Italy plays host to a number of cities and regions that simply have to be visited by tourists. While Rome is often the city that comes to mind for people who don’t have much experience with the country, many will recognise that Florence is perhaps the most beautiful city in the country and one that simply has to be experienced, both for its elegant culture and the storied history that forms the makeup of the land.
It is also one of the most important cities in the world when it comes to wine, with much of the areas trade in years gone by relying on the high quality of the Italian wine that has emanated from it. This makes it the ideal place to visit for people who are immersed into wine culture, as well as those who simply want to experience one of the most fantastic areas in all of Italy.
At its peak Florence was the most important city in all of Italy. During a time when the country was yet to be united, Florence stood alone as a true centre of trade and commerce, with countries from all over Europe trading goods and commodities with the area as a result. This led to it becoming one of the wealthiest cities in all of Europe, leading to many influential figures of the medieval era flocking to the city.
With such money comes the ability to purchase great works of art, so it is perhaps no surprise that some of the greatest artists, architects and sculptors called Florence their home at one time or another. In fact, the city was so well-known for its artistic output that it became the birthplace of the Renaissance, which is one of the most important cultural and artistic movements that the world has ever seen.
This era alone defined what Florence means to the world and the city is still steeped in the influence of this period. From the buildings through to the many great works of art that line the walls of it galleries, this rich history is something that the people of Florence are justifiably proud of and it is something that all tourists should take the time to absorb when they visit Italy.
As well as the rich history in the traditional arts, Florence has also been a centre of the fashion industry for centuries, dating right back to the 1300s when it became one of the most important areas in all of Europe for textile productions. Couple that with the fact that many rich and influential figures of the era decided to call Florence their home and it is perhaps no surprise that the fashion experts of the day were extremely important. After all, what noble doesn’t want to be seen in the finest clothing available to them?
This tradition carried through to the modern age, with some even going so far as to claim that Florence was the birthplace of the modern fashion industry in Italy. It was certainly the first Italian city to make great strides in the industry following the devastation caused by World War Two, particularly in regards to the events organised by Giovanni Battista Giorgino, which attracted some of the top names in the industry at the time for collective celebrations of their ideas. In turn, these shows allowed them to garner international acclaim and such famous brands as Gucci and Emilio Pucci are now headquartered in the city.
Simply put, it is most certainly the place to be if you have any interest at all in high end fashion and you will see many wonderful clothes should you choose to visit the city.
Of course, with such a rich cultural and political heritage it should come as no surprise that Florence is home to some of the greatest wines in the world. The likes of the Antinori family have not only played an important part in shaping the history of the city, but have also established themselves as one of the most important winemakers in the country due to their work with the Sangiovese grape in a number of their wines.
There are many great Florentine wines to try, but if we have to make a recommendation we would say that you should definitely try Chianti, a Super Tuscan like Tignanello and a pure Sangiovese to get a true feeling for the great wines that have defined this wonderful city and region. All of these wines use the Sangiovese grape as their base, making it perhaps the most important grape in all of Italy, at least in regards to red wines. As such, it is imperative that you spend a little bit of time sampling some of the great wines that have been created using the grape if you visit Florence. If you get the chance, you will also find the history of the Antinori family and their contemporaries in the region to also be extremely interesting.
Simply put, there are few better cities to visit in Italy than Florence. While Rome gets many of the plaudits simply for being the capital, and a beautiful city in its own right, those who enjoy art, culture and history have to make Florence a point of interest during their visit to the country.
It is a city that is so very easy to get lost in for days on end, never showing you the same thing twice while affording you ample opportunity to soak in the art, culture and way of life that has defined the area for so many centuries.
One need only look at the list of important cultural figures to have called Florence their home to see why this city commands the attention in the way that it does, and this rich history has made it one of the most visited cities in the world as a result. So, whether you love fine art, amazing architecture or truly spectacular wines, you can find everything that you are looking for and more in the wonderful city of Florence.