Italy – Fly to Florence
|— Comune —|
|Comune di Firenze|
A collage of Florence showing the Uffizi (top left), followed by the Pitti Palace, a sunset view of the city and the Fontana del Nettuno in the Piazza della Signoria
|Coordinates: 43°47′N 11°15′ECoordinates: 43°47′N 11°15′E|
|- Mayor||Matteo Renzi
|- Total||102.41 km2 (39.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||50 m (164 ft)|
|Population (31 October 2010)|
|- Density||3,619.8/km2 (9,375.2/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|- Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||John the Baptist|
|Saint day||24 June|
Florence (Italian: Firenze [fi'r?ntse] ( listen), alternate obsolete form: Fiorenza; Latin: Florentia) is the capital city of the Italian region ofTuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with c. 370,000 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area).
The city lies on the River Arno; it is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture and, more generally, for its cultural heritage. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history included periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, religious and republican revolution. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world’s 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1.685 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florence’s artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Florence is also an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked within the top fifty fashion capitals of the world; furthermore, it is also a major national economic center, being a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had Italy’s 17th highest average income per capita.
|Historic centre of Florence|
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic centre of Florence
|Criteria||i, ii, iii, iv, vi|
|Region **||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1982 (6th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO
The façade of the Cathedral
Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance (or the “Florentine Renaissance”). According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th century to the 16th century.
The language spoken in the city there during the 14th century was, and still is, accepted as a pan-Italian language. Almost all the writers and poets in the Italian literature of the golden age are somewhat connected with Florence, leading ultimately to the adoption of the Florentine dialect above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice.
Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money – in the form of the gold florin – financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War, as well as the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of the latter.
Florence was home to the Medici, one of history’s most important noble families. Lorenzo de’ Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Two members of the family, were popes as Leo X and Clement VII in the early 16th century. Catherine de Medici, married king Henry II of France and, after his death in 1559, reigned as regent in France. The Medici reigned Grand Dukes of Tuscany starting with Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1569, until the death of Gian Gastone de’ Medici in 1737.
A wooden model of Florence as it would have probably looked during Roman times, showing the ancient amphitheatre
Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named originally Fluentia, owing the fact that it was built between two rivers, which was later corrupted to Florentia. It was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, thecardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated at the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre. The Emperor Diocletian is said to have made Florentia the seat of a bishopric around the beginning of the 4th century AD, but this seems impossible in that Diocletian was a notable persecutor of Christians.
In the ensuing two centuries, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was often troubled by warfare between theOstrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital. The population began to grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county.
Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residency instead of Lucca at about 1000 AD. The Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In 1013, construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. The exterior of the baptistery was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059, and 1128. This period also saw the eclipse of Florence’s formerly powerful rival Pisa (defeated by Genoa in 1284 and subjugated by Florence in 1406), and the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice (1293).
Rise of the Medici
Leonardo da Vinci (statue outside theUffizi gallery)
Of a population estimated at 94,000 before the Black Death of 1348, about 25,000 are said to have been supported by the city’s wool industry: in 1345 Florence was the scene of an attempted strike by wool combers (ciompi), who in 1378 rose up in a brief revolt against oligarchic rule in the Revolt of the Ciompi. After their suppression, Florence came under the sway (1382–1434) of the Albizzi family, bitter rivals of the Medici.
In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, considered rich and economically successful. Life was not idyllic for all residents though, among whom there were great disparities in wealth. Cosimo de’ Medici was the first Medici family member to essentially control the city from behind the scenes. Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast patronage network along with his alliance to the new immigrants, the gente nuova (new people). The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their ascendancy. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero, who was, soon after, succeeded by Cosimo’s grandson, Lorenzo in 1469. Lorenzo was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. Lorenzo was an accomplished musician and brought composers and singers to Florence, including Alexander Agricola, Johannes Ghiselin, and Heinrich Isaac. By contemporary Florentines (and since), he was known as “Lorenzo the Magnificent” (Lorenzo il Magnifico).
Following the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici in 1492, he was succeeded by his son Piero II. When the French king Charles VIII invaded northern Italy, Piero II chose to resist his army. But when he realized the size of the French army at the gates of Pisa, he had to accept the humiliating conditions of the French king. These made the Florentines rebel and they expelled Piero II. With his exile in 1494, the first period of Medici rule ended with the restoration of a republican government.
Savonarola and Machiavelli
Girolamo Savonarola being burnt at the stake in 1498
During this period, the Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola had become prior of the San Marco monastery in 1490. He was famed for his penitential sermons, lambasting what he viewed as widespread immorality and attachment to material riches. He blamed the exile of the Medicis as the work of God, punishing them for their decadence. He seized the opportunity to carry through political reforms leading to a more democratic rule. But when Savonarola publicly accused Pope Alexander VI of corruption, he was banned from speaking in public. When he broke this ban, he was excommunicated. The Florentines, tired of his extreme teachings, turned against him and arrested him. He was convicted as a heretic and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria on 23 May 1498.
A second individual of unusual insight was Niccolò Machiavelli, whose prescriptions for Florence’s regeneration under strong leadership have often been seen as a legitimization of political expediency and even malpractice. Commissioned by the Medici, Machiavelli also wrote the Florentine Histories, the history of the city. Florentines drove out the Medici for a second time and re-established a republic on 16 May 1527. Restored twice with the support of both Emperor and Pope, the Medici in 1537 became hereditary dukes of Florence, and in 1569 Grand Dukes of Tuscany, ruling for two centuries. In all Tuscany, only the Republic of Lucca (later a Duchy) and the Principality of Piombino were independent from Florence.
18th and 19th Centuries
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and his family. Leopold was, from 1765 to 1790, theGrand Duke of Tuscany
The extinction of the Medici dynasty and the accession in 1737 of Francis Stephen, duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa of Austria, led to Tuscany’s temporary inclusion in the territories of the Austrian crown. It became a secundogeniture of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, who were deposed for the Bourbon-Parma in 1801, themselves deposed in December 1807 when Tuscany was annexed by France. Florence was the prefectureof the French département of Arno from 1808 to the fall of Napoleon in 1814. The Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty was restored on the throne of Tuscany at the Congress of Vienna but finally deposed in 1859. Tuscany became a province of the United Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Florence replaced Turin as Italy’s capital in 1865 and, in an effort to modernise the city, the old market in the Piazza del Mercato Vecchio and many medieval houses were pulled down and replaced by a more formal street plan with newer houses. The Piazza (first renamed Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II, then Piazza della Repubblica, the present name) was significantly widened and a large triumphal arch was constructed at the west end. This development was unpopular and was prevented from continuing by the efforts of several British and American people living in the city. A museum recording the destruction stands nearby today.
The country’s second capital city was superseded by Rome six years later, after the withdrawal of the French troops made its addition to the kingdom possible.
Porte Sante cemetery, burial place of notable figures of Florentine’s history.
After doubling during the 19th century, Florence’s population was to triple in the 20th, resulting from growth in tourism, trade, financial services and industry.
During World War II the city experienced a year-long German occupation (1943–1944) and was declared an open city. The Allied soldiers who died driving the Germans from Tuscany are buried in cemeteries outside the city (Americans about nine kilometres south of the city, British and Commonwealth soldiers a few kilometres east of the centre on the right bank of the Arno). In 1944, the retreating Germans blew up the bridges along the Arno linking the district of Oltrarno to the rest of the city, making it difficult for the British troops to cross. However, at the last moment Charle Steinhauslin, at the time consulate of 26 countries in Florence, convinced the German general in Italy that the Ponte Vecchio was not to be blown up due to its historical value.
Instead, an equally historic area of streets directly to the south of the bridge, including part of the Corridoio Vasariano, was destroyed using mines. Since then the bridges have been restored to their original forms using as many of the remaining materials as possible, but the buildings surrounding the Ponte Vecchio have been rebuilt in a style combining the old with modern design. Shortly before leaving Florence, as they knew that they would soon have to retreat, the Germans murdered many freedom fighters and political opponents publicly, in streets and squares including the Piazza Santo Spirito.
At the end of World War II in Europe, in May 1945, the U.S. Army’s Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilized American service men and women in Florence, Italy. The first American University for service personnel was established in June 1945 at the School of Aeronautics in Florence, Italy. Some7,500 soldier-students were to pass through the University during its four one-month sessions (see G. I. American Universities).
