Countries Italy Florence Cultural Tours

Florence: Saints and Miracles

To ask favours without interposing Mary is to attempt to fly without wings.

St. Antoninus of Florence
with
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in business at the Reed Travel Group, LexisNexis and The Economist. Charles received his MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of London. He is currently studying a Masters' in early Netherlandish art and its impact on the art of Renaissance Italy at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts, 15th-century Florence and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways (economy) to Bologna
  • 4 nights in the 4-star Hotel degli Orafi
  • 4 breakfasts, 2 dinners, 1 lunch (lunch and dinner with wine, water and coffee included)
  • Wine-tasting at the Marchese Bartolini Baldelli vineyard
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of your lecturer and tour manager
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
Hotel
Hotel Degli Orafi
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of walking, standing and use of stairs.
Inspirational tours frequently booked together
Highlights
A visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Impruneta to see the miraculous image of the Madonna which was processed to Florence whenever the city found itself in trouble.
The Bartolini Baldelli family originated from Gubbio in 1080. Around 1450, some members of the family moved to Florence where they were admitted to the Florentine citizenship.  In 1857 Bartolommeo Bartolini Baldelli (1804-1868) was awarded the noble title of Marquis and was chosen by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, as tutor to his son Ferdinand IV. His wife, Maddalena Stiozzi Ridolfi from Siena, was Lady-in-waiting to the Grand Duchess. 

The family acquired agricultural estates, and during the latter half of the 20th century, the Marquis Luigi Bartolini Baldelli with his wife Maria Marrucchi renovated these properties. Today the Bartolini Baldelli family manages several estates in Tuscany among which are Fattoria di Bagnolo, Fattoria di Scaletta, and Fattoria Castello di Montozzi, where they respect tradition which enables them to create quality products. 
 
The estate produces Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG,  Chianti colli Fiorentini Riserva DOCG,  Capro Rosso IGT,  Vin Santo del Chianti Riserva DOC which will form part of the tasting experience.

 

 

Home to Masaccio and Massolino's exquisite fresco-cycle that has seen the chapel referred to as the 'Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance'.  Perhaps, it's most famous for Masaccio’s Expulsion of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Inside this church that sits on a hillside overlooking Florence, an outstanding example of Romanesque architecture find the relics of San Minias. 
This tour will take a fresh look at Florence’s sacred art from the 13th to 16th centuries, with a particular focus on the miraculous powers that some images were (and often still are) believed to possess. Surrounded by votive offerings, artworks and architecture commissioned to protect and celebrate their sacred status, miraculous images themselves have provided a challenge for art historians and it is only recently that they have begun to be studied in detail. Often their provenance is unknown other than by ‘foundation legends’ and their continued use, for example in religious festivals, has changed their physical appearance over the centuries.
 
Belief in the miraculous power of certain images and objects became popular in Florence during the 13th century, following earlier practices established in Rome, and has close parallels with the veneration of the holy relics of saints, which similarly provided symbolic points of contact between the human and divine worlds. Christian belief in the bodily assumption of Christ and the Virgin Mary meant that unlike the saints they left few physical remains and therefore their presence might instead be felt via holy images, which most frequently depict the Virgin and Child or the Crucified Christ.

Sarah McBryde will lead us on this tour, which along with seeking out the miraculous images of Florence will also visit many of the city’s famous churches and basilicas to view the religious artworks of Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Ghirlandaio and others. From this, we gain an understanding of the central role religion took throughout the Florentine Renaissance.
We take a morning flight from London Heathrow airport to Bologna. We will drive into Florence to enter the ancient Romanesque Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.  Reputedly the final resting place of Roman martyr St Minias, the church’s location provides dramatic views across the city. Dinner is at a local restaurant; a Florentine theologian may join us!
A visit to the Church of Santa Maria dei Ricci to reveal the story of the Madonna dei Ricci and her desecration by Antonio Rinaldeschi in 1501. Then to Orsanmichele, home to a miraculous image of the Virgin and Child. We then visit the Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce, with the tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo and view the famous Giotto frescoes. In the afternoon, a curated tour of the Uffizi, focusing on early religious works and altarpieces takes place. 
We travel to Impruneta to visit the sanctuary of the Madonna of Impruneta at the Basilica of Santa Maria; a miracle-working image which was regularly processed to Florence to assist the city in times of trouble. Lunch is together in a local restaurant. The afternoon will be spent enjoying an exclusive wine tasting experience before returning to Florence for an evening at leisure.
We will visit the Augustinian church of Santo Spirito designed by Brunelleschi and then go to Santa Maria del Carmine to view Masaccio’s frescoes and the Madonna del Popolo in the Brancacci Chapel. In the afternoon, we enter the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella to see Massacio’s Holy Trinity and Filippino Lippi’s Life of Philip the Apostle in the Filippo Strozzi chapel, as well as artworks by Giotto and Ghirlandaio, followed by our final visit of the day to the Servite Basilica of Santissima Annunziata to view and discuss the miraculous fresco of the Annunciation. We dine together at a fine restaurant, possibly with a member of the Florentine nobility!
After breakfast and hotel check-out, we will pass the marble column marking the miracle of St Zenobius on our way to the Duomo, where Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome will provide the last ‘miracle’ of our tour. Inside the Duomo, we see stained glass windows of the saints by artists including Donatello, Ghiberti and Paolo Uccello and Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgement in the dome. There is some free time before returning to Bologna airport. Our BA flight lands at London Heathrow at 8pm.
Hotel Degli Orafi was a 13th century Augustine Abbey and as such the rooms are unique in size. Sapienza Travel has reserved rooms of the same category for you. If you would like to book a higher category room, please contact us for a quote.

Flights - The outward flight departs London Heathrow at 8am. The return flight departs Bologna at 6.50pm arriving in London Heathrow at 8.10pm.
If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us and we will provide a price for the upgrade.
Hotel accommodation can be arranged at Heathrow on request. Please, contact us.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. www.fco.gov.uk 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.

 
with
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in business at the Reed Travel Group, LexisNexis and The Economist. Charles received his MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of London. He is currently studying a Masters' in early Netherlandish art and its impact on the art of Renaissance Italy at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts, 15th-century Florence and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
Hotel Degli Orafi
The building the Hotel Degli Orafi is housed in incorporates an ancient tower, presumably part of the clique of the Importuni family, which had their properties in this neighborhood. In 1515 the building was bought by the Augustinians, who continued to manage the property until 1783. In the 19th-century, it became the boarding house Quisisana, popular amongst English and American intellectuals and artists visiting Florence.

The building had remained almost unchanged up until the early 1980s and because of this was chosen by the director James Ivory as the set for some of the scenes of the movie version of the novel by EM Forster's "A Room with a View."

Then, after undergoing some necessary restoration works and a major renovation, the building became home to Hotel Degli Orafi. Externally the building overlooks the Lugarno degli Archibusieri.

Breakfast is served in what was once a ballroom, decorated with original 19th-century frescoes overlooking the Arno. From the beautiful rooftop terrace of the American Bar, there is a breathtaking view over the river Arno, Palazzo Vecchio, Brunelleschi's magnificent Dome and the hills which surround Florence.
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