Florence boasts a wealth of Renaissance splendors, yet many of its riches elude all but the most experienced travelers. Spend three weeks at home in this remarkable city, soaking up la dolce vita as you delve into Italian culture and history, on walking tours, museum visits, day trips in Tuscany.

Starting at: $6,090 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Panorama of Florence at dusk
Panorama of Florence at dusk
 The Florence Duomo at night
The Florence Duomo at night
 Palazzo Vecchio in the evening
Palazzo Vecchio in the evening
 The iconic Duomo of Florence
The iconic Duomo of Florence
 Michelangelo's <i>David</i>, at the Accademia. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy
Michelangelo's David, at the Accademia. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy
 Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy
Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy
 Botticelli's <i>The Birth of Venus</i> in the Uffizi in Florence
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi in Florence
 The famous Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno in Florence
The famous Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno in Florence
 Enjoying the moment in Florence
Enjoying the moment in Florence
 Attending a pasta making demonstration. Credit: Ashley Elston
Attending a pasta making demonstration. Credit: Ashley Elston
 Trying their hands at making pasta. Credit: Ashley Elston
Trying their hands at making pasta. Credit: Ashley Elston
 Freshly made pasta
Freshly made pasta
 Travelers on a winery tour. Credit: Stephen Clancy
Travelers on a winery tour. Credit: Stephen Clancy
 Traditional foods of Tuscany
Traditional foods of Tuscany
 Attending a cooking demonstration and patio lunch. Credit: Dianne Konz
Attending a cooking demonstration and patio lunch. Credit: Dianne Konz
 Panoramic view of Florence
Panoramic view of Florence
 The Campo in Siena
The Campo in Siena
 The facade and distinctive belltower of Siena's cathedral
The facade and distinctive belltower of Siena's cathedral
 The medieval town of Lucca
The medieval town of Lucca
 The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers
The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers
 Enjoying the food market
Enjoying the food market
 Taking a break over gelato
Taking a break over gelato

Living in Italy: A Three-Week Stay in Florence

23 days from $6,090

Florence boasts a wealth of Renaissance splendors, yet many of its riches elude all but the most experienced travelers. Spend three weeks at home in this remarkable city, soaking up la dolce vita as you delve into Italian culture and history, on walking tours, museum visits, day trips in Tuscany.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Superb value. Smithsonian Journeys trips are well run and the guides are extremely knowledgeable and anxious to share their enthusiasm for their city. Pace is perfect for people with an active lifestyle. You cannot make a better choice in choosing a tour with Smithsonian. I am looking forward to choosing my next adventure with them.

- Naomi G.

If someone is looking to really attain a feel and experiences in one site, the immersive extended stays are the way to go! One has generous free time but also many top-notch excursions and group activities! Remaining in one efficiency-type accommodation for 3 weeks was a plus.

- Sandra, S.

This three week stay in Florence is a great opportunity to explore the art and culture of the city. Smithsonian did an excellent job of accomplishing this with a variety of experiences, excursions, great guides, good accommodations, friendly travel companions, and a memorable experience to treasure.

- Nancy, R.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 60 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.

Program Includes:

  • Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
  • Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
  • Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).

Superb value. Smithsonian Journeys trips are well run and the guides are extremely knowledgeable and anxious to share their enthusiasm for their city. Pace is perfect for people with an active lifestyle. You cannot make a better choice in choosing a tour with Smithsonian. I am looking forward to choosing my next adventure with them.

- Naomi G.

If someone is looking to really attain a feel and experiences in one site, the immersive extended stays are the way to go! One has generous free time but also many top-notch excursions and group activities! Remaining in one efficiency-type accommodation for 3 weeks was a plus.

- Sandra, S.

This three week stay in Florence is a great opportunity to explore the art and culture of the city. Smithsonian did an excellent job of accomplishing this with a variety of experiences, excursions, great guides, good accommodations, friendly travel companions, and a memorable experience to treasure.

- Nancy, R.

2024 Itinerary

Day 1 & Day 2— Depart the U.S. and arrive in Florence

Depart the U.S. on on overnight flight to Florence and transfer to your home-away-from-home, an apartment-hotel close to the city center. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program to help with personal sightseeing arrangements, restaurants reservations, shopping suggestions, and any other assistance you may require. This evening, gather for a welcome reception followed by dinner at the hotel. (Meals: 1R,1D)

Day 3 — Florence

After a full breakfast at your hotel, join fellow travelers for a welcome briefing. Then head out to discover the city on a tram and walking tour led by a Florentine guide. Your tour takes you through the neighborhood around the hotel to the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly called the Duomo, whose red dome is an iconic symbol of Florence.  Marvel at the Baptistery of St. John, dating from 1059 and one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Then stroll between gold and jewelry shops along the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno River built as a secret passage for the Medici family. In the Piazza della Signoria, the political and historic heart of the city, admire the stately Palazzo Vecchio and a precise copy of Michelangelo’s David.

