The Italian city of Firenze (Florence) played a very central part in the transition between the Middle Ages and the new times. Join me on a visit to the Historic Centre of Florence.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
- Country: Italy
- Date of Inscription: 1987
- Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 174:
“Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.”
I really don’t know what to say. Looking back at my visit in 1991 it is clear that Florence (Firenze as I would like to call it) deserves its reputation as a beautiful city, and even more so because of its importance in the Renaissance. However I felt at the time of visiting the city that its reputation was a bit exaggerated. This is what I wrote in my diary:
“We walked the few hundred metres to the Cathedral. It has a wonderful structure and we climbed to the top. Later on we walked the streets to the bridge of Ponte Vecchio with the small shops. Afterwards we stumbled our way to a viewpoint of the city, in the “woods”. In the evening we got drunk at a family restaurant on a mega-bottle of wine. Nice city, a lot to see. Not as much as expected, by far actually.”
I revisited the city in 2017 and had a rather different revelation.