1. Learn Basic
Florence Photographic Virtual Tourist-Virtourist
3. Italian TV-Tuscany
and Tuscany Panoramic Views
Florence Attractions Panoramic Tour
Three Video Clips About Florence
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map for location information
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Florence, epitomizes the regions contrast of old and new, and
tensions and interplay between social and cultural traditionalism. The
placed on the city by the millions of tourists who flock to this
city causes the Florentines to wish that the tourists would stay home.
learn abouf the Florence piazzas, museums, and cathederals click here and here.
Italian) is the capital of the region of Tuscany, on Italy's northwest
coast. Florence is a small city, located in the Arno River valley, and
surrounded by olive-planted hills on the north and south. It extends
west and slightly east along the Arno valley with suburbs and light
industry. The centro storico (historic center), where visitors spend
most of their time, is a tight tangle of medieval streets and piazze
(squares). Most of Florence, and the majority of the tourist sites, lie
north of the river, with a vintage artisan's working-class neighborhood
wedged in between the Arno and the hills on the south side.
center is encircled by a traffic ring of wide boulevards, known as the
Viali, that were created in the late
1800s by tearing down the city's
medieval walls. Since the 14th century the cultural heart of the city
has been the Piazza
della Signoria with the Palazzo
Uffizi Gallery and a large number of publicly displayed
world famous sculptures.
early history was that of as a group of city-states constantly fighting
each other. In the Renaissance period Florence was one of the most
powerful and influential of those states. The wealthy and powerful de'
Medici family ruled the city almost continuously from 1434 to 1743
had a great influence on the architecture and arts. They built an
abundance of palaces all over the city and commissioned such artists as
to design and decorate these and other buildings.
is called the capital of arts. From the 13th to the 16th century it was
a seemingly endless source of creative masterpieces and Italian genius.
Both Dante and
Michelangelo were born there. Boccaccio
'Decameron' in Florence. The Italian Renaissance (Europe's richest
cultural period ) began in Florence when the artist Brunelleschi
finished the Duomo, the cathedral, with the huge dome.
is also a city of incomparable indoor pleasures. Its chapels, galleries
and museums are an inexhaustible treasure, capturing the complex, often
elusive spirit of the Renaissance more fully than any other place in
became the center of artistic patronage in Italy under the Medici
family, whose members made their fortunes in banking and ruled the city
as an independent state for almost three centuries. Lorenzo de'
known as "Il Magnifico" held fiercely onto Florentine independence in
the face of papal resentment. Later, in the late eighteenth century,
Florence fell under Austrian and then French rule, and in the
nineteenth century was for a short time the capital of the kingdom of
Italy. The story of Florence since then has been less colorful. The
city survived bombing by the Nazis as they retreated during the second
World War, and a major flood in 1966. Through it all, the monuments and
paintings of the city's Renaissance years were preserved and are the
basis of its
is a walking city. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll between the two
most often visited sights, the Duomo and the Uffizi, in less than five
minutes. The walk from the most northerly point, San Marco with its Fra'
Angelico frescoes and the Accademia with Michelangelo's David, to
the most southerly, the
Pitti Palace across the Arno, should take no
more than 30 minutes. From Santa Maria Novella rail station across town
to Santa Croce is an easy 20 to 30 minute walk.
of the streets were designed to handle the moderate pedestrian traffic
and occasional horse-drawn cart of a medieval city. Sidewalks, where
they exist, are narrow; often less than two feet wide. Though much of
the centro storico is supposedly closed to traffic, taxis, residents
with parking permits, people without permits who drive there anyway,
and the endless stream of noisy motorini (mopeds) still enter, drive
is extremely important when visiting Florence. Most visitors come to
the city with a common purpose: to spend hours viewing and absorbing
the beauty and wonder of Florentine works of art and architecture.
However, trying to pack too much into a single, brief visit can result
in cultural overload. Florence is not the choice of those seeking a
seaside resort or a holiday with small children. Older children, well
disciplined, and well prepared, can benefit from accompanying their
parents on a tour of the museums, palaces, and churches, but interest
for most youngsters will rapidly wane in the crush of crowds and
intense heat of the small city. Adult tempers will fray as well. Boboli
Gardens can provide a respite from the heat and activity, but the
landscaped grounds of the Pitti Palace are designed to rest the eyes
and delight the imagination. It is not primarily a playground.
shopping, feasts for the senses along every street, in every square,
and in every museum: these are the gifts Florence offers to the
is known for its fine culinary traditions - in particular, its olive
oil, meat dishes and classic Chianti. Restaurants of every type,
offering bills of fare ranging from fast food to world-class cuisine
abound, and there are clusters of little cafés in every
neighborhood. Tuscan food is simple and excellent with a variety of
bean dishes, soups, pork dishes, grilled meats and vegetables. Fine
Tuscan wines accompany the meal.
Tuscan economy is rooted in craft traditions. The top designers of
Milan use the textile factories of Florence for the execution of their
designs. Gold working has been perfected over the centuries in
workshops near the Ponte Vecchio, where jewelry is produced that is
sold throughout Europe. Visitors will find a beautiful assortment of
leather goods, including shoes, as well. Marbled paper, handmade
perfumes and toiletries, decorative ceramic pieces, and sculpture are
also locally produced.
planning a visit to Tuscany, put its small geographical size in
perspective, and allow time to savor its infinite possibilities.