Tour Florence with Kate, Cultural Historian

Fully-planned day with private guide in Florence
From US$1,526 privately
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Tour Details
8 hours
Product Type
  • Baptistery of St. John
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Museo dell'Opera Del Duomo
  • Church of San Miniato al Monte
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Florentine artisans
  • Florence Duomo
Photos & Highlights
  • A scholarly day in Florence, highlighted by unforgettable views from its hillsides and gardens; visits to the city’s most ancient monuments and churches; a glimpse into Florentine artisan traditions; and a tour of the Duomo Museum.
  • Led by Kate, cultural historian and Florence private guide
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Tour Description
Meet Kate, your private guide to the charms of Florence. As a local professor and licensed guide with a passion for Renaissance history and culture, she has been offering tours with Context since 2018. 

Her post-graduate thesis led her into the fascinating world of fifteenth-century Florence, since then she has published extensively as an academic, a critic, and a journalist. She has a particular interest in the interconnections between art, architecture, and music in medieval and Renaissance Florence, and her approach to guiding is interdisciplinary – and fun!
Meet Your Expert
Our journey together begins at the steps of the city’s most ancient church–San Miniato al Monte–its harmonious structure little changed since its founding in 1018. Here, we explore all the different techniques of Florentine art (mosaic, fresco, panel-painting, sculpture, intarsia) and learn how the monks still live, work and sing plainchant in the adjoining monastery. From there, we will stroll downhill to the famous Piazzale Michelangelo – a memorable vantage point from which to appreciate the beauty of Florence and its natural setting.  We listen to the extraordinary life and achievements of Michelangelo while admiring an imposing bronze version of his statue of David, and copies of four of his other works.  

Kate will lead us on a tour of the nearby rose gardens which offer a breathtaking panoramic view of the neighborhood, as we make our way to the San Niccolò area for a coffee.  We then follow the river, cross over to the north bank, and linger at the Maison de Parfum AcquaFlor to discover the ancient Florentine art of perfumery.  From there we will explore the history of the Basilica of Santa Croce and its great piazza, and then wander through the curved alleys where the footprint of the ancient Roman amphitheater can be seen.  

Following a pause for lunch with Kate, we venture into Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of Florence. Here we will learn about the socio-political history of the city as we take in some of its greatest civic architecture and sculptural monuments, including Palazzo della Signoria and Renaissance statues by Cellini, Giambologna, and Ammannati – all symbols of tremendous political power.

The tour continues as Kate leads us north, via the city’s medieval streets and past its most ancient tower, to the Piazza of the Duomo.  Here, we visit the Museum of the Opera del Duomo, where many of the original works associated with Florence’s Duomo, Bell Tower, and Baptistry are on display.  Here we will examine the original "Gates of Paradise" by Ghiberti;  a late Pietà by Michelangelo, and the building machines and wooden model that Brunelleschi produced when constructing the cathedral’s dome. To close the circle of the tour, we go inside the Baptistry which was built almost contemporaneously with San Miniato al Monte, from which it borrowed many of the same materials, techniques, and symbols. The impressive Byzantine-influenced mosaics of its dome inspired scenes in Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Please Note: As of recently the dome of the Baptistery is under restoration so the mosaics can't be seen. The rest of the structure is visitable, though there is a large scaffolding in the center of the baptistery. Unfortunately, this restoration is said to take several years.
What is included in the itinerary?
Florence Private Guide itineraries include the cost of your time with your private guide and usually include museum or monument entrance tickets.  Lunch and refreshments are at your expense. Accommodation is not included. 

What if I want a different itinerary with this expert?
The published itinerary represents Kate's favorite way to visit Florence, feel free to look at our other offers in Florence if you are looking for something different!

Does Context offer Pre-Travel seminars about Florence?
Yes! Kate would be delighted to meet you virtually, prior to your travel. To explore our available virtual learning options, please click here.

Is this suitable for children and/or travelers with mobility challenges? 
Yes. We can adapt the itinerary based on the ages, needs, and interests of travelers in your party. Please share any mobility concerns with us at the time of booking.

Where do we meet? Where does it end?
Kate's full-day itinerary in Florence will meet at the San Miniato al Monte Church–we recommend taking a taxi to the top of the hill. Our day together concludes near the Florence Duomo. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map.

What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to be prepared; we encourage keeping an eye on the weather and bringing along an umbrella, sunscreen, water, or a hat as needed.

Do you reserve headsets for this tour? 
Depending on your group size, we may be required by the venue to order headsets in which case you’ll see a “Headset Fee” added to your order. If you would like to guarantee headsets for your tour regardless of your group size, please email us and we’ll be happy to get them reserved for you.
Where You'll Start
(5.0) 6 Reviews

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The absolute best guide imaginable. Just as charming and knowledgeable in person as she is in her popular online classes.
Kate was absolutely terrific: super knowledgeable, very flexible, and a great sense of humor. The day was a wonderful treat!!
Kate has an impressive knowledge of Florence and communicates it extremely well. We were enthralled by her descriptions and explanations of the places and artwork. The I-pad illustrations were appreciated in providing better visual context of historical development of the architecture or artwork.