FLORENCE — San Marco

This area around the former church and monastery of St Mark holds many of Florence’s artistic treasures in its museums and churches. This area covers Piazza della Liberta to the north and Cimitero degli Inglesi to the east.

The sights to visit in this area are:
Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia
Chiesa della SS Annunziata
Cimitero Degli Inglesi
Galleria dell’Accademia
Museo Archeologico
Museo di San Marco
Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia
This isn’t a popular tourist spot but is worth visiting because of an entire wall covered with the beautiful and colourful Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno.
For further information visit the website at: http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/apollonia

Chiesa della SS Annunziata

Chiesa della SS Annunziata
This church found in the very pretty square of the same name contains some frescos by Castagno, Perugino, del Sarto and Pontormo.

Cimitero Degli Inglesi
You will find in this Protestant cemetery, east of the city the grave of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Statue of David

Galleria dell’Accademia
This Gallery is home to possibly the most famous statue in the world, Michelangelo’s David which was transferred here from Piazza della Signoria in 1873. There are other sculptures by Michelangelo: Prigioni (prisoners or slaves) series and the statue of San Matteo (St Matthew). In the adjacent rooms, which were part of two former convents, you will find important works of art collected here in the 19th century, including works from Botticelli and a triptych by Andrea Orcagna. Because of the popularity of this gallery you may have to queue sometimes for hours.
For more information visit the website at: http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/accademia

Traveller's Tip

If you want to avoid the long queues buy your tickets in advance online.

Museo Archeologico
The Archaeological Museum contains one of the most important collections of Etruscan art in the world. It is housed in the Palazzo della Crocetta, which was built for the Grand Duchess Maria Madalena of Austria in 1620, probably by Giulio Parigi. It was established in 1870, and housed in the current building in 1880. It contains Egyptian collections, which are the most important in Italy after those of Turin. The museum’s most famous work is the bronze Greek statue known as the Idolino. Displayed in the Bronze Gallery are three large Etruscan bronzes — the statue of Minerva, the famous Wounded Chimera of Bellerophon, from the 5th century BC, and the Harranguer, a monumental funerary statue from the 3rd century. You will also find a treasure trove of ancient gold jewellery and Greek pottery in some of the other sections.
For more information about the museum see the website at: http://www.firenzemusei.it/00_english/archeologico/index.html

Museo di San Marco

Museo di San Marco
This museum occupies a vast area of the Dominican convent of San Marco. Here you will find the paintings and frescoes of Fra Angelico, one of the great artists of the Renaissance. There is also an important collection of 16th century paintings including numerous works by Fra Bartolomeo. The museum has a section devoted to fragments of sculpture and architecture from buildings of the city centre which were demolished in the 19th century.
To find out more information visit the website at: http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/sanmarco

Opificio delle Pietre Dure
This museum was established in the 16th century as a workshop for Florentine craftsmen who had perfected the art of ‘pietre dure’, piecing together cut pieces of precious and semi-precious stones in an inlay process. It was transferred to its present home in 1796. It still continues its tradition of executing and restoring mosaics made from ‘pietra dura’. The collection in this museum is small but the pieces are of a very high standard.
To find out further information about this museum you can visit the website at: http://www.firenzemusei.it/00_english/opificio/index.html.

‘Pietra dura’ is a highly skilled craft where stones are used to create scenes and boldly colored intricate designs in everything from cameos and tabletops to never-fade stone ‘paintings’ giving a 3D effect. Souvenir shops all over town sell modern ‘pietre dure’ items but a lot of it is mass-produced junk. The best contemporary master of this craft is Ilio de Filippis, whose workshop is called Pitti Mosaici.
Information about this shop is found at: http://www.pittimosaici.com