Europe is an expansive place with many varying cultures. Travelers could lose themselves while choosing which countries to visit. From London and its historic landmarks to the black sands of the beaches along Southern Europe, the continent is a premier destination for holidaymakers and travelers from the US who are hungry for fresh experiences. For those wanting a rich and intense cultural experience, the city of Florence in Italy is where to begin this journey.
Florence, first and foremost, is the birthplace of the Renaissance. Named Florentia (“flourishing”), Julius Caesar founded the city in the first century. As the city grew, its fertile land made it attractive as a commercial route between Northern Italy and Rome. Florence established itself in the third century as a major metropolis, and because of its significance, the German Goths and Byzantines continually fought over the city. Sometime around the sixth century, peace was restored. Under the Lombard family and Charlemagne’s rule, the city reestablished itself and flourished through the beginning of the Renaissance in the 14th century.
Florence developed into a cultural center during the Renaissance. Because of the numerous artist guilds and textile factories, artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sandro Botticelli migrated to the city, turning it into a major cultural hub in Europe. The impact of this movement has resulted in Florence becoming one of the most sought after vacation locales in Europe. The Renaissance’s impact on Florence can be seen through a number of its architectural, historical, and cultural landmarks.
- The Uffizi Gallery houses some of Florence’s finest artwork, including masterpieces by Botticelli. Initially, it was built as offices for the Florentine magistrates, but it was eventually turned into an art gallery to exhibit works of art donated by the Medici family. The Uffizi’s collection of art covers a long period, from ancient Greek sculptures to Venetian paintings.
- The Duomo, or the Cathedral of Florence, is the city’s most well-known landmark. Designed by engineer Filipo Brunellesci, the cathedral’s dome is the fourth largest in the world. Most of the artistic treasures have been removed and are available for viewing in the Grande Museo del Duomo. Within the church itself, viewers can see fine craftsmanship in the panel of wood carvings that make up the Sagrestia delle Messe (Mass Sacristy). As tourists leave the church, they can see above the cathedral’s bronze doors the terracotta Resurrezione (Resurrection).
- The Museo di San Marco is located in the middle of Florence’s university area. The former church and convent complex is one of the city’s most spiritually uplifting museums. Visitors can view the world’s most extensive collection of works by Early Renaissance painer Fra Angelico, including the Deposition and the San Marco Altarpiece.
- Mercato Centrale is one of Florence’s oldest food markets. Created from iron and glass, the structure houses a contemporary food hall, cooking school, and artisan stalls, where visitors can partake in steaks, burgers, tripe panini, pastries, pasta, and much more.
After a day of sightseeing, tourists can discover any one of the venues making up the city’s nightlife. For those wanting a good meal, Osteria Nuvoli is a place where tourists can enjoy home-style Tuscan cuisine. Osteria dei Centopoveri is another classic Italian ristorante that prides itself on providing patrons with an authentic Italian meal. If travelers want to continue on to a nightclub, Tenax has some of the best club music in the city. For a more subdued environment, The Friends Pub is where travelers can enjoy a good brew, in addition to enjoying live music and playing board games.
Discovering Florence is the simple part, but it is also necessary to book suitable accommodations. When planning, travelers will want to find a place close to, or in, the city for easy access to museums and other attractions. Florence has various options for accommodations. Apartments and villas are lovely vacation places for a stay in Florence. Places that have safes or a place to secure valuable information such as passports and other personal information are recommended for travelers. Those traveling to Italy need a valid passport (with a validity of six months).
Traveling abroad is an amazing experience, and the Tuscan city of Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance – is one place where travelers can learn about some fascinating history and see incredible art and architecture while enjoying a vibrant atmosphere and great food. For a wonderful and memorable cultural experience, Florence should be at the top of any list of travel destinations.
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