About Florence

Florence is a paradigmatic city for what cultural tourism means, which, on the other hand, is not to say that this very particular branch covers the entire specificity of tourist activity in the capital of Tuscany (talking about shopping tourism in Florence makes as much sense as talking about cultural tourism). However, no city or country could reach to such peaks of cultural tourism without benefiting from a consistent historic heritage, which holds true especially when it comes to Florence. Indeed, it is by force of its monumental historic past that Florence overwhelms, from a tourist point of view, first and foremost, a past the circumstances of which, troubled or fortunate, have determined Florence to inherit a huge artistic and cultural wealth reflected in both the most prized tourist objectives and in the way the city itself understands to treasure and to keep alive the spirit of this cultural asset.

The millennium between the origins and the Golden Age

The historic trajectory of Florence does not necessarily start off in grandness. It was, however, founded by the great Julius Caesar in 59 BC under the name of Florentia, to an army related end, more precisely, as a place where the veterans of the Roman army could retreat after having served the mighty emperor. For about a millennium, the city oscillated between periods of prosperity due to a thriving commercial activity and periods of political anonymity, an interval pegged out by the rough dominion of the Goths and of the Byzantines, as well as by the constant conflicts between these two forces, conflicts which turned Florence into a genuine combat zone, which left serious marks on the evolution of the city, demographically, culturally, economically and politically speaking. Lombards too have had their fair share of rule over Florence, when the city underwent a major crisis, being cut off from the main commercial routes of the peninsula, which led to a decay of Florence’s economical and political significance. The period was subsequently marked by Florence’s rivalry with its other Tuscan sister cities, mainly Lucca (the first capital of the Duchy of Tuscany under the rule of the Lombards and of the Carolingian Empire) and Pisa. In its first millennium of existence, Florence also saw the arrival of Christianity which rapidly turned into a respected institution, given the first documented Christian sites refer to the Church of San Lorenzo (consecrated in 393) and the Church of Santa Felicita (built somewhere between the 4th and the 5th century). The pride of the political status of Florence begins to be fuelled around 1000 AD when the Margrave dynasty, by its representative, Hugo, chooses Florence over Lucca as a seat of the rule, tuning Florence into a rightfully fearful force in Tuscany.

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