A path of precious stones: Florence and its materials
Florence, the city of stone.
So it was often called, for the richness and variety of its stone and marble.
A short stroll through the streets of the historic center will lead us to the discovery of the materials used in the construction and decoration of churches and palaces and will unveil, through their sometimes eccentric results, the prudent thriftiness of the stonemasons of the past who never wasted or discarded their materials.
We will repeatedly encounter the near symbiotic relationship that the leading Florentine artists had with the materials of their immortal works.
There will also be two essential stops along our path of stones: the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the still-functioning grand-ducal manufacturing legacy of the Sixteenth Century, and the incredibly sumptuous Medici mausoleum, the Chapel of the Princes.
Our journey will conclude with a visit to one of the only surviving Commesso Fiorentino workshops where the masters of this superlative form of mosaic work that has been called "painting with stone" will demonstrate the tools and techniques of their ancient and precious craft that is in peril of extinction.
Photo courtesy: Paola Barbetti Bohm
Florentine by birth, Paola lives in one of the most ancient neighborhoods in the heart of the city. A university-trained expert in history and Italian and European art history, she was licensed in 2011 as a tourist guide for Florence and the province.