Join Us in May of 2015

Welcome to the 6th Annual Italian Art & Cultural Excursion!

We are pleased to say that the 6th Annual Italian Art & Cultural Excursion is SOLD OUT. We are in the process of finalizing a new tour for the Fall of 2015. This exclusive tour, as always, will be limited to a maximum of 16 participants. Please stay turned to this site for detail. In the meantime, here is our Itinerary for May of 2015.

                             ~ Please scroll down to view the complete itinerary ~

This unique tour will allow you to experience Italy like never before. Italian-Canadian artist Christopher Webb and Pavia Gallery owner Victoria Foulger lead the group from the Etruscan town of Tarquinia, throughout Tuscany, and finally, into the eternal city of Roma. Experience these magical lands from a passionate perspective. Amazing landscapes and locales. Unique dining. Exclusive tours. Italian living at its best. Not only will we explore the more famous galleries such as the Ufizzi and the Vatican Museum, but we will also visit the studios of a number of  contemporary artists and galleries. Even with our busy schedule there will be lots of time to wander off and enjoy a bit of time on your own.

This itinerary includes:

  • Accommodations throughout the excursion
  • All ground transportation (including being picked up from the airport and taken to Tarquinia)
  • All breakfasts
  • One wonderfully typical Italian meal (in Tarquinia) is included in this excursion. For all of the other lunches and dinners you will always be given ‘recommendations’ for restaurants, trattorias, pizzerias, etc. so you will never be left trying to find a good place to eat. Options will be given for all budgets and there is always a focus on "KM-Zero" restaurants for dinners (slow food/local fair)
  • Admissions to all galleries and museums including the Uffizi and the Vatican Museum
  • Guided Tours

Not included:

  • Airfare to and from Italy
  • Transport back to Leonardo DaVinci Airport (Fiumicino) at the conclusion of the tour
  • Meals: Lunches and dinners (with the exception of the large group meal in Tarquinia.) Meal options for low medium and high budgets will always be provided.

After reading below, if you would like more information please contact Pavia Gallery curator and tour organizer Christopher Webb at +1 902 407 4008 or by email at: For more information about previous tours and to view photos of the 2012 Tour, please visit last year's  Day-By-Day Blog.

(above: Our accommodations in Tuscany & Roma)


Total cost of tour is € 2.350 Euro (which, at the time of this posting is approximately $3,480.00 CDN including all applicable taxes). Single Rooms are available but are subject to a supplemental fee. Every effort will be made to visit the artists stated in the itinerary, but we are subject to the life and schedule of the artists. Because the excursion is limited to 16 participants, you are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Prices are subject to change based on exchange rates and fuel costs. An € 600 Euro deposit (which, at the time of this posting is approximately $890.00 CDN) is required to reserve space. Final payment is due by January 31st, 2015.

Day 1 – Saturday, May 2nd: Roma / Tarqunia

Whether you are arriving from Europe or an overnight flight from North American (or any other part of the world) let us be the first to say Benvenuto a Roma! After touching down in Rome, we will pick you up from Fiumicino (Da Vinci Airport) make your way to the beautiful Etruscan town of Tarquinia and check into your room in our B&B located within the walls of this ancient town. Upon your arrival you may choose to explore the surrounding area or just rest. Join the group for an aperitivo tonight at our meet and greet at Trattoria L'AmbArAdAm.

Day 2 – Sunday, May 3rd: Tarquinia

Buongiorno! Grab a quick cappuccino and fresh cornetto and we are off to explore the charming Etruscan town of Tarquinia. It is often forgotten that Italy had a significant history before the Roman times and this is the centre of the Etruscan civilization. We start our day just outside of the walls of the old city where we meet our guide and take a tour of the fascinating Etruscan Tombs located in the Necropolis.  After our short tour we take a walking tour of this ancient walled city.  Starting at the top of the town we meander our way down, stopping to take in the history, the beauty and also visit the studio of local artist Marco Ferri.  After a good Italian pranzo (lunch) we visit Museo Archeologico di Tarquinia which houses almost all of the artifacts of the Etruscans. After some time to re-group and we head out into the heart of the old city to enjoy a grande Italian 4 course meal at a local hot spot where we will sample some typical fare from the region of Lazio.

Day 3 – Monday, May 4th: Tarquinia / Orvieto / Tuscany

It’s a traditional Italian breakfast then we leave behind the Etruscans and head towards the home of one of Italy’s most famous Duomos...and famous white wines. You may never have heard of Orvieto, but after one up-close glimpse of the Cathedral of Orvieto, you will never forget it! We take the fanicula up to to the bottom of the town and then stroll up the main street to the Duomo. After a quick visit to the church we make recommendations for lunch and you have a little time to explore the side streets and all they have to offer.

It's back on the road and we make our way North. After passing through the stunning Tuscan countryside we arrive at our new home for the next six nights – our Villa nestled in one of the valleys between Florence and Sienna. We will have enough time to settle in and explore our surroundings before making our way down to their small restaurant. Our Villa has an organic farm on the property and we will have a chance to taste all of their hard work.

Day 4 – Tuesday, May 5th: Toscana : Firenze

It has been called the art capital of the world. It’s a full day for us in the Renaissance jewel of Firenze. In no time we travel from our secluded villa and arrive at the periphery of the city at the Piazzale Michelangelo. A quick photo-op and we head straight for the downtown core where we walk across the Ponte Vecchia and begin our guided walking tour which includes the Piazza della Signonria, the Duomo and Baptistery and Santa Croce – the final resting place of: Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Marconi. After lunch we take a guided tour of the world famous Galleria degli Uffizi, which houses unbelievable treasures of Renaissance art.  At the end of our very busy day we meet on the steps of the Duomo and head back to our villa where a number of possible dinner options await.

