Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" in the Uffizi Galleries, Florence.

One of the greatest painters of the early Renaissance was nothing if not a man of his times

A self-portrait of Sandro Botticelli, a detail from his Adoration of the Magi in the Uffizi GalleriesA self-portrait of Sandro Botticelli, a detail from his Adoration of the Magi in the Uffizi Galleries.The great early Renaissance painter Alessandro "Sanrdo" di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (1444–1510) will forever be known to history by his nickname Botticelli ("Little Barrels").

He is, perhaps, quite thankful that history has conveniently forgotten just how he got such a silly nickname.

The star pupil of Filippo Lippi (he repaid the favor by later becoming the teacher of Lippi's illegitimate son Filippino Lippi), Botticelli perfected a style of lipid colors, flowing lines, and elegant figures that made him an instant smash and one of the most sought-after painters of his day.

He created some of the most glorious, analogy-packed mythological scenes of the early Renaissance, celebrating the new-found Humanist movement of celebrating man's ability to reason and his long history of science, art, and myth—most notably the Birth of Venus and the Allegory of Spring—painted for a Medici cousin's country estate; now both hanging in the same room of the Uffizi (alongside many other Botticelli paintings).

Later, Botticelli became enamored—along with much of Florence—with a firebrand preacher named Savonarola.

He converted to a much more pious lifestyle, repudiated his earlier works (and, it is said, even burned some on the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities), and spent the rest of his career cranking out technically brilliant but vapid Madonna and Childs and other works of a strictly religious nature.

Ah, well.

Where to find works by Botticelli in Florence

Tips & links

Bottecelli tours
How long does Florence take?

Planning your day: Florence would well be worth a week, but you can still fit a lot into just a day or three.

To help you get the most out of your limited time in the Cradle of the Renaissance, here are some perfect itineraries, whether you have one, two, or three days to spend in Florence.

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