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Private Florence Walking Tour
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
Accademia Gallery or your hotel if central located
Your guide will meet you in front of the Accademia Gallery or your hotel, if central located, for a three hour walking tour of Florence. The city’s ancient centre will be the spectacular frame for this walking tour dedicated to Florence’s glorious past as well as its vibrant modern life. The slow pace will allow you to discover and enjoy the most important monuments of the birthplace of the Renaissance.
You will begin at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the famed Duomo whose dome built by Brunelleschi dominates the skyline. Nearby is the Baptistry of San Giovanni, renowned for its golden doors but especially the one nicknamed “Porta del Paradiso”, an exquisite beauty. As you continue the walking tour, you will see elegant palaces, fashionable shops and pass through a number of narrow but charming medieval streets. Piazza della Signoria, your next stop, has been the political complex of Florence since the 1300’s when Florence was considered the richest city in Europe. The L-shaped square is where you will find the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi and, a few steps away, the Uffizi Gallery. Continue to Ponte Vecchio, an ancient bridge that spans the Arno River and is recognized the world over. This bridge attracts much curiosity not only for its unique and charming appearance but also for the fabulous jewelry shops that line both its sides. The tour will end at the Accademia Gallery of Fine Arts Museum where you will have the opportunity to admire the symbol and eternal masterpiece of Florence: Michelangelo’s David. The museum also houses several of Michelangelo’s other works and an impressive collection of pieces by other masters such as by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli.
From here, you are free to explore the city on your own. We suggest relaxing in the nearby Botanical Gardens or, if you are feeling hungry, making your way back toward the Duomo of Firenze and trying one of the restaurants around the cathedral piazza.
– Expert local guide at disposal
– Skip the line – reservation and entrance fees at Academia Gallery
– Visit of Academia of Fine Arts
– Visit of Duomo
– Visit of Piazza della Signoria
– Visit of Pontevecchio
– Academia Gallery
– Michelangelo David
– Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
– Piazza Signoria
– Loggia dei Lanzi
– Fountain of Neptune
– Ponte Vecchio
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking
– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.
– Adult pricing applies to all travelers
– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in churchs and museums. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts. You may risk refused entry if you fail to comply with these dress requirements.
Academia Gallery or your hotel if central located
Concludes at Ponte Vecchio
Founded in 1562 by Cosimo I de’Medici, with the help of artist and architect Giorgio Vasari, the Accademia di Belle Arti was the first institution of its kind. The Accademia Gallery, located in the same complex, was later founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Home to an impressive art collection by various Italian masters, its most famous piece by far is Michelangelo's David. Created in the early 16th century, this sculpture is a marble masterpiece that stands over five meters tall, towering above visitors from its pedestal. Originally meant as one of a series of biblical figures to decorate the roof of the Duomo di Firenze, it was deemed too heavy by the time it was completed and was instead installed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, in the Piazza della Signoria, in 1504. The David was not moved to its current place in the Accademia Gallery until 1873 to preserve it from both human and weather damage. The replica that now takes its place in the Piazza was added in 1910.
Things to see
Some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, sketches and lesser known art can also be found in the gallery. Other works housed by the Academia Gallery include Florentine paintings by artists such as Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli; several Florentine Gothic paintings; and even Giambologna’s original full-scale plaster for “The Rape of the Sabine Women” (one of the sculptures displayed in the Loggia dei Lanzi).
Piazza della Signoria
Located in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Piazza della Signoria is a square with a long and rich history, originating as far back as the Roman period when the city was called Florentia. This L-shaped plaza boasts a large collection of sculptures and monuments such as the Fountain of Neptune, the statues of Hercules and Cacus, Cosimo I de' Medici's statue, and of course, a copy of Michelangelo's David (the original statue is kept in the Accademia Gallery of Fine Arts).
Palazzo Vecchio, originally called Palazzo della Signoria and therefore the originator of the plaza’s name, serves today as a museum and as the town hall of Florence. This impressive Romanesque fortress was built in the early 14th century to both protect the city magistrates and celebrate Florence’s power and importance. Its tower, Torre di Arnolfo, was a preexisting structure which was incorporated into the Palazzo’s construction, hence why the tower looks somewhat misplaced.
