Florence (Tuscany) is a town of 382.258 inhabitants, located 50 meters above sea level in the homonymous province, its territory covers an area of 102,40 sq km.
Florence (in the Middle Ages and in the poetic language also Fiorenza, Florentia in Latin) is the capital of Tuscany.
In the Middle Ages it was an important cultural, commercial, economic and financial center.
In modern times he has been the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, from 1569 to 1859, with the government of the Medici and Lorena families.
It was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871, after the unification of the country (1861).
Important university center and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered the place of origin of the Rinascimento and is universally recognized as one of the cradles of art and architecture, as well as renowned as One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Thanks to its many monuments and museums.
Historic Center of Florence
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, Florence's historic center, encircled within the avenues of the avenues along the medieval walls, collects the most important cultural assets of the city.
Delimited by the 14th-century wall circle, built thanks to the commercial and economic power it achieved, met in its two centuries following its maximum splendor.
The old town can be enjoyed in its entirety by the hills around, especially from the Forte Belvedere, From Piazzale Michelangelo with the Romanesque Basilica of San Miniato al Monte and from Hill of Fiesole Which offers one of the most breathtaking views of the Arno Valley.
The heart of Florence is "Piazza della Signoria", With the majestic Palazzo Vecchio, With the gallery of sculptural masterpieces in the Lanzi Loggia and nearby Uffizi Gallery, One of the most renowned art museums in the world.
Not far away is the religious center of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, With the majestic dome (the largest ever built).
In the days of the Grand Duchy, it was said that with its shadow it would cover all of Tuscany.
The huge Duomo is beautifully decorated by the Giotto's CampanileOne of the most beautiful in Italy, and from Baptistery of San Giovanni, with the famous bronze doors among which the golden "door of Paradise" stands out.
Il River Arno, Which passes in the middle of the city, occupies a place in Florentine history at the same time as the people who live there.
Historically, the local population has a hate-love relationship with Arno, which has alternatively brought the benefits of trade and flood disasters.
Among the bridges crossing it Old Bridge Is unique in the world, with the features of jewelers' shops in the houses built on it.
Crossed by the noble Vasari Corridor, Is the only bridge in the city to be hurt free through the Second World War.
In addition to the Uffizi, Florence has other museums that would be the main artistic attraction of any other big city in the world. Accademy's Gallery, Bargello or Palazzo Pitti With its eight museums including the Palatine Gallery.
The Florentines boast of having the best example of beauty in both women's art (the "Botticelli's Venus") is masculine (the"David of Michelangelo).
The left bank of the Arno (Oltrarno) is an area rich in monuments, where today's breathtaking craftsmanships are still the atmosphere of Florence, once described by Vasco Pratolini.
There are numerous literary ideas throughout the city: from the neighborhoods of the tower houses, where the plaques recall the verses that these places inspired to Dante Alighieri, To the serenity of the Medici villas, where the neoplatonic academy often met Lorenzo the Magnificent, To the theaters Pergola and of Boboli Gardens, Where the first melodramatic melodramas were brought to scenes for lyrical opera.
Florence as "Cradle of the Renaissance"Has his masterpieces in the works of Filippo Brunelleschi (cf. Hospital of the Innocents Church of San Lorenzo And that of Holy Spirit) And Leon Battista Alberti (the facade of Santa Maria Novella e Palazzo Rucellai), But also other artistic periods have left their absolute masterpieces: from Romanesque to San Miniato al Monte, To the Gothic of Santa Croce (Where the burials of the Italic glories are located, as Ugo Foscolo, also buried there), to the extravagances of Giambologna's Mannerism or Bernardo Buontalenti (as Neptune Fountain or Boboli Gardens), up to the masterpieces of the great Italian architects of the twentieth century such as the "Santa Maria Novella station" and the "Stadio Artemio Franchi", respectively by Giovanni Michelucci and Pier Luigi Nervi.
The center of Florence with its hundreds of shops is a paradise for shopping and leisure, from stylish high fashion boutiques and historic cafes to lively outdoor markets, as well as hosting numerous nightclubs, discos, American -bar, lounge bar and meeting place for the aperitif.
It is believed that in the medieval times the neighborhoods took their name from the town gates that restricted them: Duomo, Santa Maria, San Piero and San Pancrazio.
With the new walls of the 12th century the city was divided into sestieri called: Oltrarno, San Piero in Scheraggio, Borgo dei SS. Apostles, San Pancrazio, Porta del Duomo and San Piero.
After the 1343 the city was again divided into the historic districts still known and still maintains a historical subdivision in the four districts of the "Fiorentino Historical Football"who collide annually in Piazza Santa Croce, in the football event in costume:
- Santa Maria Novella
- Saint John
- Santa Croce
- Holy Spirit
The historic districts of the city took the name from the main religious basilicas and reference architecture present: the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella Basilica of Santo Spirito Basilica of Santa Croce, and the baptistery of San Giovanni.
