One of the world's most famous fine art museums with collections of Renaissance paintings and sculptures from classical antiquity. Included is ''The Birth of Venus'' by Sandro Boticelli. There are often long lines and several hours' wait is common, starting even before the doors open. You can call +39 055 294883 to make a reservation in advance and walk right in, which is strongly recommended if you can spare the extra €4. The phone operator will give you an extension number which you quote at Gate 3 to pay (cash only) and get the tickets. Online booking is available but is much less convenient because it costs more, has a 24 hour waiting period, your specified time may change and you need to print an email. The restaurant/''caffè'' has a large balcony overlooking the main piazza with good views of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is a great place to take a break for art lovers making a non-rushed visit to this fantastic collection. This cafe is rather expensive however. Street performers are often seen outside the Uffizi.
If you love house and electronic music this is the best club to go to. It’s a two story club, located on the outskirts of Florence, features DJ’s from all around Europe, America, and Australia. This club also holds many concerts during the winter and summer. Many people come from all over to enjoy this clubs atmosphere. The dance floor is extremely large and is always very crowded. Be smart where you keep your bag and wallet because it’s very easy to get pick pocketed in large clubs like this. This club usually has a cover of €20 and the drinks are rather expensive, but it is a great place to experience at least once. It is very different than most of the clubs in Florence because of the multi-story building. To venture here would be best by taxi or bus. Since it is located in the outskirts of Florence walking could be difficult and not advised. There are many people who can help in directions in the Santa Maria Novella Station.
Via S. Egidio 22r. This quaint deli has affordable (€4) hot and cold sandwiches made with a variety of meats (try the meatball sandwich), sauces and fresh vegetables. You can get a meal deal with chips and small drink for €6.50. It is open from 10.30AM to whenever the bread (white, wheat and sub rolls) runs out, which is usually between 6 and 7 in the evening. During the peak period of February to June, it can get very crowded in the day with students, but their love for the sandwiches there is apparent in their loyalty. A good mid-day meal to take with you on the go as you explore Florence, Via S. Egidio is not too far off the beaten track. The Oil Shoppe also sells its own extra virgin olive oil, which they generously use in their sandwiches.
Via dei Palchetti, 6r. You actually are seated at a table with other people and that is the fun of the restaurant. The owner visits each table and everyone is in a great mood. It is the combination of all that is mentioned above plus the personalities of the waiters make it a fun place to eat, visit and enjoy the whole Florentine experience. At 7:30PM when it opens, you will see a crowd outside the restaurant trying to be first in line. The restaurant is bigger than it looks. Even if you do wait, they bring you wine and cheese to those in line. The line is worth it. You might try and ask the owner if you could see the cellar because that is where there is a small private dining area for wine lovers (group party) and the wine is stored there.
Roberto Cavalli, Italian Fashion Designer has one his beautiful clubs located in Florence. The inside has a stage with a projector of Roberto Cavalli's fashion shows running non-stop. The upstairs can be a private lounge for parties or VIP section on certain nights. This club was the most popular on Wednesday nights, but it’s open on the weekends as well. It’s black and leopard interior fits the natural and animalistic designs Roberto Cavalli creates. Roberto and his two sons are frequently at the club so look out! All ages are appropriate and the dress attire here is rather upscale. This is not just a seasonal club so all year visitors are encouraged to go.
Contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante, and many other notables in addition to artistic decorations. There is also great artwork in the church. And when you're done seeing that, a separate charge will gain you admission to the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce, where you can see a flood-damaged but still beautiful Crucifix by Cimabue (Giotto's teacher), which has become both the symbol of the flooding of Firenze in 1966 and of its recovery from that disaster. The Pazzi Chapel, a perfectly symmetrical example of sublime neo-Classic Renaissance architecture is also worth visiting.
Highlights are Michelangelo's ''David'' and the unfinished '' Slaves''. The David was recently cleaned in a controversial project. No photography is allowed inside. Wait times can be under one hour in the off-season. It is possible to reserve at the academia in advance and save yourself the long line. If you're only interested in see David and Rape of the Sabines and are short on cash you can see replicas in Palazzo Vecchio where you can also take pictures. Note that while restoring or repairing art, the gallery often showcases the replicas (you can tell because the toenail is intact for David, for example).
