Welcome to Hidden Florence. This website accompanies a free smartphone app that invites you to experience Renaissance Florence through the eyes of five contemporary characters. Each guide takes you on a unique walking tour through the city’s rich past, linking the sites you visit to stories from their own lives and times.
With the app, you navigate Florence toggling between a modern and a superbly detailed sixteenth-century map. On this website, you can read about each guide and the places they take you (‘Stories’), discover more about the project team (‘About’), and find out how we designed the characters (‘Blog’).
Our guide characters are:
Cosimo: Master of Florence, 1459
First citizen or godfather? Cosimo de’ Medici takes you through the city he’s spent a lifetime trying to make his own.
Niccolosa: Saints and Sinners, 1492
Explore Florence’s sacred foundations with Niccolosa Alessandri as the city faces an uncertain future after the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Marietta: City of Women, 1561
Join Marietta as she traces her journey from the city orphanage to life as a silk weaver.
Ercole: Crime and Punishment, 1566
From the torture chamber to the gallows, Ercole shows you how justice was done in the Renaissance city.
The app and website have been written by an international team of researchers and is a collaboration between the universities of Exeter, Cambridge and Toronto, with project partners at the National Gallery (London), Polo Museale della Toscana and Firenze Patrimonio Mondiale (UNESCO). You can watch a short film about the making of the original Hidden Florence here:
Hidden Florence was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) through the University of Exeter, is led by Prof Fabrizio Nevola and produced by Calvium. Read more about the project, news coverage and the research team in ‘About’.