Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital city of the historic Tuscany region. The city once was the wealthiest city in medieval Europe and the centre of finance and trade. Many academics consider Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and its contribution to the culture in Italy and Europe is incalculable. If you are planning to stopover in the city, here are some interesting facts about Florence, Italy.
General Facts About Florence
1. Julius Caesar established Florence
Julius Caesar found the percent city of Florence in 59 BC and established it as a military camp.
In the 15thcentury, Florence became one of the wealthiest cities in Europe as the city was the centre of the textile trade, especially the trade of wool. Florence was the first European city to have paved streets. The city became the capital of united Italy for a brief period between 1865 to 1871.
2. The city is called the Athens of the Middle Ages
The Italian Renaissance was a period between the 14th to 17th centuries, where the development of culture in Italy spread across Europe that marked the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity. Italian Renaissance has a reputation for achievements in painting, sculpture, music, and other cultural aspects.
The Renaissance began in Tuscany and the city of Florence. Due to the city's role in the Renaissance and being a trade centre, Florence often referred to as the Athens of the middle ages.
3. A family in Florence became one of the most influential families in human history
The Medici family is a banking family and one of the world's most influential and controversial families.
Originated in Mugello, Tuscany, they used their wealth to dominate Florence's political and cultural scene. They were instrumental in the Italian Renaissance and were deeply involved in shaping European culture and politics for 300 years.
The family produced 4 Popes of the catholic church and acquired the hereditary title Duke of Florence, which later elevated to Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
4. Florence was the birthplace of the standard Italian language
Latin was the official language of the Roman empire which remained up until the late middle ages.
During the late middle ages, literature written in everyday language became popular rather than Latin. Italian was a literal language formed in Tuscany and Florence, which later became widespread with the Renaissance.
When Italy became unified, this language became the official language of the country.
Interesting Facts About Florence
5. Florence cathedral was once the largest cathedral in Europe
Florence cathedral or Santa Maria del Fiore is the second-largest cathedral in Italy and once was the largest in Europe. The cathedral took 140 years to complete between 1296 to 1436. The dome is the cathedral's highlight, which remains the largest masonry dome in the world. Another impressive fact about the dome is that the dome's designer had no previous experience in architecture.
6. Florence is the birthplace of the Piano
Probably one of the most interesting facts about Florence is that it is the birthplace of the musical instrument piano.
Florence musical instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the Piano in the early 18th century. The Grand Prince of Tuscany, Ferdinando de Medici, funded this project. Later, Piano paved the way for the evolution of classical music in the world.
Today the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York exhibits a Piano made in 1720 by Bartolomeo Cristofori himself, the oldest Piano in the world.
7. Leonardo da Vinci was born in Florence
A fact that is probably well-known about Florence is that it is the infamous Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace.
Few people can rival Leonardo da Vinci for the title of "Most intelligent person in history." This Florence-born renaissance painter has knowledge that spans a substantial number of subjects from painting, engineering, astronomy, and cartography. The Mona Lisa, the last supper, and the aerial screw are some of his famous works.
8. A Florence restaurant is the 3rd most-reviewed restaurant on TripAdvisor
All' Antico Vinaio is a restaurant in the heart of Florence. It is the 3rd most reviewed restaurant worldwide on TripAdvisor with almost 30,000 reviews.
The restaurant is popular among the locals and foreigners for its tasty sandwiches made with a local bread called Schiacciata.
9. Gucci is based in Florence
Gucci is a luxury fashion house based in Florence. Italian fashion designer Guccio Gucci found the brand in 1921, which later became popular worldwide under his son, Aldo Gucci.
The company ousted the Gucci family entirely from the company's capital in 1993, and later, French conglomerate Pinault Printemps Redoute acquired the brand rights in 1999.
10. Hitler prevented the destruction of a Florence bridge during World War II
Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge in Florence, and it is one of the city's iconic landmarks. During Germany's siege of Florence, the Germans blew up all of the city's bridges as a part of the strategy.
However, Hitler made an emergency call to prevent the destruction of Ponte Vecchio as he believed it was “too beautiful to be destroyed.”