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This fascinating and fact-packed guide provides all the practical advice you need for a journey back to the golden age of one of Europe's great cultural cities. Take in the sights and sounds, marvel at Brunelleschi's sublime cathedral dome, wonder at the sculptures and paintings that have made this the art capital of its day, and lose yourself in the thrilling (and often riotous) local feasts and festivals. Along the way, you will find out about the most important and influential families in Florence, the up-and-coming artists Michelangelo and Leonardo, and the humanist philosophers battling the Church. Here, too, is the darker side of life in the city, from its taverns and brothels to the grisly punishments meted out to wrongdoers and the reckless rabble-rousing of Savonarola. Also featured is invaluable advice if you're planning to travel outside of Florence to the stunning cities of Pisa, Siena, Arezzo and Cortona - including how to recognize and avoid bandits, mercenaries and condottieri. This witty book will appeal to travellers, museum-goers or anyone who wonders what it would really have been like to visit this model of Renaissance culture.
Charles FitzRoy is the author of Italy: A Grand Tour for the Modern Traveller and Italy Revealed, as well as a contributor to The Great Cities in History. He leads tours for Fine Art Travel, a London-based company that organizes cultural tours throughout Europe, including Italy.