Palazzo Orlandini del Beccuto Florence

The Palazzo Orlandini del Beccuto is a historic building in the Via de’ Pecori in Florence. After having been in the possession of several noble families for centuries, it has been the seat of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank since the beginning of the 21st century.

Palazzo Orlandini del Beccuto Florence

History and description

The current view of the enormous building is the result of a renovation in 1679. The architect of the new project was Antonio Maria Ferri (1651-1716). In order to restructure the palazzo het merged two existing buildings.

The Monte dei Paschi di Siena is the oldest bank in the world. When this bank bought the building, they had the interior restored to its original state as much as possible. In 2018, the bank ran into financial difficulties. Despite having to close many branches, the one in the Palazzo Orlandini was preserved.

The interior is characterized by a beautiful terracotta floor and the only wall fountain in the city. This fountain can be seen in the courtyard of the building, where a number of antique architectural elements have also been incorporated into the wall.

Antonio Maria Ferri

The architect spent some time working in Rome, but most of his output can be seen in and around Florence. He is known for a number of funerary monuments (among others in the San Lorenzo Basilica) and for the monumental staircases he designed for some of the town’s most important mansions. Ferri himself is buried in the Santa Maria del Carmine Church.

Palazzo Orlandini del Beccuto – Via de’ Pecori 6-8, Florence

Brunelleschi’s Dome Florence

The Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence is the work of Filippo Brunelleschi. When it was built it was the largest dome in the world. One can walk between the inner and outer wall of the dome. The space is a bit claustrophobic, but this is compensated by the beautiful views over Florence.

Brunelleschi’s Dome Florence

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Piazza del Duomo – Florence. Telephone: (+39) 055 2302885. Opening Hours: From 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance fee: 18 Euro (combi-ticket, including the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Santa Reparata Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery.

History and description

Brunelleschi's Dome Florence
The Cathedral’s famous Dome.

Brunelleschi’s Dome was built between 1420 and 1436. His idea was to build the whole dome without using scaffolding. The construction took place in sections.

According to Vasari Brunelleschi won the competition to build the dome by asking his competitors to put an egg upright on a marble slab. They all tried, but no one succeeded. Of course Brunelleschi took the egg, cracked it slightly at the bottom and placed it on the plate. “That way we can do it too,” said the other architects. To which Brunelleschi replied: “Yes, and if you had my plans and models you could also make the dome”. And thus he was allowed to make the dome.

The intention was to build 8 balconies at the foot of the dome. When Baccio d’Agnolo finished the first one (after eight years of work, from 1507 to 1515) Michelangelo was asked his opinion. He answered that he thought the result looked a bit like a cage for crickets. Work was stopped immediately, and never resumed.

Andrea Verrocchio designed the golden globe and the cross on the lantern.

The dome is now full of cracks. This is partly because it is more than 500 years old and partly because people tried to brick holes with cement. As a result, the built-in systems needed to withstand the shrinkage and expansion due to weather conditions no longer work.

Brunelleschi’s Dome – Piazza del Duomo, Florence

Santa Reparata Cathedral Florence

Today’s Florence Cathedral is built around the earlier Santa Reparata Cathedral. This meant that to visit the old church one first had to walk through the facade of the new one. In 1370, when the new cathedral was finished except for the dome, the Santa Reparata was razed to the ground.

Santa Reparata Cathedral Florence

Address, opening hours and entrance fee

Address: Piazza del Duomo – Florence. Telephone: (+39) 055 2302885. Opening Hours: From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance fee: 18 Euro (combi-ticket, including the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery).

History and description

Once you are inside the present Duomo, you can walk down a set of stairs on the right to see excavations of the old Santa Reparata. Here you can also see an inscription on a panel found in 1792 of the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi.

Ruins of ancient Roman houses and early Christian mosaics that used to be part of the original church are the highlights.

The Santa Reparata Cathedral was located where the western part of the nave of the present cathedral of Florence is.

Santa Reparata Cathedral – Piazza del Duomo, Florence

Mineralogy and Petrology Museum Florence

The Museum of Mineralogy and Petrology (Museo di Mineralogia e Litologia) is part of the Natural History Museum of Florence and has an impressive collection of colourful stones and jewels.

