Day 18, Thurs 3 October

The morning is free up until 11am. You might like to use this time to visit the interior of Florence cathedral, and/or Giotto’s campanile (bell tower) and the crypt of Santa Reparata. You will be provided with a combined ticket for all these sites.
You might also choose to join a guided hike between small villages in the surrounding hills. (Hike duration 3 hours, distance 12 kms).
Il Gabinetto dei Disegni, the Uffizi Gallery’s Department of Prints and Drawings, is one of the world’s most important graphic collections – a precious archive of draft sketches, working drawings and original plans for numerous works of art and architecture. It is not open to the public but scholars and study groups like ours are occasionally granted permission to visit. We will be shown through in two groups, one at 11.30am, the other at 12.15pm, and allowed to view ten works, each chosen and introduced by Phyllis.
In the afternoon we will visit the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s sculptures, foremost among these being the iconic David. As we walk across town, we will take in Florentine landmarks such as the Loggia dei Lanzi open-air sculpture gallery and the Fountain of Neptune.
The day ends at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, probably designed by Michelozzo. Here we will view the dominating façade built in pietra forte and heavily rusticated on the ground floor. We will walk through the courtyard with its reliefs based on antique gems and cameos in the Medici collection, before visiting the Medici family’s exquisite private chapel upstairs to see an altarpiece by Fra Filippo Lippi and frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, a pupil of Fra Angelico, works that have been called ‘one of the supreme achievements of Renaissance painting’.
In the evening we will enjoy another special group dinner with a menu planned to highlight traditional Florentine cuisine.

Accommodation: 4th night at Hotel Balestri, Florence.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.