The Science of the Renaissance Escorted Tour

All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.

  • Brilliant Renaissance science museums in Florence

  • Florence’s gorgeous Baptistry Zodiac floor

  • Anatomical Theatre and Museum of Science & Art in Bologna’s Palazzo Poggi

  • Four talks from Renaissance experts Andrew Spira and David Wootton

This wonderful tour explores the legacy of the Renaissance in the two pre-eminent cities of science at the time – Florence and Bologna - in the company of expert, Andrew Spira and with two talks from New Scientist contributor, David Wootton.  The tour will look at the wondrous collections, buildings and churches that demonstrate the burgeoning of knowledge of the period without which our more recent scientific history would have been very different.

The group size on this tour is limited to 25 passengers to ensure that smaller sites can be visited and that you get a high level of attention. There is a lot of walking on this tour – the best way to explore both cities so please ensure comfortable footwear for hard city pavements.

This tour is NOT suitable for those with walking difficulties.

Please note that flights are not included in the package price but suggested flights and timings are shown on the itinerary page.  If you opt to purchase the flights optionally, then of course transfers are available.  If you opt to purchase your own flights, you will either need to be at the appropriate airport to meet the main group or meet at the hotel. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Do not book flights independently until you know that the tour is definitely operating – it is based on a minimum number of participants which need to book before the tour is certain to operate.

ITINERARY

Day 1:  Fly to Bologna and transfer to city centre for check in to the hotel. 
Fly with British Airways from Heathrow to Bologna (optional) and transfer by coach to Florence for check in for 5-night stay. Welcome reception and lecture from Andrew Spira - 'Vital Forces: Soul, Mind and Body in the Human and Animal Worlds' and dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 2:  Pisa.
Full day to Pisa including the fascinating Museum of Calculation Devices and the Cathedral, Baptistry and Campanile, located in the so-called Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety and a walled area of some 9 hectares, widely regarded as one of the finest architectural complexes in the world.  The famous leaning tower has made Pisa world-renowned but its Cathedral and Baptistry are of significant merit.  It is from the Leaning Tower that, between 1589 and 1592, the Italian scientist Galileo (then professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa) is said to have dropped two spheres of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass, Whether the experiment actually happened is open to debate, but it is in this city that the theory was expounded.

 Day 3:  Florence. 
A full day includes; Museo degli Argenti (Silver Museum) at the Pitti Palace; and Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine (for demonstration of early perspective). Lecture from David Wootton and dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 4:  Florence. 
In the company of New Scientist expert, David Wootton and Andrew Spira, another full day of exploration of this stunning city includes the Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica; Pazzi Chapel and monument to Galileo in Santa Croce; and Instituto e Museo Storia della Scienza (Galileo Science Museum).  Second lecture from David Wootton and dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 5:  Florence.
A last full day in Florence in the company of Andrew Spira including the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum ); Baptistry: Zodiac Floor solstice marble slab, the Duomo including the Gnomon of Paulo da Pozzo Toscanelli; the Ptolemaic Planetarium in the dome of the Old Sacristy, San Lorenzo and Egnazio Danti’s instruments on the facade of the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.

Day 6:   Florence to Bologna. 
Coach transfer from Florence to Bologna for check in to hotel for a two-night stay.  Afternoon orientation tour of the city centre. Welcome reception and lecture from Andrew Spira - 'Vital Forces: Soul, Mind and Body in the Human and Animal Worlds' and dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 7: Bologna. 
A full day to explore one of Italy’s most under-rated but beautiful cities, including the Cathedral Sant Petronio’s observatory; Palazzo Archiginnasio; Anatomical Theatre and the Museo di di Scienza e Arte at the Palazzo Poggi.

Day 8: Bologna and return flight to Heathrow. (optional)

Morning visit to the Museum of Communication before free time until coach transfer to airport for flight to Heathrow.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion

Please note the day of the lectures may vary due to lecturer availability.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

Please note it is also possible to do this tour as a 'land only' package without flights - please contact us for a price and more details. 

INCLUDED

  • Five  nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Executive Hotel, Florence, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room 
  • Two nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Hotel Internazionale, Bologna, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • One dinner at local restaurant in Bologna
  • One lecture from Andrew Spira at Bologna hotel 
  • Three lectures at the Florence hotel – one from Andrew Spira, two from David Wootton
  • Two dinners with wine at local restaurant in Florence
  • All tours and entrance fees as detailed
  • Airport transfers  - only if booking recommended Travel Editions flights below (not for land only)
  • Andrew Spira throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
    Flights available at optional cost of £225 per person from Heathrow to Bologna

    LHR / BOLOGNA               08.00/11.10         BA540
    BOLOGNA / LHR               18.55/20.10         BA545
  • Single room supplement 
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Hotel Internazionale, Bologna
Located close to the station and within easy walking distance of the main sights, the four-star Internazionale is housed in a traditional Bolognese palazzo building. Hotel facilities include a cocktail bar, breakfast room and free wi-fi. Rooms all have private bathroom facilities, TV, free wi-fi, minibar, safe and hairdryer.

