WHY VISIT FLORENCE?
The city of Florence originated during the second half of the 14th century with the artistic movement called the Renaissance and since that time has been considered the world cradle of art and architecture as well as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One more reason to visit this wonderful and unique city in the world!
A LITTLE HISTORY OF FLORENCE
Florence had its origins as a settlement to veteran soldiers established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC. It was founded by the Romans as Florentia, that in Latin means flowering. At the beginning of the 6th century the city lived turbulent periods under the Ostrogodo and Byzantine governments. Peace returned in the 6th century with the Lombard government and in 774 was conquered by Charlemagne (Charles the Great) and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany.
Around the year 1000, the Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residence initiating the Golden Age of the Florentine art. In 1013 began the construction of the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte and the exterior of the Baptistery was revised in Romanesque style. In the 12th century the Gothic came with the school of Giotto and Boccaccio. The city became one of the most powerful and prosperous in Europe with its own gold coin, the "fiorino d'oro" or florin, introduced in 1252. Many Florentine banks had branches throughout Europe, and the florin was the currency dominance of trade.
Florence was under the rule of the Albizzi family (1382-1434), rivals of the Medici. Cosimo de Medici was the first to control the city. Although the city had a kind of democracy, its power came from a network of sponsorships and alliances. The fact that the Medici were the bankers of the Pope contributed to their rise. Lorenzo de Medici (1469) was a great patron of the arts and worked with artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Botticelli. After Lorenzo's death in 1492, his son Piero II was exiled, ending the first Medici period by restoring a republican government. The dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola becomes the director of the Monastery of San Marco en 1490, creating obsessive political reforms. The Florentines, tired of his radical teachings, turned against him and arrested him. In 1498 he was declared a heretic and burned at the stake in the Signoria Square (Piazza della Signoria). In 1537, the Medici became hereditary dukes of Florence, and in 1569 Grand Dukes of Tuscany for two centuries.
The extinction of the Medici and the ascent of Francis Stephen in 1737, duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa of Austria, led to a temporary inclusion of Tuscany to the territories of the Austrian crown passing later to the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, and later to the Bourbon-Parma. Tuscany became a province of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Florence replaced Turin as the capital of Italy in 1865 and established the country's first parliament, which was replaced 6 years later by Rome.
During the 19th century the population of Florence doubled and tripled in the 20th century with the increase of tourism, trade, financial services and industry. During World War II, the city suffered the German occupation (1943-1944) and was declared open city.
WHAT IS FLORENCE NOWADAYS?
Florence (in Italian Firenze) is the capital of Tuscany being a city located north of this central region of Italy. It currently has 382,258 inhabitants (according to data of 12.31.2016).
The city of Florence in known worldwide by its vast artistic and architectural heritage. The Renaissance style was the style more developed since it was here it was born during the second half of the 14th century. However, Florence also has important heritage from other styles. The historic center of Florence is currently a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1982.
CURIOSITIES OF FLORENCE
Did you know that Florence was the capital of Italy between 1865 and 1871? Before Florence, the capital of Italy was Turin and in 1871 this title passed to Rome, which is the present capital.
Did you know that the Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) was the only bridge that survived the nazis bombing during World War II? This wonderful stone bridge with its hanging houses and businesses was the oldest in Europe. It was initially built in wood and is now the symbol of the city of Florence.
Did you know that Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio) was the seat of the government of Florence? In 1302 this building became the seat of the civil power of Florence taking the name of the seat of the Signoria or Signoria Palace. Today it is still the building where the seat of the city council of the Tuscan capital is located.
ATTRACTIONS IN FLORENCE
Florence has countless of attractions, yet among the most best known are (see the map of Florence) :
Duomo Florence: consecrated to Santa Maria del Fiore dates back to the 14th century. Famous for its large dome designed by Brunelleschi, one of the greatest Renaissance architects. Inside it contains frescoes of the Final Judgment made by Giorgio Vasari.
Palazzo Vecchio: seat of the city council of Florence, it is famous for its bell tower. In addition, it owns several halls and a small collection of Art with works like the Victory of Michelangelo and the Angel with the dolphin of Andrea of the Verrocchio.
Uffizi Gallery: the first museum of Italy and the world in terms of Renaissance painting is concerned, however it contains a very rich collection of paintings ranging from the Gothic to 18th century.
Accademia Gallery: famous because houses the original sculpture “David” made by Michelangelo.
Boboli Gardens: a beautiful Italian garden in renaissance style, with geometric motifs that underwent numerous enlargements creating different areas. Its terraces offer magnificent views of Florence.