In November 1966, the Arno flooded parts of the centre, damaging many art treasures. Around the city there are tiny placards on the walls noting where the flood waters reached at their highest point.
In November 2002 the city was the place of birth of the first edition of the European Social Forum.
Florence lies in a basin among the Senese Clavey Hills, particularly the hills of Careggi, Fiesole, Settignano, Arcetri, Poggio Imperiale and Bellosguardo (Florence). The Arno river and three other minor rivers flow through it.
Florence is typically considered to have a Mediterranean climate, although under the Köppen climate classification it may be borderline humid subtropical (Cfa). It has hot, humid summers with little rainfall and cool, damp winters. Surrounded by hills in a river valley, Florence can be hot and humid from June to August. As Florence lacks a prevailing wind, summer temperatures are higher than along the coast. Rainfall in summer is convectional, while relief rainfall dominates in the winter, with some snow. The highest officially recorded temperature was 42.6 °C (108.7 °F) in 26 July 1983 and the lowest was -23.2 °C (-9.8 °F) on 12 January 1985.
|Climate Data for Florence|
|Average high °C (°F)||10.1
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||73.1
|Avg. precipitation days||9.4||8.4||8.6||9.1||8.6||6.3||3.5||5.9||5.7||7.4||10.0||8.8||91.7|
|Source: World Meteorological Organisation (United Nations)|
The traditional subdivision of Florence into four quarters dates from the 14th century (that today compose the old town):
- Santa Maria Novella
- San Giovanni
- Santa Croce
- Santo Spirito
Subdivision of Florence: The traditional quarters and wards (Quartiere)
The modern administrative subdivision into five wards follows the boundaries of the traditional quarters in the outer areas.
The five administrative divisions with their neighbourhoods are:
|Neighbourhoods (frazioni) within ward|
|11.396||67,170||5,894||San Jacopino · Il Prato · La Fortezza · Viali ·Duomo–Oltrarno · Collina sud ·San Gaggio|
Campo di Marte
|23.406||88,588||3,784||Campo di Marte–Le Cure ·Viali · La Rondinella ·Settignano · Collina nord ·Bellariva–Gavinana|
|22.312||40,907||1,833||Collina sud · Galluzzo · San Gaggio · Bellariva–Gavinana ·Sorgane · Ponte a Ema|
|16.991||66,636||3,921||Argingrosso · Cintoia · I Bassi ·Il Casone · Isolotto · La Casella · Legnaia · Le Torri ·Mantignano · Monticelli ·Pignone · San Lorenzo a Greve · Soffiano · San Quirico ·Torcicoda · Ugnano|
|28.171||103,761||3,683||Castello–Le Panche · Piana di Castello · Pistoiese · Brozzi ·Peretola · Il Lippi–Barsanti (Florence) · Firenze Nova ·Novoli · Parco delle Cascine–Argingrosso · San Jacopino · La Fortezza ·Careggi · Leopoldo–Rifredi ·Collina nord · Viali|
Ponte Vecchio, which overlooks the Arno river
Florence is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings. The best-known site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo, whose dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearbyCampanile (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.
In 1982, the historic centre of Florence (Italian: centro storico di Firenze) was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The centre of the city is contained in medieval walls that were built in the 14th century to defend the city.
At the heart of the city, in Piazza della Signoria, is Bartolomeo Ammanati’s Fountain of Neptune (1563–1565), which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.
The River Arno, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the people who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno – which alternated between nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood.
One of the bridges in particular stands out – the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. The bridge also carriesVasari’s elevated corridor linking the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti). Although the original bridge was constructed by the Etruscans, the current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact. It is the first example in the western world of a bridge built using segmental arches, that is, arches less than a semicircle, to reduce both span-to-rise ratio and the numbers of pillars to allow lesser encumbrance in the riverbed (being in this much more successful than the Roman Alconétar Bridge)
Ponte Santa Trinita with the Oltrarnodistrict
The church of San Lorenzo contains the Medici Chapel, the mausoleum of the Medici family – the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th to the 18th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art museums in the world – founded on a large bequest from the last member of the Medici family.
The Uffizi is located at the corner of Piazza della Signoria, a site important for being the centre of Florence’s civil life and government for centuries. ThePalazzo della Signoria facing it is still home of the municipal government. The Loggia dei Lanzi provided the setting for all the public ceremonies of the republican government. Many significant episodes in the history of art and political changes were staged here, such as:
- In 1301, Dante was sent into exile from here (commemorated by a plaque on one of the walls of the Uffizi).
- On 26 April 1478, Jacopo de’ Pazzi and his retainers tried to raise the city against the Medici after the plot known as The congiura dei Pazzi (The Pazzi conspiracy), murdering Giuliano di Piero de’ Medici and wounding his brother Lorenzo. All the members of the plot who could be apprehended were seized by the Florentines and hanged from the windows of the palace.
- In 1497, it was the location of the Bonfire of the Vanities instigated by the Dominican friar and preacher Girolamo Savonarola
- On 23 May 1498, the same Savonarola and two followers were hanged and burnt at the stake. (A round plate in the ground marks the spot where he was hanged)
- In 1504, Michelangelo’s David (now replaced by a replica, since the original was moved indoors to the Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno) was installed in front of the Palazzo della Signoria (also known as Palazzo Vecchio).
The Piazza della Signoria is the location of a number of statues by other sculptors such as Donatello, Giambologna, Ammannati and Cellini, although some have been replaced with copies to preserve the originals.
Palazzo Pitti on Boboli Gardens’ side
In addition to the Uffizi, Florence’s museums include the Bargello, which concentrates on sculpture works by artists including Donatello, Giambolognaand Michelangelo; the Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno (often simply called the Accademia), whose highlights are Michelangelo’s David and his unfinished Slaves; the huge Palazzo Pitti, containing part of the Medici family’s former private collection. In addition to the Medici collection, the palace’s galleries contain many Renaissance works, including several by Raphael and Titian, large collections of costumes, ceremonial carriages, silver, porcelain and a gallery of modern art dating from the 18th century. Adjoining the palace are the Boboli Gardens, elaborately landscaped and with numerous sculptures.
The Santa Croce basilica, originally a Franciscan foundation, contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante (actually acenotaph), and many other notables.
Other important basilicas and churches in Florence include Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Santo Spirito and the Orsanmichele, and the Tempio Maggiore Great Synagogue of Florence.
Santa Maria Novella
- Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral). It is the fourth largest church in Europe, its length being 153 metres (502 ft) and its height 116 metres (381 ft).
- San Giovanni Baptistery. Located in front of the Florence Cathedral, it is decorated by numerous artists, notably by Lorenzo Ghiberti with the Gates of Paradise.
- Basilica of Santa Maria Novella- Located in Santa Maria Novella square (near the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station) this contains works by Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Filippino Lippi and Domenico Ghirlandaio. The façade was designed by Leon Battista Alberti.
- Basilica of Santa Croce. The principal Franciscan church in the city, it is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 metres south east of the Duomo. The site was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).
- Basilica of San Lorenzo: one of the largest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city’s main market district, and the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo III.
- Santo Spirito, in the Oltrarno quarter, facing the square with the same name. The building on the interior is an example of Renaissance architecture.
- Orsanmichele. This building was constructed on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele, now demolished.
- Santissima Annunziata, a Roman Catholic basilica and the mother church of the Servite order. It is located on the north-eastern side of the Piazza with the same name.
- Ognissanti: founded by the lay order of the Umiliati, this was among the first examples of Baroque architecture built in the city. Its two orders of pilasters enclose niches and windows with fantastical cornices. To the left of the façade is a campanile of 13th and 14th-century construction.
- Santa Maria del Carmine, in the Oltrarno district of Florence. It is the location of the Brancacci Chapel, housing outstanding Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.
- Santa Trinita. It is the mother church of the Vallumbrosan Order of monks, founded in 1092 by a Florentine nobleman. Nearby is the Ponte Santa Trinita over the river Arno. The church houses the Sassetti Chapel, containing Renaissance frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
- Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo. It is the resting place of most of the Medici as Grand Dukes of Tuscany. One is the Sagrestia Nuova, the “New Sacristy”, designed by Michelangelo. The other is the Cappella dei Principi, the 16th and 17th-century “Chapel of the Princes”, which is covered with a revetment of colored marbles inlaid with pietra dura.
