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Art and history a jump in the Renaissance Florence, in the region of Tuscany, is the main city after which the province is named. It rises on the banks of the Arno in a vast plain surrounded by the Careggi, Fiesole, Settignano, Arcetri and Bellosguardo hills.
The river divides the city into two parts. The local economy is based on tourism, industry (textiles and clothes, metalwork, optics, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, glass and ceramics) and on Florentine handicrafts (embroidery, jewellry, products made from straw).
Florence contains an exceptional artistic patrimony, glorious testimony to its secular civilization. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived here, along with Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, reformists of architecture and sculpture;
Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio, founders of the Renaissance; Ghiberti and the Della Robbia; Filippo Lippi and l’Angelico; Botticelli and Paolo Uccello; the universal geniuses Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Their works, along with those of many generations of artists up to the masters of the present century, are gathered in the city’s many museums. In Florence, thanks to Dante, the Italian language was born; with Petrarca and Boccaccio literary studies were affirmed; with Humanism the philosophy and values of classical civilization were revived; with Machiavelli modern political science was born; with Guicciardini, historical prose; and with Galileo, modern experimental science. Up to the time of Charlemagne, Florence was a university town.
Today it includes many specialized institutes and is an international cultural center. Academies, art schools, scientific institutes and cultural centers all contribute to the city’s intense activity.
How to get here
Florence Airport Amerigo Vespucci (FLR) connects with all major Italian airports and 13 European destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Bucarest, Frankfurt, Geneva, London Gatwick, Madrid, Monaco, Paris, Timisoara, Tirana and Vienna. Pisa Airport “Galileo Galilei” (PSA) is the most important in Tuscany: it links the city with major Italian and European destinations.
The airport of Pisa is connected to Pisa Central Station by many routes, among which there are eight direct trains from the airport of Florence.
Florence is situated on the Milan-Rome line, with frequent and rapid connections both ways.
From Venice there are two direct connections, otherwise you have to change in Bologna. Florence is connected to Pisa by many direct trains; those coming from Genoa or from the Tyrrhenian coast must usually change in Pisa.
From Rome (274 Km) or Naples (472 Km) highway A1 will conveniently get you to your destination; exit at Firenze Sud.
From Milan (305 Km) the same highway A1 will bring you to Florence going by Bologna (110 Km).
From Venice (261 km) and from the Northeast take A13 Padova-Bologna and continue on A1 up to Florence. Those coming from the Tyrrhenian coast, from Genoa, Pisa or Lucca, must take A11 Pisa-Florence.
what to see....
The historic centre of Florence contains such a wealth of masterpieces that it is difficult to separate the city from its art works. In 1982 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the motivation being that it encapsulates the whole history of the city, from the ‘Roman quadrilateral’ in the Piazza della Repubblica area to the narrow streets of the medieval city, the splendours of the 16th-century Pitti Palace, the beautiful churches, the museums and art collections, historic gardens, piazzas, streets and ancient palaces...Florence can justifiably be defined as an “open-air museum”.
Don’t leave Florence without visiting:
Florence’s Cathedral, the Duomo, stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Explore the glory of masterpieces from the past at Uffizi Gallery.
The Accademia Gallery with the world’s most famous silhouette: the David of Michelangelo.
An Everlasting Symbol of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge
Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria: the political heart of Florence.
The Church of Santa Maria Novella, important Gothic church.
Piazzale Michelangelo with the most famous view of the city
what to visit....
Tuscany is Art, history, countryside, food, quaint towns, wine tasting, stunning landscapes
Siena, Tuscany hilltop’s most beautiful medieval town. Visit the medieval UNESCO-listed center, with the Gothic 13th-century Cathedral that’s home to treasures by Michelangelo, Donatello and other great artists; the Piazza del Campo, site of the “Il Palio” horse race, the Town Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) and Tower of Mangia that with its 88-meter redbrick medieval tower domina the square. San Gimignano, with its 14 medieval towers and the UNESCO-listed historic center, visit the Piazza della Cisterna, the Dome, Palazzo del Podestà, and the Church of Sant’Agostino.
The Chianti wine region, with the vineyards, olive groves, the wine cellars where you can taste a Tuscan wine.
Pisa and the Cathedral Square to discover the Duomo, the Baptistery, the monumental cemetery and the famous Leaning Tower.
Lucca, the city of 100 churches enclosed by its mighty XVI century walls, discover its antique Cathedral and some of the most beautiful squares among which Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.
The medieval hilltop village of Certaldo, renowned as Boccaccio’s birthplace. The Etruscan town of Volterra, with the the Porta dell’Arco, the Cathedral, the ancient ruins including the medieval city walls and the Roman Amphitheater.
what to eat....
The base of the Florentine cookery lie four fundamental ingredients: bread (plain, unsalted, with a crispy crust and light and airy inside); extra-virgin olive oil; grilled meat; Florentine steaks of beef, roasted or wine-braised game such as boar, deer and rabbit; and lastly the wine.
One of the most renowned and typical dishes of Florence cuisine is the ‘ribollita’ gets its name from the left over of the day’s lunch ‘re-boiled’ to heat it up, and served again. A simple winter dish made with bread and and vegetables including the typical Tuscan kale.
The “Pappa al pomodoro” a very simple tasty recipe, quick and easy and enjoyable all year round.
Crostini di fegato, lightly toasted slices of bread spread with liver paste, which is made from chicken livers, capers, anchovy fillets, chopped sage leaves and butter. Pinzimonio: Pieces of fresh vegetables dip in a small bowl containing the superb olive oil from the hills of Tuscany, salt and pepper. And... Florentine-style tripe, Beans or chick-peas in oil, the bruschetta with olive oil, Lampredotto.. etc.
Don’t miss the Cantuccini and Vin Santo
what to buy...
For top-of-the-range products the place to start is Via Tornabuoni, with the big designer names and top-class jewellers, and in nearby Via della Vigna Nuova. Traditional shops can be found in the city centre, the antiques shops packed with riches especially in Via dei Fossi, in Via Maggio and in the surrounding streets, the characteristic goldsmiths’ and jewellery shops on Ponte Vecchio.
One of most characteristic shopping areas starts in the Oltrarno, immediately after Ponte Vecchio, in the Santo Spirito neighbourhood. Here you can find craft studios and workshops specializing in wood products, jewellery, lamps, metal vases, but also hat shapes in wood, classic Florentine straw hats and many other original items. Concentrated in the nearby neighbourhood of San Frediano are some of the workshops specializing in craft products: fabrics for furnishings, hand-wrought and decorated silverware, hand-made shoes and glass objects.
Florence is also famous for the manufacturing of leather goods: bags, shoes, clothing items. The leather shops are mainly clustered in the Santa Croce area. Some real finds can also be had, with a bit of luck, in the flea market in Piazza dei Ciompi. The Mercato del Porcellino, in Via Calimala, sells leather and hand-embroidered articles.