1997 September Eastern Canada, Toronto, Quebec, Ottawa, Montreal Nigara Falls. One of our least successful trips, it was one long shopping spree and we had to flee from the group at every possible moment. I have not recorded anything about this trip though there were some highlights. Best forgotten.
1998 – May Italy Aosta, Rome. This Martin Randall Tour was called ‘The Road to Rome’. 20 May. Flew from Heathrow to Geneva. From there we coached to Lausanne to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne, 12th – 13th century, with a very fine carved portal
and then travelled over the Great St Bernard Pass
to Aosta where we stayed at the Hotel Europe.
21 May. Our morning walk included a visit to the Roman Theatre,
the Arch of Augustus, erected in 24 BC, to commemorate the defeat of the Gallic Salassi.
and two churches, S. Lorenzo the destroyed 5th century chapel of which little remains and S. Orso. Finished in the 12th century, containing remarkable Ottoman frescoes dated from 1030, among some of the very few remaining frescoes remaining in Italy from this date.
After lunch we visited the Cathedral and the Treasury museum. We then drove through the Aosta Valley to Fenis to view the Castello Challant.
22 May. Coach to Issogne to visit the castle. 15th century with its delightful frescoes
Then on to Ivrea to see the Duomo and its the ancient crypt. Our lecturer had a thing about ancient crypts and we spent hours listening to him about cushion capitals. He was totally fixated on cushion capitals. There is just so much you can say about cushion capitals. Yawn, yawn.
Next to Vercelli to see the Church of S. Andrea, 13th century. Over the portal The martyrdom of Saint Andrew by Benedetto Antelami (1220-1225)
Next to Pavia to stay at the Hotel Moderno. 23 May. Wall hrough Pavia to visit the church of San Teodoro, 15th 16th century, with its frescoes by Bernardino Lanzani 1522 with a view of Pavia.
and then on to the church of S. Michele, considered to be the finest church in Pavia, 11th/12 century.
and lastly to the Castello Visconteo (14th century) where, to our delight there was a Bergonone exhibition.
Detail from their own magnificent Bergonone
In the afternoon we visited the Certosa di Pavia, founded by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1396 as a family mausoleum. The façade was completed in the 16th century.
Fresco by Bergognone of the kneeling figures of ‘Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his three sons offering up a model of the Certosa to the Virgin and Child
Tomb of Lodovico il Moro and Beatrice d’Este by Cristoforo Salari 1497
Tomb of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, begun in 1494-1497 by Giovanni Cristoforo Romano and Benedetto Briosco, but completed only in 1562
Took the coach to see the church of S. Pietro in Ciel d’Oro. 12th century.
24 May. Coach to Piacenza to see the Duomo, 12th/13 century. Ceiling painted by Camillo Procaccini and Lodovico Carracci
and the Palazzo Farnese which contains the local museum and art gallery. It’s most famous painting is Botticelli’s Madonna and Child with St John
After lunch coach to Fidenza to see the Romanesque Cathedral, famed for its sculptural decoration on its west façade. Including this showing Saint Domninus saving a woman from a collapsed bridge. Saint Domninus of Fidenza, was martyred by order of the Emperor Maximian in 304 AD. The saint’s relics were brought here in 1207, and are believed to be contained in an urn in the crypt
Booked into the Hotel Astoria in Fidenza. 25 May. Coach to Fornovo di Taro to see the Parrocchiale. Coach to Pontremoli. Then onto Sarzana to see the Duomo, 13th-15th century and this Crucifixion by Guglielmus 1138.
After lunch to Luni to see the stripped bare but partially frescoes S. Pietro a Grado.
Finally to Lucca where we booked into the Hotel Celide. 26 May. Morning walk through Lucca and then to the National Museum situated in the Villa Guinigi. Magnificent collection.
