Rick Steves’ Florence and Tuscany

Rick Steves’ Florence and Tuscany 2009

Florence is Europe’s cultural capital. As the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of the modern world, Florence practiced the art of civilized living back when the rest of Europe was rural and crude. Democracy, science, and literature, as well as painting, sculpture, and architecture, were all championed by the proud and energetic Florentines of the 1400s.

When the Florentine poet Dante first saw the teenaged Beatrice, her beauty so inspired him that he spent the rest of his life writing poems to her. The Renaissance opened people’s eyes to the physical beauty of the world around them, inspiring them to write, paint, sculpt, and build.

Today, Florence is geographically small but culturally rich, with more artistic masterpieces per square mile than anyplace else. In a single day, you could look Michelangelo’s David in the eyes, fall under the seductive sway of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and climb the modern world’s first dome, which still dominates the skyline.

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