- San Marco, which comprises a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum, was home in the 15th century to two distinguished Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher Girolamo Savonarola. Also housed at the convent is a collection of manuscripts in a library built by Michelozzo.
- Santa Felicita. This is a church in the downtown, probably the oldest in the city after San Lorenzo. It houses the Deposition by Pontormo
- Badia Fiorentina, the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, the love of Dante’s life, and the place where he watched her at mass. Dante grew up across the street in what is now called the ‘Casa di Dante’, rebuilt in 1910 as a museum to Dante.
- San Gaetano, an examples of the Baroque style in Florence.
- San Miniato al Monte, standing at one of the highest points in the city.
- Florence Charterhouse, or Carthusian monastery, located in the suburb of Galluzzo. The building is a walled complex located on Monte Acuto, at the point of confluence of the Ema and Greve rivers.
- Great Synagogue of Florence, a large synagogue built between 1874 and 1882. The design integrates Islamic and Italian architectural traditions.
- Orthodox Russian church of Nativity. Located in a quarter built in the 19th and 20th centuries, it was erected in the Russian style of the 18th century.
- Santa Maria del Carmine, a church of the Carmelite Order, in the Oltrarno district. It includes the Brancacci Chapel, with Renaissance frescoes byMasaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.
Piazzale degli Uffizi
The National Central Library
Florence contains numerous museums and art galleries where some of the world’s most important works of art are held. The city is one of the best preserved Renaissance centres of art and architecture in the world and has a high concentration of art, architecture and culture. In the ranking list of the 15 most visited Italian art museums, 2/3 are represented by Florentine museums.
- Uffizi. It is one of the most famous and important art galleries in the world, with a very large collection of international and Florentine art. The gallery is articulated in many halls, cataloged by schools and chronological order. Engendered by the Medici family’s artistic collections through the centuries, it houses works of art by Giotto, Cimabue, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Bernini,Beato Angelico, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Francisco Goya, Tintoretto, Paolo Uccello, Chardin, Piero della Francesca, Masaccio, Giorgio Vasari, Correggio, Canaletto, El Greco, Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Antonello da Messina, Mantegna, Simone Martini and many others. It has the largest collection of Botticelli’s works in the world.
- Vasari Corridor, a gallery which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace passing by the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio. Was built for the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici.
- Galleria dell’ Accademia housing a Michelangelo collection, including the David. It has a collection of Russian icons and works by Bronzino, Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Paolo Uccello, Giambologna, Pontormo, Lorenzo Monaco, Lorenzo Bartolini and others artists.
- Palazzo Vecchio, the political heart of the city for two centuries, before to become the residence of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. It homes in numerous halls works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Baccio Bandinelli, Bronzino, Giambologna, Giorgio Vasari, Ammannati, Francesco Salviati, Pontormo and many florentine artists.
- Pitti Palace, housing a large art museum, with five main art galleries and eight museums:
- The Palatine Gallery, on the first floor of the piano nobile, contains a large ensemble of over 500 principally Renaissance paintings, which were once part of the Medicis’ and their successors’ private art collection. The gallery, which overflows into the royal apartments, contains works byRaphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, and Pietro da Cortona. The character of the gallery is still that of a private collection, and the works of art are displayed and hung much as they would have been in the grand rooms for which they were intended rather than following a chronological sequence, or arranged according to school of art.
- Royal Apartments, a suite of 14 rooms, formerly used by the Medici family, and lived in by their successors. These rooms have been largely altered since the era of the Medici, most recently in the 19th century. They contain a collection of Medici portraits, many of them by the artistGiusto Sustermans. In contrast to the great salons containing the Palatine collection, some of these rooms are much smaller and more intimate, and, while still grand and gilded, are more suited to day-to-day living requirements. Period furnishings include four-poster beds and other necessary furnishings not found elsewhere in the palazzo. The Kings of Italy last used the Palazzo Pitti in the 1920s. By that time it had already been converted to a museum, but a suite of rooms (now the Gallery of Modern Art) was reserved for them when visiting Florence officially.
- Modern Art Gallery. This gallery originates from the remodeling of the Florentine academy in 1748, when a gallery of modern art was established. The gallery was intended to hold those art works which were prize-winners in the academy’s competitions. The Palazzo Pitti was being redecorated on a grand scale at this time and the new works of art were being collected to adorn the newly decorated salons. By the mid-19th century so numerous were the Grand Ducal paintings of modern art that many were transferred to the Palazzo Croncetta, which became the first home of the newly formed “Modern Art Museum”.
The interior of the Palazzo Vecchio
Following the Risorgimento and the expulsion of the Grand Ducal family from the palazzo, all the Grand Ducal modern art works were brought together under one roof in the newly titled “Modern gallery of the Academy”. The collection continued to expand, particularly so under the patronage of Vittorio Emanuele II. However it was not until 1922 that this gallery was moved to the Palazzo Pitti where it was complemented by further modern works of art in the ownership of both the state and the municipality of Florence. The collection was housed in apartments recently vacated by members of the Italian Royal family. The gallery was first opened to public viewing in 1928. Today, further enlarged and spread over 30 rooms, this large collection includes works by artists of the Macchiaioli movement and other modern Italian schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The pictures by the Macchiaioli artists are of particular note, as this school of 19th-century Tuscan painters led by Giovanni Fattori were early pioneers and the founders of the impressionist movement. The title “gallery of modern art” to some may sound incorrect, as the art in the gallery covers the period from 1700 to early 1900. No examples of later art are included in the collection since In Italy, “modern art” refers to the period before World War II; what has followed is generally known as “contemporary art” (arte contemporanea). In Tuscany this art can be found at the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci at Prato, a city about 15 km (9 mi) from Florence.
- Silver Museum contains a collection of silver, cameos, and works in semi-precious gemstones, many of the latter from the collection of Lorenzo de’ Medici, including his collection of ancient vases, many with delicate silver gilt mounts added for display purposes in the 15th century.
These rooms, formerly part of the private royal apartments, are decorated with 17th-century frescoes. The Silver Museum also contains a fine collection of German gold and silver artifacts purchased by Grand Duke Ferdinand after his return from exile in 1815, following the French occupation.
- Costume Gallery. Situated in a wing known as the “Palazzina della Meridiana”, this gallery contains a collection of theatrical costumes dating from the 16th century until the present. It is also the only museum in Italy detailing the history of Italian fashions. One of the newer collections to the palazzo, it was founded in 1983 by Kristen Aschengreen Piacenti; a suite of fourteen rooms, the Meridiana apartments, were completed in 1858. In addition to theatrical costumes, the gallery displays garments worn between the 18th century and the present day. Some of the exhibits are unique to the Palazzo Pitti; these include the 16th-century funeral clothes of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, and Eleonora of Toledo and her son Garzia, both of whom died of malaria. Their bodies would have been displayed in state wearing their finest clothes, before being reclad in plainer attire before interment. The gallery also exhibits a collection of mid-20th century costume jewellery. The Sala Meridianaoriginally sponsored a functional solar meridian instrument, built into the fresco decoration by Anton Domenico Gabbiani.
- Porcelain Museum. First opened in 1973, this museum is housed in the Casino del Cavaliere in the Boboli Gardens. The porcelain is from many of the most notable European porcelain factories, with Sèvres and Meissen near Dresden being well represented. Many items in the collection were gifts to the Florentine rulers from other European sovereigns, while other works were specially commissioned by the Grand Ducal court. Of particular note are several large dinner services by the Vincennes factory, later renamed Sèvres, and a collection of small biscuitfigurines.
- Carriages Museum. This ground floor museum exhibits carriages and other conveyances used by the Grand Ducal court mainly in the late 18th and 19th century. The extent of the exhibition prompted one visitor in the 19th century to wonder, “In the name of all that is extraordinary, how can they find room for all these carriages and horses”. Some of the carriages are highly decorative, being adorned not only by gilt but by painted landscapes on their panels. Those used on the grandest occasions, such as the “Carrozza d’Oro” (golden carriage), are surmounted by gilt crowns which would have indicated the rank and station of the carriage’s occupants.
