Overview of Florence - Find here the Guide of Florence divided by Geographic area.
One day Exursion to Florence : Florence in One Day
Est Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Duomo - Sant Croce - Baptistery
Main Monuments : Palazzo Vecchio – Piazza della Signoria
Main Museums : Casa di Dante – Museo Uffizi – Museo Dell´Opera
West Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Basilica di Santa Maria Novella , Chiesa Santa Trinitá , Chiesa Ognissanti
Main Monuments :Piazza della Repubblica
Main Streets : Via Tornabuoni , Parco delle Cascine
Main Museums : Museo Marino Marini
North Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Basilica di San Lorenzo, Basilica di San Marco
Main Monuments : Palazzo Pucci, Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Main Museums : Accademia Gallery, Museo Archeologico
Oltrarno Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, Cappella Brancacci, Santo Spirito
Main Monuments : Palazzo Pitti, Piazzale Michelangelo, Ponte Vecchio
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Main description of Florence
It is difficult to enclose Florence into a short overview. The cultural wealth that this city presents to its visitors is huge and encompasses monuments, sculpture, paintings, museums, historic villas, world renown museums, frescoes, and last, but not least, cultural cuisine.
Lets just say that to visit Florence and it any justice you need to spend at least four or five days in the city. The beauty of it all usually leads to cases of so called "Stendhalism" (French poet Stendhal could barely walk for faintness while admiring the dazzling beauty of Santa Croce). Beware!
The history of Florence begins with the Etruscans, which descended from the nearby Fiesole to build a village near the banks of River Arno during the third century B.C. Later, around 50 B.C., the village was expanded and fortified by Julius Caesar to protect the Via Flaminia from Rome to France on the dangerous passage of river Arno.
The importance of Florence becomes more evident during the 12th century when it became a free town council ruled under the council of the Onehundreds. After a power struggle among different factions, a Podestá was elected to rule over Florence in 1207.
Around 1250 the first conflicts between Guelphs and Ghibellines (Guelfi e Ghibellini) started, and Florence saw the power pass from one faction to the other for more than hundred years. Eventually the Guelphs split into two factions, the Blacks and the Whites, with the upper hand gained by the Blacks, the Whites were exiled, and among them one could find the illustrious Dante Alighieri. Eventually the great Black Plague of 1348 halved the city population and the lower classes agitations destabilized the Florentine government.
The late 14th century saw Florence ruled by the Guelph Albizi family who were soon deposed in favor of the Medici family, a breed of bankers, capable merchants and Pygmalion.
In the 15th century Cosimo de' Medici brought a new wave of art, culture and renovation through the city of Florence with operas and monuments by artists such as Leonbattista Alberti, Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fra Filippo Lippi, Donatello, and Fra Angelico. between 1469 to 1492 Lorenzo il Magnifico begun the Renaissance fostering further more arts such as poetry, and music that made of Florence the Italian capital of art. Artists such as Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo have all been nurtured by Lorenzo's love for arts.
After Lorenzo de' Medici's death, and after bankruptcy of the Medici bank, Florence passed under the control of Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican monk that led a strict rule of puritanism over the city, until he was deposed by popular will and processed for heresy, found guilty and burned alive in 1498.
In 1512 Florence passed under the Spanish domain, with Charles V giving his daughter in marriage to Alessandro de' Medici who became duke of Florence in 1530. In 1537 Cosimo Primo de' Medici became grand duke of Tuscany, having Florence defeated Siena in 1569.
In 1737 the French house of Lorraine got the grand duchy of Tuscany and kept it, apart from a short interval under Napoleon, until 1860, when the reign of Italy incorporated it in the newly formed nation.
WWI and WWII, the Arno flood of 1966 and a Mafia car-bomb damaged Florence significantly. However the city has always been able to heal and continue to keep its glorious place in world history and culture.
How to Get There
BY CAR: The A1 highway serves Florence through several exits starting with Firenze Nord to Firenze Certosa. Alternatively you could travel through the old Cassia road that connects Rome to France passing by Florence. For more detailed information please refer to the Autostrade Italiane website.
BY BUS: Several SITA buses run everyday between Siena and Florence. Florence is also an easy bur reach from Rome and Pisa. For more detailed information please refer to the SITA website.
BY TRAIN: Daily trains to and from the major hubs, such as Empoli, Pisa, Chiusi, and Bologna. For more detailed information please refer to the Ferrovie Italiane website.
What to See
For accommodations in Florence: Vacation Rental in Florence, Italy
In order to structure the many noteworthy monuments in a more user-friendly fashion, we have divided Florence in four sections taking the Duomo as a central referral point.
Please refer to the guide to Florence by geographic area.
More information about Florence
Things to do in Florence:
upcoming events, shows, theater, exhibitions, and other entertainment in Florence, Italy, with photos and reviews.
Florence.net : hotels in Florence, city guide accomodation
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