Old city palace/city hall, adorned with fine art. The replica of Michelangelo's "David" is placed outside the main door in the original location of the statue, which is a symbol of the Comune of Florence. The site displays an important collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings, including the ''Putto'', by Verrochio, and the series of murals by Giorgio Vasari at the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Houndreds) - the hall which used to display the now lost Renaissance masterpiece, that is, the so-called Battaglia di Anghiari, by Leonardo da Vinci.
Florence and Tuscany are becoming synonymous with "cooking class". Tuscan cuisine is appreciated worldwide and a cooking class experience is now more and more part of the attraction of Tuscany, as a way of carrying back home memories and improved cooking skills. There are many in the area, either in historical villas in the countryside or in central Florence, from Florentine use of tripe and giblets to the use of organic ingredients from the local producers, and classes range widely in size. During high season, make sure to book in advance.
Bamboo Lounge Club is a great place for young adults and students to party. The music is great from European to American techno and many other worldwide DJs. Bamboo Lounge Club offers VIP tables and has two midsized bars. It is very clean and safe to be in. It is located on Via Giuseppe Verdi not far from the Duomo. Dress is a little more than casual, but not too upscale. The loud music, dancing, and exciting atmosphere gives people a chance to let loose and have fun. The club features mostly house, techno and hip hop music.
Three generations of the same family have managed the restaurant, started as a wine seller (they have also been producing wine). They specialize in Tuscany traditional food. Quality of food is excellent, since they are not only good cooks, but also use very good quality ingredients. They had a fixed price meal for €13 choice of 1st course, 2nd course, side and mineral water. Decent house wine for €2/0.25L. Closed for dinner (but still open for lunch) Tuesday - Thursday as of June 2012.
A local eatery that has been well-reviewed by multiple publications. Local produce and meats are prepared simply using traditional recipes and time-honoured tradition. Some pastas are made fresh daily, so ask for the daily special. If you want to experience Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style steak), they do it amazingly without breaking your wallet. They sell and cut the steak from a larger rib slab in increments of 100g (with a minimum of 500g per serving).
The Cathedral Museum, with artworks formerly in the Duomo and surrounding religious buildings, including sculptures by Donatello, another version of the Pietà (different from that one of Saint Peter's Basilica, in Vatican, Rome) by Michelangelo, and the losing entries in the famous contest held in 1401 to design the doors of the Baptistery. Models and drawings of the Cathedral. Worthy. Currently under going reconstruction and will re-open October 29, 2015.
A very nicely decorated restaurant with many vegetarian choices. You can choose to sit inside or outside in the piazza. The menu is huge, lots of choices, and the prices are fair. Service is outstanding, they really cater to your needs. Make sure to try the chianti house wine. Highly recommended. Beware: between the two doorways for Za Za, there is another, far more touristy trattoria. At first glance, it looks like part of the same place. Don't be fooled!
Also known as the '''Duomo di Firenze''' is the city's beautiful Gothic cathedral, the symbol of the city. Brunelleschi's huge dome was an engineering feat of the Renaissance. A statue of Brunelleschi is sited in the piazza, with his figure looking upwards towards his dome. It is possible to climb '''[http://www.museumflorence.com/monuments/2-dome the Dome]''' (entrance on the side of the church), which has 464 steps. Usually has a long lineup.
Via delle Ruote, 30 r. A welcoming budget restaurant that serves delicious and healthy food to a nice mix of locals and tourists. One can sit in the more formal front room, the eclectic middle room, or the peaceful outdoor garden in the back. Daily changing menu with vegan and gluten-free items clearly marked, many luscious desserts on display, salads, soups, hearty brown bread, and a good selection of coffee, tea, wine, beer, and liqueur.
This B&B has 2 double bedrooms with bathroom en suite and a flat-screen 42" TV. The bed and breakfast is known for its breakfasts and dinners, which are prepared by [http://www.chefvary.com Chef Vary]. Free Wi-Fi, espresso coffee maker, spring water and tea available 24h. The owners, Vary and Edo, speak fluent English because they often travel and work in the United States, but also speak Spanish, French and of course Italian.
