Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens Tour---A day in court with the Medicis, the Lorraines and the kings of Italy..!---guided-tour-pitti-palace-boboli-gardens
The Accademia Gallery private tour---Meeting the David---accademia-gallery-private-tour-florence
The Uffizi Gallery private tour---Walk with the Medici family and admire their treasures---uffizi-gallery-guided-tour-florence
Private Bargello Tour---Wonderland never seemed so close..!---private-bargello-tour-florence
Florence science walking tour---Science has never been so charming---florence-science-walking-tour
Private walking tour of Florence---Discover the hidden gems of Florence---walking-tour-florence-italy

Stories

ExpertFlorenceGuide

A Florentine cream

Florence is very well-known all over the world also thanks to its tasty, creamy, soft, sweet, fresh, genuine GELATO..! What does "gelato" actually mean? And what is the difference between an Italian gelato and a common ice-cream? "Gelato", which in Italian is a synonym for “ghiacciato”, literally means “frozen”. “Gelato” though, represents a softer, more fluid ice, than "ghiacciato", which is "icy" and makes one think more of hard ice.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

The ancient circle (“La cerchia antica”)

When we talk about the city walls of Florence we are usually referring to the impressive remains of those built by Arnolfo di Cambio, the sixth and last ‘circle’ (1284 - 1333), still clearly visible along Via di Belvedere and from Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square..!). Not many people however are aware that there are still evident signs, inside the city, of the previous five circles of walls which no longer stand..

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

From Ognissanti to Cestello

There is a fine thread – never was there such a perfect definition..! - that links Piazza Ognissanti to Piazza del Cestello on the other side of the river Arno..! The Ognissanti church is a real Florentine jewel where we can admire masterpieces by Giotto, Sandro Botticelli (who is also buried there) and Domenico Ghirlandaio (Michelangelo's teacher..!).

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Paradise lost

Let's talk about hidden Florence..! In the block where the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee) are, situated approximately between Via del Melarancio and Via del Giglio (from no. 29r to the portico with that magnificent front door that opens onto Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini) there was at one time an elegant residence, with a park that was so fairy-tale that it was known as ‘Gaddi’s Paradise’ (‘Paradiso dei Gaddi’).

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Is it real Marble that I'm looking at..?

If, when in Florence, you are craving to see the Renaissance masterpieces, you can do it spending really very little, avoiding annoying lines and having a worry-free and enjoyable time..! Choose to tour the Cenacoli, which are rooms in former convents and monasteries where friars, monks or nuns used to have their meals, decorated with murals depicting Jesus Christ and his Apostles at the Last Supper..!  The most famous one is Leonardo da Vinci's, in Milan..

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Diverging Paths

Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism was an absolutely fantastic exhibition hosted at Palazzo Strozzi a few years ago..! Let's discover some of the fascinating, original Florentine homes of several of the stunning paintings that were on display. Their stories are so interesting, so closely related to the most important Florentine monuments that you can discover taking my private walking tour of Florence..

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

The Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella

Filippino Lippi, one of the most remarkable Renaissance painters, decorated one of the Santa Maria Novella church chapels with gorgeous murals, depicting stories of Saint Philip and Saint John the Evangelist. This chapel's patron was Filippo Strozzi, the magnificent and imposing Palazzo Strozzi's owner and donor.The Santa Maria Novella Strozzi chapel is a jubilant appearance of colours.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Woven marble

Why is Florence this splendidly ornate..? Where the wealth that only could allow the city to be so richly covered in marble came from..? This is all about the Guilds. They where in charge in Florence before the Medici family rose to power, and they were extremely highly-esteemed since they increased the wealth and the power of the city.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

A Russian Downton Abbey... in Florence suburbs

Have you ever considered, while you’re enjoying your aperitif in Piazza Demidoff in Florence (“Demidoff Square”) what the monument you're looking at could represent? The square and the monument, which is by Lorenzo Bartolini, are both dedicated to the Demidov family. The statues portray Nikolaj Nikiti Demidov with his son, Anatolij Nikolaevi, and various allegories.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

The Palatine Gallery in Palazzo Pitti

Come and tour it with me..! This fantastic museum is equally magnificent as the Uffizi, and hosts some of the most significant masterpieces ever created (paintings by Filippo Lippi, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Verrocchio -Leonardo da Vinci's teacher-, Pieter Paul Rubens, Raffaello Sanzio, and Tiziano, just to name a few..!). The Palatine Gallery is NEVER overcrowded, and is truly a sight to behold...

