Join me for a wonderful day discovering the Jewish heritage of Florence and the highlights of the two main museums, the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia, without getting overwhelmed by all the incredible history and art there is to experience. Our first stop will be Florence’s magnificent Synagogue, dating back from the end of the 19th century. As I take you through the adjacent museum, you will learn about the Jewish population of Florence that existed here since the Middle Ages. From the center of Jewish life, we will make our way to the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, a small museum that provides a more intimate feeling as we view Michelangelo’s original David. The statue was originally located in Piazza Signoria, but was brought to this gallery in 1873, and given a much needed cleaning with the help of special restoration technology in 2004 to celebrate his 500th birthday.
Our next stop during this full day Florence tour will be the main Cathedral of Florence, also called the Duomo. We will stop in front of one of the bronze doors of the Baptistery building to see the Gates of Paradise (now a replica), illustrating the crucial chapters of the Tanach in its ten panels, cast by Lorenzo Ghiberti with incredible mastery. As we head toward the Uffizi Gallery, we will walk through Piazza Repubblica where the old Jewish ghetto was once located, later dismantled during the Italian unification. I can also show you some inscriptions in Via delle Oche which refer to two Synagogues that originally stood in this location. It is time for the Uffizi - now a public museum –it was once a private collection to be visited upon invitation of the Medici family. They have been creating the collection from at least 1584 and today the Uffizi houses one of the most precious painting collections in the world featuring Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio. After visiting the Uffizi, we will walk across Ponte Vecchio, the most famous bridge, in whose proximity the earliest Jewish settlement was located, unfortunately destroyed during WWII.