Where is Firenze and things to know

Where Is The City Of Florence Italy & Things To Know When You Visit



Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Florence attracts millions of tourists each year eager to explore its winding medieval streets and marvel at its magnificent Renaissance architecture. As the capital of the Tuscany region and one-time capital of a unified Italy, Florence grew from ancient Roman origins into the epicenter of the European Renaissance, a period during which Florence became the cradle of inspired artistic and intellectual innovation.

However, this article covers much more than just the history of Firenze. I’ll share very interesting information about where is Firenze located, how it became what it is, how it is divided, best neighborhoods for tourists or anyone looking to move there, fun facts and much more. 

Where is Firenze on a map

Where Is Firenze On A Map

Firenze, more commonly known as Florence in English, is located in central Italy. It is situated in the heart of the Tuscany region, renowned for its rich history, art, and culture. On a map, Florence is positioned approximately 230 kilometers northwest of Rome, the capital city of Italy.

Where is it in Europe?

Florence is situated in the continent of Europe, specifically in the southern part of the European continent. It lies within the borders of Italy, which is situated in the southern region of Europe, bordered by countries like France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia.

Where is it Located in Italy?

Florence is centrally located within Italy, in the region known as Tuscany, about halfway down the “boot” on the peninsula. It is inland from the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas.

Tuscany is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, historic cities, and cultural heritage. Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region and is situated along the Arno River, surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards characteristic of the Tuscan countryside.

Map of Tuscany

map of Tuscany
Tuscany Map

Tuscany Cities Near Firenze

Below is a list of cities near Florence, each with its unique attractions, all within a reasonable driving distance for a day trip or a longer exploration.

  1. Pisa – Approximately 85 kilometers (53 miles) west of Florence.
  2. Siena – Approximately 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Florence.
  3. Lucca – Approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Florence.
  4. Arezzo – Approximately 75 kilometers (47 miles) southeast of Florence.
  5. Prato – Approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of Florence.
  6. Livorno – Approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Florence.
  7. Montecatini Terme – Approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Florence.
  8. San Gimignano – Approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles) southwest of Florence.
  9. Volterra – Approximately 75 kilometers (47 miles) southwest of Florence.
  10. Empoli – Approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Florence.

Firenze Meaning

The origin of the name “Florence” (Firenze in Italian) is rooted in legend and symbolism. One interpretation attributes it to the Latin term “Florentia,” which carries the favorable meaning of “flourishing” or “prosperous.” This reflects the city’s historical significance as a center of commerce, culture, and the arts.

Florio or Fiori?

Legend has it that the name “Florence” may have derived from “Florio,” a soldier killed on the site where the city was founded.

Alternatively, it could be linked to the abundance of flowers in the area or to the Roman festival of Floralia, suggesting a connection to fertility and growth.

Fertile Land

Another interpretation comes from the Latin adjective “florentes,” meaning fertile, which could refer to the fertile valley where Florence was established.

This ties into ancient Roman customs of establishing new settlements during the spring months, signifying growth and prosperity.

Firenze Name Evolution

Over time, “Florentia” evolved linguistically into “Fiorenza” during the Middle Ages and eventually into “Firenze” in modern Italian.

This linguistic transition mirrors the transformation of the Latin term “flos-floris” into the Italian word for flower, “fiore,” highlighting the city’s symbolic association with floral imagery.

Florence symbol

Firenze Symbols

The choice of the lily, or “giglio” in Italian, as Florence’s symbol further reinforces its floral associations.

Legend has it that the lily was selected as the city’s emblem by the Romans around 60 B.C., symbolizing rebirth and fertility, and paying homage to the pagan deity Flora.

Florence Nicknames

Throughout history, Florence has been affectionately referred to by various nicknames and titles, including:

“città nobile” (noble city), a title given by the poet Dante Alighieri, recognizing its cultural and intellectual prestige;

“la culla del Rinascimento” , the cradle of Renaissance, aka the Renaissance birthplace, for its pivotal role in the cultural rebirth of Europe; and

“seconda città eterna”, second eternal city after Rome, underscoring its enduring legacy and influence.

