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Posts Tagged ‘Small Group tours Florence’

A fascinating new documentary about the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence, an orphanage established in the 15th Century, will be premiered in Florence on May 17, 2019.

Image result for ospedale degli innocenti panorama

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (white facade) and the Ospedale degli Innocenti

Read an article about the orphans of the Renaissance, and this unique institution, on our blog.

Ospedale degli Innocenti.

Director Davide Batistella will be present at the premier of this latest documentary.

Trailer: The Innocents of Florence

The-Innocents-of-Florence_01

Innocenti

From the Advancing Women Artist’s announcement:

“In this 90’ minute feature-length documentary film, Battistella explores the themes of art, motherhood, Florentine humanism and how a progressive-thinking Renaissance society created one of the first Children’s hospitals in the world. He tells this story through the restoration of a painting that was created as the banner for the Innocenti Institute in 1446.”

In addition to learning more about the fascinating story of the Innocenti, I also invite readers to review the incredible work that is being conducted by the AWA, based in Florence.

This dedicated group of passionate art experts, along with those who love the work of female Renaissance painters, is leading the way for the restoration of work by female artists of that period, while ensuring the correct attribution of their work. If you are interested in supporting the work of this important organization, here is a link with more information.

The-Innocents-of-Florence_04

The work of restoration never ends

 

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Those of you fortunate enough to be in Italy this coming weekend, 24 and 25 September, can take advantage of extended museum hours and reduced museum entrance fees as part of the annual celebration of European Heritage.

The Florence Tourist Information Office has published a complete list of the museums and sites favorably affected by these special days. See below for a link to the document.

Image result for piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria, Firenze

If you are at all interested in saving and seeing while in Florence, this is the weekend to do so! The link below is the official announcement, in Italian, for the special pricing and hours. The listing is in English and you can find information about hours and pricing.  .

giornate_europee_patrimonio_2016_english

ENJOY bella Firenze on two very important and special days.

If you would like to learn more about our small group explorations of Italy with four unique and distinct itineraries, please visit us at: www.private-italy.com

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There is so much information now available on the internet about hotels in cities around the world, no less so for Florence. For years selected as the number one travel destination on the globe, the choices for hotels are nearly overwhelming.

This brief post covers those hotels that I have stayed in over the years and believe to be very good values for both first time and experienced travelers.

Tornabuoni Beacci

Above one of the busiest intersections in Florence, in a location few even notice, is a hotel that has played host to visitors during the “Grand Tour” at the end of the 19th Century and continues to provide exceptional value for accommodation in Florence-The Tornabuoni Beacci. You enter the elevator lobby just off of the piazza named for the nearby Church of Santa Trinita.

Terrace Tornabuoni Beacci Florence

Terrace
Tornabuoni Beacci Florence

The reception area is straight out of the Grand Tour and, while ‘intimate’ is one word many people use, your welcome could not be warmer nor more sincere.

Rooms are comfortable and, I have found, a bit larger than most in the city. Air conditioning in the summer, an absolute must these days, works well. The hotel offers a lovely roof top terrace where you can enjoy breakfast or a quiet break during the day. The breakfast room windows are usually open during the morning meal and the sounds of the city rise to the room and increase a visitors anticipation for the activities ahead.

The hotel’s great location provides visitors access, within less than ten minutes, to the Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Repubblica and the Piazza Duomo.

My first experience in this hotel was nearly thirty-five years ago and I have not be disappointed since. A gem in a gem of a city.

See IF YOU GO below for details about reservations, address, web site and contact.

Orto de’ Medici

Named in honor of the nearby Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici’s medicinal plant garden, the Orto is a wonderful hotel. A five minute walk from

Night View Garden Courtyard Hotel Orto de' Medici

Night View Garden Courtyard
Hotel Orto de’ Medici

the Accademia brings visitors to the main entrance to the building. Within, a lovely large cool lobby and a well staffed reception desk welcome guests.

The rooms are more than comfortable and, like the Tornabuoni Beacci, large with one exception – singles are very small, yet if you book a double accommodation for single use (which I always do) you have the comfort of a large room. The bathrooms are clean and well appointed as well.