This museum shows the evolution of the instruments used in various scientific fields such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy. The room of Galileo Galilei shows some of his original instruments as well as models from his drawings. The room of Spheres and Globes houses an excellent cartographic collection. In a rather macabre twist the museum also has the middle finger of Galileo's right hand on display.
The façade of this church was never completed, giving it a striking, rustic appearance. Inside the church is pure Renaissance neo-classical splendor. If you go around the back of the church, there is a separate entrance to the Medici chapels. Be sure to check out the stunning burial chapel of the princes and the sacristy down the corridor. The small sacristy is blessed with the presence of nine Michelangelo sculptures.
A beautiful church with great artwork, including a recently restored Trinity by Masaccio. Also, the Chiostro Verde, to your left when facing the front entrance of the church, contains frescoes by Paolo Uccello which are quite unusual in style and well worth seeing, if the separate entrance is open. Off of the church's cloister is the wonderful Spanish Chapel which is covered in early Renaissance frescoes.
Claims to be the oldest shop in Florence, and this can easily be believed. The shop has survived just infront of the Cathedral and is well worth a visit - especially if you need glasses made or repaired, good quality inexpensive sunglasses, or old school camera film. (Or anything else from an odd assortment of interesting items found in the window!) Owner Mario speaks fluent Italian, French and English.
Italian language and cultural school for foreigners. The structure and the contents of the programmes for the levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The school also organises a programme of cultural activities and excursions to complement the language classes and enable the students to come into contact with the Italian culture and practice Italian in the field.
3-star hotel with wide choice of rooms: Romantic Junior Suite, Deluxe room with view on the garden, Superior Room with private balcony and view, Classic and Family rooms. The name comes from the historical garden ("orto" in Italian), where Lorenzo de' Medici used to train young sculptors, including Michelangelo. Calm atmosphere, breakfast served on a patio, Terrace Music Bar from April to October.
Piazza T.Tasso, 14 r. An excellent restaurant for authentic Tuscan fare away from the tourist centre. This place gets very busy around 8PM with the locals so be there a bit before. Very traditional Tuscan food at decent prices. 1st courses at €7 and 2nds at about €10 to €16. Vino at €4/0.5L. The rabbit, asparagus souffle and fiori fritti are excellent and the service very welcoming and warm.
Via Ghibellina, 87. Situated in the center, near Santa Croce, perhaps the most expensive and exclusive winery and restaurant in Florence. You will choose from a selection of the best Italian wines. Expect to spend more than €100 each, but according to your wine taste, it can easily reach much higher prices. You will be presented with separate bills for the food and for the wine.
This museum houses one of the best examples of Renaissance and Mannerist sculpture. The works of many great Renaissance sculptors are on display here, including Michelangelo, Donatello, Ammannati, Bandinelli, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino, Desiderio da Settignano, Giambologna, and Antonio Rossellino. The museum is near Piazza della Signoria and can be seen in a few hours.
The Sacristy contains frescoes by Spinello Aretino. In the cemetery near this church there are graves of famous people of Florence, including Carlo Lorenzi (Collodi) - author of the famous Pinocchio. Also, turn around when you reach the top of the stairs before entering the church, to see perhaps an even greater view of the city than from nearby Piazzale Michelangelo.
This restaurant just on the edge of the center offers a great way to escape the tourist restaurants and enjoy a good pizza between the locals. This restaurant offers great wood oven pizza's (try the O' Sole Mio) that you can enjoy in the garden (in summertime) or take-away and friendly staff (that recognize you on your second visit).
Piazza Unità Italiana, 6. From the Panoramic "Terrazza Brunelleschi" Restaurant you can catch all of Florence in a glimpse: the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore designed by Brunelleschi and Giotto's famous campanile, the roofs of the age-old buildings of the historical center and the green hills that surround the city on the horizon.
The oldest and most famous bridge over the Arno; the only Florentine bridge to survive WW2. The Ponte Vecchio (literally "old bridge") is lined with shops, traditionally mostly jewellers since the days of the Medici. Vasari's elevated walkway crosses the Arno over the Ponte Vecchio, connecting the Uffizi to the old Medici palace.
