Authorized Florence tour guide Valentina has been showing people around Tuscany for more than ten years. We asked for her expert opinions on the highlights of Florence – what to see, what to eat, and how to make the most of your visit – and here’s what she had to say:
One of my favourite paintings has always been Botticelli’s Primavera, also known as “Allegory of Spring.” The picture celebrates the arrival of spring and is filled with mythological symbolism. It was created at a time when religion no longer needed to be the main subject of artist work. If the mythological works had been painted 100 years earlier, they would not have been accepted by the church because the paintings were so different than traditional artwork.
My favourite artist is Caravaggio (1573-1610). Probably the most revolutionary artist of his time, the Italian painter Caravaggio abandoned the rules that had guided a century of artists before him, which idealized the human and religious experience. Caravaggio’s style of painting is easily recognizable for its realism that was hardly appreciated back then; the artist shows everything, from dirty fingernails, to the dirty bottoms of feet, to the bruises and worm holes on apples and the holes in pierced ears. Have a look at his painting Bacchus.
It is easy to walk through the Uffizi Gallery and miss the message, the meaning and history behind the key pieces. The best way to organize your visit is with an expert by your side explaining what you’re seeing and providing you with tools to understand the context of the artwork.
During peak season it will be very very crowded; if you book a tour that includes museums make sure you also ask your tour guide to make ticket reservations. This way you’ll have just a few minutes wait to get in and you’ll be able to skip the long lines outside. Or buy Uffizi Gallery Skip-the-Line tickets ahead of time.
Valentina is a licensed private tour guide in Florence. Learn more about her tours here.