Staff are always helpful, and questions about any special service you might require, from restaurant reservations / recommendations to private car reservations are handled flawlessly and with no hesitation.

You can easily be in the Monastery of San Marco in about five minutes, as with the Accademia. The Piazza Duomo is about a ten minute walk, the Ponte Vecchio about fifteen minutes.

Recently, new rooms were opened at the garden level of the hotel. These rooms are furnished in a very modern, sleek furniture and offer views into a small garden courtyard. There is not a formal bar in the hotel, yet each evening, there is a lovely service for wine on the terrace just outside of the breakfast room.

The breakfasts served each morning are well stocked and provide plenty of fuel for a busy day in the city. A very comfortable and safe hotel in Florence.

See IF YOU GO below for details about reservations, address, web site and contact.

Hotel Facade and Ponte Vecchio Hotel Berchielli Florence

Ponte Vecchio with
Hotel Berchielli Florence

Hotel Berchielli

My first stay at this, now, four star hotel facing the Arno River was over forty years ago. Then, it was a stodgy dowager of hotels, no air conditioning and a sense that it had passed its prime. No longer! The gorgeous restoration completed nearly twelve years ago has raised this hotel to the ranks of one of the finest four star hotels in the city.

The lobby reception area is cool, clean and comfortable, the staff very efficient. Breakfasts are  more than satisfactory and filling. My recent stay was made more welcoming by fresh flowers in the room and windows that offered a wonderful view of the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio. (NOTE: If you stay at this hotel, confirm that your room will face the Arno. Rooms in the back of the hotel are certainly comfortable, yet the view will make your stay all the more enjoyable.

Of all the hotels written about in this article, this is the most expensive, given its location – but the view and the easy access you have to both the major sites on the north side of the river and those on the oltrarno make it yet another great place to stay in Florence.

See IF YOU GO below for details about reservations, address, web site and contact.

IF YOU GO:

Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci

Via Tornabuoni, 3 – 50123 Firenze

TEL: + 39 055 212645

Web:  Tornabuoni Beacci

Hotel Orto de’ Medici

Via San Gallo, 30  Firenze, Italy

Tel: +39 055 483427

Web: Hotel Orto de’ Medici

Hotel Berchielli

rno degli Acciaiuoli, 14

Florence 50123 Italy

TEL: +39 055 264061

Web: Hotel Berchielli

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Michelangelo. It is a name that conjures images of paint strained eyes, of angry popes and of marble dust.

MichelangeloBacchus, 1496-1497

Michelangelo
Bacchus, 1496-1497

The Bacchus, an unusual and controversial work, was created by Michelangelo between 1496 and 1497, when the young artist was twenty years old.  The commission came from a rather unexpected source, that of Raffaele Sansoni Galeoti Riario, who became Cardinal Riario. Passionate about sculpture and, in particular his garden, Riario had commissioned the piece to add to his home sculpture garden in the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome.

Palazzo della Cancelleria

Palazzo della Cancelleria

An interesting side story to this commission. Riario was sold a sleeping cupid as a true piece of ancient Roman art. The connoisseurship of the Cardinal was widely known and he, eventually, discovered that the piece had been carved by Michelangelo. Upset though Riario may have been, he was also an astute businessman. It was his orders that brought Michelangelo to Rome where the artist worked for most of the remaining years of his life.

As the photo of the Cancelleria, the Chancellery of the Vatican, attests, Riario had enormous financial resources available to support his commissions.

Upon seeing the Bacchus, however, Riario’s reaction was not dissimilar to words penned by Percy Shelley many years later, “It looks drunken, brutal, and narrow-minded, and has an expression of dissoluteness the most revolting.”

Riario hated the work and refused to accept it. However, an associate of his at the Vatican, one Jacopo Galli, Riario’s banker, patron and friend of Michelangelo, paid for the commission and placed it in his private collection.

It was not until 1847 that the statue was transferred to Florence where it now resides in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.

Bacchus, FaceMichelangelo

Bacchus, Face
Michelangelo

It is a strange work, to say the least. The expression of Bacchus, the asexual nature of his body, the posture of drunkenness he displays were all brilliant and intentional marks of a master artist. What offended Riario and what often offends people to this day is that the statue does not fit most people’s expectations of a god. Human in every aspect, with a grape-eating faun at this side, was – I believe – a not too indirect way for Michelangelo to portray his view of Riario as a person and, perhaps, the church in general.

