Virtual Florence: Treasures of Art and Architecture

8 week course: 16th April - 4th June 11.00AM

We are delighted to announce our new 8-week course, combining lectures by specialist art historian and National Gallery lecturer Siân Walters, with guided walks and live museum visits in Florence with expert Florentine guide and art historian, Lucia Montuschi. Both lectures and visits are live and interactive, allowing you to ask questions.  Siân and Lucia are known for their informative but informal approach, combining erudite commentary with an entertaining and approachable delivery.  Live visits include a guided tour of the Strozzi Palace with its director Dr Arturo Galansino, and there will also be a special guest lecture by bestselling author Ross King

The lessons, streamed on Zoom Webinar, will enable you to gain special access to sites and galleries in Florence which are currently difficult to visit, providing a wonderful opportunity to travel virtually from home. Our visits will also support both galleries and individuals working in the cultural sector whose activities have been affected by the current pandemic. A percentage of the course price is also reserved for supporting other cultural institutions in the city in need of assistance.

The course explores the development of Florentine art, architecture and sculpture within its historical and sociological context, with a special focus on Medici patronage. The lectures are organised thematically - each session is structured around one or two different subjects such as humanism and the rise of secular patronage; the role of artist monks such as Fra Angelico; the theme of the Last Supper in Florentine painting, and sculpture and rivalry during the quattrocento  We will explore Botticelli’s mythologies, Ghiberti’s Baptistery Doors, Benozzo Gozzoli’s frescoes in the Medici Chapel and Brunelleschi’s great dome of Florence Cathedral as well as less familiar works.

Live from Florence sessions. These will combine live, guided walks through the city with exclusive museum visits.   We use the most up-to-date technology to provide you with the best possible virtual experience. You will feel as though you are exploring the city yourself with the running commentary given by our expert guide. Here is a sample of one of our guided walking tours:

"Banking on traditions" The first part of our walk focuses on the economic power of Florence during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We start from the Piazza Santa Maria Novella where we can admire the splendid church façade by Alberti, a manifesto of Renaissance architecture, commissioned by one of the leading merchant families in Florence, the Rucellai. We will zoom in on the astronomical instruments on the façade which remind us the institution of the Gregorian calendar and the invention of the leap year. From here we walk towards the magnificent Via Tornabuoni where we learn about wealthy families such as the Strozzi and the Antinori, passing through the courtyards of their majestic palaces. During the second part of our tour we will gain exclusive access to the Casa Buonarroti, once Michelangelo’s home and now a museum dedicated to the life and work of this great Tuscan artist. Highlights include the two famous reliefs in marble made by the young Michelangelo whilst under Medici patronage: the Madonna of the Stairs and the Battle of the Centaurs.

Our other walks will take us to the Cathedral and Baptistery, the San Lorenzo square, the Santissima Annunziata square and Brunelleschi’s Innocenti orphanage, and much more. It is not possible to confirm which gallery visits will be included at this stage, owing to Florentine museum regulations during different stages of lockdown which we cannot, regrettably, predict for the Spring months. However please rest assured that we have a number of exciting confirmations in hand which we will be able to confirm as the course progresses. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi will certainly be included as will the Casa Buonarroti and an introduction to the Strozzi Palace with its director Dr Arturo Galansino.

(Please note - the walks will be different from our event in Florence on 25th March, so there will be no cross-over if you wish to attend this in addition to our Florence course)

We are also delighted that the award-winning author Ross King will join us for a special guest talk. Among his books are Brunelleschis Dome (2000), Leonardo and The Last Supper (2012) and Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743 (2015). His recent publication The Bookseller of Florence (2021) has received outstanding reviews.

Live streamed lectures are on Friday mornings and all sessions run from 11.00 - 12.45.(UK time). Tune in from anywhere in the world or enjoy a recorded version if you cannot watch live. A link to the recording will be sent soon after the end of the session if you cannot watch live, enabling you to watch on catch up later that evening or during the weekend. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live, and it is not possible to purchase a recording after booking has closed.

Each session will last approximately 1 hour 45 minutes including a short break and two question/answer sessions. Students will be provided with full course outline and a suggested reading list/online resources approximately one week in advance of the start date - these will be sent by email.  Attendee numbers are limited.

Please refer to the Further Information panel below for more details. The cost includes museum entrance fees and donations. A full course outline with all our confirmed visits will be emailed to all attendees one week before the course begins.


Further Information


1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book This Course/Event” button on the right hand side now, fill in the online booking form and pay online. Please use a UK account/card (if you are paying using a non-UK account/card please email us to arrange alternative payment methods). You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £120 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants. The fee includes "virtual visit" fees to sites visited as well as donations to cultural institutions in Florence in need of support.


Download ZOOM once you have booked - please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully. 


You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link - please keep this safely.

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under and at least 45 minutes before the event begins, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders.


Join the event at least ten minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You will be contacted after the event has been broadcast with instructions on how to watch on catch up later that evening or during the weekend. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live.

You do not need to advise us if you can't participate live, don't worry!

Bookings close the day before the course begins.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each event that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don't worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you the recording


  • Live, guided walking tours of Florence
  • Lectures with specialist art historian
  • Exclusive virtual access to museums and galleries in Florence, included in price
  • Interactive Q&A



To book, please complete our online booking form.

Book this course / event

If you have any questions regarding the course or booking please send us an email

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