After that to the Church of S. Frediano, which has this fantastic golden 13th century mosaic of the Ascension of Christ on its facade
and finally the Duomo to see the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto in the Sacristy of the Cathedral, She was the second wife of Paolo Guinigi, who died on 8 December 1405 and is the work of the sculptor Jacopo dell Quercia.
and the Duomo museum. After lunch visited the Villa Guinigi to see a an exhibition. 27 May. Coach to San Miniato to see the Church of San. Domenico, 12th century, with in incomplete façade. It contains terracotta works by Luca della Robbia and a monument sculpted by Donatello. Then the Duomo and the Museo Diocesano. After lunch coach to Volterra to see the Palazzo dei Priori, of 1239. then the Duomo and finally San Francesco. Coach to Siena where we booked into the Hotel Duomo. I think it was at this hotel, on this particular trip that we finished upon the roof in what was a glass box with the most magnificent views over the whole city. We found it remarkable just how much greenery there was, whole areas of the city, which one never sees from the street, covered in gardens, trees and green open spaces. I read somewhere that areas like this were created so that in times of war the animals could all be brought into the city. Almost everything on this day we had already visited on previous trips. 28 May. Visited the Palazzo Pubblico and the Pinacoteca. After lunch visited the Cathedral museum, followed by the Duomo, then the Piccolomini Library and finally the Baptistry. We had visited Siena many times in the past. 29May. Coach to San Gimignano. Always makes our hearts skip a beat everything time we have visited the city.
to visit the Basilica-Collegiata, covered in mosaics and a complete delight to the eye. Here the creation of Adam by Bartolo de Fredi
and the Last Supper by Lippo Memi
And then there are the Ghirlandaio frescoes of the Life of St Fina, this her funeral. We discovered this frescoes by Ghirlandaio when we first visited San Gimignano, and it was always a delight to see them again.
and the Palazzo del Popolo (Town Hall) – the Sala de Dante with Lippo Memmi Maesta.
After lunch coached back to Siena where we visited San Domenico, with frescoes by Sodoma. Sadly they also display her severed head. Most unfortunate.
and the Spedale de Sta Maria della Scala, once a hospital, now a museum covered in frescoes, this showing the sick be cared for by Domenico di Bartolo
30 May. Coach to Sant’Antimo to see the Benedictine monastery then on to Montalcino for lunch and then coach to see S. Quirico d’Orcia to see the Collegiata. Coach to Montefiascone to see the Church of San Flaviano. Coach to Bolsena to book into the Hotel Royal Bolsena. 31 May. Coach to Virterbo to see the Papal Palace, completed in the 13th century.
the Church of San Francesco, 13th century. Sadly bombed during the war and all its frescoes destroyed. Some funerary monuments to popes survived, this one to Pope Adrian V (d.1276)
and the church of S. Maria Nuova, much frescoed this a Crucifixion by Matteo Giovannetti 1340s
After lunch coach to Rome where we visited S. Agnese Fuori le Mura. The basilica is built over the catacombs of St Agnes. It still retains its magnificent 7th century apse mosaic. On a gold ground, a central standing figure of St Agnes in the costume of a Byzantine empress is flanked by Honorius, offering a model of the building, and another pope, whose identity is uncertain.
and S. Constanza fuori le Mura. 4th century with many original mosaics still preserved. It was thought that Santa Costanza was built under Constantine I as a mausoleum for his daughter Constantina who died AD 354, however it is now thought it was built in the time of Emperor Julian as a funerary monument to his wife Helena who died in AD 360. Whichever, the mosaics are almost intact and a wonder.
Booked into the Hotel Diana. A dreadful dump. No lifts working. Dire rather scruffy rooms, everyone complaining. The hotel as compensation gave us dinner on its magnificent roof terrace. 1 June. Visited the Esquiline Hill, S. Maria Maggiore, contains the old known image of he Virgin Mary in Rome. The icon is at least a thousand years old, and according to a tradition was painted from life by St Luke the Evangelist using the wooden table of the Holy Family in Nazareth. All utter tosh of course but makes a good tale.