The cemetery is the final resting place for 4,402 American military dead lost during after the capture of Rome and the battle for the Apennines. A monument is inscribed with the names of 1,409 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. The atrium of the chapel contains marble maps of World War II Italy campaign.
Elaborately landscaped and with many interesting sculptures, behind the Pitti Palace. Wonderful city views. Don't miss the Bardini gardens. Entrance to that is included in the combination ticket price for the Boboli, and it's a short walk from the Boboli Gardens. There are great views of the Duomo from the Bardini gardens.
It's a big square on a hill, but somewhat distant from the traditional tourist sites. It's easy to reach it even on foot using the stairs called "Rampe di San Niccolò". They are on the side of the Arno river just in front of the national library. Do this during the summer and during the night to admire Florence's lights.
Never mind the renaissance-kitsch walls. Rooms are clean and rates include breakfast, dinner (except Saturdays) and internet access. The hostel offers a free walking tour daily starting at 10AM. An English speaking guide rotates between the ''classical'' and ''off-the-beaten-path'' walking tours around the city.
A cozy self-service restaurant at the corner of Via de' Pecori and Via de' Vecchietti. About 2 min walk from Duomo. Although there is a menu at the entrance, it is better to go straight to the restaurant, see what they have on their counters and pick what you like. You can also order Bistecca alla Fiorentina.
The relais is surrounded by the typical scenery of the Florentine hills, with cypresses and cane-apple trees, broom bushes and pine trees, along with scents of lavender, rosemary, time and catmint. A pool with a large solarium, deck chairs and sunning beds, is at guests’ disposal from May to October.
Traverse the winding staircases inside the duomo or the nearby bell tower to see some of the best views of Florence. Not only can you see the Tuscan countryside in the distance and the impressive palaces and churches of Florence in the fore, but it also shows you just how large the Duomo is.
4-star hotel located near the centre with swimming-pool, restaurant and fifth-floor terrace with bar. It is possible to have dinner on terrace in warm weather. All rooms have private bath, satellite and pay-per-view TV, Wi-Fi connection, telephone and breakfast included.
Via S.Gallo 112/r. Although a bit of a walk from the main attractions, this restaurant speaks for itself with madatory reservations. Great Italian food with the great Italian atmosphere. Dinner often includes impromptu free drinks and a lively wait staff. €50-100 each.
+39 055 2654376. (Toll free number within Italy ☎ 800 280722). Elegant building and surroundings in the centre of Florence. Rooms have air conditioning, a minibar, direct telephone line, satellite TV and a safety deposit box. Some rooms also have modem sockets.
Via Isole delle Stinche, 7/R. Close to Piazza Santa Croce. Vivoli has a good gelato fruit selection, so definitely try the fragola, or strawberry. Make sure that you ask for the cream on top as well, because it adds another element to an already great dessert.
Via Rosina 2/R (near Piazza Mercato Centrale); (no bookings) The restaurant opens for lunch and they sit you with other people walking into the restaurant. There is a menu on the wall and the food is great and if you can, save room for a secondi (meat plate).
On the quieter south bank of the Arno. The former Medici family palace contains galleries of their art and treasures. The Boboli gardens behind the palazzo offer wonderful walks and excellent views of the city and the countryside south of the city.
Sarah, the designer/owner of this jewellery and curio shop, doubles as a designer for some of the best known luxury brands (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc). Buy her stylish, hip originals here. Great souvenirs for women (or Jewellery wearing men).
Contains frescoes of the Annunciation and a painting of the Deposition of Christ by the brilliant and weird mannerist painter, Pontormo. They are to be found in the Barbadori Chapel, which is to your immediate right when entering the church.
Antiques and home decor store located in the traditional neighborhood of the artisans' workshops of Florence, the Oltrarno. It's been recognised by the city of Florence as a "Historical Florentine Store" due to its 50 years-long history.
Occupies the medieval 13th-century residence of the noble Strozzi-Ridolfi families - powerful Florentine families whose history is intertwined with that of the legendary Medici dynasty as well as the Republic of Florence itself.