Known to be exacerbating, difficult, unpredictably  emotional, the young sculptor may have seen this commission as a way of communicating his disdain for the patrons of his youth. It may have galled Michelangelo to know that a sleeping cupid had been the means by which orders came from Pope Julius II, one of Riario’s relatives, for the artist to report to Rome.

When you are in Florence, be sure to take a morning (see open hours below IF YOU GO) to explore the galleries in the Bargello Museum. The Ground floor gallery houses many pieces of remarkable sculpture, the Bacchus among them. The second floor galleries house Donatello’s David, works by the Della Robbia workshop and many other treasures of Renaissance art.

IF YOU GO:

Museo Nazionale el Bargello

Via del Proconsolo, 4

50122 Florence

Tel: +39.055.238.8606

Tickets: Euro 4.00 per person

Web: Bargello Firenze

Open Hours: Please note the very specific hours that the museum is open: 8:15AM – 1:50PM Daily with the exception of:

Closed, 1st, 3rd, 5th Sunday of the month, Closed 2nd and 4th Monday of the month and closed January 1, May 1, and December 25

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Art historians have stated that twenty-five percent of the entire world’s art treasures reside in Italy. While it may be something of an exaggeration, it is true beyond doubt that the artists, architects, sculptors, writers and musicians of Renaissance Florence gave to the world a gift of beauty whose value is  unimaginable.

It has been a great pleasure, over the years, to teach a class on the Art and History of Renaissance Florence. As part of establishing a sense of the time in which the artists created their works, I share a series of photos of period work along with music that would have been heard by contemporary Tuscans.

In Introduction through 1425 A.D., the first class, Gregorian chant serves as background to the works of artists Fra Angelico, Taddeo Gaddi, Giotto, Cimabue and others.

For those who are interested in the Art and History of Renaissance Florence, even if only a passing curiosity, I hope that you enjoy viewing this video, and the others that will follow in weekly future posts.

Salute! Marco

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The Hills of Tuscany

 

We are very pleased to announce a substantial reduction in the price for photography workshop participants. After renegotiating with vendors in Italy, and with Private Italy’s Italian support team, we are now offering this exceptional workshop for $2950.00 per person, land only. This is a nearly $1000.00 per participant reduction from our prior announced price and in no way affects the quality or itinerary of the workshop.

If you book before January 31, 2013, there is an additional $100.00 per person discount applied to the workshop price.

JOIN US!

There are few words on earth that evoke a sense of place more than “Tuscany.”

Visions of villas gold flecked in long afternoon light, hillsides of patterned olive trees, vines bearing luscious Sangiovese grape and hilltop villages whose towers pierce cerulean blue skies are all yours to capture during this photography workshop.

Our first few days are spent within, or close to, the Renaissance city of Florence. The workshop venues balance the well-known with some surprising corners of a city whose narrow lanes and quiet corners offer keen insights into Italy’s elusive beauty.

During the second part of this workshop, we move to a quiet retreat in the hills of central Tuscany. Villas, medieval abbeys, the pattern of cobble-stoned streets and the glory of Italy’s elusive, special luminance await your discerning and creative vision.

Classic Italia – Florence

This is a limited opportunity to join a group of like-minded, passionate, photographers who will learn from world-renowned photographer and teacher, David Simchock. With time for expert critique both during and after days of work ‘in the field’, this workshop will inspire you and expand your creative comfort zone. The texture of earth, the subtle play of light on stucco and stone, luxuriant gardens and the natural palette of one of the most beautiful places on earth are waiting for you.

For full details about this rewarding workshop, including our itinerary and pricing, visit 2013 Photography Workshop in Florence & Tuscany

We look forward to your joining us in bella Italia!

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Facade, Santa Croce, Florence

This is a quick note to let everyone know that the entrance fee at the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence has been increased effective March 1, 2012. New price per person, adult, not with a group, is Euro 6.00 per person. As with all things Florentine and Italian, prices continue to rise. Hope that this information is of assistance as you travel. Mark

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