The most famous Florentines

The beautiful city of Florence has produced some of Italy’s most famous individuals. From scholars to artists, saints to fashion designers this city was home to some truly awesome people. We’ve taken a bit of a deep dive into the city’s history and found some of their most notable residents.

  • Michelangelo


    Born in 1475, Michelangelo is one of Florence’s most famous exports. His artworks are still marvelled at today, and his talents have yet to be surpassed. His multi-disciplinary work makes him a particularly interesting artist. Both his paintings and sculptures see people from around the world flocking to Italy to get a glimpse.

    Michelangelo’s most famous works are his sculpture David and paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Crafted from a mammoth 517 cm × 199 cm piece of marble, it took Michelangelo over two years to complete. Before his undertaking the work however the slab of marble had been left outside for 26 years. In fact, the work on David began before Michelangelo was born. Despite this, after two artists deserted the project Michelangelo was able to create his masterpiece.

    Michelangelo had quite the complex relationship with the Vatican at the time he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The commission was quite out of the ordinary as previously chapel ceilings had been left blank. Today, the ceiling is one of the most recognisable paintings in the world. Additionally, many conspiracy theories have been created around the painting and the suggestion of hidden messages.

  • Galileo Galilei


    Perhaps the best-known astronomer, physicist and engineer in history, Galileo Galilei is regarded as the father of modern science. However, this remarkable mind was almost left behind. As a young man, he had considered seriously entering into the priesthood however his father was able to convince him to enrol in the University of Pisa to pursue a medical degree. While there, he developed his interest in physics and mathematics.

    Galileo had his first breakthrough when he noticed a lamp swinging from a ceiling. No matter how far it swung, the lamp took the same time to swing back and forth. This inspired him to explore pendulums, levers and other objects. He tried to express his findings as mathematical formulas. This work made him one of the first people to test scientific principle, and not simply take the work of classical philosophers as true.

    Another key study area for Galileo was astronomy. After hearing about a new invention called the telescope, he created his own, improving on the design and using it to view plants. His research with telescopes helped to support the theory the sun was the centre of the universe, not the Earth. His research saw him write a book stating the Earth and other planets rotate the sun. The Catholic Church prosecuted him for it and he lived out the rest of his years under house arrest.

  • Guccio Gucci


    Guccio Gucci was a businessman and fashion designer, most notable for founding the fashion house Gucci. Born in Florence, he was the son of a leather craftsman. After working as a lift boy in an up-market hotel in London, he became inspired to create luxury luggage. He returned home to his family leather store where he founded the House of Gucci. His first products were leather bags which he sold to horsemen.

    Gucci quickly built a reputation for producing high-quality bags, and soon he expanded the business to Rome. Of his six children, four had significant roles within the business. In 1953 Gucci opened their first international store in Manhattan, New York, just 15 days before Guccio Gucci died.

    Today, the brand is easily identified by their use of the double G logo. Another key branding choice on most Gucci products is the green and red stripe. A single red stripe is sandwiched between two dark green stripes. It is said the inspiration for these stripes came from the belts used to hold on a horse saddle as equestrian saddlery was one of the company’s first products.

  • Leonardo da Vinci

    Leonard da Vinci, Mona

    Leonard da Vinci is one of history’s most famous polymaths. He was famously talented as a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, artist, writer and musician among other things. Despite our broad understanding of his talents and work, we have very little knowledge or information about him as a person.

    Some of his most famous pieces of work include the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. However, he wasn’t just a talented painter, but a drawer also. His anatomical drawings were quite impressive and incredibly detailed. He was known to have received dead bodies from a hospital which he would dissect to complete his ‘studies’ (collections of highly detailed drawings).

    Though many of his inventions were not realised until well after his death, he had many ideas that we see regularly in modern-day. His inventions include the helicopter, armoured tank, crossbow, parachute and the robot. He also unwittingly designed the diving suit! His invention was intended to allow sailors to remain underwater for a small amount of time, just enough to poke a few holes in enemy ships.

    Leonardo da Vinci was truly a magnificent man, with ideas well beyond his time. Today, we see his influence in our everyday lives.

This is just a small selection of a long list of famous people from Florence over the years. With so many wonderful, talented and inspiring people calling this town home we might need to do a part two one day!

Related article: Where to see Florence’s best art?

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