They form the old town and for this reason they are part of the 1 Quarter.
In the first half of the 19th century it was temporarily divided into administrative territories:
- Holy Cross:
East part between the Ponte Vecchio and Porta San Gallo with the parishes of Sant'Ambrogio, SS. Annunziata, San Giuseppe, San Marco Evangelista, Santa Margherita in Madonna de 'Ricci, Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore and Santa Reparata, San Michele in Orto and San Michele Visdomini;
- Santa Maria Novella:
West side between the Ponte Vecchio and Porta San Gallo with the Fortezza da Basso and up to Porta al Prato, with the parishes of Santa Lucia al Prato, Santa Maria Novella, San Salvatore in Ognissanti, Santissima Trinita and collegiate of San Lorenzo;
- Holy spirit:
The whole of Oltrarno, including the bridges with the parishes of San Felice in Piazza, Santa Felicita, collegiate of San Frediano in Cestello and San Piero in Gattolini called Serumido.
Florence has a great tradition of fashion that makes it one of the most active in the country and beyond.
In addition to craft workshops, especially leather goods (many are between Santa Croce Square and Borgo de 'Greci), very important is the high fashion industry.
In fact, the city boasts fashion houses of the caliber of Gucci, Enrico Coveri, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermanno Scervino, Patrizia Pepe, Emilio Pucci, Roy Rogers, Conte of Florence, and many others.
The major high fashion boutiques are concentrated in the luxury shopping district, in "via de 'Tornabuoni" and "via della Vigna Nuova".
The city has the only Italian museum dedicated to fashion, the "Costume Gallery", which traces a detailed history of the fashions that have followed over time, with a collection that reaches more than 6000 artefacts, among ancient clothes, accessories, theatrical and cinematographic costumes of great documentary importance and numerous prestigious examples of Italian and foreign stylists .
Also there is the "Salvatore Ferragamo Museum"in the Spini-Feroni palace in" via de 'Tornabuoni "and in this city the first Italian Haute Couture fashion show was held in" Via dei Serragli "in 1953.
Florence hosts every year a series of fashion events that are among the most prestigious and important in the international landscape: Pitti Immagine.
During the event are organized vernissage, grand gala, presentations, fashion shows, world events and exclusive parties throughout the city and metropolitan area.
Every year in Florence, the Fashion trails in Florence, A series of guided tours that allow you to visit the places where the fashion products that have made and still do the city's history are created.
Over sixty appointments for twenty trails, which bring to know twenty-six ateliers (tapestries, hand-made shirts, bridal dresses, custom-made lingerie and kits, art fabrics, custom footwear, jewelry and stones, personalized essences and scents) , Ten art places and four museums in the city linked to the fashionable Florentine. The initiative is promoted by the Department of Production Activities and the fashion system of the City of Florence, as part of the Mestieri della Moda project, which aims to make the tourists around the world aware of the important tradition in the field of fashion .
Florence Tourism ... art treasures, atmosphere, charm of a timeless place
The city's remarkable resource is tourism, the total number of overnight stays in total hotel and hotel outlets reaches the 10 million per year, placing the city as one of the most visited.
Nearly one third of tourists are represented by Italians, while the rest is made up of foreigners.
Given the enormous artistic richness of the city, (Florence has the world's largest concentration of works of art in proportion to its extension, cultural tourism is very strong.
Suffice it to think that the Uffizi Gallery, the most visited Italian art museum, the largest city museum and among the most famous in the world, stops over one million and five hundred thousand tickets a year, alongside other important museums.
The congress and exhibition tourism industry (the fair in Florence is held in the Fortezza da Basso, in the Congress Palace and in the Affaires de Palazzo Affari, which are among them contiguous) has seen a huge increase in the renovation of the congress center in the early nineties And sees shows, congresses, meetings, social forums, concerts and international events every season of the year.
Florence and Art: an inseparable couple, always been the city of art most loved by tourists from around the world, a simple walk through the city is already a dip in the wonders and artistic treasures that merge in every corner, square or Street.
Between the 1200 and 1300, Florence is already a densely populated suburb and an active commercial center of the time, the flow of time and history is marked at that time, from the war between the opposing factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines who fight for the city; in the history of medieval Florence, one name stands out above all: Dante, a theoretical and virtuous poet of the Italian language.
It is the Middle Ages, it is Florence of Dante.
The first stop is Porta San Gallo, one of the oldest gates of the city, clearly influenced by the emblematic Guelph lions.
All around, we find the walls, whose project has been entrusted to Arnolfo di Cambio and to architects like Andrea Pisano.
