Florence, Italy is an ancient city that is the current capital of the Tuscany region. The city is home to 382,000 people, with more than 1.5 million people living in the wider metro region.
Florence was founded during Roman times, but it was not until the medieval era that the city really came to prominence. The infamous Medici family ruled the city during this time and helped the city grow rich and prosperous. It is around this time that Florence's golden era began, and the Italian Renaissance is said to have started here. Artists and architects Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Brunelleschi and Giorgio Vasari lived in Florence during this time.
Florence today is a major tourist destination, with more than 1.7 million visitors arriving in the city in 2007. Some of the major attractions in the city include the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge with old merchant's houses built into it, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a 13th-century domed church.
Florence was hit by a devastating plague during the 14th century. More than 60 percent of the city's population died during the epidemic, and survivors were forced to live in refugee camps outside the city until the plague vanished. This turbulent time in the city's history is recorded in Boccaccio's Decameron, a frame story containing over 100 separate stories.