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Palazzo pubblico Siena VIDEO by Adel Karanov private guide in Tuscany
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Il Duomo di Siena – Tuscany private tour
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Siena (Tuscany) is the perfect counterpoint to Florence. Self-contained and stillpartly rural behind its medieval, its attraction lies in its cityscape: a majestic Gothic whole that could be enjoyed without venturing into a single museum.
In its great scallop-shaped piazza, Il Campo, it has the lovelist of all Italian public squares; in its zebra-stiped duomo and the city whole construction, on three ridges, presents a succession of beautiful vistas over medieval cityscapes to the bubolic Tuscan contryside on all sides.
It is also a place of immediate charm: airy easy going and pedestranized. The most important moment of the year is the Palio, a breack horse race around the Campo, whose sheer excitement and unique importance to the life of the community is reason enough to plan your holiday around one of the two race dates – July 2 and August 16. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.
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Inside the guided private tour experience you can choose to visit important archaeological areas like dungeons, catacombs, ancient walls, sacred places and secret areas accessible to limited number of people. The car tour includes short walks on foot for visits of monuments and stops for taking pictures and a lunch or a coffee break. The sequence of monuments and their choice will display a historical and artistic evolution of Siena. As well as a perfect overview of the different types of styles in the arts of architecture and sculpture and painting. Many monuments, private art collections, entrances to palaces are offered exclusively by RUSRIM TUSCANY CAR EXCURSIONS FROM ROME
Piazza del Campo – Siena private tour
The Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped town square, unfurls before the Palazzo Pubblico with its tall Torre del Mangia. This is part of the site for the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum. Included within the museum is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes depicting the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government and also some of the finest frescoes of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.
Palio di Siena a Piazza del Campo – Siena – Tuscany private tour
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The contrast with Florence are extended in Siena’s monumental and artistic high-lights. The city’s duomo and alazzo Pubblico are two of the purest buildings of Italian Gothic, and the finest of the city’s paintings – of with many are collected in the Palazzo’s Museo Civico and the separate Pinacoteca Nazionale – are in the same tradition. In its sculpture, Siena drew mainly on foreign artistsç the Florentines Donatello and Ghiberti worked on the front of the baptistery, while Michelangelo and Nicola and iovanni Pisano left their mark on the duomo.
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Duomo di Siena – The Siena Cathedral – Tuscany private tour
Siena excursion from Rome with guide and car
Siena Cathedral is a medieval church in Siena, Italy, dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church, and now dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption).
Few buildings reveal so much of a city’s history and aspirations as Siena’s cathedral, or Duomo (daily mid-March to Oct 9am-7.30pm; J. to mid-March and Nov-Dec 7.30am-lpm & 2.30-5pm; free), the magnet to which most visitors gravitate after tak-ing in the Campo. Complete to virtually its present size around 1215, it was subjected to constant plans for expansion throughout the city’s years of medieval prosperity. A project at the beginning of the fourteenth century attempted to double its extent by building a baptistery on the slope below and using this as a foundation for a rebuilt nave, but the work ground to a halt as the walls gaped under the pressure. For a while, the chapter pondered knocking down the whole building and starting from scratch to the principles of the day, but eventually they hit on a new scheme to re-orientate the cathedral instead, using the existing nave as a transept and building a new nave out towards the Campo. Again cracks appeared, and then in 1348 came the Black Death. With the population halved and funds suddenly cut off, the plan was abandoned once and for all. The extension still stands at the north end of the square – a vast struc-ture that would have created the largest church in Italy outside Rome.
The exterior Despite all the grand abandoned plans, the duomo, as it stands, is a delight. Its style is an amazing conglomeration of Romanesque and Gothic, delineated by bands of black and white marble, an idea adapted from Pisa and Lucca — though here with much bold-er and more extravagant effect. The lower part of the facade was in fact designed by the Pisan sculptor Giovanni Pisan°, who from 1284 to 1296 created, with his workshop, much of its statuary — the philosophers, patriarchs and prophets, now removed to the cathedral museum and replaced by copies. In the next century the Campanile was added, its windows multiplying at each level, as was the Gothic rose window above the doors. Thereafter work came to a complete halt, with the mosaics designed for the gables having to wait until the nineteenth century, when money was found to employ Venetian artists. Immediately above the central door, note St Bernardino’s bronze monogram of Christ’s name.
