No matter where you rent a villa in Tuscany, no vacation seems complete without a visit to Florence, the city that gave birth to, and is synonymous with, the Renaissance. It is estimated that 70% of the Western World’s most important art can be found in Italy, and half of these treasures can be found in the world famous museums of Florence! One could easily spend a year sightseeing in Florence without taking in everything!
Recognizing that most people only can devote one day to explore the museums of Florence, TuscanDream has organized a private guided tour we call the “Best of the Best of the Florence’s Museums”. Your guide meets you at the Uffizi Gallery, originally built by Cosimo Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to house the administrative and judiciary offices of Florence. There are 45 halls, each worthy of a visit, but with only three hours for our itinerary, we recommend visiting Hall 2, where you see Giotto’s Madonna di Ognissanti, Duccio di Buoninesegna’s Madonna Rucellai and Cimabue’s Maestà of Santa Trinita. Then your guide takes you to Halls 10 – 14 which are devoted to the 15th century master, Sandro Botticelli including his masterpieces the Birth of Venus, The Spring and The Annunciation. Hall 15 is devoted to Leonardo da Vinci, while Hall 35 belongs to the works of Michelangelo & the Florentines. Hall 66 is for Raffaello and Hall 90 is Caravaggio – and we’ve hardly scratched the surface!
You have a unique exit from the west wing of the Uffizi, through an unmarked door which was once the secret entrance to the Vasari Corridor. Built in 1564, and lined with self-portraits of the masters as well as 1,000 other paintings this kilometer long passageway connects the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace. It passes over the Ponte Vecchio through the interior of the Church of Santa Felicita, across some houses and finally reaches the Boboli gardens of the Pitti Palace.
We pause in the tour for lunch at one of Florence’s amazing restaurants – we particularly recommend the Fiaschetteria-Trattoria Mario on the Via Rosina behind Mercato di San Lorenzo in the Piazza Mercato Centrale. Only open for lunch, this outstanding restaurant always has a line of diners. The Zuppa di Verdura, a vegetable soup served with a slice of toast on the bottom is particularly recommended – and for meat lovers this is the place to try the famous Florentino steak.
After lunch we take you to the Accademia Gallery, where Michelangelo’s major sculptures are housed including the “David”. Also there are other major works here including Botticelli’s Madonna with Child, Two Angels and John the Baptist.
After the museums we swing by the Duomo at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Flore, the Gothic landmark main cathedral of Florence and a chance to climb to Giotti’s Bell Tower with its 56 relief carvings in two registers and 16 life size statues in the niches by the 14th and 15th Century Florentine masters. To say that this fabulous church is stunning is an understatement
Finally if time permits we can take you for some serious retail therapy –as Florence offers spectacular shopping especially for those looking for jewelry and leather goods!
Let TuscanDream show you Florence, the memories will last you for a lifetime!