I recently had the chance to try out three tours organized by CAF Tour & Travel and learn about exceptional, little-known places in Florence’s magnificent Cathedral, Baptistery and Sculptors’ Workshop. These tours revealed places in Florence I hadn’t even imagined existed!
All three tours showed a short film about Florence during the Renaissance, an explanation of the changes and improvements wrought over the centuries by important sculptors and artists who contributed to making our Florence so special.
The first one — a “Special Visit to the Terrace of Florence Cathedral” — started with a visit to the Cathedral, where our guide (with special access) took us to climb the tower to Brunelleschi’s famous dome. The ticket is valid for 24 hours from the tour’s start, which means you can return to places you visited with the guide and, for example, climb to the top of the dome where the tour doesn’t go. The guide took us to the Cathedral’s exclusive north terrace (which can only be accessed in groups and with a guide). A breathtaking view of Florence’s and its hills makes you feel like you are lord of the city as you admire its magnificent landscape from a completely new vantage point.
The second tour — a “Special Visit to the Matroneo of Florence Baptistery” — uncovers the wonders and secrets of the Baptistery, the oldest monument of the Cathedral complex.
This tour gives us a peek at the marvelous Byzantine mosaics in the Baptistery and lets us look out from the fascinating raised Matroneo gallery, once reserved only for women. The Matroneo glows with incredible mosaics and affords a perfect view of the Baptistery’s magnificent inlaid marble floor. This option includes a guided tour of the Cathedral as well.
The third tour — a “Special Visit to the Restoration Workshop of Florence Duomo Complex” — takes you into the enchanting Sculptors’ Workshops where time seems to have stood still hundreds of years ago. These are the workshops where the Renaissance’s greatest artists worked and it is here that Michelangelo sculpted his David.
Today experts diligently work here to restore the masterpieces of the Florence Cathedral complex, using the very tools and techniques of the past. This tour also takes you to the Cathedral and the Baptistery where you can admire the works restored by the skilled sculptors.
All three tours end with a tasting of Chianti wine and cheese with balsamic vinegar.
This was a wonderful experience not to be missed. Enjoy it thoroughly, and I hope you’ll be luckier than I was and not happen to go on a day of torrential downpour!
Caf Tour & Travel
Via degli Alfani 151/r
English translation by Miriam Hurley