Florence is renowned for its collections of significant artwork, and visiting the Academia and Uffizi galleries is one way to see some of it. However, travelling with three kids between 5 and 10, we know they would not be fans of spending a few hours strolling quietly through an art gallery. In our three days in Florence, we discovered that there are many other ways to experience Florence’s art.
It’s On The Ground
Wondering the streets of Florence, it is very interesting what you stumble across. There were artists drawing with chalk right in the pavement. Three in a row, asking for donations, which we did because the kids were fascinated with them. We spent ages watching the artists drawing and even revisiting the next day. It took them two full days to compete the drawings. The kids couldn’t believe that afterwards othey would be washed away (it rained on our last day). It was very impressive to watch these artists at work.
It’s In The Laneways
Like many other major cities of the world, there was a lot of typical colourful graffiti art, but in Florence there is some with a bit more style. This one initially looks like some random black and white drawing, however when you look more closely it’s a cleverly drawn abstract map of the city and buildings.
It’s On The Signs
Some art would easily go unnoticed. If you look closely at the street signs many of them were tampered with, a little artistic flair had been added to make them humorous.
It’s On The Doors
Saint John’s Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni) situated next to the main cathedral, has four large gilt bronze doors, three designed by Lorenzo Ghibert. Each of the panels are great works of art, depicting three-dimensional scenes. The originals have been taken down to be conserved, and can be seen in the Museo dell’Opera.
It’s Above You
Under the dome of the duomo, there is a painting of The Last Judgment. This enormous work is so massive you need to climb up the dome to see it close enough for the detail that it holds. The large scene is of hell is at the base, with some very gruesome images, and then scenes from heaven closer to the top. The detail is amazing. The view of the city from the top of the dome is very special as well!
It’s In The Squares
The open air gallery at the Piazza della Signoria includes a copy of Michaelangelo’s David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia). There are also many other very impressive statues to peruse, all easily done while the kids play outdoors without being told off. As great family option.
It’s On The Walls
In the Hall of the Five Hundred at the Palazzo Vecchio huge paintings hang along the walls, mostly of battles between Florence and neighbouring cities. Commissioned by the King of France during the 16th century, they show a very proud history of Florence. The roof is also gilded with so much gold it sparkles!
It’s In Museums
You don’t need to go to the major art galleries to see works by the masters. In the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo there were statues by Donatello and Michelangelo, like Michaelangelo’s Pietà above, one of his last works that he smashed because of an imperfection and left it unfinished.
It’s In The Air and Catchy
As you can see, art is everywhere in Florence, you can’t miss it. The kids were inspired to create their own, like Casper’s “the insect race” below. The insects are racing to the flower at the right of the page, above and underground, with a mushroom obstacle!