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Florence, capital of the region of Tuscany, has a population of around half a million inhabitants, spreads on the banks of the Arno river. Founded by the Romans in the first century B.C., Florence began its rebirth after the decadence of the barbaric ages, in the Carolingian period, and reached its highest pinnacles of civilization between the 11th and 15th centuries, as a free city, balancing the authority of the Emperors with that of the Popes, overcoming the unfortunate internal dispute between Guelfs and Ghibellines. In the 15th century, it came under the rule of the Medici family, who later became the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. This in fact was the period when the city was at the height of its glory in art and culture, in politics and economic power. The Grand Duchy of the Medicis was succeeded, in the 18th century, by that of the House of Lorraine, when in 1860 Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Italy of which Florence was the capital from 1865 to 1871. In this century, the city has once more taken up its role as an important center for culture and the arts. (from www.aboutflorence.com)

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Additional Photos by Ecmel Erlat (ecmel) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 0 N: 255] (1760)
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