Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte
What to expect
Our visit starts from Piazzale Michelangelo, the fascinating terrace overlooking the city. Here, we will narrate the origins of Florence and the most important moments of its history, focusing on its artistic blossoming which led to the construction of the buildings we will observe from above: from the gigantic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and its Cupola to Palazzo Vecchio with its slim tower, the Church of Santa Croce forever bound to the memory of Foscolo, the Medici Chapels and the many other towers and buildings disseminated across the city.
We will then leave the viewpoint and travel further up the hill to discover one of the oldest churches in Florence, still today the centre of a lively religious community: the Church of San Miniato al Monte. While climbing the steep steps leading to the entrance, we will start seeing the front of the church, covered in marbles and a gorgeous mosaic; as we stop to catch our breath, we will start to explore the millenary history of this site and attempt to decipher its mysterious inlays. We are now ready to enter the church and, once our eyes have adapted to the obscurity, we will be welcomed by majestic columns surmounted by powerful capitals supporting a magnificent wooden ceiling. As we walk along the walls we will be greeted by images of the saints and notice an inlaid marble floor where innumerable pilgrims have walked before us.
And there is much more to discover: the centre of the church hosts the Tabernacle designed by Michelozzo and commissioned by Piero dei Medici, father of Lorenzo the Magnificent, where the miraculous crucifix of Saint Giovanni Gualberto was kept; the back of the church instead features the majestic chancel with its alabaster windows, from which a pink light enters the building in the morning. However, the element that captures every visitor’s attention is the fabulous apsidal mosaic depicting the Pantocrator Christ flanked by Mary and Saint Minias.
The sacristy hides another surprise, with its walls fully covered in late medieval mosaics depicting the life and miracles of Saint Benedict, the founder of the religious order that still today inhabits the abbey next to the church. Before leaving, we must visit the holiest place of the church: the crypt conserving the remains of Saint Minias, the first Florentine martyr.
This incredible ancient building opens onto the Cardinale del Portogallo Chapel, a Renaissance masterpiece featuring works by Luca della Robbia, Antonio Pollaiolo, the Rossellino brothers and Alessio Baldovinetti.
Guided tours organized by Icona Toscana are conducted by authorized tour guides.
You can choose the language of your tour between Italian and English. However, on request, we can organize tours with trusted colleagues in the following languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian.
Our guided tours take place regardless of the weather conditions.
For information on our tours, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will reply as soon as possible. If you intend to book one or more tours, we will send you a form to compile with data concerning yourself and/or your group plus information regarding the dates of your stay and any particular needs you may want us to know about.
We require the advance payment of 30% of the total fee via bank transfer or Paypal (with an extra 4% to cover service costs) as guarantee of your confirmation. Once the payment is confirmed, we will send you a voucher featuring a summary of your purchase, including the meeting time and place for your tour.
To cancel the service, please contact us at email@example.com and communicate all details of your booking. From the date of booking up to 20 days before the date of the tour, no cancellation penalty will be applied and any payment will be returned. For cancellations communicated between 2 and 20 days before the visit, the penalty amounts to 30% of the total sum, i.e. the down payment which will not be reimbursed. For cancellations communicated less than 48 hours before the tour, we will require full payment of the service fee.
The payment of the tour guide service can be paid in cash (Euro) directly on the day of your visit, via bank transfer or via PayPal (with a 4% extra to cover service costs). This fee does NOT include entrance tickets and reservation fees for museums, churches, temporary exhibits or special events. The fee for tour guide services is VAT free, pursuant to art. 10 – comma 22 – of Presidential Decree n. 633/72. Regardless of reservations, access to museums may be delayed in periods of increased affluence, and the organizer declines all responsibility for these delays.
If you are interested in different tours and visits than those listed on this website, we can agree the compensation fees and conditions via e-mail.