Thursday, September 20. (D*) DEPART FOR FLORENCE
Depart this evening aboard any airline of your choice to Florence, Italy. Dinner and light breakfast served on the plane.
Friday, September 21. (B) FLORENCE
Independent arrival at Florence International Airport. Take a taxi to the centrally located deluxe HOTEL HELVETIA - BRISTOL, where we stay four nights. We will reimburse you the taxi fare.
This evening we will see the opera La Traviata by Verdi at Teatro del Maggio Florentino. Briefing and welcome dinner before the opera.
FLORENCE is one of the world’s greatest artistic capitals and a testament to the Italian capacity for genius. The city was the cradle of the civilization which nurtured the humanistic movement and the Renaissance in the first half of the 15 C. In March of 1436, the architect-engineer genius Filiippo Brunelleschi completed building the stupendous dome of the Cathedral out of a double layer of brickwork.Today the multi-colored Cathedral is breathtaking, next to the marble-clad Baptistry with its famous guilded bronze doors.
Saturday, September 22. (B). FLORENCE
Morning sightseeing of this city dense with art and culture will include the Piazza del Duomo close to our hotel. You will see Brunelleschi’s Cathedral with the largest dome in the world, even today, built with bricks and mortar. Across from it is the Baptistry with its famous bronze doors with relief sculptures. The east door is renowned as the Gates of Paradise. This afternoon you will visit Uffizi Museum with its fabulous collection of ancient fine art where you can spend hours on your own to see Botlicelli’s Birth of Venus, Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, and Peter Paul Ruben’s Pursues Freeing Andromeda. This evening we will see the opera Il Trovatore by Verdi at the Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino.
Sunday, September 23. (B,D). FLORENCE
Morning sightseeing includes a walk over Ponte Vecchio and cross the river Arno to see Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. Afternoon free. Gala Dinner at a gourmet restaurant.
Monday, September 24. (B) FLORENCE
Today is free to stroll around the city squares to see copies of various sculptures in open-air or visit any of so many fine museums of Florence.
Tuesday, September 25. (B,D). FLORENCE - BOLOGNA
This morning we drive north to Bologna where we stay two nights at the centrally located deluxe HOTEL BAGLIONI. Afternoon sightseeing of this city, built predominantly of red bricks, to include Piazza Major, Neptune’s Fountain, the Basilica of San Potronio and the two very tall leaning towers rising above the old buildings nearby. Dinner at a gourmet restaurant.
BOLOGNA is one of Italy’s oldest cultural cities. The Etruscans settled it before the Romans got there in 189 BC, followed by barbaric tribes, the Huns and the Lombards. Europe’s oldest university was founded here in 1088 and it had the honor of having the first woman as a professor. She was so beautiful that she lectured from behind a screen so as not to distract the students.
Wednesday, September 26. (B). RAVENNA - BOLOGNA
A full-day excursion will be made to visit Ravenna. Among the eight early Christian monuments of the city on the World Heritage List. We will see the most beautiful of them decorated in gold-plated colored ceramic tiles are the Basilica Placidia of San Vitale, Arian Baptistry and the museum of Gaila Placidia. We will also visit the tomb of the great Italian poet Dante, who came here after he was banned from Florence.
Thursday, September 27. (B). BOLOGNA - PARMA
This morning we drive north to Parma where we stay four nights at the centrally located HOTEL STENDAL. This afternoon we do an orientation sightseeing tour by foot. Near our hotel are the Romanesque Cathedral with a fresco masterpiece on the ceiling by Corregio and the octagonal Baptistry with a facade of pink Verona Marble and its beautifully painted ceiling. This evening we will see the opera Macbeth by Verdi at Teatro Regio.
PARMA was founded by the Etruscans in 525 BC. It became a roman station on Via Emilia in 183 BC and flourished under the French Bourbon rulers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today it is famous for its prosciutto (ham), cheese, architecture, music and the surrounding countryside. The most famous person in the musical world we know of, Arturo Toscanini was born here in 1867.
Friday, September 28. (B). VERDI SITES - PARMA
This morning we drive west to see Verdi sites, in Roncole where he was born, Busseto where he grew up and Saint ‘ Agata where he built an elegant home with extensive ground where he planted exotic trees. This evening we will see Un giorno di region, the second opera written by Verdi at Teatro Verdi in Busseto,
Saturday, September 29. (B). PARMA
Morning sightseeing of the Arturo Toscanini Museum to see exhibits of his early life in Parma, his conducting career in Italy and many letters he received including one from Prof. Albert Einstein. This afternoon we see the opera Le Truvere by Verdi at Teatro Regio.
Sunday, September 30. (B,D). PARMA
Morning is free to take in the National Gallery of Parma with its fine arts collection of printings by Canaletto, Corregio, Leonardo da Vinci, Tintoretto and others, or see other palaces. This afternoon we will see the opera Attila by Verdi at Teatro Regio. Gala Farewell Dinner at a gourmet restaurant.
Monday, October 01. (B). PARMA - BOLOGNA - BACK HOME
We transfer you from Parma to the Bologna International Airport for your flight back home. Arrividerci. See you soon on another H.A.T. Tour.