Phone us  01392 441245  |  E-news sign up
Honeymoons
& weddings
  
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.
Authentic
Experiences
  

With Authentic Experiences from Expressions Holidays you enter a world of genuine holiday and travel experiences within the framework of one of our tailor-made holidays, be its significance culture, gastronomy, wine appreciation, wildlife, sports or special occasions.
Spa
holidays
  

Expressions Spas opens a world of tailor-made spa holidays that allows you to choose according to region, type of treatment desired, product type and recommends for your party type, whether it be for couples, singles or perhaps mothers and daughters travelling together.
Family
holidays
  

Expressions Families affords you an amazing choice of sophisticated resorts ideally suited to families in selected destinations worldwide. You can also choose according to required facilities in resort and we suggest holidays for families with grandparents and single parent families too.
Rail
holidays
  

Expressions Holidays offers you tailor-made rail holidays and journeys by train, including luxury trains, scenic journeys and classic rail tours.
Worldwide
journeys
  

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

    Florence

    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.

    DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

    DAY ONE
    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.

    DAY TWO
    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).

    DAY THREE
    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.

    DAY FOUR
    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.

    DAY FIVE
    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 £1,050 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

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

    For the Love of the Automobile

    Featured Holidays Thumbnail
    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

    Featured Holidays Thumbnail
    Visit the best of Palladio's work in the Veneto.
    • BOOK NOW

      Complete a simple booking form and e-mail it to us.

    • CALL US 01392 441245

      We are open Mon-Fri 9-17.30 Sat 9.30-16.00.

    • WE'LL CALL YOU

      Let us know a convenient time to call you back to discuss your holiday.

  • REQUEST BROCHURE

  • Holidays of the Month

  • Italy

    Find out more about Italy

    Italy FAST FACTS

    Capital
    Rome
    Airport
    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.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.30)
    Size
    Italy is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide
    Population
    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.

  • OUR HOLIDAYS

    • 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

LATEST NEWS

  • BA flights to the Seychelles

    Find out more Read more

  • BTA 2017 Silver Winner

    Silver winner at British Travel Awards 2017

    Find out more Read more

  • New wine tours in Italy

    New wine tours in Italy for 2018 - Tuscany and Sicily in addition to Piemonte

    Find out more Read more

  • 101 Things to do at Nisbet Plantation

    Enjoy adventurous exploration, indulgent relaxation, intriguing culture and history, authentic Creole food, and thrilling sports, all as part of a stay at Nisbet Plantation.

    Find out more Read more

  • Garden Tour Updates

    New gardens and villas added to our Italian Garden Tour Holidays.

    Find out more Read more

  • Verona Opera 2018 Programme

    The performance and dates for the 2018 Verona Opera Festival have been released, and we have begun taking bookings.

    Find out more Read more

  • Living Retreats at Blue Waters brand-new wellness programme

    In partnership with Living Retreats, Blue Waters in Antigua is launching a brand-new wellness programme that focuses on retreating, rebalancing, and recharging.

    Find out more Read more

  • New Swiss Rail Tours

    Exciting developments to our Swiss programme have lead to many more personalised rail holiday options.

    Find out more Read more