We spent a very pleasant two days touring Florence in 2013. At this stage I will say that two days is not anything like enough time to see the sights around this lovely city.

The history of Florence is well documented in guide books, it was founded by the Romans in 59BC when it was a settlement for retired soldiers and called Florentia. The town prospered under the Romans but during the 4th Century the Roman Empire split. It was during the 5th Century that the Germanic population overthrew the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire survived as the Byzantine Empire. Conflict reigned during 6th century between the Byzantines and the Germanics and Florence changed hands several times. Towards the end of the Century the Lombard’s captured Florence there was a long period of peace until 774 when Charlemagne captured Florence.

By the 11th century Florence was once again a flourishing town and in 1115 the Count of Tuscany made it a self-governing commune. Florence became a large and rich city and in 1252 a gold coin called the florin was minted. However in 1348 Florence was devastated by the Black Death. The city soon recovered and by the 15th century it became a centre of the arts. Meanwhile from 1434 until 1737 the Medicis were the leading family in Florence.

In 1494 Florence surrendered to a French army. In 1527 it was captured by an army from the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. Florence continued to flourish though in 1737 the rule of the Medicis came to an end and Florence came under Austrian rule.

In 1820 Florence Nightingale was born in the city.

In 1861 Tuscany became part of the newly created united kingdom of Italy and for a short period of time it became the capital but in 1871 was replaced by Rome. During the late 19th century and the early 20th century the population of Florence rose rapidly and the city prospered. 

During the Second World War Florence was occupied by Germans.  In 1944 when they retreated the Germans destroyed the bridges in Florence except for the Ponte Vecchio.  After the war Florence soon recovered. 

On the 4th November 1966 Florence suffered a severe flood. The River Arno burst its banks and at least 35 people lost their lives. In 1982 UNESCO declared Florence a World Heritage Site. 

Today Florence is flourishing thriving city which attracts tourists from all over the world to admire the fantastic architecture and culture. We started our tour in the East part of the city which is quite literally dominated by the magnificent Duomo. There are plenty of small restaurants and cafes that sell some amazing pastries and coffee. There are many places of interest to visit around the town, during our short stay we just scratched the surface. Click on the galleries below to open.

Around Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore - The Duomo Florence
Uffizo Museum
Piazza della Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio
Basilica Santa Croce Florence