25th – 29th August 2020

If you love music and art and would like to see your children grow into a world of culture, this inspiring course from AHA might be for you and your family.

By a series of coincidence, we at AHA know the organisers of the New Generation Festival, which aims to bring opera to a younger audience.  We are proud sponsors of this great event and we have available the best seats in the house.  We are delighted to announce that the Festival organisers have collaborated with the Uffizi and the the City of Florence this year to create the most spectacular festival yet. One wonderful result of this new relationship is that the Festival will now take place in the Pitti Palace Boboli Gardens, a setting to rival any other. A charitable foundation has been set up to help those artists, creatives and local businesses who have been affected by the pandemic and the festival has some high profile sponsors as well as backing from the BBC and the Italian television channel RAI. Due to the successful funding of the event the tickets will be free this year (last year they averaged £250), these will be allocated on a first come basis. However, due to our long standing relationship with the festival we have been very lucky to secure a small block of excellent seats.

By bringing our connections together with our remarkable knowledge of the Renaissance, AHA has created a course where days are filled with art and the evenings swim with wonderful music.

This event is open to all; families, couples or individuals, aficionados or newcomers to opera and art.  Join us for a riotous few days.

“We went with our seventeen year old twins and our thirteen year old son, filled with hope and some trepidation.  But it turned out like the first days of AHA for me – days filled with energy and gain – and the children understood what all the fuss is about.  They climbed the Dome, they studied Botticelli, they made marbled paper and ice-cream.  After the first evening, when we were all finding our feet at the festival, they were off.  In the evenings that followed they found friends in the gardens, talked to strangers, enjoyed supper and joined us in our seats to watch Don Giovanni one night, Charlie Siem on another and William Walton’s Henry V on the third.  They all want to go back and our daughter is in the costume department for two weeks this year.  Was it worth it? Yes, we are so lucky; this course is utterly unique and formed a part of our children’s education of which one can otherwise only dream.”

Nicholas Ross, Director of AHA

A ‘Glyndebourne’ in Florence is not an opportunity to be missed; world class musicians, black tie, and all set in the beautiful Boboli Gardens. Our last three trips have been such a huge success that we are once again designing a course in Florence to encompass this wonderful event. During the day we shall explore our favourite Florentine sites, many far off the beaten track. We will visit the re-opened Grande Museo del Duomo to see the incredible reconstruction of the cathedral façade and the brilliantly displayed baptistery doors. We will offer a choice of itineraries so that those of you who know Florence well can explore the less familiar sights. If you came with us last year there will be a third and even fourth itinerary planned for you.  Now is a time like no other and the streets and museums of Florence will be empty as never before – take this rare opportunity.

In the evenings there is the opportunity to see an opera, a concert and some jazz in the Boboli Gardens and there will also be an additional late night concerts. One aim of the New Generation Festival is to encourage the young to discover a love of opera and music, we are therefore also opening up this trip to fourteen year olds and above and there will be different course fee options. We have endeavored to create a long weekend to experience the best of Italian culture.


Tuesday 25th August

We will fly to Bologna in the morning and then drive on to Florence. Once settled in to our hotel we will spend the afternoon discussing Realism and Rivalry: Florentine Renaissance Sculpture. We will explore the Grande Museo del Duomo – a spectacular feat of museum design and a perfect place to introduce the history of Florence. There is a full-scale reconstruction of the original plan for façade of the Cathedral, an excellent setting for the sculptures to truly shine. The baptistery doors have been given similar treatment and can be studied up close. Donatello’s Magdalen and Michelangelo’s Pieta have also been redisplayed emphasizing the poignancy of these exceptional sculptures. A brilliant exercise in museology.

For those who have been with us before we will look at Donatello and Renaissance Sculpture. We shall see the newly restored pulpits by Donatello in San Lorenzo which have been under wraps for seven years, before visiting the Bargello to examine Donatello’s work more closely. We shall also discuss the work of Donatello’s contemporaries. After a well-earned aperitivo on the roof terrace of our hotel we will eat at one of our favourite local trattorias.

Wednesday 26th August

In the morning we will concentrate on the early Renaissance and look at artists who were fundamental to the development of Florentine art. A deeper knowledge of these great artists is essential for understanding the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo. We shall visit the sublime Brancacci chapel frescoed by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi. We will then walk to Santa Maria Novella to discuss maths, space and perspective in front of Masaccio’s Holy Trinity and the newly restored frescoes in the cloister by Uccello. The group of young will have a chance to make their own ice-cream at the Gelato Academy, Perche No! There will also be the option to visit The Pitti Palace instead, to look at the excellent painting collection in the Galleria Palatina, which will include Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian and Botticelli.   We shall discuss the wonderful ceiling frescoes by Pietro da Cortona telling the story of the later generations of the Medici family and look at the courtyard designed by Amannati. We will all meet up for a delicious light lunch.

The afternoon will be spent studying Michelangelo – Anatomy and Innovation. First we will visit the Academia to see David and the Slaves. We will then visit the Medici tombs designed and sculpted by Michelangelo at San Lorenzo. We also hope to gain access to the Laurentian Library, one of my favourite spaces in Florence where Michelangelo broke all the rules. Alternatively you can visit Santissima Anunnciata, with frescoes by Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto and Rosso Fiorentino.   Nearby is the lovely little gallery at the Museo degli Innocenti, the Foundling Hospital. Only reopened a few years ago, it houses treasures by Ghirlandaio, Botticelli and della Robbia as well as a moving collection of ‘marks of recognition’ so parents could recognise their children in the future. We shall finish in good time to allow us to get ready for the evening.

