Florence (Firenze) is the capital of the Tuscany region. In the period 1865 - 1870 it was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence is located on the Arno River, covering an area of about 102 sq.km with a population of about 356,000 people. It is considered the cradle of the Western European Renaissance. Florence was ruled for many years by the Medici family. The settlement was founded in 59 BC by veterans of Julius Caesar under the Latin name Florentia (flowering). Later it became a city, which in the IV century became the residence of a bishop. Florence then came under Byzantine rule, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards and the Franks.
The revival of the city began in the 10th century, and in 1115 Florence became an autonomous region. In 1252, Florence introduced its own gold coin - florin, highly valued in Europe. The city grew rapidly and in 1340 the population reached 80,000 people, but soon the plague sharply reduced this number. Wool and silk provided much of the city's revenue. The Medici family, through Cosimo Medici, has controlled the city behind the scenes since 1400. Its power stems from the support and cooperation of new emigrants. The fact that the Medici were the pope's bankers also contributed to the expansion of their power. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero di Cosimo Medici, who later in 1469 was succeeded by Cosimo's grandson Lorenzo. Lorenzo "Magnificent" is a great patron of the arts, commissioned works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.
In the 15th century, Brunelleschi, Masacho, Donatello, Alberti, Giberti, Garlandaio and many others also worked in Florence. etc. After his death in 1492 and the exile of his son Piero in 1494, the first period of Medici rule ended with the restoration of republican rule.
The extinction of the Medici clan and the ascension (leadership) in 1737 of Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa, led to the annexation of Tuscany to the Austrian crown. Austrian rule was constantly on the defensive against the appetites of France and the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1859, and Tuscany became a province of the United Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Florence replaced Turin as the Italian capital in 1865, becoming the seat of the first state parliament, but was replaced by Rome six years later. After the population of Florence doubled in the 19th century, it tripled in the 20th century with the expansion of tourism, trade, financial services and industry.
In Florence you must visit:
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore;
- Piazza del Duomo;
- The Church of Orsanmichele;
- Piazza della Signoria;
- Palazzo Vecchio;
- Uffizi Gallery;
- Bargello National Museum;
- The Basilica of Santa Croce;
- The Basilica di San Lorenzo;
- The Medici Chapels;
- The Riccardi Medici Palace;
- Gallery of the Academy;
- The Ponte Vecchio bridge;
- The Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens;
- The house of Dante Alighieri and many others.