The Florence Academy of Fine Arts was created in 1991, by Daniel Graves. Mr. Graves’ goal was, and continues to be, to provide the highest level of education and attract the most talented artisans and sculptors. He believes that we need to turn back to an artful discipline, our canons of beauty, and re-connect with that solid foundation we learned from the old masters. The Academy’s diversity offers all students from any culture the opportunity to receive incredible training from an international group of professionals. Studying at the academy encourages drawing from the human form as it enhances painting and sculpting skills and helps to add critical humanist values to the work.
Thinking in terms of art alone, you can visit Florence many times, and still not see all it has to offer. Let’s start at The Accademia Gallery, where you will find examples of paintings and sculptures by the great 14th and 15th-century masters who made Florence the capital of art. Next, the Uffizi Gallery was the private collection of Francesco I de’ Medici to which he dedicated the second floor of the building for his enjoyment. His collection became public thanks to Duchess Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici whose will it was that it would be open to the public forever. You can also pick up a tablet video for the Uffizi that allows you to explore on your own, room by room.
There are several reasons that Florence is considered the “home of the Renaissance.” During the 15th century, Florence was not part of Italy as it is today. Florence was initially a Republic in the sense that there was a constitution, limiting the power of both the nobility and laborers. No person or group could have complete political control. Political power resided in the hands of middle-class merchants, a few wealthy families, and the powerful guilds. While the wealthy Medici Family did eventually rule Florence, they were also significant art patrons. There was considerable wealth in the area during the 15th century, and in the Republic of Florence, individual rights and freedoms were revered as ideal.
The Medici family home is now a museum that is a must-see location in Florence. Palazzo Vecchio, once richly decorated rooms, constituted the magnificent residence of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, his wife Eleonora di Toledo, and their eleven children. Another incredibly unique and glorious way to visit Palazzo Vecchio is through the eyes of two actors who portray Giorgio Vasari and Duchess Eleonora of Toledo’s favorite lady-in-waiting, Isabel de Reinoso. They bring the palace and its inhabitants back to life in an unforgettable guided tour.
The academy’s roots come from this period of rebirth that eventually reached all of Europe.
You can visit the lovely Medici Chapels, built as the personal treasure trove of the Medici family in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. It is in front of their residential palace in the Via Larga (presently Via Cavour). San Lorenzo was considered by the Medici as their private church. The chapels are a tremendous tribute to the family’s love of great art.
If you’d like to take a break from the world of masterful arts, we suggest a fun shopping tour that shuttles you from Florence to the Barberino Designer Outlet and back to Florence. The outlet is designed like a Renaissance village with more than 100 stores to pick from, all offering 30 to 70 percent discounts! And, it’s just a short 30-minute trip where you can take in the beauty of the area.
And there is so much more to see and do in Florence, so be sure to visit us regularly for more art, culture, history, and fun!