Is Firenze the same as Florence?

Yes, Firenze and Florence are the same city. Firenze is the Italian name for the city, while Florence is its English equivalent.

The city is often referred to as “Firenze” by locals and in Italian contexts, while “Florence” is commonly used in English-speaking countries and international contexts.

Firenze Pronunciation

Whether you are learning more about Firenze’s history or planning to visit it soon, pronouncing its Italian name correctly is an important step to bring you closer to its essence and culture.

Use the table and audio below to practice pronouncing Firenze like an Italian.

FirenzeItalian Spelling (Syllables)English Pronunciation
Firenze spelling & pronunciation

Firenze Pronunciation

Firenze History

Firenze’s history is rooted in its ancient Etruscan origins and Roman foundation in 59 B.C.

The city flourished as a cultural and economic hub, particularly during the Renaissance under the influential rule of the Medici family. This era saw the emergence of important figures like artists, writers, and thinkers.

Firenze’s significance continued through the centuries, eventually becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. For a deeper exploration of Firenze’s rich history, refer to the separate article on Firenze’s history.

Florence Neighborhoods

Firenze is officially divided into five administrative quarters, each comprising urban zones and smaller neighborhoods.

District 1 – Centro Storico

Centro Storico is the historic centre of Florence, teeming with iconic attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo. We’ll explore Firenze District 1 further in the next section.

District 2 – Campo di Marte 

Campo di Marte offers an authentic taste of Firenze’s daily life. Neighborhoods like Le Cure and Campo di Marte provide a peaceful retreat with vibrant local artisan scenes and bustling markets.

District 3 – Gavinana-Galluzzo

Gavinana-Galluzzo, in the southeast, is surrounded by lush parks and scenic trails, offering a serene escape with tranquil residential areas like Gavinana and Bandino. 

District 4 – Isolotto-Legnaia

Isolotto-Legnaia, in the southwest, balances suburban comfort with urban convenience. Neighborhoods like Isolotto and Legnaia offer a tranquil retreat with easy access to essential services and recreational facilities.

District 5 – Rifredi

From the lively streets of Statuto to the bustling ambiance of Novoli, Rifredi, in the northwest, is a bustling urban district offering a dynamic blend of residential charm and urban energy.

Best Florence Neighbourhood

If you are unsure which neighborhood is right for you, the suggestions and tips below should help you pick one. Make sure to keep in mind the ones to avoid.

PS: This is just information so don’t be alarmed and cancel your trip to Florence. From my personal experience, I can tell you that even with all the crowds I never felt threatened during my week in Florence. I also felt safe when walking at night. I suggest you simply keep away from those least safe areas listed above after sunset, and practice caution at all times, like you would in any other big city.

Firenze City Centre (District 1)

Firenze’s city center, known as Centro Storico or District 1, is divided into four historic districts, each named after a prominent landmark and characterized by unique cultural and architectural features.

This area of Firenze became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1982 as it was recognized to contain the world’s most important works of art and architecture best representative of the Renaissance period.

Santa Maria Novella District

Located in the northwest, the Santa Maria Novella district is identified by its red color and named after the Santa Maria Novella church near the central railway station. This district is a bustling hub with easy access to transportation and notable landmarks.

San Giovanni District

Situated in the northeast, the San Giovanni district, marked by its green color, is the heart of Firenze. It derives its name from the Baptistery of San Giovanni, a significant architectural marvel within the city. This district is renowned for its historical significance and vibrant atmosphere.

Santa Croce District

Found in the southeast, the Santa Croce district is distinguished by its blue color and named after the Santa Croce Church.

This area is famous for its picturesque Piazza di Santa Croce and every June hosts the annual historic Florentine football matches, known as “Calcio Storico Fiorentino.”

Santo Spirito District

Located in the southwest, the Santo Spirito district is characterized by its white color and named after the Basilica of Santo Spirito. This district offers a more tranquil ambiance with charming streets, artisan shops, and a rich cultural heritage.

