Florence (Italian: Firenze [fiˈrɛntse] alternate obsolete spelling: Fiorenza; Latin: Florentia) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 367,569 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area).
The city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history included periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, religious and republican revolution. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence is often known as the "Jewel of the Renaissance".
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is widely regarded[by whom?] as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its artistic, historic and cultural heritage and impact in the world remains to this day. The city has a major impact in music, architecture, education, cuisine, fashion, philosophy, science and religion. The historic centre of Florence contains elegant squares (piazzas), Renaissance palaces (palazzi), academies, parks, gardens, churches, monasteries, museums, art galleries and ateliers. The city has also been nominated, according to a 2007 study, as the most desirable destination for tourists in the world.
The city boasts a wide range of collections of art, especially those held in the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi, (which receives about 1.6 million tourists a year). Florence is arguably the last preserved Renaissance city in the world and is regarded by many as the art capital of Italy. It has been the birthplace or chosen home of many notable historical figures, such as Dante, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Niccolò Machiavelli, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo Galilei, Catherine de' Medici, Luigi Cherubini, Antonio Meucci, Guccio Gucci, Franco Zeffirelli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, and Emilio Pucci.
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