|Coordinates: 43°46′17″N 11°15′15″E / 43.77139°N 11.25417°E|
|Patron saint||John the Baptist|
|Saint day||24 June|
Florence (/ˈflɒrəns/ FLORR-ənss; Italian: Firenze [fiˈrɛntse] (listen))[a] is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 360,930 inhabitants in 2023, and 984,991 in its metropolitan area.
Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered by many academics to have been the birthplace of the Renaissance, becoming a major artistic, cultural, commercial, political, economic and financial center. During this time, Florence rose to a position of enormous influence in Italy, Europe, and beyond. Its turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. The Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.
The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and UNESCO declared the
Florence plays an important role in Italian fashion, and is ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world by Global Language Monitor; furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as well as a tourist and industrial hub.
There are a number of theories as to the origin of the Latin name Florentia from which the name of Florence and Firenze derived:
- Legend attributes the origin of the name Florentia to Florio (a soldier killed on the spot)
- It may be related to the Latin word for flowers found in the area
- It may be related to Flora, since it was founded during the Floralia festival
- There is a theory that Florentia is a name to convey good luck, "may you be florid"
Roman Republic, 59–27 BC
Roman Empire, 27 BC–AD 285
Western Roman Empire, 285–476
Kingdom of Odoacer, 476–493
Ostrogothic Kingdom, 493–553
Eastern Roman Empire, 553–568
Lombard Kingdom, 570–773
Carolingian Empire, 774–797
Regnum Italiae, 797–1001
March of Tuscany, 1002–1115
Republic of Florence, 1115–1532
Duchy of Florence, 1532–1569
Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 1569–1801
Kingdom of Etruria, 1801–1807
First French Empire, 1807–1815
Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 1815–1859
United Provinces of Central Italy, 1859–1860
Kingdom of Italy, 1861–1943
Italian Social Republic, 1943–1945
Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. It was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries.
The language spoken in the city during the 14th century came to be accepted as the model for what would become the Italian language. Thanks especially to the works of the Tuscans Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, was adopted as the basis for a national literary language.
Starting from the late
Florence was home to the Medici, one of European history's most important noble families.
The Kingdom of Italy, which was established in 1861, moved its capital from Turin to Florence in 1865, although the capital was moved to Rome in 1871.
Florence was established by the Romans in 59 BC as a colony for veteran soldiers and was built in the style of an army camp. Situated along the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre and in AD 285 became the capital of the Tuscia region.
Early Middle Ages
In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent alternate periods of Ostrogoth and Byzantine rule, during which the city was fought over, helping to cause the population to fall to as low as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century and Florence was in turn conquered by Charlemagne in 774 becoming part of the March of Tuscany centred on Lucca. The population began to grow again and commerce prospered.
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Rise of the Medici
At the height of demographic expansion around 1325, the urban population may have been as great as 120,000, and the rural population around the city was probably close to 300,000.
In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, with a population of 60,000, and was considered rich and economically successful. Cosimo de' Medici was the first Medici family member to essentially control the city from behind the scenes. Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast patronage network along with his alliance to the new immigrants, the gente nuova (new people). The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their ascendancy. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero, who was, soon after, succeeded by Cosimo's grandson, Lorenzo in 1469. Lorenzo was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. Lorenzo was an accomplished poet and musician and brought composers and singers to Florence, including Alexander Agricola, Johannes Ghiselin, and Heinrich Isaac. By contemporary Florentines (and since), he was known as "Lorenzo the Magnificent" (Lorenzo il Magnifico).
Following Lorenzo de' Medici's death in 1492, he was succeeded by his son
Savonarola, Machiavelli, and the Medici popes
During this period, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola had become prior of the San Marco monastery in 1490. He was famed for his penitential sermons, lambasting what he viewed as widespread immorality and attachment to material riches. He praised the exile of the Medici as the work of God, punishing them for their decadence. He seized the opportunity to carry through political reforms leading to a more democratic rule. But when Savonarola publicly accused Pope Alexander VI of corruption, he was banned from speaking in public. When he broke this ban, he was excommunicated. The Florentines, tired of his teachings, turned against him and arrested him. He was convicted as a heretic, hanged and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria on 23 May 1498. His ashes were dispersed in the Arno river.
Another Florentine of this period was Niccolò Machiavelli, whose prescriptions for Florence's regeneration under strong leadership have often been seen as a legitimization of political expediency and even malpractice. Machiavelli was a political thinker, renowned for his political handbook The Prince, which is about ruling and exercising power. Commissioned by the Medici, Machiavelli also wrote the Florentine Histories, the history of the city.
In 1512, the Medici retook control of Florence with the help of Spanish and Papal troops.
Florence officially became a monarchy in 1531, when Emperor Charles and Pope Clement named
18th and 19th centuries
The extinction of the Medici dynasty and the accession in 1737 of
The country's second capital city was superseded by Rome six years later, after the withdrawal of the French troops allowed the capture of Rome.
