« Remember your first time? | Main | Clash of the ceramics »

So much art (and shopping); so little time.....


In less than a month, I'll be on my way back to Italy! Most of my time will be spent in Umbria, but I'll have three days in Firenze before I fly home from there. That's so little time to spend in Florence, a city that I really love, and one of these years I'll dedicate an entire trip to this city of wonderful art. (And of wonderful shopping -- I think Florence is a mecca for shoppers and I have a long list of items that I can only find there. Good leather gloves and leather eyeglass cases, to name just a few!)

And the museums in Florence! I'm having a hard time narrowing my choices to just a few. The Museo in San Marco is an absolute necessity, I have to see the Fra Angelico frescoes again. And I have a reservation at the Uffizi. which apparently has mounted a special exhibition on Giotto.

I also have my heart set on visiting the Palazzo Pitti again, where I can once more see Caravaggio's Sleeping Cupid. (shown above)



It has been several years since I visited the Palazzo Pitti and it's wonderful Palatine Gallery, with works including Guido Reni's The Young Bacchus and The Holy Family by Andrea del Sarto (shown here.)

I think to make the most of this visit, I'll register for Context:Florence's session: The Pitti Palace. I've taken a few of Context:Rome's walking tours and find them really enjoyable. The style is serious, the groups are small and while these sessions are pricier than some other walking tours, I think the money is very well spent.

My only reservation about The Pitti Palace session is that it begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, the last day of my holiday.Yikes! I'm very bad at getting up at a decent hour on holidays (or any other time) but I want to mend my ways and this will certainly force me down that road! Here are a few details of the Context:Florence tour at the Palazzo Pitti:

"The Pitti Palace, and the amazing art collections contained within, stands as a strong expression of power of the Medici Dukes, who returned to power in Florence in the 16th and 17th centuries, after having previously led Florence through its most prolific period, the Renaissance. During their second rule, the new branch of Medici (conveniently linked to the older generation through a distant relative) transformed Florence into a monarchy, becoming the Dukes of Tuscany and undisputed rulers of Florence. Upon their 16th century rise to power, the Medici duchy family moved their household into an even larger, more extravagant palace- the Palazzo Pitti.

"The majority of our time will be spent picking apart the illustrious Palatine Gallery, once used as part of the Medici winter apartments, and now lined with the Medici art collection. The collection, all but modest, boasts a hallway of ancient Roman statues from the Villa Medici in Rome, and walls filled with Renaissance and Baroque art, including works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Florentine artists Filippo Lippi and Andrea del Sarto, among others. The wall to wall art collection is all displayed in the royal setting of the palace, complete with luxurious drapery, antique furniture and remnants of the monarchy."

Doesn't that sound fun???

Comments (14)


What a wonderful day that will be to end your trip, despite the early museum call.

Andrea del Sarto--one of my favorite artists of the era. Unfortunately too often overlooked!


Hi Vicky! Thanks for the encouragement; you're right, it would be a good way to wrap up the trip.

I have to confess that I haven't yet booked the Context walking tour -- I've been dragging my heels a bit since I hate getting up early. But no more! I'm booking the tour now, because I'll regret it if I don't!

I agree that del Sarto is often overlooked. A couple of years ago, the National Gallery of Canada here in Ottawa mounted a great Renaissance exhibition and the curator focused a good deal of attention on del Sarto along with other important Renaissance artists. It was a very interesting exhibition.

"Doesn't that sound fun???"

Yes!! :)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, how exciting for you to be able to get the chance to revisit Palazzo Pitti and to have the time to admire the great pieces of art housed within the gallary. Sounds like you're going to have such a fantastic trip and I see your clock counter at 29 days! Whoo hoo!

Thanks for this wonderful read this morning. Have a great weekend.

YES! It sounds like so much fun! On my first trip to Italy (a guided tour), I was really lucky because the local guides were so excellent. I really enjoy being "guided" every once in a while, and that art-focused Context tour sounds wonderful. Can't wait to hear about it!