Stop for lunch in a popular trattoria followed by free time to explore the city on your own. In the afternoon, those enrolled in the Italian Language track travel by tram to the language school for a tour of the facilities, a placement test, and your first Italian class. Later, meet up in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to discuss the day's discoveries. (Meals: B,L)

  • Optional Language Track 1.1: Placement test and Italian class

Day 4 — Florence

Those who opted for the Arts and Architecture track begin the day with a guided tour of Florence's legendary Duomo. With its massive, red-brick cupola designed by Brunelleschi and its stunning pink, white, and green marble facade, the cathedral is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. At the Baptistery of St. John, get a closer look at its mosaic ceiling and its gilded bronze doors, which depict biblical scenes in intricate detail. Visit the Bargello Museum, home to a remarkable collection that includes works by Michelangelo and Donatello.

If you are pursuing the Language track, continue your Italian classes today.  Later this afternoon, attend a talk by a local speaker about the art of the Renaissance. Enjoy dinner together at a restaurant this evening. (Meals: B,D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.2: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.1: Guided tour of the Duomo and the Baptistery of St. John

Day 5 – Florence

Today is free of planned activities. Consider visiting one of the city's many museums, or take a walk in one of Florence's lesser-known neighborhoods, discovering artisans workshops, epicurian markets, and inviting cafés set in leafy piazzas. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be on hand to help  with directions, information, and making plans for your day. 

Day 6 — Florence

Enjoy another full day to pursue your own interests. You might visit the excellent San Marco Museum, a treasure trove of works by Fra'Angelico, housed in a monastery the artist-monk once called home. Or immerse yourself in a very different kind of art at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, located within a exquisite 13th-century palace that has been the home of the Ferragamo fashion empire since 1938. 

Day 7 — Chianti / San Gimignano / Castellina / Monsanto

Set out on a full-day excursion to the charming towns of Chianti. In hilltop San Gimignano, a World Heritage site, delve into a warren of narrow, cobblestoned lanes and see its 14 iconic medieval towers—all that remain of more than 70 built by the town's wealthy families centuries ago. Stroll through the quaint village of Castellina before a cooking demonstration and lunch hosted by a popular local chef. Your next stop is Castello di Monsanto, an 18th-century castle in the heart of Chianti. Here, enjoy a tasting of the region’s distinctive wines and learn how the rooster became the symbol of Chianti. Return to Florence for an evening is at leisure. (Meals: L)

Day 8 — Florence

Those taking Italian lessons will attend a morning Language class. After lunch together at a local restaurant, tour the world-renowned Accademia with a private guide. Admire Michelangelo's legendary David as well the works of other Italian greats such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, and Allessando Alloriand Orcagna. The most recent section, the Museum of Musical Instruments, displays one-of-a-kind masterpieces by Stradivari and Bartolomeo Cristofori, inventor of the piano. In the early evening, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a lively discussion with your fellow travelers. (Meals: L)

  • Optional Language Track 1.3: Italian class

Day 9 — Florence

If you opted for the Culinary track, set out this morning for San Lorenzo Market, where an 19th-century iron-and-glass pavilion hosts a lively food market. Browse stalls where cheesemongers sell wheels of pecorino and bakers turn out freshly made pastries. Select fresh produce and ingredients with a local chef, then learn how to prepare typical Italian dishes during a cooking class. Savor the dishes you have made for lunch. 

Those taking Italian Language lessons will gather for a class this afternoon. (Meals: L for Culinary track participants)

  • Optional Language Track 1.4: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.1: Market visit and cooking class

Day 10 — Florence

Language students will meet for an Italian class this morning. Then half the group will pay a visit to the elegant Caffe Gilli, a gathering place for intellectuals since 1733. Hear about the caffe's distinguished history and meet with one of the directors to learn the art of preparing Italian coffee. Enjoy an espresso, cappuccino, or caffe latte with a pastry. The other half will have the balance of the day free for individual pursuits. Late this afternoon, gather with a local expert for an engaging discussion of Italy’s place in the European Union and an assessment of its modern-day political, economic, and social issues.