S. Prassede, 8th century. The church is famed for its early mosaics and contains the alleged column to which Jesus was tied and flogged. The mosaic is in St Zeno’s chapel is 9th century and represents Theodora Episcopa the patron of the mosaic, Saint Praxedes, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Pudentiana. Absolutely charming.
The façade of the entrance to St Zeno’s chapel has Christ and the apostles and a positive host of portraits of saints.
Mosaic of Pope Paschal I, presenting a model of the church with St. Paul and St. Praxedis or Pudentiana
and S. Pudenziana, 4th century, again with magnificent mosaics. They are among the oldest Christian mosaics in Rome and one of the most striking mosaics outside Ravenna.
After lunch visited the Celian Hill, San Clemente. The church is composed of three layers, the 11th century church with its mosaics, a 4th-century basilica that had been converted out of the home of a Roman nobleman, part of which had in the 1st century briefly served as an early church, and the basement of which had in the 2nd century briefly served as a mithraeum and the third layer the home of a Roman nobleman had been built on the foundations of a Roman villa which had been destroyed by fire in 64AD
The mithraeum with its central altarpiece with seats on either side.
SS. Quatro Coronati, built in the 4th/5th century but sacked and rebuilt in the 12th century. The chapel of St Sylvester has frescoes depicting the legend of Emperor Constantine’s cure from leprosy by Pope St. Sylvester and a magnificent Cosmati floor and altar.
and Basilica of S. Stefano in the Round. 7th century mosaic of Sts. Primus and Felician on either side of a bejewelled cross
2 June. Coach to the Catacombs of Sta Priscilla, thought to have been named after the wife of Manius Acilius Glabrio, Roman Consul in 91 A.D. who executed by Domitian for atheism. A host of popes and saints are buried here. Mural of the resurrection of Lazarus one of the earliest depictions of the event.
and then to S. Maria Sopra Minerva with its Filippo Lippi murals and sculpture of Christ with the cross my Michelangelo
and the heart stopping Pantheon.
Free afternoon. We visited the Altemps Palace. Crammed full with a collection of Roman statues. This of Orestes and Electra.
Piazza Navona. No photograph can do it justice, it is just pure delight being in the Piazza, one of the most beautiful man-made spaces on earth.
and Castel St Angelo, originally the mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian and was covered in marble and magnificent statues.
3 June. Coach to Sta Sabina. The 5th century church contains this mosaic inscription remembering Peter of Illyria, a rich priest from southern Dalmatia, the founder of the church; the two women at the sides of the inscription represent the Church of the Old Testament and that of the New Testament. The church was built on the former house of Sabina, a rich woman who was converted by Seraphia, a Greek slave of hers, and who died in 114 during a persecution of the Christians.
We then travelled along the Appia Antica. Lunch at the Hostaria Antica Rome, on the Via Appia, one of the oldest restaurants in Rome, situated in an Augustan-age columbarium, Roman room for cinerary urns of the liberti or freed men.
and finally to Rome airport to fly back home.
1998 – July – Belgium Mechelen Holland Maastricht Germany Aachen. The Martin Randall tour was called ‘Charlemagne to Charles V’. 8 July. Caught the Eurostar to Brussels and then coached to Louvain where we visited St Peter’s Church, 15th century but founded in 986. One of its treasures is the Last Supper by Dirk Bouts – 1464
then on to Maastricht where we booked into the Hotel d’Orangerie. 9 July. Coach to Aachen (Aix-en-Chapelle) to see the Cathedral, and the Treasury. The cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe and was constructed by order of the Emperor Chalemagne, who was buried here after his death in 814. For 595 years, from 936 to 1531, the Palatine Chapel in the heart of the cathedral, saw the coronation of thirty-one German kings and and twelve queens on the throne of Charlemagne which still sits in the cathedral. The main altar with the Pala d’Oro (1020)
The throne of Charlemagne. We all stood in front of this magnificent historic piece and all our, by now very tiresome guide, could take about was the finer points of the architecture of the building. Everyone got to bored that we all left and wandered off leaving him with only a handful of his adoring fans from the group.
