Explore the birthplace of the Renaissance and enjoy special access to Florence's hidden treasures on this behind-the-scenes journey.

Starting at: $4,495 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The famous Duomo or cathedral in Florence, featuring the campanile, Baptistery, and Brunelleschi's Dome  Palazzo Vecchio in the evening  Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Art work at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Credit: Art Kowalsky / Alamy.com  Botticelli's <i>The Birth of Venus</i> in the Uffizi in Florence  View of the Uffizi and the Vasari Corridor, which spans the Ponte Vecchio  The Ponte Vecchio, the renowned bridge in Florence crossing the Arno. Credit: Bart Parren  The iconic Duomo in Florence  Doors by Ghiberti at the Baptistery in Florence  The Palazzo Davanzati, which reflects the decor of a Renaissance home.  Credit: Hemis/Alamy  A leather artisan at work  Sightseeing in Florence with Ponte Vecchio in background  Villa Medici  Panoramic view of Florence

Insider's Florence

8 days from $4,495

Explore the birthplace of the Renaissance and enjoy special access to Florence's hidden treasures on this behind-the-scenes journey.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I learned an amazing amount, met many wonderful people and was more than impressed with the professional organization of the tour. A splendid experience! 

- Richard S.

This is the perfect trip for the serious traveler – who wants an in-depth view of Florence, not the typical tour. The tour provides both an artistic and historical prospective with visits to unique sites. 

- Susan F.

If you have any interest in Renaissance art, and in Florence, do not miss this tour. It is splendid from beginning to end.

- Kathleen A.

The trip exceeded our expectations. It got better every day. Each day we would think "how can they top this?" but they always did.

- Martha S.

This tour far exceeded my wildest expectations.

- Donna F.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

There is a 5% discount for travelers who book more than one Insider’s Italy programs in 2017. 

Overview

Florence boasts a wealth of Renaissance treasures, yet many of its riches elude all but the most experienced travelers. During this exclusive tour, enjoy special access to some of Florence’s most celebrated sites and gain insight from local experts. Plus, step outside the Hotel Brunelleschi, your elegant boutique hotel, and you'll find yourself near the Duomo.

Highlights Include

  • Casa Buonarroti: Meet the director for an after-hours tour of this museum dedicated to Michelangelo’s life and see some of the master’s early pieces.
  • The Oltr'Arno: Meet artisans in their workshops and learn about their traditional crafts, including papermaking, enameling, and silversmithing.
  • Iconic Sites: Accompanied by an expert in the Italian Renaissance, take a special tour of the Duomo and Baptistery before opening hours and climb up to the dome for a closer look of the frescoes.
  • Hidden Gems: Experience the feel of a typical household in Renaissance Florence at the Palazzo Davanzati and view a fine collection of Renaissance paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts at the Museo della Fondazione Horne. Enjoy a special tour of the 17th-century Palazzo Gondi and a reception with the owners.
  • Countryside Villas and Gardens: Join a landscape architect for a special tour outside Florence, featuring the Villa Gamberaia and the gardens of the Villa Medici. 

I learned an amazing amount, met many wonderful people and was more than impressed with the professional organization of the tour. A splendid experience! 

- Richard S.

This is the perfect trip for the serious traveler – who wants an in-depth view of Florence, not the typical tour. The tour provides both an artistic and historical prospective with visits to unique sites. 

- Susan F.

If you have any interest in Renaissance art, and in Florence, do not miss this tour. It is splendid from beginning to end.

- Kathleen A.

The trip exceeded our expectations. It got better every day. Each day we would think "how can they top this?" but they always did.

- Martha S.

This tour far exceeded my wildest expectations.

- Donna F.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2016 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Florence, Italy

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, situated on a quiet street near the Duomo, and take a tour of the historic neighborhood before the evening welcome festivities. (R,D)

Day 3 — Uffizi Gallery, Vasari Corridor, and the Oltr’arno

The 16th-century Uffizi Gallery holds some of Florence’s most renowned paintings, including famous portraits. With your Smithsonian study leader, stroll through the gallery’s stunning rooms and view Renaissance masterpieces, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s Holy Family, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation. In the labyrinthine Oltr’arno neighborhood, visit artisan workshops and learn about ancient traditional crafts, including paper-making, enameling, and silversmithing. Tonight, enjoy a curated dinner with an in-depth Mediterranean food and wine lecture at a local Florentine restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Baptistery

Brunelleschi’s distinctive dome helped transform Florence’s cathedral and the city itself. Join an Italian Renaissance expert for a guided tour of the Baptistery and Duomo before opening hours. Climb up to the dome for a closer look at its marvelous frescoes and the revolutionary technology behind this 15th-century architectural wonder. At the Baptistery, admire Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 15th-century Gates of Paradise, a monumental set of cast bronze doors. Lunch and the remainder of the afternoon are free to give you time to explore more of what Florence has to offer: visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, venture across the Oltr’arno to visit Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, or climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of the city. (B)

