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I have many friends who were either born in Italy, or have visited there.

When I ask them:

“What is your favourite Italian city?”

I usually get the same three answers.

These cities are Rome, Venice and Florence.

I could understand Venice being a favourite city because of it’s uniqueness.

A city with canals instead of streets brings out the romance in all of us.

Rome, of course was my choice of cities because you can still experience ancient history alive and up close. The thoughts of entering any building over a thousand years old sends my senses reeling.

The thought of walking where Julius Caesar walked is astounding.

However, I could not understand why Florence would be chosen as a favourite city.

I didn’t get it.

That all changed of course, the day that I walked the streets of Florence for the first time.

Where Rome is all things ancient…

…Florence is all things Renaissance.

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It heralded the end of the dark ages and ushered in the beginnings of musical creativity. It was the birth of modern thinking and the concept of artisans, intellect and the importance of literacy and education.

The magical ambiance of those heady days of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci can still be felt.

It oozes from each of the stony structures.

It blows like the wind in the terraces and piazzas.

It transforms the eye with every work of art.

Yes, I now understand why someone would choose Florence as their favourite city.

I finally get it.

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