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Places to visit in 2012 – Florence, Italy

Florence

The city of Florence, Italy is world-renown for being the focal point of the Renaissance, the cultural movement that started in the 14th century that is to thank for elevating Europe from the Dark Ages. It has been an important tourist destination for many years now, decades one might say, of interest both to those who are interested in the history of the place, its vast and varied culture, as well as those who just want to visit a new and interesting place.

Recently however, the city’s youthful mayor has been doing his best to transform Florence into a working, living city that celebrates its history but is not completely dependent on it. This new approach has energized the arts scene which now unfolds in all manner of venues, such as medieval palaces and other ancient landmarks which have been renovated and reopened to the public for the first time in decades. Another sign of this interesting change in the city is the fact that some restaurants have started to decrease the presence of traditional Tuscan staples in favor of more sophisticated contemporary food.

A few examples of these “new” venues and the entertainment they offer are the grant 15th century Palazzo Strozzi for instance, which is now the home of the Center for Contemporary Culture Strozzina which is steadily becoming a destination for all sorts of must-see events. Then there’s the Spazi Urbani Contemporanei, which occupies a 15th century former monastery, now featuring fresh works from emerging Italian artists.

Recently the 148-foot-tall 14th century San Niccolo tower was reopened to the public offering again some of the best panoramic views of the city and the Gucci Museum made its debut in the Historic Palazzo della Mercanzia.

But art venues are not the only thing that old buildings are being reopened as, for instance the opulent new St. Regis Florence hotel can be found in a riverside palace, and another five-star hotel was opened near Boboli Gardens.

Florence isn’t what it used to be, it’s something different and that means that it stays true to the spirit of its Renaissance era, when leaps in all sciences and activities took place.

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