The Cathedral houses a collection of medieval art objects from the late Classical, Carolingian, Ottonian and Staufian periods. Chief amongst these are the reliquary bust of Charlemagne (1350) which contains the king’s skullcap.
The Proserpina Roman sarcophagus, (3rd century) in which Charlemagne was originally interred on 28 January 184 in Aachen cathedral.
One last fascinating treasure is the crown of Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV of England. She was married to Charles the Bold of Burgundy in 1468.
then on to the Rathaus-Kronungssaal or Town Hall. Haven’t a clue why we visited as it seems to have been thoroughly destroyed many time over. After lunch we returned to Maastricht to visit the Romanesque Basilica of Our Lady and Treasury which holds masses of reliquary boxes, and busts. All containing bits of saints etc. One sports the ‘Girdle of the Virgin Mary’ and then there are the crucifixes, statuettes, rosaries, scapulars, etc. etc. All became terribly wearisome after a while. The girdle consists of 4 different fabrics from different periods and was once one of the most important relics of the church, first mentioned in 1286 now housed in this rather dull 19th century reliquary.
then to the Romanesque church of St Servatius and its Treasury, Part of the 12th century choir screen showing Christ blessing Saint Servatius and Saint Peter
12th century Romanesque tympanum, one of the North portals in the cloisters
finally we walked the Ramparts of the town. 10 July. Coach to Liege to see the Church of Ste-Croix (12/14th century). Bertholet Flemalle, Discovery of the Holy Cross (1670)
and then the Church of St Barthelemy whose great treasure is the bronze baptismal font, by Renier de Huy dated 1107-18.
and finally to the Curtius Museum. A most extraordinary building 15/16th century formerly a private mansion. Contains a sumptuous portrait of Napoleon as First Consul by Ingres
After lunch we visited the Museum of Religious Art which was awash with Madonnas from presumably abandoned churches, and then finally the Church of St Jacques, originally a Benedictine abbey founded in 1015 but the church was constructed from 1514 to 1538 and contains a wealth of sculptured figures.
11 July. Coach to Huy to see the Collegiale Notre-Dame and its Treasury with its collection of 12th century shrines to various saints. This one to St Mengold who I had never heard of, and of whom virtually nothing is known.
From there we wentd to Mons (Bergen) and visited the Church of St Waudru
Contains a spectacular reliquary with the remains of St Wardru. Then coach to Nivelles to see the Church of St Gertrude. From there we went to Mechelen and booked into the Alfa Alba Hotel. 12 July. Much of what follows we had already seen on previous private visits. Coach to Brussels to see the Musee Royal d’Art et d’Histoire, from there to the Cathedral of St Gudule and St Michael and the Grand Place where we had lunch. After lunch we visited the Museum of Ancient Art. Finally back to Mechelen for the night. 13 July. Coach to Ghent to see the Cathedral of St Bavo and the Altarpiece of the Holy Lamb by Memling. We did a town walk and visited ‘s Gravensteen. After lunch coach to Oudenaarde to see the Town Hall and the Church of our Lady, Pamele. Returned to Meehelen for the night. 14 July. Walk through Mechelen and visited the Cathedral and then Oud Begijnhof. We coached to Antwerp to see the Museum Plantin-Moretus and the Grote Markt. After lunch we visited the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Mayer van den Bergh Museum. Back to Mechelen for the night. 15 July. Coach to Tournai to visit the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Church of St Brice. After lunch visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Church of St Quentin. Coach to Lille where we boarded the Eurostar to return to Waterloo.
