£370 – £479.26

Tuscan Treasures (7 Day Excursion)

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Date and Time

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Location

Coolings Garden Centre

Rushmore Hill

Knockholt

TN14 7NN

United Kingdom

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Event description

Description

Tuscan Treasures

Date: Tursday 4th October - Wednesday 10th October 2018 (7 Days, 6 nights)

Early Bird Dicount if you Book NOW

Flights are NOT included with this holiday departure on day one is from Italy and return on day 7 is from Italy. We can assist with flights please contact us.

Price: Prices from £999 per person (Flights not included)

(If booked before 24th December 2017 including Early Bird Booking Discount + 10% Coolings Family Discount)

Single Persons Supplement £295 (SPS is not valid for 10% Coolings Family Discount)

A payment plan applies to this holiday if booking before 24th December 2017

The retail price after 24th December 2017 is £1249 per person


We’re often asked about visits abroad, especially to Italy, and so this year we thought we’d give you a taste of some fabulous places in Tuscany!

Our trip is planned for October to avoid the searing summer sun and daily temperatures should be around 20 degrees centigrade.

As you’d expect from us, there’s an additional twist as we draw back the curtain on another secretive area of horticulture. More of this will follow in the description.

Pricing does not include flights as Coolings is unable to sell these presently, but we will be able to give advice on which flights will suit our tour and where you might wish to book them. Please ring and speak to our events team on 01959 532269 to discuss the flight options and our preferred provider.

We will identify meeting and drop off times at airports so we can escort you from the moment you arrive to when you depart. That said, if you wish to stay longer we can help with those arrangements too.

At the time of writing, some of our venues are still waiting to confirm their opening regimes for next year, so there may be some variance in the programme outlined below.

Day 1

You will arrive from the UK to be met by a Coolings representative at the airport who will then escort you to your coach and onward travel to the Hotel Villa Cappugi, a four-star hotel located in Pistoia to the west of Florence. It has an outdoor swimming pool which should be the perfect temperature by the time we arrive! We will be based here for the week, enjoying dinner bed and breakfast.

Day 2

We will be collected by luxury coach and transported to two super venues, the Boboli and Bardini Gardens.

We’ll start with the Boboli Gardens which are more than a garden; more than just a ‘green lung’ in Florence. The Boboli gardens are one of the greatest open-air museums in Florence.

The park hosts centuries-old oak trees, sculptures, fountains and offers peaceful shelter from the warm Florentine sun. The gardens are a spectacular example of ‘green architecture’, decorated with sculptures and the prototype which inspired many European Royal gardens, in particular, Versailles.

Its creation and development spans four hundred years, from the 15th to 19th centuries. The original fields and gardens were laid out behind Santa Felicita in the Oltrarno by the Borgolo family, the name from which Boboli is thought to derive, and were bought in 1418 by Messer Luca Pitti. In 1549, the property was purchased by Cosimo I's wife Eleonora di Toledo, and was greatly enlarged to became the Medici family's new city residence.

In the afternoon we’ll move to the Bardini Gardens which were only re-opened to the public in 2005, after five years and 12 million euros had been spent in restoring them. A lot of people still don’t know about the gardens and that is a pity, as they are missing a treasure, but it also means we can be ‘relatively’ private.

This ten-acre garden was originally planned by the Mozzi family way back in the 13th century, but it has greatly changed since then. One fabulous feature of the garden is the fact that it provides fabulous views over Florence itself!

Day 3

Today we will start with Giardino di Castello. This Garden commissioned by Cosimo I to Niccolò Tribolo in 1538, is one of the first examples of Italian garden, and from here the same architect took the inspiration to realize the famous Boboli Garden.

Inizialmente mostrava una forma semplice e geometrica , composta da 3 terrazzamenti . Initially he showed a simple and geometric shape , consisting of 3 terraces but with development over time and Poi col trascorrere degli anni e il passaggio da un proprietario a un'altro, il complesso ha subito diverse modifiche e l' aggiunta di notevoli opere d'arte tipiche del manierismo , come la Grotta degli Animali .the transition from one owner to another, the space has been modified with the addition of remarkable artworks, such as the Grotto of Animals .

