This is a proposal for small groups of friends, 1 to 16 people  willing to follow the footsteps of Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio, to put their poetry together with their life, to see where they lived, what inspired them, their passions, where they went, why, a different, interesting,  and  fantastic way to explore Florence and the magnificent Tuscan countryside!

Villa Villoresi- Among the many legends, one says that Gemma Donati, the wife of Dante Alighieri, was received in this villa at the beginning of the poet’s exile. The villa has a garden with a pool and is surrounded by a park, has a well recognized Restaurant specializing in ancient and classic recipes of Florentine cuisine. Oil, Wine, Vegetables, Salads and Herbs from own property. In the summer you can have a snack by the pool and a candlelight dinner in the park! -  It is located 5 miles from the centre of Florence, but seems miles away from the congestion of the city - In 1 hour by car, you can reach the sea, the mountains and small cities, full of art, like: Pistoia, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, San Gimignano, Siena, The Chianti area.

*If you are interested, you can find:

· Short historical- linguistic preliminary · Short biography of Dante and its works

· Short biography of Petrarca and its work · Short biography of Boccaccio and its work

We propose the following excursions, so that you can choose which one you consider more interesting – On  request, we can make reservations for you where needed and give you information about how to reach the different places - You can do these excursions by yourself, with your car, or reserve a guide if you consider it useful or a driver-guide, when you want to relax totally!  

A) 1 full day in the centre of Florence: first a visit to the Stibbert Museum- Mr. Stibbert, an English gentleman who decided to live in Florence, left his home with a charming garden and his very impressive collection of ancient arms and armours, both Florentine and oriental, to the  city of Florence.  After we can start a walking itinerary leading to Dante’s most familiar sites. The House of Dante, was rebuilt after his death. Borgo Santi Apostoli, Via della Ninna, Palazzo Vecchio, where he participated in some communal assemblies, the Bargello, to see his portrait painted by Giotto and much more, we then pass by the Badia Fiorentina where, following the “Vita Nuova” he first met Beatrice Portinari. On to Tornabuoni street, to S. Maria Maggiore, where Brunetto Latini , who thought Dante “come l’uomo s’eterna” (how men will last forever), is buried (Hall XV- 82/85) - Light lunch in town- After the Cathedral, Baptistery, the Bell Tower started by Giotto, Dante’s contemporary (They had great esteem of each other and Dante’s Comedy had an influence on Giotto, as we can see from the frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova) – The “Misericordia” a confraternity taking care of the diseased, founded in Florence in XIII century by Saint  Peter Martyr and still functioning. Light Lunch in town- After you can go to Orsammichele, built by Arnolfo in 1290 as an open gallery for the wheat market, now turned into a church - On the exterior pillar sculptures by Verrocchio, Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Giambologna, inside the famous marble tabernacle by Orcagna (1347-59) and to the Bargello: started in 1255, first the seat of the captain of the people, then in Dante’s times, seat of the podestà, initially he could not be Florentine and could be uncharged only for one year. He was the administrator of Justice and had to control the continuous conflicts . Now it is National Museum, with medieval and Renaissance sculptures, among the many masterpieces, the David by Donatello. A Special Event: face-to-face with Dante! Visit to a private property which holds the first portrait of Dante and Boccaccio, that were traced after many studies and restored in 2005, the frescoes goes back to 1375, Dante died in 1321 and Boccaccio in 1375, Petrarca in 1374, His portrait was also there, but is no longer visible. Possibility of having dinner in the Restaurant where the frescoes are located.

B) 1 full day dedicated to Petrarca: a great humanist, writer and poet. First to Arezzo to see his family home, then, as we cannot follow him all over France and Italy, we will go throughout his city and in the country-side, to admire the magnificent cycle of frescoes of Pier della Francesca at Arezzo, where you can have a light lunch, then to San Sepolcro for the “Resurrection” and to Monterchi for “la Madonna del Parto.

C) 1 full day in Florence following Dante’s foot prints: S.Maria Novella to admire the Christ of Giotto and the Strozzi Chapel and to see Nardo di Cione’s Last Judgment painted following Dante’s pattern and where Dante and Boccaccio are represented among the chosenDante followed with interest  the disputes between the 2 principal religious orders, the Franciscans explaining the doctrine of the mystics and of San Bonaventura- the Dominicans presenting the theories of San Tomas d’Aquino in this Church Then on the other side of the river to see Masolino and Masaccio at the Basilica of S.Maria del Carmine. Light lunch in town before going to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in the world for medieval and Renaissance paintings, to see Cimabue’s Maesta’ that Dante admired so much, his contemporary Giotto and much more! (After Beatrice’s death, his love became inspiration and he started to enter into politics. He was a White Guelph, became “priore” of the Commune of Florence. > Beatrice drawing by Botticelli 

< Cimabue’s Maestà“.   

