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  The Gardens of Florence
                 May 22 – 30, 2009

              With AHS Host Susie Usrey
The Gardens of Florence
                           Join the American Horticultural Society and tour escort Susie Orso, as we explore Florence, Italy.
                           Located in the picturesque region of Tuscany, Florence has been a center of learning and art
                           throughout history. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, Florence was the
                           unchallenged leader of intellectual thinking and the cradle of the arts, producing some of the
                           greatest artists and architects of all time, including Giotto, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, da
                           Vinci, and Michelangelo. The trip will highlight the Florentine historical landmarks, intriguing
                           public and private landscapes, and exquisite works of art.
                           Accommodations for this tour will be the elegant Grand Hotel Villa Medici, Florence (www.villa
                           medicihotel.com). The Hotel Villa Medici is a picturesque historical residence conveniently located
                           near the Arno River in the center of Florence and within walking distance of Florence’s major
AHS Board Chair Susie      historic sites. Each elegantly appointed room contains original antique furnishings and tapestries
Usrey will be your host.   with broad windows framing the city’s classic vistas.
                           The AHS host for this tour is the Society’s Board Chair Susie Usrey, who is vice president of
                           customer relations for Monrovia Growers, Inc., one of the most influential wholesale nurseries in
                           the United States. Susie has been with Monrovia for more than 35 years, and in her current role she
                           travels the country helping train the people who sell Monrovia’s diverse line of container-grown
                           plants to retail nurseries. An avid gardener, she enjoys spending time in her Dayton, Oregon, garden
                           and is looking forward to sharing her passion for plants and travel with you.

Itinerary Highlights
Friday, May 22 – Depart the U.S. for Florence                       Sunday, May 24 – Museums and Villa Gamberaia                B, L
                                                                    This morning we will visit the Cathedral Museum, the Accademia
Saturday, May 23 –                                                  to see the statue of David, and the Museo of San Marco. We will
Arno River and the Piazzas of Florence                        D     then continue to Fiesole, a town perched on a hill just north of
Upon arrival at the Florence International Airport you will trav-   Florence, for drinks in the garden followed by lunch at the luxu-
el to and check into our Florence-based accommodations, the         rious Hotel Villa San Michele. In the afternoon, we will visit the
Grand Hotel Villa Medici. We will start the afternoon with a        gardens of Villa Gamberaia, one of the most celebrated Italianate
walking tour through the historic center of the city, which was     gardens with wonderful water features and views of Florence.
declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The walk-           Afterwards we will return to Florence where you will have dinner
ing tour will take you along the Arno River to the Ponte            on your own.
Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence, and will include the
main squares in Florence, Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del      Monday, May 25 – Arcetri and Villa Bardini              B, L, D
Duomo. Afterwards we will return to the hotel for dinner.           We will start the day with a tour of the Church of San Miniato al
Monte, one of the most remarkable examples of Florentine            compartments surround the main house, a 16th-century hunt-
Romanesque architecture built from the 11th to the 13th centu-      ing lodge where a pair of 300-year-old cypress trees frames a
ry. We will continue to Arcetri where we will visit two privately   picturesque view to the Apuan Alps across the valley of the
owned gardens, including that of Villa Capponi, a 17th-century      Serchio at Lucca. Next we will visit the garden of Villa
terraced garden with breathtaking views of Florence. Following      Torrigiani, where the original plan of the garden dates to the
lunch at Ristorante Omero, we will visit Villa Bardini, a garden    16th century. The garden contains a collection of camellias,
highlighted by a centuries-old holly tree and panoramic views of    noteworthy for its 19th-century varieties. We will continue to
Florence. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure before we    Lucca for lunch at Ristorante Buca di Sant’Antonio and some
meet up for dinner.                                                 time to wander through the town. Next we will visit the gardens

Tuesday, May 26 – Compitese Hills                          B, L
We will leave by coach for the Compitese Hills to visit a private
garden at Villa Massei. Here a series of intimate formal garden
of Villa Marlia. This 17th-century villa was built for the Orsetti
family and later became the summer home of Elisa Baciocchi,
Napoleon’s sister. Highlights of this baroque-era garden
include an outdoor theater, water features, and a variety of
mature trees. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Wednesday, May 27 – Uffizi and Boboli Gardens B, L, D
This morning we will visit the Uffizi and, by special arrange-
ment, the Vasari Corridor. Originally erected from 1560 to
1580 by the famous Italian painter and architect, George
Vasari, as the seat of the Medici administration, the Uffizi con-
tains one of the world’s most famous art galleries with master-
pieces by da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. We will have
lunch on the terrace of Palazzo Torrigiani, followed by a tour of
Boboli Gardens, one of the first and most familiar formal 16th-
century Italian gardens, located on the hillside behind Palazzo

                                                                     Thursday, May 28 – Palazzo Corsini and Carmignano
                                                                     B, L
                                                                     We will start the day with a tour of the gardens of Palazzo
                                                                     Corsini, one of the rare Florentine historical gardens that is well
                                                                     preserved today, featuring flowering pink and red rockroses,
                                                                     lavender, roses, peonies, and cherry trees. We will then leave
                                                                     by coach for Carmignano for the wine estate of Villa Capezzana
                                                                     where we will tour the cellars and have lunch with Conte and
                                                                     Contessa Contini Bonacossi. Afterwards we will return to the
                                                                     hotel, where you will have the afternoon at leisure and dinner
                                                                     on your own.

                                                                     Friday, May 29 – Fiesole                                     B, D
                                                                     We will begin with a tour of a private garden near Fiesole, fol-
                                                                     lowed by a visit to the garden of Villa Le Balze, Georgetown
                                                                     University’s Florentine Study Abroad Center, which has acres of
                                                                     formal terraced gardens clinging to the hillside. After lunch in
                                                                     Fiesole, we visit New York University’s Villa La Pietra, a
Pitti. Originally designed by Niccolo Tribolo, Boboli Gardens        Renaissance revival garden that reflects the tastes of the large
preserves most of its original Renaissance and baroque layout.       Anglo-American community that lived in Florence at the turn
One of the largest private gardens located within the city walls,    of the 19th century. We will return to Florence where the rest
it fully expresses the aesthetic and philosophical ideal of the      of the afternoon will be at your leisure. We will reconvene for a
English garden that developed in Europe during the 18th cen-         farewell dinner in the hotel.
tury and began to spread through Italy near the end of the cen-
tury. We will then return to the hotel, where you will have the      Saturday, May 30 – Depart for home                               B
afternoon at leisure. Dinner will be at Harry’s Bar, highly          Leave for the airport or optional extended stay.
regarded for its exquisite service, food, and wine cellar.

                                            Hidden Treasures Botanical Tours, L.L.C.
                                                         P.O. Box 39
                                                     Rocheport, MO 65279
                                              (573) 881-6316 or (573) 445-3975
                                        E-mail: info@hiddentreasuresbotanicaltours.com

                 American Horticultural Society • 7931 East Boulevard Drive • Alexandria, VA 22308–1300