La prima terrazza è composta da 16 aiuole quadrate con al centro la Fontana di Ercole e Anteo di Bartolomeo Ammannati . The first terrace is composed of 16 square flower beds, and a series of classic sculptures , here placed later (late 1700).

La seconda terrazza presenta il Giardino degli Agrumi nel quale troviamo 500 piante di agrumi, molte delle quali pregiate e rare. The second terrace features the Citrus Garden, where we find 500 citrus plants, many of which are precious and rare.

climbing two stairway steps to the top of the garden where we find a large wood in which the basin of the Fountain of January or Apennines by Bartolomeo Ammannati was placed. Da qui in poi lo spazio è stato dedicato al giardino all'inglese realizzato per volere dalla famiglia dei Lorena. From here onwards the space was devoted to the English garden built for the Lorena family who once occupied the property.

Our final garden for the is the Medici Villa della Petraia, just a few kilometres from Florence, was a haven for the Medici family and still charms visitors today with its beautiful Italian garden and richly ornate interiors and period furniture.

The old homestead, dating to 1362 and changing hands several times, became the property of the Medici family after their return to the city in 1530.

The gardens are split across three levels to make the most of the hill slope: from the highest terrace there are unique views over Florence and Brunelleschi’s dome, while in the “Piano della figurina” there’s the Fiorenza fountain, and on the north side you can take a stroll in the English gardens, which were created in the romantic taste typical of the early nineteenth century.

In the afternoon, we will be guests of Vannucci Piante in Pistoia.

We are sure you will have seen some very large specimen plants at Coolings and other garden centres: the plants priced at hundreds or thousands of pounds each? The lion’s share of production for these is in Pistoia, a particularly rich growing area, where the soil and climate suit this type of production.

During our brief visit, you will see literally acres and acres of plants that will melt your heart and make you promise yourself you’ll buy one, maybe more (!) to complete your garden bucket list.

Day 4

We will take you to Florence where you can enjoy free time. In our full itinerary, we will give you plenty of suggestions of where to go and what to do and to stop you getting too lost, a map as well!

Day 5

Our aim in the morning is to visit 2 fabulous gardens, the Villa Medici and the Le Balze Garden.

The Garden at Villa Medici has gracious terraces cut into a stony hillside with panoramic views of the River Arno and Florence. Sites for earlier villas had been chosen because they were easy to defend, or because of their rich agricultural surroundings and had it been built 50 years earlier, the garden would surely have been enclosed in the medieval way. Had it been made 50 years later; the terraces would have been joined with great flights of steps as the styles changed through time.

As it is, the terraces have lawns and are shaded by paulownias. Paths are lined with lemon trees and with geranium-filled terracotta pots. There is a secret garden (giardino segreto) which has wonderful views, to aid one's contemplation.

Horace Walpole's sister added the coach drive in the eighteenth century and an English architect designed the box parterres in the twentieth century! An ongoing story of development with a British twist!

Villa Le Balze is a Renaissance-style villa which is owned by Georgetown University and maintained as a study center for around 3 decades.

It was designed for Charles Augustus Strong by two English architects—Geoffrey Scott and Cecil Pinsent. The construction of the Villa extended over two years and was completed in 1913.

The Villa rests on three acres of land with three formal gardens, a bosco, and olive groves on the hillside beneath the building.

Charles Augustus Strong, who was married to John D. Rockefeller’s oldest daughter Elizabeth, built the Villa (with a legacy from his father-in-law) after his wife’s death in 1905, and he lived there for the rest of his life. Although a reclusive man, he knew many notable people Bertrand Russell, who visited the Villa in the 1930’s.

Finally, in the afternoon we aim to visit Giardino Corsini in the Centre of town. This garden belongs to the rich Corsini family, who live in Florence.

Concealed behind the facade of one of the mansions along what was known as the Prato of Ognissanti is one of Florence's finest gardens. In 1591 , having purchased land along the Prato d'Ognissanti, Alessandro Acciaiuoli asked Bernardo Buontalenti to design a “pleasure lodge” with extensive grounds.