1998 August – France – Chartres and the Cathedrals of France. Another Martin Randall trip. 18 August. Dover and then ferry to Calais. From there we coached to Noyon to see the Cathedral. Much damaged by the French Revolution and the World War I. then on to Chamouille to book into the Hotel Mercure Holigolf. 19 August. Coach to Laon to see the cathedral, 12th 13th century. Much damaged during the French Revolution and the Franco-Prussian Wars of 1870., but with some good stained glass windows. How on earth did they survive?.
then after lunch coach to Reims to see the Cathedral where all the kings of France were crowned. How anything survived its troubled history is a mystery. Here some sculptures from one of the portals.
and the Basilica of St Remi. Coach back to hotel at Chamouille. 20 August. Coach to St Denis to visit the Basilica, which we had visited twice before, then on to Chartres to book into the Hotel le Grand Monarque. 21 August. Visited the Cathedral. The cathedral is the high point of French Gothic art. 12th -13th century. Magnificent portals.
Portal sculptures. Saints Martin, Jerome and Gregory. Somehow during an attack on the cathedral sculptures by the French Revolutionary mob they were stopped by the townspeople.
the cathedral is world renowned for its stained glass. Almost all 13th century. This is the rose window from the north transcept, dated 1235.
In the afternoon after lunch we visited the church of St Pierre, 11th-13th century and had a walk around Chartres. 22 August. Coach to Mantes-La-Jolie to visit the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame, 12th to 14 century. Vandalised during the French Revolution when it lost most of its windows. Somehow the portals survived.
Coach to Beauvais for lunch and then visited the Cathedral, 13th century and onwards. Magnificent stained glass windows
On to Amiens to first visit the Cathedral. massive, 13th century. Magnificent sculptured porches
The whole reason for the building of the cathedral was to house the Head of St John the Baptist which had been looted during the 4th Crusade. A sumptuous reliquary was made for it which was stolen and I never could work out whether the replica reliquary actually contains the head or not, probably not. The cathedral is renowned for its many interior sculptures dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Here St Firmin is about to be decapitated, this and many other sculptures adorn the funeral monument of Adrien de Henencourt, head of the chapter of Amiens Cathedral.
and then to book into our hotel – the Grandhotel de L’Univers 23 August. Revisited the cathedral and then coach to Calais to catch the ferry to Dover and home.
1999 – April – Prague. Another Martin Randall trip. 23 April. Heathrow to Prague. Booked into the Hotel Maximilian. Afternoon walk around the Old Town. Visited the Church of St James, 18th century Baroque. Contains an elaborate tomb of Count Václav Vratislav of Mitrovice (1669-1712) who was accidently buried alive in his tomb.
the Old Town Square, Church of St Nicholas, then to the Tyn Church, another Baroque confection.
and finally the Town Hall. 24 April. Visited the Cathedral of St Vitus, this the chapel of St Wenceslas with paintings depicting the life of St. Wenceslas, by the Master of the Litomerice Altarpiece (1506-9)
the Royal Palace, the Vladislav Hall 1487-1500.
and the Royal Gardens and Summer Palace built 1538-60 now used for art exhibitions. After lunch visited the Basilica of St George, the oldest surviving church in Prague.
the St George’s Convent, now holds the Gallery of Old Bohemian Art. We then walked along the Golden Lane, and then walked over the 14th century Charles Bridge.
25 April. Visited the Jewish Quarter, to see the Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, Old Jewish Cemetery and Pinkas Synagogue. After we went to St Agnes Convent to see the Museum of 19 Century Czech Art. We were much taken by a whole series of paintings by Master Theodoric of Prague (d.1381)
After lunch we took the coach to Nelahozeves to see the Nelahozeves Castle which contains the famous Lobkowicz Collection. The collection was bagged by the Nazis and then bagged by the Communists. Anyway much of the collection was restored to the family and now adorn their castle. Great musical family, in fact Dvorak was brought up, the son of the local inn keeper, in Nelahozeves on the doorstep of the castle. .
