• Italian
  • English (UK)
  • Casa Dante

    "Sienna

    eyed the banner

    with uncertainty.

    “We’re going

    to

    Dante’s house?”"

  • Ponte Vecchio

    "...Ponte Vecchio

    the medieval stone bridge that serves as a pedestrian walkway

    into the old city."

  • Santa Croce

    “And to round out your image of Dante,

    here is

    a statue from the

    Piazza di Santa Croce..."

One book three cities

inferno

Robert Langdon is back and he has replaced his Harris tweed suit and Mickey Mouse watch with a Brioni suit as he goes about solving this new Italian mystery.
The book "Inferno" sets out to challenge a scenario where all of the characters are not what they purport to be.

Amongst the many coup de theatre in the book the striking characters are the three magnificent cities making up the backdrop to this adventure, namely Florence, Venice and Istanbul. On our site you will find details of all of the locations visited by Sienna and Prof. Langdon in their race against time to...

Book your tour in Florence

ssh24If you loved, as we did, Langdon's adventures through the tiny streets of Florence, you can't miss our tour of the city.

The tour starts at 9.15 from Boboli then, after crossing Ponte Vecchio, offers an accurate visit of Palazzo Vecchio. It continues to the Badia Fiorentina, where the book starts and then stops at the Church of Dante where you can learn more about the Divine Comedy.

Immerse yourself in this unusal tour on the trail of Bob Langdon and pick the chance to view Florence from a different perspective, 

all you have to do is book the tour.

 

 

 

 

Piazza San Firenze

Located behind Palazzo Vecchio and close to Bargello, Piazza San Firenze owes its name to a building dedicated to St. Fiorenzo, which stood where now stands the monumental baroque complex of St. Filippo Neri (used until recently as a venue of the Court). It is located in front of Palazzo Gondi, a fine example of residential architecture in Florence from the 15th century, designed by Giuliano da San Gallo and expanded in the 19th century.

Palazzo Vecchio

The foundations of the palace designed by Arnolfo di Cambio were laid in February 1299. The main facade and the 94-metre tower had already been completed by 1302, but the rear of the building was constructed and amplified in various periods through to the final modifications made by Ammannati in 1588. It was originally conceived of as the residence and offices of the Priori and the Gonfaloniere di Giustizia, who were commonly called "Signori". They held office for two months during which time they were obliged to live prevalently in the palace following severe rules similar to those of a convent community.
The name of this palace has changed names a number of times; initially known as the "Palatium Populi" ("Palagio" in spoken language), it was later called the "Palazzo della Signoria". In 1540 it was renamed "Palazzo Ducale" when Duke Cosimo I took power, and only later did it become known as "Palazzo Vecchio". When Florence was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871, it was the seat of the Parliament.
There have been few changes to the exterior over the last seven centuries, but the interior has changed appearance a number of times. At the end of the 1400s, when Savonarola was in power, he had the famous Salone dei Cinquecento built where the 500-hundred strong people's council could meet to deliberate. Later, under the rule of Cosimo I, Vasari transformed it in honour of his rise to power with frescoes of the Florentine victories over other Tuscan cities. In 1454, Michelozzo rebuilt the austere medieval courtyard of the palace in the style of the early Renaissance. A hundred years later, Vasari embellished it with gilded stuccoes and frescoes with images of the principal cities of the Habsburg empire in honour of Giovanna of Austria, wife of Francesco De' Medici. At the centre of the courtyard there is a small fountain, the Putto with Dolphin (now a copy) by Verrocchio, positioned on a porphyry basin by Francesco Ferrucci. Around about 1550, Duke Cosimo came to live in the palace together with his family and had it altered to suit his needs by Vasari, who created meeting rooms and family apartments and engaged numerous artists of the age to assist him.
Only some of the artistic treasures of Palazzo Vecchio can be described here. Besides the Salone dei Cinquecento, there is the Studiolo di Francesco I, an extremely atmospheric room shaped like a Florentine chest, without windows and entirely frescoed by various artists. Francesco spent a great deal of time here immersed in his scientific studies. The Sala dei Gigli, with a beautiful entrance portal and a coffered ceiling, was the work of Benedetto and Giuliano da Maiano; inside there is the original of the Donatello bronze entitled Judith and Holofernes, which was commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio. The room is decorated with gold lilies on a sky blue background (hence the name), which do not refer, as one might imagine, to the symbol of Florence, but to the French lilies of the Anjou, protectors of the Guelph clan.
The Sala delle Udienze, together with the Sala dei Gigli, once formed a single large room used for meetings of the Priori and for court sessions. The artist Giuliano da Maiano decorated both the coffered ceiling and the marble portal with the stem of the Florentine people. The frescoes in this room were done by Salviati.
Today Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of Florence City Council and many parts of it can be visited by the public.

