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by Federica Costanzo.

 

 

"Valentina was so excited and positive. It can be seen that she really loves it and she knows it perfectly. I'm so glad that I paid for the tour and I'm very glad it was with her as a guide." - Petra, October 2018 

To be born in Tuscany and to live within arm's reach from its landscape has developed in me a deep passion for nature. 

The Italian landscape has been redesigned and nurtured from the Renaissance time, but it is especially in the art of gardens that artists exceeded expectations and created an eternal masterpiece: the Italian garden. 

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I have a thing for garden design. I am no Medici but I loved gardens as much as the family did. I studied how the looks of the Boboli Gardens have changed in time and what plants and flowers they collected in their beautifully designed park. We will walk and wander in the Boboli gardens, the private park of Pitti Palace, which was the residence of the Medici family from the Renaissance time to the end of the dynasty. The garden planning changed with the taste of Medicis during the centuries. But I will teach you not only the history of Boboli gardens, but also the the key element of the Renaissance architectural gardens and how to recreate on a smaller scale the armony of their design and the richness of the botanical collections.

Cooking is a science in itself, it is up to the cook to make it an art – said the great Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi. In Italy we think that cooking, eating and drinking is, not only an art, but a way of life. I believe that the typical culinary tradition of Florence is a good start if you want to learn about our culture, surely as good as history, maybe even tastier.  

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This is a tour of Florence that finally gives credit to the women that shape the history of the city. Were they protagonists of their time? Or victims? How did they live during the Renaissance time? I am going to tell you the stories of the Medici women, those who had power to influence the course of history and also those who were trampled by the chauvinist world they lived in. Walking in the center of Florence I will try to give voices to women rulers, women artists, women who happened to be inspiring muses of the painters and sculptors of the Renaissance. As an historian I would like to look back in time to share with others the stories of past women that history – how providentially for us! – has failed to erase.

Art history is the beginning and the end of my professional life. After my academic studies I decided that most of all I wanted to share with others the knowledge of the artistic heritage. My work experience in leading custom tours has enabled me to promote the hidden treasures of Florence, as much as the famous collections, and to encourage engaging museum experiences. 

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What colours used Botticelli to paint his famous "Birth of Venus"? How did Michelangelo used a brush? How much did Leonardo spend for his paintings? In this journey through art history, colour is the protagonist, in every shade possible. Jumping from one book to the other on the argument I didn't only enrich my knowdlege of Renaissance artists, but I also came to believe that colours are a fun approach to art! We are surrounded by colours and our perception of them is the perfect way to start the experience of art. These strange materials can - under the hand of skilled artists - turn a piece of wood into a painting...into a masterpiece. Still they are powerful symbols and have countless different meanings today as in the past times.