Reaching Firenze City Centre

Firenze Airport to Firenze City Centre

Firenze is conveniently accessible from the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, located approximately 4 kilometers northwest of the city center. Visitors can reach the city center by taxi, airport shuttle, or public bus services available at the airport.

From the Main Train Station

Firenze’s central railway station, Santa Maria Novella (SMN), is situated in the heart of the city center. Travelers arriving by train can easily reach their destinations within the city center on foot or via public transportation.

Getting to Firenze from Nearby Cities

Firenze can also be accessed from nearby cities via airports that offer convenient transportation options to reach the city center.

Firenze Population

Firenze, with a population of approximately 380,000 people, is home to the Fiorentini, known as Florentines in English. 

Despite its cultural richness, the standard of living in Firenze faces challenges.

According to Corriere.it, residents earn an average of less than €20,000 gross per year. Consequently, between rent, bills, food, transportation, and clothing, they typically spend between €18,500 and €22,300 annually. 

With the median price for apartments currently on the market standing at €330,000, owning a home in Firenze remains a significant financial hurdle for many residents.

Firenze Landmarks & Attractions

No trip to Florence would be complete without a tour of the top landmarks and museums. Below is a list, but if you need help figuring out which ones to visit and how to fit them into your stay read these guides:

How many days in Florence

Florence 4-Day Itinerary

Firenze city centre & Duomo

Florence Main Attractions:

Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore): An iconic symbol of Firenze, renowned for its striking Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.

Battistero di San Giovanni: This small but mighty Baptistery is famous for its stunning octagonal shape and intricate marble exterior, housing exquisite mosaics depicting scenes from the Bible.

Uffizi Gallery: Home to one of the most impressive art collections in the world, featuring works by Italian masters like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Galleria dell’Accademia: Famous for housing Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, David, along with other notable Renaissance artworks.

Piazza della Signoria: Firenze’s main square, adorned with statues and sculptures, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David, and surrounded by historic buildings like Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi.

Palazzo Vecchio: A majestic medieval palace in Piazza della Signoria, serving as the seat of Florentine government for centuries and housing impressive artworks and ornate chambers.

Piazza della Repubblica: A vibrant square in the heart of Firenze, known for its lively atmosphere, charming cafes, and historical landmarks like the historic carousel and the renowned Caffè Gilli.

Basilica di Santa Maria Novella: A masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, known for its stunning facade and impressive interior adorned with artworks by Giotto, Filippino Lippi, and Masaccio.

Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens: A grand Renaissance palace housing several museums and galleries, including the Palatine Gallery and the Museum of Costume and Fashion, surrounded by the picturesque Boboli Gardens, adorned with sculptures, fountains, and manicured greenery.

Basilica di Santa Croce: Known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, this basilica is the final resting place of illustrious figures like Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Niccolò Machiavelli, and features stunning frescoes by Giotto.

Ponte Vecchio

One of Firenze’s most iconic landmarks, Ponte Vecchio is a historic bridge spanning the Arno River.

Dating back to the medieval period, Ponte Vecchio is renowned for its unique architecture and vibrant atmosphere, with shops and galleries lining its cobblestone walkway.

The bridge’s picturesque setting and stunning views of the Arno River make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, attracting visitors from around the world.

Firenze River (Arno River) 

The Arno River, flowing through the heart of Firenze, is renowned for its picturesque beauty and its significance in Firenze’s history and culture.

Spanning approximately 150 miles, the Arno River has been a vital lifeline for the city, facilitating trade and commerce since ancient times.

Its tranquil waters provide a scenic backdrop to Firenze’s iconic landmarks, offering visitors a serene escape amidst the bustling cityscape.

Firenze weather
View from Boboli Gardens inside Palazzo Pitti

Firenze Weather

The mild weather is a key part of all that makes Firenze Firenze, not only because of the pleasant temperatures but also because of how this favors the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

What is Florence weather like throughout the year?

Firenze experiences a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters.