Hall of Maps or Wardrobe

At the time of the Priori, the room today named Sala delle Carte Geografiche [Hall of Maps] did not exist. When the Duke Cosimo I de'Medici moved to Palazzo Vecchio, the surrounding premises become the Guardaroba [wardrobe] district where all properties of the Court were kept.
This room was built later by Giorgio Vasari (1561-1565) by request of Cosimo, in order to fulfill the dual function of Guardaroba and cosmography room.
The geographical maps of Egnazio Danti and Stefano Buonsignori were painted between 1563 and 1589 on the cabinet doors of the hall. The room was the first to be set up with geographical themes, and that was due to the stimulus given by the changes in knowledge after the discovery of America.
At the center of the room stands the famous globe Mappa Mundi that was the largest in the world when made in 1581 by Buonsignori and Ignazio Danti. Over the centuries it has been ruined by later restorations.

Boboli gardens

Behind Palazzo Pitti, which was for nearly four centuries the residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and for a short period of the kings of Italy, stretches  the beautiful Boboli Gardens. Lying on the hill, between Palazzo Pitti, Forte Belvedere and Porta Romana, the garden has a triangular shape and occupies an area of about 45,000 square meters. It is characterized by two orthogonal axes which meet at Bacino di Nettuno [Neptune's Basin]. The leaning axes are marked by a central route and develop through a series of terraces, sculptures and green elements, and paths, which introduce to specific environments: glades, gardens, fences, buildings. It blends nature and works of art by creating a unique environment.

The Medici for first took care of the design, creating the Italian garden model, which became an example for many European Courts. The large evenly divided green surface is a veritable open-air museum, filled with mostly antique and Renaissance statues, and ornate with grotto, beautiful fountains, ponds and hidden walkways. The Boboli Gardens has a high visual impact. The origins of the garden date back to 1550 when it was decided to create a natural continuation of the court of Palazzo Pitti.

At the beginning, an amphitheater was built leaning against the hill behind the palace. Initially intended to be a garden, then it was built in masonry and decorated with ancient sculptures: the fountain “dell’Oceano” sculpted by Giambologna, the small Grotta di Madama, and the Grotta Grande known as Grotta del Buontalenti that was begun by Vasari and ended by Ammannati and Buontalenti between 1583 and 1593.
This is one of the most fascinating examples of Mannerist architecture and culture: decorated inside and outside with stalactites, originally animated by water and lush in vegetation, it is composed of three following environments of which the first, painted in fresco to create the illusion of a natural cave where shepherds and wild animals move, contained the Michelangelo's Prisoners, placed here after entering the Medici collection and now replaced by casts. In the rooms that follow, there are sculptures as important as the Venus emerging from the bath by Giambologna and the group of Paris and Helen by Vincenzo de Rossi. The Grotta del Buontalenti is placed at the end of the Vasari Corridor tour.

Other important stops in the visit to the garden, coming from the amphitheater, are: the fountain called “del Forcone” [pitchfork] or "Vivaio di Nettuno” [nursery of Neptune], named after the sculpture by Stoldo Lorenzi,  which is placed at the center and characterized by a large trident; and the large statue “dell’Abbondanza” [abundance], right at the top of the hill, begun by Giambologna as a portrait of Joan of Austria, wife of Francis I, but ended in 1637 as an allegorical figure.

Going down towards Porta Romana, after the Prato dell'Uccellare, you can find the Viottolone, a large boulevard lined with cypress trees and statues that leads to the square dell'Isolotto, made by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi in 1618, the center of which is the great fountain “dell’Oceano”by Giambologna. The fountain is surrounded by three other sculptures representing the Nile, the Ganges and the Euphrates. All around, there are other statues of classic and popular subject of which the latter from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as those that show groups of children playing traditional games. From the 18th century, the Lorraine period, there are the Kaffeehaus (1775), the Limonaia (1777-8), designed by Zenobio del Rosso, and the Palazzina della Meridiana started in 1776 by Gaspero Paoletti. In 1789 an Egyptian obelisk from Luxor was placed in the center of the Amphitheatre.

