Florence in a Day

Florence / Firenze

Italy Oct 2010, view from hotel bathroom in FlorenceFlorence is the most important city in Tuscany and my birthplace. It’s wealth derived from banking and textile. The Medici family ruled the city in the Renaissance and when Cosimo I defeated Siena and Pisa, he created the Duchy of Tuscany. Power, wealth and art were at the core of aristocratic life. Tuscan Vineyard Tours offers a myriad of insider tours in this fascinating city. If you are a first time visitor, Florence in a Day is ideal as I will take you to the most important historic locations. This walking tour will include the most historically and artistically important places in Florence. Tuscan Vineyard Tours will allow you to maximise your time in the city and gain a greater understanding of its past and present. Our tour begins in front of the Duomo Cathedral where you will learn about the construction of its famous dome, of the “Gates of Paradise” and of its Gothic bell tower. We will walk to Orsanmichele, a very unique and quirky church and of course we will include a stop at Piazza della Signoria, the heart of past and present Florence. You will learn about how art and architecture were intertwined with Renaissance power and politics. Inside the Gothic Santa Croce you will find the burial chambers of Michelangelo, Dante and other illustrious Florentines. A stroll over Ponte Vecchio will fill your eyes with wonder as you marvel over some of the world’s finest jewelry stores.

Florence in a Day Tour 

  • English Speaking Art Historian Private Guide
  • Il Duomo Cathedral/Baptistry/Bell Tower
  • Orsanmichele Church
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Uffizi Gallery (Exterior)
  • Palazzo Vecchio (Exterior)
  • 2 course Lunch at a Tuscan Trattoria w/ House Wine
  • Santa Croce Church
  • Florence’s Best Gelato
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Palazzo Pitti (Exterior)

 

2-4 Participants / €175 Per Person 

5-6 Participants / €165 Per Person

7-8 Participants / €155 Per Person 

9-12 Participants / €145 Per Person

 

Firenze/Florence was one of the most important cities in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. But Florence’s history starts a long time before that. It has been inhabited since the 10th century but historians conventionally date its foundation to 59 b.C. as a Roman settlement for retired soldiers with the name Florentia. It was built following the Roman military camp’s style along the cardo and decumanus intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica.

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During the Dark Ages Florence was a minor city in Italy and suffered different Barbaric invasions. It was in the 12th century that Florence started growing and became a Comune, a city-state. For the following two centuries the city was fought for by the Guelphs (supporters of the Pope) and the Ghibellines (supporters of the Emperor); both of which wished to rule the city. Even Dante Alighieri was a victim of these fights: he was exiled to Verona at the beginning of 1300 for being a supporter of the other side at that time in power.

It was from the 14th to 16th centuries that Florence became one of the most important cities in Europe when the Medici family ruled it. Lorenzo de’ Medici was probably the greatest patron of the city. He transformed Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance by attracting excellent contemporary artists, architects and writers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli to whom he commissioned various works.

In 1569 Florence became the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and Cosimo I de’ Medici was named the Grand Duke of Tuscany by Pope Pius V. The members of the Medici dynasty passed down the title for the next two centuries up until 1737 when Gian Gastone, the last surviving male heir of the Medici clan, died and the Lorraine family took over. The Lorraine family ruled the city and region with great foresight and wisdom until 1860, when Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence was the temporary capital of Italy for five years from 1865 to 1871. During those years the city was modernized following contemporary standards. The historical center had remained largely unchanged through the centuries and large parts of this medieval city was destroyed including the old market and the Jewish ghetto which were replaced by a new district with larger streets and the big square of Piazza della Repubblica.

During the Second World War, Florence experienced a yearlong occupation by the Germans and was heavily damaged by bombs. Curiously, as the German retreated from Florence, all of the bridges were blown up except Ponte Vecchio, many claiming it was considered too beautiful to destroy and spared by orders from Hitler himself. On November 4, 1966 the Arno River flooded most of the city center damaging millions of art treasures and books. The flood left many marks on the city and its artistic patrimony; many pieces of artwork are still under restoration over 40 years later.