The pavement – Duomo di Siena – Tuscany private tour
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The pavement ‘Me facade’s use of black and white decoration is echoed by the duomo’s great marble pavement, which begins with geometric patterns and a few scenes outside the church and takes off into a startling sequence of 56 figurative panels within. ‘These were com-pleted between 1349 and 1547, with virtually every artist who worked in the city trying his hand on a design. The earliest employed a simple sgraffito technique, which involved chiselling holes and lines in the marble and then filling them in with pitch; later tableaux are considerably more ambitious, worked in multicoloured marble. Unfortunately, the whole effect can only be seen from August 7 to August 22; the rest of the year most of the panels around the central octagon are rather =imaginatively kept under cardboard wraps. The subjects chosen for the panels are a strange mix, incorporating biblical themes, secular commemorations and allegories.
The most ordered part of the scheme are the ten Sibyls — mythic prophetesses who foretold the coming of Christ — on either side of the main aisle. Fashioned towards the end of the fifteenth century, when Sienese painters were still imprinting gold around their conventional Madonnas, they are total-ly Renaissance in spirit. Between them, in the central nave, are the much earlier Sienese she-wolf enclosed by the republic’s twelve cities (a) and the Wheel of Fortune (c), along with Pinturicchio’s Allegory of Virtue (b), a rocky island of serpents with a nude posed between a boat and the land. Moving down the nave, the central hexagon is dominated by Domenico Beccafumi’s Stories from the Life of Elijah (d). Beccafumi worked intermittently on the pavement from 1518 to 1547, also designing the vast friezes of Moses Striking Water from a Rock and on Mount Sinai (e — kept covered) and the Sacrifice of Isaac (1). To the left of the hexagon is a Massacre of the Innocents (g), almost inevitably the chosen subject of Matteo di Giovanni. It’s interesting also to note the choir stalls, in the context of the pavement. These use intarsia techniques of a superb standard and again were made between the mid-fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries.
The pulpit, sculptures and chapels The rest of the cathedral interior is equally arresting, with its zebra-stripe bands of mar-ble, and the line of popes’ heads — including several Sienese — set above the pillars. These stucco busts were added through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and many seem sculpted with an apparent eye to their perversity. The greatest individual artistic treasure is the pulpit. This was completed by Nicola Pisano in 1268, soon after his pulpit for the baptistery at Pisa, with help from his son Giovanni and Arnolfo di Cambio. The design of the panels duplicates those in Pisa. though they are executed with much greater detail and high relief. The carving’s dis-tance from the Byzantine world is perhaps best displayed by the statuette of the Madonna, whose breast is visible beneath the cloak for the first time in Italy, and by the Last Judgement, with its mastery of the human figure and organization of space. Come equipped with plenty of coins for lighting. Almost all the cathedral sculpture is of an exceptional standard. Close by the pulpit in the north transept are Tino di Camaino’s Tomb of Cardinal Petered (1318), a pro-totype for Italian tomb architecture over the next century, and, in front, Donatello’s bronze pavement Tomb of Bishop Pecci (1426). The Renaissance High Altar is Clanked by superb candelabra-carrying angels by Beccafumi. In the Piccolomini Altarpiece, the young Michelangelo also makes an appearance. He was commis• sinned to carve the whole series of fifteen statues here, but after completing saints Peter, Paul, Pius and Gregory in the lower niches he left for a more tempting contract in Florence — the David. Further Renaissance sculptural highlights are to be seen in the two circular transept chapels. The Cappella di San Giovanni Battista, on the left, focuses on a bronze stat-ue of the Baptist by Donatello, cast in 1457, a couple of years after his expressionist Mary Magdalene in Florence, whom the Baptist’s stretched and emaciated face recalls. The frescoes in this chapel, with their delightful landscape detailing, are by Pinturicchio, of whom more below. The Cappelli’ Chigi, or Cappella del Vote, was the last major addition to the duomo, the behest of Pope Alexander VII, another local boy, in 1659. It was designed by Bernini as a new setting for the Madonna del Vote, a thirteenth-century painting which commemorated the Sienese dedication of their city to the Virgin on the eve of
