Florence is the capital of Tuscany. Its origin goes back to the Romans when Julius Caeser established a settlement for veteran soldiers in 59 BC.
A city state in the middle ages, Florence was controled by two rival families, the Albizzi and the Medici.
It was declared the capital of Italy in 1865 only to be replaced by Rome six years later.
The area in and around the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Campanile and Baptistry are the most visited.
Attached to the Pitti palace, the main seat of the Medici, are the Boboli Gardens. There are a number modern sculptural works displaid in the gardens along with more classical pieces.
Pisa is the capital of the Province of Pisa. It is the birthplace of Galileo Galilei. It has been the centre of many power struggles between different city states, including Florence and Genoa.
Construction of the Duomo began in the mid 11th century and it was consecrated in 1118 by Pope Gelasius II.
The baptistry’s construction ran from 1152 to 1363 and has two distict archirectual styles. The lower section is in the Romanesque style with the upper in Gothic.
Probably the most famous campanile in Italy, the “leaning” tower, it took over 199 years to contruct. The sinking started after the addition of the 2nd storey and construction was halted for nearly 100 years. When construction was restarted in 1272 the upper storeys were built with one side taller than the other to compensate for the subsidence, making the tower curve.
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