Summers, from June to August, are typically hot and dry with temperatures averaging around 30°C (86°F), while winters, from December to February, are mild with temperatures averaging around 10°C (50°F). Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) bring pleasant temperatures.

Firenze weather compared to Northern and Southern Italy

Compared to northern Italy, Firenze enjoys warmer temperatures throughout the year, while southern Italy experiences hotter summers and milder winters.

The weather in Firenze contributes to its unique charm, offering visitors comfortable conditions for exploring its renowned museums, shopping districts, and picturesque streets.

Best time to visit Florence?

Because of the mild weather, Florence is a great place to visit all year round. So if you ever find yourself craving Italy but don’t know where to go, Firenze won’t disappoint with its museums, shopping, food, charming streets, and river views.

My favorite times to visit are April and October. The crowds are still present but not as much as in May to September. You can also start seeing the changing seasons, especially towards the beginning of April and the end of October.

Firenze Food

The short list below is perfect to help you get acquainted with the best delicacies Florence has to offer. If you want more, check out these other articles:

Florence Breakfast Guide

Hidden Gems Restaurants in Florence

Most Famous Florence Foods

  1. Bistecca alla Fiorentina: A signature Florentine dish, consisting of a thick T-bone steak grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  2. Schiacciata Bread: A classic Florentine bread, enjoyed as a focaccia sandwich filled with various ingredients such as prosciutto, cheese, and vegetables.
  3. Ribollita: A hearty Tuscan soup made with bread, cannellini beans, vegetables, and kale, simmered in a rich tomato broth.
  4. Pappa al Pomodoro: A traditional Tuscan bread soup, featuring stale bread soaked in a flavorful tomato and vegetable broth, seasoned with garlic, basil, and olive oil.
  5. Crostini di Fegato: Toasted bread topped with a creamy chicken liver pâté, seasoned with capers, anchovies, and sage.
  6. Cantucci and Vin Santo: A classic Tuscan dessert pairing, featuring almond biscotti (cantucci) dipped in sweet dessert wine (vin santo).

schiacciata Fiorentina cake
Firenze traditional schiacciata cake

Lesser Known Florentine Food:

  1. Lampredotto: A Florentine street food specialty made from the fourth stomach of a cow, simmered in a savory broth, and served in a crusty roll with salsa verde or spicy sauce.
  2. Schiacciata alla Fiorentina: A traditional Florentine dessert, similar to sponge cake, flavored with orange zest and dusted with powdered sugar, often adorned with the symbol of Firenze, the lily.
  3. Cenci: Fried pastry strips dusted with powdered sugar, commonly enjoyed during Carnevale festivities in Firenze.
  4. Ricciarelli: Almond-based cookies originating from Siena but popular throughout Tuscany, including Firenze, known for their soft and chewy texture, flavored with orange zest and almond extract.
  5. Panzanella: A refreshing Tuscan salad made with stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, basil, and olive oil, perfect for hot summer days.
  6. Pici with Ragu di Cinghiale: Hand-rolled pasta typical of Tuscany, served with a rich and savory wild boar ragu, a delicacy of the region.

PS: Did you know that the boar is another symbol of Florence?

For the Medici family, the wild boar was emblematic of the noble hunter’s courage. There is even a famous bronze statue of a wild boar located in the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo.

