Florence for Artists
Allow us to introduce our brand new monthly travel series for artists: Paradise City. We look at the world’s most exciting and enriching art destinations. And, the first stop on this artful world tour is Florence, Italy.
Credit where credit’s due — as the birthplace of the Renaissance, there are few places better to begin our year-long sojourn-cum-daydream than this ancient gem of a city. Florence is perfectly poised to fulfill all your wishes as an artist and a traveler. Make every moment in this famed city one to remember. Here’s the inside scoop! Let’s go!
Because there are millions of like-minded art lovers just like you with their sights set on Florence, you’ll want to begin with one very practical purchase: the Firenze Card. This €72 card (about $88.44) grants you 72 hours’ worth of priority access to nearly all of Florence’s most beloved museums.
The card’s benefits are many and its drawbacks are few. However, if you only have time for one or two museums, skip the Firenze and just pay the regular admission.
Blaze Your Own Trail
Yes, you can see Michelangelo’s David or climb the 463 steps of the Duomo — and you should (at some point!). But life is short, and those lines are long. With so much to see, you could be missing out on the opportunity to experience some of Florence’s more hidden treasures:
- Be sure to consider the Bargello (a former prison-turned-museum) packed with countless sculptural masterworks.
- Check out La Specola, which features anatomical wax figures of women (not to mention a wing with rooms devoted to taxidermy). This could be a treat for the figure or wildlife artist — or really anyone who likes to keep their tourism weird.
- Or, take in the view from Giotto’s Campanile, within a hair’s breadth as good as that of the much more crowded Duomo. Outsmart the crowds and get a unique angle of the city for your Instagram.
Just Be, Man
Art is everywhere in Florence, but don’t lose sight of the fact that just walking the city’s streets is inspirational. Countless artists whose names are in history books walked them before you and so do all the people who continue to make up the city’s beautiful human tapestry. Slow down and appreciate it.
Grab a seat at a Caffè Rivoire on the Piazza della Signoria and people watch, or stroll along the Arno at the Cascine park. Dine in your own private garden (well, you’ll be sharing it with a few dozen locals) at Santarosa Bistrot and pretend to be Tuscan, if only for a few hours. Or, skip the restaurant and let your senses guide you at the Mercato Centrale, as you stick up on fresh fruit and local favorites for the day’s walk.
Escape the City
If Florence is for those who appreciate art, Spannochia, a rustic artists’ retreat just outside of the city, is for those who make art. This sprawling estate is open to guests who want to experience a more authentic experience than a hotel might allow.
You can rent your own farmhouse on the grounds or choose to stay in the bed and breakfast. But no matter where you sleep, you’ll enjoy a slice of real life in the Tuscan countryside.
Take cooking or language classes, tour the grounds or immerse yourself in the experience of staying on a working farm. The retreat even has an immersive, seasonal apprenticeship program for those interested in agritourism, or butchery (yes, you can apprentice in that here, too).
If you crave time dedicated solely to bettering your work and developing yourself as an artist, you can even join Artists Network there at our first international retreat in Spannochia. Participants are capped at 20, so be sure to act now! See all the details and give yourself the opportunity to explore the possibility of a retreat in Spannochia!
Have you been to Florence? What are your must-sees? Don’t keep the good stuff to yourself. Comment below.
A Year of Pencils
In celebration of National Pencil Day, Derwent is sponsoring A Year of Pencils Giveaway! You will be able to fill pages and pages with sketches and drawings–maybe a few done in Florence. Enter now for a chance to win your Year of Pencils!