Join us on a lovely trip to Italy. Travel with us to Italy as we explore incredible gardens, amazing art and a colorful culture. This is a fabulous opportunity to experience Italy with the companionship of a native Italian guide.
Come and explore fabulous regions of Italy and experience the fruits of the Tuscan sun, the magical hillsides of Cinque Terre, and the colorful and inspiring gardens of these regions. This journey is open to Master Gardeners, their friends, and family who are interested in a fabulous adventure that is filled with artistic wonders, fascinating gardens, magical landscapes, horticultural practices, architectural gems, cultural experiences, and culinary delights!
Everyone we take to Italy falls in love with this splendid country. The people are expressive, the art is exquisite, the architecture is phenomenal, the vineyards and olive groves are filled with tales and history...the entire land is full of hidden treasures.
Logistics Total Inclusive Land Package $3,450 per person (double occupancy)
Pick up and return to Pisa airport
All internal transportation
Meals as listed in itinerary
All entrance fees to listed offerings
Does not include:
Air fare to and from Italy
Some meals as listed
For the first seven nights, your home is an enchanting villa in the heart of Tuscany. It rests on the top of a hill in the Chianti region, about 45 minutes from Florence, in the village of San Quirico in Collina. This beautiful medieval villa with swimming pool is a XIII century Tuscan villa rebuilt in the 18th century entirely made of Florentine-style stone, cured in every minor detail and transformed into a marvelous refuge for lovers of the famous Tuscan landscape.
Your Hostsfor this journey…
Franco was born and raised in Italy and in his heart still considers it his home. He loves sharing his insights and love of this beautiful country. Kay lived and worked in Florence and has wonderful memories of herexperience there. She knows the area very well and has wonderful connections throughout this region.
Our vision is to provide personal growth opportunities for you while you are exploring Italy and to offer experiences that encourage celebration of other cultures. There are so many wonderful things we can all learn from each other as we visit people and places around the world. We provide safe and quality travel that allows you to be in another country not simply as a tourist but more as a compassionate individual interested in connecting with others in the world.
Global Journeys is in partnership with Hidden Treasures Botanical Tours for this journey to Italy. This organization was created by Mary Kroening to offer specialty tours throughout the world, highlighting unique public and private sites not often discovered on the average trip abroad. Mary has over 10 years' experience leading garden tours throughout the world. This journey specializes in revealing the natural beauty, history and culture of Italy. We emphasize custom itineraries, small group sizes and unique, quaint accommodations while traveling with like-minded people.
Day 1 –A day of travel
Day 2 –Arrival in Pisa. You will be picked up at the Pisa airport and taken forty five-minutes away to a remarkable villa with delightful gardens and elegant accommodations. After settling in, you may have a light lunch if your arrival is early enough…then, you may enjoy the grounds, visit the nearby village, take a dip in the pool or just relax and breath in the beauty all around you. A welcome buffet dinner will be served in the evening. This will be your home for seven days, giving you an opportunity to blend in with the local culture. L D
Day 3 –A yoga session is offered in the early morning…an opportunity for newcomers to yoga and seasoned practitioners to experience the benefits and advantages of awakening your body, mindand spirit in a mindful and focused way. Breakfast is then served and shortly after, you are off to visit Villa Gamberia and its baroque style garden.
Though long regarded as one of the most perfect Italian gardens, little is known about its design history. Gamberaia has the simple structure of an early renaissance garden combined with the rich decoration of the mannerist or baroque styles. The long lawn, peopled with statues, is a bowling green. There is a nymphaeum, fountains and a lemon garden. The water parterre was a late nineteenth century addition, by a Serbian princess and her close American friend, Miss Blood. Gamberaia was badly damaged in the second World War but has been restored.
After a Tuscan lunch, you will explore a Medici garden at Villa Reale. Duke Cosimo I, Grand Duke of the Medicis, loved this place. Though a cold, secretive, moody and ruthless despot, Cosimo I was a generous patron of the arts. He employed a sculptor, Niccolò Tribolo, to design the garden. Castello has spacious terraces and a central axis, following Bramante's example. There is a fine grotto set into the garden wall on the main axis. It celebrates Cosimo I's love of hunting. Tribolo's garden sculpture uses an iconographical theme drawn from Ovid's Metamorphosis. It celebrates the greatness of the Medici family. The garden is enclosed by walls, in the manner of a hortus conclusus. A lunette of the garden was painted in 1599, now kept by the Museo Topograpico in Florence, shows the structure of the garden layout much as it is today.B
Day 4 - Yoga, breakfast and Siena! Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill. Siena's cathedral, the Duomo, begun in the twelfth century, is one of the great examples of Italian romanesque architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a Christian cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town square, which houses the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, is another architectural treasure, and is famous for hosting the Palio horse race.
