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Honeymoons and weddings abroad are tailor-made by Expressions Holidays. Contact us for a range of honeymoon and wedding destinations around the world and an amazing choice of honeymoons from island-hopping to visiting cultural sites.

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Tailor-made journeys and tours for individuals and small groups to selected destinations around the world from Burma to Italy, from Vietnam to India.
  • In the footsteps of the Medicis

    Villa Medici

    Statue of Cosimo I.

    Statue of Moses by Michelangelo

    Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici

    Villa la Massa, Candeli


    In the footsteps of the Medicis

    It is impossible to understand Florence, even as we see the city today, without knowing something of the history of the Medici family, a wealthy banking family who enabled Florence to flourish from the 15th Century under the leadership of Cosimo the Elder and then Lorenzo the Magnificent, both benefactors to scholars and artists. With this holiday we guide you to places both in the city itself and suggest you visit some of the numerous Medici villas in the countryside around Florence. The architectural period stretches from the mid 15th Century to the end of the 16th Century.


    Arrive Florence

    Arrive by air either into Pisa or Florence. Collect your hire-car and drive to your hotel, the Villa la Massa, on the banks of the Arno just outside the city of Florence. This will be your base for the four nights of your stay. It’s easy enough to drive from here to the Medici villas around Florence but you can use the hotel’s shuttle service for trips into Florence itself.

    Visit Florence

    Make the most of the shuttle service from the Villa la Massa to the centre of Florence. This is a full day to explore the Medici palaces and associated buildings in the centre of the city. The obvious starting point is the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, designed for Cosimo the Elder by Michelozzo and dating from 1444. This was the first Renaissance palace to be built in Florence. It was altered in 1517 by Michelangelo when two ‘kneeling’ windows were added. A glorious highlight of the palace today is the Chapel frescoed in 1459 by Benozzo Gozzoli, representing the Procession of the Magi. From here it is a short walk to the Church of San Lorenzo, begun by Brunelleschi in 1420 and the Medici parish church. Within the same complex are the Medici Chapels housing the Medici tombs, partly the work of Michelangelo. Whilst on the northern side of the Arno, visit the Bargello, once a police station and prison for the Medicis and now a national museum displaying sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatallo. Crossing the Arno, you find the Palazzo Pitti. Originally built for the Pitti family in the second half of the 15th Century, it was acquired in 1550 by Eleonora, the wife of the Grand Duke Cosimo I. Its interior illustrates the domestic life of the family during the 16th Century. Today the palace houses several museums and galleries including the Palatine Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Porcelain Museum and the Costume Gallery. (N.B. Museums and monuments in Florence rotate their closing day so that not all are closed on a Monday any more).

    The Medici villas at Poggio a Caiano and Artimino

    Today we suggest you visit two of the Medici villas to the west of Florence; the villa at Poggio a Caiano and the villa at Artimino. The Poggio a Caiano villa, one of the most interesting building projects of the early Renaissance, was begun in 1485 for Lorenzo the Magnificent. This construction presents many features of the new Renaissance architectural idea, particularly drawing from classical buildings and Roman villas. An open loggia on the ground floor reveals a new attitude towards nature. The villa’s central hall is decorated with frescoes carried out between 1519 and 1521, according to the wishes of Pope Leo X (the son of Lorenzo the Magnificent). The Villa Medicea at Artimino dates from a century later; it was completed between 1596 and 1600 and was commissioned by Ferdinand I as a hunting lodge. The simple exterior style is that of a castle-fortress with four jutting corners but it is also known at the ‘villa of the hundred chimneys’ due to the presence of numerous chimneys, visible on the roof. There is a hotel and restaurant at Artimino so it’s worth arranging the timings to be here for lunch. In the afternoon, perhaps return to the Villa la Massa to relax or venture back into Florence for further exploration.

    Fiesole, la Petraia and Pratolino

    The Villa Medici at Fiesole dates from the mid 15th Century and was commissioned by Cosimo the Elder. Michelozzo designed the villa, unusual for the time, as a home without a connection to a working farm. It was inherited by Lorenzo and it became a meeting place for men of letters. Further north you have the Villa at Pratolino, built for the Grand Duke Francesco from 1569-1581 and which fell into ruin and was demolished in 1820. The gardens are noteworthy being in the English style. Nearby is the villa at La Petraia, transformed from country home into a princely residence by the Grand Duke Ferdinand in 1587. Today it is a charming villa but commanding stunning views from its terraces over its gardens and the valley.

    Depart Florence

    Depending on your flight time, there might be some free time for some last-minute sightseeing in Florence. Return your hire-car at the airport.

    Prices from about £1,250 per person.

    We include:
    • British Airways flights London to Pisa or Florence return.
    • Four nights’ bed and breakfast at Villa la Massa, Candeli in a deluxe room
    • Hire of a group B car for the duration of the holiday

    Special offer
    One free night for stays all year is offered.

    In the Footsteps of the Medicis Map
  • Cultural Breaks in Italy

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    Explore modern and historic Italy with one of our specially-designed cultural breaks in Italy.

    For the Love of the Automobile

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    Tour through Turin, Modena, and Milan as you visit the most prestigious car museums in Italy.

    In the Footsteps of Michelangelo

    Featured Holidays Thumbnail
    Visit key examples of Michelangelo's work in Rome and Florence.

    In the Footsteps of Palladio

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    Visit the best of Palladio's work in the Veneto.
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  • Holidays of the Month

  • Italy

    Find out more about Italy

    Italy FAST FACTS

    There is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.30)
    Italy is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide
    60 million
    Average temperature
    Italy's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps
    National holidays in Italy
    Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days:
    1 January
    6 January (Epiphany)
    Easter Monday
    25 April (Liberation Day)
    1 May (Labour Day)
    15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
    1 November (All Saints)
    8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
    Christmas Day
    Boxing Day
    There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.


    • Rail holidays

      Rail holidays and train journeys, tailor-made.

    • Garden holidays

      Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups

    • Family holidays

      Visit our selection of tailor-made family holidays to selected hotels and resorts around the world.

    • Cookery holidays

      Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy

    • Spa holidays

      Rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing, good for the body and the soul; spa and well-being worldwide

    • Authentic experiences

      Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.

    • Worldwide journeys

      Luxury tours for individuals around the world


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