HOW TO BE A CREATIVE TOURIST IN FLORENCE by Raffaella Monaco

Beautiful and historic Florence is one of the most popular destinations in the world, one of those places you need to visit at least once in your life. To make the most out of your visit, you should experience Florence (or any other destination in Italy or abroad) as a creative tourist. But what does that mean exactly? Creative Tourism is a new generation of tourism that involves travellers and locals, by offering visitors the opportunity to actively participate in courses and learning experiences that are characteristic of the destination.

Why Florence?

If you want to be more than a tourist and discover Italian culture by experiencing it, Florence is the perfect destination for a learning vacation. It is one of the most liveable places, as it is a relatively small city where you can move around easily without means of transport. Despite its size, the city is filled with remarkable architecture and art, amazing museums, interesting events, lively restaurants and friendly locals.

Hidden gems off the beaten path

The most famous spots certainly deserve a visit. These include the Duomo and the huge cupola by Brunelleschi, the Uffizi Gallery, San Lorenzo Market, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria.

If you are looking for hidden gems in Florence, there are many surprising things to see and do off the beaten path.Giardino Bardiniis a beautiful Renaissance garden with amazing views of Florence, baroque staircases and a fragrant wisteria tunnel. Founded in 1221 by Dominican friars, Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novellais one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It once used the herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medications and balms. Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is a market for locals, so here you will find the best of genuine food and authentic antiques. Another unusual place to visit is La Specola, one of the earliest museums of science inaugurated in 1775. It contains a vast collection of taxidermized animals and the world’s largest collection of anatomical waxes. If you want to admire some of the treasures and interesting collections of the Medici family, head over to Museo degli Argenti (Silverworks museum)

Art & Craft Courses

As the birthplace of the Renaissance and of countless artists, Florence is an obvious choice for art lovers. If you want to enrich your visit here, you can sign up for an art course. You can choose from a variety of programs, such as Painting, Sculpture, Mosaic and Gilding Courses. In Florence you can also sign up for Art Restoration courses to learn how to return old books, paintings and furniture back to their former glory.

Firenze is the town where many of the top Made-in-Italy fashion brands were founded, like Gucci and Ferragamo, and is home to century-old family generations excelling in shoemaking and leatherwork. If you love crafts and fashion, you can combine your visit with your favourite interest. Examples are leatherwork, shoemaking, handmade bags, jewellery design and sewing courses.

The courses are hands-on and taught by local master artisans concerned with maintaining Italian artistic traditions alive.

About the author: Raffaella Monaco is a blog and social media manager at Studiainitalia, a specialized agency in Creative Tourism. It organizes art, craft, cooking and Italian language courses, with or without accommodation, all over Italy.

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