  • Optional Language Track 1.5: Italian class

Day 11 — Florence

Travelers on the Arts and Architecture track will experience one of Florence’s most magnificent churches on a guided tour of the Basilica of Santa Croce. This architectural masterpiece holds the tombs of famous Florentines such as Michelangelo and Galileo, and its interior is covered in spectacular 14th-century frescoes. The tour continues at nearby Casa Buonarotti, one of Michelangelo’s homes, where two of the artist’s earliest sculptures are on display along with a collection of letters and drawings from the family’s archive. Later this morning, the second half the group will visit to the Caffe Gilli.. There's an afternoon Italian class for those who chose the Language track. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers at a nearby restaurant tonight. (Meals: D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.6: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.2: Guided tour of the Basilica of Santa Croce and Casa Buonarotti

Day 12 — Cortona / Florence

Drive through cypress-lined hills and picturesque agricultural fields to historic Cortona, a quintessentially Tuscan town that gained fame as the setting of Under the Tuscan Sun. Perched on a hilltop with stellar views, Cortona began as an Etruscan city, flourishing as early as the fourth century BC. During your full-day excursion, gain insight into the town's artistic and architectural highlights, and its interesting history—which is still being pieced together by archaeologists. Visit the Romanesque Cathedral and browse a fascinating collection of pre-Roman artifacts at the Etruscan Museum. Sit down to lunch at a local restaurant, then take advantage of free time this afternoon to explore Cortona on your own before returning to Florence. (Meals: L)

Day 13 — Florence or Fiesole

Spend another day living like a local in Florence. If you have opted for the Arts and Architecture track, cross the Arno River and ascend the hillside to Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence. Continue to the Etruscan town of Fiesole, located on the outskirts of the city, On a tour of its Archeological Museum, discover a trove of ancient ruins, including an Etruscan temple and tombs as well as Roman baths and a well-preserved Roman theater. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Fiesole. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Meals: L for Art and Architecture track participants)

  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.3: Visit to Piazzale Michelangelo and excursion to Fiesole

Day 14 — Florence

If you’re not enrolled in an optional track, the day is yours to plan as you wish. Your Resident Director will be available to offer suggestions and help with arrangements. Those on the Language track will meet for a morning Italian lesson. In the afternoon, travelers on the Culinary track will delve into one of of Italy's most beloved food traditions: making pasta. With a culinary expert, learn about Italy's many different types of pasta. Then roll up your sleeves to make some yourself, along with several traditional sauces. 

  • Optional Language Track 1.7: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.2: Pasta-making class

Day 15 — Florence

Italian students head to class for another Language lesson this morning.  In the afternoon, immerse yourself in magnificent art of the Uffizi Gallery, home to one of the most remarkable collections in the world. Among the many highlights are Giotto's Madonna di Ognissanti , Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello, and the iconic Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. This evening, get together with fellow travelers for dinner at a popular trattoria. (Meals: D) 

Optional Language Track 1.8: Italian class

Day 16 — Colle di Val d’Elsa / Siena / Florence

Set out on full-day excursion to the Tuscan province of Siena, stopping first in Colle di Val d’Elsa for a guided walking tour in the quaint Old Town. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the World Heritage site of Siena. Perched like a crown atop three hills, the stunning city of Siena has remained remarkably unchanged through the centuries, its timeless, winding streets linking majestic cathedrals, museums, and wonderfully preserved Gothic buildings. Witness the renowned Piazza del Campo, the enormous, shell-shaped piazza where the annual bareback Paleo race has been held since medieval times. Admire the 14th-century Torre del Mangia and the stunning bas-reliefs on the Gaia Fountain, and the step into the striking, black-and-gold-striped Duomo. You'll have free time in Siena to explore on your own before returning to Florence. (Meals: L)

Day 17 — Florence

Language students begin the day with Italian lessons before the group gathers for lunch at a trattoria. Those enrolled in the  Arts & Architecture track visit the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens this afternoon. Inside the palace, once the residence of the Medici family, view a collection of Renaissance and baroque paintings at the Palatine Gallery and enter the newly restored Royal Apartments, only recently reopened to the public. Then stroll through the Boboli Gardens, a prototype of the Italian formal gardens. In early evening, join your fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively discussion and camaraderie. (Meals: L)

  • Optional Language Track 1.9: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.4: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens tour