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Christ the Judge in the Florence Baptistery mosaics; a full immersion into the Middle Ages

Gazing up at the gigantic Christ the Judge in the Florence Baptistery is one of the best moments you could experiences..! His overwhelming presence sitting in judgement and holding out his hands, driving the Blessed to Heaven and the Damned to Hell, really must have struck fear in the hearts of people during the Middle Ages..

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

A mysterious palindrome in the Florence Baptistery

Once again in the Florence Baptistery, on the floor, you can see an incredibly interesting marble plaque depicting the Zodiac. In the middle you can read a palindrome written in Latin: EN GIRO TORTE SOL CICLOS ET ROTOR IGNE, which means “I, the Sun, move athwart the orbits, being moved by fire at the same time”. It dates back to the XII-XIII centuries. The same inscription is to be found in Modena, in the Torre della Ghirlandina.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Paintings that aren't what they seem: Pietà with Saints by Fra' Bartolomeo

Do you think this first picture (to the right) that you see is simply badly cropped? Here is why you need a tour guide like me to help you unveil all the secrets of the Palatine Gallery paintings! Let's talk about the Pietà with Saints (Saint Peter and Saint Paul) by Fra' Bartolomeo (1511-'12, oil on panel, 158 x 199 cm) in Florence at the Palatine Gallery, in the Jupiter Room.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Pratolino Park: a dream come true, just a stone's throw from Florence..!

This place is so dear to my heart..! When you first arrive, you can scarcely believe a placelike this could exist. A park? How many parks do you know boasting an enormous (and marvellous) statue of a giant, lurking behind lush trees and plants..?So, this giant dwells in Pratolino, half an hour by car far from Florence, in the garden of a former villa once belonging to the Medici family (namely, to the Grand Duke Francis I).

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Greek mythology: far better than any Netflix series..!

Take some time to absorb the incredible myth that precedes this remarkable bronze statue by Jacopo del Duca (after Lysippos): Silenus and young Bacchus (Uffizi Gallery, 1571-1574). Bacchus (Dionysus) was the God of wine and of ecstasy – particularly, religious ecstasy. He was the son of Jupiter (Zeus), the Father of Gods, and son also to Semele, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. Semele was no goddess, but a beautiful, mortal woman.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

From San Pierino to San Paolino: the dark side of Art in Florence

Some time ago I left you speaking about the “Arco di San Pierino” (Arch of San Pierino), between Via dell’Oriuolo and Piazza San Pier Maggiore in Florence; and now, we find ourselves back in this spot, where there are actually two “archi di San Pierino”.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Filippo Brunelleschi military architect

It is a little-known fact that Filippo Brunelleschi expressed his artwork not only in his magnificent Dome, but also in the construction of many important strategic military fortifications.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Do you know the story of Hercules and the Hydra..?

The Laernean Hydra was a horrible seven-headed, venomous-blooded dragon. Her heads were snake-like. Her breath was poisonous too. Every time Hercules (Heracles) had one of these heads cut off, the Hydra grew a couple of new ones. The hero was helped by his friend Iolaus, who succeeded in promptly burning the bleeding necks each time Hercules cut off one of the Hydra's heads.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Fun facts about fashion and women in Florence in 1700s (part I)

Let's talk about fashion in one of the most lively period of history: the 1700s..!   There was a poet, in 1722, who made fun of the andrienne - otherwise known as the robe à la française or the “sack back gown” -, especially of dames going to the bathroom wearing it..

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

Fun facts about fashion and women in Florence in 1700s (part II)

The pinnacle of the ancien regime fashion craze: the pouf..!   The pinnacle of the ancien regime fashion craze came to fruition with the pouf, initiated by Mary Antoinette. The pouf was a metal structure, roughly one metre tall, which, when placed on a woman’s head, merged her hair with that of a hairpiece, to create a towering hairdo.

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ExpertFlorenceGuide

The Velata (The Woman With A Veil) by Raffaello

Meet the ravishing Velata (The Woman With A Veil) by Raffaello Sanzio (Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520), oil on canvas, cm 82 x 60,5. It dates back to 1512-1515, following Raffaello’s move from Florence to Rome. It can be found in the Jupiter Room at the Palatine Gallery in Pitti Palace. Art historian Ettore Camesasca once called it “Portrait of a sleeve”.

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