8 things you didn’t know about Florence

The capital of Tuscany in Italy, Florence is known for its art and culture – and so much more!

There is a lot that Florence is recognised for. A lot of people know that Michelangelo’s David is in Florence, or that the Arno River is an important river in central Italy that runs through Florence.

However, there are many lesser-known facts that you may not know about Florence. See eight of them that we have collected below!

1. Florence welcomed paved streets into Europe

In 1339, Florence became the first city in Europe to have paved streets. The city paved all its streets with donations from wealthy merchants and banks. So perhaps all roads should lead to Florence, not Rome!

2. The magnificent Duomo took over 100 years to build

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as Duomo Cathedral, took 140 years to complete between 1296 and 1436. It took so long because they had no way to complete the dome when they started the build. As a result, the final part – the dome itself – was exposed for years, before architect Filippo Brunelleschi came up with a revolutionary idea: building two domes, one on top of the other.

3. The Duomo is one of the world’s largest cathedrals

Speaking about the Duomo, it is also the fourth-largest cathedral in the world! Saint Peter’s, Saint Paul’s, and the Duomo in Milan are the three largest ones.

4. We can thank Florence for gelato

In 1530, Bernardo Buontalenti created the delicious frozen dessert, gelato in Florence. For generations, fathers would open a store and pass their gelato recipes on to their sons.

Gelato in Florence

5. Florence loves its Renaissance art

Florence is the capital of arts and the Uffizi Gallery has the largest Renaissance art collection in the world. To top it off, the art collected belonged to the Medici family.

6. Florence is the birthplace of the piano

Around 1700, the piano was invented in Florence by Bartolomeo Cristofori. The piano became the first keyboard instrument that could play loud and soft tones.

7. Florence was once Italy’s capital city

From 1865 to 1871, Florence was Italy’s capital city before Rome took over. Before Florence, Turin was the capital city of Italy for a brief period.

8. Gucci was founded in Florence

When Gucci started in 1921, they opened their first store in Florence, which has been open ever since! You can visit the very first Gucci store on Via de’ Tornabuoni, 73r.

Florence is a city that has had a lot of ‘firsts’. From being the first European city to have paved streets, to being the first city where Gucci opened a store. Don’t let this list stop you from learning more about Florence! Go sightseeing in this art-filled city and explore the galleries, architectural landmarks, and magnificent views.

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