AN UNUSUAL FLORENCE

9 February 2016
An unusual Florence

An unusual Florence

    My suggestion is to begin by admiring Florence from above, from the hill of San Miniato, which affords breathtaking views of the city. Here the ancient basilica of San Miniato will allow us to appreciate the medieval history of Florence through one of its most beautiful Romanesque churches.
    Walking downhill towards the river and the city center we will skirt the city’s rose garden, scattered with sculptures J.M.Folon.
    While still on the left bank of the River Arno, we will enter the characteristic San Niccolò quarter, where we will be able to see a section of the city’s defensive walls, re-enforced by the designs of Michelangelo. This quarter is known for its many craft workshops, two of which we will vist: one of an alchemical goldsmith and the other of a revolutionary contemporary artist.
    During our tour we will have the opportunity to visit the very first wine cellar to serve wine, dating back to Renaissance Florence, and others that have re-opened during these social-distancing times. On our way to Ponte Vecchio we will be able to enjoy unusual and unique views of this famous and unmissable historic site of the city.
    Step after step quiet piazzas and austere medieval towers will reveal the secret workshops of the many craftspeople who still today make the heart of Florence so vibrant. We will visit Piazza Santo Spirito and its church, with its plain facade and Renaissance-Mannerist interiors, which include a medieval refectory. We will visit the nearby Brancacci Chapel, a jem of the early Florentine Renaissance, frescoed by Masaccio and Filippino Lippi.
    At this point of our itinerary we will cross the Arno to reach Piazza Ognissanti, where the charming Church of San Salvatore stands. It houses the tomb of Botticelli and a refectory frescoed by Ghirlandaio, with whom Michelangelo trained.
    Our tour will end at the oldest Limited Liability Company in Europe, the ancient pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, whose beauty and originality leaves everyone speechless.
    These are only a few of the many rare jems that Florence offers curious and keen visitors. The tour can be done in half a day and the order of the sites/stops can be inverted. This would also allow us to include, for example, the Bonomini Fraternity Order or the refectory of the Basilica of Santa Croce. This tour can also be transformed into an exciting mix of unmissable monuments and rare pearls.
    Admission to the Brancacci Chapel must be booked, while the opening hours of the refectories and churches you wish to visit must be verified.

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