Saturday, March 2, 2013


Florence lies at the foot of the Trusco-Emilian Appennines, in the large plain cut by the Arno River and surrounded by hills. After being inhabited in prehistoric times, during the 8th century BC, an Italic people, with a Villanovan culture, settled in the area between the Arno and the Mugnone rivers, but little is known of these remote times.

In 59 BC, the Roman city was founded, with the square ground plan of the castrum. Florence was first besieged by the Ostrogoths of Radagaisus, 405, who plundered the surrounding countryside. Next came the Byzantines, who occupied Florence in 539, and the Goths who took over the city in 541.

Around the year 1000, the ascent of Florence began and continued through various centuries in spite of numerous controversies, wars and internal struggles. In the 15th century the city’s rise continued. Florence was a trading city and also the new cradle for Italian and eventually European culture. Great personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo worked here during this epoch, when Florence was at its highest prestige.

In 1860, during the Risorgimento, Tuscany was annexed to the kingdom of Italy with a plebiscite. For a brief period, Florence became the capital of the new nation. During W.W.II serious damage was inflicted on the historical centre and various important buildings were lost. Despite this and the flood that invaded the city in 1966, Florence has retained its charm and beauty. 

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