YOUR FLORENCE EXPERIENCE

FINE ARTS AND
CULTURE ACADEMY

The Medici oranges

The Medici are known as great collectors and patrons of art and literature. Many also know about their great passion for botany and gardens. Almost every estate owned by the Medici family was equipped with magnificent parks that we can still admire and visit today, like the Boboli Gardens.What not...

April 26, 1478: the Pazzi conspiracy

The members of the Medici family were as much loved by the people as they were hated by the rival families who aimed to take their place in power. Among these we find the Pazzi, also bankers, who harbored a visceral hatred for Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano, his brother....

Details of Florence: the bas-relief of Perseo and Andromeda at the Loggia dei Lanzi

Looking up while busy admiring the spectacular statues of the Loggia dei Lanzi including the statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa (1555) by Benvenuto Cellini, you might have missed to notice the beautiful bas-relief placed right at the base of this statue.This square bronze bas-relief depicting an episode...

Anna Maria Luisa de Medici's legacy

On the 18th of February Florence celebrates a very special woman, the one to whom we owe the salvaging of our art heritage: Anna Maria Luisa dei Medici, also known as the Electress Palatine. Anna Maria was the daughter of Cosimo III and Margherita Luisa d'Orleans. Theirs was a very...

Bygone Florence: Church of San Pier Maggiore

Florence has changed its appearance many times over the centuries, and a great number of buildings was lost due to demolitions and renovations. This is the case of the Church of San Pier Maggiore, of which only traces of the arches of the external portico of the church remain in...

The secrets of Piazza Duomo

Many are the anecdotes and legends regarding the city of Florence, Piazza Duomo alone is the protagonist of several of these interesting stories. Today we'll tell about you some of them. The fall of the Duomo’s golden sphere was indeed a shocking event. We must start by saying that designing...

The ghost of Baldaccio d'Anghiari

Every city has its own ghosts, and Florence certainly could not be the exception. There are stories about sightings of spirits in the Tuscan capital, like the one of Palazzo Budini-Gattai or Ginevra degli Almieri. The story we're going to tell you today is about one of the most famous:...

Curious Florence: buchette del vino

Walking down the streets of Florence you might have seen them: tiny arched shaped doors on the walls of buildings in the city center. Many wonder what they are, even some florentines don't know their history. They are called "buchette del vino" (litterally "wine holes"), closed with little wooden doors...

As the saying goes: San Giovanni non vuole inganni!

Have you ever heard a Florentine say: “San Giovanni non vuole inganni" (Saint John doesn't allow deceit)? This saying is often used in situations where someone has tried to trick somebody else and the other person found out, or they don't believe the lie told. Where does this saying come from?...

The pyramid of the Cascine Park

While taking a stroll at the Cascine Park, a very peculiar structure might have caught your eye. We are talking about the pyramid that can be found along the tree-lined avenu, looking rather out of place in the Tuscan capital.What on earth is a pyramid doing in Florence? Well, it...

Florentine Renaioli

The Arno river has always been a faithful friend to the Florentines, allowing the proliferation of numerous activities along its banks, exploiting every resource it made available. In particular, a city with an intense building activity like Florence, needed a great quantity of building material, and it is precisely to...

The Iris Garden

Florence is beautiful even in the rain, but when it shines under the spring sun it becomes something spectacular. It is then that you have to go out absolutely for a walk in the center, or along the bank of the river Arno or better still go to visit one...

Curious Florence: the Florentine New Year

Florence is a city that has always done things a little in its own way, as demonstrated by the fact that for 168 years it celebrated the New Year on a different day than the rest of Italy. The Florentine New Year is celebrated on 25 March, the date corresponding...

The column of san Zanobi

On January 26th, in Florence we celebrate San Zanobi (Saint Zenobius) so you might see a garland of flowers at the base of the column in Piazza Duomo - if you ever even noticed the column in the first place. Many people, including Florentines, pass by it every day not...

Mysterious Florence: the window that is always open

If you have been to Piazza Santissima Annunziata you might have noticed a window that remains open all year round, whether it's summer or winter, so much so that the Florentines have renamed it "the window that is always open".  It is located on the top floor of Palazzo Grifoni,...

August: Chiuso per Ferie

Visiting Florence in August has its downsides. Around the second week of the month, you will find yourselves walking the almost deserted city streets looking for a bar, restaurant or grocery shop that does not display the sign "CHIUSO PER FERIE" (closed for the holidays). That’s because most Florentines -...