San Firenze complex
Other carriages on view are those used by the King of the Two Sicilies, and Archbishops and other Florentine dignitaries.
- Boboli Gardens. Connected to the Belvedere fort, the garden receives every year further 800.000 visitors, and it’s one of the most important Italian garden in the world. It’s real open-air museum, due to the architectural and landscape’s layout, and the sculptures collections, since the roman antiquity to the XIX century. Among other building we can find the historical Kaffeehaus (built in rococò style) or the Limonaia.
- Bargello. This museum houses artworks by Michelangelo, such as his Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (or Madonna and Child), Brutus and David-Apollo. Its collection includes Donatello’s David and St. George Tabernacle, Vincenzo Gemito’s Pescatore (“fisherboy”), Jacopo Sansovino’sBacco, Giambologna’s L’Architettura and his Mercurio and many works from the Della Robbia family. Benvenuto Cellini is represented with his bronze bust of Cosimo I.
- Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, containing many of the original works of art and sculpture from the Florence Cathedral, including important works byMichelangelo, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca and Andrea della Robbia, and others.
- Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure
The Galleria Monumentale (monumental gallery) of the Palazzo Borghese, one of the most important Neoclassical palaces in Florence
- Museo di Storia Naturale, a natural history museum in 6 major collectionsIt is part of the University of Florence. Museum collections are open mornings except Wednesday, and all day Saturday; an admission fee is charged. The museum was established on 21 February 1775 by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo as the Imperial Regio Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale. At that time it consisted of several natural history collections housed within the palazzo Torrigiani on Via Romana. Through the past two centuries, it has grown significantly and now forms one of the finest collections in Italy.
- Museo Galileo, founded in 1927 by the University of Florence. The museum is located in the Palazzo Castellani, by the River Arno and close to the Uffizi Gallery. Among its collections is the middle finger from the right hand of Galileo Galilei, which was removed when the scientist’s remains were transported to a new burial spot on 12 March 1737.
- National Archaeological Museum
- National Museum of San Marco, which holds the largest artistic collection in the world of Fra Angelico, who lived and worked in this building. There are also exposed other works of Renaissance’s art.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
- Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence and also an art museum. This massive Romanesque crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, it is one of the most significant public places in Italy. Originally called the Palazzo della Signoria, after the Signoria of Florence, the ruling body of the Republic of Florence, it was also given several other names: Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo dei Priori, and Palazzo Ducale, in accordance with the varying use of the palace during its long history. The building acquired its current name when the Medici duke’s residence was moved across the Arno to the Palazzo Pitti. It’s linked to the Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti through the Corridoio Vasariano.
- Palazzo Medici Riccardi, designed by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo for Cosimo il Vecchio, of the Medici family, and was built between 1445 and 1460. It was well known for its stone masonry that includes rustication and ashlar. Today it is the head office of the Florence province and hosts museums and the Riccardiana Library.
- Palazzo Strozzi, an example of civil architecture with its rusticated stone, inspired by the Palazzo Medici, but with more harmonious proportions. Today the palace is used for international expositions like the annual antique show (founded as the Biennale del’Antiquariato in 1959), fashion shows and other cultural and artistic events. Here also is the seat of the Istituto Nazionale del Rinascimento and the noted Gabinetto Vieusseux, with the library and reading room.
- Palazzo Rucellai, designed by Leon Battista Alberti between 1446 and 1451 and executed, at least in part, by Bernardo Rossellino. Its façade was one of the first to announce the new ideas of Renaissance architecture based on pilasters and entablatures in proportional relationship to each other, in a design that probably owed a great deal to Alberti’s studies of Roman architecture, particularly the Colosseum, but which is also full of originality.
- Palazzo Davanzati. Housing the museum of the Old Florentine House, this building’s façade integrates a group of earlier medieval tower homes. It is constructed in sandstone, with three large portals on the horizontal axis, and three stories of mullioned windows. The topmost floor has a loggia supported by four columns and two pilasters that was added in the 16th century. The façade displays the Davanzati coats of arms and has traces of other decorations. The interior courtyard has arches, vaults, and capitals in 14th century-style.
- Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, designed in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1871. It is one of the very few purpose-built commercial buildings in the centre of the city, located in Piazza della Signoria.
Palazzo Spini Feroni, headquarters ofSalvatore Ferragamo
The triumphal arch
- Palazzo Spini Feroni, in Piazza Santa Trinita, is a historic 13th-century private palace, owned since the 1920s by shoe-designer Salvatore Ferragamo.
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali
At the second floor we can find the Ferragamo Museum. The edifice’s original appearance can be seen in Ghirlandaio’s frescoes in the Cappella Sassetti of the neighbouring church of Santa Trinita.
- Palazzo Borghese, a Neoclassical palace.
- Palazzo di Bianca Cappello, located in the Oltrarno district, marked by the graffiti on its façade and the kneeling windows by Bernardo Buontalenti. Bianca Cappello was the venetian lover of Francesco I de’ Medici, and her palace is today the venue of conservation and restoration’s laboratories of the Gabinetto Vieusseux.
- Palazzo Antinori, a Renaissance building at the end of Via de’ Tornabuoni.
- Royal building of Santa Maria Novella, beside the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, and in front of Palace of Affairs. It was inaugurated in 1935 by King Vittorio Emanuele III and the minister Costanzo Ciano, and was used like temporary accommodation for the king and his court.
Villas, Parks and Arches
Surrounding Florence, there are numerous villas, especially built by the Medicis. There are also a fair number of parks and gardens in Florence.
- Arco di Trionfo (Triumphal Arch), in Piazza della Libertà, it is a large arch built in the 18th century by architect Jean-Nicolas Jadot, with statues of mythological deities and heroes, inspired by the work of the Accademia.
- Arco di San Pierino, a small arched-underpass between Piazza San Pier Maggiore e Via dell’Oriuolo, in one of the city’s most picturesque quarters. Realized in pietraforte is considered a remains of the 12th century walls of Florence.
Parks and gardens
- Boboli Gardens
- Parco delle Cascine: This public park, with its 160 hectares is the largest park in Florence; it begins at the Vittorio Veneto square on the Viali di Circonvallazione and ends at the Indiano Bridge, delimited by the Mugnone torrent and the Macinante canal. It has numerous sports structures among others soccer fields, a velodrome, a shooting, the archery, swimming pools and two racetracks. Besides locals and clubs it houses the memorial to the Indian prince Rajaram Chuttraputti, the Cascine’s pyramid, the amphitheater and the Military Aviation School entitled to Giulio Douhet.
- Giardino Bardini, an Italian Renaissance garden. It boasts many statues and panoramic views over the city. Wildlife in the garden includes rock pigeons, blackbirds and woodpigeons. A good part of the garden is visible from the Piazzale Michelangelo.
- Giardino dell’Orticultura, which hosts national exhibitions and shows. In this garden are the Loggetta Bondi, and a large greenhouse, the biggest in Italy when it was built.
- Giardino dei Semplici, a botanical garden maintained by the University of Florence. The garden was established on 1 December 1545, by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and is Europe’s third oldest. Today the garden contains some 9,000 plant specimens laid out in a roughly square site surrounded by walls, crossed by a grid of walkways, and with a central fountain. Some trees are quite old, including a Taxus baccata (1720) and Quercus suber (1805).
- Giardino della Gherardesca. It is the biggest private garden in the historical centre of Florence, and has the main entrace in Piazzale Donatello in from of the English Cemetery. Beside it is located the Palazzo della Gherardesca. Today is an estate of Four Seasons luxury-hotel.
- Giardino Torrigiani, a large park inside the Oltrarno’s walls, which represents a typical example of romantic style. It includes the Grotta di Merlino, the Gymnasium and the torrino.
Villa di Poggio Imperiale
- Villa Le Balze, a garden villa in Fiesole, very close to Florence. The villa is owned by Georgetown University and hosts year round study abroad students.
- The Belvedere Fort or Fortezza di Santa Maria in San Giorgio del Belvedere (often called simply Belvedere), a fortification built by Grand DukeFerdinando I de’ Medici in 1590–1595, with Bernardo Buontalenti as the designer. The buildings hold works of art, and are used as a venue for exhibitions of contemporary sculpture.