There’s lots to see today, and after lunch you can go to the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Siena (2.5 hectares) This is a botanical garden operated by the SienaUniversity. The garden's history reaches back to 1588 when the university began to raise medicinal herbs. In 1756 the field of herbal studies was supplanted by natural history, and starting in 1759, under the direction of Giuseppe Baldassarri, the garden began to collect uncommon plants. In 1784 the Grand Duke of TuscanyPeter Leopold began university reform, and in a short time the garden's collection grew to contain more than a thousand new plants, many from abroad. Its first published record (the Seminum Index Siena) listed some 900 species, including several hundred from outside Italy. In 1856 the garden moved to its present location. B D
Day 5 – After the morning offerings of Yoga and breakfast you are escorted to the inspiring city of Florence.
Today, after lunch, you also get to visit the BoboliGardens. The Boboli Gardens, in Italian Giardino di Boboli, form a famous park in Florence, Italy, that is home to a distinguished collection of sculptures dating from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, with some Roman antiquities.
The Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace, the main seat of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany at Florence, are some of the first and most familiar formal sixteenth century Italian gardens. The mid-16th century garden style, as it was developed here, incorporated longer axial developments, wide gravel avenues, a considerable "built" element of stone, the lavish employment of statuary and fountains, and a proliferation of detail, coordinated in semi-private and public spaces that were informed by classical accents: grottos, nympheums, garden temples and the like. The openness of the garden, with an expansive view of the city, was unconventional for its time. Dinner will be provided for you at one of the local "Trattorias". B D
Day 6- After the morning offerings you get to experience the intriguing villages of San Gimignano and Volterra.
San Gimignano, the walled city of beautiful towers rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the ElsaValley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes.
Volterra stands on a rocky hill some 1770 feet above the sea level, located between the rivers Bra and Cecina, and is surrounded by strong walls. The district is rich in alabaster, the working of which was an important industry of the city, and in mineral waters, such as those of S. Felice and the Moie, or salt springs. Still more important are the Soffoni of Larderello, from which boric acid is extracted, the sulphur lake of Monterotondo, the copper springs of Caporciano, and the baths of Montecatini.
In addition to exploring these villages, you have an opportunity to learn more about an important product of the region by visiting one of the producers of:
SAFFRON (Crocus sativa). The cultivation of saffron is steeped in ancient history. Many documents testify how intensely important the cultivation of this product was in the Middle Ages and continues to be today. The purest saffron of Saint Gimignano is cultivated with natural methods that exclude any use of chemical products in every phase of the cultivation. B
Day 7 –The marvelous Chianti region!!The Chianti region is known for its beauty and irresistible fascination. Only the most discerning and expert sightseer can discover its hidden, important treasures. Every bend is filled with history, anecdotes and legends without which this important land would perhaps not be appreciated today. Today you get to explore vineyards, olive groves, castles, and wineries. You will meet some of the local people involved in growing grapes and olives and you’ll visit a cantina…a full day exploring the countryside! Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included on this day. B L D
Day 8 - After our morning offerings, you have a selection of opportunities from which to choose. You may visit one of the local ceramic factories near Florence, you may tour a candle making operation and you may explore two fascinating gardens: The Medici Fiesole Garden and the La Pietra Garden
This Medici Villa has gracious terraces, cut into a stony hillside. There are panoramic views of the River Arno and Florence. Sites for earlier villas had been chosen because they were easy to defend, or because of their rich agricultural surroundings. Giovanni de Medici, Cosimo's overweight, libidinous, cultured and favourite son was a child of the renaissance. He cared for art, music and beautiful views. Michelozzo Michelozzi designed the villa. After Giovanni's early death, it was inherited by Cosimo's grandson, Lorenzo the Magnificent. As it is, the terraces have lawns and are shaded by paulownias. Paths are lined with lemon trees, brought out in the summer, and with geranium-filled terracotta pots. There is a secret garden (giardino segreto) which has wonderful views, to aid one's contemplation.
THE LA PIETRA GARDEN is one of the most celebrated in Italy. A Renaissance revival garden, it reflects the tastes of the large Anglo-American community that lived in Florence at the turn of the nineteenth century. Laid out by the Actons between 1908 and the early 1930s, it drew its inspiration from the sixteenth century gardens of Florence. One of its special features is its numerous statues (there are over 180 of them), ranging in date from Roman times through the 17th Century and including 19th Century copies. As Harold Acton points out in his Memoirs of an Aesthete (1948) the garden of an Italian villa constitutes the natural extension of the house: at Villa La Pietra the sequence of rooms in the house and garden is developed on two perpendicular axes and provides unexpected views in all directions, both indoors and out. Such vistas, many formal in composition, others occurring almost as happy accidents are often made up of combinations of objects, of varying age, made of contrasting materials, colors, forms and styles which perfectly illustrate the eclectic taste prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. B
Day 9 - You leave Tuscany this morning and after breakfast we travel to Pisa.
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the Arno River on the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. The city is known worldwide for its famous bell tower. Pisa's origins are unknown. The city lies at the junction of two rivers, Arno and Auser (now disappeared) in the Ligurian Sea forming a laguna area.
You have time in Pisa to visit the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the museum, the shops in the piazza, and have lunch there.
