Tour of Florence

One of the principal reasons for the success of Italy’s ever flourishing tourist industry is the wealth of artistic masterpieces to be found within the walls of the city of Florence. Throughout the year, Florence welcomes thousands of tourists each day, visitors who not only crowd the main streets but also the tiny, less famous, paths and alleyways in search of one of the city’s many works of art. Modern day pilgrims eager to have seen the Duomo, Michelangelo's "David", the Botticelli's paintings and so on in a list almost too long to recount.
As well as being drawn to Florence by its museums full of the finest mediaeval and renaissance figurative art, visitors come to roam through the city of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca; poetry and prose which were to lay the foundations of modern day Italian language. Visitors flock to Florence to enjoy a romantic stroll across Ponte Vecchio and along the banks of the Arno river. Others come to pay their respects to the great figures of the past buried in the church of Santa Croce, from Macchiavelli to Foscolo, from Marconi to Galileo.
Florence, unique city of art which today, as in the past, manages to retain a human dimension, examples of which can be found in the courtesy and good humour of the colourful markets of Piazza S. Spirito and surrounding S. Lorenzo, as in the small trattorie where tourists sit side by side the locals. Florence, a much loved city, so well known, yet still to be discovered.

Suggested tour from Rome to Florence of 2 days, with the visit of the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, The Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, Palazzo Pitti, Basilica of San Lorenzo and Medici Chapels, San Miniato al Monte, the service is driver/guided and is individually personalized.
Uffizi Gallery.
The name of the museum is most likely to derive from "Uffici" or "Offices", in that the Uffizi would once have been used as the administrative centre of the legendary Medici dynasty who, from the moment they started to use the building, decorated a number of the rooms with works of art from the family collection. Today, the Uffizi Gallery is considered to be one of the most beautiful and important art museums in the world, with an extremely impressive collection of works by artists from the thirteenth to eighteen century. Among the works exhibited, one finds masterpieces by eminent Italian artists such as Giotto, Cimabue, Beato Angelico, Masaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raffaello, Piero della Francesca and Caravaggio, and foreign artists such as Rubens, Durer, Rembrandt and Goya, in addition to paintings by numerous other artists. Visitors should not miss the Corridorio Vasariano, the corridor built by Vasari in 1565, linking the Uffizi Gallery with Palazzo Pitti which houses a collection of portraits by artists of the past and present.
Uffizi Gallery
Accademia Gallery.
The Accademia Gallery of arts was created in the 1563 and it was the first school in Europe to propose the teaching of art, painting and sculpture. The collection of the gallery it was constituded in the 1784 by the duke Pietro Leopoldo for ditactic study, to offer students the matirials to study and copy. From 1873 most of the important work of Michelangelo are in the Accademia, the colossal David, the statue of San Matteo and the group of the Prigioni.
Accademia Gallery
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore designed by Arnolfo di Cambio and built in in 1367 is a symbol of Florence. The Cathedral, with its impressive Brunelleschi dome, is a real architectural and artistic masterpiece, completely covered in colored marble, and houses works of art of immense importance. Inside the Cathedral one can find frescoes, statues, paintings, lunettes, windows by the most important artist of the Italian Renaissance. Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno, Luca della Robbia, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. The nearby "Opera del Duomo" museum houses one of the famous "Pietà by Michelangelo. Another artistic feature of great interest are the wood engravings on the Sacristy furniture by Antonio del Pollaiolo, Brunelleschi and other artists.
Piazza Duomo
Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio.
Piazza della Signoria, is home to Palazzo Vecchio, the city's magnificent town hall, in which to find works by Agnolo Bronzino, Michelangelo Bounarrotti and Giorgio Vasari. The Palazzo was originally known as Palazzo della Signoria, Signoria being the principal administrative body of the Florentine Republic. Over the years its name was changed, first to Palazzo dei Priori and then Palazzo Ducale, before assuming the name of Palazzo Vecchio or Old Palace in 1565, when the court of Duke Cosimo I moved to the 'new' Palazzo Pitti. The edifice was gradually enlarged to the East so as to quadruple its original dimensions. Vasari, man responsible for many of the artworks within the Palazzo, also designed the corridor linking Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti, passing over the river Arno via the Ponte Vecchio. Cosimo I moved his governmental offices to the adjacent Uffizi, now one of the world's most famous art galleries. Neri di Fioravante's Ponte Vecchio has become another of the legendary symbol's of Florence. The bridge, constructed in a point where the girth of the river Arno is at its narrowest, is famous for the exclusive jeweller's shops which line either side.
