Florence

A city of about half a million inhabitants, Florence is situated on the bank of the river Arno, between the triennia sea and the Adriatic sea, more or less in the centre of the Italian peninsula. It is a lively city as regards the industrial and artisan activities, the commercial and cultural exchanges, the artistic and scientific life. Florence preserves an excellent artistic property witnessing its centuries-old civilization. In Florence lived: Cimabue and Giotto (fathers of the italian painting); Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano (who renewed both architecture and sculpture); Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio (initiators of the Renaissance age); Giberti and the Della Robbia's; Filippo Lippi and Angelico; Botticelli and Paolo Uccello Leonardo and Michelangelo's world wide known genius. Their works, in addition to those by many other artists, until our century's masters, are collected in the numerous local museums: the Uffizi, the most selected picture-gallery in the world; the Palatine Gallery, with the paintings belonging to the "Golden centuries"; the Bargello, with the sculptures belonging to the Renaissance; The St.Mark museum, with works by Angelico; the Academy, the "Medicee" chapels and Buonarroti's house, with sculpture's by Michelangelo; the Bardini, Horne, Stibbert, Romano, Corsini museums; the Modern Art Galley; the Opera-house Museum; the Cathedral Museum; the Silver Museum And the Semi-precious Stone Museum. Great monuments mark the stages of the Florentine artistic civilization: the Baptistery with its mosaics; the Cathedral with its sculptures; the Medieval Churches with its cycles of frescos; many public and private palaces; Palazzo Vecchio; Pitti palace; Medici-Riccardi Palace; Davanzati palace; monasteries and cloisters; convents and dining-rooms; the Certosa. Etruscan civilization is richly documented at the Archaeological Museum. In Florence: the Italian language was born thanks to Dante; the literary studies became popular thanks to Petrarca and Boccaccio; philosophy was renewed and classical culture made valuable thanks to humanism; the new modern political science was born thanks to Machiavelli; the historical prose was born thanks to Guicciardini; the new experimental science was born and became popular thanks to Galileo and its school. Up to Charles the Great age, Florence had been seat of: a University that nowadays comprehends lots of specialized institutes and a Cultural Centre for Foreigners; Academies and Art schools; Scientific institutes (like the Astrophysics observatory in Arcetri, the Research Institute on electro-magnetic waves, the Nuclear Medicine Centre); the Foreign Universities; the History of Art and folk-culture Centres. All these institutes contribute to the intense activity of the city in different fields. Numerous and particularly interesting are the Scientific museums: the Science history museums, the Geology and palaeontology museum, the Botanic museum, the Mineralogy museum, the Anthropology and ethnology museum, the glorious "Specola". Extensive bibliographic collections are kept in the Central National Library. as in other famous libraries: the Medicea.Laurenziana, the Riccardiana, the Marucelliana. Documents of great value are cherished in the State Archives and in the town council archives. During all the year, shows and displays that can satisfy various demands, take place in Florence; in the town where the modern Opera was born as well as the modern scenography and choreography, music shows are particularly relevant: an example is the so-called "Maggio musicale Fiorentino" whose summer and winter lyric session is displayed in the rooms of the town theatre. The Italian fashion centre in Florence organizes many commercial manifestations during all the year. Many international level exhibitions concerning modern art as well as particular aspects and figures belonging to ancient art are organized in Florence, especially on the occasion of centenarian festivities. Characteristic traditional displays are the fancy-dress soccer, the outburst of the cart ( on Easter time), St.John feast, etc...... . Florence is known for its high-class manufacture, heir of an age-old tradition, as well as for its elegant and excellent taste creations. Many desirable objects can be conveniently bought by people of different tastes, age and means: the straw, a typical Florentine product, is used to make original and nice clothes objects and furnishing. Moreover leather objects are known for their refinement; like the potteries and glasswares; wood- and metalworks; fornitures and gew-gaws. Clothing are made particularly gracious, pretty and original in Florence: known are the articles of underwear as well as the precious embroideries. Very refined, in the city where Benvenuto Cellini was born, are the silver- and goldsmith’s shops, the jewels and the filigrees, the typical mosaics made with semi-precious stones. A special call comes from antiques: Florence is actually a lively centre of antique's trade. Since the XIIIth century, travellers had praised the Florentine hospitality then developed into a great hotel organization with more than 400 hotels of different categories and by now reaching a capacity of about 20.000 beds. Numerous are also the local camping-sites and the youth hostels. Dozens of restaurants and the characteristic inns situated in the town-centre and in the nearby hills, offer the pleasure of a cousine characterized by ordinary and genuine plates. This kind of cousine matches with Tuscan wines produced in Chianti and in the neighbouring zones: the red wine, more graceful; the sweet wines and the so-called "Vin Santo". A complete equipment and many agonistic displays draw in Florence people fond of every kind of sport. In addition to the stadiums where to play soccer, the race-courses for trotting- and gallopingraces; the cycle-track for bicycle-races; this city owns many tennis-courts, swimming-pools, the Ugolino golf-field with 18 holes, shooting-ranges and bowls-fields; rowing- and waterpolo centres; horse centres and riding-schools; a flying club; skating-rinks; etc....... . Modern sport complexes are in Coverciano, Bellariva, Cascine and Campo di Marte.

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