Tour Florence and Experience the Renaissance
Florence is not only one of the most remarkable cities in Italy, but the entire world. This small city was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and, hence, set the agenda of Europe for hundreds of years to come. A Florence tour takes you to the heart of this unique and surprising Renaissance-city state, so you can experience its beauty first-hand.
Many aspects of modern life we think of as new phenomenon, like humanistic thought and global banking, were born of 15th century Florence. The cultural legacy of Florence is easily perceived by anyone who takes a Florence day tour – generations of wealthy rulers have left their mark on the town, in an abundance of the most sophisticated grand palaces, churches, piazzas and, of course, art galleries.
Florence may date back to 59BC, when soldiers from Julius Caesar’s army founded the town, but it was the late mediaeval period, and Italian Renaissance, that the city blossomed into the beauty it is today. This is in no small part due to the powerful Medici dynasty, who became Europe’s first great banking power – and great, private patrons of the arts. They emptied their coffers to commission artworks, and their infamous collection is now open for public viewing, in the Uffizi gallery – perhaps the world’s best collection of Renaissance art.
Perhaps it was the beautiful Tuscan landscape that did it – or a desire to escape from the violent (and bloody) feuds of the city’s warring leading families – but something produced, in the Florentine psyche, a leaning toward great art, that perhaps no other city in the world can rival. Florence gave the world Boccaccio and Dante – two Italian poets that made modern Italian. When it comes to decorative arts, Florence bequeathed the world some of the greatest Great Masters of the Renaissance; Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Giotto… the list goes on and on. In such a fertile time for scientific discovery and artistic innovation, Florence was at the heart of it all.
Modern Florence has preserved its Renaissance atmosphere remarkably well. As you take a Florence walking tour, it’s easy to recognize that these streets are the very same as those Da Vinci or Giotto would have bustled through, paintbrush under arm. The majority of the city center is pedestrianized, so no cars or scooters whipping past break the authentic atmosphere.
Everywhere you go, natural beauty intertwines with architectural prowess. As you walk from the Uffizi to the Ponte Vecchio, you will see some of the most impressive buildings of the Italian Renaissance – all framed by lush Tuscan hills, above the delicate, rolling river Arno. Beauty and history impresses itself upon you at every turn, in this truly enchanting city.
Florence’s entire historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and that status is well-deserved. The whole city itself is an open-air art gallery, as a walk through takes you past architectural masterpieces like Brunelleschi’s Cathedral and Michelangelo’s New Sacristy.
A Walking Tour of Florence to Remember
No Florence tour is complete without a visit to maverick architect Brunelleschi’s magnificent cathedral. The Cathedral and Baptistry stand out in this orange colored city, due to their external façade in the red, white and green of the modern Italian flag. Look closer at the octagonal Bapistry to take a closer look at the bronze external doors, with scenes from the Life of Christ and the Church’s founders. These ‘Gates of Paradise’ took Lorenzo Ghiberti 21 years to make and exemplify fine Renaissance craftsmanship.
Stroll on down to Piazza della Signoria and find yourself in an outdoor art gallery. Renaissance sculptures abound, such as Cellini’s Persues and all in the shadows of the imposing Ponte Vecchio. This late mediaeval palace was where all the most important political decisions in Florence were made – from here, the most beautifully decorated town hall in the world – the world was altered irrevocably.
If you want to escape from the heat and venture indoors, a private tour of the Uffizi gallery will not disappoint. Some of the most affective artworks in the world can be found here; including the transfixing and stirring masterpieces of Botticelli, his The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. Continue to the Accademia, where you’ll find yourself bowled over at the sheer scale of the world’s most famous statue, Michelangelo’s David.
Continue on to the Ponte Vecchio, a mediaeval bridge that still hides a hidden secret – a passage, still concealed to the naked eye, which connects the Medici family’s Palazzo Pitti to the government offices in the Palazzo Vecchio. This passage was designed by Vasari, favored architect of the Medici’s, who today is most famous for Lives of the Artists, an invaluable historical document and literary biography of the great Renaissance painters. The Ponte Vecchio promises fine jewelry shops and magnificent views of the Arno, Tuscan countryside and the city of Florence. If you’re visiting Italy for the first time — or second, third, fourth or fifth— nothing compares to a tour of Florence, from the best tour guides the city offers.
An Uffizi Gallery Tour, Like No Other
Join one of our Uffizi tours and find yourself taken to the heart of this city’s great treasures. At one time, the Medici family were the most powerful families in Europe – not only the rulers of Florence for 300 years, but twice Queens of France, and ruling Popes four times! During their period of influence, the Medici amassed an astonishing collection of private art – which became the collection of the modern Uffizi gallery.
Our expert guide will break down how the Uffizi went from a 16th century government office, to the private art collection of the Medici and finally, as a public art gallery in the 1800s. Today, nowhere else can rival the Uffizi Gallery’s collection of Renaissance art. This immense collections spans over 100 rooms – going it alone often means losing the treasures to the crowds. Instead, take a private tour of the Uffizi and be guided to some of the greatest artworks mankind has ever produced.
Nowhere else has such a fine collection of Botticelli’s as the Uffizi. See his refined and sensual masterpieces; The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. Travel onward to see other great works, like Michelangelo’s profoundly moving portrayal of maternal love, his
Madonna of the Goldfinch. See unmissable masterpieces and the surprising treasures most visitors pass by, on one of our revelatory Uffizi tours.