Italian language and cultural school for foreigners
Painting with a view of Florence
In the cradle of the Renaissance

Art history courses

The art history courses are organised in cycles of at least 10 hours, over two weeks or a month.

For students with no previous experience of art history there will be a two hour introductory lesson.
Classes are held in Italian, all teachers have a degree in art history and a great deal of teaching experience; they are also official tour guides authorised by the City of Florence.

Introduction to art history

2 hours of classroom lectures

Mandatory introductory lesson for those approaching art history for the first time. Entrance fees to museums are not included.

  • From the ancient world to modern times, analysis of the works of art which reflect the time in which they were made: a study of how every work of art reflects the needs of the moment in which it was produced as well as the elite for whom it was made.
  • Introduction to the figure of the artist and how his/her social position changed from simple artisan to intellectual.
  • How to read a work of art: iconography and iconology.

From the Middle ages to the early Renaissance

10 hours - ticket prices around € 25

  • Historical introduction to the Middle Ages.
  • The Medieval man.
  • The great changes that took place in society: the transition from rural life to urbanisation. The great need for spirituality, the idea of ​​the world and the afterlife of this era.
  • The construction of cathedrals.
  • The mendicant orders.
  • Public buildings.
  • Trading relations with the Arab world.
  • Historic, social, economical, and philosophical changes that lead to the birth of a new man.
  • Giotto, Cosimo il Vecchio, Brunellesci, Donatello, Masaccio and the workshop of Ghiberti.

From early Renaissance to late Renaissance

10 hours - ticket prices around € 30

  • The different artistic languages that characterise the Florentine art scene.
  • The artists who follow the most radical and innovative movement...that of Masaccio, Brunelleschi and Donatello.
  • The members of a traditional movement of the late fourteenth century and the movement of moderate artists, in other words those who approached innovation cautiously.
  • The other pole of artistic renewal....The Flemish and their renaissance.
  • The other centres of Italian Renaissance which include Urbino and Piero della Francesca.
  • The art scene in Florence at the end of the fifteenth century.
  • The great workshops: those of Verrocchio, of the Pollaiolos and of the della Robbias.
  • The art of Botticelli, interpreter of a cultured and refined renaissance and the expression of a decadent society that sees in the figure of Lorenzo il Magnifico its political and intellectual representative.

The Cinquecento

10 hours - total cost of the tickets around € 50

  • Painting in Venice: the affirmation of ‘tonal’ painting.
  • Giorgione and Titian and the alternative choices of Sebastiano del Piombo, the artist who combined the innovations of Giorgione and Titian’s painting with the reflection on ancient art.
  • Painting in Venice during the second half of the sixteenth century: Bassano, Tintoretto, Veronese.
  • Leonardo da Vinci: from Florentine beginnings to the Milan season.
  • Leonardo, man of science who expressed the most ancient values of humanism.
  • Michelangelo, from Florentine beginnings to the great Roman season.
  • Michelangelo: painter, sculptor, architect and poet.
  • The great works of Michelangelo for the Medici.
  • Raffaello, from the beginnings in Perugino's workshop to his stay in Florence and to the great Roman season.

Mannerist Art

10 hours - total cost of the tickets around € 50

  • The great legacy of Raffaello, Michelangelo and Leonardo.
  • The spread of a classical and a Mannerist trend.
  • The great figures of Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, Daniele da Volterra and Andrea del Sarto.
  • Refined and cultured art at the court of Cosimo de Medici and in other European courts.
  • Especially Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria: Gianbologna, Cellini and Ammanati.
  • Boboli Gardens: extraordinary example of the Italian garden, result of a refined and intellectual society such as the one of the second half of the sixteenth century.

The Seicento

10 hours - ticket prices around € 28

  • Rome at the beginning of the seventeenth century: capital of the Catholic restoration.
  • The key figures of the renovation of painting in Rome: Caravaggio, from the Lombard beginnings to the season in Rome, the Caracci, from the Academy in Bologna to the Roman setting.
  • Genre painting, the naturalist movement and the classical movement.
  • Caravaggio and his influence.
  • The great Baroque art of Rome and the painting of the seventeenth century in the rest of Europe: Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Rubens, etc.
  • Florentine painting of the seventeenth century.

Thematic courses of history of art

5 hour courses (covering different periods of art history)

Lessons will be between an hour and an hour and a half, according to the topic.


  • The Medici: story of a dynasty that made art its instrument of power. Visit to Palazzo Medici, Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio.
    Ticket prices around € 30.
  • Potions and poisons, alchemy and art in Florence of the past. Visit to the age-old Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, Francesco I's studio, a place of wonders and visit to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (semi-precious stones plant).
    Ticket prices around € 14.
  • The history and evolution of costumes. Visit to the Costume Museum in Palazzo Pitti.
    Total cost of the tickets around € 10.
  • History and evolution of footwear. Visit to the Ferragamo museum.
    Ticket prices around € 6.
  • History of cooking and mealtimes, as seen and told through paintings. Tuscan cooking workshops and visit to the market of San Lorenzo and/or historical Pegna shop.
  • History of Renaissance Florence: what life was like in the city of Humanism. Visit to the Davanzati Museum and the Horne Museum.
    Ticket prices around € 9.
  • Paintings with gold backgrounds and their history. Visit to a workshop of artisans who use gold leaf.
  • History of sculpture. Visit to the Bargello Museum, at Piazza della Signoria and to the Marino Marini Museum.
    Total cost of the tickets around € 10.
  • History of the fresco and the great cycles of frescoes to be found in Florence. Visit to the church of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Trinita Church.
    Ticket prices around € 5.

It is also possible to request single-subject lessons (5 hours) on: Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and other artists.

Enrolment in Art History courses

Registration is valid for one year and includes the accommodation search service, a few cultural activities, any teaching materials and the certificates.