Art & Architecture Tours of Florence

 Ferdinando SS Annunziata

Insider’s walk (3 hours)


The perfect introduction to Florence’s history, art and architecture including the DuomoPonte VecchioPiazza della Signoria, and the Oltrarno—the city’s artisan quarter. 

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Florence is a small city but one that is bursting with history, art and culture at every turn. This walk gives you an overview of Florence’s rich past with an eye on its present.

Starting in Piazza della Repubblica, we begin with an outline of the Florence’s Roman origins then make our way through the city’s religious, commercial and political centers before heading across the river to the Oltrarno.

Though we sometimes associate Florence solely with the Renaissance, the city’s urban structure is actually more medieval in character and there is still ample evidence of this in the remains of tower houses, bits of city walls and many of the city’s churches.

We will explore the origins of humanism, and the Renaissance which followed, through an explanation of some of the works that were fundamental to these movements. Ample time will also be given to the illustrious Medici Family, central to Florence’s art and politics for over 300 years.

Our walk ends in the vibrant Santo Spirito neighborhood where we might glimpse some of Florence’s famed artisans at work. As we walk I will point out some of my favorite spots, including cafes, eateries, wine bars, shops, museums and gelaterie. The walk covers Piazza della Repubblica, the Duomo and the Baptistery, Orsanmichele, Palazzo Strozzi, Santa Trinita, Piazza della Signoria, Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, and Santo Spirito (exteriors only). Depending on special interests, we can pop into some of the smaller churches or side streets along the way.

Insider’s walk + the David (3 hours)


The perfect introduction to Florence’s history, art and architecture including the DuomoPonte VecchioPiazza della Signoria, ending with a visit to see Michelangelo’s David.

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This Insider’s walk ends at the famed Galleria dell’Accademia where we will visit several of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the David. The walk covers Piazza della Repubblica, the Duomo and the Baptistery, Orsanmichele, Palazzo Strozzi, Santa Trinita, Piazza della Signoria, Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi (exterior), Ponte Vecchio and the Accademia.  Depending on special interests, we can pop into some of the smaller churches or side streets along the way.

I can reserve specific times for entrance into the Accademia which allows us to “skip the line”. The price of the tour does not include entrance fees (€16.50/person).

Medici collecting at Palazzo Pitti (3 hours)


An alternative (or in addition) to the Uffizi Gallery, this visit focuses on paintings by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Rubens, and includes a walk through one of Italy’s most famous Baroque gardens—the Boboli.

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Purchased by the Medici family in 1550, Palazzo Pitti was home to their court for nearly 200 years. Thanks to their passion for collecting and renowned patronage of the arts, the palazzo now houses thousands of masterpieces that once belonged to them: paintings, jewels, ancient sculptures and more. This visit concentrates on the Palatine Gallery and its collection of a number of outstanding masterpieces by Filippo Lippi, Pontormo, Raphael, Titian, Artemisia Gentileschi, Rubens and Caravaggio among others. The visit can also include the Museo degli Argenti—home to some of the most opulent pieces from the Medici treasure—as well as the Boboli Gardens and the Modern Art Gallery.

Palazzo Vecchio + Piazza della Signoria (3 hours)


Works of art by Michelangelo, Donatello and Bronzino will help guide us through Florence’s seat of political power—from the Middle Ages, throughout the Medici family dynasty and up to today.

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A visit to Palazzo Vecchio takes us inside the realm of Cosimo I, an astute leader who used art to celebrate his family’s political power. The great meeting hall, the Salone dei Cinquecento, is the best testament to Cosimo’s mania of grandeur complete with a work by Michelangelo. Exploring the tiny Studiolo, the “room of wonders” created expressly for Prince Francesco de’ Medici, we are thrown into a world where alchemy and mythology rule. Each room in the palace is fabulously rich with images, each of which give us an insight into Medici glory. Duchess Eleonora’s private chapel frescoed by sixteenth-century master Agnolo Bronzino, Machiavelli’s studio, Donatello’s original “Judith and Holofernes”, the hall of maps, secret passageways, and the Loeser collection of Medieval and Renaissance art are just some of the intriguing things to see and explore on a visit to this fascinating palazzo.

The suggested time for this itinerary is three hours and includes the Palazzo Vecchio, the small Florentine history museum (Tracce di Firenze), Piazza della Signoria and the outdoor sculpture gallery known as the Loggia dei Lanzi. The time can be modified for any reason and I am happy to create specific itineraries for those with special needs and/or interests. The price of the tour does not include entrance fees.

 

Michelangelo and the Medici (3 or 4 hours)


A look at the early life of Michelangelo that takes us into his family home, and through his sculptural and architectural career in Florence, including the Medici tombs and the David.

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This walk explores the Florentine evolution of Michelangelo’s sculpture from his earliest works now housed at the Casa Buonarroti and the Bargello, to his sublime Medici tombs in the New Sacristy and the Laurentian Library at San Lorenzo, and his masterpiece, the David. Through a discussion of Michelangelo’s early life and relationship with the powerful Medici family and the city of Florence itself, this is an in depth look at one of the world’s most renowned artists.

Uffizi Gallery (3 hours)


An overview of the most significant works in the collection, including ones by Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Caravaggio and more.

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Home to one of the world’s largest collections of Italian Renaissance paintings, the Uffizi Gallery was first opened to the general public in 1769.  Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici began migrating some of his family’s most precious works to the second floor and by the end of the 1500s, the space was an artistic, scientific and cultural wonderland.

Throughout their 200 year rule, the Medici family continued to collect revolutionary works by Florentine and Tuscan masters as well as those from other states in the Italian peninsula and abroad. The Uffizi now boasts masterpieces by Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Bronzino, Titian and Caravaggio, among many others. The chronological layout of the museum allows us to trace the radical evolution of painting that took place from the thirteenth to the 16th century in Florence and beyond.

The suggested itinerary is three hours and includes the most significant works in the gallery. The time can be modified for any reason and I am happy to create specific itineraries for those with special needs and/or interests. I can reserve specific times for entrance into the Uffizi which allows us to “skip the line”. The price of the tour does not include entrance fees.

Christian Florence: Baptistery, Duomo and Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (3 hours)


Explore the foundations of Florence’s religious center with a visit to the Duomo, including Brunelleschi’s dome, the Baptistery and the adjacent museum, home to Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise and Michelangelo’s Pietà.

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We begin in the Baptistery—one of Florence’s oldest buildings—where we will decipher the Bible stories told in opulent gold mosaic and see the tomb of anti-Pope John XXIII, designed and executed by Donatello and Michelozzo. From there we will go to the Duomo, home to numerous frescos celebrating Florence’s religious and municipal history, including the spectacular Last Judgment covering the interior of Brunelleschi’s dome. Here we will also visit the crypt and ruins of the original Romanesque cathedral, Santa Reparata. The visit ends at the new Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, where the highlights are Michelangelo’s Pietà and the beautifully restored Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The cumulative entrance ticket is not included in the price of the tour.

Churches + Cloisters


Florence’s sacred spaces abound in art and history and are some of my very favorite places to take visitors.

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I offer itineraries that include the Badia Fiorentina, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, San Lorenzo, San Marco, Santa Trinita and Santo Spirito. I also have a special “cloisters” itinerary that includes Santissima Annunziata, Chiostro dello Scalzo and Sant’Apollonia. This is a bespoke tour depending entirely on the interests of the group.