The Baptistery – Siena – Tuscany private tour
The Baptistery The cathedral Baptistery is unusual in being placed beneath the main body of the church. It is an essential visit, containing one of the city’s great Renaissance works — a hexagonal font with scenes illustrating the Baptist’s life. To reach it, turn left out of the duomo, walk left down the side of the walls and follow the flight of steps down behind the cathe-dral; en route you’ll pass the Cripta delle Statue museum — not worth the opportunistic entrance charge. The cathedral chapter responsible for the baptistery font (1417-30) must have had a good sense of what was happening in Florence at the time, for they managed to cont• mission panels by Ghiberti (Baptism of Christ and John in Prison) and Donatello (Herod’s Feast), as well as by the local sculptor Jacopo della Quercia (The Angel Announcing the Baptist’s Birth). Jacopo also executed the marble tabernacle above, and the summit statue of John the Baptist and the five niche statues of the Prophets. Of the main panels, Donatello’s scene, in particular, is a superb piece of drama, with Herod and his cronies recoiling at the appearance of the Baptist’s head. Donatello was also responsible for two of the corner angels (Faith and Hope) and (with Giovanni di Turino) for the miniature angels on the tabernacle above. The lavishly frescoed walls almost overshadow the font, their nineteenth-century overpainting having been removed after a vigorous assault by the restorers. With your back to the entrance the best include (on the left arched vault lunette) a fresco of scenes from the life of St Anthony (1460) by Benvenuto di Giovanni, a pupil of Vecchietta; scenes from the life of Christ by Vecchietta himself (inside left wall of the central stepped chapel); and the same artist’s Prophets, Sibyls and Articles of the Creed (the main vaults), the last a repeat of a theme he would use in the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala
Santa Caterina – Siena – Tuscany private tour
St Catherine’s house St Catherine’s fatuity home, where she lived as a Dominican tertiary – of the order but not resident – is a short distance away to the south of San Domenico. Known as the Casa e Santuatio di Santa Caterina The building has been much adapted, with a Renaissance loggia and a series of oratories – one on the site of her cell. The paintings here are mostly unexceptional Baroque canvases but it is the life that is important: an extraordinary career that made her Italy’s patron saint and among the earliest women to be canonized. Born Caterina Benincasa, the daughter of a dyer, on March 25, 1347 – Annunciation Day – she had her rust visions aged five and took the veil at age eight (sixteen in some versions), against strong family opposition. She spent three years in silent contempla-tion, before experiencing a mystical “Night Obscure”. Thereafter she went out into the turbulent, post-Black Death city, devoting herself to the poor and Monte dei Paschi di Siena Between the two monastic churches lies the heart of business Siena, the Piema Salimbeni, whose three interlocking palazzi have formed, since the fifteenth century…
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Day private tour of Florence from Rome with local driver guide
VIP Florence private tour from Rome: Eur 60 / h Max 6 pax – car with private english guide – Tuscany Car tour from Rome R
FLORENCE individual and private car excursion with local guide from ROME
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Inside the guided tour experience you can choose to visit important archaeological areas like dungeons, catacombs, ancient walls, sacred places and secret areas accessible to limited number of people. The car tour includes short walks on foot for visits of monuments and stops for taking pictures and a lunch or a coffee break. The sequence of monuments and their choice will display a historical and artistic evolution of Florence. As well as a perfect overview of the different types of styles in the arts of architecture and sculpture and painting. Many monuments, private art collections, entrances to palaces are offered exclusively by RUSRIM TUSCANY CAR EXCURSIONS FROM ROME
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The Renaissance in Florence VIDEO by Adel Karanov Private guide in Florence
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In the 19 century Florence has been celebrated as the most beautiful city in Italy. For most people Florence cames close to living up to the myth only in its first, resoundin impressions.
