|A theme itinerary: Michelangelo’s Florence
A walk for two days
In the small historical centre of the city of Florence you can find the world’s highest concentration of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s masterpieces, highlights of Renaissance Art by one of the most famous and celebrated artists of all times. Following this walk we suggest you, you will visit the most beautiful sights of Florence with a special attention to the works of this great Florentine master.
Michelangelo was born in 1475 in an averagely wealthy family near Florence. Since his childhood he developed a brilliant talent in drawing and at the age of 13 years old, his father was able to place him as an apprentice in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the most popular painters of that period. The young Michelangelo was probably very talented, as master Ghirlandaio accepted to provide him a little wage, even though the old master was not used to do this with his pupils.
Lorenzo the Magnificent himself, troubled that so many young kids where studying drawing and painting and almost none of them sculpturing, requested a couple of students to master Ghirlandaio, selected among the best ones including Michelangelo, to assist sculptor Bertoldo’s teaching classes in the garden (“orto”) of the Medici’s family, located just under your feet where today our hotel lays. So here Michelangelo could learn the basics of creating statues.
After exiting the hotel we can reach the first step of our journey: Casa Buonarroti (Buonarroti family’s home palace) where some of the first works of Michelangelo are proudly displayed in the museum. You can reach it in a 10-minute walk or also taking the electrical mini-bus “C” from San Marco Square to Via Ghibellina. The museum entrance is just at the corner between Via Ghibellina and Via Buonarroti. The guide to museums are in the separate pages, please follow the links.
Then, taking right to go along Via Ghibellina, you can easily reach the Bargello Museum and make here a short stop to see two more works of the young Michelangelo: the Bacchus and the Tondo Pitti. The influence of Grecian and Roman sculpture is evident in the pagan representation of the Bacchus.
Rising north through Via del Proconsolo we will arrive at the Piazza del Duomo. We will leave the visit of the square and of the Opera del Duomo Museum to tomorrow. Now we will head to Via de’ Martelli as far as the large Medici-Riccardi Palace. This is the oldest palace of the Medici family in Florence. Here Michelangelo used to live when he was a teen, under the protection of Lorenzo the Magnificent. At the corner of the palace there are two big windows called “inginocchiate” (“on-the-knees”), designed by the adult Michelangelo. Their name comes from the big windowsill lying on two items resembling two half-legs. Taking the left into Via de’ Gori we reach the San Lorenzo complex, the favourite church of the Medici family, where we will find the most important group of Michelangelo’s sculptures in their original display (up to seven statues inside the Medici Chapels). Here we will also discover the originality and the importance of Michelangelo as an architect.
If you wish to stop here for lunch, we suggest you the nice Trattoria Zazà, in the nearby Piazza del Mercato Centrale (055-215411, closed on Sundays).
Once visited the Gallery we can reach the San Marco Square in a moment, then continue to Via degli Arazzieri, and take the right into Via San Gallo, back at the Orto de’ Medici Hotel for the rest you deserved.