Day 5 — Villas and Gardens and Fortezza da Basso

Spend the morning discovering villas, gardens and palaces with landscape architect Nancy Leszczynski. Visit Villa Gamberaia, a beautiful 17th-century villa in the hills above Florence, where Nancy will lead the group through the house and beautiful gardens. Continue to Fiesole for an exclusive visit to the gardens of Villa Medici, where Lorenzo the Magnificent once gathered for his Neoplatonic Society. The villa is now privately owned and closed to the public. Returning to Florence, travel to the Fortezza da Basso. Here, meet Uffizi Gallery staff restorer Diane Kunzelman who takes you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of one of Italy’s foremost art restoration laboratories where you’ll watch conservators at work on a Uffizi masterpiece. (B,L)

Day 6 — Daily Life in Renaissance Florence

During a special walking tour, travel back in time to view some of the city’s earliest architectural works, visit a home once owned by Michelangelo, and tour the museum in the Palazzo Davanzati for a glimpse of a typical household in Renaissance Florence. Visit the Romanesque Church of the Holy Apostles, and view the fine collection of Renaissance paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts at the Museo della Fondazione Horne. Meet the director of the Casa Buonarroti for an after-hours tour of this museum dedicated to Michelangelo’s life and see some of the master’s early pieces. Then, enjoy a special visit and tour of the 17th-century Palazzo Gondi. Enjoy a reception with fellow participants and the gracious owners. (B,R)

Day 7 — Frescoes by Fra Angelico, del Sarto, and del Castagno

Venture off the beaten path to discover lesser-known frescoes by Florentine masters. At the Dominican convent of San Marco, examine the rich paintings of Fra Angelico. See Andrea del Sarto’s stunning monochromatic fresco of the life of St. John the Baptist at the charming 16th-century Chiostro dello Scalzo. At the former Benedictine convent of Sant’Apollonia, admire Andrea del Castagno’s masterpiece of the Last Supper. Following an afternoon at leisure, celebrate your Florentine sojourn at a farewell reception in the hotel’s museum followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (B,R,D)

Day 8 — Depart Florence

Depart Florence for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2017 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart

Depart from the U.S. for Florence on individual flights.

Day 2 — Florence, Italy

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, situated on a quiet street near the Duomo, and take a tour of the historic neighborhood before the evening welcome festivities. (R,D)

Day 3 — Uffizi Gallery and the Oltr’arno

The 16th-century Uffizi Gallery holds some of Florence’s most renowned paintings, including famous portraits. With your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, stroll through the gallery’s stunning rooms and view Renaissance masterpieces, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s Holy Family, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation. In the labyrinthine Oltr’arno neighborhood, visit artisan workshops and learn about ancient traditional crafts, including paper-making, enameling, and silversmithing. Tonight, enjoy a curated dinner with an in-depth Mediterranean food and wine lecture at a local Florentine restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Baptistery

Brunelleschi’s distinctive dome helped transform Florence’s cathedral and the city itself. Join an Italian Renaissance expert for a guided tour of the Baptistery and Duomo before opening hours. Climb up to the dome for a closer look at its marvelous frescoes and the revolutionary technology behind this 15th-century architectural wonder. At the Baptistery, admire Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 15th-century Gates of Paradise, a monumental set of cast bronze doors. Lunch and the remainder of the afternoon are free to give you time to explore more of what Florence has to offer: visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, venture across the Oltr’arno to visit Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, or climb up to Piazzalle Michelangelo for a panoramic view of the city. (B)

Day 5 — Villas and Gardens and Fortezza del Basso

Spend the morning discovering villas, gardens, and palaces with landscape architect Nancy Leszczynski. Visit Villa Gamberaia, a beautiful 17th-century villa in the hills above Florence, where Nancy will lead the group through the house and beautiful gardens. Continue to Fiesole for an exclusive visit to the gardens of Villa Medici, where Lorenzo the Magnificent once gathered together for his Neoplatonic Society. The villa is now privately owned and closed to the public. On an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with staff restorer Diane Kunzelman, visit the Fortezza del Basso, one of Italy’s foremost art restoration laboratories, and watch conservators at work on a Uffizi masterpiece. (B,L)

Day 6 — Daily Life in Renaissance Florence

During a special walking tour, you’ll travel back in time to view some of the city’s earliest architectural works, visit a home once owned by Michelangelo, and tour the museum in the Palazzo Davanzati for a glimpse of a typical household in Renaissance Florence. Visit the Romanesque Church of the Holy Apostles, and view the fine collection of Renaissance paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts at the Museo della Fondazione Horne. Meet the director of the Casa Buonarroti for an after-hours tour of this museum dedicated to Michelangelo’s life and see some of the master’s early pieces. Then, enjoy a special visit and tour of the 17th-century Palazzo Gondi. Enjoy a reception with fellow participants and the gracious owners. (B,R)

Day 7 — Frescoes by Fra Angelico, del Sarto, and del Castagno

Venture off the beaten path to discover lesser-known frescoes by Florentine masters. At the Dominican convent of San Marco, examine the rich paintings of Fra Angelico. See Andrea del Sarto’s stunning monochromatic fresco of the life of St. John the Baptist at the charming 16th-century Chiostro dello Scalzo. At the former Benedictine convent of Sant’Apollonia, admire Andrea del Castagno’s masterpiece of the Last Supper. Following an afternoon at leisure, celebrate your Florentine sojourn at a farewell reception in the hotel’s museum followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (B,R,D)

Day 8 — Depart Florence

Depart Florence for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)