The pinnacle of Brunelleschi’s stupendous dome is visible over the rooftops the moment you step out of the central square, and when you reach the Piazza del Duomo the close up view is even more breathtaking, with the multicolored duomo with the marble clad baptistery. Wander from there down towards the river Arno and the attracion still hold beyond the Piazza della Signoria, site of the immense Palazzo Vecchio, the water is spanned by the shopladen medieval Ponte Vecchio, with georgeous San Minato al Monte glistening on the hill behind it.
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The fact is, the best Florence is to be seen indoors. Under the rule of the Medici family – the greatest patrons of Renissance Europe – Florence’s artist and thinkers were instigators of the shift from the medieval to the modern world view, and the churches, galleries and museums of this city are the places to get to grips with what they achieved. The development of the Renaissance can be plotted stage in the vast picture collection of the Uffizi, and charted in the sculpture of the Bargello, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the church of Orsanmichele. Equally revelatory are the fabulous decorated chapels of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, forerunners of such astonishing creation as Masaccio’s restored frescos at Santa Maria del carmine. Fra’ Angelico’s serene paintings in the monk’s cells at San Marco and Andrea del Sarto’s work at Santissima Annunziata.
Florence is famous for its history: a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. Due to Florence’s artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world
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Cappelle Medicee – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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The Cappelle Medicee Michelangelo’s most celebrated contribution to the San Lorenzo building’s forms part of the Cappelle Medicee. After filing through the subfuse crypt where many of the Medici are actually buried, you climb into the larger of the chapels, the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes), a gloomy, marble-plate,1 hall built as a mausoleum for Cosimo I and his descendants. Morbid and dowdy. with tank-like tombs, it epitomizes the notion that magnificence is directly proportional to expenditure. This was the most expensive building project ever financed by the family. and the Medici were still paying for it when the last of the line, Anna Maria Ludovica, joined her forebears in the basement. It could have looked even worse — the massive statues in the niches were intended to be made from semiprecious stones, like those used in the heraldic devices set into the walls. Begun in 1520, the Sagrestia Nuova was designed by Michelangelo as a tribute to, and subversion of, Brunelleschi’s Sagrestia Vecchia. Architectural connoisseurs go into raptures over the complex cornices of the alcoves, the complex relationship between those alcoves and the plane of the wall, and other such sophistication, but the lay person will be drawn to the fabulous Medici tombs, carved by Michelangelo between 1529 and 1533.’1’o the left is the tomb of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, the grandson o’f Lorenzo it Magnifico; he is depicted as a man of thought, and his sarcophagus bears figures of Dawn and Dusk, the times of day whose ambiguities appeal to the contemplative mind. Opposite is the tomb of Lorenzo it Magnifico’s youngest son, Giuliano, Duke of Nemours; as a man of action, his character is symbolized by the clear antithesis of Day and Night. As a contemporary writer recorded, these are not true portraits: lie did not take from the Duke Lorenzo nor from the Lord Giuliano the model just as nature had drawn and composed them, but he gave them a greatness, a proportion, a dignity … which seemed to him would have brought them more praise, saying that a thousand years hence no one would be able to know that they were otherwise.. They were very nitidi otherwise, flattered by their ducal titles and genealogies as such as by these noble memorials action man Giuliano was an easy-going but feckless individual, while Lorenzo combined ineffectualness with insufferable arrogance. Both dieand unlamented — Giuliano being killed by tuberculosis, Lorenzo by aTonrib,ination of the same disease and syphilis. Their effigies were intended to face the equally grand tombs of Lorenzo it and his brother Giuliano; the only part of the project realized Michelangelo is :he preogcupied Madonna algid Child, the last image of the Madonna he ever sculpted. In 1534, four years after the Medici had returned to Florence in the unfathomably wretched form of Alessandro, Michelangelo decamped to Rome, where he stayed for the rest of his life. There are more Michelangelo drawings behind the altar which can be seen on supervised (free) trips every thirty minutes.
Santa Maria del Fiore – Duomo di Firenze – Florence –Tuscany private tour
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Ponte Vecchio – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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Ponte vecchio – Florence – Tuscany
Pontevecchio is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence.
