Situated in the Toscan region, Florence is situated on the banks of the river Arno. It is a city which bustles with industry and craft, commerce and culture, art and science. It was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C.; it reached the maximum of its splendour under the rule of the Medici Family. In 1960 it became part of the kingdom of Italy of which it was the Capital from 1865 to 1871. Florence has been the cradle of the Italian civilization for centuries because here lived and worked the most important artist of our history from Boccaccio, Dante, Masaccio, Ghiberdi, Della Robbia, Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Their works as well as that of many other generation of artist up the present time are collected in the many museum of the city: The Uffizzi, the richest picture gallery in the world; the Palatine Gallery, whit its “golden age” paintings; the Bargello, with its Renaissance sculptures; the Modern Art Gallery; the Museum of the Duomo; the Silver Museum and the Pietre Dure Museum (the museum of semi precious stones). Famous monument indicate the various stages of Florentine art: the Baptistry with its mosaic; the Duomo, with its sculptured; medieval churches with their frescoes; public and private palace – The Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati; monasteries and cloisters; convents and “cenacoli”; the Certosa. Today Florence is renowned for its university, Academy and Art Schools.
The principal manifestations and events in town are “Florence Musical May”, Summer and Winter opera seasons at the Teatro Comunale, Football in Costume, the Burst of the Cart, the Fast of St. John. Florence is well known for its higly refined craftsmanship evolved over centuries of tradition, and for the elegance and good taste of its creations. From straw, a typical Florentino product, used for making pleasing and original articles of clothing and furniture, to leather works renowned for their fine details, from ceramic to glass, from woodwork to metal, from furniture to toys. Florentine gastronomy is based on simple and healthy specialities: tasty soup, roast and grilled meat (the famous “bistecca and grilled chicken”), boiled meat, cheese, an abundance of vegetable dishes.
This cuisine is accompanied by Tuscan Wines, deservedly famous, produced in the Chianti and surrounding areas. Complete and numerous facilities are available for sport enthusiasts. In addition to the stadium for football and the race courses, there is the “velodrome” for cycle races. The city offers tennis courts and swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course at Ugolino. Being on the main national railway lines, Florence is easily accessible from most important places both in Italy and abroad. A. Vespucci Airport, where both national and international airlines stop, is located 5 Km from the city centre.
The main motorway, A1 connect Florence with Bologna and Milan in the North and Rome and Naples in the south. The motorway to the sea (autostrada del mare) joins in to Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini, Lucca, Pisa, and all the resort on the Tyrrhenian sea. There is also the Superstrada (a dual-carriageway) which connects Florence to Siena.