Florence and the instruments that mark the time

A good observer will discover that in Florence there are several astronomical instruments scattered around the city, not only great breeding ground for artists but also for scientists and scholars. In ancient times, to know the time people used the sundial, a measurement tool based on the detection of the...

The story of Ginevra degli Almieri

Florence is full of mysteries and there is no shortage among them of stories about ghosts, witches and devils. Here is an unbelievable story, perhaps the most famous one, and what makes it so disturbing is that it is actually a true story, although several versions exist today. It is...

Curious Florence: Red or black numbers?

It may happen that looking for the address of a shop becomes confusing for those coming from outside Florence, because in the Tuscan capital a differentiation is made between the house numbers, written in black, and those of commercial activities, marked with red numbers. The origins The civic numbering in...

Pigments in Art

Red, black, brown, white and ochre were part of the color palette artists used in cave paintings. The first pigments, invented about 40,000 years ago, were a combination of soil, animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk, but since then, the number of colors available to the artists has continued to...

Manga: from the origins to the present day

In Italy as in many other Western countries, comics are still considered by most to be a product for children, as we are used to the fact that storytelling with pictures is found in fairy tales and children’s books. In particular the Japanese manga, that uses images often consisting of...

The Explosion of the Cart in Florence

The "Scoppio del Carro" (Explosion of the Cart), is an event that takes place every year on Easter Sunday, and it dates back to the first Crusade. Legend has it that the first to climb the Jerusalem walls was a Florentine named Pazzino, member of the noble Pazzi family. He...

Fountains of Florence

Whether installed to celebrate an event, a personality of relevance for the city or just to decorate a piazza, Italian cities have always loved their fountains. Florence is no exception. There are many beautiful fountains scattered around the city,  so let's see some of the most famous and unique fountains...

Ferdinando's bees

Always reported among the curiosities of Florence are Ferdinand's bees, incrediblity hard to count. It is said that whoever manages to count them without touching or marking them, will be blessed with luck. Let's see what this is all about. At the center of Piazza SS. Annunziata we find the...

The lions of Florence

You might have noticed that lions are everywhere in Florence. Have you wondered why? They are guarding Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia de Lanzi, they are on the weathervane on top of the Arnolfo Tower, they are represented in coat of arms, in paintings, and even the bases of lamplights...

The Gardens of Florence - Villa Fabbricotti

Far from the madding crowd! If you are attending one of our courses, take a break and stroll at - VILLA FABBRICOTTI  A short walk from Piazza della Libertà, in via Vittorio Emanuele II, there's a beautiful green space, a luxurious villa on top of a terraced hill, a rich vegetation...

The Center of Contemporary Art in Florence that doesn't exist, an incredible story

Florence  is universally considered the city of art and hosts many universities, schools and art institutions, but why doesn't it have a museum or a center of contemporary art to accommodate large-scale events like other big Italian cities? Certainly its efforts are mainly aimed at cultivating the past, both culturally...

The Florentine Christmas stump

As fireplaces disappeared from the houses, the florentine, and tuscan in general, tradition of the “Ceppo” (Christmas stump) has also gradually been lost. The elders called the day of Christmas and Santo Stefano "Ceppo" and "Ceppino", referring to this very tradition. The Christmas stump had a profound meaning, of strength...

The Gardens of Florence - The Mansola Park, a park for the future

Ten minutes walk from the  bus no. 20 terminus, at the eastern  border of the city you will find the Mensola Park, named after the stream that crosses it, coming down from Fiesole. It is a large open area of ​​20 hectares with pedestrian and bicycle paths, partly being redeveloped with...

The origins of the Italian language

Woe to speak ill of Florence to a Florentine, you could trigger a very heated discussion. Florentines have always been known for their patriotic spirit, proud of their city and their origins. We can't blame them after all, considering that in the past Florence has really played a key role...

The Gardens of Florence - Villa Strozzi

The villa and the large park were one of the private residences of the Strozzi family, built in the mid-16th century by Giovan Battista di Lorenzo Strozzi. The Strozzi were a family of bankers, perhaps the richest of the time, long enemies of the Medici. Their palace in the center...

5 Greek myths in Art

Admiring a work of art and understanding a work of art are two very different things. Of course, understanding art is not easy, but at least as far as the works of the past are concerned, it helps that the artists often used a few recurring themes. Knowing at least...

The “Acculata Stone”, a very creative punishment!

Right in the center of the Loggia del Porcellino, in the floor,  there is a marble disk depicting a cart wheel. It indicates the point where the "carroccio" (cart) was placed with the insignia and flags of the Florentine Republic, where the army gathered in case of war. But the...

