Patrons and Saints

Fresco Santa Maria Novella

Imagine a world before cameras… What makes this tour interesting is that you will be looking at portraits of rich and prominent figures of the past and their need of leaving tangible and colourful traces of their existence through their religious and cultural outlook.

In Santa Maria Novella,  we find examples of the magnificent patronage of the Tornabuoni and Ruccellai families with the works of revolutionary artists: Masaccio, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi. In Giovanni Tornabuoni’s chapel decorated by Domenico del Ghirlandaio, we find magnificent portraits of family members and notables of Florentine society.

We then visit the Church of Santa Trinità to admire more frescoes by Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel. Here we find images of Florence in the late 15th century, prominent Florentine figures, members of the Sassetti family and Lorenzo dei Medici and his sons. Santa Trinità also allows us to understand the difficulties of making frescoes and the challenge of their conservation.

Our last stop, the fascinating and elegant Santo Spirito on the Oltrarno, the other side of the river. The Augustinian complex sees its first development in the 1250s, however, the church we enter today was consecrated in 1481 and is based on an initial project of Filippo Brunelleschi. Inside we find a unique collection of 15th and 17th-century chapels with their ornate altarpieces. This is also where Michelangelo studies anatomy and where his unique sculpture, a wooden crucifix, still hangs.

Duration: 3 hrs
Sites visited: Santa Maria Novella*, Santa Trinità, Santo Spirito
Price for 1-4pax: €225
Additional price for headsets: €30
*Entry & reservation fees: not included
NB. Churches require a dress code. Please dress appropriately with covered shoulders and knees.

The Palace with Many Names

Palazzo Vecchio Courtyard

Palazzo Vecchio, the aggressive castle-like structure, has been the political heart of the small but proud City State of Florence since the early 1300s, a testimony of sacks, of tyrants, of patronage, power and control. Through 2 centuries, the palace changed its name 4 times, speaking volumes of evolving political situations during this turbulent period.

Piazza Signoria, the square where Palazzo Vecchio stands, is where the population would congregate to witness and celebrate important political events such as the visit of popes, but also the backdrop for social upheavals and revolts, and in more gory moments of Florentine history, the site of executions such as Girolamo Savonarola’s burning at the stake. This is also where important books and works of art were burned in the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Adorning the square are the bronze statue of Cosimo I, the powerful Fountain of Neptune and the copy of David. In the Loggia dei Lanzi, stands other masterful pieces, Perseus of Benvenuto Cellini and the Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna.

Duration: 2 hrs
Site visited: Palazzo Vecchio*, Piazza della Signoria
Price for 1-4pax: €160
Additional price headsets: €30
*Entry fees: not included