"Firenze (Florence) - Toscana" Florence by lichinga
Florence Travel Guide: 5,034 reviews and 10,990 photos
Firenze is one of the most astonishing cities I've ever visited. Any building is a present witness of the attempt made by human beings to improve themselves, to become something "more", to upgrade their quality of life. I'm not saying this is the only place where you can feel this experience, but I think Florence represents the way bourgeoise wanted to show itself to the world. If you happen to visit Venezia (Venice), Roma (Rome), Istanbul, Madrid, Paris or London you will notice their architecture expresses somptousity, the powerful of the mighty, the capital of the empire, while Florence had never been the capital of any Empire. Florence was the town of money, somebody says the banking system was invented here. For sure, the money Spanish and Portuguese "very Catholic" kingdoms used to devastate Latin America never stopped in those countries: the money came from Florence, Genoa, or from the North: Antwerp, Gent, Brugge and, later, London and there it went back and has been used to finance the industrialisation.
Lorenzo de' Medici, also known as "il Magnifico" (the wonderful) was the prominent character of the Medici's house, toghether with Caterina (who's been, through her husband and sons, the informal queen of France during 30 years). But the Medici were men of trade and industry, they were not conquerors or warriors, they loved arts and technology.
Leonardo da Vinci, Piero della Francesca, Machiavelli, Dante Alighieri, Giotto, Tiziano, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Filippo Brunelleschi.... all of them, and many more, received support and incentives from Florence.
Coming back to our times, Florence is a city overwhelmed by tourism. It is not so large as Rome, were flocks of tourist are not invasive because they are scattered, so that you will always find a dense stream of walking people between the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, then onwards to Ponte Vecchio or Santa Croce. As the most precious buildings and museums in Florence are concentrated in a quite limited space... you will never get lost and English will be the most common language to be heard.
No one is allowed to escape from the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), the churches of Santa Maria Novella (beside the main... more travel advice
This is the church of Santa Maria Novella, less than 200 metres from the railway central station - with the same name. more travel advice
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