19–25 April: Siena and hill-towns of Southern Tuscany
From a four-star hotel just within the city walls, there will be visits by coach to the mediaeval town of San Gimignano, to the north of Siena; and, south of the city, to Montalcino (the wonderful Romanesque abbey church of Sant’Antimo is nearby); and to Pienza, the small town rebuilt by Pope Pius II in Renaissance style. Pienza looks out over the Val d’Orcia, since 2004 a Unesco ‘cultural landscape’. The Unesco documentation put it thus: ‘Celebrated by painters of the Siennese School, the Val d’Orcia became an icon of the landscape that deeply influenced the development of landscape perception.’ Three days will be spent in Siena, with its prodigious collection of beautiful mediaeval buildings and works of art. At the centre is the shell-shaped Campo, bounded on one side by the thirteenth-century Palazzo Pubblico, which houses Lorenzetti’s huge fresco of the Good and Bad Government. There is an extraordinary cathedral, striped in black and white like a Liquorice Allsort. Duccio’s ‘Maestà’ is in the cathedral museum and in the cathedral itself is Pintoricchio’s library depicting the life of Pius II. Be warned that some of the Sienese streets and alleyways are steep and make for difficult walking.
This will be the seventh edition, so to speak, of this study visit, but in two respects it will be entirely new: Dr Diana Matthews will be the lecturer and Laura Gray will be the tour organiser.
19–25 October: Piero della Francesca (in preparation)
Centred in the quiet Umbrian town of Città di Castello, we will visit by coach the main sites where paintings by this most celectrated Renaissance painter are to be found, including Arezzo, Borgo San Sepolcro and Urbino. Città has plenty to entertain us on our free day. Patrick Doorly will be our lecturer and Martin Gray will be tour organiser. This will be the fifth time Learn Italy has run this very popular study week.
For further information about Learn Italy or any of the study holidays mentioned here, please email email@example.com or phone Martin Gray on 01865 860984.