Mineralogy Museum Florence

Address, opening hours and admission

The address of the museum is Via La Pira, 4 – 50121 Florence. Tel. +39 0552346760. Opening Hours: 1 October to 31 May: 09.00 to 13.00; Saturday, Sunday and public holiday: 10.00 to 17.00. 1 June to 30 September: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Wednesday; 1 January, Easter, 1 May, 15 August, 25 December closed. Admission: 6 Euro (children between 6 and 14 years old: 3 Euro; children under 6: free). There is a family discount for 1 or 2 adults with up to 4 children: 13 Euro. A combi-ticket with the Anthropology and Ethnology Museum and the Geology and Mineralogy Museum plus the Botanical Gardens is 10 Euro (5 Euro for children between 6 and 14 years old) and is valid for three months.

History and description

The collection was created by members of the Medici family, which is omnipresent in Florence‘s artistic and scientific life (although in this case they are later descendants of the family).

More than 50 thousand stones and jewels from all over the world in different colours and sizes can be seen here (and in some cases also touched). The 151 kilo weighing topaz is the second largest in the world.

Mineralogy and Petrology Museum – Via La Pira 4, Florence

Loggia del Bigallo Florence

The Loggia del Bigallo is located in the Piazza di San Giovanni in Florence. In this building, where Florence’s first city view is painted on a wall, there is a small museum on the ground floor and an exhibition devoted to Leonardo Da Vinci on the second floor.

Loggia del Bigallo Florence

Address, admission and opening hours

The address of the Loggia del Bigallo is Piazza di San Giovanni – 50123 Florence. Nearest bus stop: Studio (line C1). Phone: +39 055 27180304/306. Entrance fee: 5 Euro. Opening hours: From 10.00 to 14.00 and from 15.00 to 19.00 hours. Closed: Tuesday. The ticket is valid for both the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition and the Bigallo Museum.

History Loggia del Bigallo Florence

Madonna della Misericordia

The Loggia del Bigallo was built between 1352 and 1358, at the same time the Cathedral of Florence was built. It was originally the seat of an orphanage. The name of the institution, which was founded in 1244, was Compagnia di Santa Maria della Misericordia. The architect of the building was Alberto Arnoldi, who was also responsible for part of the construction of the Duomo.

The oldest depiction of the town itself is part of a fresco in the Loggia del Bigallo. The painting even shows the cathedral at the time it was built, with an unfinished facade. The work was created in 1342 by the circle of artists around Bernardo Daddi. Its title is “Madonna della Misericordia”.

Museum

Part of the building is now a museum. One of the most striking paintings on display shows a number of orphaned children assigned to their new mothers. The artist was Niccolò di Pietro Gerini. Many of the works of art here were made by anonymous artists.

Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition

The second floor of the building houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Leonardo Da Vinci. Exhibits include a number of aircraft designed by him, designs for warships and plans for a kind of precursor to the telephone.

The latter was a system that consisted of a system of 100 towers, with 100 sentries that within fifteen minutes could send a message about a distance of 100 miles.

There are also drawings of a plan to elevate the Baptistery of Florence and a precursor to the camera based on the use of perspective.

Leonardo even had an idea for a primitive airbag.

Loggia del Bigallo – Piazza di San Giovanni, Florence

Casa Buonarroti Florence

Although Michelangelo Buonarroti was the owner of this house in Florence, he never lived there himself. It was his grandnephew who transformed the palazzo into a museum and had the Casa Buonarroti painted with frescoes by Florentine artists in honour of his genius uncle.

Casa Buonarroti Florence

Address, Entrance fee and Opening hours

Opening hours: From 1 March to 31 October from 10:00 to 16:30; from 1 November to 28 February from . Closed on Tuesdays. 1 January, Easter Sunday, 15 August, 25 December closed. Admission: 8 Euro (discount: 5 Euro). Combi-ticket with Santa Croce Complex: 8,50 Euro. Address: Via Ghibellina 70, Florence. Tel. +39 055241752.

History Casa Buonarroti

When Michelangelo Buonarroti died, he left the house to his cousin Leonardo. Leonardo‘s son Michelangelo turned the building into a tribute to his illustrious namesake.

The museum was opened in 1859, after the last descendant of the family, Cosimo, had left the house with all its contents to the city. These contents included various drawings and sculptures made by Michelangelo.

These original drawings are on the upper floor, as is one of his oldest sculptures, the “Madonna of the Stairs” (Madonna della Scala), which was probably made in 1491.

The “Battle of the Centaurs” (Battaglia dei Centauri) can also be seen in the Casa Buonarroti. This was one of Michelangelo‘s best early creations. In this work, the emphasis on the male body, which would later become even more evident, is already very noticeable, as is the use of rough, unfinished marble to achieve certain effects.