- Villa Medici at Careggi, a patrician house. The villa was among the first of a number of Medici villas, notable as the site of the Platonic academy founded by Cosimo de’ Medici, who died at the villa in 1464. Like most villas of Florentine families, the villa remained a working farm that helped render the family self-sufficient. Cosimo’s architect there, as elsewhere, was Michelozzo, who remodelled the fortified villa which had something of the character of a castle. Its garden is walled in the fashion of a medieval garden, overlooked by the upper-storey loggias, with which Michelozzo cautiously opened up the villa’s structure. Michelozzo’s Villa Medici in Fiesole has a more outward-looking, Renaissance character.
- Villa di Castello. Niccolò Tribolo was one of the architects involved in its construction.
- Villa Medici in Fiesole, the fourth oldest of the villas built by the Medici family (1451–1457).
- Villa La Petraia, also commissioned by the Medici, in Renaissance style.
- Villa Palmieri, Fiesole. The villa’s gardens on slopes below the piazza S. Domenico are credited with being the setting for the frame story ofBoccaccio’s Decamerone.
- Villa del Poggio Imperiale, is a predominantly neoclassical former grand ducal Villa to the south of the city. Later given to Napoleon’s sister, it was reclaimed by the hereditary rulers of Tuscany before being finally converted to a girls’ school.
- Villa Salviatino, Maiano, on the steep slope south of Fiesole.
- Torre del Gallo, at Pian de’ Giullari, in the hills of Arcetri, on top of a ridge overlooking the city.
- Villa di Quarto, on via di Quarto, in the hilly zone at the foot of the Monte Morello.
- Villa Feri, located at the corner of Via del Podestà and Via Martellini.
- Villa Rusciano. Set in a hilly area on the outskirts of Florence, it belonged to the Salviati.
- Villa San Michele Hotel
Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza Santa Trinita
Piazza Santissima Annunziata
- Piazza del Duomo. It is located in the heart of the historic centre of Florence. Here one can find the Florence Cathedral with the Cupola del Brunelleschi, Giotto’s Campanile, the Florence Baptistry, the Loggia del Bigallo, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and the Arcivescovile and Canonici’s palace. The west zone of this square is called San Giovanni square.
- Piazza della Repubblica: Is a square in the center of Florence, location of the cultural cafes and bourgeois palaces. Among the square’s cafes (like Caffè Gilli, Paszkowski or the Hard Rock Cafè), the Giubbe Rosse cafe has long been a meeting place for artists and writers, notably those ofFuturism.
- Piazza Santa Croce. Dominated by the Basilica of Santa Croce it is a rectangular square in the centre of the city. Here the Calcio Fiorentino is played every year and when can find on this square the Palazzo dell’Antella, the Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori (main office of center of Florence quarter) and the Dante’s statue. In Christmas time is venue of typical German’s markets.
- Piazza della Signoria, the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic, which still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. The impressive 14th century Palazzo Vecchio is still preeminent with its crenellated tower. The square is also shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia (now the Bureau of Agriculture), and the Palazzo Uguccioni (16th century, with a façade by Raphael). Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali.
- Piazza San Lorenzo. It houses the Basilica of San Lorenzo with the Cappelle Medicee, a lively open market of souvenirs and handmade products, and the Laurentian Library. Near this square is located the central market of the city.
- Piazza Santa Maria Novella, with the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Alinari National Phography Museum, and luxury hotels. It is opposite of Piazza della Stazione, accessible by Via degli Avelli.
- Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, located near piazza San Marco and piazza del Duomo. It overlook the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the Loggia dei Servi di Maria, the Budini Gattai palace and the National Archaeological Museum
- Piazza della Stazione, a large square in the center of the city, one of the main focal point of transport in Florence. Here converge almost the entire bus-line, and tramways, and the central railway station of Florence the biggest and masterpiece of Rationalism Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, that is used by 59,000,000 people every year. On piazza della Stazione we can also find the Palazzina Reale di Santa Maria Novella (where the king of Italy stayed), and the Palazzo degli Affari.
- Piazza dell’Indipendenza, located near Piazza della Stazione and San Lorenzo Market, with palaces typically bourgeois where lived Guido Nobili and Theodosia Gorrow Trollope wife of the writer Anthony Trollope.
- Piazza San Marco. Located in the north zone of the historic centre of Florence near Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, it hosts the Basilica of San Marco, the headquarters of the University of Florence and the renowned Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.
- Piazza Santa Trinita. It is a square near the Arno that mark the end of the elegant fashion-street of Via de’ Tornabuoni. On Piazza Santa Trinita overlooks the Santa Trinita church (that gives the name to the square), the Palazzo Spini Feroni, the Palazzo Buondelmonti, the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni and the Column of Justice.
- Piazza dei Ciompi, which hosts the Loggia del Pesce, designed by Giorgio Vasari, and the house of Lorenzo Ghiberti.
- Piazza d’Azeglio, near the viali di Circonvallazione. It shows of the Villino Uzielli Palace.
- Piazza Goldoni: In front of Ponte alla Carraia, in the Piazza Goldoni we can find the Palazzo Ricasoli and the statue dedicated to Carlo Goldoni.
- Piazza Beccaria, on the viali di Circonvallazione and on this square overlook the State Archives, La Nazione’s headquarters and the Porta alla Croce.
- Piazza della Libertà: It is the northernmost point of the historic centre of Florence. It was created in the 19th century during works to produce the Viali di Circonvallazione around the city. In this square is located the beautiful triumphal arch of Florence.
- Piazzale Donatello
- Piazza Bambine e Bambini di Beslan
Via de’ Calzaiuoli
Via degli Speziali
- Via Camillo Cavour, one of the main roads of the northern area of the historic city centre of Florence. It was created in 1861 from two older streets,Via Larga and Via Leopoldo (as far as Piazza della Libertà, renamed Piazzale Cavour at the same time), and renamed after Camillo Cavour on 17 June 1861, just 11 days after his death.
- Via Ghibellina. One of central Florence’s longest streets, it leads directly towards the National Museum of Bargello, and contains numerous palaces, shops and theatres. In this street we can find among others the Borghese palace, the Teatro Verdi and the Casa Buonarroti. At the west end of this street (via del Proconsolo) is placedthe Badia Fiorentina, and at the east end the street leads at Piazza Cesare Beccaria where is located the State Archives and the Porta alla Croce.
- Via dei Calzaiuoli: It’s one of most central streets of the historic centre of the city. It link Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Signoria, winding parallel to via Roma and Piazza della Repubblica. On this pedestrian street look out many elegant shops and other commercial activities. At the beginning of via dei Calzaiuoli, at the corner with piazza del Duomo, is the Loggia del Bigallo.
- Via de’ Tornabuoni, a luxurious street of the centre of Florence that goes from Antinori square to ponte Santa Trinita, across Piazza Santa Trinita, characterised by the presence of fashion boutiques. It contains numerous upscale fashion and jewery labels, such as Gucci, Roberto Cavalli,Salvatore Ferragamo and Bulgari, to name a few. In the past on via’ de Tornabuoni was present the Casoni cocktail where the Negroni Café was invented in 1920 by Camillo Negroni. On this street there are some bars and elegant cafés, such as the well-known Gran Caffé Doney.
- Viali di Circonvallazione. These are a series of 6-lane boulevards surrounding the northern part of the historic centre of Florence. The boulevards follows the outline of the ancient walls of Florence, that were demolished since 1865 according to the Giuseppe Poggi’s project to make Florence, then the capital of Italy, a modern and big city like the others European capitals.
- Via Roma: A central street near Piazza della Repubblica, which is built in mainly 18th–19th century style architecture.
- Via degli Speziali: The Via degli Speziali is an elegant street, built mainly in the 19th century neo-classical style, near Piazza della Repubblica.
- Via de’ Cerretani, a wide street in the historical centre of the city, which connects Piazza della Stazione (through via Panzani) to the baptistery in Piazza San Giovanni. On this street overlook many commercial activities, and great palaces like the Palazzo Del Bembo or the Santa Maria Maggiore church.
- Viale dei Colli, an avenue crossing the hills around Florence, and linking the Oltrano district to Piazzale Michelangelo. On this avenue there are gardens with gazebos and chalet, and the Giardino delle rose and Giardino dell’Iris.
