By Jordan Ritchie
The first Sunday of every month historic sites and both state and civic museums across Italy waive entry fees to allow visitors and locals the chance to explore all of the rich history this beautiful country has to offer. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and contains some of Italy’s most noteworthy masterpieces. We’ve put together a quick guide of our five favorite places to check out this Sunday.
Start your day at the Uffizi Gallery to see many masterpieces including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, one of the world’s most appreciated art pieces. The Birth of Venus, a symbol of feminine grace and beauty, represents several gods. Unlike most paintings of its time, it was painted on canvas rather than wood. The Uffizi Gallery is a must-see as it is one of the world’s most famous and oldest museums, consisting of 45 rooms full of paintings and sculptures by various Renaissance artists.
As you leave the Uffizi, walk through Piazza della Signoria to Palazzo Vecchio. Inside of the medieval fortress you will find Roman ruins and incredible Renaissance chambers adorned by world famous paintings. Outside Palazzo Vecchio, a copy of the Statue of David can be found. The real Statue of David was originally placed here, but later moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia to be preserved. We’ll head there next to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
Make your way over to Galleria dell’Accademia to see the real Statue of David. It is fascinating to see the amazing detail Michelangelo used to take a block of white marble and create the immaculate 17-foot tall sculpture. The gallery also contains a small collection of Michelangelo’s work, including his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew.
In the afternoon, cross the Arno river to visit the Pitti Palace, which Brunelleschi designed in 1457 for the Pitti family. Nearly a century later the Medici family bought the residence. Today the Pitti Palace is made up of several museums and galleries including the Palatine Gallery, a collection of paintings from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Silver Museum, a large collection of objects that belonged to the Medici family, the Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, and the Porcelain Museum.
End your day of Italian history and culture with a stroll through the Boboli Gardens, found directly behind Pitti Palace. Within the gardens you’ll discover sculptures dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Wander around the many tree-lined lanes, look inside the mesmerizing Grotto by Buontalenti, and locate the mythical statue of Pegasus.
Since you’re already near Santo Spirito, go ahead and indulge in a heart shaped Gusta pizza! You’ve certainly earned it after all of the walking and exploring today. We like to take our pizza down to the river to enjoy the sunset from one of the Arno’s many bridges.
If you’re looking to check out even more in Florence these are some of the other places that participate in the free first Sunday’s in Florence: The Medici Chapels, Medici Villas, Museo del Novecento, Brancacci Chapel and Museo Stefano Bardini.