30 Interesting Facts about Florence, Italy
30 Interesting Facts about the City of Florence in Italy
1.Nearly a third of the world’s art treasures reside in Florence, according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).
2.In 1339 Florence became the first city in all of Europe with paved streets.
3.Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the lower valley of the Arno River in the territory of Florence on April 15, 1452.
4.The people of Florence are called Florentines, or Fiorentino in Italian.
5.Florence is the Capital city of the region of Tuscany.
6.Pinocchio, the wooden boy whose nose grows when he lies, came from Florence. Le Avventure di Pinocchio was published between 1881 and 1883 by Carlo Lorenzini (pen-name Collodi), a Florentine by birth.
7.On November 30th, 1786, under the reign of Pietro Leopoldo, Tuscany was the first modern european state in the world to do away with torture and capital punishment.
8.“Il Duomo” of Florence took approximately 140 years to build. Construction initially started on September 8th, 1296, but the cathedral was not completed until March 25th 1436.
9.The Duomo has 463 stone steps, which, if you can climb to the top you can reach the cupola for a close-up of The Last Judgement and a sweeping view of the city.
10.The City of Florence has a population of 370,000 expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.
11.Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse, was born in Florence on May 12th, 1820.
12.Tradition states that the history of Florence began in 59 BC when the legions of Giulio Ceasar founded the village, which they called Florentia.
13.The emblem of Florence is a red lily, the representation of which derives from the Florentine iris, a white flower that was very common in the local area.
14.Florence is traditionally divided into four quarters, named after the most important churches. Three of them are on the right-hand bank of the Arno; Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni and the quarter of Santa Croce. The only quarter south of the river is Santo Spirito.
15.Florence was severely damaged during World War II by the Germans, who blew up all its bridges except the Ponte Vecchio as it is alleged Hitler declared it too beautiful to destroy.
16.The statue of David by Michelangelo can be found at The Accademia, it is 14 feet and 3 inches high.
17.Amerigo Vespucci, the famous explorer and navigator, was born in Florence on March 9th, 1454.
18.Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio were the first to use a language other than Latin, namely Tuscan which eventualy became the recognised Italian language. This was the beginning of the end of Latin being used as the common language throughout Europe.
19.The piano was invented in Florence by Bartolomeo Cristofor. First known as the pianoforte which evolved from the harpsichord around 1700 to 1720.
20.The right hand of the statue of David is disproportionately large compared to the body because in the Middle Ages David was commonly said to be of “manu fortis” – strong of hand.
21.Tuscan bread is traditionally made without salt, and it’s been this way since the 12th century, according to popular legend. That legend says that during the historical rivalry with Pisa, the Pisans thought blocking shipments of salt would force the Florentines to surrender in whatever battle they were involved with at the time. Instead, the people of Florence just made their bread without salt.
22.Florence attracts over 10 million visitors per year.
23.Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches of Florence and was the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family.
24.Between 1865 and 1870 Florence was made capital of the newly united kingdom of Italy.
25.A famous Florentine speciality is the bistecca alla Fiorentina, a mammoth chargrilled t-bone steak.
26.The Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) boasts the world’s largest collection of Renaissance art, largely collected by members of the Medici family during the 16th and 17th centuries.
27.Florence has had two floods both on November 4th. The first in 1333 and then November 4th, 1966.
28.One of the symbols of Florence is the Marzocco, a seated lion with the emblem of Florence resting on its paw. The name derives from Mars, which was the very first symbol of Florentia, and was then replaced by the lion. One little-known curiosity is that live lions were once kept in cages behind Palazzo Comunale, in the street that is still known as Via dei Leoni today.
29.The city of Florence covers 39.54 sq miles or 102.4 km².
30.Fiasco is an Italian word referring to a glass bottle or flask with a long neck. According to the Oxford English dictionary fiasco meaning “a failure or complete breakdown” comes from the Italian expression “fare fiasco” to make a bottle.
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