Excursion out of Florence - The Burraie and the Madonna's Roses

Half an hour by car or bus from Florence, above the Santa Brigida Village, you will find the "Ring of the Burraie", a 16-kilometer equipped trakking route through woods, meadows, rocks and beautiful landscapes. Along the path you will meet many “burraie” in excellent condition. But what are the “burraie”?...

The Gardens of Florence - The Anconella Park

Mainly formed by a wood of beautiful white poplars, it extends for several kilometers on the left bank of the Arno, on the eastern city outskirts. Very popular, it offers beautiful views of the river, at that point continuously crossed by the rowing boats of the Municipal Rowing Club, based...

Leonardo da Vinci's wine was cloudy and hard to digest

An original letter from Leonardo da Vinci has come down to us, we try to give here a translation. It speaks of wine, the wine he himself produced in Fiesole:"From Milan to Zanobi Boni, my farm manager. 9 December 1515. The last four jars were not as expected and I...

The Gardens of Florence - L'Indiano at the park Le Cascine

In the largest public park in Florence, Le Cascine, unexpectedly you meet a monument dedicated to an Indian prince! The young Indian prince Rajaram Chuttraputti of Kolhapur, returning from England where he had visited the queen, suddenly died in Florence on the 30th November 1870, at the age of 21....

The Lebanon Cedar and the peace in the world

Until recently, the park of Villa Fabbricotti was dominated by a wonderful example of a Lebanon Cedar, right at the top of the hill. The trunk 8 meters wide, almost 25 meters high and 200 years old. For its beauty and monumentality it was chosen by the District Council of...

The Gardens of Florence - Il Giardino dell'Orticoltura

Another green oasis a few steps from the historic center, easy to reach on foot. Built for scientific botanical experiments in 1859 by the Georgofili Academy, an institution founded in the 1700s for the study of agricultural techniques and gardening, it was and still is the site of floriculture and...

Stenterello: a Florentine Carnival mask

In Naples there is the famous Pulcinella, in Venice there is Colombina and in Bergamo there are Arlecchino and Brighella; but even Florence has its traditional carnival mask! It is called Stenterello, and owes its name to its puny and haggard appearance, that of a man who seems to have,...

Romantic Florence: Ippolito and Dianora

Florence also has its own Romeo and Juliet, but they are called Ippolito and Dianora (or Lionora). The story is told in a novella of the fifteenth century, Istorietta amorosa fra Leonora de ’Bardi e Ippolito Buondelmonti, that most attribute to the pen of Leon Battista Alberti. It is about...

A vandal called Michelangelo Buonarroti

On the wall of Palazzo Vecchio, behind the statue of Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli, you will notice, if you look closely, the face of a man engraved in stone. According to the legend, Michelangelo Buonarroti himself is the author of this artwork. Michelangelo was an excellent artist, but...

The mistery of the Medici coat of arms

A golden shield with five red balls, and a blue one decorated with three golden lilies. You must have seen it everywhere in Florence, since it is the Medici coat of arms. The Medici blazon underwent inexplicable changes during most of the fifteenth century, in particular in regards to the...

Florentine curiosities: traces of ancient units of measurement

The meter is an object that we all have at home, to which we do not give much importance; often forgotten at the bottom of a drawer under the batteries and the rolls of adhesive tape. We certainly cannot consider it a luxury item. But what if we told you...

Florence Fortezza da Basso

The Fortezza da Basso, or fortress of San Giovanni Battista, today the main Florentine exhibition venue, has a long history, which began after the experience of the siege of 1529. At the time, Duke Alessandro de’ Medici commissioned to the artists and architects Pier Francesco da Viterbo and Antonio da...

Florence curiosities: the upside down balcony

Florence is well-stocked with oddities, just look around while walking down the street to catch some of them. One of these, which strikes the eye of the most attentive ones, is the balcony located in Borgo Ognissanti, at number 12. It certainly stands out: all the architectural elements that compose...

Excursions out of Florence --- The windmill of Monterifrassine

Do you have a day off? Take a ride to --- THE WINDMILL OF MONTERIFRASSINE . Tuscany is not a windy territory, if not on the coast and in some mountain areas. For this reason, over the centuries the mills to grind wheat have been pushed by the water of...

Florentine tortures

The Bargello, today a museum that houses one of the most important Renaissance collections of sculptures in the world, as well as a vast collection dedicated to the applied arts, was originally built as a residence of the Potestà in the 13th century. Subsequently it housed the Otto di Guardia...

