Flourishing Florence


Flourishing Florence

Discover the fruits of Medici-era Florence with art historian Alexandra Lawrence and calligrapher Betty Soldi, learning about the family’s humanist legacy and applying its principles in a calligraphy class.

Using the Santo Spirito Church as your springboard, you’ll delve into the history of Oltrarno, the Florentine equivalent of the Rive Gauche. Drawing on her wealth of knowledge, Alexandra will guide you round key renaissance artworks inside, painting a picture of the Medici’s influence in the development of Florentine artistry. After taking you through a bloom-filled private garden, she’ll drop you at Betty’s secret modern calligraphy studio, where you’ll get to put humanist principles into practice.

To Book

call smith24 1 800 464 2040

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From €500 for 2 people

Alexandra Lawrence and Betty Soldi

Your insider

Alexandra Lawrence and Betty Soldi

Art historian and calligrapher

Born in Alabama and raised in California, art historian Alexandra Lawrence moved to Florence as a graduate to study Italian Literature. She then embarked on an 800-hour odyssey through the city’s art and history – the necessary journey for becoming a licensed guide. She's the former editor of The Florentine magazine and lectures on contemporary Italian culture at several local universities. Renowned calligrapher Betty Soldi is a Florentine native, born into a family that has been hand-making fireworks since 1860. She runs a creative design consultancy and has worked with leading brands and luxury labels, producing everything from packaging to luxury stationery. She co-owns three boutique B&Bs in Oltrarno, and is the author and designer of Inskpired: Creating Calligraphy.

Delve into the history of Oltrarno, the humanist heart of Florence.

3 hours
Start Time
Tours run between the hours of 10:00 and 10:00
Call our travel specialists 24/7 on 1 800 464 2040 or contact us to find availability
Where you'll go
You’ll start your tour at the Santo Spirito Church, a quintessential renaissance building full of important artwork, including Michaelangelo’s crucifix. Once you’ve finished at the church, you’ll wander through a set of private gardens opposite the entrance to the renowned Boboli Gardens – another Medici creation. It’s here that Alexandra will hand over to Betty, who’ll take you to her studio, hidden in the orangery of a private garden.
What you'll sample
Alexandra will guide you round the Santo Spirito Church, explaining key renaissance artworks and the patronage of the powerful Medici family. After the church, you’ll learn about the importance of humanism in the city’s development, most notably the neighbourhood of Oltrarno, the bastion of craftsmanship and artisanal pursuits. After meeting Betty, you’ll hole up in her charming studio, applying some of you new-found knowledge in a modern calligraphy session.
Experience location
You’ll be meeting Alexandra near the Santo Spirito Church; we’ll send the exact location in your confirmation email.