- Lungarno, the streets along the Arno river. Landmarks facing them include the Corridoio Vasariano, the Uffizi, the Parco delle Cascine, the National Central Library, the Ponte alle Grazie and the other bridges like Ponte Vecchio etc., San Frediano in Cestello, Piazza Demidoff, as well as the towers. The main Lungarni are: Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli, Lungarno Corsini, Lungarno Diaz, Lungarno Torrigiani, Lungarno delle Grazie, Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, Lungarno Vespucci, Lungarno Soderini, Lungarno Guicciardini, Lungarno Serristori and Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini.
Theaters and Cinemas
The large interior of the Cinema Odeon (Odeon Cinema) in the Palazzo dello Strozzino
Teatro di Villa Strozzi
There are numerous historical and modern theatres in Florence. The main ones are:
- Odeon Cinema of the Palazzo dello Strozzino. One of the oldest movie theatres in the city, established from 1920 to 1922 in a wing of the Palazzo dello Strozzino, it used to be called the Cinema Teatro Savoia (Savoy Cinema-Theatre), yet was later called Odeon. The cinema is constructed in a neo-Renaissance/Baroque style, and the arrangement of the audience seats are more like those of a normal theatre. Today, the cinema is not only a film theatre, but also a ballroom and concert-hall.
- Teatro della Pergola, located in the centre of the city on the eponymous street. It was built in 1656 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Tacca. The opera house is considered to be the oldest in Italy, having occupied the same site for more than 350 years.
- Teatro Comunale (or Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), originally built as the open-air amphitheatre, the Politeama Fiorentino Vittorio Emanuele which was inaugurated on 17 May 1862 with a production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and which seated 6,000 people. It became the focus on cultural life in the city. After closure caused by fire, it reopened in April 1864 and acquired a roof in 1882.
Auditorium of the Duomo
- Saloncino Castinelli, a historic theatre and cinema in the city’s centre.
- Teatro Puccini, opened in 1940, which specialises itself in comedies and satyrical plays. There are 634 places (499 in the audience, and 135 in the gallery).
- Teatro Verdi. Situated in central Florence, it is known for its lighter, comical plays.
- Teatro Goldoni. It was inaugurated on 17 April 1817. Nowadays, it is mainly used for dance.
- Teatro Niccolini, also known as Teatro del Cocomero, in via Ricasoli, very near to Florence Cathedral. It was frequently utlilized by Lorenzo de’ Medici.
- Parco della Musica e della Cultura, a vast musical complex which is being built in the Cascine park, and it will be a major centre of musical and theatrical culture. It will host a lyrical theatre containing 2,000 places, a concert hall for 1,000 watchers, a hall with 3,000 seats and an open-air amphitheatre with 3,000 spaces. It will host numerous ballets, concerts, lyrical operas and numerous musical festivals. The theatre will be inaugurated on 28 April 2011, in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification.
|Source: ISTAT 2001|
As of 31 October 2010, the population of the city proper is 370,702, while Eurostat estimates that 696,767 people live in the urban area of Florence. The Metropolitan Area of Florence, Prato and Pistoia, constituted in 2000 over an area of roughly 4,800 square kilometres, is home to 1.5 million people. Within Florence proper, 46.8% of the population was male in 2007 and 53.2% were female. Minors (children aged 18 and less) totalled 14.10 percent of the population compared to pensioners, who numbered 25.95 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Florence resident is 49 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Florence grew by 3.22 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The birth rate of Florence is 7.66 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
As of 2009, 87.46% of the population was Italian. An estimated 60,000 Chinese live in the city. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly Romanians and Albanians): 3.52%, East Asia (mostly Chinese and Filipino): 2.17%, the Americas (moslty Peruvians): 1.41%, and North Africa (mostly Moroccan): 0.9%.
Tourism is, by far, the most important of all industries and most of the Florentine economy relies on the money generated by international arrivals and students studying in the city.Manufacturing and commerce, however, still remain highly important. Florence is also Italy’s 17th richest city in terms of average workers’ earnings, with the figure being €23,265 (the overall city’s income is that of €6,531,204,473), coming after Mantua, yet surpassing Bolzano.
Industry, Commerce and Services
Florence is a major production and commercial centre in Italy, where the Florentine industrial complexes in the suburbs produce all sorts of goods, from furntiture, rubber goods, chemicals, and food. However, traditional and local products, such as antiques, handicrafts, glasswear, leatherwork, art reproductions, jewelry, souvenirs, elaborate metal and iron-work, shoes, accessories and high fashion clothes also dominate a fair sector of Florence’s economy. The city’s income relies partially on services and commercial and cultural interests, such as annual fairs, theatrical and lyrical productions, art exhibitions, festivals and fashion shows, such as the Calcio Fiorentino. Heavy industry and machinery also take their part in provinding an income. In Nuovo Pignone, numerous factories are still present, and small-to medium industrial businesses are dominant. The Florence-Prato-Pistoia industrial districts and areas were known as the ‘Third Italy’ in the 1990s, due to the exports of high-quality goods and automobile (especially the Vespa) and the prosperity and productivity of the Florentine entrepreneurs. Some of these industries even rivalled the traditional industrial districts inEmilia-Romagna and Veneto due to high profits and productivity.
Tourists flock to the Fontana del Porcellino.
Tourism is the most significant industry in central Florence. From April to October, tourists outnumber local population. Tickets to the Uffizi andAccademia museums are regularly sold out and large groups regularly fill the basilicas of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, both of which charge for entry. In 2010, readers of Travel + Leisure magazine ranked the city as their third favourite tourist destination. Studies by Euromonitor International have concluded that cultural and history-oriented tourism is generating significantly increased spending throughout Europe.
Florence is believed to have the greatest concentration of art (in proportion to its size) in the world. Thus, cultural tourism is particularly strong, with world-renowned museums such as the Uffizi selling over 1.6 million tickets a year. The city’s convention centre facilities were restructured during the 1990s and host exhibitions, conferences, meetings, social forums, concerts and other events all year.
Florence has approximately 35,000 hotel beds and 23,000 other accommodation facilities (campsites, guesthouses, youth hostels and farmhouses), giving potential for overall stays to exceed 10 million visitor/nights a year. Visitors also include thousands of day-trippers brought in by cruise ships (to Livorno) and by road and rail. In 2007, the city ranked as the world’s 59th most visited city, with over 1.729 million arrivals for the year. It has been estimated that just under one-third of tourists are Italians, the remainder comprising Americans (20%), Germans (13%), Japanese (8%), Britons (7.8%), French (5.7%) and Spaniards (5%).
Food and Wine Production
Food and wine have long been an important staple of the economy. Florence is the most important city in Tuscany, one of the great wine-growing regions in the world. The Chianti region is just south of the city, and its Sangiovese grapes figure prominently not only in its Chianti Classico wines but also in many of the more recently developed Supertuscan blends. Within twenty miles (32 km) to the west is the Carmignano area, also home to flavorful sangiovese-based reds. The celebrated Chianti Rufina district, geographically and historically separated from the main Chianti region, is also few miles east of Florence. More recently, the Bolgheri region (about 150 km southwest of Florence) has become celebrated for its “Super Tuscan” reds such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia.
Botticelli’s Venus, stored in the Uffizi
Sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi
Florence has a legendary artistic heritage. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence as well as Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, renewers of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi,Donatello and Masaccio, forefathers of the Renaissance, Ghiberti and the Della Robbias, Filippo Lippi and Angelico; Botticelli, Paolo Uccello and the universal genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Their works, together with those of many other generations of artists, are gathered in the several museums of the town: the Uffizi Gallery, the Palatina gallery with the paintings of the “Golden Ages”, the Bargellowith the sculptures of the Renaissance, the museum of San Marco with Fra Angelico’s works, the Academy, the chapels of the Medicis Buonarroti’ s house with the sculptures of Michelangelo, the following museums: Bardini, Horne, Stibbert, Romano, Corsini, The Gallery of Modern Art, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the museum of Silverware and the museum of Precious Stones. Great monuments are the landmarks of Florentine artistic culture: the Florence Baptistery with its mosaics; the Cathedral with its sculptures, the medieval churches with bands of frescoes; public as well as private palaces: Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati; monasteries, cloisters, refectories; the “Certosa”. In the archeological museum includes documents of Etruscan civilization. In fact the city is so rich in art that some first time visitors experience the Stendhal syndrome as they encounter its art for the first time.
