Thanks to its high-quality textile and banking guilds, Florence became one of the most powerful European cities during the Middle Ages, amassing great wealth and attracting people, goods and ideas from throughout the known world. Many of its wealthiest citizens—amongst which the Medici family are the most famous—patronaged arts and sciences, paving the way for the Renaissance. Thus, many of the most influential artists, architects, thinkers, and inventors of the time lived and worked in Florence, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Brunelleschi, and Michelangelo. Consequently, most historical landmarks in Florence were either constructed at this time or one or more of these masterminds had a hand in their design, including the fantastic cathedral, with the largest brick dome ever built, or famous statues, like the “David” by Michelangelo.
Today, Florence is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations. The city has a stunning World Heritage historical core, some of the finest museums in Italy with some of the best Renaissance art in the world, and it’s highly regarded for its fashion, design and music. Florence also serves as a base to discover the surrounding region of Tuscany, known for its olive oil, wine, scenery and other smaller cities, like Pisa and Siena. And on top of all that, the modern Italian standard language derives mostly from the Florentine dialect, so learning Italian in Florence will definitely help any student understand the rest of the Italian dialects more easily.
Why learn Italian in Florence?
Because of Florence’s role as the birthplace of the Renaissance, its language became the cultural foundation of modern Italian.
Florence’s museums display some of the best paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance, including masterpieces by Giotto, Da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Botticelli.
Because Florence is considered the most “standard” version of Italian, the city has a highly developed Italian learning infrastructure.
Some of Florence’s landmarks are known around the world, particularly its architectural masterpieces, such as its Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio.
Language Schools in Florence:
Istituto Michelangelo is a highly-experienced school, with a fantastic location in the heart of Florence, and offers an impressive variety of additional and optional courses to get the most of the Italian language and the culture and art that Florence offers.
Istituto Il David is a highly experienced school in a fabulous location that allows students to develop their Italian language skills while discovering Florence and its surroundings. The school specializes in offering extension courses, especially those related to Italian culture and arts.
Best time to go is mid-March to October.
Florence is a rather small city of around 300,000 people that receives over 15 million visitors every year. Thus, tickets for the main attractions run out pretty quickly; so, it’s highly recommended to book everything in advance!
Michelangelo’s David is probably one the best examples of Renaissance sculpture and one of the world’s most known pieces of art. It’s housed in the Galleria dell’Academia.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, is Florence’s most distinctive architectural feature, with its dome being the largest brick dome in the world and an architectural masterpiece of the late Middle Ages.
Florence attracted some of the best artists during the Renaissance, and many of their works are housed in both Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Academia.
Aside from everything to do in Florence itself, surrounding Tuscany is just as famous for its cuisine, wine (including the Chianti region), breathtaking landscapes and villages, and famous cities like Pisa and Siena.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was adopted in most of Italy, but Florence did not do so until 1750. Thus, the city traditionally celebrates its own new year on March 25th, with religious processions and parties.
Easter has been celebrated with a firework display for over five centuries: the Scoppio del Carro, or “Explosion of the Cart,” features a procession following a cart filled to the brim with fireworks and hauled around central Florence, which is then lit at the end of the Easter Mass.
The Festa delle Rificolone (Festival of the Paper Lanterns) on September 7th attracts thousands of locals, mainly children, who alight colorful and intricately-designed lanterns. The scene, surrounded by Florence’s architecture and cityscape, makes it a truly breathtaking experience.
Tuscan food is generally very meat-oriented, but incorporating either the olive oil or wine from the region. The bistecca alla fiorentina is the city’s famous dish, consisting of a very rare and large T-bone cooked over charcoals.
Florence is a center for high-fashion and many well-known brands, such as Gucci and Roberto Cavalli, are headquartered in the surroundings of Via de' Tornabuoni.
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