As visitors flock to Tuscany and the fabulous art galleries of Florence, I’m frequently asked by clients where to visit in the ‘renaissance city’ and the surrounding countryside.
I’ve listed a few of my favourites here.
Let’s start with food and wine. The wonderful wine producers at Antinori have a fantastic historic palazzo in the centre of Florence that is open for wine tasting and high quality dining. The wine list, as you’d expect, is spectacular. The dishes on the menu represent typical Tuscan fare and seasonal local ingredients. Set in a medieval palace. Strongly recommended. www.antinori.it
Piazzale Michelangelo – for superb panoramic views of the city (below) this is a must.
Two of Florence’s leading men! David (on the left) and Dante (on the right).
The Accademia Gallery – to see Michelangelo’s David https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/ photo above. David was carved out of a single block of white Carrara marble by Michelangelo from 1501-1504. The marble block had been worked and abandoned by several other sculptors before Michelangelo selected it for his monumental work. The David is more than 5 metres tall and is a perfect representation of youth and beauty. The hands are veined and almost lifelike. The torso is muscular and lean. Known in italian as a ‘capolavoro’ masterpiece.
The painting of Dante painted by Domenico di Michelino was painted in 1465. Dante is perhaps the most famous Florentine citizen of the medieval period. Famously exiled from the City of Florence he wandered through Northern Italy for the remainder of his life. During this time he wrote the epic poem ‘La Commedia’ one of the earliest pieces of writing in italian. Michelino depicts Dante holding his famous work and referencing the three stages of the ‘Divine Comedy’ Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. This wonderful painting is located on the West Wall of Santa Maria del Fiore, Duomo of Florence.
From Florence’s Duomo stroll through the old town to the Gelateria Vivoli and sample a delicious ice cream.
Next I’d suggest the Basilica of Santa Croce, Firenze – Florence’s second most important church after the Duomo. It is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 meters south-east of the Duomo, on what was once marshland beyond the city walls. The church houses the tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo and the composer Rossini
Central Florence – showing Accademia (David), Palazzo Antinori, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo (shoe museum), Vivoli (ice cream), Santa Croce Church
Another fun thing to do is a walk through Florence – wine window by wine window. The wine windows were original small doors in the walls of old palaces. The doors could be opened to allow the sale of wine to passers-by. Many of these wine windows had been sealed up, but during the Covid period they were reopened, to enable the sale of food and wine ‘at a distance’. I wrote about The Wine Windows of Florence here: The wine windows of Florence
Firenze – the wine windows of Florence
The Church of Santa Croce with the tomb of Galileo inside
Meanwhile outside Florence, you can enjoy the gorgeous rolling countryside of Chianti – villages like Radda in Chianti and Greve in Chianti are well worth a visit.
The villages of Chianti; Greve and Radda are charming and very traditional. In the top picture (background) there’s a statue of Verrazzano. He of the Verrazzano Bridge fame (New York harbour) – he was an Italian navigator back in the day and was one of the first Europeans to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and New Brunswick in 1524. He was born in Greve in Chianti in 1485.
For more reading I’d suggest – all articles I’ve written over the last couple of years:
- Dante – Italy’s greatest poet
- The wine windows of Florence
- Florence – 15th century ‘Procession of the Magi’
- Dante – an early manuscript from Biblioteca Guarneriana, Italy
For tailor-made travel in Italy – don’t hesitate www.grand-tourist.com
One thought on “Florence, Tuscany”
Thank you so much, Janet – another fascinating, informative and stimulating article, which almost had me reaching for the phone to contact our Travel Agent for an immediate booking to Tuscany – but the Grandchildren are coming over for a Coronation Lunch tomorrow, so I will have to postpone the EEETT (Eatonian Educational Epicurean Tour of Tuscany) which your article immediately prompted!
LikeLiked by 1 person