Six hundred years ago Florence was one of the largest cities in Europe – confident, economically precocious, and brimming with new ideas. A dazzling period of artistic and architectural innovation followed, founded in part on a new appreciation of ancient Roman exemplars. On this carefully-planned trip we discover the breadth and depth of its achievement. Much of the work is still in situ; Masaccio’s frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, Fra Angelico’s paintings in San Marco, Michelangelo’s Medici tombs. The rest is concentrated in the city’s unrivalled museums. Not only one of Italy’s loveliest cities, Florence is probably the world’s most enthralling destination for the study of art.
We leave our hotel at 5pm for a tour of the Medici-Riccardi Palace. Built in the 15th century, its chapel has exquisite frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. Return to the hotel for our first lecture, then dine together in a restaurant.
A morning of superb sculpture at the Bargello and the cathedral museum; famous works by Ghiberti, Donatello, Verrochio and Michelangelo. Then the baptistery of San Giovanni (mediaeval mosaics). After a second lecture, we spend the afternoon examining the cathedral and Brunelleschi’s dome.
We start with the church of Santa Maria Novella (works by Masaccio and Ghirlandaio), followed by the ground-breaking Masaccio/Masolino frescoes at the Brancacci Chapel. Santa Croce is mausoleum of the city’s elite, and home to frescoes by Giotto.
The morning includes the friary of San Marco (works by Fra Angelico), the Accademia (Michelangelo’s David) and Brunelleschi’s Foundling Hospital. After our third lecture, we tour the Uffizi’s unrivalled collection of Renaissance painting. Final dinner.
The Medici parish church of San Lorenzo begins a morning dominated by the ruling family. The adjoining Medici chapels and the Laurentian Library reveal Michelangelo’s brilliance as both sculptor and architect. The trip concludes at our hotel by 1pm.
Dr Kevin Childs
After graduating from Oxford, Kevin went on to the Courtauld in London, where he studied for an MA in Renaissance Art, and a doctoral degree. His research focused on the relationship between Michelangelo and his followers, but he has also written on Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, 16th-century Florentine politics and Benjamin Britten. Kevin has been a Fellow of the Dutch Institute in Florence and the British School in Rome, and blogs regularly for the Huffington Post. He’s currently writing a book on the concept of autonomous style in the visual arts.
£960 per person sharing in a double room or £1,060 for one person in a double room.
Combines with Art Treasures of Venice, 23–27 February 2018.
Accommodation and meals
The hotel: Hotel Corona d’Italia, Florence (3 star), or similar.
Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).
Expect a lot of walking on uneven pavements as well as standing around. The trip is not for anyone who has difficulty climbing stairs.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Joining and leaving the trip
Flights and trains are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. British Airways flies from London City directly to Florence at 7am or from London Heathrow to Pisa at 10.55am, timetables may change. There are also European airlines flying from the UK to Florence or Pisa with a connection in Europe. From Pisa International Airport, you can take an express bus to Florence Santa Maria Novella railway station. The journey takes about 70 minutes and a 5-minute walk from the station to the hotel. For more information and timetables please visit www.autostradale.it. Please note The Cultural Travel Company does not arrange international or domestic travel.
Maximum group size
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.