Art and Architecture in Tuscany
Collected by Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Ancient Etruscan frescoes, Hellenistic-style Roman bronzes, gilded royal palaces, works by names like Donatello, Michelangelo, and Botticelli—there’s no shortage of extraordinary art in Tuscany. In Florence you’ll find churches and palazzi aplenty and a museum for every interest, from medieval artillery to Ferragamo shoes, while the smaller towns boast their own cultural and artistic gems. Here are some of the highlights.
Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
Pisa’s famous leaning tower (the campanile of the adjacent Duomo) is part of the Piazza del Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes the Duomo, baptistery and cemetery. Begun in 1173, the tower began to lean almost immediately thanks...
Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people head to this ex-art school to ogle the world’s most famous nude statue. Michelangelo’s David was carved from a single five-meter-high block of milky-white marble in 1504 and originally stood in Piazza della Signoria....
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ideally you'd have a whole day to appreciate the world’s foremost collection of Renaissance paintings, housed in the 16th-century headquarters of the Medici court. But for those with less time, highlights include the three great...
Via dei Servi, 66/68R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Even with all the noted thinkers, artists, politicians, and powerful families who’ve called Florence home, Leonardo da Vinci is arguably the city’s most famous son. This homage focuses less on his artwork and more on Da Vinci’s forward-thinking...
Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery might get more attention, but the Palazzo Pitti across the river is the largest museum complex in Florence. The vast Renaissance palace itself has been owned by the Medici family, used by Napoleon, and repurposed as home to...
Via Federico Stibbert, 26, 50134 Firenze FI, Italy
Frederick Stibbert was a wealthy Anglo-Italian art collector who used his inherited fortune to turn his home into a museum in the 19th century. Today, the Stibbert has one of the quirkiest collections you'll find in a city most famous for its...
Via S. Pietro, 29, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Active from the 13th to 15th centuries and considered an influence on the pre-Renaissance movement, the Sienese School of painting is identifiable by its themes—always religious, and usually with a focus on Biblical miracles—and its signature...
Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usually called the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizable building. You are able to catch glimpses of its magnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church...
Piazza del Duomo, 1, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Founded in the 9th century, Santa Maria della Scala was one of Europe’s first hospitals. It was also one of the first hospitals anywhere to disinfect its equipment and only stopped taking in patients in the 1980s. (The writer Italo Calvino died...
Piazza del Duomo, 9, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Florence’s wonderful Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Works Museum) is open to the public with double its original floor space and a new contemporary look. The unique collection of works by masters such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Luca...
Palazzo Spini Feroni, Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
What began in pre-war Italy as two small workshops in the Palazzo Spini Feroni on Via Tornabuoni has grown into a fashion empire and a brand synonymous with Hollywood glamour. A museum dedicated to the craftsmanship of Salvatore Ferragamo opened...
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