Piazza della Signoria
Santa Croce.
Florence’s Basilica of Santa Croce, located in the homonymous piazza, is among the world's largest Franciscan churches and one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture. The design of the Basilica is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, who supervised the building work which initiated in 1294. Although the construction of the edifice was completed some 90 years later, the consecration of the church did not occur until 1444. In 1966, the flooding of Florence resulted in serious damage to the basilica and to the many artworks housed within its walls, including a Crucifix by Cimabue, the remains of which are now conserved in the Museum of Santa Croce. Today, after decades of painstaking restoration work, the Basilica of Santa Croce has returned to all its former splendour.  In 1865, to commemorate the 600 years since the birth of Dante, a monument was erected in honour of the great poet to the left of the sacristy. In Piazza Santa Croce, the signs of the center line used to divide the square during games of football played here since the 16th century are still visible. Indeed, to this very day, each June, the square transforms in pitch where passionate matches of calcio fiorentino (Florentine football) are played.
Santa Croce
Palazzo Pitti.
Palazzo Pitti is sited South of the River Arno, at the foot of the hill on which the Boboli Gardens are to be found. The Palazzo is today houses of various museums. Palazzo Pitti is historically linked to the Uffizi, both buildings having been owned, centuries ago, by the most powerful Florentine family, the Medici. Built in 1457, Palazzo Pitti was commissioned by Luca Pitti, one of the richest Florentine merchants, though it has yet to be established whether the design project was that of Filippo Brunelleschi or Leon Battista Alberti. Today, Palazzo Pitti houses an art collection with works from the 16th to 18th century; in particular there is the Palatina Gallery with over 500 paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Botticelli, Titian, and Tintoretto; the Gallery of Modern Art, which houses works by predominantly Tuscan artists from the 18th to 20th century; the Silver Museum, property of the Medici family; the Costume Museum; then there are the Ducal apartments with their fabulous interior decoration which function as a museum in their own right.
Palazzo Pitti
The Basilica of San Lorenzo.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo realised in 1423, was designed and built by Brunelleschi. The Master produced an innovative project, dramatically different from the classical style of churches, with their almost mystical lighting, creating a church where the light is allowed to penetrate and illuminate all of the building's architectural features. Inside the Basilica of San Lorenzo one finds the works of Desierio da Settignano, Donatello, Rosso Fiorentino, and Bronzino. The Old Sacristy is the work of Brunelleschi, whilst the New Sacristy was realised by Michelangelo; the latter houses the tombs of the members Medici Dynasty, hence it is also called the "Medici Chapel". The Laurenziana Library, situated to the left of the Basilica di San Lorenzo was also the work of Michelangelo, commissioned by the Medici Family. Close to the Basilica di San Lorenzo there is the Mercato Centrale, an excellent example of 19th century glass and iron architecture and well worth visiting.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo
San Miniato al Monte.
San Miniato al Monte built between the eleventh and thirteenth century, the Church of San Miniato al Monte represents one of the best examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. The façade is realised in green and white marble with a twelfth century mosaic which depicts Christ between the Madonna and St Miniato. Within the altar of the Church of San Miniato al Monte lie the bones of St Miniato. The frescoes decorating the sacristy depict the sixteen stories of the legend of St Benedetto, and are the work of Spinello Aretino. The Chapel of the Crucifix was decorated by Luca della Robbia following the project of Michelozzo. The Chapel of San Giacomo is decorated with five tondi by Luca della Robbia. To the right of the Church of San Miniato al Monte one finds the Palazzo del Vescovo, once summer residence of the bishops of Florence and then a Convent, Hospital and House of the Jesuits. Not to be missed: the splendid view over the city of Florence which can be enjoyed from the steps of the Palazzo del Vescovo.
San Miniato al Monte