This is an “outside” tour, with a concentration on the religious center of Florence with Cathedral, Baptistery, and Belltower and the governmental center with Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazzale degli Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio. See Medieval towers and Renaissance Palaces. Depending on time and personal interests Piazza della Repubblica, Palazzo Strozzi or Dante’s neighborhood. 3 hours
(add a visit to the Accademia museum at the end of the tour with a focus on Michelangelo’s masterpiece David – 1 hour, advanced reservations recommended)
In this historic building we concentrate on the highlights of the collection in order to better understand the evolution of art in painting. See masterpieces by Giotto, Cimabue, Botticelli, PIero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael! 3 hours. (advanced reservations required).
Visit the Baptistery, the Cathedral (outside) and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. The Duomo museum houses many treasures originally located inside the Cathedral including masterpieces by Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Michelangelo. Inside are also Lorenzo Ghiberti’s original gilt bronze Baptistery Doors telling stories from the Old and New Testament, fondly known as “The Gates of Paradise”. 3 hours. Ticket reservations are recommended.
Stroll through two magnificent historical gardens. First we explore the first formal Renaissance garden, Boboli, located on 111 acres behind Palazzo Pitti, the home of the Medici Grand Dukes. Not a floral garden but a green garden which has expanded and changed over time with sculpture, meadows, ponds, labyrinths, avenues, small groves, teahouses and grottos. Passing by the 16th century fort we then enter into a more intimate garden, remodeled by 19th century antiquarian Stefano Bardini.
Walk through azaleas, viburnums, camellias, roses, irises and sixty varieties of hydrangea to arrive at Belvedere loggia, the secret lookout of the city. Continue down ‘wisteria lane’ and the Baroque staircase to arrive in the trendy area of town called San Niccolo. Optional visit in a unique perfume atelier, inspired from floral notes from near and afar. 4 hours.
In Santa Maria Novella we discover the frescoes in the main Tornabuoni chapel by Domenico Ghirlandaio, considered the “photographer” of the Renaissance. In addition to admiring stories of the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist we see a snapshot of life and times in 15th century Florence. Ghirlandaio was an expert in the fresco making technique and taught a young Michelangelo the trade in this special religious space.
Stroll down the famous Via Tornabuoni with its monumental 15th century homes such as Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Antinori and Palazzo Bartolini-Salimbeni.
Finish the visit in the church of Santa Trinità, with a special burial chapel also frescoed by this master. Optional visit to the historic and well-known Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella. 3 hours.
Visit this special museum, one of the oldest public buildings in Florence, and now and the state sculpture museum. Enjoy collections from Medieval times to the Renaissance with masterpieces by Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and Giambologna. Compare and contrast sculptural works of the mythological Bacchus. Afterwards the visit continues exploring the Medieval quarters of the town, visiting Orsanmichele, the special grain-hall turned church, so incredibly important for the history of the city and the history of art. 3 hours.
(you can also add a visit to the Accademia museum at the end of the tour to focus on Michelangelo’s masterpiece David. This add-on is 1 hour, advanced reservations recommended)
Meander through the backstreets of Florence. Explore the Oltrarno area of town, full of artisans’ studios, antique stores, bars, and small restaurants. Walk down medieval alleyways, engage in tower talk, enter into the world of Renaissance palaces and hidden churches. Visit the Medici’s monumental home, Palazzo Pitti. Learn some of their family secrets and admire their art collection acquired over the centuries, including masterpieces by Raphael, Rubens, and Caravaggio. The visit includes an artisan studio or a wine tasting, depending on personal interests.
Museum entrance, drinks or artisan donation considered an extra cost. 4 hours
Enjoy a morning visit to a professional Painting Restoration Studio. In a traditional “bottega” atmosphere learn about how Renaissance paintings were created. Find out why Florentines have become worldwide restoration leaders. Learn about traditional restoration techniques using fish and rabbit glue to modern relining techniques using a hot table. Afterward visit the Church of Santa Croce. Visit this monumental religious complex that the Franciscan Order cultivated as their home. Famous artists, scholars and merchants chose to be buried within- the likes such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Leonardo Bruni and Machiavelli. Famous artist and architects have also left their mark inside including Giotto, Brunelleschi, Vasari, Cimabue and Donatello. A donation is requested for the restoration studio, price to be advised. 4 hours
Possibility to enjoy a visit to the famous leather school located within the premises that has been making hand-made leather goods for decades.
Enjoy an urban trek which starts in the heart of Florence at Ponte Vecchio and leads up to the magnificent 13th century Romanesque church of San Miniato a Monte. We will enter inside this medieval masterpiece, which I consider one of the most beautiful in Tuscany. Walk along backstreets by Renaissance Villas and stately manor homes. Walk to the hill where scientist Galileo lived and worked.
Wear your walking shoes and bring your water and your camera. Enjoy magnificent vistas! 4 hours
Learn more about Cosimo dei Medici, the man and his extended family which created one of the most important banking empires in Europe. Visit his transformed home, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, with the special chapel dedicated to the three religious Magi decorated by Benozzo Gozzoli.
Afterwards visit the monumental religious complex of San Lorenzo. This is the church Fillipo Brunelleschi remodelled in the 15th century encompassing perfectly the Renaissance ideal of simplicity, balance and symmetry. Inside Cosimo and later members of his family have their final resting places. 3 hours.