Florence, the Italian Athens

Saturday, 15 January 2011 - 06:40 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, European Union, General, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage

Michelangelo's David © Rico Heil

Michelangelo’s David © Rico Heil

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 370,000 inhabitants (1.5 in the metropolitan area).

The city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history included periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, religious and republican revolution. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence is often known as the “Jewel of the Renaissance”.

Via de Tornabuoni © Freepenguin

Via de Tornabuoni © Freepenguin

The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its artistic, historic and cultural heritage and impact in the world remains to this day. The city has a major impact in music, architecture, education, cuisine, fashion, philosophy, science and religion. The historic centre of Florence contains elegant squares (piazzas), Renaissance palaces (palazzi), academies, parks, gardens, churches, monasteries, museums, art galleries and ateliers. The city has also been nominated, according to a 2007 study, as the most desirable destination for tourists in the world.

Uffizi Gallery © Chris Wee

Uffizi Gallery © Chris Wee

The city boasts a wide range of collections of art, especially those held in the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi, with over 1.6 million tourists a year. Florence is arguably the last preserved Renaissance city in the world and is regarded by many as the art capital of Italy. It has been the birthplace or chosen home of many notable historical figures, such as Dante, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Niccolò Machiavelli, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo Galilei, Catherine de’ Medici, Luigi Cherubini, Antonio Meucci, Guccio Gucci, Franco Zeffirelli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, and Emilio Pucci.

Santa Maria del Fiore © Arnold Paul

Santa Maria del Fiore © Arnold Paul

Florence is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings. The best-known site and crowning architectural jewel of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. Both the dome itself and the campanile are open to tourists and offer excellent views; the dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world. At the heart of the city, in Piazza della Signoria, is Bartolomeo Ammanati’s Fountain of Neptune (1563–1565), which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Wikitravel Florence, City of Florence, Florence Tourism, Florentiner Museen and Wikipedia Florence. Learn more about the use of photos.




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