Florence is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It gave birth to many of the men who have profoundly influenced the course of human history in every field of knowledge, art, literature and philosophy. Most of the world artistic patrimony is believed to be here, in Florence.
Florence contains an exceptional artistic legacy, 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 and Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio, founders of the Renaissance. Ghiberti and the Della Robbia, Filippo Lippi and l’Angelico, Botticelli and Paolo Uccello, all worked and lived in Florence, together with the universal geniuses Leonardo da Vinci 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 Petrarch 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.
Florence’s museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Duomo, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural genius.
Wander through some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the “newest” area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence.
Florentines are born into a world of extraordinary timeless beauty, so it is hardly surprising that they cultivate their appearance, and do it so effortlessly. Home to the likes of Gucci, Armani, Prada and Ferragamo, Florence means one thing: style, both past and present. Phalanxes of stylish boutiques line up alongside the galleries and palazzi but also many wonderful shops that aren’t world famous find their spot in Florence. Keen-eyed shoppers can still find good deals in smaller, side streets running off of those above and elsewhere in the centre of town.
When the shops close, it’s time to eat. Sit down to a simple Tuscan meal of tomato stew followed by prime steak in a family-run trattoria or splash out on one of the city’s classic gourmet restaurants or stylish designer eateries. Florence is known for its top-grade Chiantis, but you should make the acquaintance of other exquisite tipples too: Montalcino’s Brunello, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the more daring Super Tuscans.
In 1300, Pope Boniface VIII said that Aristotle was wrong, the universe was made out of five elements, not four: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Florentines.
Wherever you are in Florence, you always get struck by the glories of it: Giotto’s Campanile, Brunelleschi’s dome, the Basilica di Santa Croce and many more. Only the hardest of hearts remain unaffected. Florence and its magnificent treasures await your visit!