Square of Signoria in Florence at sunrise, Italy

Sites Visited

Piazza della Signoria

Church of Orsanmichele

Tower-house neighborhood


We will start our lecture with the Palazzo and Piazza della Signoria which were the great political nerve centers of the Medieval Republic. The architecture of the palace and the sculptures within the piazza each reflect the political history of Florence. We will examine the major aspects of this art, architecture and history within the great urban space.

We will then continue on to the grain-market-turned-church of Orsanmichele. Here we will view the unique Gothic architecture, as well as some of the most important sculptures of the Early Renaissance. These sculptures were commissioned by the omnipotent guilds of Florence to artists such as Donatello and Ghiberti to express the individual guild’s status and wealth in the city.

The Cathedral of Florence, named Santa Maria del Fiore, is the religious center of the great medieval city. For two centuries, it was the largest church in Christendom. It is situated by one of the oldest and most important monuments in Florence – the Baptistery of St. John.
We will explore the vast architecture of the Cathedral and analyze the engineering marvels that made this structure and Brunelleschi’s great crowning dome possible.

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