Amazing art and architecture transports you to a different way of thinking

For centuries, brilliant and artistic spirits have found their way to Florence, drawn by the spectacular magic of the early morning sun as it glints off the great, domed roof of the Duomo and the slow, limpid green of the Arno River as it flows under the famed Ponte Vecchio. Through its long history, Florence has been graced by some of the world's most original and creative luminaries. Michelangelo, Dante, Fermi, Da Vinci, Marconi and Galileo are just some of the names that are memorialized in stone tablets along the walls of the Church of Santa Croce. From one corner to the next, Florence is packed with priceless works of art and architecture that reflect the stunning creativity of the Renaissance, and which continues to flourish there.

If ever a city were made for walking, it's Florence. Most of its greatest attractions are within walking distance of each other, and along the way you'll find all sorts of delightful surprises. Florence's bustling streets are continually enlivened by students and visitors from around the world, who pause at the sidewalk cafes or stop to buy handbags, shoes, jewelry from the plethora of street vendors.

Florentines are fiercely and justifiably proud of their place in history. The city is the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is here that one is best able to see how painting, sculpture, architecture, philosophy, politics, and business flourished and prospered during the 14th and 15th centuries. A city of scholars, artists, inventors, scientist, and gourmands, Florence is a premiere place from which to begin to appreciate Italy's language and culture.