10 Firenze Facts You Likely Don’t Know

  1. Street Numbering: Walking through Florence, you might notice the street numbering seems unusual, with blue and red numbers. Blue signifies residential buildings, while red indicates commercial activities, adding to the city’s unique charm and organization.
  2. The Reversed Clock: The clock on the back wall of Florence’s Duomo, painted by Paolo Uccello, operates in reverse due to its mechanism. But there’s more. It concludes its daily cycle at sunset rather than midnight, and we still don’t know why.
  3. Duomo’s Horned Bull: Amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of Santa Maria del Fiore, a carved bull’s head on the Ticket Office’s side often goes unnoticed. Legend has it that during the cathedral’s construction, a sculptor depicted the bull, symbolizing a local tale of infidelity.
  4. Michelangelo’s Graffiti: Michelangelo, frustrated by a loquacious man who used to stop him in Piazza della Signoria and speak for hours, created graffiti on a stone on Palazzo Vecchio’s facade to pass the time, showcasing his irreverent wit.
  5. Brindellone Gate: A notable sight on Via Prato, the massive wooden gate facilitates the passage of the Brindellone, a towering 11-meter Easter cart that annually parades through Florence to Piazza Duomo for the “Scoppio” tradition.
  6. Open Window & the Ghost: Palazzo Budini-Gattai, in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, features a window that is never closed, believed to be connected to a tragic love story from the late 1500s. A young bride spent her life embroidering by the window, awaiting her husband’s return from war. Legend suggests her ghost lingers, and closing the window triggers strange occurrences.
  7. Dante’s Stone & the Boiled Egg: Situated between Piazza delle Pallottole and Via dello Studio, the “asso di Dante” is a rock where the poet Dante Alighieri once sat to observe the construction of Santa Maria in Fiore cathedral, accompanied by a fun encounter. While sitting, Dante was approached by a man and asked what his favorite food was. While caught in his work, Dante replied it was a boiled egg. A year later, the same person approached him and asked him what, referring to the boiled egg. Dante replied with salt.
  8. Europe’s Oldest Pharmacy: Located within the Santa Maria Novella complex near the station, Europe’s oldest pharmacy, established in 1612, continues to operate.
  9. Bronze Boar Statue: Adjacent to the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, a bronze boar statue commissioned by Cosimo II de Medici stands, believed to bring luck. Just touching the statue is not enough to ensure fortune. Visitors must place coins in the boar’s mouth, ensuring good fortune if the coin falls into the space below. 
  10. The Upside-down Balcony: An interesting balcony in Borgo Ognissanti presents architectural elements in reverse, resulting from a misunderstanding between Baldovinetti, the homeowner, and Alessandro de Medici, who prohibited prominent architectural features.

Final Thoughts

While the città di Firenze will always be synonymous with unparalleled Renaissance architecture and art, it earned its magnetism for tourists and inhabitants through centuries of colorful transformation.

I hope this deep dive not only illuminated little-known aspects of Florence but also explained how the city grew into the Florence known and loved by millions today.

Click here to explore the other articles about Florence and Tuscany.

Where Is Firenze & More FAQ

Is Firenze and Florence the same thing?

Yes, Firenze and Florence refer to the same city in Italy. Firenze is the Italian name while Florence is the English name.

Is Firenze a city or region?

Firenze is a city. It is the capital and largest city in the Tuscany region of Italy.

Where is Florence or Firenze as it is known in Europe?

Florence is located in central Italy, in the Tuscany region. It sits about halfway down the Italian “boot” on the peninsula.

What does Firenze stand for?

The name Firenze derives from the Latin name Florentia, which was given to the city under Roman rule. Florentia likely originates from the Latin term florens meaning “blossoming” or “flourishing”. Over time, Florentia evolved to become Fiorenza in medieval Italian and eventually the modern Firenze.

Why do we say Florence instead of Firenze?

Florence is the common English adaptation of the city’s name, while Firenze is the name used in Italian.

Do Italians say Firenze?

Yes, Italians refer to the city as Firenze when speaking Italian.

What food is Florence best known for?

Florence is best known for foods like bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak), ribollita soup, cantucci cookies, and gelato.

What is a person from Florence called?

A person from Florence is referred to as a Florentine.

What is Florence Italy best known for?

Florence is best known for being the epicenter of the Renaissance in the 15th-16th centuries, renowned for art, architecture, writing and more.

Is Florence and Tuscany the same?

No. Florence is a city while Tuscany is a region. Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region.

What is the largest city in Tuscany?

The largest city in Tuscany is Florence.

What is the nickname for Florence Italy?

Florence is unofficially called “The Cradle of Renaissance” for its central role in spurring this pivotal cultural movement.

What is special about Firenze?

Firenze is considered special for its invaluable Renaissance art and architecture, history as a powerful medieval republic, role as onetime capital of Italy, and picturesque Tuscan beauty.

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