Casa Buonarroti – Via Ghibellina 70, Florence

Cathedral Florence (Duomo)

Florence Cathedral is located in the heart of the city, in the Piazza del Duomo. It is especially famous for the dome designed by Brunelleschi. Its official name is Santa Maria del Fiore. After Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Duomo of Florence is the third largest church in the world. There is space for 20,000 visitors.

Florence Cathedral

Address, opening hours and admission (2020)

The Duomo is open from 10.00 to 17.00 hours. It closes at 16.45 hrs on Saturday, 16.30 hrs on Thursday from November to April and 16.00 hrs on Thursday in May and October. Admission is free. There is a special entrance for disabled people near the Porta dei Canonici on the south side. Florence Cathedral is located in the Piazza del Duomo. The nearest bus stop is Studio (line C1).

History Florence Cathedral

Cathedral Florence
The Cathedral’s famous Dome.

In 1296 Arnolfo di Cambio was commissioned to design a larger Duomo. The Santa Reparata, which up to that point had served as the city’s cathedral, had become too small.

When Di Cambio died in 1302 he had managed to complete no more than the facade. The wool guild got Giotto (who was also responsible for the bell tower) and Francesco Talenti (who had designed the dome’s drum) to finish the work.

The present façade is also the work of Emilio de Fabris and dates from the end of the 19th century.

The dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built between 1420 and 1436. At the time it was the largest dome in the world. You can walk between the inside and outside wall of the dome. The function of the inside wall is to strengthen the outside one. You need to climb 463 steps to get to the top. The space is very narrow, but allows for a the magnificent views over Florence.

The intention was to build 8 balconies at the foot of the dome. When Baccio d’Agnolo finished the first one (after eight years of work, from 1507 to 1515), Michelangelo was asked for an opinion. He replied that he thought the result looked a bit like a cage for crickets. The work was immediately halted, and never resumed.

The three apses are each covered by mini-versions of the dome. Each apse has five chapels.

Although the neo-Gothic marble facade recalls the bell-tower, it was only constructed between 1871 and 1887.


Santa Reparata Cathedral

The Duomo was built around the already existing Santa Reparata cathedral, which had been built between the 4th and 5th centuries. This meant that to visit the old church one had to first enter the new one. In 1370, when the new cathedral was finished except for the dome, the Santa Reparata was razed to the ground.

On the right you can walk down a set of stairs to see the excavations of the old church. Her you can also see an inscription found in 1792 on the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi plus ruins of ancient Roman houses and early Christian mosaics of the original church. (Admission to this part of the church is 18 Euros, for a combi-ticket including the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Campanile and the Dome.)

Works of art Florence Cathedral

The mosaic “The Coronation of the Virgin” in the lunette above the inside of the main entrance is by Gaddo Gaddi (1307).

Lorenzo Ghiberti made the stained glass windows in the façade in the 15th century.

Paolo Uccello painted the large hòra italica clock. According to this “Italic clock”, which was used until the 18th century, the day did not end at 12 o’clock in the morning, but at the time of sunset. The four heads in the corners of the fresco are portraits of prophets.

On the left wall there is a fresco. The English mercenary Sir John Hawkwood (by the Florentines corrupted into Giovanni Acuto) had asked for a bronze equestrian statue of himself . Eventually it was decided that a painting was cheaper and Paolo Uccello was hired to make the work (1436). Lorenzo di Credi added the trompe l’oeil frame during a subsequent restoration.

Next to this you can see a similar tribute to Niccolò da Tolentino, by Andrea del Castagno (1456).

Domenico di Michelino painted “Dante reading the Divine Comedy” (1465).

The ceiling paintings on the interior of the dome were designed by Giorgio Vasari, but painted by his pupil Federico Zuccari (1579). The theme of the frescoes is the “Last Judgment”.

As you near the space underneath the dome you will notice that the 16th century marble pavement is laid out like a labyrinth.

Sagrestia Nuova

At the back of the sanctuary is the Sagrestia Nuova (“New Sacristy”). When Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Giuliano attended Mass here on 26 April 1478, they were attacked by the Pope-supported Pazzi family. Giuliano was stabbed but Lorenzo managed to escape by diving into the Sagrestia Nuova and closing the heavy bronze doors made by Luca della Robbia between 1446 and 1467. The terracotta “Resurrection” (1442) above the door is also by della Robbia, as is the lunette “Ascension” above the southern door.

Cathedral – Piazza del Duomo, Florence