The four–day excursion to Firenze is one of the highlights of every UGA Cortona Italy Studies Abroad program, and gives students opportunities to study the city’s greatest masterworks in person.
The first stop on the itinerary is the internationally renowned Galleria degli Uffizi, a massive former office building built for Cosimo I de’Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Uffizi now houses thousands of the greatest works of Italian art, including The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael, The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello, and The Venus of Urbino by Titian.
Students and faculty also tour the collection of the Galleria dell’Accademia (Gallery of the Academy), and its central presentation of Michelangelo’s David. The Accademia also includes Michelangelo’s compelling Prisoners, and a large collection of Renaissance painting and sculpture.
The Museo Nazionale del Bargello also contains key sculptural works from the Renaissance, most notably a stylistically different version of David by Donatello. The museum’s extensive collection also features masterworks in ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, and textiles.
The Bargello presents two relief versions of The Sacrifice of Isaac, one made by Fillipo Brunelleschi and another by Lorenzo Ghiberti, both in pursuit of the commission to design the eastern doors of the Battistero di San Giovanni; Ghiberti ultimately became the creator of “The Gates of Paradise.”
Walking is the best way to see Firenze, and UGA Cortona students and faculty visit many more culturally and historically sites as they explore the city. These include Orsanmichele, Piazza della Signoria (with its Loggia dei Lanzi sculpture gallery), Piazza San Marco, Sant’Apollonia (with its Last Supper by Andrea del Castangno), and Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine (with its Cappella Brancacci chapel frescoes by Masaccio).
UGA Cortona faculty members organize additional site visits during the Firenze excursion, ones specifically designed to highlight course material presented in class. These differ from program to program, but in the past faculty have lead trips to the Palazzo Pitti museums, Museo Galileo, Palazzo Strozzi, Basilica di Santa Trìnita, Santa Felicita, and Forte di Belvedere.