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Announcing 2019 Itinerary

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

We are excited to announce our Fall 2019 Itinerary. We have crafted an expanded and streamlined version of our the Hilltowns of Tuscany and Umbria that has delighted so many of you in the past. We so much enjoyed the addition of the Chianti region to the Renaissance in Florence tour this past year that we have decided to add it to the Hilltowns tour in 2019 while still keeping all the highlights of that unique and immensely popular itinerary. Full details of this offer including a detailed itinerary will be available here, but for purposes of your planning we can give your firm dates right away: the tour will begin in Florence on October 5, 2019 and conclude on the morning of October 18 with a transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.  The full description of the tour, including detailed itinerary and offering statement are available here.

As always, at the Renaissance Company our goal with this version of the Hilltowns itinerary is to offer you what we are convinced no one else can do quite so well: a discriminating selection of the most culturally important and enjoyable places to visit to appreciate the Italian Renaissance; an itinerary that does all the work of efficient planning to be in the right place at the right time so as to experience as much of what this region of riches has to over, without rush and at leisure in comfort and at an affordable price. All this coupled with expert commentary, not from local tourist guides, but from the two of us who have spent more than two decades sharing our academic expertise and passionate appreciation of this unique aspect of the unparalleled charm and beauty of Italy.

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Printer Friendly Itinerary 


The Renaissance in Florence:

From Medieval to Modern

October 6 – 16, 2018


The transition in Western Europe from the medieval to the Renaissance world both contributed to and was shaped by new modes of expression in art, literature, philosophy, and spirituality. Through a first-hand observation of some of the most important of these intellectual and artistic creations in their original historical settings, this tour will seek to give participants a rich and lively understanding of one of the most fascinating episodes in human history – the Florentine Renaissance.

Our goal is to give participants the opportunity to experience all of the city’s major artistic and historical sites in depth, with expert guidance and without the haste that unfortunately characterizes mass tourism.

We will reside in a four star hotel conveniently located near the center of the old city. Ordinarily, we shall visit the city in the morning and most afternoons, although there will ample time free for individual explorations. The itinerary includes a two stay in the Chianti wine region, stopping for a tour of the production facility and cellars of one of Chianti’s best known and respected vintners, including a wine tasting meal. From Chianti we will also make a day visit to Florence’s great medieval rival, Siena to visit its spectacular cathedral and the Palazzo Pubblico.

The tour leaders will be Francis J. Ambrosio, Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown MyDante Project, and Ms. Deborah Warin, Director, Renaissance Tours Company, LLC, former Director of Continuing Education and lecturer at Georgetown University, and author of the forthcoming book, Battista Sforza and the Court of Urbino. Together they have led more than 40 previous tours to Italy.

The price of the Tour is $3,450.00 per person, exclusive of airfare. This price includes hotel accommodations (double occupancy) with breakfast, all entrance fees and guided tours by the tour leaders as indicated in the itinerary and subject to the specified conditions; also included are the welcome reception on the first evening of the tour, a wine tasting session in Chianti and the farewell dinner. No other meals are included.  Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully for full details. Airfare and ground transportation to and from the hotel in Florence are not included.


Saturday, October 6

Welcoming reception at the hotel beginning at 6:30 pm., followed by an introduction to the program.


Sunday, October 7

This morning we begin with a walking tour of Dante’s Florence, following the circuit of the walls of the medieval town.

In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Uffizi Gallery tracing the development of Medieval and Renaissance art.        


Monday, October 8

Today is dedicated to visiting the churches of the two great medieval Orders that played crucial formative roles in the development of the Florentine Renaissance, the Franciscans and Dominicans. First, in the morning we visit Santa Maria Novella, founded by the Dominicans and the site of Masaccio’s revolutionary fresco, The Holy Trinity. Then, in the afternoon we cross the town to visit the Franciscans’ Santa Croce, with its magnificent frescoes by Giotto and the tomb of Michelangelo.


Tuesday, October 9

            In the morning, we visit the Convento San Marco to see its beautiful frescoes by Fra Angelico. From there, we walk to the Palazzo Medici to see the fabulously restored frescoes there in the private chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli.

The afternoon is free to allow you some time to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the magnificent city of Florence on your own.


Wednesday, October 10

The day with a tour of the spectacular Palazzo Pitti and the Galaria Palatina, including famous works by Raphael, Titian, and Lippi to name but a few.

In the afternoon, we visit the small but enormously important Brancacci Chapel with its frescoes by Masaccio – a fresco cycle that revolutionized western art with Masaccio’s use of the new principles of perspective and chiaroscuro as well as his unique ability to imbue his figures with human emotion.


Thursday, October 11

In the morning we visit the National Sculpture Museum in the Bargello, where the work of Donatello, including his David, and the della Robbias is featured in an exceptionally evocative setting.  From the Bargello, we go on to visit the Museum of the Opera del Duomo, where we shall find, among many riches, Donatello’s sublime Mary Magdalene and Michelangelo’s Florentine Pieta.  

