Florence is one of the most important historic cities in the whole of Italy. The capital of Tuscany, it has incredible roots in the early days of the Roman Empire, and as such, it continues to drive visitors and tourists year after year who want a taste of what life in Roman times was really like. Of course, the legacy of the Empire can be felt all over the world – but it’s great to see where everything started!
Florence is a city full of surprises. In this fact file, we’re going to looks carefully at some of the biggest facts and figures you may not already be aware of. Before you book your flight, be sure to dive into the following!
Believe it or not, Florence citizens actually have their own language. It’s called Florentine.
The language of Florentine is separate to Italian; however, it’s actually seen as a forerunner of the more common tongue.
Florence is famous for being the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. Specifically, he was born in the Arno River Valley in 1452.
Florence has roots in the Roman Empire dating all the way back to the year 59 BC.
Florence was founded by Emperor Julius Caesar and was originally a soldiers’ settlement. It was actually something of a glorified military camp in its early days.
However, the city would start to take its true shape by around the 12th Century. This was thanks to the emergence of cathedrals and renaissance artistry in the city.
Florence is also well-known for its fashion. It’s the birth city of Guccio Gucci. In fact, Gucci founded his famous fashion line in the city back in 1921.
Florence is, of course, popular for its incredible cathedral. Did you know that it took 140 years to build? Work on the structure first began back in 1296 and wasn’t considered ‘finished’ until around 1436.
Frozen desserts and sweet treats do have some form of genesis in the city of Florence, too. It was here that Bernardo Buonotalenti who brought gelato to the masses back in 1565.
Gelato is a world-famous treat, and it was first made and sold in the court of Caterina Dei Medici.
Renaissance art is hugely important to the city of Florence. In fact, it’s here where you will find the Uffizi Gallery. The gallery hosts scores of masterpieces from the likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Florence was a huge trading capital for Italy. When ruled by the Medici family, the city was famous for bringing leading artwork and music from miles around. It was a huge transition for a city that was struggling to move out of the medieval ages.
However, Florence isn’t just known for its art exhibits. It boasts the Salvatore Ferragamo Shoe Museum, serving up thousands of pairs of footwear for you to ogle.
Florence has an odd history of floods. While the city was only fully flooded twice, in 1333 and 1966, both floods occurred on the 4th of November.
Florence and Pisa were once at war – and things got so petty that Pisa tried stopping the trade of salt to their enemy state. This, however, just led to the creation of a new style of Tuscan bread!
To this day, people in Tuscany make bread without salt thanks to this embargo.
Pinocchio, the famous story about a wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy, has roots in Florence.
One of Florence’s most famous architectural icons is the Ponte Vecchio. This literally translates into Old Bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio is more than just a foot or traffic bridge, however. It boasts three main arches, and even has a covered route which was once reserved for the city’s rulers.
Bizarrely, there used to be a ‘public lion’s den’, where the people of Florence would be able to see big cats up close and personal. This was hugely popular, and many considered it a symbol of independence.
La Specola was opened in the city in 1775 and was the world’s first scientific museum. It boasts wax models of animals dating all the way back to the 18th Century.
Florence was the first body in Europe to outlaw any kind of death penalty. It was Pietro Leopoldo, acting as the Grand Duke, who abolished both torture and penalty by death in 1786.
There is such a condition as Florence Syndrome. This illness is said to afflict people who find themselves feeling faint when in the presence of objects or artefacts they feel extremely beautiful.
Florence Syndrome was coined by the author, Henri-Marie Beyle, upon seeing Florence as a visitor and feeling completely overwhelmed.
Florence is a city surrounded by greenery. It has hills, vineyards, and rivers for miles around.
It was the first city to pave all of its roads and walkways, making the paths and roads here the oldest in the world.
Florence was home to one of the best-known Renaissance sculptures of all time. Michelangelo is said to have produced the striking marble statue of David here in 1504. In fact, you can still see it on display in the city to this day.
Florence is also said to be the birthplace of the modern opera. Jacopo Peri wrote the first opera of its kind here in 1598.
the Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Adolf Hitler was reportedly left speechless by the beauty of Florence. He was invited to view the city by fellow brutalist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1938.
However, Hitler would eventually attack the city during World War II. However, he would ‘spare’ the Ponte Vecchio, as he thought it too beautiful for destruction.
The Medici family was in control of Florence for more than 350 years. They helped to put the city on the map for trade as well as artwork and beautiful architecture.
In fact, Florence was the capital of Italy for around six years, between the years of 1865 and 1871.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Florence that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!