Coach to Museum of Modern Art in the Veletrzni Palace. It has this wonderful Van Gogh
In the evening we went to the Prague State Opera to see Verdi’s Rigoletto. 26 April. Morning walk to the New Town. Na Prikope, Zivnostenka Banka, Sylva-Taroucca Palace, then to Wencelas Square, the Hotel Europa and the Wenceslas Monument.
We then visited the National Museum and viewed the Thun-Hohenstein and Morzino Palaces and then to the Lobkovits and Schonborn Palaces. 27 April. Prague Castle to visit the Strahov Libraries, the Loreta Pilgrimage Church and the National Gallery in the Sternberk Palace. We were then coached to the Airport and returned to Heathrow.
1999, June/July Yorkshire Houses and Gardens. 30 June. William drove us to Ripon and booked into the Ripon Spa Hotel. Coach to York to visit the Fairfax House, then to visit Allerton Park. Back to Ripon for the night. 1 July. Visited Markenfield Hall, early 14th-century moated country house
then onto to Fountains Hall and Studley Royal. After lunch visited Newby Hall and returned to Ripon. 2 July. Visited Shandy Hall the home of Laurence Sterne
then to Duncombe Park where we had lunch
Visited Rievaulx Terraces and Temple
and then to Rievaulx Abbey.
3 July. Pickering Castle
then on to lunch and visit at Castle Howard
Visited the Old Rectory, Foston. 4 July. Visited Harlow Carr Gardens and returned home.
1999 – September – France Alsace-Lorraine, Strasbourg Nancy, Metz Colmaar. 1 September. Flew to Basle-Mulhouse Airport and coach to Strasbourg via the valley between the Rhine and the Vosges. Booked into the Hotel de L-Europe in Strasbourg. After lunch visited the Cathedral mainly 13/14 century, stained glass from the 12 to the 14 century. Then to the Musee de l’Oeuvre Notre Dame with mediaeval and Renaissance collections including Romanesque sculptures, paintings and early stained glass. Quite the most incredible museum, absolutely packed with paintings, sculptures, miniatures, room after room. Just picked this Cranach the younger portrait of a a young man.
2 September. Visited the Church of St Thomas became a cathedral in 1529 and contains the magnificent romp of a tomb of Marshal Saxe by Pigalle.
Then to the Musee des Beaux Arts in the Chateau des Rohan, the former residence of the Prince-Bishops and Cardinals of the French House of Rohan
The art gallery is situated on the top floors and contains a remarkable collection of paintings from the Middle Ages to the 18th century including works by Memling, Rubens, El Greco and Van Dyck. A Memling and a famous Largilliere.
3 September. Coach to south of Alsace to visit Colmar and see the Musee d’Unterlinden with a remarkable collection of paintings including the Isenheim altarpiece by Mathias Grunewald.
Also visited the Dominican Church to see the altarpiece ‘la Vierge au Buisson de Roses’ (1473) by Schongauer.
4 September. Drive to Nancy where we booked into the Grand Hotel de la Reine in the elegant 18th century square built by Stanislas, the former king of Poland. After lunch we visited the Musee de l’Ercole de Nancy founded by Emile Galle, containing a collection of glass, furniture and posters by Daum, Majorelle, Galle and others. 5 September. Visited the Musee Historique Lorraine housed in the Ducal Palace and he monastery of the Cordeliers, a real treasure house. After lunch visited the Musee des Beaux Arts. Collection with paintings by Claude, Perugino and Caravaggio plus another fine collection of glass. 6 September. Travelled to Metz to see the late Gothic cathedral of St.Etienne, remarkable for its stunning wealth of stained glass spanning the 13-20 centuries. Then on to St Pierre-aux-Nonnains built on the foundations of a 4th century basilica. The afternoon we visited the Museum of Fine Arts which is built over the remains of some Roman baths. Excellent collection of Carolingian and Merovingian sculpture as well as painting by Rembrandt, Delacroix, Moreau, etc. Returned to Nancy. 7 September. Journey across the Vosges mountains to visit the Castle of Haut-Koenisberg. It sits on a 12th century castle but was reconstructed by the German Emperor in the early part of the 20 century. It was completed just in time to be surrendered to the French in 1918, a rum rabbit warren of a place.
