Florence Travel Blog› entry 5 of 19 › view all entries
I had never been in Florence and I had looked forward to this for very long. My son and I had booked a hotel just across the central station, not far from the city center as well. Florence had been a dream destination for years but I hadn't prioritized Italy for a long time.
Florence or Firenze is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany, Italy, and of the province of Florence. The aim of this trip were to drive around in Tuscany and see as much of it as possible. Where better to start than to start in the capital. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence lies on the Arno River and has a population of around 400,000 people, plus a suburban population in excess of 200,000 persons.
Florence is also famous for its magnificent art and architecture. The city has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. The "Historic Centre of Florence" was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1982 and when you are here you don't wonder why - it is just magnificent with places like Piazza della Repubblica, the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Maria del Fiore and the river Arno. The city was in the medieval days a centre of European trade and finance and it is not difficult to see that wealth was a big part of the city. The city is often considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and was long ruled by the famous Medici family.
Walking the city is heavenly - The centre of the city is closed to through-traffic, although buses, taxis and residents with appropriate permits are allowed in.
One of the places that takes your breath is the architectural jewel of Florence the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile tower (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. Both the dome itself and the campanile are open to tourists and I was told that they offered excellent views, but since I really don't like heights I didn't go there.
You can get all kind of food in this city but I thought that the prizes were very high compared to what I found any other place in Toscany. I dont know if we were unlucky but I had expected somewhat better food. Maybe we looked like easy tourists.