italian art

Institute Galilei

The Galilei Institute is one of the most prestigious among the Italian language and culture schools in Italy for foreigners.

Our school of Italian language was established in 1985, in the centre of Florence, with the aim of providing high quality linguistic services to private people and multi-national companies in need to learn the basics as well as to improve the Italian language up to the highest levels in little time. That is the reason why the Institute Galilei specializes in one-to-one and small group courses with max. 4 participants per class.

After only a few years, the quality of our courses, the reliability of the programs, and the rigorous attention to the individual and her/his linguistic needs allowed us to establish a reputation for meeting the needs of some of the leading companies of the world, many of which have become our steady customers.

Today, the school also offers one-to-one and small group courses in Italian culture such as art history, Italian cooking, and drawing & painting (taught in Italian, English, and on request in other languages). These courses complete the services of the Institute Galilei allowing a practical and immediate approach not only to the Italian language but also to the main aspects of the Italian culture.

Institute Galilei


italian art

Discover Florence: The Vasarian Corridor

Vasarian Corridor

One of the most memorable thing you can do in Florence is to visit Vasari Corridor. Some people do not understand where this wonderful secret corridor of the Medici family is. In fact it is not simply visible and it is also not simply accessible for security reasons.

The Vasari Corridor is an enclosed private passageway long approximately 1km built in 1565 in just five months by order of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. The total design is planned by Giorgio Vasari, from which the corridor has taken its name.

Painting gallery

Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici has ordered to build this passage at the time of the wedding between his son Francesco I de’ Medici and Johanna of Austria. He especially wanted to be able to move freely between his residence, Pitti Palace, and the government palace, Palazzo Vecchio. In fact, since he had replaced the Republic of Florence, he felt insecure in public. The meat market on the bridge Ponte Vecchio was then replaced by goldsmith shops (that still occupy the bridge until now) to avoid its smell reaching into the passage.

On the other side of the Arno, the corridor passes over the loggiato of the church of Santa Felicita until it finally reaches the Boboli gardens and the apartments in Pitti Palace. The secret passageway contains over 1000 paintings, all dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as the important collection of Self-portraits by the greatest Masters of Western Art, like Giorgio Vasari, Andrea del Sarto, Bernini, Canova, Delacriox, Chagal and many others.

The Vasari Corridor can only be visited through guided tours organized by travel agencies and the costs are a little bit expensive. However, it will surely be worth the visit!

If you want to visit the Vasarian Corridor with a private guide, check out our Guided Visits in Florence!

italian art

Art history in Florence: The Brancacci Chapel

Located in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, the Brancacci Chapel (the “Cappella Brancacci”) it’s a richely-decorated Chapel, also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance” for its painting cycle, which follows a precise narrative line.

Mostly decorated by Felice Brancacci, Masolino da Panicale, Masaccio and Filippo Lippi, the Chapel features famous mural paintings like the Masaccio’s “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” and “Payment of the Tribute money”. This last painting is the most famous of the Chapel, also because of its innovative representation of Jesus as a human, with the same height of the disciples.

Masaccio’s technique, with its scientific perspective, unified lighting, use of  “chiaroscuro” and natural figures, was one of the most important influence for the new Renaissance style.

A visit to the Santa Maria del Carmine church and Cappella Brancacci can be included in the Art History course at Institute Galilei, or in our guided visits of Florence.

italian art

Italian modern painters: Valentino Monticello

Nowadays, everyone’s personal expression can be free with Art: drawings, paintings, sculptures created with all kinds of material.

Developing a personal style is something that can make an artist’s name last for the ethernity: that’s what the Maestros from Renaissance teached to our era with their masterpieces and what contemporary and modern artists keep in mind to make of their artworks always something special.

Not just a particular way of painting or drawing, but also the used materials can become a logo of the artist: that’s exactly what we can see in the colourful and original works of Valentino Monticello.

The Italian-native artist grew up literally into his profession – his family run a hotel where he was brought up between food and wine – Valentino worked for many years as sommelier in prestigious London’s restaurants. He was continuoulsy exposed to wines from all over the world and at the highest levels (like Bordeaux and Burgundy) and was working all night long to his other biggest passion: Art. Since the beginning, his work has been always prestigious.

His personal unique style came out when he obtained his first commission as artist: he should have done a common mural painting but – surprise – he ended up doing a wonderful collage using the most obvious tool of his trade: wine labels. By cutting out and an arranging the labels in incredible detail he created a fascinating scene which brightened up the lives of all the residents. It also got Valentino thinking that perhaps his talents could best be employed on this type of art form rather than painting or drawing.

We can easily recognize his particular works: a serie of collages showing detailed scenes, with people, flowers, where drawing and painting are not involved at all; wine labels are the absolute starrings.

In his collages you can often find also a strong symbolism coming from the world of Opera, his third passion. Valentino carefully looked through many different Opera scores to find references relating to wine. Once he found a specific scene, he would illustrate it using wine labels from the country where the Opera was set. For example “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini uses only French wine labels. Other Operas are specific to wine regions for example Il viaggio a Reims by Gioachino Rossini features only Burgundy Wine Labels.

Thanks to his original style, he had the chance to expose in some of the most important art galleries like Ergon and National Gallery in London.

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Art as a passion and life-style, where developing personal features will let you express your soul. The Institute Galilei offers drawing & painting courses held by experienced and innovative artists.

The Institute Galilei also offers Wine Tasting individual and small group programs, held directly in a famous restaurant of Florence by a professional sommelier. To have more informations, please send and e-mail to