7 Days in Florence

Renaissance Art, Architecture, History, and Tuscan Hilltowns




Torre Guelfa

Churches I

Churches II

Museums I

Museums II





Virtual Reality Travel:
(Requires Quicktime)
Inside Florence Baptistery
Duomo Facade
More Virtual Travel

While flying back from France in June 2006, at JFK International waiting for a connecting flight to Los Angeles, I decided to book the Rick Steves "7 Days in Florence" tour during Christmas 2006. My goal was to return to Europe as soon as possible. Fortunately, spots were available. I threw caution to the wind, registered for the tour online and booked a flight. I had definitely been bitten by that elusive bug, wanderlust. With my confirmation in place, I divided the next six months between dreamily remembering the days of wonder I had just spent in France and preparing to visit Italy by studying everything I could find about the art and architecture of Renaissance Florence.

A wonderful introduction, though fictionalized, was the novel-biography of Michelangelo Buonarroti by Irving Stone titled The Agony and the Ecstasy. The vivid descriptions of the young Michelangelo's life in Renaissance Florence supercharged my enthuasiasm — his days spent living in the Medici palazzo, the passion for carving stone that consumed him from childhood, his early morning walks through the streets of Florence to the hills of Settignano, his nightly secretive descents into the morgue at Santo Spirito to study anatomy, the struggle to move his gargantuan statue of David safely to Piazza della Signoria, and his encounters with Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and the fundamentalist monk, Girolamo Savonarola.

I attempted to study a little Italian. I wanted to be able at least to read the labels in the museums and try to communicate a little. As in France, we found that many Florentines speak English quite well, but during our "Magical Mystery Tour" to the surrounding Tuscan countryside we met some shop and cafe owners who appeared to speak less English. This gave me an authentic opportunity to try a few Italian phrases.

This site is divided by theme, rather than by the days of the itinerary. Use the navigation buttons to the left to browse your areas of interest.