ROME TO RENAISSANCE FLORENCE

:::  OVERVIEW

 Rome to Renaissance Florence is perhaps our most compelling day trip from Rome. It captures the period when Florentine artists and architects influenced the highest echelons of European society.

 We set off early on the bullet train from Rome and conclude in the late evening, after a thrilling day of guided tours and adventure activities that pour scorn on any bucket list.

 The Accademia and Uffizi need no introduction, they are two of the most renowned collections of art and antiquities in the world. Your tours will be led by an expert Renaissance art historian guide.

 Two bell towers, one dome, and is it really true that climbing is forbidden when it rains? Three climbs may seem a lot but we know how beautiful Florence is from above, therefore we took steps (about 1,200) to ensure that the best vantage points are reached.

 Sightseeing in Florence involves significantly less walking than in Rome, and the inclusion of several ascents doesn't change that fact.

 Like our Florence Highlights by Bullet Train, Santa Reparata is visited. Catch sight of the peacock that protects funerary tombstones today as fifteen long centuries ago.

 Palazzo Vecchio is as iconic in Florence as the Colosseum in Rome. What can be found therein? Wander through halls adorned with monumental frescoes depicting frenzied battle scenes, wonder if the unfinished story of the Hall of the Five Hundred will ever find its own ending, and behold Vasari's vedute in the first courtyard (Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi, 1453).

 "The Battle of Anghiari" is believed to be a lost major work of art by Leonardo Da Vinci, but did it even exist? What lies behind Vasari's fresco and why did he leave us the message "Cerca trova" (seek and you will find) beneath a minuscule cavity therein? These questions are still a perpetual page turner, despite the very best efforts of dogged art historian deniers to close the chapter in 2020.

 The second floor houses the Apartments of the Elements, Priori, and Eleonora of Toledo. Enter ornamental rooms and explore secret chambers.

 The Bargello and Volognana Tower (you won't climb this one) are some of the oldest municipal buildings in Florence (1255). The Bargello was a military barracks, then a prison and execution site for over 200 years.

 Since 1865, the Bargello National Museum has hosted exhibitions of Tuscan sculpture, Italian majolicas, French ivories, arms and small bronze statues.

 Its open courtyard has not changed, and the three levels of halls that surround it house rare Gothic and Renaissance sculptures. The museum reminds one of The Wallace Collection in London and the Borghese Gallery in Rome. Indeed, a marble statue bust by Bernini and masterpieces by Michelangelo can be found within the walls.

 Cross the River Arno at iconic Ponte Santa Trinita for splendid views of Ponte Vecchio, or dare cross Ponte Vecchio itself en route to one of the grandest palaces in Europe. Pitti Palace is vast, a treasure chest of art, paintings and jewellry since the House of Medici, through the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, to the brief tenure of Napoleon Bonaparte. Priceless works by Raphael, Titian and Rubens make Pitti a must-see.

 Behind the palace lie Boboli Gardens, established by the Medici in a style that would come to define future European courts. Classical and Renaissance statues interrupt the greens with shades of grey, as do blue fountains and deep grottoes. This is where you'll rest and reflect before crossing the river one last time to return to Rome.

:::  INCLUSIONS

 I
 ROME - FLORENCE - ROME BY BULLET TRAIN
 II
 UFFIZI GALLERY TOUR
 III
 ACCADEMIA GALLERY TOUR
 IV
 BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME CLIMB
 V
 GIOTTO'S BELL TOWER CLIMB
 VI
 BAPTISTERY OF SAN GIOVANNI
 VII
 CRYPT OF SANTA REPARATA
 VIII
 PALAZZO VECCHIO
 IX
 ARNOLFO'S TOWER CLIMB
 X
 BARGELLO MUSEUM
 XI
 PITTI PALACE
 XII
 BOBOLI GARDENS

:::  WHAT TO EXPECT

 Rated 5 / 5 by Daniel S on May 11th, 2022  Wow. Never before had any of us seen so much beauty in art and architecture, it was sensory overload in a good way. Before we booked, we'd baulked at the three dome and tower climbs, but they too were incredible. An awesome full day tour that we recommend very highly. Thank you!

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