Famous for its bronze doors by Andrea Pisano (14th century) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (15th century) and a beautiful interior the vault of which is decorated with 13th century mosaics (the only medieval set of mosaics in the city).
These extensive gardens behind the Pitti palace provide excellent views of the city of Florence and numerous sculptures in a relaxed environment. Stop in the hilltop café, grab a drink and a seat outside and enjoy the view.
Modern hostel with fifteen bedrooms of different size divided into dormitory, double, triple and quadruple with shared bath. Services available are free internet, satellite TV, kitchen, towel, air conditioning and garden.
Historic and elegant villa 20 minutes from the historic centre. Ten self-catering apartments with kitchen, living room, bathroom, internet connection and TV. Private parking and 100 square metre terrace with solarium.
4-star hotel with double, twin, junior suite, suite, and double rooms for single use. The twin and double rooms are also available as classic and deluxe. All come with en-suite services. Breakfast is included.
Some rooms open onto a quiet and picturesque inner courtyard. Other rooms offer a view of the Duomo. Owners Marco and Samanta are always ready with good restaurant recommendations and speak excellent English.
Nothing but the essentials: ''panini'' (€2.50) and wine (€1.60+) from a tiny hole in the wall. Patrons eat on the sidewalk while resting their glass of wine on small shelves nested along the street wall.
An inspiring array of unique beading supplies, handmade designer jewelry, Italian Tubular Wire Mesh Ribbon, Italian chains, yarns and more. Now offering glass beadmaking and jewellery design courses.
In the evenings street performers often put on a show here. Performances can range from violin duets to people dressed as sculptures. A nice place to stop while you eat your after-dinner gelato.
3-star hotel located near the city centre, with one single and 15 twin, double, triple and quadruple rooms. All with private bath, Wi-Fi connection, telephone and breakfast included.
Housed in a Dominican 16th-century convent, this hotel has a comfortable atmosphere. It offers rooms with TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, etc. On-site garage parking is available.
Adjacent to the Duomo, you can climb the tower for a magnificent 360-degree view of the Duomo, Florence, and the surrounding area, and requires some tenacity to climb 414 steps.
This small hotel is in a 15th-century palace and has some original fresco ceilings. This was the house of the famous composer Gioacchino Rossini during the 19th century.
Large choice of double bedrooms. Services are in common and some of the guestrooms boast a fantastic view of the Duomo. Internet connection and breakfast also available.
A small boutique hotel that offers traditional-styled rooms and family-run hospitality in the historical centre, midway between the Duomo and the central train station.
Inside the historic store Albrici, Recollection is a place for selected vintage clothing and accessories that tell the history of fashion from the 1920's to the 1990's.
Lovely Moorish-style synagogue built in 1882 and a museum with many artefacts and documentation of Florentine Jewish life going back many centuries; visits are guided.
3-star hotel on the bank of the Arno river (the "Lungarni"). It features single, double, triple and "Family" rooms. Breakfast buffet, hotel bar and garage available.
Discover Florence with your camera and with a professional photography teacher (a Vogue-featured American photographer) and a official Florence guide at your side.
A hostel in a historic Florentine noble palace built in the 14th century and modified in the 17th century. Rooms are clean and rates include wifi internet access.
Italian study programmes for foreign students. Cooking workshop, art history classes, plastic arts and visual arts programs are also taught in this academy.
21 self-catering apartments for a maximum of six people, all with kitchenette, private bath, internet connection, satellite TV and cooking facilities.
Two-star hotel located in the historic centre, with single, double, triple and quadruple rooms, some with shared bathroom. The breakfast is optional.
Located in a 16th-century building that belonged to Marquis Feroni. It has twelve comfortable suites with classic furniture and original frescoes.
This 3-star hotel offers 38 bedrooms, single, double, twin, triple and 2 large suites, all with private bath, television and internet connection.
The thermal waters of Impruneta spring from two sources and are used to treat respiratory diseases, liver, gastrointestinal, and skin allergies.
The Convitto della Calza is a 16th century cloister that has been converted into a hotel, with frescoed rooms and a modern conference centre.