D) 1 full day dedicated to G.Boccaccio: first to Certaldo Alto, a small town, of Etruscan origin, with the medieval structure intact, to see his family home, now seat of a centre of studies on Boccaccio, then to the church of SS. Jacopo and Filippo, where you will see his portrait by Rustici and his tomb on the floor of the central nave. Then through his familiar street in the Chianti region for a Special Event: visit to the rare oil and wine cellars of a private farm and villa- a light lunch in the farm with local cheeses and specialties, tasting their olive oil and wines. Then back to Florence to see the Church of Santa Croce, a Franciscan basilica, the church of the greats, a symbol of Florence, to see the Peruzzi chapel, the Bardi Chapels decorated by Giotto, all the chapels and the cloister, full of history and art. Dante is in front of the Church and his empty tomb is inside, as he is buried in Ravenna. < illustration of 2 novels of Boccaccio

E) 1 full day excursion to Casentino, Poppi and La Verna:travelling between Pratovecchio and Poppi, we pass in the area of Campaldino, where the bloody battle took place between the Guelph, under the command of Corso Donati with the young Dante in the front line and the Ghibellins under the command of Guido Novello. When Guido realized that the battle was lost he refuged in his castle at Poppi. Poppi is in the centre of an area called Casentino, at 450 mt. of altitude, dominating a magnificent valley, now a National Park, which has remained intact with its natural and artistic beauty. Poppi is a medieval village, one of the rare examples of walled cities, at the top there is the Castle of Count Guidi, work of the famous family of architects Di Cambio and prototype of the Old Palace in Florence. You can visit the Castle, perfectly preserved, inside the “Rilliana” library with hundreds of medieval manuscripts and incunabula-then the Chapel of Count Guidi with a cycle of frescoes attributed to Taddeo Gaddi, disciple of Giotto. Light lunch in Poppi- then we go on to the Sanctuary of La Verna, where Saint Francis received the Stigma, located in the national park of Casentino forests. The combination of history, spirituality, art and nature, make this place unique. The Franciscans as also the Dominicans had been very important in Dante’s life and stimulated his great interest in philosophy.

F) In Florence for 2 special events: first to see the Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte, near the Ponte Vecchio, of very ancient origin, the actual aspect goes back to around 1233 and where Boccaccio, on request of the city, was very proud to give public lectures of the Divina Commedia, shortly before his death.  As we have been speaking of the Bardi family, who were friends of Boccaccio and following their traces in Florence, we go to see Via de’ Bardi, an old street, now with gorgeous palaces and a little church, Santa Lucia de’ Magnoli, built around the 1078 next to the hospital for pilgrims passing by this street and this church, going on to the sacred places in Rome and well known by Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio. In Via de’ Bardi for: 1) Special event:  at the Academy of the Art of Perfumes, in a private Florentine palace in via de’ Bardi, to be seduced by the power of perfume and discover certain scents. Presentation of the Art of Perfumery and a drink with a spectacular view of the city. Possibility of shopping in the palace. 2) In the same street for a Special event: In a gorgeous Villa with a garden and a fantastic view over Florence to see a collection of paintings by Pietro Annigoni and the new Roberto Capucci’s High Fashion Foundation, some of his creations, drawings, true enjoyment!  < Villa Bardini >Santa Lucia de’Magnoli and Via de’ Bardi.

*Later, in the XVI century, Giovanni Bardi from the same family, started to meet with other young people from Florentine aristocracy in his family Palace of Via dei Benci’ to discuss, Music, Literature, Sciences and Arts. Among the participants: Vincenzo Galilei (luthist, father of Galileo, who put into music the Canto of Count Ugolino, from Dante’s Divine Comedy), Corsi, Giulio Caccini, Jacopo Peri, and others. The purpose was to bring the ancient Greek dramaturgy  to splendour, they did not know they were inventing the theatre in Music, the lyric Opera, that had to follow the mood of the personage and have an emotional function.

G) 1 full day excursion to Lucca, Fosdinovo and Portovere, one of the Cinque Terre.
We follow Dante in his exile, stopping in Lucca, of roman origin, with beautiful cathedrals, palaces and the famous walls - then to Fosdinovo, where Dante was received by the Malaspina at the beginning of his exile- Fosdinovo with its intact 14th century aspect at 550 mt. of altitude, dominates a great part of the Tyrrhenian coast and the valley of the river Magra. An ideal position to control completely the area. From here we go to Portovenere, one of the Cinque Terre, for a swim! A gorgeous itinerary through Tuscany.

As “priore” of the Commune of Florence, Dante was sent to Rome with 2 other ambassadors in 1301, to try to convince Pope Bonifacio VIII to leave Florence free, while Carlo D’Angiò, brother of the King of France, was arriving called by the Pope himself. The Pope  kept Dante as a prisoner, so that he would not be in Florence when Carlo arrived and sent back the other ambassadors. Dante had to escape, was accused by opposing factions of corruption and more, they deprived him of all his possessions and exiled him for 2 years, he never came back. He moved to Forli, then to Verona, then in Lunigiana were he was received by the Malaspina at Fosdinovo, then to Ravenna, were he died in 1321.

You will be staying at the Hotel Villa Villoresi:  It’s a special place! Where you will feel at home, enjoying the elegant, relaxing atmosphere of the noble Tuscan country villas!


in Florence, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre

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