In the Footsteps of Michelangelo
Follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo from Bologna to Arezzo and Florence to Carrara, before culminating in the eternal city of Rome, home to his most treasured works.
Considered by some to be the greatest artist who ever lived, gain a deep understanding of the revered Michelangelo’s life and enduring legacy. Retrace his artistic journey from his birthplace near Arezzo, to Florence, where his iconic Renaissance masterpieces are held in the Accademia and the Uffizi galleries.
End your journey in Rome to see the mature Michelangelo’s remarkable triumphs of architecture, sculpture and painting.
This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.
Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qantas/Emirates flights to Bologna via Dubai. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Arrive in Bologna in the early afternoon on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel.
In the afternoon, attend a welcome briefing followed by a special welcome dinner with your tour leader, Lorraine, and fellow travellers.
This morning, enjoy a talk by Lorraine before beginning your exploration of Bologna on a walking tour of the main sights of the city. Commencing in the heart of the city at historic Piazza Maggiore, the main city square was founded between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries and is flanked by the Renaissance Palazzo dei Banchi and Palazzo d’Accursio. Visit the Basilica di San Petronio, a church dedicated to the patron saint of the city and which remained unfinished from its beginning in 1390 until its consecration in 1954. Also enjoy a visit to the 16th century Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio. Commissioned by Pope Pius IV, the building was designed as a place where the Legisti (law) and Artisti (philosophy, mathematics, medicine, natural sciences and physics) schools could be hosted together as one university.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the National Art Gallery of Bologna, which houses numerous Renaissance works including Raphael’s “The Ecstasy of St Cecilia,” before returning to the hotel. Dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant.
Today, check out of the hotel and enjoy a scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Lucca. The city predates the Roman era to the time of Etruscan civilisation, and was once the second largest city in Italy, surpassed only by Venice. The city still follows the Roman grid street layout and played host to the Lucca Conference of 56BC, in which Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus reaffirmed their political alliance known as the First Triumvirate.
Arrive in Lucca in the late morning for a walking tour to see the sights of this historic city including the Renaissance-era city walls, which are some of the most intact in Italy.
After lunch, continue to the town of Montecatini Terme and check in to the hotel. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
This morning, enjoy a talk by Lorraine before a picturesque drive to the town of Portovenere in the province of Liguria, gateway to the renowned Cinque Terra region. On arrival, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a short walk to enjoy the sights of this picturesque town.
In the afternoon, visit the marble quarries of Carrara. In use since the times of ancient Rome, marble from this location was used in both Trajan’s Column and the Pantheon in Rome. Michelangelo personally selected his own marble from Carrara to be used in his masterpieces in sculpture.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and travel to Caprese, the birthplace of Michelangelo, enjoying views of the stunning Italian countryside en route. On arrival, pause to enjoy a coffee and appreciate the surrounds of this small village, located in the High Tiber Valley.
Continue to Arezzo, and enjoy a walking tour through the streets of the city, which dates back before the Romans to the time of the Etruscan civilisation. An independent province since the eleventh century, Arezzo was subsumed by Florence under the Medici. It was during this period that Piero della Francesca worked in the Church of San Francesco di Arezzo, producing the splendid frescoes that are now Arezzo’s most famous works.
Arrive in Florence in the mid-afternoon. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel restaurant.
In the morning, enjoy a talk by Lorraine, followed by a guided tour of the Bargello Museum. One of the oldest buildings in Florence and formerly the residence of the head of police, its walls have witnessed many episodes in the civic history of the city. Today, the Bargello houses works by Renaissance painters including the “David of Donatello” and numerous works by Michelangelo.
Then, visit the Church of Orsanmichele. Once a former grain market, it was converted and used as a chapel to Florence’s powerful craft and trade guilds. The church is adorned with Renaissance sculptures of Brunelleschi, di Banco and Donatello. Visit the crown jewel of Florence, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore. Affectionately known by the locals as Duomo, the church is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
After lunch, enjoy a private guided tour of the Museo dell’Opere del Duomo. The museum houses many of the original Renaissance works commissioned for the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore including the original doors of the Baptistery by Lorenzo Giberti. Once known as only the “East Door”, the gates were given their more fitting name of “The Gates of Paradise” by Michelangelo due to their striking beauty.
This morning, enjoy a guided tour of one of the most celebrated galleries of Renaissance art in Europe, the Uffizi Gallery. Open to visitors since the sixteenth century, the gallery contains key works by Raphael, da Vinci and Caravaggio as well as Sandro Botticelli’s most famous work, “The Birth of Venus”, and Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo”.
Then, enjoy a guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio. Located in Piazza della Signoria, it is now the town hall of Florence. It was originally designed in 1299 as a palace that would be worthy of the importance of the city. The Salone dei Cinquecento once contained fresco sketches by Michelangelo and painted frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci.
