Driving northwards through farmlands, olive groves, vineyards and sleepy hill towns we reach Tuscany, the most loved and attractive region of Italy. Following the meandering Arno River arrive in Florence, cradle of the Renaissance and supreme art-capital which became wealthy from the 13th century due to the highly-developed textile industries and ramified commerce all over Europe.
The Florentines in the Middle Ages, introduced Arab numbers in the western world and its banks developed the principles of accountancy still fundamental today while their gold florin became the accepted international currency for many centuries. This reality was to produce an amazing art and intellectual city which gave rise to ideas and human activities still affecting our society. After a stop on a panoramic square with superb views of the city from above your tour with guide will commence visiting the Academy Museum to admit the magnificent David of Michelangelo sculptured when he was 30 years old out of one huge block of Carrara marble which is surrounded by the “Slave”, unfinished works of the master which were destined to decorate the mausoleum of Pope Julius II in Rome.
Continue on foot along the picturesque streets to the Duomo, S.Maria del Fiore, the cathedral with Brunelleschi’s towering dome, built with the wealth of the cloth traders’ guild and whose cupola later inspired the one of S.Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Opposite are the Baptistry with the “Doors of Paradise” of Ghiberti and Giotto’s multicoloured Bell tower. Proceed on your promenade towards the historical centre: Piazza della Signoria and see the bronze and marble statuary of Giambologna, Ammanati including Cellini’s Perseus in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery building originally built as administrative offices of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and the Ponte Vecchio with the wonderful views of the city.
Enjoy lunch in a Florentine trattoria and later stroll to Santa Croce Basilica to visit the monumental tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini and the frescoes.