Day 18 — Florence

Those who selected the Language track attend a morning language lesson. Participants on the Culinary track embark on a gastronomic adventure at a cooking school this afternoon, learning how to prepare a traditional Italian four-course dinner, known as a cena, from antipasto to dolce (dessert). When preparations are complete, feast on your creations over dinner in the school’s wine cellar. This evening is at leisure. (Meals: D for Culinary track participants)

  • Optional Language Track 1.10: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.3: Antipasto to dolce four-course cooking class and dinner

Day 19 — Lucca / Florence

After a leisurely morning, gather in the midafternoon for an excursion to the medieval city of Lucca. Circled by massive fortifications--including walls that are 59-feet thick in some places—Lucca harbors a wealth of architectural treasures, including an 11th-century Romanesque Cathedral that contains one of the most famous relics of medieval Europe: a carving said to be a true portrait of Christ. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in Lucca before returning to Florence. (Meals: D)

Day 20 — Florence

Today, let your interests be your guide as you set out to discover Florence independently.

Day 21 — Florence

The day is free for independent activities. For those who selected the Language track, there’s a morning language class.This evening, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a drink and conversation. This evening, celebrate your Italian adventure with a farewell dinner at the splendid Grand Hotel Baglioni, offering unforgettable food, wine and a view overlooking Florence! (Meals: 1D)

Optional Language Track 1.11: Italian class

Day 22 — Florence

Language students gather for their final Italian class this morning.  The day is otherwise free of planned activities. Celebrate all you have experienced and accomplished one last time at this evening’s Farewell Reception at the hotel. (Meals: 1R)

Optional Language Track 1.12: Italian class

Day 23 — Florence / Return home

Transfer to the Florence Peretola Airport for your return flight to the U.S. 

Please note: Itinerary sequence and/or scheduled events may change due to operational considerations. All excursions involve an element of walking, standing and climbing steps.

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

2025 Itinerary

Day 1 & Day 2— Depart the U.S. and arrive in Florence

Depart the U.S. on on overnight flight to Florence and transfer to your home-away-from-home, an apartment-hotel close to the city center. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program to help with personal sightseeing arrangements, restaurants reservations, shopping suggestions, and any other assistance you may require. This evening, gather for a welcome reception followed by dinner at the hotel. (Meals: 1R,1D)

Day 3 — Florence

After a full breakfast at your hotel, join fellow travelers for a welcome briefing. Then head out to discover the city on a tram and walking tour led by a Florentine guide. Your tour takes you through the neighborhood around the hotel to the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly called the Duomo, whose red dome is an iconic symbol of Florence.  Marvel at the Baptistery of St. John, dating from 1059 and one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Then stroll between gold and jewelry shops along the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno River built as a secret passage for the Medici family. In the Piazza della Signoria, the political and historic heart of the city, admire the stately Palazzo Vecchio and a precise copy of Michelangelo’s David.

Stop for lunch in a popular trattoria followed by free time to explore the city on your own. Later, meet up in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to discuss the day's discoveries. (Meals: 1B,1L)

Day 4 — Florence

This morning, those enrolled in the Italian Language track travel by tram to the language school for a tour of the facilities, a placement test, and your first Italian class.

The balance of the day is free of planned activities. Consider visiting one of the city's many museums, or take a walk in one of Florence's lesser-known neighborhoods, discovering artisans workshops, epicurian markets, and inviting cafés set in leafy piazzas. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be on hand to help with directions, information, and making plans for your day.  Later this afternoon, gather for a talk by a local speaker about the art of the Renaissance. Enjoy dinner together at a popular restaurant. (Meals: D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.1: Placement test and Italian class

Day 5 – Colle di Val d’Elsa / Siena / Florence

Set out on full-day excursion to the Tuscan province of Siena, stopping first in Colle di Val d’Elsa for a guided walking tour in the quaint Old Town. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the World Heritage site of Siena. Perched like a crown atop three hills, the stunning city of Siena has remained remarkably unchanged through the centuries, its timeless, winding streets linking majestic cathedrals, museums, and wonderfully preserved Gothic buildings. Witness the renowned Piazza del Campo, the enormous, shell-shaped piazza where the annual Palio bareback horse race has been held since medieval times. Admire the 14th-century Torre del Mangia and the stunning bas-reliefs on the Gaia Fountain, and the step into the striking, black-and-gold-striped Duomo. You'll have free time in Siena to explore on your own before returning to Florence. (Meals: L)

Day 6 — Florence

Enjoy another full day to pursue your own interests. You might visit the excellent San Marco Museum, a treasure trove of works by Fra'Angelico, housed in a monastery the artist-monk once called home. Or immerse yourself in a very different kind of art at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, located within a exquisite 13th-century palace that has been the home of the Ferragamo fashion empire since 1938. Join fellow travelers this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (Meals: D)

Day 7 — Florence

If you are pursuing the Language track, continue your Italian classes today.  

