The inspiring Tuscan countryside provides an idyllic backdrop for the drive to Florence. In this historic city on the Arno River, you will first visit the Academy of Fine Arts, home to Michelangelo's magnificent statue of David, a masterpiece carved from a single block of marble. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, begun in 1296, also stands as testimony of the genius of Florence's artists. Most famous is the work of Renaissance architect Brunelleschi, who designed its crowning glory, a massive octagonal cupola, or Duomo, as the cathedral is commonly called. Adjacent to the Cathedral, you will see the painter Giotto's superb 14th century Campanile or bell tower, and the Romanesque Baptistry with Ghiberti's stunningly bronze doors, aptly entitled the Gates of Paradise. Equally spectacular is Santa Croce, Italy's largest and most famous Franciscan Gothic church, where many of Italy's most illustrious citizens are entombed, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. One of the church's most famous works of art is Donatello's Annunciation, his moving sculpture in gilded and carved stone. This tour also allows ample free time for further exploration of Florence, a city that has served as a muse to so many artists.
Please note: Suitable attire is required to enter churches and monasteries, shorts and dresses above the knee are not permitted. On Sundays, no churches will be visited in the morning. The Academy of Fine Arts is closed on Mondays. It will be replaced with a visit to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The order of sites visited may vary. This tour involves extensive walking, approximately 3 hours and is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or for guests with mobility concerns. An official guide joins the tour in Florence.