• Photo depicting our Duomo Complex walk

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  • Ceiling mosaic of the Bapistry in Florence

Photo depicting our Duomo Complex walk

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  • Ceiling mosaic of the Bapistry in Florence

Photo depicting our Duomo Complex walk

<a href="http://www.contexttravel.com/florence" rel="nofollow">www.contexttravel.com/florence</a>
  • Photo depicting our Duomo Complex walk

<a href="http://www.contexttravel.com/florence" rel="nofollow">www.contexttravel.com/florence</a>
  • Photo depicting our Duomo Complex walk

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Walk Description

This 2.5 hour walking seminar focuses on Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence's cathedral, which is usually simply referred to as the Duomo. In the company of an art or architectural historian, we will spend our time visiting the major sites in and around the church, tracing the architectural development of what would become, by the end of the Renaissance, the symbolic core of the city.

We start with the Baptistery, an 11th century structure that the Florentines believed was originally a Roman temple. (We will get a glimpse of the ancient structure below the floor, now thought to be a Roman house.) We will spend some time discussing the architectural decoration on the exterior of the building and how this mixture of green and white marble later became the "house style" of Renaissance Florence. Inside, in the shadow of the absolutely stunning Italo-Byzantine mosaics, we will look at the context of the medieval period and how the great architects, like Brunelleschi, were as much inspired by old Florence as they were by Rome, Greece, and classical models.

Depending on opening and closing times, we'll move from here to the Duomo itself, dealing with the long, dramatic story of its design and construction. We'll talk about Brunelleschi while standing in front of the facade, on the top step, where many historians believe he set up his "perspective machine" to establish, for the first time since antiquity, a system of mathematical perspective. Inside, we'll discuss Arnolfo di Cambio, Pisano, and Brunelleschi in the context of Florentine politics. We will engage in a short discussion of the dome; its novel construction and how Brunelleschi used the model of the past to invent a radically modern way of building, tying together our history of Florence's architectural masterpiece.

Please note that for parties of more than 4, it is necessary, due to the Duomo's regulations, to rent whisper headsets while within the Duomo itself. These are typically about €2 per person and are rented upon entry.

Duration: 2.5 hours
Category: Architecture
Venues: Baptistry, Santa Maria del Fiore
Incidentals: Entry Fees- $11
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    Anne Bahrenberg Barbetti

    Originally from the United States, Anne came to Florence many years ago to study art history at the University of Florence. She became enmeshed in a long-term project researching Renaissance and Baroque embroidered fabrics, during which she has personally uncovered many unknown collections of antique fabrics. She is currently working on a catalog and book based on this work.

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    Cornelia Danielson

    Cornelia has a PhD in art history from Columbia University and wrote her dissertation on Renaissance city planning. She is especially knowledgeable about Medici patronage. In addition to her research and teaching, Cornelia, a mother of a disabled child, runs an association dedicated to barrier-free travel in Florence and is author of "The Accessible Guide to Florence."

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    Monica Shenouda

    Monica completed her Ph.D in 2009 in history of art and architecture from the University of Virginia, specializing in the Italian Renaissance period. As a writer, she is interested in the literary culture of Florence as well as the city's art and architecture. Before coming to Florence, Monica lived in Rome, Venice, New York City, and Charlottesville, Virginia.

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    Elizabeth Butler

    Elizabeth recently received her MA in Florentine Renaissance art from Syracuse University in Florence. Her interests include women's history and women artists, particularly by women in convents. In addition to leading walks, she also lectures at various universities and institutions in Florence.

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    Valerie Niemeyer

    Valerie received her BA with distinction in art history and museology at the University of Florence, focusing on the Renaissance art market. Although German, Valerie was born and raised in Rome, making her eager to build bridges across different cultures. She also works for the educational department of the state museums in Florence, where her mission is to communicate art and culture as a means of understanding the visual signs that surround us.

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    Sheila Barker

    Sheila (BA, Amherst College 1993; MA, MPhil, and PhD, Columbia University 2002) is Director of the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists at the Medici Archive Project, Florence. At the archives she undertakes research on women artists, mentors younger scholars, and organizes publications, lectures, and conferences, often in collaboration with the Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA). She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Medici Archive Project. Additionally, she has taught art history at several colleges and has managed the old masters gallery of Robert Simon Fine Art in New York. Her publications cover topics in Renaissance and Baroque art, Pope Urban VIII and politics, and medicine and pharmacy in the seventeenth century. Currently she is editing a book of essays on women artists in Early-Modern Italy and finishing an essay on Michelangelo's "Battle of Cascina."

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    Lucia Picchi

    Lucia Picchi grew up in Rome where she graduated in 2001 with a thesis on Roman fresco decoration, after which she took part in an internship at the Louvre. In Florence since 2003, she expanded her passion for drawings thanks to a student's grant at the Longhi Foundation of Art History. She has also continued building on her knowledge of minor arts with a Masters program at the University of Florence, and an additional license in wood restoration. In the last few years, Lucia has been strongly interested in the movement of artworks for temporary exhibitions.

