hidden for many years behind monastery walls. In addition, we will travel beyond the city to look down on Florence from the beautiful hillside town of Fiesole, and from San Miniato al Monte – its oldest surviving church, with wonderful views over the city.


Further highlights will include Masaccio’s ground-breaking frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, and the calm symmetry of Brunelleschi’s Church of San Spirito, where we will find Michelangelo’s early Crucifix, thought to have been carved when he was just 18 years old. The peaceful cloisters of San Marco are home to many important paintings by Fra Angelico, including the frescoes he painted in the monks’ cells. Standing in front of these works of art, it is no surprise to hear that Giorgio Vasari described Fra Angelico as having “a rare and perfect talent”.


Based in the heart of Florence, a few minutes’ walk from the spectacular Duomo with Giotto’s dramatic campanile and Brunelleschi’s astonishing dome, we will take in the city’s main sights – including the Baptistery, the oldest religious site in Florence, and the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi, created for the leading Florentine banker and patron Cosimo de Medici, features famous Magi frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli in the family’s private chapel, and we also hope to include a visit to a Medici villa outside the city.


This tour will feature an opportunity to attend sung Vespers at the Badia Fiorentina, which dates back to the 10th century and is now home to the Order of Jerusalem.


We will stay throughout in the historical centre of Florence, at the four-star Grand Hotel Cavour, ideally located for our visits.


This tour will be led by Sarah Burles, MA, an art historian who studied at the University of Cambridge before going on to work in a number of museums and galleries, including the Accademia Italiana in London and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Sarah’s studies focused on the Renaissance period, and she lived in Florence for a time. She is an experienced tour leader and lecturer, accredited with the Arts Society.


Tour Director Sarah Burles writes:


“Florence is, for me, a city of wonders. Some of these are world famous – Brunelleschi’s dome, Botticelli’s Primavera and Michelangelo’s David are all ‘must sees’ and breathtaking works of art. Some are to be found in smaller museums – Fra Angelico’s beautiful Annunciation and Benozzo Gozzoli’s magnificent Procession of the Magi. Others are less well known and consequently less visited – hidden treasures lying behind the walls of former monasteries or on the hillsides above the city. This tour will allow us to experience these wonders first hand, and I very much look forward to sharing them with you.”

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, five dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £465.

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