Things to see
On one of the corners of Piazza della Signoria is the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open air gallery with wide arches built in the late 14th century. Within it are examples of antique and Renaissance artworks such as Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus, Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, and the Medici Lions.
Right nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous museums in Italy, boasting a beautiful architecture and an impressive collection of various artworks. Built in the mid 16th century by the architect Giorgio Vassari to host the offices of the city’s magistrates, hence the name Uffizi, it was both an archive and a private gallery. It amassed an incredible wealth of art over the years and following the fall of the Medici family, the building was opened as a public museum in the mid 18th century.
A short walk from the Piazza della Signoria is Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge that spans the Arno River. This bridge is famous around the world for the shops build atop of it, most of which are still open today, though the tenants have changed from butchers and fishmongers to jewelers and souvenir sellers.
Baptistery of St John
Built between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza di San Giovanni, the Baptistery of St John stands across from the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s famed cathedral. Considered as one of the oldest buildings in the city, the Baptistery is best known for its three decorated bronze doors, one of which is the famously dubbed Gates of Paradise.
Construction began in 1059 and was completed in 1128, the design conforming to the Florentine Romanesque style of the epoch. Some changes and improvements were made over the years, such as the striped pilasters, decorated with green marble in 1293, or the addition of more statues and ornaments. Its famous doors were not added until later, between the 14th and 16th centuries.
Things to see
The South doors, which originally faced the Duomo to the east, were designed by the sculptor Andrea Pisano and cast in bronze by the Venetian metalworker Leonardo d’Avanzano. These doors were completed in 1336 and depict the life of Saint John the Baptist, as well as the seven heavenly virtues of the Christian faith.
The North doors are a result of a design competition that Lorenzo Ghiberti ultimately won; other competing artists were Jacopo della Quercia, Filippo Brunelleschi and Donato di Niccolò (better known as Donatello). Completed between 1403 and 1424, these doors depict the life of Christ as well as the Four Evangelists and the Church Fathers Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory, and Saint Augustine. This work of art propelled Ghiberti into stardom and he was eventually commissioned to make the third set of doors.
The East doors are the most famous, referred to as the Gates of Paradise following a praising comment made by Michelangelo. Ghiberti and his workshop worked on these doors between 1425 and 1452, creating a masterpiece still celebrated today. The East doors are composed of ten gilded panels depicting various scenes from the Old Testament, from Adam and Eve to Noah to Moses.
Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore
At the end of the 13th century, the city council decided to replace the old Cathedral Santa Reparata by a new one, the actual cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. The project was first given to the architect Arnolfo di Cambio the construction had only started when he died in 1302. Then the architect Giotto pursued it along with several other architects after him.
A great problem appeared when it came to build a dome and it was finally the architect Filippo Brunelleschi who solved it and created a beautiful dome. The dome is octagonal and measures 112 meters and it took no less than 140 years to finish the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. As the dome is octagonal, Brunelleschi dedicated one team per side, so 8 different teams worked on this dome, they used approximately 4 millions of bricks. Bricks were put in “spina di pesce”, it means as a shape of fish bones, so not straight and it made the dome very strong. Brunelleschi thought his cupola for the dome very carefully. During the construction, no outside scaffoldings were used to build the dome but internal structures were built month after month while it was growing up. The construction was finished in 1436 but the lantern on the top of the cupola was only set in 1461.
Things to see
Giorgio Vasari was chosen to decorate the dome inside. He decide to paint the Last Judgement, however he died three years after he started the project. After his death, the work was given to Federigo Zuccaro. The Last Judgment was finished in 1579.
The dome can be climbed and visitors can appreciate a wonderful view over the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore and Florence roofs.
The façade which can be admired today is more recent and was realized during the 19th century.
More than a church, the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore became a sign of the rich and prosperous city of Florence. Since the Renaissance, the dome and the cathedral were the symbol of the city of Florence.