The Fountain of Bacchus or Fountain Morgante

This particular statue of the Gardens, representing the court dwarf (ironically nicknamed Morgante, like the giant in the work of Pulci), happily drunk (bacchino) and completely naked in the act of riding a turtle, was sculpted in 1560 by Valerio Cioli. It was placed in the north-west area of Palazzo Pitti, next to the exit of the passage of the Corridoio Vasariano. As of today you can only admire a faithful copy of it.

Pitti palace

The original central section of this palace was constructed in 1458 by Luca Fancelli, working from a design by Brunelleschi. It was built for an extremely wealthy Florentine banker, Luca Pitti, who intended it to be the grandest building in Florence, one that would outshine that of his rivals, the Medici. However, Luca Pitti died prematurely, and after some financial setbacks, his heirs were forced to sell it. In 1549, it was bought by the wife of Cosimo I, Eleonora di Toledo, who commissioned Ammannati to enlarge it. He lengthened the facade and build a splendid courtyard inside. Tribolo transformed the hill behind the palace into the most beautiful Italian garden of them all: Boboli.
In 1620, the facade of the palace was once again amplified by the architect Giulio Parigi, and the two side wings were added in the 18th and early 19th centuries. For three centuries it was the residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and during the Napoleonic period it was occupied by the Queen of Etruria, Napoleon's sister Elisa Baciocchi. Following the unification of Italy, it became the residence of the Savoy royal family. Today it is the property of the state.
In the numerous rooms of the palace there are a number of important museums: the Museo degli Argenti, a collection of fine jewellery, silverware, crystal, ivory, cameos, and textiles from the Medici collections; the Galleria Palatina, which contains an important collection of XVII and XVIII century painting; the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, that dates back to 1860 and houses work ranging from XIX century Tuscan painting to contemporary international works; the Museo delle Carrozze housed in one of the wings.
In the rooms of the Palazzina della Meridiana there is the Museo del Costume, where there is a display of chronologically-ordered historical costumes.
At the top of the Boboli Gardens, in the Edificio del Cavaliere, there is the Museo delle Porcellane, where it is possible to admire pieces of beautiful porcelain from the various families which have lived in the palace.
The Royal Apartments, formerly the residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, are also partially visitable. They subsequently became the official residence of Vittorio Emanuele II, and were also occasionally occupied by Umberto I and Vittorio Emanuele III.

Duomo of Florence

Santa Maria del Fiore was constructed on the site of the old cathedral of Santa Reparata, which had been built in the time of Bishop Zanobius in the early decades of the 5th century. The initial project was to enlarge the original cathedral, but in 1294 the Council of the Hundred opted for a completely new construction.
In 1296 the foundation stone for the new cathedral was laid and dedicated to the Virgin with the name of Santa Maria del Fiore. The architect was Arnolfo di Cambio. The old cathedral continued to be used while the new one was being constructed, but finally, in 1375, it was definitively buried. Arnolfo died in 1331 or 1332, which slowed down work, until the Arte della Lana, the most powerful guild in Florence, nominated Giotto as master of works, and he began work on the construction of the nearby bell tower.
Giotto died in 1337 and others, including Francesco Talenti, took charge of the Duomo project.
The cathedral was completed in 1415, with the exception of the dome, which was designed by Brunelleschi, who produced an engineering masterpiece. It was erected in just 15 years; first of all a bronze ball created by Verrocchio was put on top of it, and then a cross, also in bronze. Pope Eugenio IV consecrated the cathedral in 1436 on the occasion of the Council of Florence which was then underway.
The facade (the one we see today) was redone in the 19th century according to a design by Emilio de Fabris.
The interior has many monuments and other works of art, including the monument to Giotto by Benedetto da Maiano, the portrait of Dante by Domenico di Michelino (based on a drawing by Baldovinetti), and a tondo with a bust of Brunelleschi by Andrea Cavalcanti. The clock dial is by Paolo Uccello and the round glass windows were based on a cartoon by Ghiberti. The holy water stoup (now a copy) is dated circa 1380.
Behind the main altar by Baccio Bandinelli, to the left, there is the sacristy, where Lorenzo the Magnificent took refuge during the Pazzi Conspiracy in 1478.
In the subterranean area below Santa Maria del Fiore, it is possible to visit the old cathedral of Santa Reparata.
The duomo of Florence, 153 metres long and 38 wide, is the fourth-largest Christian church.
Like the cathedrals of Florence's rival cities, Santa Maria del Fiore was built with a Latin cross plan, with a basilica nave, three vast arms, and a dome; the latter starts 50 metres from the ground.
The cathedral looks out onto a large piazza called Piazza del Duomo, where the traditional rite of the Scoppio del Carro is conducted every year at Easter.