On to Basle and our return flight.
1999 – November – Florence. Martin Randall trip called ‘Florence Revisited’. 15 November.Flew from Gatwick to Pisa. We visited the Forte di Belvedere and then on to our hotel Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti, which is situated in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata. We had the most marvellous room, overlooking a quiet courtyard on the other side of which was a school of sculpture.
16 November. Visited the Galleria dello Spedale degli Innocenti, with a superb art collection including this masterpiece by Ghirlandaio.
then on to the Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio in the Ognissanti – Last Supper by Ghirlandaio.
From there to the Galleria Corsini in the Palazzo Corsini as the guests of the Principessa Corsini. Only Martin Randall could arrange such a visit.
After lunch we visited the Santa Maria del Fiore
and the Cripta di Sta Reparata which sits under the cathedral.
From there to see the frescoes in the Congregazione di Buonomini di San Martinom a delightful little oratory whose walls are covered in frescoes many attributed to the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio
Finally to Santa Maria Maddelena dei Pazzi to see the Crucifixion fresco by Perugino.
17 November. Visited the Cenacolo di San Salvi to see the Andrea del Sarto.
Coach to Fiesole to visit the Duomo and the Villa Medici and its gardens. From there to visit the Roman theatre and the museum
and the Antiquarium Constanini. On to the Badia Fiesolana and finally to the Museum Stibbert for a private visit. Full of armour, costumes and paintings, with a few good things. Frederick Stibbert who had put together the collection had a grandfather who was Governor of Bengal and made a fortune which eventually came to Frederick. He left his house and collection to the city of Florence. The cavalcade room has 14 16th century knights on horseback accompanied by 14 foot soldiers all dressed in armour and holding weapons. One of those jaw-dropping places which should on no account be missed on a visit to Florence.
18 November. Visited Santissima Annunziata
where we found this Pieta by Bandinelli
then to Canacolo S. Apollonia, a convent founded in 1339 containing The Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno
Cenacolo di Foligno, founde in the 14th century, after the convent was supressed in the 19th century, the fresco of the Last Supper by it is thought Perugino was discovered for the first time in the refectory
and the Chiostro della Scalzo, a charming early 16th century cloister with monochrome frescoes (some in very poor state) by Andrea del Sarto. The probably the most famous, The Baptism of Christ.
after lunch we decided to visit the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, frescoes by Masolino, Masaccio and Filippino Lippi.
and the Uffizi. 19 November. Santa Felicita, then on to the Palazzo Pitti and the Galleria Palatine both of which we had seen many times and just wallowed in the magnificent collections. Palazzo Capponi private visit, with some delightful frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (1583)
Afternoon was free and we went to see the Accademia at leisure, and of course to look at Michelangelo’s David.
20 November. Coach to Poghgio a Caiano to see the Villa Medicea.
The villa was acquired from the Strozzi by Lorenzo il Magfnifico wjo rebuilt it. It became Lorenzo’s favourite countryside residence. It contains the world famous frescoes by Pontormo, illustrating the story of Vertumnus and Pomona as told by Ovid.
Coach to Carmignano to see S. Michaele and the Pontormo Visitation
On to Villa Medicea, exterior only and lunch at the Hotel Paggeria next to the Villa. Galluzzo to see the Certosa di Galluzzo, a monastery founded in 1342, with the Palazzo degli Studi. Our main aim was to see the picture gallery with its five frescoes lunettes by Pontormo in a terrible wrecked stated.
and return to Florence. 21 November. Visit to the Museo Firenze com’era then to Piza for our flight back to Gatwick.