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Tuscan Tour: October 19th-26th, 2015

If you prefer the small group to the large, this tour just might be the best tour of Florence you will ever find.

Other reasons are best stated by Ruth Kirchmeier, West Tisbury artist and art tour participant in October 2014:

“You are in for a feast of the senses. When you travel to Florence with Marsha, you are going with someone who is at ease with the language and the labyrinthine streets, and whose connections there are like her family and so you are warmly welcomed into their lives. Her high card is the fabulous Fabrizio Gori, whose unusual insights on art, architecture, history and culture in Florence are belied by his gentle, wry tone. Did I mention his restaurant is one of the best in the city?”

You will stay in one of two apartments very near to one another, two minutes from Palazzo Pitti and five from Ponte Vecchio. Because they are on a very narrow street behind Via Romana, it is quiet. At one end is the tiny, charming Piazza delle Passera (Plaza of the Sparrows) where you will find the even tinier Cafe degli Artigiani , a lovely place to have your first cappuccino and pasta crema of the day, or perhaps, spremuto, fresh squeezed juice from blood oranges. In the same square can be found home-made gelato in heavenly flavors like blood orange sorbetto and espresso gelato using the same coffee used at the Café degli Artisti across the street. These and three little restaurants are literally 50 feet from your door.

DIY breakfast supplies will be furnished at your apartment and afterwards we meet at a cafe to look at the day’s plan and either follow or amend what has been scheduled.

Typically, I will guide you into town winding around the medieval streets with a museum or church as our destination. After a café or lunch break in town, you have 2 to 3 hours of free time which might be employed in resting on the first day, but is yours to design.

After 2 or 3 days, you will want to explore on your own a bit with the map I will provide for everyone. A city bus pass is part of your packet too. Later we meet for a stroll around the historic neighborhood in which we are staying (called the Oltrarno, other side of the Arno) sometimes with my dear and knowledgeable friend Fabrizio Gori. (Sadly, my dear friend passed away in 2020.)

On other days we will use the whole day to make trips to the exquisite Etruscan hilltop town of Fiesole for a hike through the countryside to the magnificent 350 year old Queen Cypress, as this venerable tree is officially named. Or to the gardens of Villa Peyrun. Or to the Etruscan/Roman ruins. It depends on the group’s choice. What is certain is that we will have a reservation for dinner at Vinandro, a unique little restaurant in Fiesole that prepares Tuscan and Florentine dishes with a seasonal and local menu that changes daily.

We are also invited to Castello Vecchio, a beautiful villa up in the hills above Florence and owned by my gracious friends Manuela and Lucca Brofferrio. They have been supporters of my work in Zambia and when Manuella heard that I was bringing tour groups to Florence to raise money for the AACDP, she offered to open her house and garden to us. It is a rare privilege to enter through those gates!

Come enjoy “la dolce vita” in a way no tourist is able to do. At the same time help me support the Mama Bakhita Center for disabled children in Livingstone, Zambia. It’s all very, very good.

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