NECA Study Abroad Italy Programs
About Florence

Florence, located in the valley of the Arno River, is the capital of the region of Tuscany. It is surrounded by lush cypress hills, and it has retained much of its Renaissance characteristics. It is home to some of the world's most important monuments of art and architecture.

Center of Art and Culture
Florence, known as "the Cradle of the Renaissance", was once home to great innovative thinkers and artists such as Michelangelo, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli, Lorenzo de' Medici, Machiavelli, and also home of Galileo (native of Pisa). Antonio Meucci, the inventor of telephone, was also a Florentine, as well as Amerigo Vespucci, the great Florentine navigator from whom America took its name.

Beautiful Sites
The artistic, cultural, and historical patrimony of Florence has an overwhelming impact. Some of the city's most important sites include:

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
Begun in 1296 by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio and crowned by Brunelleschi's dome.

Built between the fifth and ninth centuries, it contains thirteenth-century mosaics and is famous for its bronze doors designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, called the "Gates of Paradise" by Michelangelo.

Designed by Giotto and completed in by Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti in 1359.

Ponte Vecchio
The oldest bridge in Florence, built in 1345 to replace the older Roman construction. Was the only bridge left standing after World War II.

Uffizi Gallery
World famous treasure-filled museum, contains works of art from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. Highlights include works by Giotto, Gentile da Fabriano, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

Palazzo Vecchio
Once seat of the city's government and home the Medici, this palace is filled with Renaissance frescoes, secret chambers, and monumental apartments.

New home of Michelangelo's David after it was moved from Piazza della Signoria in 1873. Also on display are Michelangelo's four Slaves and a large collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings, as well as a rich collection of Russian icons.

Santa Croce
Franciscan church and monastery which contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, as well as the tombs of Florence's most celebrated citizens including Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti, and Machiavelli, and monuments to Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. The church's cloister contains Brunelleschi's famous Pazzi chapel, a Renaissance architectural masterpiece.

San Lorenzo
Basilica designed by Brunelleschi where Michelangelo's sculptures decorate the Medici tombs. The adjacent Laurentian Library, with Michelangelo's famous entrance portico, houses the world's most valuable manuscript collections.

Santa Maria Novella
Dominican church and monastery that contains Masaccio's Trinity and frescos by Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi.

Florentine Life
Florence also provides students with great shopping, eating, and entertainment opportunities. Students will enjoy shopping in several outdoor markets for leather goods, souvenirs, artistic paper products, and much more. There are many traditional as well as new trendy restaurants, pizzerias, bars, discos, nightclubs, and cafés.

Students should not miss out on the many "gelaterias" all over town that serve "gelato", which is more than just ice cream!

Since Florence is an international center for the arts, learning, and business and draws a large international crowd, students will also find cinemas with movies in English, pubs, American bakeries, and English bookstores.

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