3. Cruise Excursion to Florence from Livorno/La Spezia by Car
Though Florence is a city that could easily occupy the curious traveller for a lifetime, its rich culture can nonetheless be spectacularly brought to life over the course of a single day. With this tour we will embark on an epic journey from the Middle Ages to the end of the Renaissance, exploring the most beautiful sights of Florence and learning about its history and art.
The Uffizi gallery is of course one of the highlights of our tour, and here we will encounter many of the artists who made the city famous. The masterpieces of Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio dramatically thrust us into the world of the Renaissance, and in their forms we will come to understand the era's radically evolving relationship between man and God.
In the museum of the Accademia, we will come face-to-face some of Michelangelo's finest sculptures. Most famous of all is of course his magisterial David, who towers above us with a haughty grandeur. It is perhaps the greatest expression of idealized classical beauty ever carved, and was taken by his contemporaries as proof that his chisel was guided by the hand of God himself.
The religious heart of the city is the Piazza of the Duomo, with its splendid octagonal Baptistery. The Baptistery's celebrated bronze doors designed by Ghiberti will immerse us in the artistic revolution that was gathering pace in the city. The enormous Duomo meanwhile reminds us of one of the Renaissance's most impressive achievements.
Piazza della Signoria was the political heart of the Renaissance city, and here the fluctuating fortunes of the Florentine Republic is writ large in the shadow of the imposing Palazzo Vecchio. This great building was the seat of the city magistrates, safeguards of Florence's democratic autonomy. We will explore the powerful Medici family's ever increasing influence in their affairs, until they eventually became de-facto rulers of the city.
The 14th century basilica of Santa Croce is one of the most impressive medieval monuments in the city. Inside we will admire the frescoes of Giotto recounting the life of St. Francis, a wooden crucifix by Donatello, and Brunelleschi's marvellous Pazzi chapel, a masterpiece of Renaissance proportion.
We end our tour on the Ponte Vecchio, perhaps the city's most iconic landmark. Long renowned for its picturesque charm, it was the only bridge to survive the Nazi retreat from Florence unscathed. For centuries butchers and fishmongers sold their goods here, and were only replaced by the current goldsmiths and jewellers in the 16th century at the command of Medici nobles. It is a place where the many histories of Florence collide, where merchants, tradesmen, artists and aristocrats all rub shoulders together. Join us as we tread in their footsteps through the streets of one of the world's most magical cities.