Built in the 1345 to replace an ancient wooden bridge, the Ponte Vecchio has always been loaded with shops like those now propped over the water, but the plethora od jewellers dates from 1593 when Ferdinando I evicted the butchers- stalls then in occupation. Florence had long revered the art of the goldsmith, and several of its artists were skilled in the craft: Ghiberti, Donatello, and Cellini. Guide in Florence – Car tour Florence from Rome
Fountain of Neptune – Piazza della Signoria – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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This work by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1563–1565) and some assistants, such as Giambologna, was commissioned on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici with Johanna of Austria in 1565. The assignment had first been given to Baccio Bandinelli, who designed the model but he died before he could start working on the block of Apuan marble. The Neptune figure, whose face resembles that of Cosimo I de’ Medici, was meant to be an allusion to the dominion of the Florentines over the sea. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain. The pedestal is decorated with the mythical figures of Scylla and Charybdis. The statue of Neptune is a copy made in the nineteenth century, while the original is in the National Museum. Guide in Florence – Private tour Florence from Rome
The Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia – Florence – Tuscany private tour
The Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia Running off the west side of Piazza San Marco, Via Arazz.ieri soon becomes Via XXVII Aprile, where the former Benedictine convent of SaneApollonia stands at no. 1. Most of the complex has now been turned into flats, but the former refectory houses one of Castagno’s masterpieces, the Last Supper (Tues—Sat 9am-1.50pm, plus same hours first, third & fifth Mon of month & second & fourth Sun of month; free). Painted around 1450, after the artist’s return from Venice, the cenacolo was white-washed out by the nuns, before being uncovered in the middle of the last century. It is perhaps the most disturbing version of the event painted in the Renaissance. Blood red is the dominant tone, and the most commanding figure is the diabolic black-bearded Judas, who sits on the near side of the table. The seething patterns in the marble pan-els behind the Apostles seem to mimic the turmoil in the mind of each, as he hears Christ’s announcement of the betrayal. Above the illusionistic recess in which the supper takes place are the sinopie of a Crucifttion,Depositi. and Resurrection by Castagno, revealed when the frescoes were taken off the wall for restoration.
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Palazzo Pitti – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.
In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon, and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919. Guide in Florence – Car tour Florence from Rome
The palazzo is now the largest museum complex in Florence. The principal palazzo block, often in a building of this design known as the corps de logis, is 32,000 square metres. It is divided into several principal galleries or museums detailed below.
Is a vast, mainly Renaissance, palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. Guide in Florence – Private tour Florence from Rome
Santo Spirito church – Florence – Tuscany private tour
Santo Spirito Some indication of the importance of the parish of Santo Spirito is given by the fact that when Florence was divided into four adminstrative quartieri in the fourteenth cen-tury, the entire area south of the Area was given its name. The slightly run-down square in front of Santo Spirito church, with its market stalls and cafes, encapsulates the self-sufficient character of Oltrarno, an area not hopelessly compromised by the encroachments of tourism.
Santo Spirito church Designed by Brunelleschi as a replacement for a thirteenth-century church, Santo Spirito church (daily 8am-noon & 4-6pm; closed Wed pm) was one of his last pro-jects, and was described by Bernini as “the most beautiful church in the world”. The paper-smooth facade is just a plastering job to disguise the unfinished front, but inside it’s so perfectly proportioned that nothing could seem more artless. Yet the plan is extremely sophisticated -a Latin cross with a continuous chain of 38 chapels round the outside and a line of 35 columns running without a break round the nave, transepts and chancel. Only the Baroque baldachin, about as nicely integrated as garden gnome in a Greek temple, disrupts the harmonics. The best paintings are in the transepts: in the right there’s Filippino Lippi’s Nerli Altarpiece, and in the left a St Monica and Augustinian Nuts by Verrocchio that’s vir-tually a study in monochrome, with black-clad nuns flocking round their black-clad paragon. Also worth a peep is the sacristy, which is entered through a vestibule that opens onto the left aisle; both rooms were designed at the end of the fifteenth century by Giuliano da Sangallo. A fire in 1471 destroyed all the monastery with the exception of its refectory, now the home of the Museo Santo Spirito (Fuel-Sat 9am-2pm, Sun Sam-lpm; (4000), a one-room collection comprising an assortment of carvings, many of them Romanesque, and a huge fresco of The Crunfixion by Orcagna and his workshop.
