The opportunity to visit Firenze, the capital of Tuscany and the Renaissance, is something nobody should ever miss. It is an experience to be lived at least once in a lifetime. Why? Because Florence is certainly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It has a fascinating history and tradition, unique churches and palaces, breath-taking squares and bridges, delicious wine and food, and even more than this. In other words, it is no wonder that it is one of the most-visited cities in the world!

L’Italo-Americano is now offering no less than a week’s sojourn in the Renaissance City as the first prize for its Holiday Fundraising Raffle. So why not take a chance on Florence? The readers and subscribers of our newspaper already know well what the place has to offer, but in case you need a reminder of all the great beauty that is just waiting there for the luckiest of you, here it is!

view of the famous Piazza della Signoria with Palazzo Vecchio – photo by padionhiatus3

First of all, you can hardly find a place which is thus rooted in history and art. Founded already in ancient times, Florence reached the zenith of its power during the Middle Ages, when it came to be ruled by the influential banking family of the Medici and soon became the “cradle of the Italian Renaissance”, as it is known today. So many were the illustrious artists and geniuses whose lives intertwined through the Florentine alleys during that long era! Just think of Dante, whose presence you can feel almost everywhere in the city: for example, the awe-inspiring gaze of a famous marbled sculpture of his still salutes “all ye who enter” the fabulous Piazza Santa Croce. At his back, reminding all visitors about Florence’s glorious past, stands the eponymous Basilica, the “Temple of Italian Glories” which is the final resting place of so many of Italy’s greatest talents, to begin with Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. So much to do and see!

Piazza Santa Croce, Florence – photo by padionhiatus3

The fact is that Florence really looks like an open-air museum. It’s easy to realize this as you are looking down at its renowned profile from the high viewpoint of Piazzale Michelangelo, as if it all were a picture postcard. You can see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and its famous dome, the cupola di Brunelleschi, surrounded by the old Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. In the near distance, the Arno River flowing under the Vasari Corridor and the Ponte Vecchio, covered by the usual flocks of tourists. And then the majestic bell tower of Palazzo Vecchio, under which you know you will find a replica of Michelangelo’s David (the original is just a few blocks away, in the Galleria dell’Accademia), as well as the Fountain of Neptune overlooking Piazza della Signoria. But this is only part of it! There are still innumerable churches and basilicas to visit, be it Santa Maria Novella with its frescoes by Masaccio and others, or San Lorenzo with its haunting Medici Chapels. And there are also many other historical buildings and palaces to choose from, to begin with the grandeur of Palazzo Pitti and its perfect Boboli Gardens, not to speak of the myriads of villas just outside the city center.

Yes, Florence is indeed an open-air museum. The countless highlights we have already mentioned might well be enough for an entire lifetime, but what is more is that there are also actual museums! Just think that the Uffizi Gallery alone is home to masterpieces such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Allegory of Spring, Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi, Caravaggio’s Medusa and Bacchus, and then again works by Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and many other Italian and European artists. And yet this is not at all the only remarkable museum you can find in Florence: just to name a few more, you might want to visit the Bargello, showcasing – among other sculptures – Donatello’s bronze David, or else you might want to take a look at the houses where Dante, Galileo, or Michelangelo actually lived. Any corner is somehow worth a visit in the birthplace of the Renaissance! As you are suddenly exposed to so much beauty, all in one place, it’s easy to be caught by some kind of Stendhal syndrome.

Yet there is even more to Florence than art and architecture: for example, there are traditions and food. Whatever the time of the year, the city would surely welcome you with a wide variety of local events that add up to its uniqueness, a few of which – at least – are to be remembered. For example, every June you can attend a match of Calcio Fiorentino, an early version of football that is played in historical costumes, while in May it is time for the famous opera festival called Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In addition, there are folkloric events related to religious celebrations, such as the Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart) performed on Easter day or the re-enactment of the Cavalcata dei Magi (Ride of the Magi) on Epiphany.

Florence, Arno river – photo by fisfra

And then, of course, there is the local cuisine. Have you ever tasted a real Bistecca alla fiorentina, the local T-bone steak, in some quiet trattoria? Or a Panino al lampredotto, the typical Florentine tripe sandwich? Did you know about the Ribollita bread and vegetables Tuscan soup? Have you ever thought of bringing back home a flask of sweet Chianti wine and some of the finest Italian olive oil? In the end, whether you come to Florence in search of art, history, culture, or food, this really seems like the right place to satisfy your hunger!

So, ready to join? Participate in our Italian Gourmet Holiday Raffle! The luckiest of you will have the occasion to experience all of this and more in Florence, including a dedicated cooking course and a foodie tour of the city.

Would you like to spend a week in the wonderful city of Florence and experience the real charm of the cradle of Rinascimento? Here is what you need to do! Get “The Italian Gourmet Holiday Raffle” tickets to get a chance to visit one of the most breathtaking cities in the world. (20% will be donated to the “I Love Norcia” association to support the reconstruction of the town, dramatically hit by the recent earthquake). 

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