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Florence is heaven for art and history buffs. "Florentia", the florid, as the Romans called it, started to be the wonderful city we know today during the Middle Ages and became a center of culture and commerce under the rule of Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici.
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The entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage: discover the four neighbourhoods through the countless architectonic and historic marvels the whole world envies.
In the Santa Maria Novella area, you must certainly see the church itself, for the masterpieces it contains (among which Masaccio's Trinità and Giotto's Crucifix) as well as the splendid harmony of its façade, where the green and white marbles create perfect geometrical patterns.
In the Santa Croce neighbourhood there's the heart of Florence, Piazza della Signoria, with Palazzo Vecchio and the Galleria degli Uffizi nearby. The Gallery, containing one of the world's most famous art collections, has been a museum for the beauty of 500 years, as it was founded by the Medici for this very purpose. It contains masterpieces by Giotto, Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca, Raffaello, Caravaggio and many others. The Corridoio Vasariano leads from the Uffizi to Palazzo Pitti passing over Ponte Vecchio, the city's oldest bridge.
Whereas S. Croce is certainly the town's heart, S. Giovanni's neighbourhood is by all means the religious heart, that is the Duomo of S. Maria in Fiore with its Baptistery. Brunelleschi's dome, Giotto's bell tower, Ghiberti's splendid doors make the Florentine cathedral an unforgettable sight.
The neighbourhood of Santo Spirito in Oltrarno, traditionally the place for artisans, restorers and antique dealers, includes Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli gardens. On the Boboli hill, between the palace and Forte Belvedere, extends this wonderful Italian style garden, with beautiful statues and fountains.
If you're not satisfied with the city's beauties, the surrounding area gives you other meeting point with history and nature. For example, about halfway between Florence and Siena, you can admire San Gimignano, a small walled village famous for its fascinating medieval architecture. Its towers rise above of all the other buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley.
Let be conquered by the Tuscany countryside, a place where landscape becomes poetry. Vineyards, olive groves and verdant valleys: this region will take your breath away. And do not forget to taste a glass of Chianti wine, of course.