A cozy hotel housed in a villa built in the early years of the 20th century. 9 rooms, bar and a restaurant that specializes in Tuscan dishes.
Houses frescoes by Fra Angelico and his workshop. Fra Angelico painted a series of frescoes for the cells in which the Dominican monks lived.
Via Dei Macci, 118/R. In the center near Santa Croce. Vast and great choice of Tuscan food, with highly selected ingredients. €50-100 each.
Cosy two-star hotel near the Santa Maria Novella train station. 22 bedrooms with private bath, internet connection and satellite TV.
Plaza on a hilltop with a great view of the city (go there by bus) or climb the stairs and paths from the Lungarno della Zecca.
New Bed and Breakfast in Campo di Marte in Florence, spacious rooms and breakfast included, near the Stadium and Mandela Forum
Famous frescoes (Masaccio’s Adam and Eve Banished From the Garden and others by Lippi and Masolino) in the Brancacci Chapel.
Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Lancetti, Valentino. Specializes in Italian and European designer and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
3-star hotel with 16 bedrooms divided into singles and doubles, some with private en-suites, others with shared bathroom.
Italian language school specializing in one-to-one, personalized and small group (max 4 people) full immersion courses.
Fairly good Tuscan cuisine, with a number of options for vegetarians and vegans. Make reservations or arrive at 7PM.
Small hotel a short walk from Santa Maria Novella. Friendly English-speaking staff. Continental breakfast included.
A historic Florence residence located between Florence and the Tuscan countryside. Completely renovated in 2003.
Three-star hotel with parking. The hotel offers accommodation for students who need extra beds and for families.
Hotel Rivoli, which was a Franciscan convent dating back to the 14th century, is now an excellent 4-star hotel.
Luxurious soaps, scents, creams, candles and lotions inspired by the aesthetics, colours, and scents of Sicily.
Since 1981 - Specializing in sized-to-order, affordable beaded jewelry featuring handmade Murano glass beads.
Decent wine and Liquor store with interesting collection of potable bitters in the back (Italian and German).
A hotel in a restored 14th-century Florentine noble palace. Gym facilities, sun terrace and meeting rooms.
Small family-run hotel on the 5th floor of a 6-floor building. All the rooms contain private facilities.
A very nice and cozy cafe/bookstore. Good prices, nice atmosphere, good books. Borgo San Frediano 20r.
An old pharmacy, which sells high-qualitiy beauty products like soaps, shaving cream, eau de Cologne.
A 3-star hotel that opted to incorporate the principles of bio-architecture during its remodelling.
In the old town centre of Florence, between Santa Maria Novella railway station and the Cathedral.
Very convenient hotel for visitors arriving by air or by car. Free shuttle to the city center.
Since 1962 the pet shop has been selling stylish Italian accessories for cats and dogs.
A beautiful old church from the 14th century, which once functioned as a grain market.
Florence Hotel 4 star in florence city center, near Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery.
Historical residence in an old palazzo with friendly staff. Rooms are spacious.
A small B&B, rooms with private bathroom and shower, A/C, LCD TV, free Wi-Fi.
A historic 4-star hotel, close to the Cathedral and the train station SMN.
Italian language school offering language and cultural courses since 1982.
The must of the tasting wines and savory titbits. Piazza dei Rossi, 1.
A recently converted 19th century convent. Rooms are clean and quiet.
Charming late 19th-century residence, enriched with modern comforts.
This 3-star hotel is in a renovated villa from the 18th century.
Ice cream in many flavors, some experimental, all excellent.
5-star luxury hotel features a view of Florence's skyline.
A lovely B&B in the centre, with the Duomo just 30 m away.
High-quality facilities, roof garden with a charming view.
Family-run hotel with 18 rooms, near the railway station.
4-star hotel housed in a traditional Florentine mansion.
Excellent Italian cuisine (pizza, meat, fresh pasta...).
An elegant 19th-century building furnished with style.
Small 3-star hotel that was renovated in 2011.
Modern 4-star hotel in the historical centre.
Gorgeous hotel built in the 12th century.
4-star hotel near the historic centre.
An elegant, comfortable 4-star hotel.
A lovely B&B in the centre.