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    Patricia Rucidlo

    Patricia holds an Master's in Italian Renaissance history from Cornell University, and another in Italian Renaissance art history from Syracuse University. Both of her theses were on Florentine topics. She also writes about Florence, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna for a popular guide book, has led wine tours in Chianti, and has cooked in several Florentine trattorie. She lives in the Tuscan countryside with her husband and six dogs.

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    Siro Chini

    Born and raised under the shade of Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome in Florence, Siro belongs to an important Tuscan family of art nouveau artists. After a diploma in ceramic decoration obtained in 2000, he has worked in a traditional Florentine workshop. He received his BA at the University of Florence and in 2008 published his research about the Richard-Ginori porcelain production that was commissioned by the vice-king of Egypt for the celebrations of the opening of the Suez Canal. In order to share his passion and love for art, culture, and the Florentine lifestyle, Siro is professionally trained as a tour guide for his hometown.

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    Alessandra Becucci

    Born and raised in Florence, Alessandra has a degree in art history from the University of Florence with a specialization in seventeenth-century painting. She obtained an MRes from the European University Institute in Florence, where she defended her Ph.D in history, focusing on the patronage of Tuscan nobility in Europe during the seventeenth century. In addition, she holds a diploma in archival administration, palaeography, and diplomatics from the State Archive in Florence. She has been teaching art history and Italian for several years in various schools and institutions in Florence.

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    Amal El Khoury

    Amal first came to Florence in 1982 on a scholarship for a one-year ‘Restoration of Architectural Monuments’ course. She has been living in Florence ever since. She was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, where she began her university studies in Architecture. She obtained her MA in architecture from Virginia Tech in 1980. Her experience varies from work in architectural studios to technical illustration to film subtitle translation. She is a professional licensed tour guide for Florence and enjoys sharing her passions for history, art, and architecture with all visitors to Florence. Amal is fluent in Arabic, English, and Italian, and is also good in French and Spanish. She has several years of international experience as a leader in children’s camps, youth interchange programs with CISV (Children’s International Summer Villages), and Lions International Youth Camps in Italy.

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    Laura Fenelli

    Originally from Parma, Laura has been living and working as an art historian in Florence since 2007. She has an MA in medieval art history and a PhD in medieval history. She works on the history of medieval and early-modern images and Saints’ iconography and hagiography, and collaborates with the University of Bologna and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. Since 2009 she has been teaching medieval and modern art history in Parma, Pisa, and Florence for American colleges and universities.

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    Alexandra Lawrence

    After studying Italian literature at graduate level, Alexandra made her permanent home Florence where she teaches journalism, contemporary Italian culture, and travel writing courses at several local universities. A member of the council of advisors for the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, she is particularly interested in women artists and patronage in Florence and Tuscany. In addition, she has written on several of the city’s most important restorations and has enjoyed getting to know many of the experts in the restoration field. She is a licensed professional guide for Florence and its province and is the editor-at-large of the English language newspaper, The Florentine.

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    Maria Paola Maccallini

    Maria Paola Maccallini has worked in many state museums in Florence and is a specialized in the education. Her ambition is to communicate art and culture so that people can understand the visual signs around them. From 1995 to 1998 she was guide at the Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Precious Stones Museum) in Florence and in 1998 received her tour guide license for Florence and Fiesole. Maria Paola graduated from the University of Florence, where she was also a teaching assistant in the English department within the School of Political Science. Her career began as a high school teacher at public school where she developed her passion for education. The experience of writing her book “Il Matrimonio nell'Arte”, (Marriage in Art) and finally seeing it published, gave her even more enthusiasm for her job as a tour guide in the Florentine museums.

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    Chiara Mallardi

    Chiara was born and raised in Florence. She has approached art from many angles, first as a university student at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence where she studied painting and sculpture.
    She also studied history of art, the psychology of art and cultural anthropology at graduate school. Her specialization was on Leonardo da Vinci and the Florentine Renaissance painters; how they interacted with the city, its people and its possible development in all respects.
    These many achievements have showed her how to share this culture and world with other people and to pass on her love for the beauty of Florence and its great stories.

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    Cristina Mariani

    Cristina is a graduate of the University of Florence with a Master's Degree in Art History, focusing on 16th century Florentine Private Art Collections. She also attended the University of Florence Institute of Fine Arts, where she started a PHD on the history of paintings restoration.
    She is a long time lecturer and docent at New York University Villa La Pietra (Florence), on subjects such as the history of the Acton Art Collection and the history of the Italian formal Gardens.
    As a teacher and researcher, she has been collaborating with the Education Department at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, for a long time.
    She is also a licensed tour guide for Florence, Prato, and Siena.
    Cristina is currently researching and studying the history of textiles and costumes, at the Lisio Arte della Seta Foundation in Florence, where she also works as a docent.