Gallieo and Gardens Tour of Italy
Group or Private
This tour features gardens in Rome, Siena, Florence and also shows off some of the amazing museums and monuments along the way. Travel at your own pace and forget about the details because they have all been handled for you. Want to change this tour to include a different city or route; no problem just ask and we will create a custom garden focused tour just for you.
Day 1 - Rome
You set your own departure date; we handle all the details.
Arrival in Rome Fiumicino. Pick up by your private driver and transfer to Rome. Accommodations at your hotel centrally located. Afternoon at your leisure for resting and relaxing with a walk-in centre. Overnight stay.
Day 2 - Rome
Breakfast at the Hotel. Guided tour of the often overlooked “gem” churches of Rome. Later afternoon guided trip to the Galleria Borghese and its world-famous collection of paintings, sculptures, mosaics and bas-reliefs, mainly from 15th to 18th century. Stroll the villa’s extensive baroque gardens. Galileo seminar I. Free for the remainder of the day.
Day 3 - Siena
The Hermitage has stood there for many years, rejected, forgotten and neglected, closed even to the visits of those who knew of its secret existence.
When the Moricciani family became owners of the property, in 1993, they decided to save and restore it, so that it could be enjoyed by all those who love these mysterious places. They gathered all the information they could find about this amazing rocky structure dug out of the sandstone bank underneath the church of Santa Catarina, in order to make this available to visitors.It has stood there for centuries, a place chosen by the pious to live a solitary life devoted to penitence and prayer, but the idea that it might be an ancient Etruscan tomb used again and again over the centuries as a hermitage makes this visit unique and exciting. The shaft of light slanting through the narrow windows of the cell emphasises the outlines and folds of the garments, creating an atmosphere of an oriental altar. The whole ambience, with its play of light and shadow and its mysterious angles, impresses and fascinates the visitor, who finds himself in a place deeply permeated with the sacred and mysterious.
Day 4 - Siena
Galileo Seminar III and dinner. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 5 - Siena
Day 6 - Florence
Breakfast and depart to Florence. Lunch on your own. Afternoon at leisure for individual activities, shopping and exploring the town.Trek to Piazzale Michelangelo. Stroll the main street and ancient Arcetri in the hills overlooking Florence and location of Convent of St Matteo, home of Galileo’s daughter Maria Celeste. Dinner at the Ristorante Omero, across the street from “Il Giollo”, Galileo’s last house. Overnight stay in Florence .
Day 7 - Florence
Day 8 - Florence
Breakfast and self guided visit to gardens in Villa La Pietra and Villa Le Balze in Fiesole. In the afternoon time for visiting the gardens of Villa Medici. This Medici Villa has gracious terraces, as Alberti recommended, 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. Had it been built 50 years earlier, the garden would surely have been enclosed in the medieval way. Had it been made 50 years later, the terraces would have been joined with great flights of steps in Bramante’s manner. 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. Originally, the upper terrace is likely to have been used as an extension of the house. The lower terrace was probably a vegetable garden. There is a secret garden (giardino segreto) which has wonderful views, to aid one’s contemplation. Cosimo’s Platonic Academy moved here, from Careggi. Horace Walpole’s sister added the coach driveway in the eighteenth century and an English architect designed the box parterres in the twentieth century. Galileo Seminar V
Day 9 - Florence
Breakfast and depart for Pisa. Guided visit of the city and birthplace of Galileo by Prof. Shore of the University of Pisa. Walk to Piazza dei Miracoli with the leaning tower and the beautiful Cathedral and Baptistery.
Back to Florence on your own. overnight stay.
Day 10 - Castle Gandolfo
Breakfast and depart for Rome area . Stop at the famous Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo. The park of Monsters of Bomarzo was devised by the architect Pirro Ligorio (he completed the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Rome after the death of Michelangelo and built Villa d’Este in Tivoli) on commission from Prince Pier Francesco Orsini, called Vicino, only to vent the heart broken at the death of is wife Giulia Farnese. The park was born in 1552 as “Villa of Wonders” to be the only one of its kind in the world. The Park of Monsters remained in oblivion till 1954 when it was bought by Mr Giovanni Bettini who with loving care has managed it. A visit to the park will unfold in a series of stages ranging between mythology and fantasyIn the afternoon drive to your Hotel in Castel Gandolfo Dinner on your own. Overnight stay.
Day 11 - Castle Gandolfo
A tour may begin at Via Ercolano: here were the Torlonia Gardens, today occupied by vegetable garden patches for the residents and by the Ibernesi Archeological Park, which contains some of the remains of Domitian’s Villa. From here Castel Gandolfo spreads out splendidly against the sky.