Those who opted for the Arts and Architecture track begin the day with a guided tour of Florence's legendary Duomo. With its massive, red-brick cupola designed by Brunelleschi and its stunning pink, white, and green marble facade, the cathedral is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. At the Baptistery of St. John, get a closer look at its mosaic ceiling and its gilded bronze doors, which depict biblical scenes in intricate detail. Visit the Bargello Museum, home to a remarkable collection that includes works by Michelangelo and Donatello. Then set out on an architecture tour of the historic center, discovering little-known gems as well as highlights. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Florence as you wish. Join fellow travelers this evening for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (Meals: 1B,1D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.2: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.1: Guided tour of the Duomo and the Baptistery of St. John

Day 8 — Florence

Those taking Italian lessons will attend a morning Language class. After lunch together at a local restaurant, tour the world-renowned Accademia with a private guide. Admire Michelangelo's legendary David as well the works of other Italian greats such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, and Allessando Alloriand Orcagna. In the early evening, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a lively discussion with your fellow travelers. (Meals: 1L)

  • Optional Language Track 1.3: Italian class

Day 9 — Florence

If you opted for the Culinary track, set out this morning for San Lorenzo Market, where an 19th-century iron-and-glass pavilion hosts a lively food market. Browse stalls where cheesemongers sell wheels of pecorino and bakers turn out freshly made pastries. Select fresh produce and ingredients with a local chef, then learn how to prepare typical Italian dishes during a cooking class. Savor the dishes you have made for lunch. 

Those taking Italian Language lessons will gather for a class this afternoon. (Meals: 1L for Culinary track participants)

  • Optional Language Track 1.4: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.1: Market visit and cooking class

Day 10 — Florence

Language students will meet for an Italian class this morning. Then half the group will pay a visit to the elegant Caffe Gilli, a gathering place for intellectuals since 1733. Hear about the caffe's distinguished history and meet with one of the directors to learn the art of preparing Italian coffee. Enjoy an espresso, cappuccino, or caffe latte with a pastry. The other half will have the balance of the day free for individual pursuits. Late this afternoon, gather with a local expert for an engaging discussion of Italy’s place in the European Union and an assessment of its modern-day political, economic, and social issues.

  • Optional Language Track 1.5: Italian class

Day 11 — Florence

Students of Italian begin the day with a Language class. Later this morning, the second half the group will visit to the Caffe Gilli. 

Travelers on the Arts and Architecture track will set off on a guided tour of the church of Santa Maria Novella. Learn about the church's unique blend of Renaissance and Romanesque architecture and examine its facade—the only original facade among the city's major churches. Step into its many chapels and admire its vivid frescoes as well as the famous wooden Crucifix made by Brunelleschi. Continue to the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, set up by Dominican friars in the early 1200s and still in use today. This evening, get together with new friends and fellow travelers for dinner, wine and lively conversation at a local ristorante.  (Meals: 1D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.6: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.2: Guided tour of the Church and Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella 

Day 12 –Cortona / Florence

Drive through cypress-lined hills and picturesque agricultural fields to historic Cortona, a quintessentially Tuscan town that gained fame as the setting of Under the Tuscan Sun. Poised on a hilltop with stellar views, Cortona began as an Etruscan city, flourishing as early as the fourth century BC. During your full-day excursion, gain insight into the town's artistic and architectural highlights, and its interesting history—which is still being pieced together by archaeologists. Visit the Romanesque Cathedral and browse a fascinating collection of pre-Roman artifacts at the Etruscan Museum. Sit down to lunch at a local restaurant, then take advantage of free time this afternoon to explore Cortona on your own before returning to Florence. (Meals: 1L)

Day 13 — Florence

Spend another day living like a local in Florence. If you have opted for the Arts and Architecture track, cross the Arno River and ascend the hillside to Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence. Continue to the Etruscan town of Fiesole, located on the outskirts of the city, On a tour of its Archeological Museum, discover a trove of ancient ruins, including an Etruscan temple and tombs as well as Roman baths and a well-preserved Roman theater. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Fiesole. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Meals: 1L for Art and Architecture track participants)

