Florence or Firenze Italy was founded along the marshy banks of the Arno river in the early 1st century BC. Known in the beginning as Colonia Florentina, the flourishing colony, a bridge was built across the Arno in the early 1st century AD linking the north plains with Rome. The expansion of Florence begins in the 12th century and is governed as a commune. Florence resists princely rule longer than any other commune in Italy except for Venice. In the 16 th century the Medici become the dukes of Tuscany and rule Florence. The Medici family rule Florence from 1512- 1737. In 1737 rule is passed to the imperial house of Austria in the treaty of Vienna. In 1865 Florence becomes the capital of the independent kingdom of Italy.

An important period in the history of Florence is the Renaissance. Between the 12th and 16th century, Florence grows prosperous and produces outstanding literature and art. Class upheavel in the city causes bitter disputes and many artists are caught up in the politics. Dante the writer of the Divine Comedy – “Divina Commedia” is one artist that was banned from Florence in 1301. Danta died in exile in 1321 in Ravenna. The manuscripts of Plato become available in Florence in 1439 and is translated from Greek to Latin in 1484 and is has the leading role in philosophy. The mystical elements of Neo-Platonism become a major theme of Renaissance art, especially the work of Botticelli in The Birth of Venice.

The symbol for the city of Florence is the Duomo of Florence with it’s massive dome designed by Brunelleschi and completed in 1436. Florence is known mainly as the birthplace of the Renaissance, however, today the city is is important for Italian fashion and a major economic center.