Welcome to Florence in the year of our Lord 1490.
Under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Magnificent, no city on earth can match its culture, learning, art and naked ambition. Here, in the cradle of the Renaissance, you can meet the great banking families and traders who have made Florence rich, as well as the philosophers and artistic geniuses who have helped it become one of the most exciting places to be in Europe. Explore the marvellous monuments, learn about the city’s ancient customs and current fashions, and get to grips with its lively politics. Then venture beyond the city walls to explore the timeless countryside and the other great cities of Tuscany.
This fascinating and fact-packed guide provides all the practical advice you need for a journey back to the golden age of one of Europe’s great cultural cities, as well as the surrounding region of Tuscany. Take in the sights and sounds, marvel at Brunelleschi’s sublime cathedral dome, wonder at the sculptures and paintings that have made this the art capital of its day, and lose yourself in the thrilling (and often riotous) local feasts and festivals. Learn the secrets of Florence’s legendary wealth, and discover what happens behind the closed doors of those grand palazzi. Along the way, you will find out about the most important and influential families in Florence, as well as the young artists such as Michelanelo and Leonardo currently making waves, and the leading humanist philosophers such as Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino who are constantly battling against the church. This guide also explores the darker side of life in the city, from its taverns and brothels to the grisly punishments meted out to wrongdoers and the reckless rabble-rousing of Savonarola. Also included is invaluable advice if you’re planning to travel around Tuscany, whether to explore the beautiful countryside outside Florence or the stunning cities of Pisa, Siena, Arezzo and Cortona - including how to recognise and avoid bandits, mercenaries and condottieri.
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