In 1591 , having bought land along the Meadow of Ognissanti, Alessandro Acciaiuoli asked Bernardo Buontalenti to design a "pleasure lodge" with extensive grounds. Buontalenti designed the complex hydraulic system to bring water to the fountains, with the pathways lined with sumptuous rows of cedars, the loggia and large “inginocchiata” (or kneeling) windows that can still be seen today. Buontalenti designed the complex hydraulic system to bring water to the fountains, with the pathways lined with sumptuous rows of cedars, the loggia and large "kneeling" windows that can still be seen today. In that era, the garden also contained the famous “ statues of the four seasons ” that stand today at either end of the Santa Trinità bridge : Summer and Autumn by Giovanni Caccini , Spring by Pietro Francavilla and Winter by Cristofano Stati .

Following the purchase in 1620 by Filippo and Maddalena Corsini in the wake of the bankruptcy of the Acciaiuoli family, they assigned the task of finishing the lodge to Gherardo Silvani who also reworked the layout of the garden.Following the purchase in 1620 by Filippo and Maddalena Corsini in the wake of the bankruptcy of the Acciaiuoli family, they assigned the task of finishing the lodge to Gherardo Silvani who also reworked the layout of the garden. Silvani's contribution can be seen in a number of details in the spaces on the ground floor, such as the ornamentation in the architectural moldings.

Silvani's contribution can be seen in a number of details in the spaces on the ground floor, such as the ornamentation in the architectural moldings. But it is the Italian-style garden— bounded by the large orangeries , with the sophisticated, geometrical beds, box hedges, lemon trees in vases and statue-lined main path—that clearly reveals the Baroque-style orientation of the architect and his love of scenography. But it is the Italian-style garden- bounded by the large orangery , with the sophisticated geometric beds, hedges of hedge, lemon trees in vases and statue-lined main path-that clearly reveals the baroque-style orientation of the architect and his love Of scenography. To enhance the sense of length and depth of the main path, the architect made use of the trick of placing the statues and their pedestals at a progressively-lower height, fixing the central vantage point from the loggia at the back of the palace towards Via della Scala, as is seen in the cherub and two lions above the gate and the side pillars oriented towards the inside.

To enhance the sense of length and depth of the main path, the architect made use of the trick of placing the statues and their pedestals at a progressively lower height, fixing the central point of view from the loggia at the back of the palace towards Via Of the Scala, as is seen in the cherub and two lions above the gate and the side pillars are oriented towards the inside.

In 1834 the palace became the residence of Don Neri Corsini and his wife, who commissioned both architectural and ornamental work. In 1834 the palace became the residence of Don Neri Corsini and his wife, who commissioned both architectural and ornamental work. During the same period, the garden also underwent a Romantic-style make-over. During the same period, the garden also underwent a Romantic-style make-over. Wooded groves were created, as well as a knoll and little lake—changes that can still be seen in the two wooded areas that create a sort of scenic green backdrop to the garden. Wooded groves were created, as well as knolls and small lake-changes that can still be seen in the two wooded areas that create a sort of scenic green backdrop to the garden. More recently, the garden with its spring flowering of pink and red cistus, lavender, roses, peonies and ornamental cherry trees, was reworked by Oliva di Collobiano . More recently, the garden with its spring flowering of pink and red cyst, lavender, roses, peonies and ornamental cherry trees, was reworked by Oliva di Collobiano .

Day 6

Today we will visit Villa Gambereraia which may well be the jewel in the crown of this trip!

This garden has the simple structure of an early renaissance garden combined with the rich decoration of the mannerist or baroque styles. The long lawn, peopled with statues, is a bowling green. There is a nymphaeum, fountains and a lemon garden. The water parterre was a late nineteenth century addition, by a Serbian princess and her close American friend, Miss Blood. Gambereraia was badly damaged in the second World War but has been restored.

Finally, to describe it another way: “From the moment you pass the gate, with its sentinel cypresses, the impression is one of such perfect loveliness’’ C. Latham, The Gardens of Italy

In the afternoon there will be more free time when we can visit Florence or relax in the hotel.

Day 7

We will return you to the airport for your flight back home.


Tickets:

You will receive an email confirmation from Eventbrite our online booking system provider. This email is only confirmation. Your tickets will be sent to you within 28 days before you depart for your holiday.