You may also visit the botanical gardens of Pisa. The Orto botanico di Pisa, is a botanical garden operated by the Pisa. The garden was established in 1544 under Cosimo I de' Medici as the first university botanical garden in Europe, and entrusted to the famous botanist Luca Ghini of Imola. In 1563 the garden was relocated from its original riverside location (now the Medicean Arsenal) to one near the convent of Santa Marta, and in 1591 again moved to its third and current location. From these early times, the garden has contained a gallery of natural objects (now Pisa's Museo di Storia Naturale), a library (now part of the university library), and portraits of its directors throughout the centuries. It also includes one of the earliest iron-framed hothouses built in Italy.
In the afternoon we arrive in Monterosso, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre. After settling in at your hotel you can go for a walk on the beach, explore the village and get ready for a delicious dinner by the sea. A stroll after dinner along the seashore is always a great way to conclude the day.B
Day 10 -The Cinque Terre are five coastal villages in the provence of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all encapsulated in a national park by the same name. You have a choice of walking the revitalizing pathways that connect all the villages, you can catch a local train that serves all five, you may take a boat between them or do a combination of all of these.
There are well-laid out walking trails connecting each village to its neighbors. The path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell'Amore. This picturesque trail winds along the shore, varying in nature and terrain. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia is also easy to hike, although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 stairs. The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza is steep at certain places. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is by far the steepest. It winds through olive orchards and vineyards and is rough in places, but offers the best view of the bay and the spectacular approaches to both Monterosso and Vernazza.
A gorgeous park and botanical gardens are also awaiting your visit today in Genova. The Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini is a villa with notable 19th century park in the English romantic style and a botanical garden. The villa now houses the Museo di Archeologia Ligure, and is located at Via Pallavicini, 13, immediately next to the train station in Pegli, a suburb of Genoa, Italy.
The estate was begun in the late 17th century by Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi, who established the Giardino botanico Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi at that time. Today's remarkable park was created by her nephew Ignazio Alessandro Pallavicini after he inherited the property. B
For most of us, tonight may be our last group night together. So, after dinner plan on joining us at the hotel lounge to complete the journey. We'll spend some social time reminiscing and wrapping up our experience. If you are not ready to leave this beautiful country quite yet, you may choose an extension to this journey. For information on what is available as an extension, scroll down for details...
Day 11 - Those of you who are returning home will be taken to the Pisa Airport for final farewells and a safe journey home. Those choosing to continue with us...After breakfast, we are off to Modena and to the Queen of the Adriatic, Venice.
Deposits, Refunds and Support
Airfare Support: If you would like assistance with booking an air fare, call: Global Journeys @ 516 343 3210 and we will be happy to assist in any way we can. Cost: $3,450 per participant (double occupancy)
Deposits and Payments: A $500 deposit will hold your place. Half of the remaining balance is due 60 days prior to departure, and the final balance is due 45 days prior to departure. Please note: If paying by credit card, a one time processing fee of $50 will be charged to the credit card.
Cancellations and Refunds: A $300 per person cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations received 60 days or more prior to departure. A 50% cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations received between 45 - 59 days prior to departure. A 100% cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations received 44 or fewer days prior to departure.
Travel Package: Upon registration you will receive a travel package including information on: a suggested packing list, baggage allowance, credit cards, customs, passport information and other details.
To register or for more information, you may call us at 516 343-3210 e-mail us at: email@example.com or fill out the form below and send it to us
Day 11 -If you are extending your journey with us, one of the possibilities is to leave these seaside gems and head towards the Queen of the Adriatic, Venice. Along the way we stop for lunch in Modena. Well known for its True Balsamic Vinegar, Modena has been producing this “aceto degli angeli”. vinegar of the angels, since the Middle Ages. We’ll take a little time to visit an Acetaria, to learn about the production of this sweet, fragrant elixir.
Arrival in Venice in the afternoon is always memorable. It’s difficult to describe the magic and intrigue that is present as you enter the canals and are surrounded by rich history, majestic architecture and mystical energy. After you check in to the hotel and settle in, you go on a gondola ride through the captivating canals and spend the evening after dinner listening to music in Saint Mark’s Square, walking the entwining pathways, or you may choose to attend one of the concerts…an evening in Venice is always inspiring.B L
Day 12 – After breakfast at your quaint Venetian hotel, you have a full day in Venice…enjoy, explore, eat, drink, and immerse yourself in the charm and culture of this amazing city.
Venice is built on one hundred and seventeen small islands, and holds one hundred and fifty canals, connected by an amazing four hundred and nine bridges, of which only three cross the main canal. However, Venice isn’t all cities and crowded streets. Through the mysterious alleyways leading off from the city, endless mazes of backstreets and deserted squares,you'll find that this city is a perfect place to walk for hours on end, pretending to know where you are.
In addition to the well known sites such as the Basilica of San Marco, Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto (the oldest church in Venice), Palazzo Pisani , St. Mark’s Square, Collezione Peggy Guggenheim (Peggy Guggenheim Collection), and many others, you may also visitthe Public Gardens of Venice or the Gardens of the island of St. Elena…a peaceful green refuge. B
If you are interested in adding Venice to your journey, or you would like to discuss other possible trip extensions, please call us at 516 343-3210 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org