Day 5 – Wednesday, May 6th: Casole d'Elsa / Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

After a leisurely breakfast we travel the scenic route and visit the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Here we will be given a tour of this beautiful and fascinating abbey with its three, 15th century cloisters, impressive monastic library and the dispensary consisting of ceramic pharmaceutical jars dating back to the 17th century. After our visit we travel the short distance to explore the tiny, walled in village of Buonconvento. The one main street is filled with little restaurants and trattorias where we will stop for lunch. From here we set off to the medieval hilltop town of Casole d'Elsa where we will visit the Verrocchio Arts Centre. These are the studios of sculpture Nigel Konstam who owns and runs this successful centre where he practices and facilitates a variety of art courses taught by both himself and visiting tutors. After a tour of the studios we will have the opportunity to stroll through the streets of Casole d'Elsa whose history dates back to the 13th century.


Day 6 – Thursday, May 7th: Toscana : Volterra / San Gimignano

It’s an early morning departure as we start our day in the Etruscan city of Volterra. This gorgeous, rich and vibrant walled city sits high above the Tuscan landscape, stretching out from the old city gates to the Piazza dei Priori. You can take your time to roam around this compact and very walkable city, where you will pass famous sites such as the Porta all’Arco – an enormous gate built from huge volcanic stones in the fourth century B.C. to the Palazzo dei Priori – Volterra's impressive city hall built in 1209 which claims to be the oldest city hall in any existing Tuscan city state. Volterra will not fail to enliven your senses with its vast array of galleries, museums and historical sites…and not forgetting of course the obligatory stop for Cappuccino and Dolce in one of the many outdoor cafes! From here we drive the short distance to the UNESCO world architectural town of San Gimignano: a town of beautiful towers and rich history, art and culture. We start our tour in a local gallery where we find out more about what it is like to be an artist living and working in Italy.

We conclude our day with an optional visit to a wonderful slow food restaurant in the tiny town of Montefioralle.  If you can manage it after far too much food, you can take a quick stroll around the whole about 10 minutes.

Day 7 – Friday, May 8th: Toscana : Siena

Today we head South towards one of the finest examples of a medieval town located in the heart of Tuscany. Siena, built on three hills and surrounded by well preserved walls is filled with great examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the world's most unique piazzas. Il Campo is a round square that is home to the world-famous horse race, the Palio. We start our tour by taking a visit to the Duomo. Lunch options are given and then it’s off to enjoy our special afternoon in this beautiful city. You’ll discover why the colour, ‘Burnt Siena’ got it’s name. After an afternoon of walking, we make our way back to the Piazza del Campo and find an outdoor café and celebrate our day. Perhaps some spuntini (Italian bruscetta style snacks) and an aperitivo or two? As the late afternoon sun casts long shadows  in Il Campo, we make our way back to our Villa where you can take the opportunity to to book a spa treatment or a massage. Or perhaps a walk in the Tuscan hills? Or a glass of wine on the grounds of the Villa?

Day 8 – Saturday, May 9th: Toscana: Firenze

It would have been difficult to have left Firenze a few days prior had we not known we were coming back! Our early morning, fueled by cappuccino and breakfast at the Villa, gets us right into the centre of Florence. Starting at the Piazza Michelangelo,  you are unleashed on one of Europe’s best small cities with nothing but free time and your imagination. Options may include: visiting the Academia (David); taking in the Market District; strolling across the Ponte Vecchia; visiting the former home of Italian Fashion the Pitti Palace; taking a closer look at the Duomo / Baptistery; or you could always shop. We’ve heard that Florence has a few good designers and their shops may be worth visiting. In the early evening we meet at the steps of the Duomo and head back to the Villa where a number of dinner options are possible.

Day 9 – Sunday, May 10th : Toscana / Roma : The Eternal City

Today is a travel day with a reward at the end. We leave our home away from home with the excitement of experiencing Roma. By early afternoon we check into our little escape in the heart of one of Roma's trendiest districts: Trastevere. This district feels like a town within a city. While wandering around the tiny streets we will pop into The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere which is considered to be one of the oldest Churches of Rome, perhaps the first in which Mass was openly celebrated. Later we we stroll into one of our most guarded Roman secrets - a cheese and wine D.O.C. vendor who is considered by locals as the best in Rome. As late afternoon turns into evening, we will head to one of our favourite spots for some typical Roman food.

Day 10 – Monday, May 11th: Roma : Walking Tour / Vatican Museum or Bus Tour

Our last full day together and what better city to enjoy than the eternal city. We start our day with a brilliant walking tour of the city where we will learn more about the hidden histories of the city which include the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and various ancient treasures in between. After a quick bite, you will have the choice to either head to your reserved tour of the Vatican Museums – which includes the Sistine Chapel  OR you may wish to choose to take a of the Eternal City. Either way, it will be an action packed last day in Italy.  Tonight we head out to celebrate our experiences and adventures at a hidden gem of a trattoria. We will laugh, we will eat, we will sample any and all wines we happened to miss, and most of all we will celebrate our Excursion. Buonasera Tutti! Ci vediamo presto!

Day 11– Tuesday, May 12th: Roma / Depart Roma

Arrivederci Roma. DeItalicpart from Roma and on to home or your next travel destination. If you like we can facilitate an extra few days at our Hotel in Roma or help you plan an extended trip in Italia. From Roma Termini (the Train Station) you can easily access Napoli (Naples - which is a stones through from the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii) or make a trip north to Milano, Bologna or Venezia (Venice).