Trip Specific Information:

1. Each person attending this trip will require a valid passport for the entire duration of the trip

2. It is recommended you have adequate travel insurance to cover the duration of the trip

3. It is recommended you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC.)

4. You will require either Euro’s or a credit card/debit that is accepted in the France and you should advise your bank the dates you will be in the France to avoid bank security blocking transactions on suspicion of fraudulant activity. A valid method of payment is required (as is common place) for a holding deposit against each hotel room booking for any additional charges that you may inccur during your stay. If you do not carry out any chargeable transactions during the duration of your stay this deposit is fully refundable / cleared on departure.


Additional Information:

Coolings will be providing all transport once your arrive in Italy. We are able to advice on flights and timings for outgoing and return flights. Please contact us for more information on this on 01959 532269.

Coolings always use the finest quality coaches and all but the very smallest vehicles are fitted with toilets and we also aim to stop roughly every 90 minutes to stretch your legs and refresh ourselves.

A member of the Coolings team will be present throughout your excursion to assist you and be on hand should you have any questions or concerns.

Payment Schedule

Full Payment

You can make full payment for this holiday (per person) at the time of booking by phone or take advantage of a deferred payment period (see below)

Deposit / Deferred Payment

If you wish to defer payment for some of this holiday (per person) you may do so.

A third of the ticket price (per person) is due as deposit to confirm your booking. A further third, 2nd payment (per person) is due by 28th February 2018. The final third, 3rd payment is due two months prior to departure by 4th August 2018. All future payments should not be made via Eventbrite and can be made by calling Coolings on 01959 532269.

A full payment schedule will be sent to you after booking confirmation has been received. If you have any questions concerning our deferred payment process please contact us on tel: 01959 532269.

FAQs

Am I only able to now book online for events / excursions with Coolings?

Our online ticket system is by far the easiest way for the majority of our customers to make a booking. However we are still happy to receive phone booking at Coolings Garden Centre on 01959 532269 (payment can be made preferably by credit / debit card over the phone / cheque in the post).

Alternatively you may still visit Coolings Garden Centre in person and make a booking at our customer service desk located in the main shop. If making a booking in person at Coolings you can pay by credit / debit card, cheque or cash.

If paying by cheque for any event / excursion this is only available up until 10 days prior to the event / excursion taking place. If you are booking less than 10 days prior to the event payment must be made by one of the alternative methods.

I am have a Coolings Family Card, can I use it?

Coolings Family can be used for this excursion. To use your card please enter your card number into the 'Enter Promotional Code' box when selecting your tickets. This is the full 11 digit cardholder number.

What if I have some specific requirements that are not listed here?

Please contact Coolings Garden Centre on 01959 532269 or alternatively email us on events@coolings.co.uk to discuss your requirements and as always we will do our best to accomodate them.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please contact Coolings Garden Centre on 01959 532269 or alternatively email us on events@coolings.co.uk

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

You may transfer your ticket to someone else, but we must receive confirmation of this 48 hours before the event / excursion. For some holidays you may not be able to transfer your booking with less than 7 days notice.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Yes a printed ticket must be brought to the event. Although our ticket provider 'Eventbrite' does offer electronic tickets mobile reception at Coolings is often limited so this may mean you are unable to recall your ticket on site. We do hold a record of all attendees to any event / excursion/ holiday, but if you do not have your ticket this will cause you some delays.

What if I wish to cancel?

Refunds on Events and one day Excursions can only be offered 14 days before the event/excursion.

Refunds on holidays (trips of more than one day) can be offered under the following terms.

Figures expressed as % below relate to the full amount you were to pay for the holiday.

84 days or more before departure Coolings will retain 10%

83-57 days before departure Coolings will retain 30%

56-31 days before departure Coolings will retain 50%

30 days or less before departure Coolings will retain 100%


The name on the registration/ticket doesn't match the attendee. Is that okay?

Tickets may be transferred with 48 hours notice or 7 days for some holidays but on the day of an event / excursion/ holidays ticket attendee/s should match our registration details.







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Date and Time

Location

Coolings Garden Centre

Rushmore Hill

Knockholt

TN14 7NN

United Kingdom

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