Florentine stories: Dante's rock

At the time of Dante, Piazza del Duomo was very different from how we know it today. There was the Baptistery but there was no Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, which was built starting in 1296 on the foundations of the ancient church of Santa Reparata. Furthermore, on the...

The Biancone is shining bright again

The Fontana del Nettuno was finally inaugurated after a two-year restoration, generously funded by the Ferragamo fashion house. In 1559 Cosimo I de Medici announced a competition to design the first public fountain in Florence, which thanks to the construction of a new aqueduct would bring water to the city...

GIORNI DELLA MERLA

Once upon a time, female blackbirds were white as snow, but during one particularly harsh winter their appearance changed forever. January, was a cruel month, cold and unforgiving, especially towards the little animals that struggled to survive to see another spring. Food was scarce, and snowstorms were frequent and the...

The Tower of Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio, with its high tower is one of the symbols of Florence, and the tower, which stands 95 meters high above the roofs of the city, is what marks the location of the ancient Palazzo della Signoria even from afar. The tower of Arnolfo was built at the beginning...

Simonetta Vespucci: Botticelli's muse

Those who watched the tv show Medici, were left wondering about the real story of Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, the noblewoman considered to have been the muse of Sandro Botticelli. In the episodes of the tv series we see how Simonetta and Giuliano de Medici fall in love while posing as...

The Tuscan “pane sciocco”

We can all agree that Italian bread is what dreams are made of; for us a good meal is not the same without it. But did you know that Tuscan bread is very different from the other Italian breads? Alas, for once, we’re missing something the rest of Italy isn’t:...

Looking for the unnoticed: Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is certainly the largest palace in Florence, now home to priceless treasures, once home to the lords of the city, the Medici. We all know it as the residence of the Medici family, in fact, but its name reveals its true origins. Luca Pitti, the archenemy of Cosimo...

Santa Maria Novella unveiled

The Santa Maria Novella Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Florence as well as one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in Tuscany, and yet, it is too often neglected by tourists, drawn to more famous places of interest. Do not make this mistake. You...

Inside Brunelleschi's Dome

Brunelleschi's dome, with its red tiled roof and white contrasting marble ribs, is one of the most distinctive architectures of Florence. Admired and known for its exterior appearance, it is actually an architectural masterpiece that is equally astonishing when viewed from the inside. Brunelleschi had left the interior of the...

What is the so called Florence Syndrome?

Finding yourself in front of Florence’s breathtaking masterpieces such as the David of Michelangelo or Botticelli’s Primavera or even stepping inside the stunning Chapel of the Princes in San Lorenzo, can cause some serious dizziness. But what if what you felt was more than simple dizziness and excitement? What if...

The church with its bum in the Arno

Little known in Florence is the Church of San Jacopo Sopr'Arno, a structure of ancient origin built in Romanesque style. Dating back to the X-XI century, it gave its name to the borough that was built around it, Borgo San Jacopo, in the Florentine Oltrarno. Giovanni Villani, Florentine historian and...

Jean de Boulogne: a Flemish in Florence

Trades between Florence and the Flanders began in the 15th century. Many Florentine families commissioned works to Flemish that once arrived here in Florence, greatly influenced local artists. In addition to the works, many artists from Flanders also arrved, many of whom were involved in the Medicean Tapestry Manufactory founded...

Michelangelo's David

What do we know about the story of the creation of Michelangelo’s David, one of the world’s greatest masterpieces? As one could expect it all started with a piece of stone. A huge 5-meter-high block of marble stone that other artists had already attempted to sculpt before, giving up almost...

On auction the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo

Big news from the art world! The “Salvator Mundi”, the last Leonardo Da Vinci painting still in the hands of a private collector, will be put up for auction on November 15. At the time of its discovery in 2010 the painting was defined the greatest artistic discovery of the...

The Rificolona

Again this year, the Rificolona festival will brighten the day of September 7th for many children, who will have fun building a colorful lantern and parading it through the city streets, while the more mischievous ones will arm themselves with blowguns to try and hit the delicate paper creations. This...

ORSANMICHELE: between history and legend

THE LEGENDOnce upon a time in Florence, lived a Young man called Michele who dedicated his life to his work and to charity works he did around the neighborhood, he had such a good heart that people had started to call him “San Michele”. He owned a stable and horses...

The lost Market

Everyone knows the Mercato Nuovo (New Market) of Florence and the famous Loggia del Porcellino, built in 1547 by Giovanni Battista Tasso. Here, just a few steps from Ponte Vecchio, in origin was held the trade of silk and precious objects, but over the years this changed. Infact, from the...

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