In the first century BCE, the Romans appropriately renamed this former Etruscan town Florentia, or destined to flower. With this blessing, Florence (Firenze) remained faithful to its namesake to become the unrivaled authority of Renaissance art, literature and culture. The romantic narrow passages of the city's core hold timeless treasures that gracefully dissolve the rest of the world's troubled existence. Travel to Florence for a truly authentic Renaissance experience.
Soaring high above the city skyline, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore is the quintessential emblem of Florence's architectural prestige. The fourth largest cathedral in the world transcends all boundaries of Renaissance aesthetics and principles. Finally completed by Brunelleschi in 1436, the munificent red-tile dome with intricate interior frescoes rivals the glory of Michelangelo's St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican. Laden with white, green and red marble, Giotto's Bell Tower crowns the enormous façade. Opposite the Piazza del Duomo, the Baptistery de San Giovanni, built in 1128, is one of Florence's oldest monuments of Romanesque architecture and a sight not to be missed.
Spanning the narrowest segment of the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio miraculously still stands as one of the world's most coveted bridge crossings. Two previous bridges claimed this sight until they were wiped out by floods in 1177 and 1333. The "modern" rendition was completed in 1345 and has stood the test of time, though nearly swept away by another major flood in 1966. Nearby, the Galleria degli Uffizi houses the most extensive art collection in Florence and dates back to the De Medici rule during the 1500s. Rembrandt, Botticelli, Goya and Raffaello are among the masters of the gallery's exquisite permanent collection. And of course, a visit to Florence is not complete without a view of Michelangelo's David located in the world's (alleged) first official academy of art and architecture, Galleria dell'Accademia.
A Gateway to Tuscan Travel
Florence is the provincial capital of Tuscany, and from 1865 to 1870 served as the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. Consequently, exploring Florence is an excellent beginning to a broader Tuscan adventure and a great way to become acquainted with the history and lifestyle of the culturally rich region. Tuscany's countryside is unparalleled anywhere else in Italy, offering delectable produce, fresh meats and outstanding wines for your personal indulgence. From Florence, a short drive will lead to the historic towns of Pisa and Lucca. To really pamper yourself like only the Italians know how, escape to the lush mountains of Bagni di Lucca where a handful of full-service natural hot spring spas are tucked away.
Travel to Florence and Tuscany will draw you back in time, suspended in a moment of history when art, architecture and living a quality life were the most heated topics of discussion. Florence is the ultimate guide on how to truly live richly.
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