David – Michelangelo
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The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504.
Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. Private guide in Florence – Car excursion Florence from Rome
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Galleria dell’Accademia – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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I Prigioni di Michelangelo- Florence – Tuscany
Florence’s first academy of drawing indeed Europe’s first – was founded in the mid ssixteen century by Bronzino Ammannati and Vasari. Initially based in Santissima Annunziata, this Accademia del Disegno moved as 1164 to Via Ricasoli 66, and soon afterwards was transformed into a general arts academy, the Accademia di Belle Arti. Twenty years later the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo founded the nearby Galleria dell’Accademia (May-Sept Tues-Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 8.30am-8pm; Oct-April Tues-Sat 8.30am-6.50pm, Sun 8.30zun-1.50pm; L12,000), filling its rooms with paint-ings for the edification of the students. Later augmented with pieces from suppressed religious foundations and other sources, the Accademia has an extensive collection of paintings, especially of Florentine work of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Yet the pictures are not what draw the crowds in numbers equalled only by the Uffizi. The real attraction is Michelangelo, half a dozen of whose major sculptures are here, among them the David – symbol of the city’s republican pride and of the illimitable ambition of the Renaissance artist. Finished in 1504, when Michelangelo was just 29, and carved from a block of marble whose shallowness posed severe difficulties, it’s an incomparable show of technical bravura. But the David is a piece of monumental public sculpture, not a gallery exhibit After being considered as an adornment far the exteri-or of the duomo, it was instead installed outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where it remained until 1873, when it was removed to the Accademia’s specially built tribune. Close by is another unfinished work, St Matthew, which was started immediately after completion of the David as a commission from the Opera del Duomo; they actually requested a full series of the Apostles from Michelangelo, but this is the only one he ever began. The Accademia’s picture galleries are big but unexciting, with copious examples of the work of “Unknown Florentine” and “Follower of … “. The pieces likeliest to make an impact are-Trointormo’s Venus and Cupid, Botticelli’s attributed Madonna of the Sea and the painted fifteenth-century Adimari Chest, showing a Florentine wedding cere-mony in the Piazza del Duomo.
San Minato al Monte – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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Standing atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most scenic churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetan monastery, seen to the right of the basilica when ascending the stairs. St. Miniato was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius. He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot and there was a chapel there by the 8th century. Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by the Emperor Henry II. Private guide in Florence – Car excursion Florence from Rome
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San Minato al Monte – one of the most scenic churches in Italy – Tuscany private tour
Arguably the finest Romanesque structure in Tuscany, San Minato is also the oldest surviving church building in Florence after the baptistery. It recently began to show sings of its age, though, and the authorities become so concerned about the dangers of subsidence that a project was initiated to shore up the downhillside of the church and the adjoining cemetery. Then in a depressing rerun of the Piazzadella Signoria fiasco, it was discovered thata degree of financial impropriety may have been involved in awarding the contract; work has now been suspended for an indefinite period.
Loggia dei Lanzi – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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The Loggia dei Lanzi, also called the Loggia della Signoria, is a building on a corner of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, adjoining the Uffizi Gallery.
It consists of wide arches open to the street. The arches rest on clustered pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The wide arches appealed so much to the Florentines, that Michelangelo even proposed that they should be continued all around the Piazza della Signoria.
The vivacious construction of the Loggia is in stark contrast with the severe architecture of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is effectively an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art.
