Brief Escapes to Europe

FLORENCE

Firenze, capital of Tuscany and of Firenze province, central Italy, on the Arno River, at the foot of the Apennines . Florence, the jewel of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world's great historic cities. It is a commercial, industrial , and tourist center and a rail junction. Tourism is the main industry, which is supported by the manufacture of glassware, precious metal ware, leatherwork, ceramics, clothing, shoes, and art reproductions. The University of Florence is an international cultural center, and the National Library is in the city. Only one bridge , the Ponte Echo (14th cent.), survived World War II, and now several modern bridges span the Arnos river.

Points of Interest

It is impossible to mention here al the city's monuments most of which date the 13 th to 15 th century. The Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Close by are located the slim campanile designed by Giotto and the baptistery with famous bronze doors by Andrea Pissano and Lorenzo Giberti. The large Franciscan church of Santa Croce is the Florentine Pantheon and has frescoes by Giotto, a crucifix by Donatello, and fine works by the Della Robia family, Rosselino and others. The church of Santa Maria Novella (1278-1350) has frescoes by Masaccio, Orcagna, and Ghirlandaio.The church of Santa Maria Del Carmine . In the church of San Lorenzo you can find the tombs of Michelangelo and the Medici family, also samples of Donatello's work, the Laurentian Library where 10000 manuscripts are exhibited. On a hill overlooking the city is the Romanesque basilica of San Miniato al Monte . On the Piazza de la Signoria are the Palazzo Vechio, which has many frescoes by Vasari and sculptures by Micheangelo, the Loggia Dei Lanzi (14 th century), where the Perseus of Cellini and Ammanati's fountain of Neptune can be seen.

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