In the evening we will attend La Cenerentola by Rossini in the Boboli Gardens.. Cinderella is universally loved and so we know this opera will be a hit with all ages.

Thursday 27th August

The Medici: Banking, Beauty and the Bonfire of the Vanities. We will meet the powerful Medici dynasty at the small church of Santa Trinità which houses one of the most remarkable fresco cycles in Florence by Ghirlandaio. Packed with portraits, the paintings give us a great insight into the financial and political allegiances of the day. We will then visit the Medici Palace where there is an exquisitely beautiful chapel frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli. The choice of subject and array of family portraits incorporated into the scene speaks volumes. After a speedy espresso, we will continue on to the Monastery of San Marco were each cell has been frescoed by Fra Angelico. Here we can see the cell of Savonarola; a perfect place to discuss the Bonfire of the Vanities. Alternatively a morning of Feasting in Florence off the Beaten Track. The ‘Cenacolo’ was a popular theme in Florence and the city is full of hidden monastery refectories decorated with these wonderful depictions of ‘the Last Supper’. We will search out our favourites, to include a fresco by Andrea del Castagno in Sant’ Apollonia and Ghirlandaio’s painting in Ognissanti. We shall also visit the Cloisters of the Scalzo to see the remarkable chiaroscuro frescoes by Andrea del Sarto.

We will all meet up at our favourite lunch spot, Quattro Leoni. The afternoon is free to rest before the concert or you can join us for a trip up the hill to see the beautiful Romanesque church of San Miniato al Monte. Not only will we find works by Luca della Robbia, Taddeo Gaddi and Spinello Aretino, but there is also a spectacular view over Florence and her Duomo below.

In the evening we will have the Symphony Night, Le Nozze di Figaro Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb/1 by Joseph Haydn, Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This will be followed by an optional late night concert by Natural Machines by Dan Tepfer.

Friday 28th August

In the morning there will be a choice of either free time to rest and explore or A private cooking lesson at The Food Studio with two Florentine brothers who have set up a cookery school on the ground floor of their parents’ palazzo. We will shop for ingredients in the pretty market in the piazza and then head to the school to learn to prepare our own Tuscan lunch.

In the afternoon we will visit The Uffizi Gallery where we will choose a handful of paintings celebrating the beauty and skill of artists in the collection. Works will include Simoni Martini, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo. For those who have been with us before we will concentrate on ‘Between Reality and Magic’; the eight new rooms at the gallery dedicated to Caravaggio and the 17th century. The group of young will have the opportunity to take part in a paper-marbling workshop.

The Festival are repeating the highly successful Jazz Night with the Three Divas co-produced with the Catskill Jazz Factory. There will be an optional late night concert DEVOTION a new drag act performed by Crystal Rasmussen, Shirley Du Naughty and Aphrodite Greene, née Jones.

Saturday 29th August

After a leisurely breakfast our coach will take us to the airport for our flight home.

Further Details

Tuition – Nicholas Ross, Charlie Winton and Francesca Dytor will lead the trip. All three tutors have taught for AHA for many years, they know Florence and her secrets extremely well. We will divide into small groups, with a separate group for the young.

Hotels – We will stay at the Hotel Palazzo Guadagni set in a Renaissance palace on the Piazza Santo Spirito.  The hotel has a relaxed, old world charm and a large wonderful loggia for evening drinks. It is located on the south side of the River Arno and so is away from the bustle of tourism. There are bars and two great trattorie along with a weekly market in the piazza. We are holding family rooms, but these are limited so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like one.


The ReGeneration Festival – The Festival will take place in the Boboli Gardens. Their aim is to give young opera talent from every corner of the world the opportunity to shine in a stunning Italian setting. This will be our fourth festival and as we share the wish to introduce young to opera and music, AHA have been a Patron of the event for two years. Dress code is formal evening dress – black tie, long dresses

Flights – We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend buying the following flights:

25th August         London Heathrow 8.00 – 11.10 Bologna BA0540

29st August         Bologna 12.00 -13.20 London Heathrow BA0541

Now is the time to book as return flights are £108

Please note that BA also fly directly in to Florence from London City, however these flights are far more expensive.

Transport – There will be a private coach for the airport transfer to meet the recommended flights.

Covid-19 – All necessary precautions will take place.  A health and safety document will be published with advice.

Cost – In order to tailor the experience to your wishes and price range the fees only include accommodation and breakfast, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, reading lists and local advice. Please state on the form if you would be happy to share. Not included are the flights, all lunches and suppers,  and travel insurance. Teaching groups will be ten or less people.

Fees to include room choice        Adult        14 – 17 years

Hotel double for single use         £1250        £1190

Hotel shared double                     £1100        £1040

Hotel shared triple                         £1075        £1015

Hotel shared quad                         £1050        £990


The application form should be returned with a deposit of £600.00.  Should the event not take place due to Covid-19 the deposit will be refunded according to our Terms and Conditions.  These must be read carefully for this event.

Early booking is essential for this trip as we can only hold festival tickets for a limited space of time. Room sizes are on a first come first serve basis and are limited in number.

NB You must buy your own flights

Registration Form

Terms & Conditions

Please call 01379 871800 or email charlie@arthistoryabroad.com if you have any queries.