Politically, economically, and culturally Florence was the most important city in Europe for around 250 years, from some time before 1300 until the early 1500s.
Florentines reinvented money, in the form of the gold florin. This currency was the engine that drove Europe out of the "Dark Ages", a term invented by Petrarch, a Florentine whose family had been exiled to Arezzo. They financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, Lyon and Hungary. They financed the English kings during the Hundred Years' War. They financed the papacy, including the construction of the papal palace in Avignon and the reconstruction of St. Peter's and the Vatican when the papacy returned to Rome from the "Babylonian captivity".
Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio pioneered the use of the vernacular, the use of a language other than Latin. In their case, Tuscan, which, because of them, became Italian. Because Dante, et al., wrote in Tuscan, Geoffrey Chaucer, who spent a lot of time in Northern Italy and who stole Boccaccio's little stories, wrote in English. Others started writing in French and Spanish. This was the beginning of the end of Latin as a common language throughout Europe.
The Florentines, perhaps most notably Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1466) and Leon Batist'Alberti (1404-1472) invented both Renaissance and neoclassical architecture. These architectural styles revolutionised the way Rome, London, Paris and every other major city in Europe from Barcelona to St. Petersburg were built.
Florentines were the driving force behind the Age of Discovery. Florentine bankers financed Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese explorers who pioneered the route around Africa to India and the Far East. It was a map drawn by the Florentine Paulo del Pozzo Toscanelli, a student of Brunelleschi, that Columbus used to sell his "enterprise" to the Spanish monarchs, and which he then used on his first voyage. Mercator's famous "Projection" is a refined version of Toscanelli's map, taking into account the Americas, of which the Florentine was obviously ignorant. The western hemisphere itself is named after a Florentine writer who claimed to be an explorer and mapmaker, Amerigo Vespucci.
Gallileo and other scientists pioneered the study of optics, ballistics, astronomy, anatomy, and so on. Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo Bruni, Machiavelli, and many others laid the groundwork for our understanding of political science.
Opera was invented in Florence.
And that is just a smidgen of what went on in this city, which never had a population above 60,000 from the first attack of the plague in 1348 until long, long after it became unimportant.
And there were the Medici, perhaps the most important family that ever lived. The Medici's changed the world more than any other family. Forget all the art for which they paid. They taught first the other Italians how to conduct state-craft, and then they taught the rest of the Europeans. Just to cite one example: Catherine de' Medici (1519-1589), married Henry II of France (reigned 1547-1559). After he died, Catherine ruled France as regent for her young sons and was instrumental in turning France into Europe’s first nation-state. She brought the Renaissance into France, introducing everything from the chateaux of the Loire to the fork. She also was to 16th and 17th century European royalty what Queen Victoria was to the 19th and 20th centuries – everybody’s grandmamma. Her children included three kings of France, Francis II (ruled 1559-1560), Charles IX (ruled 1560-1574) and Henry III (ruled 1574-1589). Her children-in-law included a fourth king of France, Henry IV (ruled 1589-1610), plus Elizabeth of Hapsburg, Philip II of Spain (of Armada fame), and Mary Queen of Scots.
And that is without mentioning any "artists". From Arnolfo and Cimabue to Giotto, Nanni di Banco, and Uccello; through Lorenzo Ghiberti, and Donatello and Massaccio and the various della Robbias; through Fra Angelico and Botticelli and Piero della Francesca, and on to Michelangelo and Leonardo, the Florentines dominated the visual arts like nobody before or since. And this list does not include many who, in any other place would be considered among the greatest of artists, but in Florence must be considered among the near-great: Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea del Sarto, Benozzo Gozzoli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Fra Lippo Lippi, Buontalenti, Orcagna, Pollaiuolo, Filippino Lippi, Verrocchio, Bronzino, Desiderio da Settignano, Michelozzo, the Rossellis, the Sangallos, Pontormo, just to name a few. And this list does not include the prolific Ignoto. Nor does it include the near-Florentines, such as Raphael, Andrea Pisano, Giambologna, the wonderfully nicknamed Sodoma and so many more, such as Peter-Paul Rubens, all of whom spent time in Florence and were educated by it.