Continuing down Via Ercolano one reaches Villa Torlonia, restored in 1817 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. The main façade facing the park is composed of a porch with six Doric columns which support a terrace. Rising above these are six columns with Ionic capitals, upon which rests a triangular pediment sculpted by Thorvaldsen.
Just beyond the entrance to Villa Torlonia is the complex of buildings which once belonged to the Jesuits. The Villa was acquired by the Society of Jesus in 1667, and Goethe stayed there during his second trip to Italy. In 1963 Duke Torlonia ceded it to the Vatican.
Shortly after Villa Torlonia one comes to Villa Cybo. This luxurious residence was purchased in 1717 by Cardinal Cybo, and sold in 1772 to Livio Odescalchi, who turned it over to Pope Clement XIV. It has a fine fountain, called that of the “laundresses” from the two female figures portrayed washing clothes in the basin.
Another magnificent residence is the Palazzo Del Drago, built by Cardinal Alessandro Albani in 1746. From there one reaches the elegant Piazza della Libertà, with Palazzo Pontificio on the north side and the Church of San Tommaso da Villanova on the east.
A plaque above the portal of the Papal Palace reads:
“Alexander VII Pontifex Maximus has enlarged, rebuilt and completed in the year of salvation 1660, the house of Urban VIII, a small retreat for the soul and the body, built before heaven and in the light of the sun and situated in the celebrity and amenity of the area.”
A wealth of art works can be found on the upper floors of the palace, where there are the rooms for audiences, the pope’s apartment, the service rooms and three chapels. The primitive design of the entrance gate to the palace garden, surrounded by walls, is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
In 1661 the square faced by the Papal Palace was beautified with another Bernini masterpiece: the Fountain. Its design was inspired by the plan of St. Peter’s , and is similar to that of the fountain of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome.
Corso della Repubblica begins on the fourth side to the square, crossing the entire medieval village – with “the houses sloping down from the jagged edge of the ancient crater” – before ending at piazza Cavalletti, from which one reaches another scenic outlook with a view of Lake Albano and Monte Cavo.
Opposite the scenic outlook is the entrance to Villa Barberini, a papal residence with sober architectural lines, with one wing facing the lake, divided into three floors and built in the 17th century, and another wing facing the marina, with four floors.
Via Gramsci takes one from the centre of Castel Gandolfo to the shore of the lake. Along the last stretch of this road, on the left, is the entrance to the Doric Nymphaeum. This structure goes back to the time of the Roman Republic, and was probably part of the villa of Clodius. According to some scholars this is one of the sacraria erected in honor of the ancient gods of Alba Longa.
Continuing, one comes to Via dei Pescatori, which skirts the western lakeshore.
Just a ways ahead on the right of Via dei Pescatori is the Bergantino Nymphaeum, also called the Baths of Diana from a mosaic depicting the goddess of the hunt. This nymphaeum occupies a large cavern excavated in previous times. Traces of paintings have been found on the walls, but it is certain that there were also marble decorations. Sculpture fragments were unearthed during the excavation in 1841.
Shop or relax in it up to you and your desires.
DAY 12 - Depart
Return your rental car to the Rome airport for flight home.
This is a wonderful exploration into Italy with a garden and horticultural aspect that spans across the Southern and Central part of Italy. This tour is self guided and includes a rental car, 4 star accommodations and self guided visits to some of the most fascinating and interesting garden locations Italy has to offer.
- 3 nights in Rome ( Dei Mellini, Savoy, Londra & Cargill or similar)
- 3 nights in Sorrento ( Regina, Crawford, Helios or similar)
- 1 night in Bari Area ( Masseria Donnaloia, Borgobianco or similar)
- 2 nights in Lecce ( Risorgimento or similar)
- Daily Breakfast
- This tour is escorted
- Welcome Briefing in Rome
- Welcome Dinner in RomeGuided Visit of the heart of Rome
- Guided visit of Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel with skip the line reservation
- Evening walking tour of Rome ending with a Farewell Dinner to Rome
- Transfer from Rome to Amalfi Coast with a stop in Pompei for a guided visit
- Traditional Pizza & White wine Tasting in Pompei
- Full day guided visit of Amalfi & Ravello with Lemon Tour
- Free time in Sorrento
- Transfer from Amalfi to Bari with en route stop in Matera for an independent visit
- Transfer from Bari to Lecce with en route stop in Alberobello for an independent visit
- HD guided visit of Bari
- Amazing travel documents with city guides, free time suggestions and more!
- 24/7 phone support from our Rome office. Help or questions, just a phone call away! Only with Italy4Real
More information available upon request.
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