The capital of Toscana and a former capital of Italian Republic Florence – is an old town, founded in far 59 BC by Julius Cesar. Due to its geographical situation Florence is very picturesque indeed – it is situated on the river Arno, at the bottom of North Apennines. For good reason its name is translated as “bloomy” – it is one of the most beautiful towns of Italy, cradle of renascence and treasury of arts.
History of the City
However the fullest bloom of this place happened to be in the 14th- 16th centuries, when it became financial and cultural center of Europe. It was Florence where Renaissance era started and for lots of great artists of that time (Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio and so on) it was a native town. Great Florentine architects came out from here and gave rise of a new architectural style, which for many years made an influence on house-building all over Europe from Barcelona to Saint Petersburg.
Top 5 Florence Attractions
Many years passed since Renaissance era, but the town withstood the ravages of time. So today it can be truly called “Museum under the sky”. However let’s highlight some special places of Florence – its most exciting spots of interest.
Uffizi Gallery – is one of the most popular places in Florence – always crowded with tourists’ lines. In fifty expo-halls of huge and beautiful gallery are gathered masterpieces of greatest painters of the world – Botticelli, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and many many others epoch-making names. The building itself was a cityhall palace, built in the 16th century.
Ponte Vecchio is another famous architectural landmark of Florence. Ponte Vecchio can be translated as an old bridge and this bridge is very old indeed. It was built in far 1345 together with butcher shops on it. Thanking to last ones it got a reputation of the most stinky place in the whole town, but not for long – one day the king ordered to replace butcher shops with jewelry stores. Nowadays they are still situated on the bridge, and the prices for what they sell still fit for kings.
Vasari Corridor was secretly made for Medici-family to get from city hall to their palace and back unseen. It goes through Ponte Vecchio connecting Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace. Now it’s opened for tourists. Usually excursions start near one of wooden doors in Uffizi Gallery – a secret entrance to the corridor. One could find there about 1000 pictures and great views on Florence from above, as the corridor is situated on the very top of the bridge and its buildings.
The Basilica di Santa Croce or Basilica of the Holy Cross is one of the oldest, largest and most beautiful Franciscan churches. Probably its beauty and reputation were decisive for making it a grave site of laureate and famous Italians: Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Machiavello, Rossini and many other celebrities of old times. By now former pantheon turned into a big museum complex, and an adjacent Square di Santa Croce – into a center of bright public life where fun-fairs, historical reconstructions, national festivals, and masquerades take place.
Of course these are not the only popular Florence tourist attractions. Being an old treasury of arts this town suggests lots of museums, landmarks, monuments and artifacts suited to every fancy: Mercato Nuovo, Boboli Gardens, Santa Maria del Fiore, Basilica di San Lorenzo etc – just chose what you prefer and enjoy this bright sunny town, each brick of which saw the history. Yes, Florence tempers spirit of the great past (you can’t make a step without getting to a famous historical place) and atmosphere of a living vivid modern city with a good cuisine, shopping opportunities and many ways for excellent entertainment.