Sandra, even before I started to read your post, I thought, Oh please, I hope she's going to the Pitti Palace. I've never been but it's tops on my list if/when I return to Florence.


Thanks, Leslie! Another vote for the Pitti Palace walking tour!

Kathy, I can't wait til my trip. I tend to overplan everything, but that's half the fun.

Annie, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes being guided a bit isn't so bad. Especially if it's a walking tour that you've picked out because it suits your interests. The Context tours I did in Rome were so impressive that I have high hopes for this one!

Kim, when you get to Florence (maybe a day trip from Montalcino?) you have to spent some time at the Palazzo Pitti. It has such great art and exhibitions and it never seems to be crowded (in my limited experience of precisely two visits!) I think a lot of tour bus crowds stay on the other side of the Arno in the main historic centre and don't venture across. Too bad for them!

Lucky you! It definitely sounds worth getting up early for (and this is from a non-morning person). You probably have also been to the Boboli Gardens before, but if not, make sure to find time to explore the gardens also. There are some amazing sculptures along the various paths. 27 more days!!!!


Girasoli, I must confess that I haven't before explored the Boboli Gardens. I think it has been raining every time I've visited the Palazzo Pitti, so I haven't venture into the gardens. I will this time (especially since I'll have so much more time, having gotten up early!) Thanks for the suggestion -- sounds like a perfect place to practice some photography.

Just wanted to stop by and tell you that I watched "Agata e la Tempesta" this weekend. I absolutely loved it! Thanks so much for the recommendation -what a great and fun movie. It's not that easy to pull off both zany and poignant. I loved all those crazy characters, and I really loved all those pretty dresses Agata wore. Thanks so much!


Hi Annie!

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed Agata! You've characterized it perfectly -- zany and poignant at the same time. I also loved the way Agata dressed, pretty funky for a woman of a certain age.
Actually, all of the women in the movie looked great, they dress with such style!

BTW, I just got a notice today from Amazon that they've finally shipped me the Sister Wendy series. Whew, just in time! I'll be able to watch it before my trip! Thanks again for suggesting her art-through-history DVDs.

I just looked on Netflix and there's another movie by the same director that will be available in December: "Days and Clouds." I put that one in my queue along with "Bread and Tulips" which I want to watch again now.

Oh, and speaking of the clothes. There was one scene where Romeo had on this crazy striped shirt with striped pants - I laughed out loud!

I'm glad Sister Wendy is finally on the way! I really hope you enjoy her as much as I have. I've been working on a blog entry about her and when I looked on Amazon (US) I saw that the DVDs are called "Sister Wendy's Collection" and the set includes "Story of Painting" as well as other shows. Is that what you bought? If so, you'll also be getting "SW's Grand Tour" which you will love...lots of great Italy in that one.

25 days - that is so soon! I bet you are really excited.


Hi Annie, thanks for the tip about "Days and Clouds." I hadn't heard of it before and I just looked up a review in the New York Times (they liked it very much and made it a "Critics Pick.")

I see that Romeo from "Agata" is also in Days and Clouds -- yikes! I hope he dresses down. I laughed so hard at his outfits, especially when his new-found brother began to dress to match! I'm going to put "Days and Clouds" on my Zip list where I've also added Bread and Tulips.

Meanwhile, Sister Wendy arrived in the mail today, and it is "The Complete Collection" with 4 DVDs, several interesting special features (it looks like one allows the viewer to zoom in on paintings; another provides pop-up notes on different artists.)

It looks great -- I won't know where to start. Maybe with the Grand Tour. Thanks again for suggesting Sister Wendy, I can't wait to read your blog posting on her!


Awesome post - now I'm even more excited about my upcoming trip to Florence!! As if I wasn't already beside myself :) The Palazzo Pitti is way high on my list of museums. The Context tour sounds great, I might have to sign up for one myself. (Although I too have early morning issues!) Thanks for the tip.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)