What to expect!
This itinerary is drafted to the best of our knowledge and reflects the overall tenor of the program. Minor changes - a site visit may be moved to another day or an additional site may be added, for instance - are to be expected. Ample free time is always included the schedule, usually between lectures and site visits.
Day 1 Arrival and Introduction
Arrival in Florence! Make your way to the Palazzo Guadagni and get settled. Then Sarah will give a leisurely orientation walking tour of Florence, setting the stage for the week’s lectures. Sarah and Caleb will show you their favourite spots for espresso and gelato.
That evening, meet on the rooftop of the Palazzo Guadagni for an evening glass of wine. As we overlook the Santo Spirito piazza, Sarah will provide an introduction to the early Renaissance. She explains the historical conditions and background for understanding Florentine art and architecture in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Day 2 Donatello and Early Renaissance Sculpture
We visit the Orsanmichele to view Donatello’s St Mark in a lecture explaining the transition from Gothic sculpture to that of the Renaissance. Sarah will also show you the site of the first art academy.
We tour the Bargello in the afternoon, one of the most under-visited but art-rich museums in Florence! Sarah continues her lecture on early Renaissance sculpture with a close look at Donatello’s David. Here we also see the famous competition panels for the Florence Baptistery by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti.
We will enjoy a multi-course Italian dinner together in the Oltrarno district.
Day 3 Brunelleschi’s Dome: Architecture of the Florentine Renaissance
A day of Renaissance architecture! We discuss the life, work, and vision of Florentine architect, Filippo Brunelleschi. His influence is visible everywhere in Florence. We visit his major sites including the Duomo, Pazzi Chapel, and San Lorenzo. We will also spend time in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo - the Museum for the Santa Maria del Fiore, which includes schematics and models for Brunelleschi’s famous dome, as well as Ghiberti’s original Baptistery doors. Buckle up for Ghiberti’s Doors of Paradise because they are a sight to behold. The Duomo Museum is another underrated and little visited museum, but it holds some of the most important work of the Florentine Renaissance. We will have a good view of the dome from the museum’s rooftop.
Day 4 Renaissance Painting & The Uffizi
Today we dive into the Uffizi Gallery collection. Sarah will guide you through selected rooms of this museum, looking at the work of Duccio, Simone Martini, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. We will take breaks to visit the Uffizi’s rooftop terrace which overlooks the Palazzo Vecchio and the Piazza della Signoria.
Day 5 The Medici Influence
Today we explore the influence of the Medici family on Florence. Sarah explains their wealth and prestige as we visit the imposing Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. We also visit the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in San Lorenzo, with its magnificent architectural elements designed by Michelangelo.
We will then visit the church and convent of San Marco - one of Sarah’s favourite sites - to see the frescoes by Fra Angelico.
Day 6 Santa Maria Novella & Santa Croce
We visit two important religious spaces in Florence. First is Santa Maria Novella to see works by Brunelleschi and Masaccio. Then to Santa Croce, best known as a site of several important burials, including those of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Rossini. Santa Croce also houses work by Cimabue and Giotto.
Along the way we will also visit the house of poet Dante Alighieri and the Museo Casa di Dante.
Explore the city for your own dinner.
Day 7 Michelangelo & the Galleria dell'Accademia
We visit the Galleria dell'Accademia to view Michelagenlo’s David and discuss the life and work of this artist. Sarah will also show you the spot on the Duomo for which the David was originally intended, as well as its location in the Piazza della Signoria, previous to its move to the Accademia.
At sunset we will make our way to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the south bank of the Arno for its glorious views of Florence.
Day 8 Depart