             The afternoon is free in Florence.


Friday, October 12

            This morning, we visit the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall and seat of government of Florence for more than 800 years.  In the afternoon, we take a short excursion to one of the most scenic spots from which to view the city, the Church of San Miniato, the oldest and, many would say, the most striking of the city’s great Churches.               


Saturday, October 13

This morning we visit the most well-known sites associated with Michelangelo in the city of Florence: the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see the David and the Bound Slaves; the Church of San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapel with its extraordinarily powerful tomb sculptures, and the Laurentian library.  The remainder of the day is free for a last leisurely afternoon enjoying the dignified charm of Florence, until we gather for our final wine tasting and farewell feast.


Sunday, October 14

            Departing our hotel in Florence we begin a two-day excursion through the Chianti wine district heading for the heart of the “Chianti Classico” territory, where we spend two nights. On the first day we immerse ourselves in the rich traditions of Chianti production, including the origins of the DOCG designation which controls the use of appellation “Chianti Classico,” and a tour of the fattoria (production facility) and cantina (cellars) of one of Chianti’s most renowned producers. The day culminates with a shared meal with wine pairings, allowing us to enjoy the fruits of our learning to the full.


Monday, October 15

            From our hotel we make a short trip to Siena, the famed home of the Palio horse-race, and visit the uniquely impressive twin icons of Sienese identity, its stunning Cathedral, together with its museum housing Duccio’s masterpiece, the Maesta`, and Palazzo Publico with its tower dominating the Campo (main city piazza) and its artistic treasury of works by Simone Martini and Piero and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

After free time in Siena, we then return to our hotel for our last evening in Tuscany.


Tuesday, October 16

            We leave our hotel in Chianti by bus traveling first to the Florence Airport to accommodate those with flights from there and then to central Florence near the train station for those who need to make rail connections. The tour concludes upon our return to Florence.



Program Notes**


Air Travel: Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from  Florence. Participants should plan to arrive at the hotel on October 6 in time for the welcome reception at 6:30. All arrangements for and costs of extended stays before and after the tour are the sole responsibility of participants.  N.B. Our arrival at the Florence airport is estimated for mid to late morning on Tuesday, October 16. We cannot, however, guarantee a specific arrival time. Participants who wish to schedule a flight from Florence earlier than Tuesday afternoon, should be aware that they may need to make their own arrangement for an early departure from the hotel via private car service.


Accommodations and Meals: Cost is based on double occupancy at the hotels; some single rooms may be available at a supplemental cost to the participant. Breakfast at the Hotel each day is included; the welcome reception, wine tour and one group dinner in Chianti are also included. No other meals are included.


Level of Physical Activity: The nature of the tour schedule and the type of sites which the group will visit make for a moderately strenuous routine; those who experience difficulty walking distances at a normal pace or otherwise need to limit their physical activity should consult with the tour leaders prior to reserving space. The Directors reserve the right to limit individual participation in group activities in cases where the group’s interests might be adversely affected.


Reservations:  To enhance the educational opportunity and enjoyment for all participants, places on the tour are strictly limited to no more than twenty. Places on the tour will be reserved in the order in which deposits are received. Please use the Reservation Form and mail it with deposit to the address indicated.


All details of the itinerary subject to change based on availability of accommodations, changes in opening/closing schedules, acts of God and other conditions beyond the control of the tour directors. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions carefully before submitting a deposit.



Terms and Conditions

The total cost of the tour is $3,450.  Prices include hotel accommodations (double occupancy) with breakfast, all entrance fees and guided tours as indicated in the itinerary and subject to the specified conditions; also included are the welcome reception on the first evening of the tour, the wine tasting in Chianti and the final group dinner. No other meals are included.  Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully for full details. Airfare and ground transportation are not included.

Enrollment is determined by date of receipt of a deposit of $1,000, which shall be refundable according to the conditions of the stated cancellation policy. Payment in full is due by September 1, 2018.

Cancellation Policy

* After receipt of the deposit, cancellation by the participant will be subject to a minimum $150 per person cancellation fee.

* Cancellation after 90 days prior to the commencement of the tour will result in forfeiture of the full amount of the deposit ($1000.).

* Cancellation after September 1 or “no show” at the commencement of the tour will result in forfeiture of the full cost of the trip per person.

All tours are offered on condition of sufficient enrollment. If the offer of a tour must be withdrawn at any time due to insufficient enrollment, all deposits and additional payments will be refunded and this will constitute full satisfaction of all claims by participants on the Renaissance Company.