Florentine architects such as Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1466) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) were among the fathers of both Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture.
The cathedral, topped by Brunelleschi’s dome, dominates the Florentine skyline. The Florentines decided to start building it – late in the 13th century, without a design for the dome. The project proposed by Brunelleschi in the 14th century was the largest ever built at the time, and the first major dome built in Europe since the two great domes of Roman times – the Pantheon in Rome, and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore remains the largest brick construction of its kind in the world. In front of it is the medieval Baptistery. The two buildings incorporate in their decoration the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. In recent years, most of the important works of art from the two buildings – and from the nearby Giotto’s Campanile, have been removed and replaced by copies. The originals are now housed in the Museum dell’Opera del Duomo, just to the east of the Cathedral.
Florence has large numbers of art-filled churches, such as San Miniato al Monte, San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita, Santa Maria del Carmine, Santa Croce, Santo Spirito, the Annunziata, Ognissanti and numerous others.
The Palazzo della Signoria, better known as the Palazzo Vecchio (English:The Old Palace)
Artists associated with Florence range from Arnolfo di Cambio and Cimabue to Giotto, Nanni di Banco, and Paolo Uccello; through Lorenzo Ghiberti, and Donatello and Massaccio and the della Robbia family; through Fra Angelico and Botticelli and Piero della Francesca, and on to Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Others include Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea del Sarto, Benozzo Gozzoli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippo Lippi, Bernardo Buontalenti, Orcagna, Pollaiuolo, Filippino Lippi, Verrocchio, Bronzino, Desiderio da Settignano, Michelozzo, the Rossellis, the Sangallos, and Pontormo. Artists from other regions who worked in Florence include Raphael, Andrea Pisano, Giambologna, Il Sodoma and Peter Paul Rubens.
The Uffizi and the Pitti Palace are two of the most famous picture galleries in the world. Two superb collections of sculpture are in the Bargello and the Museum of the Works of the Duomo. They are filled with the creations of Donatello, Verrochio, Desiderio da Settignano, Michelangelo and others. The Accademia has Michelangelo’s David – perhaps the most well-known work of art anywhere, plus the unfinished statues of the slaves Michelangelo created for the tomb of Pope Julius II.
Other sights include the medieval city hall, the Palazzo della Signoria (alsdo known as the Palazzo Vecchio), the Archeological Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Palazzo Davanzatti, the Stibbert Museum, St. Marks, the Medici Chapels, the Museum of the Works of Santa Croce, the Museum of the Cloister of Santa Maria Novella, the Zoological Museum (“La Specola”), the Bardini, and the Museo Horne. There is also a collection of works by the modern sculptor, Marino Marini, in a museum named after him. The Strozzi Palace is the site of special exhibits.
Florentine (fiorentino), spoken by inhabitants of Florence and its environs, is a Tuscan dialect and an immediate parent language to modern Italian.
Its vocabulary and pronunciation are largely identical to standard Italian, though the hard c [k] between two vowels (as in ducato) is pronounced as a fricative [h], similar to an English h. This gives Florentines a highly recognizable accent (the so-called gorgia toscana). Other traits include using a form of the subjunctive mood last commonly used in medieval times, a frequent usage in everyday speech of the modern subjunctive, and a shortened pronunciation of the definite article, [i] instead of “il”.
Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio pioneered the use of the vernacular instead of the Latin used for most literary works at the time.
The introduction of the Decameron(1350–1353) by Giovanni Boccaccio.
Despite Latin being the main language of the courts and the Church, writers such as Dante Alighieri and many others used their own language, the Florentine dialect, in composing their works. The oldest literary pieces written in vernacular language go as far back as the 13th century. Florence’s literature fully blossomed in the 14th century, when not only Dante with his Divine Comedy (1306–1321) and Petrarch, but also poets such as Guido Cavalcanti and Lapo Gianni composed their most important works. Dante’s masterpiece is the Divine Comedy, which mainly deals with the poet himself taking an allegoric and moral tour of Hell, Purgatory and finally Heaven, during which he meets numerous mythological or real characters of his age or before. He is first guided by the Roman poet Virgil, whose non-Christian beliefs damned him to Hell. Later on he is joined by Beatrice, who guides him through Heaven.
In the 14th century, Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio led the literary scene in Florence after Dante’s death in 1321. Petrarch was an all-rounder writer, author and poet, but was particularly known for his Canzoniere, or the Book of Songs, where he conveyed his unremitting love for Laura. His style of writing has since become known as Petrarchism. Boccaccio was better known for his Decameron, a slightly grim story of Florence during the 1350s bubonic plague, known as the Black Death, when some people fled the ravaged city to an isolated country mansion, and spent their time there recounting stories and novellas taken from the medieval and contemporary tradition. All of this is written in a series of 100 distinct novellas.
In the 16th century, during the Renaissance, Florence was the hometown of political writer and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, whose ideas on how rulers should govern the land, detailed in The Prince, spread across European courts and enjoyed enduring popularity for centuries. These principles became known as Machiavellianism.
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Florence became a musical centre during the Middle Ages and music and the performing arts remain an important part of its culture. During the Renaissance there were four kinds of musical patronage in the city with respect to both sacred and secular music: state, corporate, church, and private. and it was here that the Florentine Camerata convened in the mid-16th century and experimented with setting tales of Greek mythology to music and staging the result—in other words, the first operas, setting the wheels in motion not just for the further development of the operatic form, but for later developments of separate “classical” forms such as the symphony.
Opera was invented in Florence in the late 16th century.
Composers and musicians who have lived in Florence include Piero Strozzi (1550 – after 1608), Giulio Caccini (1551–1618) and Mike Francis (1961–2009).
Florence has been a setting for numerous works of fiction and movies, including the novels and associated films, such as Light in the Piazza, Calmi Cuori Appassionati, Hannibal, A Room with a View, Tea with Mussolini and Virgin Territory. The city is home to renowned Italian actors and actresses, such as Roberto Benigni, Leonardo Pieraccioni and Vittoria Puccini.
Florentine food grows out of a tradition of peasant eating rather than rarefied high cooking. The majority of dishes are based on meat. The whole animal was traditionally eaten; tripe, (trippa) and (lampredotto) were once regularly on the menu and still are sold at the food carts stationed throughout the city. Antipasti include crostini toscani, sliced bread rounds topped with a chicken liver-based pâté, and sliced meats (mainly prosciutto and salame, often served with melon when in season). The typically saltless Tuscan bread, obtained with natural levain frequently features in Florentine courses, especially in its soups, ribollita and pappa al pomodoro, or in the salad of bread and fresh vegetables called panzanella that is served in summer. The bistecca alla fiorentinais a large (the customary size should weigh around 1200 grams – “40 oz.”) – the “date” steak – T-bone steak of Chianina beef cooked over hot charcoal and served very rare with its more recently derived version, the tagliata, sliced rare beef served on a bed of arugula, often with slices of Parmesan cheese on top. Most of these courses are generally served with local olive oil, also a prime product enjoying a worldwide reputation.
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
Research institutes and university departments are located within the Florence area and within two campuses at Polo di Novoli and Polo Scientifico di Sesto Fiorentino as well as in the Research Area of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.
Science and Discovery
A display of proboscideans in the Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze, or the Natural History Museum of Florence
Florence has been an important scientific centre for centuries, notably during the Renaissance with scientists such as Leonardo da Vinci.
Florentines were one of the driving forces behind the Age of Discovery. Florentine bankers financed Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese explorers who pioneered the route around Africa to India and the Far East. It was a map drawn by the Florentine Paulo del Pozzo Toscanelli, a student of Brunelleschi, that Columbus used to sell his “enterprise” to the Spanish monarchs, and which he used on his first voyage. Mercator’s “Projection” is a refined version of Toscanelli’s – taking into account the Americas, of which the Florentine was, obviously, ignorant.
Gallileo and other scientists pioneered the study of optics, ballistics, astronomy, anatomy, and so on. Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo Bruni, Machiavelli, and many others laid the groundwork for our understanding of political science.
Luxury boutiques along Florence’s prestigious Via de’ Tornabuoni.
