Hotel FlorenceDuomo Florence - Piazzale Michelangelo

budget hotel Florence
via masaccio 228 Florence - tel/fax +39 055 578153 -


The second day's tour begins with the Etruscans. We start from Piazza delta Santissima Annunziata, a calm quiet island of early Renaissance peace. Begun in the XIII century, the church was altered by Michelozzo and Antonio da Sangallo: the atrium preserves fine frescoes by Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Franciabigio and Alcssio Baldinovetti. In the Baroque interior there are frescoes and paintings by Perugino, Bronzino and Tombs by Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea del Castagno and Pontormo

Beside the church is the fine Ospedale degli Innocenti, by Brunelleschi; in the refectory there is the joyful << Epiphany ° by Ghirlandaio, and a Madonna by Piero di Cosmic. Opposite the Hospital is the Archeological Museum. Let us go to the Topographical Museum of Etruria with the exhibits grouped according to their place of origin, all Etruscan cities to be visited Orvieto, Chiusi, Tuscania, Tarquinia. The Antiquarium contains a wealth of Etruscan and Greek sculpture, the Sarcophagus of Larthia Seianti (2^° century BC), with the majestic figure of a woman preparing herself for the journey beond the grave, the statue of the Orator (3rd cent. BC) and the fantastic bronze Chimaera (5° cent. BC) found at Arezzo in 1555. We now pass, with a jump of twenty centuries, from the Etruscan and Hellenic world to the mystical world of Beato Angelico, in the nearby Convent of San Marco, where this Dominican friar, in eight years (1437-1445), painted one of the most amazing cycles of frescoes of all time. Also in San Marco, there are some of Angelico's most important panel paintings still in Florence. From San Marco to theCenacolo di Santa Apollonia, to admire the rugged and powerful Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno and the vigorous a Portraits of Famous Men by the same artist. Nearby is Via Ricasoli and the Academy Gallery, with many paintings, famous above all for its statues by Michelangelo-the David (work of his youth) and the tortured sketches for the Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Julius II, which was never finished. Michelangelo awaits us again in the Sagrestia Nueva of- San Lorenzo with the tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici. First one should glance at the luminous interior of

San Lorenzo, the collection of works by Brunelleschi in the Sagrestia Vecchia, and in this way, passing from the old to the new, one can see how, in less than a hundred years, a new world had been born. The relationship between sculpture and arhitecture is stated in new terms. Architecture is itself sculptural and the figures are incorporated in it. The tombs are not against the wall, but form part of it; the statues in their turn become an integral part of the tombs; the whole complex of structure and statues expresses powerful allegories of life and death, and the world to come, in which pagan and Christian concepts are mingled.

In the same monumental complex Michelangelo built the Biblioteca Laurenziana (Laurentian Library), the first public libray in Florence. Let us now go on to Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, with its Medici Museum and the fascinating Procession of the Magi painted in the Chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli (1459).

Going through Via del Cigho one arrives at the Church of Santa Maria Novella, begun in 1278 and finished in 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti, with the lateral scrolls on the facade which here appear for the first time. The church is packed with works of art - the Giottoesque Crucifix in the Sacristy, frescoes by Lippo Lippi, Oreagna's Last Judgment, carved tombs by Rossellino, Ghiberti, Bene detto da Maiano and, above all, the powerful Trinity which Masaccio painted at the age of twenty-six, a decisive page in the history of Italian painting; the frescoes of Paolo Uccello in the Green Cloister where the frenzied rhvthm of the dance seems to evoke the spirit of Etruscan painting, and the great decorative painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the dome of the apse, in which the sacred stories become a mere excuse for sumptuous paintings of the lives of the wealthy Florentine middle class, in the 14'h century.

There are excellent restaurants in this district, where one might end the morning with some refined Tuscan cooking.

Let us start the afternoon by going to Borgognissanti, passing by the Church of Ognissanti (All Saints), which contains the tomb of, and a notworthy fresco (St. Augustine) by Botticelli; opposite this there is Ghirlandaio's St Jerone, painted after the Last Supper in the Refectory.

After the Lungarno one crosses Ponte Vespucci to arrive at the Church of San Frediano, on the far bank of the Arno and from here to the Carmine, of the late 13° century, destroyed by fire in the 18° century. The Brancacci Chapel, one of the sanctuaries of Italian painting, was saved; a huge work by Masaccio which represented the liberation of painting from formalism, the impetuous out bursting of the Renaissance: all the great Renaissance artists from Botticelli to Leonardo and Michelangelo, studied and pondered here, before the masterpiece of the recreator of the art of painting, who died at the age of twenty-seven.

Through Via Santa Monica and Via Santo Agostino, we reach Santo Spirito, one of Brunelleschi's finest buildings (1446) and shortly after, the proud mass of Palazzo Pitti, also planned by Brunelleschi and added to in the succeeding centuries. Here is the other great Florentine Gallery, the Palatine Gallery (See a The Ten Capitals of Italian Painting).

On leaving the Gallery, we end the afternoon by resting our eyes in the Garden of Boboli, begun in 1549 on the slopes of the hill rising to Fort Belvedere. We have a morning left to spend in Florence. Let us go to the Ponte alle Grazie to visit two museum left to Florence by private individuals, on either bank of the Arno; one was Bardini, the antiquarian, and the other the English writer H.P. Horne. The Bardini houses mainly sculpture (works by Donatello, Pollaiolo, Michelozzo, Andrea della Robbia). and the Horne Museum painting (works by Simone Martini, Lorenzo di Credi, Lippo Lippi, Sassetta) and decorative objects.