Travel Destinations: Florence

Florence, Italy, is a bustling Mediterranean city loaded with delicious Italian food and thousands of years of interesting, recorded history.

Florence began back in 59 B.C. when Julius Caesar’s former soldiers settled along the Arno River. The city, which initially went by the name Florentia, grew up around these settlements. Today, the old Roman parts of the city are long gone, but there are still many opportunities to explore the great history of this ancient city.

Check out the Piazza della Repubblica, which features a towering monument—the Column of Abundance—where the ancient Roman main streets met. Or go explore some additional history at the Centro Storico, the historic center of the city. This area features a number of medieval buildings, like the breathtaking Florence Cathedral. Centro Storico is also where you can meet Il Porcellino, a bronze boar statue that is something of a mascot for Florence.

Continue your Florence tour by taking in some of the world’s most stunning religious art, much of it created under the Medici family in the 15th and 16th centuries. You’ll find statues in parks and fountains, as well as outside and inside buildings. Stop by the Uffizi Gallery, which spans a full city block, and view paintings by great artists such as Sandro Botticelli. You’ll also want to visit the Gallery of The Academy to see some of Michelangelo’s seminal work.

On the south side of the Arno River is Palazzo Pitti, one of the Medici family’s residences during the Renaissance. It’s now a large set of galleries, where you can view some of the Medici heirlooms and some of their prized artwork, including pieces by Raphael and Correggio.

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