Florence is in a very scenic position, at the center of a wide basin crossed by the Arno River and surrounded by hills on three sides. The Ponte Vecchio [Old Bridge], with its characteristic jewelry shops, is one of the symbols of the city; this is the only one of the city's bridges to survive the Second World War intact. The noble Corridoio Vasariano [Vasari Corridor] crosses the river on the upper story of the bridge. Florence was an important financial, commercial and cultural center in Medieval Europe, but it is known above all as the place where the Renaissance originated and is recognized the world over as one of the cradles of art and architecture. The heart of Florence is Piazza della Signoria, with the majestic Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi, a gallery of sculptural masterpieces, and the nearby Galleria degli Uffizi, which houses paintings by painters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Titian. Here one finds also Botticelli's Venus. This Venus and Michelangelo's David (at the Galleria dell'Accademia) represent for Florentines the best examples of male and female beauty in art. Not far from the Uffizi stands the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, with its majestic dome, alongside the Campanile di Giotto [bell tower] and facing the Baptistry of San Giovanni with its celebrated bronze doors, of which the gilded Door of Paradise is the most famous. The

numerous other museums of Florence include the Bargello, with sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo, the regal Palazzo Pitti, the Galleria Palatina, and the Galleria d'arte moderna. The masterpieces of Renaissance Florence include works by Filippo Brunelleschi (the Spedale degli Innocenti and the churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito) and Leon Battista Alberti (Palazzo Rucellai and the façade of the church of Santa Maria Novella). Other periods of art history have left absolute masterpieces in Florence, from the Romanesque San Miniato al Monte to the Gothic Santa Croce (where Dante Alighieri is buried: he is the most important of the many literary figures who were born and lived here in the capital city of Tuscany), to the Manneristic extravagances of Giambologna and Bernardo Buontalenti (the Neptune Fountain and the Boboli Gardens), to the masterpieces created by great 20th century Italian architects, such as the Santa Maria Novella Station and the Artemio Franchi Stadium, designed by Giovanni Michelucci and Pier Luigi Nervi, respectively. On the left side of the Arno River, the Oltrarno area is also rich in monuments, and here amidst the centuries old artisan shops one breathes still the atmosphere of the Florence of the past. The Festival dei Popoli and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino are two of Florence's most important cultural events.


The city at the spiritual and geographical heart of the Italian renaissance:
> Florence

The beautiful wine district, famous throughout the world for its picturesque hills, vineyards and olive groves:

The northern tuscany coast offers history, sandy beaches and entertainment:

The ancient city of Lucca, with its original walls still intact:

Siena, the home of the world-famous medieval bareback horse race:

The city that is home to the most famous leaning tower in the world:

A day out in ...


A winding road takes you up from Florence to Fiesole, a small town of Etruscan origin that overlooks the Tuscan capital.

Fiesole is one of the most fascinating areas in Tuscany, thanks to its charm and Renaissance buildings, many dispersed among olive groves, vineyards and pine woods.

Florence photo
Florence photo
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