Florence is the capital of the eponymous Province and the Region of Tuscany. It is the Region’s most populous city, as well as its historical, artistic and economic centre. Florence counts some 1,500,000 inhabitants. During the Middle Ages is was already a vital cultural, commercial, economic and financial centre. Later on its importance was further enhanced as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under the dominion of the De Medici and Lorena families.
Florence was Italy’s capital from 1865 to 1871, after its unification. Important university centre and UNESCO World Heritage site, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is universally recognised as the cradle of art and architecture, as well as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its museums and landmarks are numerous: the Duomo, Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti, just to mention a few.
Florence sits in the centre of a scenic geographical conch that acts as a sort of amphitheatre, and is surrounded by charming rolling hills: the clayey Cercina just outside the Rifredi quarter and the Careggi hospital, the Fiesole hills to the north east, Settignano to the east and Arcetri, Poggio Imperiale and Bellosguardo to the south. The plains on which the city sits is crossed by the Arno River (the city itself divides its flow between Valdarno Superiore and Valdarno Inferiore) and by several other, smaller, rivers.