Italy becomes the center of Western Culture again
The Renaissance peaked in the 15C as northern cities bullied their way to city-state status.
Even while warring constantly with one another to extend their territories, such ruling families as the Medicis in Florence, the Estes in Ferrara, and the Gonzagas in Milan grew incredibly rich and powerful.
The princes, popes, and merchant princes who ruled Italy’s city-states, spurred on by the Humanist philosophical movement, collectively bankrolled the explosion of poetic and artistic expression we now call the Renaissance (see the Art & Architecture section).
But with no clear political authority or unified military, Italy was easy pickings and by the mid-16C, Spain, courtesy of Charles V, occupied nearly all of the country and even sacked Rome and caused the Pope to flee.
The rule of the Medici family in Renaissance-era Florence led to an explosion of scientific progress and the rise of humanism. This Galileo Museum Florence Tour, led by a social or art historian, will introduce you to sites around the city, including the Galileo Museum, that stand as testament to this era of intellectual progress. The Medici’s Cosimo I and Ferdinand I were fervent patrons of the sciences, especially astronomy. Under their rule, Florence became a shining beacon for experimentation, which the Roman church was frantically trying to suppress with the Inquisition. At the same time, humanism, stemming from the study of ancient Greek and Latin texts, was a new way of thinking about a man’s place in the world, and became a recurring theme in Renaissance literature, art and society. Galileo Museum Florence Tour We begin our walk at the Museo Galileo, where the most important Medicean collections of scientific instruments are preserved (for more on the great family, see our Medici Tour Florence). The greatest among these collections include some of the original instruments that Galileo Galilei, one of the most outstanding figures of the Scientific Revolution, used for his groundbreaking experiments. Our encounter with Galileo will shed some light on the Medicean systems of patronage, and on the way in which scientists shaped their own image inside a court. Hitting the Streets After visiting the museum, we will head to the center of town in order to trace the role of humanism in Renaissance Florence; be it through a delve into the poetry of Dante and Petrarch, a discussion of the drastic changes in the art of the period or of the growing interest in the study of the traditional liberal arts.
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Pass By: Le mura di Lucca, Lucca, Province of Lucca, Tuscany
Thanks to a carriage pulled by the Lucier horse, you will walk the entire Renaissance wall of the historic city of Lucca, admiring the historic center from above, all in a comfortable and relaxing way.
An unforgettable guided walk in the center of the UNESCO heritage city, to learn about the history, curiosities, characters and anecdotes of Florence, an elegant jewel city famous all over the world that was the cradle of the Renaissance and the Capital of Italy.
Our first stop will be the courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery and Piazza della Signoria, where stands the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, the historical seat of the city's government and which was the site of artistic disputes by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci; the allegories concerning the admirable works of art under the Loggia dei Lanzi will be told and you will discover many anecdotes about the emblem of the symbolic city risen from the Middle Ages. From there we will reach the famous square of Santa Croce with its church, famous for the funerary monuments of Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei and many other illustrious Italians.
Following the external path of the Vasari Corridor we will cross the famous Ponte Vecchio, with its unique goldsmith shops, rebuilt after the tragic flood of 1966, and then reach the wonderful Palazzo Pitti, the building that was the residence of the Medici family first and then of the King of Italy.
Your Guide will then show you the most authentic part of Florence, the Oltrarno and the neighborhoods of S.Frediano and Santo Spirito, famous throughout the world for their artisan shops and for the ancient Tower houses still intact.
From the Ponte Santa Trinita we will reach Via Tornabuoni, the street considered to be the "Salone della Moda", and Palazzo Strozzi, a sumptuous example of splendid Renaissance architecture.
After a stop in Piazza della Repubblica, our guided tour will continue towards Piazza del Duomo, where you can admire the colorful marble decoration of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with the stunning Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower and the precious tiles of gold of the Baptistery's Paradise Gate.
Your Guide will greet you after having indicated the famous San Lorenzo Market, known for its fun shopping and traditional street food.
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Stop At: Civitavecchia Port, Civitavecchia, Province of Rome, Lazio
TERMINAL CRUISE SHUTTLE BUS.
The driver pick up you from here and start the transfer to Caprarola
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Palazzo Farnese, Caprarola, Province of Viterbo, Lazio
The Farnese Palace is situated directly above the town of Caprarola, dominating its surroundings. Caprarola has always been an expression of Farneses power and the palace is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture. You will be able to walk the spiral staircase called Scala Regia or the "Royal Stairs" and see the Piano dei Prelati floor, which leads to the broad terrace.
You can witness the amazing frescoes of the winter suite, the famous "Room of the World Map" or Sala del Mappamondo, displaying the world as it was in 1574 when the frescoes were completed. Gaze at the depiction of the continents on one side of the wall while the wall opposite the planisphere is devoted to the lands where Christianity and the church originated, Judea and Italy.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Villa Farnese
have a lunch in the typical "trattoria" in the city centre of Caprarola.
Italian Starter, main dish (depend on the season) coffee and water
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Stop At: Viterbo Historic Centre, Viterbo, Province of Viterbo, Lazio
After Lunch transfer to Viterbo and walking tour in the beautiful historical city centre and the return to Civitavecchia
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Guided walking tour led by a licensed private tour guide
Discover this hidden Italian gem and the reason why Ferrara is called the first modern city in Europe
Ferrara has retained its urban fabric virtually intact, discover how houses and town plannings were built and planned in rennaisance and medieval time.
Customize your tour to suit your own interests
Ferrara, a Unesco Heritage World Site since 1995, is known as the city of the Renaissance and bicycles.
The city, located on the Bologna to Venice train line and highway, is easily accessible by trains, buses and cars.
Ferrara is a people-friendly city where you can easily walk or ride your bike both day and night, reliving the magical atmosphere of days gone by.
The city was an important medieval centre but only under the rule of the Este family it became an internationally known capital. The court flourished in splendour and for two centuries Ferrara was on a par with cities such as Florence and Venice or with other great European courts in France or Spain. Ferrara became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance. The humanist concept of the 'ideal city' came to life here in 1492 and it marked the birth of modern town planning. Ferrara's urban history rests on the fact that it developed, for the first time in Europe, on the basis of planning regulations that are in use nowadays in all modern towns. Ferrara is the only planned Renaissance town to have been completed.
The tour starts from the inner courtyard of the Este castle and continues through Piazza Castello, Piazza Savonarola, Corso Martiri della Liberta up to Piazza Cattedrale with the romanasque gothic Saint George Cathedral (visit inside according to opening hours and services) in front of the Cathedral lays Piazza del Municipio, the former Ducal palace. In Piazza Trento Trieste, the old market square, it is possible to see the cathedral side facade. Heading down via San Romano you will discover the old Medieval streets, like via delle Volte, some of these streets, like Via Vittoria and Via Mazzini, became at the beginning of 17th century part of the old Jewish Ghetto.
For this tour no entrance tickets are foreseen in the city centre
Renaissance in Italy
Also in Italian history:
- Prehistory to Magna Graecia
- The Etruscan Enigma
- The rise of Rome
- Hail, Caesar!
- The Roman Empire
- The Dark Ages
- The Second Fall
- The 19th Century
- A Nation United
- The Rise of Fascism