Thursday, 3 May 2012 2:44 PM
Art is among the subjects that most benefits from learning outside the classroom, particularly if you take your students to one of Europe's great cultural centres. Florence fits the bill perfectly, as its galleries house some of the world's most famous artworks.
Using a school trip to Italy to tour the museums of this beautiful Tuscan city will be a memorable experience for your group. Not only will they be inspired by paintings and sculptures produced by some of the masters, they can also see how art influenced architecture in many of Florence's historic buildings.
Wandering the streets of the city centre is an education in itself, as there are churches, palaces and old houses at almost every turn. You will need an itinerary though, as there are some attractions art students will not want to miss.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world's best art museums, thanks to its diverse array of important works. The collection was originally based on pieces commissioned or bought by the Medici family, but has been augmented regularly over the past 100 years.
It has the finest selection of Renaissance works on the planet, with paintings by Da Vinci, Titian, Lippi, Botticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo on display, while there are also a number of pieces by the Dutch, Flemish and German masters. Spend your tour of the gallery pointing out the different techniques and styles used, or ask your students to sketch some of the masterpieces.
Accademia di Belle Arti
This gallery was originally intended to showcase works from the attached art school, but since 1873 it has been better known as the home of the original statue of David by Michelangelo. It is still on display here, and having the opportunity to see and draw one of the world's great sculptures is a real treat.
Don't ignore the rest of the Accademia collection, as it features some magnificent Gothic polyptychs, a display of Russian icons and sculptures by Pampaloni and Bartolini. There are also paintings by Uccello, Del Sarto and Botticelli.
Previously the residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and the King of Italy, the Pitti Palace is now a number of art museums. The Gallery of Modern Art features a collection of works from the Macchiaioli movement, while the Palatine Gallery has 500 pieces by leading Renaissance painters, and the Royal Apartments showcase the lavish lifestyle the inhabitants used to enjoy.