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Excursions to Siena and Florence
In addition to the splendid days and nights at the villa, we will take three excursions by motorcoach. Our first stop will be Florence, capital of Tuscany and seat of the Renaissance. On a walking tour of Florence we will see the famous Ponte Vecchio, Pitti Palace and Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo of Florence with Brunelleschi's dome and Giotto's tower. We will also visit the medieval city of Siena.
We will spend a morning at the Uffizi Gallery where we will be guided through the most important rooms and taught about the progression of Italian art from the 12th century to the 16th century. After a leisurely lunch at any of Florence's great restaurants we are free to explore the great shopping treasures of this wonderful city, which include leather goods, jewelry and clothing found nowhere else in the world. In the afternoon we may visit the Bargello, national sculpture museum, or the Davanzati Palace, a perfectly preserved nobleman's home from the 15th century.
Siena is a perfect medieval city, centered around the famous Piazza del Campo, where the Palio is run twice a year. A medieval parade in full costume precedes the race. Seventeen contradas compete to have their horse and jockey run a treacherous three-minute race around the ancient square. Each contrada has a special identity, colors, flag, and song. Children and adults proudly support their contrada all year long in anticipation of this exciting event.
Siena is an elegant town, from which the names burnt siena and raw siena are clearly derived. She has a long history of artistic rivalry with Florence. Siena boasts a magnificent Duomo which took over three hundred years to complete and is famous for its black and white striated marble. An artist's dream, Siena is at once enchanted and romantic. We will take a walking tour of Siena, (comfortable shoes and ability to navigate hills a must) and sample her delicious specialties, panforte, ricciarelli and outstanding rustic cuisine.