*** In view of the statutory or contractual limitations which may apply to personal injury or property damage losses, the purchase of accident and baggage insurance, is strongly recommended, as well as trip cancellation insurance, is strongly recommended.***



The Renaissance Company, LLC, and its representatives act only as agents in making arrangements for hotels, transportation, sightseeing, restaurants or any other services in connection with the itinerary, and they will exercise reasonable care in making such arrangements. However, they do not assume any liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident or delay to person and property due to any act of default of any hotel, carrier, restaurant, company or person rendering any of the services included in the tour. The tickets, coupons, tariffs, rules or contracts currently in use by any carrier, hotel, restaurant or other rendering service shall constitute the sole contract between such contractor and the tour member. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. Further, the Renaissance Company and its representative agents accept no responsibility for any damage or delay due to sickness, pilferage, labor disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather or any other cause beyond their personal control. The right is reserved to cancel or change itineraries or substitute services without notice, and to decline to accept any tour member at any time, when such action is determined to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or individual. No carrier shall be responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board its own conveyance.

Finally, the Renaissance Company bears no responsibility whatsoever for any travel arrangements made by individual travelers that do not form part of the published itinerary. Extensions of stay, hotel accommodations beyond those indicated in the program, early arrivals or departures, hotel charges not included in the basic room rate including but not limited to telephone, beverages and meals, and hotel services, and all other arrangements undertaken at the initiative of individual participants are the sole responsibility of the individual. No change can be made in group plans or schedules to accommodate such arrangements.

MyDante On EdX: All 3 Parts now Available

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

All three parts of Frank’s awarding winning course on Dante’s Divina Commedia have now debuted to live audiences around the world on the EdX education network. The entire course is freely available and is archived now on the EdX site. You can enjoy it anytime individually or wait for the next live session to begin in Fall 2017. A “live session” of the Pugatorio module is upcoming on EDX in September 2016.


MyDante on EdX: Part 2 – Purgatorio

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Plunge into Dante’s Purgatorio as part II of The Divine Comedy: Dante’s Journey to Freedom begins. Even if you didn’t go through Hell (part I), you can jump into Purgatory along with thousands of other participants from around the globe. Click “Read More” to visit.

Dante MOOC Launches on EDX

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

On Oct. 15 Georgetown University launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) as part of the EDX consortium of Universities. The subject is Dante’s Divine Comedy and Frank Ambrosio is Lead Instructor.

As many will already know, MOOCS are important part of he wide ranging experiment underway in higher education to explore the ways in digital technology can, and cannot, enhance learning and personal growth, especially for those who already have a college degree, do not have ready access to university education, or who are dedicated to life -long learning. EDx MOOCS are free and open to all; currently,the courses are not for credit.

To learn more about the Dante course, see the trailer or register, Follow this link:

To read more about Georgetown’s partnership with Edx and the goals of the MOOC experiment, follow this link to a recent Georgetown Home Page story:


Hilltowns of Tuscany and Umbria, May 24 – June 5, 2015

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Travelers have been coming to this region ever since the Middle Ages for the beauty of the region’s landscape and for the works of artistic genius fomented by the Italian Renaissance. This exclusive itinerary leaves the tourist routes behind to seek out the treasures and the pleasures that few are aware of. Each day promises memories of a lifetime and beauty that never fails to reawaken the soul. Read the details on our Tours page and reserve your place today.

Frank on Dante at the Smithsonian Associates

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Jorge Luis Borges called Dante’s epic poem “the greatest book man has ever written.” On Saturday, February 8, Frank present a day long program Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Timeless Journey  for the Smithsonian Associates. Read more

Venice, Verona and the Po Valley, May 25 – June 3, 2014 (On Wait List)

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

This exclusive itinerary is handcrafted to insure that you experience the very best of Venice, without missing any of the treasures that surround it so closely and invitingly yet usually go unseen. The ancient Roman city of Verona, with its colossal amphitheate, ancient Christian church that preserve some of the best Romanesque architecture in Italy, the towering genius of Palladio on display in his home town, Vicenza, and some of the most glorious art that the human hand and imagination has ever created: the mosaics of Ravenna, not to mention the surpassing beauty of Lake Garda and the adjacent wine region of Valpolicella. All this and Venice too! Read the full itinerary and resolve not to miss it!

Holiday Magic – Discover the Florentine Renaissance, Dec. 27, 2013 – Jan.5, 2015

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Last year, our visit to all of Florence’s major museums, churches and monuments at this glorious time of year was sold out. We relished the festive atmosphere that prevails throughout the city after Christmas and right up to the visit of “la Befana,” the good witch of the Epiphany. Florence has a special character this time of year. With fewer tourists it becomes a city of chestnuts, candles and auguri. Join us this year for an unforgetable holiday celebration with family or friends.

For full program details  Click Here

Hilltowns of Tuscany and Umbria June 3 – June 14, 2013

Monday, February 18th, 2013

This exclusive itinerary leaves the tourist routes behind to seek out the treasures and the pleasures that few are aware of and fewer trouble to visit. Each day promises memories of a lifetime, and a beauty that reawakens the soul. Read the details on our Tours page and reserve your place today.