The city of Florence and its inhabitants, the Florentines, are famous all over the world. The architecture of the buildings in the city conveys a foreboding impression, with its palaces looking more like fortresses built in the harsh Medici style. Having said this, one must remember these buildings were, in the first place, erected to keep out enemies and their foreign army’s intent on destroying the city. With all this, these bleak and austere structures house untold treasures within them; and it is these treasures that draw the thousands of visitors who throng the narrow streets of the city. The inhabitants of the town complain about the crowd, but gladly rake in the money it spends. The city officials have wisely kept the inner Renaissance core somewhat free of modern architecture and polluting industry. Florence has industry, but it has been consigned to the suburbs.

The history of Florence still affects the lives of its inhabitants even today. After all, it was the birthplace of the Renaissance, that incredible transformation of the arts that took place between the 14th and the 16th centuries which completely changed the both, the Tuscan town, and the whole world outside it. Under the generous eye of the Medicis, Florence flowered into an unsurpassed depository of art and architectural treasures by geniuses such as Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Cellini, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Ghiberti, Giotto, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Since the 19th century, it has been visited by millions wanting to see Michelangelo's David, Botticelli's Birth of Venu s, Brunelleschi's dome on the Duomo, and Giotto's campanile.

Florence is relatively clean and safe, as Italian cities go. You can normally walk the narrow cobblestone streets at night safely, although caution is always advised. May and September are the ideal times to visit. The worst times are the week before and including Easter, and from June until the first week of September. Florence is literally infested during these times, and the streets were never intended for such a large gathering of humanity. Temperatures in July and August hover in the 70s and 80s, dropping to a low of 45°F in December and January.

Top apartments for rent: Maremma Toscana

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