Tuscan Vineyard Tours offers a number of tours of Florence, one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the cradle of the Renaissance. Whether you are visiting for the first time or are returning to the city, with Tuscan Vineyard Tours you will discover new aspects of this cultured city filled with history, art and of course fine luxury goods.
If you prefer, we will be happy to create a special itinerary just for you!
Florence Day Tours:
- Florence in a Day
- Art & Architecture
- Off the Beaten Path
- Artisan Shopping Tour
- Foodie Tour
All Florence tours are walking tours.
Firenze/Florence was one of the most important cities in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. But Florence’s history starts a long time before that. It has been inhabited since the 10th century but historians conventionally date its foundation to 59 b.C. as a Roman settlement for retired soldiers with the name Florentia. It was built following the Roman military camp’s style along the cardo and decumanus intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica.
During the Dark Ages Florence was a minor city in Italy and suffered different Barbaric invasions. It was in the 12th century that Florence started growing and became a Comune, a city-state. For the following two centuries the city was fought for by the Guelphs (supporters of the Pope) and the Ghibellines (supporters of the Emperor); both of which wished to rule the city. Even Dante Alighieri was a victim of these fights: he was exiled to Verona at the beginning of 1300 for being a supporter of the other side at that time in power.
It was from the 14th to 16th centuries that Florence became one of the most important cities in Europe when the Medici family ruled it. Lorenzo de’ Medici was probably the greatest patron of the city. He transformed Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance by attracting excellent contemporary artists, architects and writers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli to whom he commissioned various works.
In 1569 Florence became the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and Cosimo I de’ Medici was named the Grand Duke of Tuscany by Pope Pius V. The members of the Medici dynasty passed down the title for the next two centuries up until 1737 when Gian Gastone, the last surviving male heir of the Medici clan, died and the Lorraine family took over. The Lorraine family ruled the city and region with great foresight and wisdom until 1860, when Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence was the temporary capital of Italy for five years from 1865 to 1871. During those years the city was modernized following contemporary standards. The historical center had remained largely unchanged through the centuries and large parts of this medieval city was destroyed including the old market and the Jewish ghetto which were replaced by a new district with larger streets and the big square of Piazza della Repubblica.
During the Second World War, Florence experienced a yearlong occupation by the Germans and was heavily damaged by bombs. Curiously, as the German retreated from Florence, all of the bridges were blown up except Ponte Vecchio, many claiming it was considered too beautiful to destroy and spared by orders from Hitler himself. On November 4, 1966 the Arno River flooded most of the city center damaging millions of art treasures and books. The flood left many marks on the city and its artistic patrimony; many pieces of artwork are still under restoration over 40 years later.