Gardens of Florence: A Room with a View
* NEW for 2019 *
NOW SOLD OUT – to be added to our waiting list please email
Monday 13 – Thursday 16 May 2019
A four-day/three-night guided trip to showcase five historic gardens of Florence.
To help celebrate our 180th anniversary year, we are thrilled to be offering this exclusive, personally guided, Italian garden extravaganza, led by garden historian and friend of Perennial, Stephen Harmer in May 2019. This incredible ‘gardener’s paradise’ trip will take in five of the most important and beautiful gardens of Tuscany and allow guests to explore Florence from a boutique bed and breakfast nestled in the heart of this romantic city.
The five gardens we will tour are:
Villa Castello Commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici, ruler of Florence, in 1538, this garden is regarded by many as the blueprint of 16th century Italian gardens. Described by Helena Atlee, author of The Land Where Lemons Grow, as ‘a paradise for citrus lovers’, this garden is a true gem in Florence’s crown. Read more about Helena’s visit in her Country Life article from 2016 here.
Villa Gamberaia Built in the early 1600s, this classic villa is noted for its magnificent formal gardens and breathtaking views over the Arno valley. Charles Latham, in his book The Gardens of Italy, says: “From the moment you pass the gate, with its sentinel cypresses, the impression is one of such perfect loveliness that at last, by force of contrast, the mind goes back to strong Caprarola or tragic Este, only to turn once more to bathe in the perfection of the Tuscan villa.”
Le Balze Designed by English ex-pat Cecil Pinsent, this hillside garden is a wonderful example of small-scale design in the Italian Renaissance tradition. It is now owned and maintain by Georgetown University as its study centre in Florence and we are privileged to have been given access for this special tour. Catch a glimpse of the garden in the short film from Georgetown University below:
Villa Medici Fiesole Rarely open to the public, this ‘garden with a view’ is one of the oldest Renaissance residences with a garden and one of the most well-preserved. Our personal guide Stephen Harmer will take us through the garden ‘rooms’ explaining the importance and significance of the architecture, statutory and planting choices. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions as well as to soak up the breathtaking scenery surrounding the garden.
Boboli Gardens A place of historical importance for Florence with spectacular gardens and the blueprint which inspired many European Royal gardens including Versailles near Paris. Described as Florence’s ‘green lung’, the gardens at Boboli are designed around another one of the city’s cultural gems, the Pitti Palace. Find out more on the Visit Tuscany website here.
About our guide:
Currently Head Gardener at Tonbridge School, Stephen Harmer has spent many years as a lecturer in garden history at both Hadlow and Plumpton colleges and was described by garden writer Helen Yemm as a “passionate and lively historian” after she attended the Perennial tour of French Renaissance and Baroque gardens with him in 2015. Stephen leads garden study tours to Paris, Rome, Florence and England, giving entertaining and insightful commentary. Looking ahead to the Perennial trip in 2019 he says:
“I have supported Perennial and its work to help horticulturists in need for many years. It is with great pleasure that I am leading another historic garden tour in the charity’s 180th anniversary year and look forward to meeting the group next May. Spring is such a wonderful time to visit the gardens of Florence – the weather will be warm, but not stifling and the gardens will be lush and green with new life and plenty of early flower. The heady citrus blossom will guide us round many of the gardens and the unique views across the warm, hazy city of Florence will give this tour a really beautiful backdrop. I can’t wait to show everyone my favourite parts of the gardens, and find out theirs.”
Speaking about the French gardens tour Stephen led for Perennial in 2015, guests said:
“Stephen was excellent – knowledgeable and enthusiastic, helpful without being intrusive – he made this holiday a success.”
“This was a wonderful trip and I enjoyed every minute.”
“Fabulous holiday, really enjoyed it. Stephen Harmer was brilliant, as not only is he very knowledgeable he is also very personable.”
Terms & Conditions:
• £90 per person deposit is required by 29 October to reserve a place.
• Full balance is required by 28 February 2019.
• Minimum group size to enable the trip to go ahead is 20.
• Promoted price (£945) is based per head on two people sharing
• Single traveller supplement is £65 making the total trip cost £1,010
• Return flights from Heathrow, a three night stay with breakfast at the De Lanzi Hotel in Central Florence and individual garden transfers are included in the price.
• A full refund of any deposit and balance will be made on cancellations up to 18 March 2019 (56 days before departure). After this date, a sliding scale of cancellation charges apply. Please follow this link for details: https://www.fhtgrouptours.com/uploaded/files/2029-fht-cancellation-charges.pdf