Florence was liberated by
At the end of World War II in May 1945, the US Army's Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilised American service men and women in Florence. The first American university for service personnel was established in June 1945 at the School of Aeronautics. Some 7,500 soldier-students were to pass through the university during its four one-month sessions (see
In November 1966, the
Florence lies in a basin formed by the hills of
Florence has a
|Climate data for Florence|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.6
|Average high °C (°F)||10.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.7
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−23.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||60.5
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||8.3||7.1||7.5||9.7||8.4||6.3||3.5||5.4||6.2||8.5||9.0||8.3||88.2|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||3.0||4.0||5.0||6.0||8.0||9.0||10.0||9.0||7.0||5.0||3.0||3.0||6.0|
|Percent possible sunshine||33||40||42||46||53||60||67||64||58||45||30||33||48|
|Source 1: Servizio Meteorologico |
|Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (United Nations)  Weather Atlas |
|Climate data for Florence|
|Mean daily daylight hours||9.0||10.0||12.0||13.0||15.0||15.0||15.0||14.0||12.0||11.0||10.0||9.0||12.1|
|Average Ultraviolet index||1||2||4||5||7||8||8||7||5||3||2||1||4.4|
|Source: Weather Atlas|
In 1200 the city was home to 50,000 people.
As of 31 October 2010[update], the population of the city proper is 370,702, while
As of 2009[update], 87.46% of the population was Italian. An estimated 6,000
Much like the rest of Italy most of the people in Florence are
Tourism is, by far, the most important of all industries and most of the Florentine economy relies on the money generated by international arrivals and students studying in the city. The value tourism to the city totalled some €2.5 billion in 2015 and the number of visitors had increased by 5.5% from the previous year.
In 2013, Florence was listed as the second best world city by Condé Nast Traveler.
Manufacturing and commerce, however, still remain highly important. Florence is also Italy's 17th richest city in terms of average workers' earnings, with the figure being €23,265 (the overall city's income is €6,531,204,473), coming after Mantua, yet surpassing Bolzano.
Industry, commerce and services
Florence is a major production and commercial centre in Italy, where the Florentine industrial complexes in the suburbs produce all sorts of goods, from furniture, rubber goods, chemicals, and food.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, manufacturing increased by 2.4% and exports increased by 7.2%. Leading sectors included mechanical engineering, fashion, pharmaceutics, food and wine. During 2015, permanent employment contracts increased by 48.8 percent, boosted by nationwide tax break.
Tourism is the most significant industry in central Florence. From April to October, tourists outnumber local population. Tickets to the Uffizi and Accademia museums are regularly sold out and large groups regularly fill the basilicas of
Studies by Euromonitor International have concluded that cultural and history-oriented tourism is generating significantly increased spending throughout Europe.
Florence is believed to have the greatest concentration of art (in proportion to its size) in the world. Thus, cultural tourism is particularly strong, with world-renowned museums such as the Uffizi selling over 1.93 million tickets in 2014. The city's convention centre facilities were restructured during the 1990s and host exhibitions, conferences, meetings, social forums, concerts and other events all year.
In 2016, Florence had 20,588 hotel rooms in 570 facilities. International visitors use 75% of the rooms; some 18% of those were from the U.S. In 2014, the city had 8.5 million overnight stays. A Euromonitor report indicates that in 2015 the city ranked as the world's 36th most visited in the world, with over 4.95 million arrivals for the year.
Tourism brings revenue to Florence, but also creates certain problems. The Ponte Vecchio, The San Lorenzo Market and Santa Maria Novella are plagued by pickpockets. The province of Florence receives roughly 13 million visitors per year and in peak seasons, popular locations may become overcrowded as a result. In 2015, Mayor Dario Nardella expressed concern over visitors who arrive on buses, stay only a few hours, spend little money but contribute significantly to overcrowding. "No museum visit, just a photo from the square, the bus back and then on to Venice ... We don't want tourists like that", he said.
Some tourists are less than respectful of the city's cultural heritage, according to Nardella. In June 2017, he instituted a programme of spraying church steps with water to prevent tourists from using such areas as picnic spots. While he values the benefits of tourism, he claims that there has been "an increase among those who sit down on church steps, eat their food and leave rubbish strewn on them", he explained. To boost the sale of traditional foods, the mayor had introduced legislation (enacted in 2016) that requires restaurants to use typical Tuscan products and rejected McDonald's application to open a location in the Piazza del Duomo.
In October 2021, Florence was shortlisted for the European Commission's 2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism award along with Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Dublin, Ljubljana, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.
Food and wine production
Food and wine have long been an important staple of the economy. The
The traditional boroughs of the whole comune of Florence
The 5 administrative boroughs of the whole comune of Florence
The legislative body of the
The municipality of Florence is subdivided into five administrative Boroughs (Quartieri). Each borough is governed by a Council (Consiglio) and a President, elected at the same time as the city mayor. The urban organisation is governed by the Italian Constitution (art. 114). The boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics (environment, construction, public health, local markets) and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition they are supplied with an autonomous funding in order to finance local activities. The boroughs are:
- Q1 – Centro storico (Historic Centre); population: 67,170;
- Q2 – Campo di Marte; population: 88,588;
- Q3 – Gavinana-Galluzzo; population: 40,907;
- Q4 – Isolotto-Legnaia; population: 66,636;
- Q5 – Rifredi; population: 103,761.
All of the five boroughs are governed by the Democratic Party.
The former Italian Prime Minister (2014–2016), Matteo Renzi, served as mayor from 2009 to 2014.
Florence was the birthplace of High Renaissance art, which lasted from about 1500 to 1527. Renaissance art put a larger emphasis on naturalism and human emotion.