Florence or Florence+Siena

Departure at 7.00am from the apartment you're staying at. Arrival at about 10.00am and drop off in the centre (S.Maria Novella). You can have a quick look of the city by a short tour by car first (Florence is not a large city) and then walk freely. There will be a mobile phone numbers exchange and then the appointment for going back to Rome will be at 5.00pm in S.Maria Novella again. If you wish to visit Siena too, the departure will be at 1.30pm, same place, with no price difference. You can also decide to have lunch in Siena. You will arrive at 2.30/3.00pm and the return will be at 5.00pm as well. Arrival in Rome at about 8pm.


Florence

Florence or Florence+Siena - Florence
Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany, Italy, and of the province of Florence.

From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence lies on the Arno River and has a population of around 400,000 people, plus a suburban population in excess of 200,000 persons. A centre of medieval European trade and finance, the city is often considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and was long ruled by the Medici family. Florence is also famous for its magnificent art and architecture. The city has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. The "Historic Centre of Florence" was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1982.

The surge in artistic, literary, and scientific investigation that occurred in Florence in the 14th-16th centuries was precipitated by Florentines' preoccupation with money, banking and trade and with the display of wealth and leisure. With the money from the banking, the Medicis, very wealthy bankers, sponsored different artists such as Michelangelo.

Added to this, the crises of the Roman Catholic church (especially the controversy over the French Avignon Papacy and the Great Schism), along with the catastrophic effects of the Black Death, led to a re-evaluation of medieval values, resulting in the development of a humanist culture, stimulated by the works of Petrarch and Boccaccio. This prompted a revisitation and study of the classical antiquity, leading to the Renaissance. Florence benefited materially and culturally from this sea-change in social consciousness.

The best-known site and crowning architectural jewel of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile tower (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. Both the dome itself and the campanile are open to tourists and offer excellent views.

At the heart of the city in Piazza della Signoria is Bartolomeo Ammanati's Fountain of Neptune, which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still functioning Roman aqueduct. The Duomo in Florence is constantly being cleaned to remove the effects of pollution.

The Arno river, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the men who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno — which alternated from nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood.

One of the bridges in particular stands out as being unique — The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. The bridge also carried Vasari's elevated corridor linking the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti). First constructed by the Etruscans in ancient times, this bridge is the only one in the city to have survived World War II intact.

The San Lorenzo contains the Medici Chapel, the mausoleum of the Medici family - the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th to the 18th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art galleries in the world - founded on a large bequest from the last member of the Medici family.

The Uffizi ("offices") itself is located on the corner of Piazza della Signoria, a site important for three main reasons: In 1301, Dante was sent into Exile from here (a plaque on one of the walls of the Uffizi commemorates the event).

In 1497, it was the location of the Bonfire of the Vanities (a plaque in the middle of the plaza commemorates that event), followed in 1498 by the execution of its instigator, Girolamo Savonarola

In 1504, it was the original location of Michelangelo's David (now replaced by a reproduction as the original was moved indoors to the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno), in front of the Palazzo della Signoria (also known as Palazzo Vecchio).

In addition to the Uffizi, Florence has other world-class museums: The Bargello concentrates on sculpture, containing many priceless works of art created by such sculptors as Donatello, Giambologna, and Michelangelo.

The Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno (often simply called the Accademia) collection's highlights are Michelangelo's David and his unfinished Slaves.

Across the Arno is the huge Pitti Palace containing part of the Medici family's former private collection. In addition to the Medici collection the palace's galleries contain a large number of Renaissance works, including several by Raphael and Titian as well as a large collection of modern art, costumes, cattiages, and porcerlain. Adjoining the Palace are the Boboli Gardens, elaborately landscaped and with many interesting sculptures.

The Santa Croce basilica, originally a Franciscan foundation, contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante (actually a cenotaph), and many other notables. Other important basilicas and churches in Florence include Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Santo Spirito and the Orsanmichele.

The city's principal football team is AC Fiorentina.

Florence has been the setting for numerous works of fiction and movies, including the novels and associated films Hannibal, Tea with Mussolini and A Room with a View.

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