Passing through the Tuscan countryside, with its hilltop towns surrounded poppy-peppered fields, grape vines and olive groves, stand romantic ruins – long-abandoned farmhouses and villas, their sandstone blocks crumbling back into the earth from whence they came, wild ivy slowly swallowing these once-majestic homes.
These are the images that postcards, coffee table books, and many a dream are made from.
But as romantic and charming as ancient ruins may be, these are not images that Florence’s charming city centre wishes to become.
In order to maintain the amazing must-see sights of Florence in good condition, Palazzo Vecchio – a great place to visit in Florence itself- has established a unique way to restore and maintain Florence’s great artworks, with a competition for private-sponsorship.
Florence has a history dating back to Roman times, and some of its buildings have stood for almost 1000 years, whilst ask a local about ‘new’ buildings in Florence and you are likely to be referred to buildings that still have some 200 years or more!
Over such a long and interesting history, Florence has accumulated over 300 buildings which have been granted heritage status. Added to this list are the 160 artworks around the city.
So if you’re looking for an unusual gift idea, something for the man or woman who has everything, you might want to think about adopting an ancient Florentine building, or even something a tad more modest like a bust sculpted by a famous Renaissance artist.
Florence’s mayor, Matteo Renzi, has also implemented new restoration and protection laws, whereby owners and management of historic buildings can be fined for not maintaining up-keep and protecting the buildings from graffiti and the like.
Added to this are tough new measures towards public vandalism, after several Roman treasures were damaged either in acts of vandalism or where visitors tried to take an extra valuable souvenir!
There was also the happy-ending story of how many Japanese tourists who had written their names for ‘good luck’ on the Florence’s magnificent Duomo were tracked down by fellow tourists and made to pay, or return to Florence to remove the graffiti. Some students were expelled or suspended from schools and even one teacher fired for having vandalised Florence’s historical monument.
Artviva’s Original Florence Walk, a guided tour of Florence with an expert guide, includes visits to two of Florence’s oldest buildings, and tells fascinating stories about their amazing history. Many other must-see sights in Florence are also covered in this guided city walk tour.
To explore Rome’s amazing historical city centre packed with great historical must-see sites such as The Coliseum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, we have small-group Rome guided tours with a great tour guide, and guided small-group, skip-the-line tour of the Vatican where you can see more classic artworks in the Vatican Museum with a great tour guide. To see the sites of Venice with a great tour guide, we have 4 great Venice tours added into one unique Venice tours discount package.
You can also visit charming hilltop towns of Siena and San Gimignano and Monteriggioni on our Best of Tuscany small-group tour. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence, immerse yourself in the Tuscan wine-producing countryside, enjoy a wine tasting and cellar visit, and be part of the scenery that has inspired so many great artists. Our small-group Best of Tuscany tour visits Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, as well as stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning Tusvan villa wine estate.
Getting to the surrounding Tuscan countryside from Florence is but a short and delightful drive. If you would like to have a private guide accompanying you, we have private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about our Florence private tours, private Rome tours, Venice tours with a private tour guide, the best private guides in Cinque Terre , Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.
For more information on the Florence adopt-an-artwork/monument in Florence, see www.comune.fi.it.