Saturday, August 13, 2011

Florence, Italy - June 6, 2010

The Italian region of Tuscany is on the west side of the top of the Italian "leg". Florence is both the largest city and the capital of this region with nearly 370,000 inhabitants. The city straddles the River Arno and  is recognized historically as the cradle of the Renaissance, a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time.
Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BCE as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named originally Fluentia, based on the fact that it was situated between two rivers. It was built in the style of an army camp and was centered around the present Piazza della Repubblica.
Located on the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre. During WWII Florence was occupied for a year by the Germans before being liberated by the Americans and the British.
Florentines in fact, reinvented money – in the form of the gold florin – which was instrumental in pulling Europe out of the "Dark Ages" by financing the development of industry all over Europe – from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon, to Hungary. See some of the popular Florence features here.

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