Are you planning a trip to this beautiful Italian city? If so, you may want to learn a little bit about it first, since it has so much important art and history that it may overwhelm you once you’re there. As a taste of it, here you have a few interesting facts about Florence so you can learn something more about this gorgeous city.
5 important historical facts about Florence
Florence is one of the greatest cities in Italy, and, if we take a look at its history, one of the greatest in the world. In fact, the locals are incredibly proud of the rich history of the city, a cradle of classical art. The following interesting historical facts about Florence will help you understand the greatness of this magnificent city.
- Florence, home of the Medici: The Medici were once the richest family of Florence: They made their fortune themselves, as bankers, art dealers and businessmen, and they gained political power as well: They ruled the city for around 350 years, the golden years of Florence. Among the members of the Medici family, there were rulers of Florence, Popes and members of the royal families of France an England.
- A city punished by World War II: One of the most important facts about Florence is about its recent history: it was one of the most damaged cities during World War II. All the bridges of the city were destroyed except for the beautiful and iconic Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). It is said that Hitler himself wanted to salvage it, considering it too beautiful to destroy it.
- The Duomo, standing through times: The beautiful Duomo of Florence, the most recognisable landmark of the city, was built between the 13th and 15th century, exactly between 1296 and 1436 – that’s right! It took 140 years to build! The work paid off, since it’s the third largest dome in the world, only after the one in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the one in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. However, the cathedral itself dates from late Roman times, around the 4th century AD.
- It used to be the capital of Italy: Florence was the capital of the kingdom of Italy from 1865 to 1871, after Rome became part of it again (before, Rome was in the power of the Catholic Church).
5 fun facts about Florence
The following facts about Florence may surprise you, even if they are lighter in content than the incredible historical facts we saw above. Nonetheless, these fun facts about Florence may just make you come as one of the most knowledgeable among your group of friends!
- Home of most of the art in the world: Florence is a piece of art itself (it was declared a World Heritage Site by the Unesco), but it also hosts a third of the art treasures of the whole world. The Uffizi Gallery, for instance, has the largest collection of Renaissance art, but there are so many art museums and collections in Florence that you wouldn’t be able to visit them all even if you stayed there for a whole month.
- All roads don’t lead to Florence, but the best ones do: Florence was the first European city to have roads similar as what we understand by road, that is, paved ones. They built them in 1339.
- Pinoccio was from Florence, too: That’s right! Besides being home of distinguished personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci, Florence is also the home of the most famous wooden boy in history: Pinoccio. Carlo Lorenzini, the author of the story, was from Florence.
- Food, almost as important as art: We all know how delicious Italian cuisine is, but one of the facts about Florence that you should know is that its inhabitants can be real gourmets. In Florence, you will find the best wine and cheese, the famous crostini, and the bistecco alla Fiorentina, a large stake cooked over charcoal, almost rare. The locals are very passionate about food as well, so that’s a good subject to break the ice with them!
- The capital of Tuscany: Florence is the capital of the beautiful region of Tuscany, famous for its beautiful vineyards and colourful landscapes.
- A very special sport: Among the many cultural facts about Florence, we find the Calcio Storico Fiorentino (historic Florentine football). This traditional sport is similar to rugby and dates from the Middle Ages… and it is quite brutal!
What did you think about these facts about Florence? Of course, a city as magnificent and with as much history as Florence still hides many more facts awaiting for you to discover them. Is there something else you know about it? Tell us in the comments!