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Where the renaissance cradles david
Florence, the capital of Tuscany region, Italy
Florence (Firenze in Italian) is nestled within the Tuscan region of northern Italy and surrounded by rolling vineyards and olive groves. Visitors are just as beguiled by the beauty of the city itself as they are by the paintings and sculptures found in its many museums. The city was home to many well-known artists, writers, explorers, and scientists. Amongst its most famous residents were Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Galileo. Famous for its rich history and considered as the birthplace of Renaissance the city is nowadays a popular tourist destination and is ranked as a UNESCO World heritage site. Many of Florence’s churches are works of art in themselves. The most famous of the city’s churches is the Santa Maria del Fiore, known simply as the Duomo.
Start your visit from the historic city centre, Piazza del Duomo, where the Baptistery and the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore face each other. Built in the 13th century, the cathedral is a bold and majestic piece of architecture with a fantastic view over the city. It is Florence’s most recognisable symbol and glimpses of its majestic dome can be seen around nearly every corner of the city. On the façade side of the cathedral is the campanile of Giotto, which also has fine views of the city. In front of the Cathedral stands the older, Romanesque-style Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Walking along the lively Via dei Calzaiuoli, you will pass by Orsanmichele, a 14thcentury building that started out life as a granary. At the far end of Via dei Calzaiuoli you will arrive at the Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city. You can visit the museum in the Palazzo della Signoria, which is also home to the seat of Florence City Council. The interior courtyard has a magnificent fountain made by Verrocchio and its frescoes by Vasari. Near the Piazza della Signoria, is the imposing Uffizi Gallery. Designed by Vasari in the 16th century, it is now one of the most important museums in the world. The gallery contains paintings from early masters like Cimabue and Giotto. Continuing on from Ponte Vecchio, you will arrive to Piazza Pitti, which is dominated by the façade of the majestic Palazzo Pitti. Don’t miss the Accademia Gallery, to discover Michelangelo’s celebrated David.
The food in Florence is fresh and locally produced. Antipasto plates (before the meal) are the highlights, especially when served with a good Chianti (red Italian wine), and of course, pizza is served up in abundance as well.
Head towards Piazza Santo Spirito, where you can soak up the lively atmosphere of this corner of the city. The neighbourhood is packed with craft trades, and has a very authentic feel to it.
Florence Tourist Office
Via Alessandro Manzoni, 16 Florence
+39 055 23320
The city’s tourist office has a helpful personnel, insider information and tips as well as handy maps and brochures. The city’s tourist office also arranges tours and excursions and is a focal point for local accommodation.
Getting to and from Florence
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Trains are a convenient way of reaching many towns and cities throughout Europe. The majority of cities in Europe have a minimum of one train station, while larger, more populated cities have two or more stations. Train stations, in general, are located in the heart of the city. Review the map below to get an idea of where the train station(s) in Florence can be found.