Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Madonna of the Gold Finch by Raphael to be Returned to the Uffizi Gallery

Madonna of the Gold Finch Returns to the Uffizi Gallery

The Renaissance masterpiece Madonna of the Goldfinch, by Raphael, is finally ready after 10 years of painstaking restoration.
The 107-centimetre by 77-centimetre oil-on-wood work, known in Italian as the Madonna del Cardellino, portrays Jesus Christ's mother Mary with two children caressing a goldfinch.
The children symbolize a young Christ and John the Baptist while the bird, feeding among thorns, is interpreted as representing Christ's future suffering.
The restored painting has been transformed from its faded and dour colours, more green and brown, to its original glory — a vivid blue sky and an equally bright blue dress on the Madonna.
Meticulous restoration has removed centuries of film and grime.
Raphael, who died in 1520, painted the panel as a gift for the wedding of Lorenzo Nasi, a wool merchant.
The work was broken into 17 pieces when the Nasi house collapsed in 1547. Another artist used nails to put it together again and also repainted the piece to conceal the breaks.
It later became part of the collection of Florence's powerful Medici family, who also commissioned several repairs to the painting.
"I think I probably know this painting almost better than Raphael," chief restorer Patrizia Riitano said.

Join our Masterpeices of the Uffiz Gallery Tour to see other Raphaels and works by great masters such as Da Vinci , Botticelli and Michelangelo

Monday, March 23, 2009

Telegraph March 20 2009 Guides in Florence, Masterpieces of the Uffizi gallery Tour

The Telegraph 20 March 2009

Guides in Florence

Michele Lester from London writes
We are travelling with a couple of friends to Florence next month. It is our first time in the city and we would like to employ a guide to show us around the Uffizi Gallery (above) as I understand it's a bit of a scrum. Any ideas?

I can personally recommend Artviva (00 39 ...,, which employs art history experts (all native English speakers) who use humour and anecdotes to explain the background to the gallery's most famous works.

You can join a three-hour guided tour for up to 14 people, which costs €25 (£23) each including entry charge, or hire a private guide for your party of four for €76 each. Artviva also offers excellent walking tours of central Florence, similar guided visits to other galleries in the city and "exclusive experiences" including an irreverent look at the city's history with a count from one of Florence's oldest families followed by drinks at his palazzo on the River Arno. The three-hour tour costs about £450 for up to five people.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Italy Tour Review-Highlights of Our Venice in One Glorious Day Offer

See this review of our Italy tours. Try our Venice in One Glorious Day Package Special with four great tours and a free transfer to the island of Murano by luxury motor launch.

Venice in One Glorious Day:

1.The Original Gondola Tour

2.The Original Venice Tour

3.The Original Doges Palace Tour

4. The Original Grand Canal Tour

and a free transfer to the island of Murano.

see for more information

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Original Best of Tuscany Tour Review

Our Original Best of Tuscany Tour is low in price but high in quality. Enjoy seeing the Best of Tuscany with a great guide and a small group. We don't do what we call "Industrial Tourism" large groups being led around by a guide with a flag. We visit Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggoni as well as a wonderful old Tuscan winery. We spend time browsing quaint little shops in each town. A gourmet Tuscan lunch is included of course. We also do great tours of Venice, Tuscany, Florence and Rome. Our Original Tuscany Bike Tour is also very good value. See for more information. Hurry, because our small groups book up quickly. You can also do all our tours with your own private guide. Great value if you are a party of four or more.
Thanks very much to a wonderful small group who enjoyed our Best of Tuscany Tour on an early spring day 2009, and a special thanks to Liz from Orlando, Florida who was kind enough to be filmed for this review.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Prestigious Original and Best Artviva Gondola Tour Venice Italy

Our Gondola Tour in Venice, Italy is the only tour of its kind. Enjoy hearing about Venice and the fascinating Gondoliers with our marvelous story tellers that will bring Venice and its history to life. What's more, we only do small groups. You can get a great discount with this tour by doing our special Venice in One Glorious Day package. You can do this special package tour over one or more days. Our tours are high in quality but low in cost. We provide the best value for quality for tours in Italy. Our other great Venice tours are The Original Venice Tour, The Original Doges Palace Tour and The Original Grand Canal Tour. You also get a free transfer to the island of Murano by a classic Venetian motor launch to see a glass factory with this special package. You can also choose to do any of our great tours exclusively with your own guide. If you are a party of four or more this often makes great sense.

See for more information

The Original Best of Tuscany Tour Review, Italy Tours

Here is a review for the Best of Tuscany Tour, 2009. Our Best of Tuscany Tour is a wonderful way for the budget conscious to see fabulous highlights of Tuscany, Italy in one day. Our tours are low in price but high in quality. We leave from Florence and return to Florence. We only do small groups, maximum 14 persons per tour. The price includes a great gourmet lunch of Tuscan treats, a wine tasting, cellar and winery visit, three fabulous hill top towns, and of course the most important element -a great guide to bring the past to life. See our web site for hotel accommodations to construct your budget dream holiday.

Learn more about the Best of Tuscany Tour

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Italy Tours Budget? Italy Tours Cheap?

We have wonderful high quality tours for those on serious budgets. What our company proudly does really well is what we call -'bringing history to the people'; that is, we do high quality tours at a really cheap price...our tours start at around 25 Euro per person. For our Original Florence Walk you get a great introduction to Florence with one of our wonderful guides, with a company that is recomended by just about every major travel guide...The price for this flag ship tour has not gone up in five years. We also have great tour specials such as our :
Florence in One Glorious Day Special Cheap but high quality small group tours in Florence, Italy
Venice in One Glorious Day Special -Cheap Tours for the Budget Minded Traveler
Rome in One Glorious Day Special
-Great Tours at Great Prices

We also do a cheap daily Tuscany Bike Tour that has great reviews
See Our Tuscany Bike Tour Here

So if you need to travel to Italy on a budget, or need Italy tours cheap, we've got exactly what you need without compromising on quality.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Artviva The Original and Best Tours Italy-For Kids?

We are asked a lot if kids will enjoy our tours...


Great Guides
Great Kid Friendly Tours