"LEONARDO, THE UNIVERSAL MAN”©
500 Years of Genius
(Coming in April through early November 2019)
May 2, 2019 will mark the 500th anniversary of the death of perhaps the greatest genius of all time: Leonardo da Vinci. Fascination with the genius of Leonardo is timeless. The quest to understand the virtuoso and mystery of this man have consumed many academic careers and inspired numerous best sellers and movies.
With our expert guides, we begin in the magnificent countryside near the town of Vinci, Province of Florence, where Leonardo was born in 1452. Then we follow young Leonardo to Florence, where at the age of 17, he was apprenticed to the great Florentine sculpture and painter Andrea del Verrocchio. In Florence we see the "Genius" emerge as a famed Renaissance painter. Next, we journey to Milan, where Da Vinci lived for nearly twenty years, and where he achieved his grandest works, earning him the title of Magnu Genio. The Maestro later moved to France where he died on May 2, 1519.
Tuscan Treasures Tours will transport you to the daily life of Leonardo, to understand his rivalry with Michelangelo, and to discover what made him “tick.” You will be immersed so deeply in the character of Leonardo that you will soon know him, not only as an acclaimed scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer, but also as a man: eccentric, mysterious, fascinating. Leonardo will no longer be a famous name, but a genius whom you know and truly appreciate!
DAY 1) ARRIVAL AT GALILEO GALILEI AIRPORT IN PISA / FLORENCE
You will be met by your Tour Leader at the exit of Customs to depart by private motor coach to Tuscany’s capital city, Florence. Depending on flight arrival time, before departing for the hotel, we offer an optional visit to Pisa' s Cathedral, Baptistry and Leaning Tower. Then check in to your historical palace hotel with the best modern amenities (your choice of either a 4-star or 5-star hotel selected for this tour) for the first three night's accommodations in the center of Florence. After free time, we gather for Aperitivo & Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 2) FLORENCE / VINCI: The Young Leonardo
With our expert on Leonardo, we visit the genius' birth home near Vinci, to discover the coded secrets of the "Vitruvian Man," Leonardo' s most famous sketch. With young Leonardo we learn his "Code on the Flights of the Birds," leading mankind to flying. A short drive amidst splendid acreage and bell towers takes us to the intact Medieval village of Vinci, to tour the Museo Leonardiano da Vinci and view drawings and models of some of the Master’s scientific inventions and observations.
After this introductory morning, you are treated to an unforgettable lunch at "Villa Medicea - La Ferdinanda," a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before returning to Florence to enjoy some free time. In the evening, we gather for cocktails and light fare on the roof-top terrace of a medieval tower to be awed by magnificent views of the "City of Gold." Enjoy the remainder of the evening at your leisure.
DAY 3) FLORENCE: Leonardo Emerges as a Renaissance Painter
We begin the day at the world’s most-acclaimed painting museum, the Galleria degli Uffizi, where our expert guide comments on several of Leonardo' s most important paintings: "The Baptist of Christ," "The Annunciation" and "The Adoration of Magi, as well as works by his 15th century contemporaries. From the Uffizi, we walk to the Palazzo Vecchio and learn about the mysterious disappearance of Leonardo' s reportedly greatest work: "The Battle of Anghiari."
Enjoy lunch on your own, and the afternoon as you wish. You can select one of our half day tours, such as a tour of the ionic rotunda of the Cathedral in Florence, its Campanile and Baptistry, or just take time to explore and shop before reconvening for dinner at an authentic Florentine osteria. Return to the hotel at your leisure.
DAY 4) FLORENCE: Leonardo’s Rivalry with Michelangelo
In the morning, with your expert guide, visit some of Michelangelo’s greatest works: “David,” the Medici Chapels, and his unfinished “Pieta” in L’Opera del Duomo. Our guide will then lead you to the Via Tornabuoni, Florence’s main designer area to experience some modern-day fashion artistry! From here, take the rest of the day to wander, shop, or opt for one of our private half-day tours. In the evening, we enjoy an exclusive dinner in a private palazzo with a noble Florentine family, followed by leisure time to view reflections in the Arno River, grab a gelato, or people watch from a nearby caffè. Return to the hotel at your leisure.
DAY 5) FLORENCE / BOLOGNA / MILAN
We leave the "Cradle of Renaissance" and, like Leonardo, we journey to Milano, first stopping in the university city of Bologna for a guided tour of its Piazza Grande and Basilica di San Petronio. Following a superb “Bolognese” lunch, we continue to Milano, and check-in to the hotel, your choice of a 4-star or 5-star hotel in the city center. In the evening, we meet for dinner and then enjoy this walkable city on your own.
DAY 6) MILANO: Castello Sforzesco & Bibiloteca Trivulziana, “The Last Supper” and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science & Technology
We start with a guided tour of Castello Sforzesco and Biblioteca Trivulziana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see prestigious salons designed and painted by Leonardo, to learn about the architecture and legends of this complex, and about Leonardo' s untold adventures in Milano. Leaving the Castle and its Library, we walk a short distance to Santa Maria delle Grazie, where you will view Leonardo’s most prized work: “The Last Supper.”
After this breath-taking experience, we enjoy lunch at a nearby trattoria and then transfer to the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science & Technology, Italy's most important museum of its kind. Here, we discover the "Genius" as the most influential proponent of a "union between humanism & science." From the Museum, we transfer to the hotel, stopping at the nearby, designer-shopping mecca of Via Montenapoleone, for those who wish to explore further. The rest of the day and dinner are on your own. There are many exquisite shops, restaurants and bars surrounding the hotel, offering multiple options.
DAY 7) MILANO: The Duomo, Ambrosiana Library and Poldi Pezzoli Museum
We begin with a guided tour of the artistic treasures of Il Duomo di Milano, Italy's best example of high Gothic architecture, including a visit to the rooftop terrace overlooking the Piazza below and the Italian Alps. Next, we walk to the Biblioteca & Pinoteca Ambrosiana, one of the first libraries in Europe, to see the Codus Atlantis – the real “Da Vinci Code” - the largest collection of original drawings and writings by Leonardo. From the Biblioteca, we take a fascinating walk past Milan’s famous opera house, Teatro La Scala, Leonardo’s Monument and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s first “indoor shopping mall” housed within double arcades, one of Milan’s most notable landmarks. We visit one of Milan’s most extensive painting museums, the nearby Poldi Pezzoli, before lunch and the rest of the afternoon on your own. In the evening, we dine at the well-respected Don Lisander for authentic Milanese cuisine. (If the following optional day in Stresa is not included, this will be the grand Arrivederci Dinner on your last night in Italy.) Stroll the exciting streets of the area and return to the hotel at your leisure.
DAY 8) OPTIONAL DAY: STRESA, LAGO MAGGIORE
(This optional day is included in the 5-star package and may be added to the 4-star package upon request.) Checking out of our Milano hotel, we depart on a beautiful drive along the shores of Lago Maggiore to the town of Stresa. After check-in at the 5-star palace hotel, Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, take the ferry to Isola Bella, to enjoy lunch on your own and shop for artisan wares produced in the Lake Region. Ferry back to the hotel at your leisure and enjoy the magnificence of your surroundings! Then reunite in the Hotel’s amazing restaurant for our gala Arrivederci Dinner.
DAY 8 / 9) DEPART FOR MALPENSA AIRPORT FOR RETURN FLIGHTS
Check out of the hotel very early for the drive to Malpensa Airport and your return flight to the US.