  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.3: Visit to Piazzale Michelangelo and excursion to Fiesole

Day 14 — Florence

If you’re not enrolled in an optional track, the day is yours to plan as you wish. Your Resident Director will be available to offer suggestions and help with arrangements. Those on the Language track will meet for a morning Italian lesson. In the afternoon, travelers on the Culinary track will delve into one of of Italy's most beloved food traditions: making pasta. With a local culinary expert, learn about Italy's many different types of pasta. Then roll up your sleeves to make some yourself, along with several traditional sauces. 

  • Optional Language Track 1.7: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.2: Pasta-making class

Day 15 — Florence

Italian students head to class for another Language lesson this morning.  In the afternoon, immerse yourself in magnificent art of the Uffizi Gallery, home to one of the most remarkable collections in the world. Among the many highlights are Giotto's Madonna di Ognissanti , Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello, and the iconic Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. This evening, get together with fellow travelers for dinner at a popular trattoria. (Meals: 1D) 

  • Optional Language Track 1.8: Italian class

Day 16 – Lucca / Florence

After a leisurely morning, gather in the midafternoon for an excursion to the medieval city of Lucca. Circled by massive fortifications--including walls that are 59-feet thick in some places—Lucca harbors a wealth of architectural treasures, including an 11th-century Romanesque Cathedral that contains one of the most famous relics of medieval Europe: a carving said to be a true portrait of Christ. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in Lucca before returning to Florence. (Meals: D)

  • Optional Language Track 1.9: Italian class

Day 17 — Florence

Language students begin the day with Italian lessons before the group gathers for lunch at a trattoria. Those enrolled in the  Arts & Architecture track visit the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens this afternoon. Inside the palace, once the residence of the Medici family, view a collection of Renaissance and baroque paintings at the Palatine Gallery and enter the newly restored Royal Apartments, only recently reopened to the public. Then stroll through the Boboli Gardens, a prototype of the Italian formal gardens. In early evening, join your fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively discussion and camaraderie. (Meals: L)

  • Optional Language Track 1.10: Italian class
  • Optional Art and Architecture Track 3.4: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens tour

Day 18 — Florence

Those who selected the Language track attend a morning language lesson. Participants on the Culinary track embark on a gastronomic adventure at a cooking school this afternoon, learning how to prepare a traditional Italian four-course dinner, known as a cena, from antipasto to dolce (dessert). When preparations are complete, feast on your creations over dinner in the school’s wine cellar. This evening is at leisure. (Meals: D for Culinary track participants)

  • Optional Language Track 1.11: Italian class
  • Optional Culinary Track 2.3: Antipasto to dolce four-course cooking class and dinner

Day 19 – Chianti / San Gimignano / Florence

Venture into the undulating landscapes of Chianti, a famous wine region of quiet country lanes, lovely hill towns, woodlands, and vineyards.  Travel to its heart to visit the 18th-century Castello di Monsanto, where you will sample wines made from handpicked Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and other varieties of grapes. You'll also learn how the rooster became the symbol of the Chianit region and how the area got its name.

Enjoy a cooking demonstration and a lunch featuring Tuscan specialties in the quaint village of Castellina. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, a World Heritage site, delve into a warren of narrow, cobblestoned lanes and see its 14 iconic medieval towers—all that remain of more than 70 built by the town's wealthy families centuries ago. (Meals: 1L)

Day 20 — Florence

Today, let your interests be your guide as you set out to discover Florence independently.

Day 21 — Florence

The day is free for independent activities. For those who selected the Language track, there’s a morning language class.This evening, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a drink and conversation. This evening, celebrate your Italian adventure with a farewell dinner at the splendid Grand Hotel Baglioni, offering unforgettable food, wine, and stunning views of Florence. (Meals: 1D)

Optional Language Track 1.11: Italian class

Day 22 — Florence

Enjoy a final day in Florence, revisiting your favorite haunts and lingering in its lovely piazzas and historic lanes. Toast new friends and all you have experienced and accomplished at tonight's farewell reception at the hotel. (Meals: 1R)

Day 23 — Florence / Return home

Transfer to the Florence Peretola Airport for your return flight to the U.S. 

Please note: Itinerary sequence and/or scheduled events may change due to operational considerations. All excursions involve an element of walking, standing and climbing steps.

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

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