The route continues through a symbol of the city, Piazza Santa Maria Novella with its Basilica, covered outside by a perfect geometry of alternating white and green marble.
In the central area of the city, the Dante's house, a must for literature lovers; in the historical center, the Palazzo del Bargello, the old palace of justice, today the seat of the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, with masterpieces of Donatello, Cellini, michelangelo e Della Robbia.
The last stop is Piazza della Signoria, theater of clashes between Guelphs and Ghibellines, owes its name to the historian Palazzo Vecchio or to "Lordship of the Arts and Crafts"with its tower of 96 meters and the"Lanzi Loggia"(of a later period), in which people are fascinated by the perfect copy of the famous "David" by Michelangelo (the original is preserved in the Accademy's Gallery) and other masterpieces like the "Giuditta" by Donatello and the "Perseus" by Cellini.
At the end of the Guelph and Ghibelline era, the Rinascimento e Florence it is the undisputed house.
This is the period when the influence and splendor of the city are reflected throughout the world: Florence is considered "the cradle of the Renaissance".
The fundamental stages of the Renaissance in Florence they are certainly many museums, including: the Uffizi Gallery, a rich and vast collection of art, one of the most important in the world, and the Accademy's Gallery, Where "David" is conserved together with a series of other sculptures of michelangelo as "the Prisons"(ancient Italian word for"slaves") is San Matteo.
In Piazza San Giovanni there is an important site, symbol of the city, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, With the Brunelleschi's dome and the Giotto's Bell Tower.
Near the Cathedral, there is the ancient Baptistery of San Giovanni with its decorated doors, created by the greatest artists of the time, whose original panels are now kept at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Here is the village of San Lorenzo with buildings and the beautiful Basilica of San Lorenzo of the sixteenth century, inside we find the New Sacristy (created by Michelangelo), with the tombs of the Medici dynasty (Museum Complex of the Medici Chapels) decorated by the fascinating sculptures of Michelangelo: "the day", "the night", "the dawn" and "the twilight".
Il artistic tour of the city is endless, along its streets and historic squares, the city will continue to captivate its visitors with its unique cultural and historical heritage.
Parks and gardens: the green Florence
The Tuscan landscape is well known for its beautiful villages and the vastness of its green countryside, the capital is no less important.
Florence it is rich in important historic parks and gardens, inside the old urban fabric.
The city's gardens can be considered "natural history museums" in the splendid architecture of the city.
First stop is the "Giardino dei Semplici" wanted by Cosimo I de Medici and made in the 1545; still today there are many botanical species of medicinal plants called also "simple".
In the heart of the city, near the historic Palazzo Pitti, there is the huge green park of the Boboli Gardens, an example of the Italian garden of the sixteenth century, where you can find statues and much more.
Along the way, you can visit the "Bobolino", smaller twin garden characterized by caves and greenery.
The journey in the green Florence continues with the Torrigiani Garden a private garden open to the public.
Outside the city, it is located "le Cascine", the old hunting lodge belonging to the Medici family, now adapted to a natural park, one of the most loved by the population of Florence.
From the twelfth century, the symbol on the emblem of Florence is the lily.
The city has dedicated a very special garden to the cultivation of many varieties of this flower, the name of this garden is Iris Garden, open to the public in May.
Florence is waiting for you!
How to get
Florence is served from Amerigo Vespucci Airport, located in the area Peretola, about 4 km from the center to which it is well connected with taxis, shuttles and buses, with approximately 20 25-minutes with the shuttle service that runs every 30 minutes, or 15 minutes by taxi.
However, only a part of the European and domestic flights serving Florence encounter greater possibilities if you lean to the airport of Pisa, Galileo Galilei, which is about 70 km from Florence.
Public buses and trains connect the airport of Pisa with the station Firenze Santa Maria Novella in figures more than reasonable.
Another alternative is from Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Bologna.
There are many buses which connect Florence in Italy.
Most of them start from various terminal facilities around the Santa Maria Novella station.
Eurolines is the leading international operator: its tickets can be purchased by Lazzi who also runs the connections especially with the south, where train connections are sparse or absent.
SITA, west of the Santa Maria Novella Station offers services especially for the southern Italy.
The train is definitely one of the most convenient solutions to Florence because it provides several links with all the major Italian cities.
On some routes are active high-speed trains to Trenitalia and Italo, which allow you to move to the Naples-Rome-Florence-Bologna-Milan in a very short time.
From the Central Station of Santa Maria Novella, in the historic center, a few meters from the main places of tourist interest, connecting trains regional, national and international.
Very frequent are also regional trains to Lucca, Pisa and Siena, which also stop in the other stations, Florence Campo Marte and Firenze Rifredi.
From these two stations you can reach the central Santa Maria Novella with local trains, in a few minutes.
Text taken from:
- Wikipedia (Creative Commons)
- tourist brochures