The name Loggia dei Lanzi dates back to the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo I, when it was used to house his formidable landsknechts (In Italian: “Lanzichenecchi”, corrupted to Lanzi), or German mercenary pikemen. After the construction of the Uffizi at the rear of the Loggia, the Loggia’s roof was modified by Bernardo Buontalenti and became a terrace from which the Medici princes could watch ceremonies in the piazza. Guide in Florence – Car excursion Florence from Rome
The Chiostro dello Scalzo – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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The Chiostro dello Scalzo ‘In the north of San Marco, at Via Cavour 69, is Lo Seat, the home of the Brotherhood of St John, whose vows of poverty entailed walking around barefoot -scal-zo. The order was suppressed in 1785 and their monastery sold off, except for the clois-ter (Mon and Thurs 9am-lpm; free; ring the bell). This was the training ground for Andrea del Sarto, an artist venerated in the nine-teenth century as a painter with no imperfections, but now regarded with slightly less enthusiasm on account of this very smoothness. His monochrome paintings of the Cardinal Virtues and Scenes from the Life of the Baptist occupied him off and on for a decade from 1511, beginning with the Baptism, finishing with the Birth of St John. A couple of the sixteen scenes – John in the Wilderness and John meeting Christ – were executed by his pupil Franciabigio in 1518, when del Sarto was away in Paris.
Piazza Santissima Annunziata – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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Nineteenth-century urban renewal schemes left many of Florence’s squares rather grim places, which makes Piazza Santissima Annunziata, with its distinctive arcades, all the more attractive a public space. It has a special importance for the city, too. Until the end of the eighteenth century the Florentine year used to begin on March 25, the Festival of the Annunciation — hence the Florentine predilection for paintings of the Annunciation, and the fashionableness of the Annunziata church, which has long been the place for society weddings. The festival is still marked by a huge fair in the piazza and the streets leading off it; later in the year, on the first weekend in September, the square is used for Tuscany’s largest crafts fair.
Galleria Uffizi private tour with local guide in Florence – Florence individual private car tour from Rome – original music by Adel karanov RusRim.com video
Palazzo Medici – Florence – Tuscany private tour
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On the edge of the square in front of San Lorenzo stands the Palazzo Medici-M(7.1 (Mon, Tues & Thurs-Sat 9am-lpm & 3-6pm, Sun 9am-lpm), built for Cosim il Vecchio by Michelozzo in the 1440s, and the family home un61Cosimo I installed the clan in the Palazzo Vecchio. With its heavily rusticated exterior, this monolithic palaz-zo was the prototype for such houses as the Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Stroz.zi, but in the seventeenth century it was greatly altered by its new owners, the Riccardi. Of Michelozzo’s original palazzo only the chapel remains intact, its interior covered by lively frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, of which the centrepiece is the Journey of the Magi, painted around 1460 and recently restored to blazing colour. It shows the pageant of the Compagnia dei Magi, the most patrician of the city’s religious confraternities; their procession took place on Epiphany, with members of the Medici usually partici-pating. It’s known that several of the Medici household are featured in the procession, but putting names to these prettified faces is a problem. The man leading the cavalcade on a white horse is almost certainly Piero it Gottoso, sponsor of the fresco. Lorenzo it Magnifico, eleven years old at the time the fresco was painted, is probably the young king in the foreground, riding the grey horse detached from the rest of the procession, while his brother, Giuliano, is probably the one preceded by the black bowman. The artist himself — almost impossible to find — is in the crowd on the far- left, his red beret signed with the words “Opus Benotii” in gold. Finally, the bearded characters in among the gallery of faces might be portraits of the retinue of the Byzantine emperor John Paleologus III, who had attended the Council of Florence twenty years before the fres-co was painted. Stairs ascend to the first floor, where a display case in the lobby of the main gallery contains a Madonna and Child by Filippo Lippi, one of Cosimo de’ Medici’s more trou-blesome proteges. Even as a novice in the convent of Santa Mafia del Carmine, Filippo managed to earn himself a reputation as a drunken womanizer: in the words of Vasari, he was “so lustful that he would give anything to enjoy a woman he wanted … and if he couldn’t buy what he wanted, then he would cool his passion by painting her por-trait.” Cosimo set up a workshop for him in the Medici palace, from which he often absented himself to go chasing women. On one occasion Cosimo actually locked the artist in the studio, but Filippo escaped down a rope of bed sheets; having cajoled him Into returning, Cosimo declared that he would in future manage the painter with “affec-tion and kindness”, a policy that seems to have worked more successfully. ‘Me ceiling of the main room is covered by Luca Giordano’s fresco of The Apotheosis of the Medici, from which one can only deduce that Giordano had no sense of shame. Accompanying his father on the flight into the ether is the last male Medici, Gian Gastone (d. 1737), in reality a man so inert that he could rarely summon the energy to get out of bed in the morning.
