GENERAL INFORMATION: THE CITY OF FLORENCE


Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region.  It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered by many academics the birthplace of the Renaissance. Its turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy (established in 1861). The Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini

The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and UNESCO declared the Historic Centre of Florence a World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries. You’ll be fascinated by what you see and hear as you walk through the city of Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and other key figures of the Italian art history, literature and culture.

 


LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

 PITTI PALACE

The Palazzo Pitti is a vast, mainly Renaissance Palace situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present Palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. Participants can enjoy a guided tour of the main gallery of the palace, the Palatine Gallery, containing  a large ensemble of over 500 Renaissance paintings, which were once part of the Medici family’s private art collection. The tour also includes the Tesoro dei Granduchi, situated on the ground floor and mezzanine of Palazzo Pitti, in what was once the summer quarters of the Grand Dukes.


BOBOLI GARDEN

The Garden that extends from the Pitti Palace as far as Porta Romana, reached its current extension and appearance, becoming one of the largest and most elegant Italian style gardens, through several stages of enlargement and restructuring work carried out at different times. The Medici family established the layout of the gardens, creating the Italian garden style that would become a model for many European courts. The Gardens are also adorned with grottos, the most important of which is the famous grotto realized by Bernardo Buontalenti, as well as large fountains, such as the Fountain of Neptune and the Fountain of the Ocean.

UFFIZI GALLERY

A classic. Thousands of tourists queue up every year to visit one of the premier art museums in the world.
It is a unique experience to immerse yourself in Florence’s artistic heritage and history. The Gallery is located on the last floor of the grandiose building designed by Giorgio Vasari.
You will be guided through the imposing rooms and bright hallways to admire masterpieces such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Leonardo’s The Annunciation and Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni… only to name a few.

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA CHURCH & OFFICINA PROFUMO FARMACEUTICA

Church of Santa Maria Novella, with its magnificent marble facade designed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1458. The church is undoubtedly one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Florence and is home to several glorious masterpieces, including Giotto’s “Crucifix with the Madonna and John the Evangelist” Masaccio’s “The Trinity” and the famous wooden “Crucifix” by Brunelleschi.
The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is a monastic pharmacy  established in 1221 by the Dominican friars. In 1612 the pharmacy opened to the public and it is now a great place to pick up a soap, perfume, or special skincare products.