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Florence is one of the most visited cities in Europe, attracting millions of tourists every year. It is heralded as a hub of art, fashion, culture and beauty, and is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Here are 10 interesting facts you might not have known about this very special city.

  1. It was originally founded as Florentia by Julius Ceasar in 59 B.C as a settlement for veteran Roman soldiers. Starting as a military camp. It began to grow as a thriving city by 1,100AD
  2. The unmissable Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo) is is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world, only beaten by St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and London’s St Pauls Cathedral. It has the largest masonry dome in the world, consisting of 4 million bricks! The dome estimated to be the size of an average football field.
  3. Il Duomo took 140 years to construct (1296- 1436). Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed the dome itself, actually started the work as a goldsmith with no actual architectural experience beforehand!
  4. First city in Europe with paved streets: thanks to donations from wealthy merchants and banks, it became so developed that most city streets were paved by 1339
  5. Birthplace of standard Italian language: with the most famous writers living and working there, the Florentine dialect became the standard for the nation’s official language
  6. Birthplace of Opera: Jacopo Peri’s 1598 opera ‘Dafne’ was considered the first standard opera written: Unfortunately, most of the music has been lost now, but the libretto survives.Florence
  7. Florentine bread doesn’t usually contain salt. During a brief war between Florence and Pisa in the mid 14th century, the Pisans considered that cutting off the salt supply would make Florence surrender since salt was the main ingredient in their famous Tuscan bread. Florence dd not relinquish, but instead just made it without, and the city eventually emerged victorious at the Battle of Cascina. 700 years later, the saltless feature remains.
  8. It is the home of Guccio Gucci: the craftsman and leathermaker who founded the fashion brand in 1921 in Florence
  9. Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence that wasn’t destroyed by the Nazis in WW2 during the German siege of the city. Hitler actually considered it to be too beautiful to destroy.
  10. Florence is home to the largest collection of Renaissance art in the world. According to UNESCO, 60% of the world’s most important art pieces are in Italy, and half of those are in Florence, meaning 30% of the world’s great art pieces lie in that beautiful city!

Find out more about the secrets of this wonderful city here! 

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