10. GRAN TOUR OF THE CENTENARY - CODE: ISGRTC
Itinerary n. 10 – GRAN TOUR OF THE CENTENARY
Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Lunigiana, Gargonza, Poppi, Camaldoli, Verona,
Mantua, Bologna, Faenza, Rimini, Gradara, Ravenna, DanteTrain
– 15 days / 14 nights
1st Day – FLORENCE
Arrival, transfer to Hotel, dinner and overnight.
2nd Day – FLORENCE
Full day guided tour of Florence: Santa Maria Novella Church and Square, Florence Baptistery, Dante's House, the Church of Santa Margherita de 'Cerchi. In this way you can experience the Florentine years of Dante, from youth to exile. Free lunch. In the evening return to hotel, dinner and overnight.
3rd Day – PISA and LUCCA
Departure to Pisa where we will visit the Dantesque places ranging from the Square of Elders (today Piazza dei Cavalieri) with the Hunger Tower, at S. Sisto and S. Giorgio dei Tedeschi (dedicated to the dead fighters in 1315, in the great Ghibelline victory of Montecatini, beside Uguccione della Faggiola), Cathedral Square (Tower, Duomo and Baptistery) until the frescoes of the Cemetery of the Last Judgment and Hell, and ends at the grave and tomb of Arrigo VII. Free lunch. In the afternoon departure to Lucca, beautiful Unesco city. Here we will visit the city walls dating from the XV-XVI century, that still surround it completely and are very well preserved, the Amphitheatre, the
Cathedral of San Martino and the Tower of the Guinigi. Dinner and overnight.
4th Day – LUCCA and LUNIGIANA
Departure to Lunigiana, a region on the border with Liguria where Dante spent a period of his exile as guest of the Marquis Malaspina. We will begin the visits from Mulazzo in the northern part of Lunigiana. The village has two access doors and preserves the original structure characterized by narrow streets. Seat of an ancient Ligurian castellaro and a castle of which only remains the so-called Tower of Dante, which recalls the presence of the poet in Lunigiana, Mulazzo where is also possible to admire the ancient arches of the Malaspina aqueduct and Dante square, dominated by the church of St. Nicholas and the Malaspina Zini Palace. Free lunch. Continue to Villafranca where we will visit Castle Malnido and Virgoletta Castle. Dinner and overnight.
5th Day – LUNIGIANA / FIRENZE
We will start with a visit to the castle of Fosdinovo, perhaps the best preserved of Lunigiana. The castle holds many legends and stories, as it has hosted Dante and that a ghost of a young girl punished by parents for falling in love with a groom appears in its rooms. Continue to Castelnuovo Magra and visit the ruins of the Bishop's Palace, where Dante signed, on behalf of the Marquis Malaspina, peace with the bishop of Luni. Free lunch and return to Florence, dinner and overnight.
6th Day – CASTELLO DI GARGONZA
Whole day excursion in Gargonza, a small walled village surrounded by nature in the Val di Chiana. Free lunch. Guided tour of the castle where Dante was a guest in 1303, soon after the exile. Dinner and overnight
7th Day – POPPI and CAMALDOLI
Excursion to Poppi and guided visit to his castle where Dante lived for almost a year during which, they say, has composed a canto of the Hell. Free lunch. Transfer to the monastery of Camaldoli (10 km.) and guided tour of the Hermitage. Inside a chapel dedicated to St. Romuald " Qui è Maccario, qui è Romualdo, qui son li frati miei che dentro ai chiostri, fermar li piedi e tennero il cor saldo" (Paradiso, XXII canto). Dinner and overnight.
8th Day – FLORENCE / FAENZA / VERONA
Transfer to the railway station. Departure to Faenza with the century-old “DanteTrain” line. Free lunch. In the afternoon drive to Verona. Accommodation in hotel, dinner and overnight.
9th Day - VERONA
Visit of Verona, the city where Dante lived for several years and where he wrote much of Paradise. We will see the Chapter Library, the Arena, the Church of S. Fermo, the Lion Gate, the House of Juliet (the Montagues and Capulets are cited in Purgatory), the Montague district, the Palace of Cangrande, the Lamberti’s tower , the Dei Signori square, the Herbs Square, the Bra Molinari Square and San Zeno. Free lunch. Dinner and overnight.
10th Day – VERONA / MANTUA
Departure to Mantua, the city where was born Virgil, the guide that Dante chose to undertake the 'Exploration of the first two unearthly worlds’. Visit to Herbs Square with the Palazzo della Ragione and the Palazzo del Podestà, the Broletto Square, the Sordello Square with the House of Rigoletto, the Castle of St. George with the famous ‘Camera degli Sposi’ with frescoes by Mantegna and the Ducal Palace. Free lunch. In the afternoon visit to Palazzo Te. The visit includes the Courtyard of Honour, the Sala dei Cavalli, the rooms of Cupid and Psyche, the Winds, the Eagles, the sumptuous room of the Stuccoes and the Chamber of the Giants, the largest and best known of Palazzo Te. Dinner and overnight.
11th Day – MANTUA / BOLOGNA
Departure to Bologna and full day guided tour of the city with its 40 km of arcades, Piazza Maggiore, and the great unfinished Basilica of San Petronio, the City Palace and the apartment of the papal legates, the Palace of Podestà, the Palace of Notaries and the sixteenth century Fountain of Neptune, work of Giambologna. Free lunch. The famous Two pendants Towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, the only remaining of the numerous medieval noble towers. St. Stephen's Basilica, a set of sacred buildings that make up the most well-known complex of the Seven Churches.
Dinner and overnight.
12th Day - BOLOGNA / FAENZA / RIMINI
Departure to Faenza and visit the MIC, the International Museum of Ceramics and the Milzetti Palace. Continue to Rimini and visit the city with its walls, the Arch of Augustus and Tiberius Bridge. Dinner and overnight.
13° giorno - RIMINI / FIORENZUOLA / GRADARA / RIMINI
Always led by Dante and pushed by the "wind of Focara", you get to Fiorenzuola, located in the San Bartolo Natural Park hill. The ancient village owes its fame to the fact that it has hosted Dante Alighieri in the baker's house. Then proceed to Gradara and visit the famous castle where the tragic love between Paolo de 'Malatesta and Francesca da Polenta (better known as Francesca da Rimini) was blossomed and consummated, the in-laws-lovers eternalized by Dante Alighieri. Free lunch. In the afternoon we will continue to Mondaino with its Malatesta fortress and the nineteenth-century porch. We will visit the beautiful village until we reach the "Porta di Sotto" of the village where we will find the "Mulino delle Fosse della Porta di Sotto”, with three large pits for the production of ‘fossa’ cheese. Return to Rimini, dinner and overnight.
14th Day – RIMINI / RAVENNA
Departure to Ravenna, the city where Dante, finding asylum at the court of Guido Novello da Polenta spent the last years of his life. Visit of Galla Placidia, the Basilica of San Vitale, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and Sant'Apollinare in Classe, the Palace of the Da Polenta and Francesca House ""siede la terra dove nata fui, su la marina dove 'l Po discende, per aver pace coi seguaci suoi" (Inferno, V canto). Free lunch. Dinner and overnight.
15th Day – RAVENNA
In the morning visit to the Tomb of Dante, to Quadrarco of Braccioforte where in 1865 were found the remains of Dante and the Basilica of St. Francis where was held his funeral. According to the departure time, free time for shopping.
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