The Arno River runs through the center of Florence.
Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany， on Italy's north-west coast. The cultural and historical impact （影响力）of Florence is overwhelming. However， the city is one of Italy's most atmospheric and pleasant， retaining a strong resemblance（特征）to the small late-medieval center that contributed so much to the cultural and political development of Europe.
Where Rome is a historical hot-pot （热点）， Florence is like stepping back into a Fiat and Vespa-filled Renaissance （文艺复兴）： the shop-lined （商店林立）Ponte Vecchio， the trademark Duomo， the gem-filled Uffizi Gallery， the turreted （有角塔的，角塔状的）Piazza della Signoria and the Medici Chapels.
The remarkable Duomo （大教堂）， with its pink， white and green marble fa？ ade （房屋正面）and characteristic dome （拱顶）， dominates the city's skyline. The building took almost two centuries to build （and even then the facade wasn't completed until the 19th century）， and is the fourth-largest cathedral in the world. The enormous dome was designed by Brunelleschi， and its interior features frescoes （在……作壁画）and stained-glass windows （由各色玻璃拼成的彩画玻璃窗）by some of the Renaissance-era's best： Vasari， Zuccari， Donatello， Uccello and Ghiberti. Take a deep breath and climb up to take a closer look， and you'll be rewarded by fantastic views of the city and an insight into how the dome was so cleverly constructed - without scaffolding （脚手架）。 The dome still defines the scale of the city， and no building in town is taller.
Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus can be found in Piazza della Signoria.
Florence was founded as a colony of the Etruscan city of Fiesole in about 200 BC， later becoming the Roman Florentia， a garrison town （有驻防的城市）controlling the Via Flaminia. In the 13th century the pro-papal（罗马教皇）Guelphs and pro-imperial （国王）Ghibellines started a century-long bout of （一次）bickering （争吵，矛盾）， which wound up with（以……而告终）the Guelphs forming their own government in the 1250s. By 1292 Florence eventually becoming a commercial republic controlled by the Guelph-heavy merchant class.In the latter part of the 14th century the Medicis began consolidating （巩固）power， eventually becoming bankers to the papacy （罗马教廷）。 Florence became capital of the Kingdom， and remained so until Rome took over （控制）in 1875.
Florence used to be badly damged by war （WWII ） and floods （in 1966）， fortunately the salvage operation （拯救工作）led to the widespread （广泛的）use of modern restoration techniques（修复技术）which have saved artworks throughout the country.