Delve in and traverse Florence’s rich artistic legacy with a full-immersion experience of the city’s top sights, skipping the queues and enjoying lunch along the way.
Our journey into the past begins with a wander through Florence’s historic piazzas and winding streets, tracing the stories imprinted on the cityscape by its illustrious and notorious inhabitants. From Piazza della Repubblica we explore the maze of tiny alleyways once haunted by Dante, and enter the magnificent Piazza della Signoria, the Renaissance city’s beating heart, site of Palazzo Vecchio and witness to bloody feuds and controversial burnings over the centuries.
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we arrive at the ‘other side of the Arno’, the Oltrarno district – renowned for its artisan workshops where you can find traditional crafts still being practiced – and the imposing façade of Palazzo Pitti, home to the Medici grand dukes. After a coffee break we head back over the river to discover the remarkable story behind Florence’s cathedral, the Duomo, left open to the elements for 100 years until a brilliant local goldsmith by the name of Brunelleschi cracked the architectural code, revolutionizing history in the process.
Inside the Baptistery we gaze up at the glimmering golden mosaic that inspired Dante to write his Divine Comedy seven centuries ago, before skipping the queues and scaling 463 steps to the summit of Brunelleschi’s famous dome. Our route takes us along the original passages used by masons and laborers during construction, including a bird’s-eye view of the world’s largest painted surface, before popping out at 114m for unparalleled views over Florence.
Back down in the city, we come face-to-face with one of the true icons of the Renaissance: Michelangelo’s David, the symbol of Florence and the most famous sculpture in the world. It’s enough to make any pulse race, and definitely time to enjoy a glass of wine and a traditional local lunch. With energy renewed and an art appetite whetted, we spend the afternoon introducing you to the biggest collection of Renaissance paintings in the world at the Uffizi Gallery, unlocking the secrets to reading Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, and discovering just what it was that made Leonardo’s paintings some of the most enigmatic works of art in the world.