Hotel Internazionale Website 

Executive Hotel, Florence
250 metres from Santa Maria Novella, 800 metres from the Uffizi and about 10 minutes’  walk from the Duomo, the Executive Hotel enjoys an excellent location for exploring Florence.  It is a traditional four-star hotel with bar, fitness room and  comfortable bedrooms with all modern facilities.

Executive Hotel Website

MORE INFO - Please click here for more tour information

YOUR EXPERT - Andrew Spira

Andrew graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art before completing a MA degree in Museum and Gallery Management at City University, London. He worked at the Temple Gallery, London (specialist in Byzantine and Russian icons), and as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he specialised in 18th century British Art and Design, and Metalwork. He also specialises in Russian art, publishing ‘The Avant-Garde Icon: Russian Avant-Garde Art and the Icon Painting Tradition’ in 2008 (Lund Humphries). For 20 years he has been taking tours to cultural sites in western Europe, Russia, Armenia and Georgia. He was Programme Director at Christie’s Education for 10 years before going part-time to focus on his current research project - on personal identity and the way it is reflected in the material culture of western Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day.

YOUR GUEST SPEAKER - David Wootton MA, PhD (Cantab), FRHistS

David Wootton is Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York.  He works on the intellectual and cultural history of the English speaking countries, Italy, and France, 1500-1800. He is currently writing a book on Voltaire.  His most recent book is Power, Pleasure, and Profit published by Harvard University Press. He has given the Carlyle and Besterman Lectures at Oxford, the Raleigh Lecture at the British Academy and the Benedict Lectures at Boston.

He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and has held positions in history and politics at four British and four Canadian universities, and visiting positions in the US, before his current base in York.


FLIGHTS
Please note that all flight times are provisional and subject to change according to airline schedules.

Administation
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Overall Impression

Scope of tour somewhat curtailed by Coronavirus - and so unfortunately less Science than we would have liked. However there were some benefits in having a very small group. Given the rapidly developing situation in Italy we asked whether it was possible to return early on Sunday rather than on the Monday, but this was not possible as flights were full. However this resulted in our booking reference with BA no longer being associated with the flight, with the result that we could only check in at the airport. Andrew Spira was absolutely excellent throughout and we had a great time!

Review by anonymous who travelled 03-March-2020


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Overall Impression

The tour was superb thank you Andrew Spira is an inspiration as a guide and I would hugely recommend him.

Review by Dooris who travelled 01-March-2018


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The issue of tipping the tour manager (who was really excellent ) was raised in your tour information and how ever much it said it was optional we felt it was totally inappropriate for this type of tour. We thought you should pay them the right amount for a professional.

Review by Eustace who travelled 01-March-2018


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Overall Impression

My trip was very professionally organised and executed. I cannot commend our tour leader Andrew Spira highly enough. He is charming and immensely knowledgeable, sharing his enthusiasm with us with natural communication skills. He has a deft touch, able to listen, to get alongside each guest and manage the logistics of keeping the group together and on schedule. He is flexible, allowing individual guests to go off and do their own thing when desired and managing changes in the schedule that may be required. He makes it look so easy but I am sure it is not. I would certainly consider Travel Editions again. Anyone travelling with Andrew will be very lucky.

Review by Cole who travelled 01-March-2018


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Overall Impression

As you gather, I really enjoyed this fantastic trip. I felt I learned a great deal and built on much travel experience. I thought group members were supportive of eachother and I appreciated the fact that we walked everywhere: the only way to see cities. To do that we needed hotels that were central: not an edge of city Travelodge! We couldn't have packed much more in but there were opportunities to do extras on our own, which some of us did. I appreciated not being treated like a load of school kids but expected to take responsibility for ourselves to keep up and in touch. Andrew couldn't have taken more trouble over making sure he spent a bit of time talking to us individually and his knowledge and enthusiasm was a great joy. It was good to meet and spend time with Jeremy from New Scientist as well. I have joined many group tours and thought this was a winner. Lesley

Review by Spence who travelled 02-November-2017


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Overall Impression

The tour was excellent, but would have been improved if the tour leader and members were provided with the type of wireless assistance which allows the tour members to hear what the tour leader is saying at all times. This was sometimes difficult, owing to general traffic etc. noise levels or the natural requirement to speak quietly in churches etc.

Review by Jeffery who travelled 02-November-2017


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Overall Impression

The 'Tour Manager' Andrew Spira was excellent ....

Review by Mr Andrew WIshart who travelled 09-March-2017