Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in Italy. It is famous for being the home of many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. In fact, Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance as many early writers and artists of the period sprung from here. From its historic centre filled with treasures to its music and fashion connections, here are some of the most interesting facts about Florence.
7 Interesting Facts about Florence
1. Florance is the capital of Tuscany
Florence is located in Central Italy and is the capital city of the Tuscany region. As of 2022, it has a population of 709,915. It is the eighth biggest city in Italy. In Italian, the city is Firenze.
2. Florance was once the capital of Italy
After Italian Unification, between 1865 and 1870, Florence was the capital city of the United Kingdom of Italy. Previously, Turin was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy between 1861 and 1865. After Florence, in 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.
3. The Historic Centre of Florence is a UNESCO site
With 58 Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, Italy is the country with the most UNESCO sites. The entire Historic Centre of Florence is on the list. With the city having around one-third of the world’s greatest art treasures. UNESCO calls Florence a symbol of the Renaissance during the early Medici period (between the 15th and the 16th centuries). The historic centre is bounded by the remains of the city’s 14th-century walls inside which “seven hundred years of cultural and artistic blooming are tangible today in the 14th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi gallery, and the Palazzo Pitti. The city’s history is further evident in the artistic works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo”.
4. Florence was the first city in Europe to pave its streets
In 1339, officials paved all the streets in Florence becoming the first city in Europe to do so. This endeavour was made possible thanks to donations from the city’s many wealthy merchants and banks.
5. Florence is the birthplace of the piano
Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano, then known as the pianoforte, in 1698. He did so in the Florentine court of Cosimo III de’ Medici. The pianoforte evolved from the harpsichord. Three pianos by Cristofori survive. The oldest one dates from 1720 and you’ll find it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. You’ll find another one of his pianos from 1722 is in the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome. At the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University, you’ll see one of his pianos from 1726.
6. Gucci was founded in Florence
Guccio Gucci founded the fashion house Gucci in 1921 in Florence. He was 40 years old when he founded the business. The famous double G logo stands for Guccio Gucci. The fashion house designed it in 1960 to honour Guccio Gucci after his death. In 1981, sixty years after Gucci founded the business, the company had its first ready-to-wear fashion show at Sala Bianca, Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the city where it all began.
7. Duomo di Firenze took 140 years to build
Florence’s most iconic landmark is its cathedral, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower). In Italian, it is Duomo di Firenze or Il Duomo. Construction began in 1296 and it took approximately 140 years to build. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches and when it was first built the dome was the largest in the world. Today it remains the largest masonry dome ever built and the 3rd largest dome in the world. Only St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s in London are bigger.