After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the Pitti Palace. Built in the fifteenth century, the palace became the official residence of the Medici family, and today houses a number of Florence’s museums. After the tour, wander the beautiful Boboli Gardens, which form part of the Pitti Palace complex.
Today journey to the medieval town of Siena. Enjoy a walking tour of the main sights of the city followed by a visit to Siena cathedral. The cathedral was originally designed in the thirteenth century and is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. It contains works by Renaissance artists including Donatello’s “The Feast of Herod” as well as four statues by Michelangelo.
Return to Florence in the late afternoon.
Start the day with a view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo in which stands a copy of David, followed by a guided tour of the Brancacci Chapel. The Brancacci Chapel contains Renaissance frescoes by Filippo Lippi and Masaccio, the latter of which were copied by Michelangelo while receiving his artistic training. Continue to the Basilica of San Spirito, a pre-eminent example of Renaissance architecture and which contains numerous works of Renaissance art including a crucifix sculpted by Michelangelo. Delight in a guided tour of the basilica and its artistic masterpieces.
Enjoy lunch in Settignano, a hillside town which produced many Renaissance sculptors and in which Michelangelo lived with another sculptor and his wife in a farmhouse, now known as Villa Michelangelo.
After lunch, pay homage to the great artist at the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce, Michelangelo’s final resting place.
Start the day with a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia, housing the “David”, arguably the most well-known of all works by Michelangelo, as well as the “Slaves”, a collection of deliberately unfinished sculptures. These sculptures are not only some of the finest examples of Michelangelo’s habitual working practices, but are also emblematic of the struggle of man to free the spirit from matter.
Continue with a short guided tour of the Laurentian Library, which houses over 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 books. The library, designed by Michelangelo, was the private collection of the Medici and was meant to illustrate to the masses that the family were no longer just merchants, but rather members of intellectual society.
Then, enjoy a guided tour of the Tombs of the Medici, with sculptures carved by Michelangelo. The tombs were built as an extension of Brunelleschi’s fifteenth century Basilica of San Lorenzo and celebrate the Medici, who were patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscany.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and travel through the scenic Chianti region to enjoy lunch at the Renaissance Villa Vignamaggio. The villa is fabled to be the home of Mona Lisa, the woman in the painting of the same name by Leonardo da Vinci.
After lunch, continue to Rome, arriving in the early evening.
This morning, enjoy a talk by Lorraine, followed by a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the only example of a Gothic architecture church in Rome and which contains Michelangelo’s “Christ the Redeemer.” Then, enjoy a guided tour of San Pietro in Vincoli, a minor basilica made famous as the home of Michelangelo’s statue of Moses.
After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the museums of the Piazza Campidoglio. The piazza design was created by Michalangelo. The museums contain many statues that date to the era of ancient Rome, including that of the Capitoline Wolf, Riva Shiva, nursing the twins Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of the city.
In the morning, enjoy a talk by Lorraine followed by a morning at leisure.
In the afternoon, visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which is built beside the ruined frigidarium of the baths of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The church was constructed in the sixteenth century following an original design by Michelangelo. Then, visit the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria to view Bernini’s masterpiece “Ecstasy of St Theresa”.
In the morning, enjoy a guided tour of the Galleria Borghese, which houses masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini and Canova, to name just a few. Formerly the Villa Borghese, it was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, and taking his lead from the sketches of Scipione Borghese, who used it as a villa suburbana, a country villa at the edge of Rome.
Early this morning travel to the Vatican for exclusive access to join the key holder in the opening of each of the successive doors to the Vatican Museums finishing with Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel.
Painted under the patronage of Pope Julius II, the chapel ceiling changed the course of Western art and is considered a major accomplishment of human civilisation. Today the chapel plays host to the conclave of cardinals, the process by which a new pope is elected.
Enjoy a guided tour of other works in the Vatican Museums before a visit to St Peter’s Basilica to view another of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, “The Pieta”. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the Basilica of St Peter is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. After viewing the interior of the basilica, ascend to the dome for a panoramic view of the city.
Return to the hotel in the early afternoon. This evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner with Lorraine and fellow travellers.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements including additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
Monday 24 February 2020
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness levels definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for Italy.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally located four-star superior hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner); wines with meals
- Lectures and talks by your tour leader, Lorraine Kypiotis
- Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Airport porterage
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, room service, etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your agent for assistance)
Bologna – Royal Carlton Hotel****
Montecatini Terme – Hotel Croce di Malta****
Florence – Grand Hotel Cavour****
Rome – Hotel Ponte Sisto****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.