Here are the top interesting facts about Florence, Italy:
#1 It is the capital city of the province of Florence and the Italian region of Tuscany. This city covers 39.54 sq miles or 102.4 km².
#2 The city is surrounded by gently rolling hills that are covered with farms and villas, vineyards, and orchards. It has a suburban population of over 2,000,000 individuals and a population of approximately 400,000 individuals. Also, it is located about 230 km (145 miles) northwest of Rome.
#3 It was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (a ruthless military commander) in 80 BC as a settlement for his experienced soldiers and was named originally ”Fluentia,” due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers.
#4 In 1427, this amazing city held approximately 40,000 permanent inhabitants, not including clergy (the entire class of religious officials), about 1/3 of its estimated population prior to the Black Death (one of the most devastating pandemics in history) of 1348.
#5 In 1565, in order to provide private passage between the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti, a raised passageway was constructed, called the Ponte Vecchio. It is the only bridge in the city which survived World War II. According to some historians, Hitler said it was too beautiful to destroy. However, when a catastrophic flood hit the city in November 1966, the bridge was close to being destroyed.
#6 In 1786, during the rule of Pietro Leopoldo (a Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary and Bohemia), Florence became the first modern European country to give up the death penalty and torture. Also, between 1865 and 1870, the city was made capital of the United Kingdom of Italy.
The Medici Family
#7 The Medici were once the wealthiest family in Italy. They made their fortune as art dealers, bankers, and businessmen, plus, they gained political power. The Medici ruled the city for about 350 years.
#8 Giovanni de Medici brought the family to prominence in this city by starting the Medici bank. Cosimo de Medici was the first Medici to become the leader of the city of Florence. He supported the architect Brunelleschi and the famous sculptor Donatello.
#9 In 1743, last of the Medici – Anna Maria Luisa died. She willed the Medici’s art collection and other important treasures to the Tuscan state, on the condition they always remain in the city.
#10 This city is the birthplace of the fashion designer and Italian businessman Guccio Gucci. He founded the luxury brand ”The house of Gucci” in 1921. He had previously worked at the Savoy Hotel in London, and this experience inspired him to create his brand.
Leonardo da Vinci
#11 One of the world’s most famous inventors and artists, da Vinci, was born in the surroundings of this city, on April 15, 1452, and died on May 2, 1519. He is perhaps best known as a painter, with his legendary works including the Vitruvian Man, the Mona Lisa, and the Last Supper.
#12 Donatello, born in Florence, Italy, around 1386, was an Italian sculptor, active mostly in the 15th century, who pioneered a few sculptural techniques and created some of the most famous works in the history of art. The last years of his life were spent designing twin bronze pulpits for San Lorenzo.
#13 Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) was one of the greatest engineers and architects of his time. He was the first Renaissance architect who formulated the principles of linear perspective that governed pictorial depiction of space until the 19th century.
#14 One of his major works is the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (1420–36), which was constructed with the help of machines that he invented expressly for the project.
#15 In 1994, one of Filippo Brunelleschi’s notebooks went up for auction at Christie’s and Microsoft founder Bill Gates was the winning bidder, paying $30.8 million.
#16 According to UNESCO, about 1/3 of the world’s art treasures reside in this city.
#17 It is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world.
#18 A famous Florentine specialty is the bistecca alla Fiorentina, a mammoth chargrilled t-bone steak that is cut from the loin, just below the rib cage and above the rump or round.
#19 This city is home to the Salvatore Ferragamo Shoe Museum, that has thousands of pairs of shoes inside. It is dedicated to the life and work of Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company.
The Uffizi Gallery
#20 The Uffizi Gallery, known as one of the best museums in the world, contains a large number of works by Italian masters. According to some experts, the collection in the Uffizi Gallery is much more extensive than what is found at the cathedral itself.
#21 This gallery was built in 1581, under the request of Granduca Francesco de’ Medici, the second Grand Duke of Tuscany and the son of Cosimo I. There are an estimated 1.9 million visitors to the Uffizi Gallery per year, making it one of the most popular art galleries in the world.
#22 The city is the birthplace of the Piano, that was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (an Italian maker of musical instruments) in the early stages of the 18th century.
#23 Florence Nightingale was born in Florence on May 12, 1820. She is famous for revolutionizing the field of nursing and was named after her city of birth.
#24 In 1339, the city became the first city in Europe with paved streets.
#25 The Duomo in Florence is the third largest in the world, behind St. Paul’s in London and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
#26 Bobolino’s Garden is a public park in the city, that is found near “Porta Romana.”
#27 A $7 million soccer complex (The Florence Soccer Complex) is located at the intersection of West Palmetto Street and I-95 and will be open for games starting Feb. 26, 2018.
References http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/italy/tuscany/florence/ https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/florence https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/locations/europe/italy/florence/