WINE BARS IN FLORENCE – Tuscany private tour
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Wine bars Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, Via dei Tavolini 18-20r. Owned by Castello dei Verrazzano, a major Chianti vineyard, this is a good spot for a drink or a slice of pizza. The glass-fronted display inside oozes with outstanding pizza, focaccia and cakes – pay at the cash-desk and eat sitting on the bench provided. Otherwise, tables beyond the white-tiled oven or in the pleasant wood-lined room to the left are perfect for an early evening glass of vino. Busy at lunch. Closed Sun & Aug. Casa del Vino, Via dell’Ariento 16r. Located just west of the Mercato Cenaale, del Vino is passed by hordes of tourists daily – yet it’s probably visited by only a handful. Patrons are mostly Florentines, who pitch up for a drink, a chat with owner Gianni Migliorini and an assault on various Mobil, crostini, and saltless Tuscan bread and salami. Closed Sun & Aug. Enoteca Baldovino, Via San Giuseppe 18r. An offshoot of the excellent Scottish-run Baldovino restaurant just across the road (see p.148), this is a stylish place to buy gastronomic goodies or drink wine at the bar or one of the tables to the rear. The small menu of sandwiches, soups and home-made cakes changes daily. Very convenient for Santa Croce. Closed Mon. Fiaschetteria, Via degli Alfani 70r, corner of Via dei Servi. The university nearby ensures that this otherwise low-key place is often heaving at lunch thne, when students pile in for the pasta-and-a-salad for around 1.15.000. There’s also a fair variety of wines by the glass. Closed Sun. Fuori Porta, Via del Monte alto Croci. If you’re climbing up to San Miniato and regret your deci-sion halfway up, console yourself at this superb wine bar-osteria. There are over 400 wines to choose.
Restaurats in Florence – Tuscany private tour
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In gastronomic circles, Florentine cuisine is accorded as much reverence as Florentine art, a reverence encapsulated in the myth that French eating habits acquired their sophistication in the wake of Catherine de’ Medici’s marriage to the Islam Henry ll of France. In fact, Florentine food has always been characterized by modest raw materials and simple technique — beefsteak (bistecca), tripe (trippa) and liver (tegato) are typical ingredients, while grilling (alla Fiorentina) is a favoured method of pre, ration. In addition, white beans (fagioli) will feature on most menus, either on their own, garnished with liberal quantities of local olive oil, or as the basis of such dishes as
ribollita soup. Unfussy it might be, but quality cooking doesn’t come cheap in Florence — most of the restaurants that meet with local approval cost L40,000-plus per person, wine included. Yet there are some decent low-budget places serving food that at least gives some idea of the region’s characteristic dishes, and even the simplest trattoria should offer bistetva alit; Fiorentina — though you should bear in mind that this dish is priced per hwidred grams, so your bill will be considerably higher than the figure mitten on the menu. Another thing to be aware of is that many restaurants will only serve full meals — so check the menu outside if you’re thinking of just popping in for a quick lunch-time plate of pasta. Asa very rough guideline, the cheapest places tend to be near the station, the best places on or near the main central streets, and the best mid-range restaurants tucked away in alleys on the north of the river or over in Oltrarno. 7 he restaurants below are defined by area — west and north of the immediate city centre (around the station, Santa Maria and San Lorenzo), the city centre, east of the city centre (around Santa Croce) and south of the river (Oltrarno). Prices are defined as Inexpensive (under L35,000 a head for three courses plus water, wine and cover charge), Moderate (135,000-65,000) and Expensive (over L65,000), but these are loose defini• dons, because you can keep costs down even in more expensive places by having just two courses (pasta and main), and retiring to a bar for ice cream or coffee and digestif, Remember, too, that you often needn’t buy a whole bottle of wine: ask fora half-bottle or quarter-bottle/jug of house wine (tnezza bottigliet or un guartino).
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