Florence being historically the first home of Italian fashion (the 1951–1953 soirées held by Giovanni Battista Giorgini are generally regarded as the birth of the Italian school as opposed to French haute couture) is also home to the Italian fashion establishment Salvatore Ferragamo. Gucci, Enrico Coveri, Emilio Pucci, Patrizia Pepe, Ermanno Scervino and many others are founded and located in Florence. Prada, Roberto Cavalli, and Chanel have large offices and stores in Florence or its outskirts. Florence’s main upscale shopping street is Via de’ Tornabuoni, where major luxury fashion houses and jewelry labels, such as Armani, Ferragamo and Bulgari, have their boutiques. Florence has been ranked as the 31st main fashion capital of the world by the Global Language Monitor, making it Italy’s third most important fashion centre after Milan and Rome.
The San Lorenzo market is now largely for tourists. Great places to walk include along the Arno and across any of its bridges, through narrow, medieval back streets in the Santa Croce area and in the Oltr’Arno – on the south side of the river, in many ways like Rome’s Trastevere or Paris’s Left Bank – but far smaller. There are also superb shopping streets, such as the Via Tornabuoni, the Via del Parione, and the Via Maggio.
Scoppio del Carro
The Scoppio del Carro (“Explosion of the Cart”) is a celebration of the First Crusade. During the day of Easter, a cart, which the Florentines call the Brindellone and which is led by four white oxen, is taken to the Piazza del Duomo between the Baptistery of St. John the Baptist (Battistero di San Giovanni) and the Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore). The cart is connected by a rope to the interior of the church. Near the cart there is a model of a dove which, according to legend, is a symbol of good luck for the city: at the end of the Easter mass, the dove emerges from the nave of the Duomo and ignites the fireworks on the cart.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino (“Historic Florentine Football”), sometimes called Calcio in costume, is a traditional sport, regarded as a forerunner of soccer, though the actual gameplay most closely resembles rugby. The event originates from the Middle Ages, when the most important Florentine nobles amused themselves playing while wearing bright costumes. The most important match was played on 17 February 1530, during the siege of Florence. That day Papal troops besiged the city while the Florentines, with contempt of the enemies, decided to play the game notwithstanding the situation. The game is played in the Piazza di Santa Croce. A temporary arena is constructed, with bleachers and a sand-covered playing field. A series of matches are held between four teams representing each quartiere (quarter) of Florence during late June and early July. There are four teams: Azzurri (light blue), Bianchi (white), Rossi (red) and Verdi (green). The Azzurri are from the quarter of Santa Croce, Bianchi from the quarter of Santo Spirito, Verdi are from San Giovanni and Rossi from Santa Maria Novella.
The Third Countship of Florence
The four counts and four countesses of Florence have a large but hidden tradition dating back to the early 20th century when a favoured Tuscan family left the city to Malta and the youngest daughter of the family was declared Contessa Morabitto di Florenze Countess Morabitto of Florence. To the present date there are eight members of the countship, six living in Malta, one in England and one living in Italy.
Viali di Circonvallazione.
Tramway in Florence
Inside Santa Maria Novella railway station
The principal public transport network within the city is run by the ATAF and Li-nea bus company, with tickets available at local tobacconists, bars and newspaper stalls. Individual tickets or a pass called the Carta Agile with multiple rides (10 or 21) may be used on buses. Once on the bus, tickets must be stamped (or swiped for the Carta Agile) using the machines on board unlike the train tickets which must be validated before boarding. The main bus station is next to Santa Maria Novella railway station. Trenitalia runs trains between the railway stations within the city, and to other destinations around Italy and Europe. The central railway station, Santa Maria Novella railway station, is located about 500 metres (1,600 ft) northwest of the Piazza del Duomo. There are two other important stations: Campo Di Marte and Rifredi. Most bundled routes are Firenze-Pisa, Firenze-Viareggio and Firenze-Arezzo (along the main line to Rome). Other local railways connect Florence with Borgo San Lorenzo and Siena.
Long distance 10 km (6.21 mi) buses are run by the SITA, Copit, CAP and Lazzi companies. The transit companies also accommodate travellers from the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, which is five kilometres (3.1 mi) west of the city centre, and which has scheduled services run by major European carriers such as Air France and Lufthansa.
The centre of the city is closed to through-traffic, although buses, taxis and residents with appropriate permits are allowed in. This area is commonly referred to as the ZTL (Zona Traffico Limitato), which is divided into five subsections. Residents of one section, therefore, will only be able to drive in their district and perhaps some surrounding ones. Cars without permits are allowed to enter after 7.30 pm, or before 7.30 am in the morning. The rules shift during the tourist-filled summers, putting more restrictions on where one can get in and out.
Due to the high level of air pollution and traffic in the city, an urban tram network called the TramVia is under construction in the city. The first line runs from Scandicci to the southwest through the western side of the city, cross the River Arno at the Cascine Park and arrive to the main railway station of Santa Maria Novella. Two other lines are in the final design phase.
Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station is the main national and international railway station in Florence and is used by 59 million people every year. The building designed by Giovanni Michelucci was built in the Italian Rationalism style and it is one of the major rationalist buildings in Italy. It is located in Piazza della Stazione, near the Fortezza da Basso and the Viali di Circonvallazione, and in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella’s apse, from which takes its name.
Other stations include:
- Firenze Rifredi railway station
- Firenze Campo di Marte railway station
- Firenze Belfiore railway station
- Firenze Cascine railway station
- Firenze Castello railway station
- Firenze Rovezzano railway station
- Firenze San Marco Vecchio railway station
- Firenze Statuto railway station
- Firenze Porta al Prato railway station
- Firenze Le Cure railway station
- Firenze Le Piagge railway station
- Firenze Salviati railway station
- Firenze Piazza Puccini Station
Florence’s ”Amerigo Vespucci” is one of two main airports in the Tuscany region, the other being Galileo Galilei International Airport in Pisa.
Florence is represented by ACF Fiorentina, who play in Serie A, the top league of Italian football. They play their games at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The city is home of Coverciano, the main training ground of the Italian national team, and the technical department of the Italian Football Federation.
Florence has been selected to host the 2013 UCI World Road Cycling Championships.
Twin Towns—Sister Cities
Florence is twinned with:
- Kraków in Poland
Lorenzo de’ Medici
Leonardo da Vinci
- Sir Harold Acton, author and aesthete.
- Leone Battista Alberti, polymath.
- Dante Alighieri, poet.
- Giovanni Boccaccio, poet.
- Baldassarre Bonaiuti, 14th century chronicler
- Sandro Botticelli, painter.
- Aureliano Brandolini, agronomist and development cooperation scholar.
- Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 19th century English poets.
- Filippo Brunelleschi, architect.
- Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, author of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and David.
- Roberto Cavalli, fashion designer.
- Enrico Coveri, fashion designer.
- Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione. Early photographic artist, Secret agent and Courtesan.
- Leonardo da Vinci, polymath
- Giotto di Bondone, early 14th century painter, sculptor and architect.
- Donatello, sculptor.
- Oriana Fallaci, journalist and author.
- Salvatore Ferragamo, fashion designer and shoemaker.
- Frescobaldi Family, notable bankers and wine producers.
- Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, astronomer, and philosopher.
- Lorenzo Ghiberti, sculptor.
- Guccio Gucci, founder of the Gucci label.
- Pietro Pacciani, farmer, starring of the case of the Monster of Florence.
- Robert Lowell, poet.
- Niccolò Machiavelli, poet, philosopher and political thinker, author of The Prince and The Discourses.
- Masaccio, painter.
- Medici family.
- Antonio Meucci, inventor of the telephone.
- Florence Nightingale, pioneer of modern nursing, and a statistician.
- Mike Francis (musician) born Francesco Puccioni, singer and composer
- Raphael, painter.
- Girolamo Savonarola
- Giorgio Vasari, painter, architect, and historian.
- Amerigo Vespucci, explorer and cartographer, namesake of the Americas.
- Buildings and structures in Florence
- Chancellor of Florence
- European University Institute
- Fashion designers of Florence
- Florentine School
- Guilds of Florence
- Historical states of Italy
- List of Florentine churches
- Squares of Florence
- Stendhal syndrome
- University of Florence
- Cronaca fiorentina